My former colleague Mike Harden once offered a basic rule of homeownership — nothing outside the house breaks in August and nothing inside breaks in January. I’d add a corollary — smoke-alarm batteries never start failing at 3 p.m. Only 12 hours opposite.
And when they start failing with two dogs in the house, you’re going to be up for a while. Sprig hates the ear-splitting scream of the smoke alarm, and an accidental blast can reduce him to a trembling spaz in seconds. Buster dog doesn’t like them either, but settled for leaping to his feet and wuffling his muzzle in mine. And all for not even a full-fledged alarm, just the half-second chirp that warns of low batteries.
Alan locked them all out of the bedroom after that. I thought it was cruel. On the other hand, when Buster went home this afternoon, I was pretty happy. He’s just too big for our house. I can open my bread drawer now without having to push a strawberry blonde dog butt out of the way. The Other Alan, Buster’s owner, is divorcing and lived for a time in a camper parked at the KOA up in Auburn. I simply can’t imagine how the two of them found room in such cramped quarters, but it was summer, after all. You could go outside and socialize with the neighbors, who were mostly Irish Travelers, Alan said. "They didn’t say much," he said.
What a place for a man whose home is falling apart — Pullman quarters with a 100-pound dog and Irish travelers.
Anyway, that was last night, an evening of not much sleep. This morning, my life changed. More on that tomorrow.
Last Friday, it changed in a more mundane way: I was examined for my first pair of bifocals. Personally, I don’t think you need bifocals if you can take your old glasses off, move the telephone book four inches from your nose and read it just fine, but my husband, the nag, won’t hear of this. He wants to drag me down in the hole that he’s in, wearing bifocals for several years now. He’s just jealous, since he needed them way before I did (which I don’t). In the interest of keeping a harmonious marriage I’m going along with his little charade.
My optometrist wears me out; you can’t get out of there in less than two hours, after you take the glaucoma test and the follow-the-little-light-around-the-box test and all the rest of it, choose your glasses and finally get your pupils dilated so he can shine the light of a thousand Hiroshimas into your pupil and see your optic nerve and maybe your tonsils. Then they shove you out the door with those old-lady plastic shades and best wishes for a safe trip home. Ha. I was halfway there before I figured out what the problem is, why having your eyes dilated is such a trial. It’s not the light, it’s the depth of field, or lack thereof.
I felt like Mr. Science, figuring this out after having my eyes dilated maybe eight times in my life. If you open your camera’s aperture, or f-stop, all the way, you lose its ability to see in depth. It’s a great way to blur out a background for a nice portrait or sports shot, but it’s a hell of a way to see the world; everything looks like that picture of the buds up there. It’s what makes certain drugs so trippy to take, and made me something of a hazard to my fellow motorist on the way home. But I made it. In a week to 10 days, I’ll have my lineless bifocals, and then I’ll really be a menace to safe drivers everywhere.
Sorry to sound like such a dope today — and sorry for no links — but really: Life changed today. Details tomorrow. How’s that for a teaser?
See you then.