It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Adventures in Blurriness

I love sitting on my porch in the early morning, before the tots arrive. I’ll get out there at six, some mornings, with a cup of tea and a book. Sometimes with my laptop. And I listen to the birds, and enjoy the sunshine, and savour the peace.

Because lord knows it won’t last.

So that’s what I was doing yesterday morning. Sitting in the sun on the bottom step, glasses pushed up into my hair, tea at the ready, re-reading “The Cure for Death by Lightning”. (Nice thing about have NO MEMORY: I can read a book over and over — and still be surprised by the ending!!)

And then it’s 6:45 and time to move inside and get on with my pre-work chores. (My pre-work chores. That’d be the work I do before I start working?) I close my book, stand, turn to ascend the steps, reaching with one hand for my glasses atop my head, and …


My glasses were not atop my head. That was a hairband. My glasses are (now) beneath my foot.

Those of you who wear glasses will appreciate the wave of panic that washed over me. They are a sad sight. One arm bent up, the nosepiece twisted, one lens lying popped right out of the frame. They were a sad, sad sight.

And now I have to work — BLIND. Okay, not blind. But close. Do I have a backup pair? Well, I have my old pair, but the prescription has changed, and if I wear them for more than 10 minutes at a stretch, I will have killer headaches.


BUT! My optometrist has an optician onsite. I can pop in any time and they will fix it. Takes ten minutes. (How do I know this? No, I do not make a habit of stomping on my hundreds-of-dollars eyewear. I have teens who wear glasses, specifically a teenage boy. Nuff said.)

BUT! I have five children due within the hour and no car. I am NOT taking five children out on the bus downtown to the optometrist. NOT because of the logistics of five toddlers on a bus, though lord only knows that’s challenging enough. But because I’d be tackling the challenge BLIND. Well, blurry.


BUT! I do have a neighbour. A lovely, civic-minded, neighbourly neighbour who works shifts and might just be free during the day to drive me to the optometrist. With a car, it’ll be a matter of half an hour.

AND! I have a young teen in the house. If I let the parents know I’ll leave her in charge, I might be able to pop out of the house during naptime. BUT she’s young, only 13, so it’ll be their call whether they’ll leave their child or pick him/her up.

Four opt to leave child. One opts to pick up. Good. That’s sorted.

AND! Lovely neighbour says sure, no problem, he can drive me downtown. YES!!

So I bumble through the morning in a blurred and foggy world.

“Are we going outside today, Mary?” The questions rebounds repeatedly, because, hey, we ALWAYS go outside — and we’re NOT! What’s with THAT? Toddlers are huge creatures of habit. (In case you hadn’t noticed that. It’s a pearl of Mary wisdom.)

“Are we going outside today?”

“No, lovie, we’re not. Mary broke her glasses, and she can’t see.”

“But I can see.”

“So you can, but I need to see you.”

I can’t take them out that door. The thought of trying to monitor five small, fast-moving blurry little blobs of colour is unnerving in the extreme. I wouldn’t notice the limb that had been lopped off until I stepped on it.

No, we are not going outside.

But, at 1:00, just as the one abstaining child is being picked up, my ride arrives. YAY for neighbourly neighbours!! He’s knocking at the door and tot and mom pass through it. Tot looks up. Waaay up.

“Why is a police man taking Mary away?”

Because yes, neighbourly neighbour is indeed an officer of the law. His position is such that he doesn’t always wear the uniform, but today he’s in full dark blue, gun belt, cap, and all. Thankfully his rank and position mean that he drives an unmarked car, but he’s definitely a cop.

“Because Mary has been very, very bad.”

NO, I didn’t say that. I just thought it. Heehee.

At the optometrist, I’m flipping through magazines waiting for the optician to work her magic in the back room. Slowly, I become aware that there’s a bit of a flurry behind the reception desk. The three girls back there are buzzing excitedly about something or other.

“He’s been just sitting there, for at least five minutes.”
“Oooo. I’ll bet it’s that restaurant. I always said there was something besides food being dealt there.”
“Think it’s a stake-out???”

These girls watch too much television.

I hope they’re watching when I skip across the street and hop into the passenger side. What will they make of THAT, I wonder? Am I an undercover cop? Am I a hardened criminal? Who knows what drama they’ll spin for mild-mannered Mary.


