Monday, June 29, 2009

Our vacation

As some of you saw by Brad's pictures on Facebook, we just had a very nice little vacation in North Georgia. And I have to say right now, thankyou Lieutenant Lynn, for encouraging Brad to take some time off. Without you, this vacation probably would not have happened. It was GREAT!

The vacation really started on Friday when we went to a Red Sox game with Nate and Penny. That was a whole ton of fun, despite the withering heat. The Red Sox won, of course. 4-1, including a homerun by Ortiz. A row of Braves fans behind us was commenting about his recent hitting slump and how since Manny's been gone, Ortiz is nothing b/c it's all about how the people around you are doing, and basically concluding that he's a has-been... and then he hits this beautiful home run and I just wanted to turn around and be like, "So, were you just saying?" In your face, people! But I didn't. This game was made possible Aiden-free ( as much fun as having his sweaty, squirmy little 22 pounds on our laps would have been) by my parents who spent a very long evening with him at our house. Thanks, folks!

After a leisurely Saturday morning, we set out for the north country. We were a little like Abraham, going out not knowing exactly where we were going...( just the general direction) ... flying by the seats of our respective pants and skirts. We did a lot of exploring and scouting of scenic vistas in such places as the Chattahoochee National Forest before settling in a nice little town close to the North Carolina border.

Over the course of this vacation we spent a few hours in the charming but tourist trappy town of Helen - a.k.a. "Alpine Helen"- in various Bavarian wannabe shops and such...including a charming model train place, where Aiden was captivated by all the choo-choos. We also consumed some fine German comestibles and found that Aiden likes sauerkraut. At least, he didn't spit it out.

But my favorite spots were natural ones such as "Brasstown Bald" - the highest point in Georgia. On our way up, we saw a bobcat crossing the road. No kidding. From the observation deck at the top of the mountain you can see four different states. Well, at least you can when it isn't so hazy. But the weather was gorgeous! It felt positively New England-ish, which was a welcome change from the hotter-than-Hades temperatures in the valley and we were told that, in fact, because of its elevation, the mountain has its own unique weather system which resembles Massachusetts rather than Georgia. We even did a little hiking.

Another favorite spot, on the other side of the Chattahoochie National Forest, was the Anna Ruby Falls. Ah, waterfall mist. Phew. Very refreshing on a humid day after the little hike it took to get up there.

And we just loved driving around on back roads and eating up the Appalachian mountain scenery and exploring little podunk towns. This is what we like to do. It feeds our souls.

We even drove by Lake Burton and I gave a shout-out to Laura Brown's mother.

Also, many thanks to Penny and Nate and Mom and Dad P., for their management of the Grampa aspect of things which allowed us to get away. In our case, it takes a village to get a vacation!

Now we are home again, home again, jiggety jog.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Conspiracy of Eye Doctors

Yesterday I had my annual eye exam. I dread this appointment every year but this time I held out a carrot to tempt myself through the ordeal - the promise of new glasses. I wear contacts most of the time but I do wear glasses in the evenings and sometimes for part of the day. I've tired of my old glasses, even though they're only a couple years old and since I slept on them once in the desperate sleep of the first few months of Aiden-hood, they have been slightly deformed and don't fit me quite right. Brad thinks its ridiculous that I didn't go get them re-fitted. Ah. Whatever. I figured that maybe I'd give my eyes a rest from contacts more if I could put them behind fresh, new glasses.

So I went in to see the eye doctor as soon as my insurance would allow. I made it through the horrid, suspenseful torture of the airpuffing machine and the stinging eye drops to dilate my eyes...both callously administered by a youth who looked as if he was young enough for this to be a summer job between his sophomore and junior years of highschool and had all the charm of a delinquent. Not confidence inspiring for someone like me who likes to be coddled through this dreadful experience. But I suppose it was good because it sort of threw me off balance and I didn't have time to dwell upon my palsied optometric past. I have a history of being so nervous at eye doctors that I make myself sick. I have thrown up or almost fainted in eye doctor's offices more times than I care to remember.

The actual exam itself went well, and then the eye doctor tried to explain what my insurance would cover for glasses. Confusion. I smiled and nodded as if I followed him perfectly through the convoluted percentages of frames, lenses, coatings, blah, blah, blah. We went out to the little room where all the frames are displayed. I picked out a pair in a style that I had my eye on ( no pun intended) while browsing before I was called in for the exam. I call them T.S. Eliot glasses. But here is the problem. It's really hard to see up close when your eyes are dilated. I couldn't figure out the price! And all the time, the eye doctor was pushing all these other frames at me, which I didn't like, and shouting their praises. I thought this was highly suspicious. A deliberate ruse carried out by the optometrist community. Dilate the patient's eyes and then force them into the most expensive pair of glasses while they can't see what's going on. My eye doctor is a strong minded individual who understandably enough seems to fancy himself an expert on the subject, but as Dave Ramsey says, " You are the expert on your opinion." I was almost tempted by a pair of Sarah Palin-esque glasses that he recommended for me but when I later showed Brad a cell phone picture of me wearing them, he deemed them a thumbs-down. Apparently, they oldened me. And I see what he means. And what's more, I have no idea how much they cost.

( I did think, amidst the maelstrom of advice and frames, to at least ask about the price of the T.S. Eliot glasses, having given up trying to make out the little sticker on the side through my fuzzy, dilated vision and apparently the frames are totally covered by my insurance, but I got the feeling that the eye doctor was slightly disparaging of them. Which secretly makes me want to buy them even more. I am a strange creature, wanting to vex an almost total stranger. Perhaps this is a dangerous indication of a latent desire to defy authority. On the other hand, perhaps it's a sign of a healthy shaking off of co-dependent shackles. Let the analyzation begin...)

Sigh, that's life. You go in to the office all excited, thinking you want T.S. Eliot glasses and then someone tries to convince you that Sarah Palin glasses are the way to go. And indecision grips you. And you go out with NO glasses.

Brad has an appointment there next week. We are going to go in together beforehand to look at frames and try to ignore the eye doctor and help each other decide what to get. Because we are going to be the ones looking at the other person's glasses most of the time!

As I checked out at the receptionist desk and mentioned my indecision, one of the ladies behind the counter said that she always lets the eye doctor choose her glasses. That just seems wrong. It's one thing to be a slow waffler; it's another to abdicate your decision to someone else altogether.

I wanted to scream at her.