15 December 2010

Glasses woes

The snow is supposed to come back today. Nobody is predicting just how much we might get. But it is very cold again — colder this morning than yesterday morning, when we had a few flurries before the clouds broke and pallid sunlight graced us with an appearance in the afternoon.

I had to go out yesterday. On Saturday, the two pairs of glasses I depend on for reading, and all close work, both fell apart. That morning, I was cleaning the glasses I like the best when the lens fell out in my hand and I realized I had lost the screw that held it in.

No worries, I thought. I have the other pair of glasses and I have some replacement screws and a tiny screwdriver. Walt and I were headed out to the market so I just but the broken glasses aside and wore the other pair. I'd fix the broken ones later.

No matter whether you live in France or not,
this is the kind of stuff that happens!

In the afternoon, I was cleaning the second pair of glasses in preparation for trying to put that tiny screw back in the better pair. Suddenly it happened again — the lens came out in my hand and I had lost the screw! Damn. Now I was really in trouble.

I asked Walt if he could fix the first pair for me, and he said he'd try. I went ahead and took the dog out for her walk, because it was starting to get dark. When I got back, Walt said he had tried and tried but couldn't get the tiny screw back into the hole. So I still had no glasses. I would never have been able to do it either, even if my vision wasn't impaired. My fingers are too fat and clumsy.

There it was Saturday evening and I had no glasses. The optical shops in Saint-Aignan and Noyers are closed on Mondays. I was faced with the prospect of being able to do no reading (and no blogging) or other work requiring glasses for the next couple of days. Why do such things (including sick animals) always seem to happen on Saturday evening?

I decided we could rig up a repair using a thin piece of wire (the wire in a twist-tie, with the paper pulled off). Walt was able to insert the wire in the two holes, get the lens in, and twist it tight to hold the whole thing together. I was saved. I could see again.

It's hell getting old. I remember when I didn't need glasses at all. And I remember when I could still read without wearing them, though not as well as with them. Now I can't read at all without them.

Mes lunettes réparées

Yesterday I went over to Noyers (5 miles away, across the river) to do a few errands (supermarket, hardware store, car inspection) and stopped in at the optical shop with my two pairs of broken glasses. The shop itself was being redecorated, and several workers were taking down old display racks and putting new ones up on the walls. At first I thought the shop was closed for the day. But the optician turned out to be there, and in less than 10 minutes' time he had repaired both pairs of glasses.

I was his first customer of the day so there was no waiting. And there was no charge. I told him I was American and that the glasses came from the U.S. « Ce sont les mêmes vis, de toute façon » he said — the screws are the same.


  1. Ken,
    I enjoyed your post today because the same thing has happened to me on ocassion. Yes eyesight, hearing and other things happen as we get older BUT, getting old is a bonus....

  2. This made me laugh because as a mom, I think about how many times my kids get sick on a Saturday night.
    My optician even fixed a pair of cheapo sunglasses of mine for free. It's a good way to keep the clients coming back.

  3. As someone with better than 20/20 vision glasses have always perplexed me. I can't imagine being dependent on them. It's just a strange world to me.

  4. So glad they are repaired, Ken. I've needed glasses for distance since fourth grade. I still read better without them than with, but not as well as I once did! I always have a spare in my glove compartment and bring an extra pair along if traveling.

  5. Hmmm je me demande if the screws for eyeglasses are metric. I'm glad they are the same in France.

    I hate not being able to read, not hearing is easier to cope with and sometimes a blessing.

    "getting old is a bonus"- thanks Leon or Sue for that one which will come in handy since it is more positive than my usual "it's hell getting old".

    The wire was clever Ken, a small golden safety pin also works with a touch of style:-)

  6. Was the bridge of your glasses also broken? It looks like it was in the photo which makes me wonder if it was also repaired.
    That would be a whole different problem than a lost screw.

  7. I keep some of those 'cheap' readers available so I can read if I have lost a screw or I cannot find my tiny screwdriver. Do they have those for sale in France?

    You were so clever to realize there was a wire in the house in the "twist-ems".

  8. It can be annoying if you have broken glasses, I always have some optical screws with my special screwdriver. So I say next you do see some optical screw kit buy a few of them.

    I have lived with wearing glasses now for over 40 years, and I get a new pair each year as I have 4 pairs on the go at the same time. Script Sunny, house glasses, transitions for outdoors and going out and computer glasses with a different script of reading & middle sight range all are bifocals plus extra pair of triple which I don't like wearing much. But then I do have about 6 pairs of glasses that i can wear. It's new script bifocal sunny this year.

    Claire from Queensland Aus.

  9. I used to be amused at my Mom because as she got older she kept spare readers everywhere -- bathroom, kitchen, bed-table, even in her potting shed! Now... now I have no trouble finding spare glasses, they're in the bathroom, kitchen, bed-table... ;-)

  10. One has to love French opticians. Once In Paris (or Toulouse), I dropped my glasses and the lens popped out. I went to the first open optical place I came to and they fixed them for me...at no charge.

  11. Pepe le Pew, you must be young. You'll get over that.

    Evelyn, those glasses in the first photo are ones that I broke, and I mean seriously broke, last year. I saved them for spare parts only. The two pairs I took in for repair needed only new screws. But I thought the really broken pair made a good picture.

    Ellen, like mother like daughter? I guess.

    Starman, this wasn't my first visit to a French optical shop. I've had screws loose (!) before. So I expected that the repair would be free.

    Thanks everybody for all the comments.


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