Buying Glasses

So recently I had to finally breakdown and purchase some new spectacles. Of course, reconciling that my eyes are actually getting worse as I get older is just a small part of the overall problem. Finding a pair that I liked has been an odyssey for which I was not completely prepared. First problem is that the fashion of eyewear currently is the rectangular frame, which just happens to look rather stupid on my rectangular head. Too many sharp angles and long shapes to be sure.

Second problem is that shopping for glasses is a ridiculously overwhelming process. Anyone that has ever done this knows that you walk into a store where there are about a thousand pairs of glasses which serve to cover virtually every inch of wall space in the store. Of course this is all presented under the auspices of giving you more choices. Yet, al it really does is present you with more of the same and surprisingly less choice. Combine this with the fact that apart from the small corner in the front of the store, which is the “Men’s” section, nearly the entire store is labeled “Unisex,” which is practically code for how to wear women’s glasses. I have enough anxiety that I do not need to find myself staring longingly at myself in the retail establishment’s mirror, admiring my choice of specs, only to find out from the clerk that they’re chick glasses!

I was completely adrift on my own during this process, so it was absolutely paramount that I have someone to assist me. Picture a person aimlessly trying on so many pairs that all the clerks are wondering, “What is wrong with this guy?” I tried so many pairs on the first day that, at some point, they all looked more the same than they did on the wall, if that is even possible!

Initially, Ali was nobly trying to avoid being bossy in this process and left me to my own personal downward spiral into eyewear oblivion. Needless to say the first effort was a bust.

Also consider that I needed to get a new prescription which was actually the easiest part of the whole adventure. Next up, Keri supported me on the hunt. She too needed an eyewear update, and Ali and I both thought, as a fellow glasses wearing individual, she would be a great help. Well she was very helpful and gracious, but I still left again with no glasses to peep through. But I did get the new prescription, from a very nice eye doctor by the way.

At this point, I am approaching my wits end and lamenting to my wife that I simply cannot be trusted to leave a vision center with a pair of glasses that will not make me look like Clark Kent, or Harry Carey for that matter. So my lovely and supportive wife recognized that I was in need of some external decision making, that she is almost always more than happy to provide. She escorted me as we visited three separate places over two days before finally making a purchase.

Now I am known to shop around a little, but obviously things were completely unraveling for me. After narrowing the selection down to three alternatives, I really zeroed in on two pairs. I donned one them and stared at myself in the mirror, trying to determine whether this was the pair I would find myself wearing for the next two years or so. I turned to Ali with a pleased look on my face and declared, “I think this might be the pair.” At which point, she looked at me with a strange vexation, passed her eyes from me to the counter where the others lay and back again, I believe twice, before announcing “Those are YOUR glasses. That’s why, you goof!” Sheepishly, I gathered up the new pair and proceeded to the register, without a word.

Now the fun was only just beginning, for I had to pay for them. My previous experiences buying glasses had always been limited to the “2 for $100” variety. This time, however, Ali had unexpectedly triggered all of this madness by suggesting that I finally get myself a “nice pair.” As price conscious I am, I still ended up with a pair of frames that was under $150, amazingly given many of the options. I even chose some sunglasses, thinking I would get a prescription set of those too, since I was keeping the cost down a bit.

Then came the conversation with the clerk.

I had always been told that LensCrafters can be expensive, but I actually began to melt down when I was informed that the lenses alone were going to reach nearly $200 for the ones I needed and practically $250 to outfit the sun specs. I was absolutely flabbergasted and could utter little more than “What?!” and some inaudible moans, much to my wife’s embarrassment and horror. In fact, I was very nearly no longer in need of the kind LensCrafter lady’s services, as I had practically clawed my own eyes out of their sockets, pulling my paws down my own puss in an attempt to mitigate the daze I was experiencing and the profanity that was rising to the tip of my tongue. Obviously, Ali immediately switched into crisis-management-mode, intervened, and assured that I would be able to see within a few hours with the completion of my new glasses. The sunglasses were an obvious and instant casualty in the process.

Thus, the odyssey of my eyewear selection concluded and I am reasonably pleased with the glasses I finally found. I imagine I will be using these frames for the next twenty years. I undoubtedly will be the chucklehead that is still sporting the specs that are hopelessly out of style and have been for at least a dozen years or so, complete with a little tape holding them together. Without question, only another of Ali’s interventions may prevent this fate. It is a good thing I have her!

It’s Soccer Season Again, Stateside!

This past weekend I made my first trip to Foxboro and Gillette Stadium. Since the MLS is abuzz with Beckham-mania there have been some solid ticket deals presented by our very own Revolution. So Ali, Keri, and I teamed up for a threesome of tickets to a string of games that includes Becks arrival as member of his new side, the Galaxy. The Rev’s home opener was packaged in combo with Women’s National Team World Cup tune-up against southern rival Mexico, a team that failed to qualify for the late summer tourney. The local side was the second bout of the double bill. Both games were home team beatdowns of dramatic proportion.

