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A post that is (mostly) not about what you might think it is about.
I’ve slowly, over the past three months, been making a very important change in my life, and finally completed that change yesterday. I have ditched my contacts and am wearing glasses exclusively for the first time in 23 years.

Why on earth would I do something like that? If you were at my wedding, you know that my transition to contacts back in 1986 was a big deal (Thanks for bringing that up, Mr. Nesbitt!).

In a word: Lasik. I want to get my eyes fixed. During my eye exam a year ago, I asked my doctor whether he thought I was a match and what it would take to get prepared. While the Lasik people have final say about who is and is not a candidate, he told me that my combination of eye defects (I’m near sighted and strong astigmatism) can be corrected with surgery. The trick, he warned me, is getting my eyes back to a “normal” state before surgery. Because my prescription is very strong and thus hard on my eyes, it would take as long as four months wearing glasses exclusively to get my corneas to come back into shape before surgery.

So, when I prepared for my eye exam in October, I decided I’d take the plunge and just get glasses this time around. If I needed to spend four months in them, I might as well switch now and if I’m ready for surgery late this year or early next, I’ll be prepared. Plus, glasses are kind of cool these days.

I had my exam the week after Lia was born, ordered some new glasses, and began wearing my old glasses more and my contacts less and less. On Halloween the new glasses came in, but the astigmatism correction was incorrect in one lens, so we sent them back. Another two weeks went by, during which I only wore my contacts when I had to work or drive at night, before the updated glasses came in. I wore them for a week, could barely see beyond arm’s length, and went back again.* Two more weeks passed, new glasses arrived, same story; I could read with them but that was about it. I went in just before Christmas for my third exam. My doc said my eyes were at a completely different prescription than what he had read in October. Rather than go through this cycle again, he sent me home for two weeks to see if my eyes had finally settled down. I went back after New Year’s, we got the same prescription as on my last visit, and ordered the lenses. They came in yesterday and finally worked.

* For the record, I only wore these glasses around the house.

My doc isn’t sure if these issues bode ill for me having surgery. It could just be the normal correction taking place after putting the contacts away. But my prescription did swing around a bit, to use his term, and he’s a little concerned that I may have some areas of weakness in my corneas which would eliminate surgery as an option. I guess we’ll just have to see what the Lasik people say when I go in for an assessment.

Beyond getting the prescription right, it’s been a fairly easy transition. I had been wearing my glasses more over the past year because my eyes had become less tolerant of my contacts anyway. It is annoying to have to clean them off ten times a day, as the smallest streak of spec of dust drives me crazy. I’ve had to learn to get by without sunglasses, which on sunny days with snow-covered ground is very difficult. But I’ll probably get some prescription sunglasses for the summer.

The contacts are still around. I had to put them in last week when I was using the snowblower. With the windchill below zero, I had to wear a ski mask, which meant my glasses were fogging up and freezing over. I’ll keep them around for moments like that, trips to the pool, etc. But I expect the occasions I put them in to be few and far between. Besides, they are really uncomfortable now that I’m not used to them.

I never thought I would make this change. I hope that surgery is indeed an option, because I’d like to be able to see the alarm clock, not worry about breaking glasses or ripping a contact lens, etc. one day.

***

As for the other big event Tuesday, the Inauguration, I obviously loved it. But I always love these things, even if I don’t particularly care for the person taking the oath of office. The scenes on Tuesday were amazing and reaffirming. There is that moment, when the new president is surrounded by all of his supporters, that gives you hope that things will be different for the next four years. That we’ll all get along and the petty political stuff will be pushed aside. That the rhetoric of the day’s speeches will be guideposts for people of all perspectives. Regardless of who is leaving and who is taking over the office, it’s always a fabulous day that reminds us of why our nation is so special. This year just happened to be a little more special, for many reasons.

And now comes the hard part.

The previous occupants left a lot of extraordinary messes that need to be cleaned up. And the fact is the events that define the Obama presidency are probably things we know nothing about today. Who knew about Osama eight years ago? Or the Internet in 1992? Or Saddam in 1988? And so on. I think we have the right guy in there, but he’s facing an unbelievable task simply to right the ship. The good news is this country is at its best when facing the worst of times. And President Obama seems uniquely qualified to lead in times like these. Let’s hope he can deliver.

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