Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ahhh, my eyes! That thing cut me!

Long time readers may recall my previous difficulties in obtaining and retaining eyeglasses. As I have detailed before, at only one point in my glasses-wearing career have I been able to both order and receive frames and new lenses in less than two weeks, and often I've had to wait far longer. No matter what kind of frames I need, the two week waiting period has become standard and I no longer expect anything less. However, I suspect that it is directly because of my acceptance of this inconvenience that the universe has seen fit to throw additional wrenches into the works just to increase my vision-related-irritation.

Two weeks ago I went in for my annual eye exam. Wasn't having trouble with my vision, but just thought it was time to get it done, particularly since my current pair of glasses have become pretty scratched up and the finish on their two-year-old frames is starting to chip. Had `em examined, they'd changed ever so slightly, and, while my eyes were dilating, I went out to choose some new frames. I decided to stick with the Silhouette frame brand, as I like the rimless glasses look. This time, though, I decided to choose ones with thicker, darker temples. In fact, I found a pair that fit even better than my current pair of glasses. Turns out their lenses were a third of an inch wider than my current lenses, allowing the temples to rest even that much further from the sides of my head, which in turn caused them not to pinch the sides of my fat face. Who knew? Sign me up, I told them.

So I ordered new frames with the same lens shape as my old ones, only wider. They said it would probably take two weeks.

Oh, no, I thought, there's no probably about it. It will take two weeks.
And two weeks passed.

On Friday I phoned the optometrist to see if they had arrived, for I had not yet received a call. Yep, they had just come in and I could pop down and pick them up.

I waited at their fitting desk for a few minutes while the fitting tech (not the semi-evil Liz, of tales past, although she was at the front desk, leading me to suspect that her off-putting manner and inattention to detail might have earned her a demotion from the frame technician side) finished wiping the new pair up. I was afraid that they wouldn't look as cool as I recalled them being. I didn't trust my blurry, dilated memory. But they looked as cool as I'd hoped and fit superbly. Only... I couldn't quite see clearly through the right eye of them. I looked across the room at a framed print with writing on it and held my hand in front of the left eye. Yep. Blurry.

"Um, I hate to say this, but the right eye of these is blurry."

The tech seemed flustered at this. "What eye?" she asked.

"The right."

She checked my records and compared them to my previous records then said it looked like my right eye was listed as somehow having better vision than from previous years.

"That's my bad eye," I said.

Again, she seemed confused and continued to consult records on her computer. Finally she asked if she could take the new pair of glasses back and test them in a device that could measure their power. She returned a few minutes later and was very apologetic, but said it appeared that the lab had sent the wrong lens. Normally, she explained, she would be able to let me take the glasses and just pop the replacement lens in when it arrived. But because these were drill-mounted, she had to have them back for just three or four days. I was disappointed, because I really liked how they looked, but I couldn't get angry about it. For, you see, I have now come to accept that it is both my lot in life to never receive glasses in under two weeks, and my lot that there will always be additional complications that will assure that I don't receive them for at least an additional week. And, really, unless they have some sort of emergency WE SCREWED UP rush service back at the lab, I'm going to assume the 3 or 4 days they said really means two weeks anyway, so this time out it's likely a total of four.

Guess we'll see in a few.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I felt the earth move under my... well, you know.

So there the wife and I were, sitting in an Italian restaurant near Harrisonburg, VA, when I felt the floor beneath us begin to vibrate. It felt similar to how a laundry room floor might feel if the floorboards were loose and the washer was off-kilter. Then it grew stronger, kind of like a train passing only there were no tracks nearby. Now for all I knew this Italian place had a dough mixer in the back that had just thrown a rod, but the first thought I was able to express was...

"Are we having an earthquake?"

The wife felt it too, but said, "No, I don't think so. The powerlines aren't shaking."

I looked up, though, and saw that the chandeliers were swaying. And then it was all over. Probably lasted less than 10 seconds.

Soon other people at nearby tables were overheard to wonder what the vibrations had been caused by. The train theory was floated, but our waitress confirmed that there were no tracks nearby. The wife was still unconvinced that we'd had an earthquake, but she too could see the chandeliers as they slowed to a halt.

