Sunday, June 5, 2011

Was blind, but now I see...

One nut, two screws, three detached temples, and after four years out of commission, a five minute repair job has my collection of drugstore sunglasses back in action! I knew this day would come eventually, which is what I remember telling myself when I packed up the various pieces from the junk drawer in my old apartment last year and opted to pack them into a U-Haul instead of throwing them away. "I'll get around to fixing them sometime..."

I assumed this would be an easy task once I stopped procrastinating, and since the sunglasses were of the inexpensive non-prescription variety, it was certainly going to be a do it yourself operation.  Like most of those, it should have been easier than it was, took significantly longer than it should have, and involved more than one trip to a store for parts. If you've attempted this task yourself recently, you probably discovered that it's hard to find tiny screws without a minimum purchase that includes a 4-way screwdriver with magnifier that you don't need, (because you already have two in a desk drawer someplace), wrenches that don't fit the nuts, and 4 screws that turn out to be too big or too small to be useful. The kit cost me just one dollar and eighty-eight cents; but was worth less than that, so it's now in the junk drawer where the glasses used to be.

A "Fix all glasses/ eyeglass repair kit" that I ordered online for seven dollars finally gave me what I needed to repair the glasses from the junk drawer, and any others I will ever own in the future. It came with lots of different sized screws, which was good, because I lost quite a few of them when I bumped my elbow on the table while opening the package. Even with many of the nuts and screws lost forever in the carpet, there were still enough to do the job, and three pair of sunglasses have avoided the trash. But what about other glasses we have around the house that are no longer being used? Reading glasses that have been replaced by a stronger magnification...My old prescription lenses from the nineties with frames that cover three-quarters of my face....What can be done with those???

This week's downsize challenge is to take inventory of your eye glasses; Sunglasses, reading glasses, old prescription glasses, etc. Fix what can be fixed, and consider donating what you don't need or want anymore. Even old sunglasses that you have replaced with a cooler pair; they will find their way to people near the equator, where eye protection is hard to come by, and UV rays cause serious vision loss. The following organizations collect, refurbish, and redistribute glasses of all kinds:

New eyes for the needy
Lions club

We have one pair of glasses in the house that I am not quite ready to donate. Family photo albums confirm my memory that my Oma wore the same frames for at least thirty-five years.  They were big, round bi-focals, and I don't think you could find anything like them in a store today. I remember the specific morning when I first learned the Dutch word "brill" while I was helping her get dressed. She asked me to get them from the dresser, along with her wristwatch. It was during the last six months of her life, when she began letting me help her with daily tasks, and I began making a more concerted effort to learn her language while we still had time together. Oma would stop in the middle of whatever we were doing, point to an object, say the word, and patiently wait while I would repeat it over and over until I had it right. I remember quietly setting those glasses on the dresser after taking them off for the last time. When I hold them in my hands now, I can still see her bright blue eyes behind them, saying so much that didn't need to be translated.