Thursday, March 22, 2007

Glasses and Asses

I mentioned a week or so ago about my glasses breaking. And that I'd have more to say about it.

Since there are still some outstanding issues, I'm not going to say all there is. But there's some stuff I can tell.

First, some background.

I've been wearing glasses since 1967. Some of you haven't been around that long. But most of you had a kid in one of your school classes that wore some really ugly glasses. That was me. Or someone like me.

I wore those God-awful looking Buddy Holly glasses. Sure, they might have looked cool for Buddy Holly. But if they did look cool on him, keep in mind that he died in February, 1959. So those ugly glasses weren't cool in 1967. Or any year after.

Anyway, I remember when I first wore my glasses. I actually wore them to bed one night. My parents' house was (and sort of still is) set up in a way that, if certain doors are open, and certain furniture arranged a certain way, a kid could lie in bed, turn on his left side, and look through the hallway, past the closet with the air conditioner, through the living room, and into the kitchen. And, if the cabinet doors are open, see the cans on the shelves.

At least, if the kid's eyes are good enough.

Mine weren't.

But when I put my ugly glasses on, I could see the cans. And that's exciting for a child that doesn't realize what he's not been seeing.

That revelation led me to appreciate my glasses. Oh, sure, they looked ugly. But in the 1960s and 1970s, you wore what you had to wear.

I tried contacts once. No, twice. No, three times. Yeah, three times.

First time, it was those old, hard lenses. They weren't bad. You got used to them. Because I really never liked the way I looked in glasses.

To tell the truth, without the glasses, I didn't look a whole lot different. Except to me.

Anyway, when they decided to remodel the radio station where I worked, the dust in the air was hell on my hard contacts. So I quit wearing them. Then never could get back to wearing them after they finally quit remodeling the radio station. So I stayed with glasses for a while.

Later on, I tried the soft contacts. They were okay. But they really were a pain. And I wasn't so self-concious about how I looked in glasses. I just didn't like glasses. They fogged up when it was hot. Sweat stains made it hard to see though. And they'd fall off.

Once, they fell off when I was looking down while training to be a manager at a Burger King. Lens popped out. I found it, put it back in, and decided (for other reasons) that BK wasn't for me. Not behind the counter anyway. There are other reasons I stay away from them as a customer.

Anyway, that was just another thing about glasses that I didn't like. So I tried the soft contacts again. But they were just a pain. So I quit wearing them.

A few years ago, I bought a pair of glasses from Lens Crafters. The only frames they had that I sort of liked (I was still in my "hating glasses" mode) looked like something that John-Boy Walton would wear. Or Benjamin Franklin. They had what they call "cable temples." You know, the ones that wrap around behind your ear.

The lady at Lens Crafters was hesitant to offer them to me, but she did. And I tried them on. And loved them.

Yeah, they still look like something that John-Boy Walton would wear, but they felt good. And looked okay.

When I got another pair of glasses, I got the cable temple again.

And, when it was time to get new glasses, I again sought the cable temple.

Only, Lens Crafters said they didn't carry those any more.

So, goodbye Lens Crafters. Hello Eyeglass World.

They got me what I wanted. And when it was time to get new glasses, I went back to Eyeglass World.

Now, last time I was there (three years ago; yeah, I know, too long to go between eye exams at my age), I needed bifocals. So, I got bifocals. Actually, trifocals, I think. Or, progressive lenses. Somebody smart could tell me the difference. Other than the fact that my glasses don't have hard lines.

Anyway, my glasses had the regular vision correction that a near-sighted person needs.

Oh, in case you don't know, near-sightedness is also called Myopia. It means that the focusing done by my eyes is off a little, and things look blurry. Except for things up close. Things look fine if I'm near them. Like reading. But if I want to drive, I can't see squat. Unless I wear glasses.

Anyway, when I got my new glasses three years ago, I had the standard lens section, then an intermediate section, and the close-up section.

Think of it like this. I use the standard (distance) section (that makes up most of the lens) to see the highway and other cars on the road. I use the intermediate section (takes up most of the middle) to see the dashboard of the car. And I use the bottom section to read a book. Hopefully, not while I'm driving.

