Before we went on the road, Linda and I both had dental appointments at our separate dentists. I went to the same one I had been seeing for almost 30 years and Linda went to her dentist that she had only been going to for a couple of years. Since we had few dental problems, and figured we would be paying out of our pocket for standard twice a year cleanings & evaluations, we had decided that we would self-insure for dental expenses. Therefore, we wanted to make sure everything was in order and that we would be free of major issues for quite some time.
My dentist said everything looked fine and my fillings were strong. I had always hated to floss, but I knew that it was going to be more important than ever on the road. Dr. Moore, you will be pleased to know that I have flossed every day since I left your office for the last time. :)
Linda's dentist had previously recommended that her old childhood fillings be removed and replaced and various other procedures were done. Her teeth were beautiful, but she has had more problems with them than ever, and we have paid more money to this dentist in the last two plus years than we had spent on both of us in the last twenty years. As you may recall, she broke a tooth the week before we started our adventure and now a piece of one of her newly installed crowns has broken off. I am not happy and today that dentist office found out just how angry I am. I think they will be willing to make things right, but we shall see.
In the meantime, we had to get Linda's tooth fixed. We had planned on going to local dentists on the road for our semi-annual cleanings, but had hoped we could avoid the big stuff. After doing some research, we determined that we could get emergency service at the University of Florida Dental College which has a facility here in Jacksonville. Also, we learned that the work could be done for as much as 50% of regular retail. Though we had some concerns about a student doing the work, we were assured by several people that it would be supervised and the quality of work done would likely be better than from a for-profit dentist trying to rotate patients as quickly as possible.
Why I am I going into all this? Because this type of stuff has to be considered when going on the road, and it's important that we relay experiences like this. So the rules for the Dental College are that you must be there at 7:30 am at the door, you may have to wait quite some time to see a dentist, they only take so many emergency patients each day, the services may take awhile, and you must pay $115 up front before anything gets done.
We arrived around 7:10 am this morning and we were seventh in line out of about 15 people. And what a cross-section of people it was. :) We had to stand outside the door until they let us all in promptly at 7:30. An administrator had everyone line up at the window and made her announcement as to how things would work. Anyone coming in after the announcement had been made at 7:31 was turned away until the next day - no exceptions!
After the paperwork was completed and everyone lined up to pay, they started calling folks back. I read a book while waiting, and Linda finally came out around 10:15 which wasn't too bad considering what we expected. They told her they could do a crown for her but it would take two more visits, about two weeks, and $615. They wanted to do a gold crown on this back molar so that it would never break again - the current crown, what's left of it, is porcelain. Linda was not crazy about the gold idea, but agreed that she didn't want to have any more problems and was willing to do it since it was a back molar.
The question was timeframe. People that were walking in to get appointments were being told they could not get in until February or March. But they made Linda an appointment for next Monday once she put down have the money - $308. Actually, the did give us credit for $60 of our up front $115 to go toward the downpayment. If everything goes as planned, we will only be here one extra week. It likely would have been the same timeframe with a regular dentist and we estimate from talking to some of the locals that the cost would probably be twice as much. So while $363 total on the last day of the month is a budget buster, it could have been worse.
Speaking of the budget, the rest of this entry will be to report November results.
Campground Fees $621.69 ($20.72 per day)
*RV Clubs $10.58 ($0.35 per day)
*RV Insurance $74.72 ($2.49 per day)
Propane $0 ($0 per day)
Cell Phones $80.11 ($2.67 per day)
*Satellite Internet $94.05 ($3.14 per day)
RV Taxes/Registration $0 ($0 per day)
*Satellite TV $62.00 ($2.07 per day)
RV Maintenance $15.00 ($0.50 per day)
Diesel $235.39 ($7.85 per day)
Truck Maintenance $0 ($0 per day)
*Truck Insurance $60.78 ($2.03 per day)
Truck Taxes/Registration $0 ($0 per day)
Groceries & Dining Out $306.99 ($10.23 per day)
Laundry, Clothing, Hair Care $34.75 ($1.16 per day)
Entertainment $76.00 ($2.53 per day) (Category includes golf)
*Insurance - Life, Health, Etc. $293.24 ($9.77 per day)
Miscellaneous $480.01 ($16.00 per day) (Includes $363.00 non-recurring dental expense)
Total $2,445.31 ($81.51 per day)
* - These are items paid for a year in advance, monthly breakdown shown here
Basically, we were over budget only by the dental emergency. Without it, we were at $68.56 per day, so we are fairly happy. The actual money for the dental expense comes from our Health Savings Account which we had already funded prior to going on the road, so at least it is not something that we have to sacrifice to make up for in December.
Click on this link to compare November to prior months and see how we are doing overall: <a href="http://www.rv-dreams.com/2005-Expenses.html" target="_blank">Our 2005 Actual Expenses</a>
We drove 1,077 miles in November (462 destination to destination, and 615 local miles). Since August 1 we have driven a total of 3,923 miles (1,575 destination to destination, and 2,348 local areas). So we still are right at that 1,000 miles per month that we predicted and budgeted for before we started.
Still lovin' every minute of it!!