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2005-08-17 | 1:14 a.m.

I have a mosquito bite on my cheek and two holes in my nose (aside from the nostrils, I mean) left by Wendy, our evil unlikeable rodent, who knows not that her entire leisure lifestyle is predicated on keeping friendly, likeable Gidget company. I would not have supposed, way back when, before I kept rats, that I could distinguish their personalities so easily within a day or two. But it's true. Gidget has never been anything but curious and friendly; Wendy has always been cowardly and bad-tempered. I've tried to bring her around, get her socialized--that's what I was doing when I got bit--but it's useless. All I get for my trouble is a snout full of rubbing alcohol.

Felony goes in first thing tomorrow morning for yet another oral surgery. Her mouth lately is like the Gaza Strip. They've already removed three teeth (including an enormous extra tooth shaped like a baseball mitt) to allow permanent teeth to drop into place, but the teeth haven't been able to move in on their own, as we had hoped. So now they're going to pull two more teeth and use "chain and grid" hardware, fastened to wire braces, to slowly tug the teeth into place.

Felony likes to feel special and she is. Unlike other kids, who only get one set of braces, Felony will get to wear two sets. The current braces are just helping her get those permanent teeth locked and loaded. The actual straightening of the permanent teeth won't start until she gets the second set of braces.

The orthodontist's financial planner has us on a three-year payment plan and we haven't even gotten Kid #2 into the chair yet. We just think of it as a tithe. Duff will probably be, like, a deacon by the time Jinx is ready for braces.

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