Letting things fester: The art of cultivating misery

I wake up at 3 in the morning. The painkillers have worn off prematurely and the searing pain in my jaw is unbearable, but I have to bear it because I seem to have no other choice at this hour. At least I can't think of anything that doesn't involve yanking my own teeth with a pair of pliers.

It's a couple of days after I had a root canal retreat. That's when they reopen a root canal that didn't quite work, drill it, clean it up, and close it again. It was a huge abscess, the doctor said. It was huge but he had cleaned it and I was going to be able to eat normal that day.

Except that now, two nights after my procedure, when I am supposed to be asleep and recovering from the procedure, after two days of increasing pain, I have the feeling of hot lead being poured continuously into my jawbone.

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More about...Health & Fitness, Insurance

(Yes, You Can) Learn to Cook

Learn to cook!Most of us know from learning about personal finance that reasonable DIY work saves money. And I say "reasonable" to sidestep the whole discussion of "oh, you can't perform neurosurgery on yourself, it's best to go to a professional." Sure, we agree. Same thing with condemned water heaters and jet engine maintenance: Just let the pros do it.

I believe, however, that reasonable DIY yields the greatest returns when it involves food preparation. Unlike mowing the lawn or cleaning gutters, which only happens in suburbs or rainy climates, food is universal. Most of us eat every day, do it multiple times a day, and spend fortunes on it over our lifetimes. With the high cost of restaurants, and tips, and delivery charges, cooking at home makes a lot of financial sense.

Still, many people will say: "Oh, I can't even fry an egg," and eat out or get delivery three times a day. Funny thing: My friends who do that are invariably broke and fleeing from creditors, even if they eat at cheap places. (And I'm not saying you or your friends are broke from this — only mine.) Continue reading...

More about...Food, Frugality