The WNT routed a completely overmatched opponent, controlling the ball for nearly the entire match. I am not sure if the US keeper even touched the ball five times the whole match. Despite the final score being 5-0, the margin could have been wider had some of the shots a little luck. The Mexican keeper had to have felt like a there was a target on her chest as she was consistently peppered with blasts from all over the yard. Even Kristine Lilly, who is as old as I am, tallied a couple in the effort.

So after such a dominating performance, we were all hoping for a slightly more competitive second match, if for no other reason then to guarantee there would be some occasional action at the end where our seats were. Well, there was some action but the score was more the same, with a 4-0 drubbing of the new expansion team Toronto FC. MLS and Revolution scoring sensation Taylor Twellmen put in a pair and nearly pulled the hat-trick. Even though the score was so lopsided there was a little more end-to-end action, the Revs definitely had the upper-hand on the opposition and significantly limiting Toronto’s scoring chances to a few shots from the periphery.

With the Revs playing this evening, in a vaunted ESPN2 prime time slot, I am hoping to see more of the same.

Since the Last Posting

Well, as usual lately there has been quite a gap between postings. After releasing the great news of the impending arrival of our first child, I have been under a bit of pressure with an array of activities.

Photo: Connecticut Countryside

Since the last post, I spent about four days in rural, northwestern Connecticut evaluating a high school for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). It was an opportunity presented to me by my employer as a means of preparation, since we will be receiving a visiting committee in a couple of years. I figured it was a good faith effort to show that I like it where I work, I can be a team player, and they should consider rehiring me. Those three points pretty much dominate the life of what is called the non-professional status (read non-tenured) teacher in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (or pretty much anywhere for that matter). What’s more, ever since I found out about NEASC I have had a lot of ambivalent feelings about it. I have often felt that schools jump through a lot of hoops to accommodate their accreditation with the organization, and yet it is only the state department of education that really has any authority. So I figured what better way to really get to know the details about the organization than by serving on a committee. Well, I was right on that count. I definitely learned more a whole lot more about the organization. Funny thing though, when my wife asked me if the experience made me feel differently about things, my response was “Yes, it has made me even more ambivalent than before I left.” Still, it was a pretty awesome overall experience in terms of being able to examine a school and understand what works on an institutional level.

Photo: More Connecticut Countryside

Also since the last postings my wife ditched me for a short respite in the desert with her sister along for the company. Ali had wanted for the two of us to take a short vacation, but I was a bit too slow to respond. Thus, she opted for an alternative, sans me. That’s right, Ali and Keri decided to team up, like days of yore, and headed off to that American oasis of guilty pleasure, Las Vegas. Considering that she is carrying our yet unborn child the rules were pretty simple: no booze, drugs, or prostitutes. Of course those restrictions did beg the question for the chosen destination, but the girls had a whole itinerary of good wholesome fun, including a visit to Star Trek the Experience, Liberace Museum, La Cage, Excalibur Tournament of Kings, Madame Tussand’s Wax Museum, and Cirque de Soleil.

Photo: Las Vegas Landmarks: Riviera

Photo: Las Vegas Landmarks: Circus Circus

Photo: Las Vegas Landmarks: Excalibur

Photo: Las Vegas Landmarks: Freemont Street

Photo: Las Vegas Landmarks: Venetian

So from sci-fi to master showman to drag show to knights jousting and an array of faux famous figures, rounded out with a healthy dose of the new Vegas economic anchor courtesy of Quebecois neighbors north of the border. It was a jam-packed four solid days for the ladies in the sun and heat. Amazingly, my wife lost less than $30.00 gambling, which seemed nearly impossible to me. But then again, I am blessed with a woman that is even thriftier than me, and she recognizes the perils of an operator or two with the sole goal of separating her from her money.

Photo: Las Vegas' Faux Famous: The Rock

Photo: Las Vegas' Faux Famous: Elvis & Keri

Photo: Las Vegas' Faux Famous: Liberace & Ali Photo: Las Vegas' Faux Famous: Tupac & Ali

More recently we have been headlong into the house hunt for the ages. No matter what anyone says about the market softening, New England hasn’t completely realized this notion just yet. Searching has definitely been a challenge and certainly filled with a share of disappointments. I can’t even begin to capture the level or number of lousy places we have had the distress of visiting, however briefly. I swear a few of the places must have been inhabited by squatters, and yet that didn’t prevent anyone from asking in excess of 200 grand! It is sobering to enter a prospective house through a front door, hanging by the thread of a single hinge, to an interior lacking a floor in nearly every room, only to descend into a basement that is topped off with six inches of stagnant water. I was just surprised that we didn’t find a vagabond on skates down there. Unfortunately, that wasn’t even the worst place we have seen.

We have just discovered a couple condo possibilities in the western suburbs but they are at the upper reaches of financial comfort zone. So we’ll see how things develop and continue to keep looking for the future home.