And my recent glasses were my only pair of glasses with that type of correction.

So, when I went to Eyeglass World to get new glasses, I ordered three pair of glasses. A standard pair, a transition pair (clear inside, darker outside), and a pair of perscription sunglasses. All the same insofar as lens power and arrangement. That is, all transition lenses.

I haven't written much about the issues I've had with insurance and the children (I provided insurance for the children, in addition to child support). There have been issues with the insurance. Partly because the ex- took the attitude of "screw it, if there's a problem, it's his problem." So lots of stuff didn't get filed properly.

But, after the children started college, I provided insurance information directly to them, instead of to their mother.

Only, there has been problems here and there with stuff being covered or not covered.

So, I got a flexible spending account set up.

Only thing is, purchases would be declined from time to time. And I always got different excuses for the problem.

Turns out that I made a serious error in setting it up. I listened to the person at the company that answered questions about setting these thing up. Silly me.

This "helpful" ass helped me set up an account with 2/3 set aside for dependant care.

Here's the thing. "Dependant care" doesn't mean it can be spent on the children. It means it can be spent on child care.

Remember the part about the children being in college? This ass that "helped" me set things up missed that part. Or thinks that a student at the University of Georgia needs child care. Probably an Auburn grad.

Anyway, 2/3 of the money I put into the FSA for last year wasn't touchable. And I didn't find out why (I just thought they were idiots running the program) until this year. And their answer is "oh well, too bad." I guess because it's my money and not theirs.

Still, I'm persuing things, so I won't say much more about it. Other than the children's FSA monies didn't exist, and they were pulling purchases for them from the 1/3 that was for me.

Another issue arose that caused the FSA card to be unusable (that was finally fixed ... with help from the folks at the company ... but caused a problem for the period it was unusable).

Anyway, there was lots of money left on the account to be used. So I tried to use it to pay for my new glasses.

That's when I found out it was for child care.

So, we had to pay for my glasses out of pocket. The good news is, we'll be able to apply for reimbursment of some of the money. The bad news is that we had to apply for reimbursment ... because they cut off my card (expiration date of 2009) so they could "help me" my issuing me a new card ... which still hasn't arrived.

All that means that we had to come up off some money to pay for glasses that, essentially, have already been paid for.

And to top it all off, the very morning after all this crap hit the fan, my glasses broke.

And no one, it seems, can fix them. I've been told "we don't do that kind of work" or "the guy that does that quit" or "yeah, we can, but we don't like to so 'no'" or any other kind of excuse you can think of.

So, with no current glasses, I had to get my old pair of glasses (the ones that I got 5 years ago and quit wearing three years ago).

Which means thing at a distance are ... decent. I can tell what things are and can read signs and such.

But intermediate distances ... like a computer screen ... cause strain on my eyes.

And reading up close ... like a book ... or my laptop when it's in my lap ... is nearly impossible.

My new glasses will be in about two weeks from now.

If all goes well.

But, so far, nothing has gone well.


  1. Funny. I use those cable thingies. Now I get my glasses at Costco - cheap. Last pair I lost was jumping off a boat - forgot I had them on.

  2. I feel your pain brother. I've been wearing glasses since I was 18 months (yes, months) old. I am 52 now. So, I got to start school as the nerdy kid with the glasses. I got my last pair of glasses at Sears optical. Price was reasonable if you get in on one of their specials and they have a breakage guarantee. Drop the FSA and bank the money yourself. Even a regular savings account at the bank will give you a better return and you have ready access. Good luck.

  3. WOW, complicated indeed. But why would an eye company need money for child care? I don't get it, again, complicated. I hope you get it all worked out.

  4. Ah, but they don't need money for child care. The money is designated ... by insurance ... as child care and cannot be used for anything else. That's why I had to come up off the money for my glasses. The money is designated at child care ... because the ass I spoke with when setting it up said check this box ... and silly me, I listened to the "expert." So now I'm out that money.


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