On your Face or In its Case:Rules for Keeping Eyeglasses

This is a response to a column written by Pam Sherman, that fellow Staten Island native and current Rochesterian Suburban Outlaw.  In the latest installment of her new weekly column in the Democrat & Chronicle, she spoke of the high price of getting just that right look in designer eyeglasses. I have yet to plunk down  a swimming-pool’s worth of money for my family’s frames, but Pam, I think I am on my way.

Early this spring, my son, daughter and I were all due for eye check-ups. Unfortunately, my husband’s company had just canceled our family vision plan. So, I knew this would prove to be an expensive, but necessary excursion. After all, you have to see.

Unlike Mrs. Sherman, who feels that her glasses define who she is, I have a bad habit of not wearing my glasses as much as I should. Like right now. I don’t need my glasses to see, just to tweak things ever so slightly into clarity.

When I do wear my far-sighted glasses, I think ahhhh, those blurry green blobs on the trees are leaves with sharp edges!

Or when I wear my near-sighted glasses, I think wow, thesse letters do look more crisp.

Do I have bi-focals? Not yet. I’m not ready to accept that my eyes, like the rest of me, are aging.

But my kids, who have inherited their dad’s bad eyesight, cannot function without their frames. My daughter is good with her glasses. Nathan and I abuse them.

First: the sequel to I Melted My Kid’s Halloween Candy: My Son Melted his Transition Lenses. My son has given me full consent to write this blog, just as he had fun writing about the melted Halloween candy. He has been blessed with an enormous sense of humor.

When my 12-year-old son has his mind set on something, say, a foolish experiment or fulfilling a “I wonder what will happen if I do this” curiosity, nothing, no amount of warnings, will sway him from his path.

In the three years he has been wearing glasses, he has bent them out of shape in wrestling matches with his brother and broken them in frisbee games with friends.  In spite of my constant badgering hiim with my mantra: On your face or in its case, glasses have been found on the bathroom floor after a shower or hanging from the lamp of his bed.

But he promised,  promised  this time would be different. If I get him transition lenses for the summer.  I thought, why not: I’ll get him the transition lenses.

I’m a fool.

I opted for gettiing a less expensive pair of frames (less here meaning they were still $190) and put the money into the transitions.  Total for his eyeglasses and exam: over $300. In all, my bank account was about $1,200 lighter for the three of us to have glasses. To see.

Now, I mentioned it was the early spring. In Rochester. If you can find me a bright sunny day in March in Rochester, I’ll show you a Congress that can get things done in Washington, but that’s another story…

But, cloudy days be damned. My son was going to make his transition lenses change from clear to tinted the minute we exited  from the eyeglass retailer. Even if he had to hold it up to the vanity mirror in the front seat of my SUV.

“Nathan, you CANNOT do that to your brand new glasses!” Regaining my composure and trying to appreciate his curious, impulsive nature, I explained that the sun would soon return to Rochester, and then his lenses would change. Until then, he would have to wait.

The next day…

I get a call from the school nurse’s office.

“Mrs. Gittleman, this is the nurse at school. Your son is very upset. Please try not to be upset, but he held his glasses up to the lamp at one of the reading tables in the library and, well.. he may need new glasses  now.”

One part of me, a small part, was quite impressed with my son’s determination and ingenuity. But, the rest of me was very upset indeed. Three hundred Fifty dollars and less than 24 hours later with new glasses, and he had burned a whole right through the lens. In the dead center of the lens. When I took him back to the optometrist, the sales people took a collected gasp in horror, as they looked at their destroyed work. Yes, I got him new frames. No, he won’t get transition lenses until he is paying his own rent in the distant future.

So no, this has not been a good year for eyeglasses in my family. And as I put on my new near-sighted glasses that I’ve had to replace because I’ve lost that pair I bought in March, I promise to follow the mantra that I preach to my own son.

On my face, or in their case.

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About stacylynngittleman

I have been a reporter and public relations professional for over 30 years, specializing in profile features and investigative longform writing. During my career I've profiled WWII Honor Flight Veterans, artists and musicians and have written on topics that range from environmental and gun control issues to Jewish culture. Click around on my writing samples plus read my blog on my personal life raising three kids over 27 years and three cities.

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