A few minutes passed and I just couldn't let it go. Technically, I've been in earthquakes before, cause I was born in southern California and my family lived there for a year or so; I just don't remember any of them. In fact, my father once made a jigsaw puzzle out of shards of a mirror that had shattered during such a quake. It had been leaning against a wall, atop a dresser in my room. He glued the pieces down to a board and it's now bolted to his office wall.

I popped out my phone and did a quick internet search for "earthquakes, virginia." Soon enough I found the US Geological Survey website which showed a big red dot on top of our location, signifying earthquakes registered in the last hour. Bingo. It had been an earthquake and, really, the first one I could remember feeling in my life. I texted my dad to let him know, then began texting friends back in WV to see if they had felt it too. From Charleston to Morgantown, they had.

Throughout our trip home, nearly everywhere we stopped, people were talking about the quake. Some had not felt it, because they had been driving, but it was the primary topic of conversation regardless. I mentioned to the wife that more than likely it was such a small quake--at least for us--that most Californians would hardly count it, but it was pretty cool for Virginia all the same. I kind of dug it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Juice Vs. His Blood: Part 2

Despite the fact that I didn't get to give them even a drop of my blood the last time I tried to donate, the Red Cross gave me a ring last week to ask for more. I sighed and told them I'd come down to try again. This time I drug the wife along with me since she had the day off.

We had no appointment, but had been told to just show up between 11a and 4p, so we rolled in around 2:45. There were three people ahead of us, so the wait just to go back and fill out our computer-based embarrassing question survey was already a long one. I kept wanting to find fault in how the Red Cross staff was running things, looking for proof that they were being inefficient in taking my blood from me and causing me to wait needlessly. However, every time I voiced any questions like this the wife pointed out the flaw in each given theory and I was left to just be frustrated at waiting as a concept rather than being able to get justifiably irritated with the Red Cross.

Finally, after nearly an hour, we were called back to do the blood test and questionnaire. More waiting commenced and then I was called out to one of the tables. None of the Red Cross personnel were the same as those when I last tried to donate, so before I sat down I asked if it would be possible to switch the arm rest from a right arm position to a left arm position, because the blood techs last time suggested we try the left. They said no problem and switched it right over.

Seemed a good sign that my vein was immediately visible to this tech. She marked it with a Sharpie, which I first mistook for the needle being inserted, as I wasn't watching. Thought I had finally met a needle that didn't hurt, only to be disappointed when I looked down to see only a black mark on my arm. After a good scrubbing with iodine, though, I was stuck with the real needle soon enough.

"Oh, it looks like it rolled," she said, referring to my vein. Motherpussbucket! An image of another sweaty, nausea-inducing 10 minutes of having the tech drag the needle around beneath my skin in an effort to find the frickin vein flashed before my eyes. However, this time all she had to do was pull the needle out slightly and blood began to flow. She told me to squeeze the foam ball she'd given me between my thumb and forefinger every few seconds. Evidently my blood wanted out, because I filled up the bag within 6 minutes.

So now we know for sure that when it comes to giving blood, I'm a lefty.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Actual Telephone Conversations Heard at My House #11

(The latest and hopefully final chapter in the ongoing telemarketing conversation saga between me and Associated Community Services.)


ME-- Hello?


ME-- Yes.

DEBBIE-- Hi, this is Debbie calling. How are you today?

ME-- Okaaaay.

DEBBIE-- I work for AC Services. We do fundraising on behalf of the Children's Cancer Fund of America. You know... we're the people who get the cancer medicines to the children in need.

ME-- Yes, Debbie. I am familiar with AC Services. I've actually done the research and it would seem that a lot of the funds AC Services raises does not actually make it to the charities you're fundraising for.

(Not even the slightest of pauses.)

DEBBIE-- Would you like to speak with someone about this?

ME-- No. Actually, what I would like is for you to put my name on your do not call list.

DEBBIE-- We can do that, sir. You have a nice day.

ME-- You as well.