All in all, it was an eventful day.

And now I can SEE!!!

YAY for neighbourly neighbours!

June 12, 2008 - Posted by | health and safety, Ottawa, random and odd


  1. Excellent adventure. The cop really adds to it. And I so sympathize–I’m absolutely blind (as in I can’t see the big E at the top of the chart) without my glasses.

    I’m glad you got them fixed.

    I can’t either. See the E at the top. Of course, you know what it is, because everyone know’s it’s an E, but can I see it? Not a hope! Glad you liked the cop part. It amused me, for sure!

    Comment by Evil HR Lady | June 13, 2008 | Reply

  2. I know how you feel. I cant read anything on my laptop screen without touching my nose to the screen if Im not wearing my glasses – and that panic – oh, I surely know that.

    Mary, I hope you now have an extra pair of glasses with your prescription power safely tucked away.

    One of the advantages to getting older is that I can now see my laptop screen without my glasses. (Though I never do.) That is because, in another 3 – 5 years, I’ll be needing bifocals. Woo.Hoo.

    And no, no second pair. Can’t see putting out $600 (what my last pair cost) against an eventuality that has happened only once in my life. (So far!) Touch wood it stays that way!

    Comment by Suzi | June 13, 2008 | Reply

  3. sight update – i cant even see my laptop without my glasses :/

    Now, that’s bad…

    Comment by Suzi | June 13, 2008 | Reply

  4. You can add my sympathy. I have to wear shoes when without glasses (normally I go barefoot around the house) because I can’t see what I’m stepping on. Though that’s not likely to happen anymore because I buy two pairs–a distance pair and a pair of bifocals. Sigh.

    Yay for neighborly neighbors indeed. And for cooperative teenagers and mothers. And for resourceful caregivers who can put it all together (I would have just freaked) 🙂

    I was lucky. All the resourcefulness in the world could still have left me blind for another 24 hours if the right people hadn’t been available at the right time. I am relieved and grateful!

    Comment by addofio | June 13, 2008 | Reply

  5. Although I do not know the feeling firsthand, I’ve walked my husband through many freakouts over losing or breaking of the specs. The most notable when they flew off his head during a jet ski accident and landed at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay. (I was very proud of myself for not flaying him over this experience):

    But yay for fabulous neighbors! Our house would be a much lonlier place without the friends we’ve found around us. It’s always wonderful to have someone to turn to for the simple requests and favors that you occasionally need.

    My glasses are either on my nose, on the top of my head, or on the nightstand. On the odd occasion when I have taken them off and set them I remember not where, I TOTALLY freak. How can you LOOK for something if you can’t SEE? (And when you make it worse by crying, you are so panicked??) Generally my husband leaps into the breach, marvellous man that he is. For some reason, I did not freak out in the slightest with this episode. Though I was not about to step one TOE out of the house without help.

    Comment by Dani | June 13, 2008 | Reply

  6. Yay for getting new glasses so quickly!

    No more for me — in Feb 2007, I had laser surgery, and walked out with 20/15 vision. From pregnancy and (now) nursing, I think I’m back to 20/20 or 20/25, but hello — I can read the clock in the middle of the night. That rocks. Can’t say enough good things about it, and my doc gives a lifetime fix-it-if-there’s-an-issue guarantee. If you can, I highly recommend it.

    Not new ones, just the old ones fixed.

    I’ve thought about the surgery, but the idea of someone cutting into my eyeballs — even with something as efficient and effective as lasers, makes me really, really uneasy. I had a housemate who had the surgery done, back when it was much more expensive than it is now, and she SWORE by it, though. Absolutely delighted. So you never know…

    Comment by Allison | June 13, 2008 | Reply

  7. I’ve never worn glasses, other than cheap sunglasses. However, I remember quite vicerally the heart-stopping feeling of chomping on a wide carrot slice in junior high just as I realized I had lost my retainer. I was sure I’d broken a tooth and lost over $100 for my mom.

    Instead, it was just 1/2 hour of digging through junior high cafeteria garbage and a lot of washing. (Ewwwww.)

    Ewwwww, indeed. What an ordeal. And then would come the trauma of forcing yourself to put the thing, clean as you knew it now was, back in your mouth. Eeww.

    Comment by CT | June 13, 2008 | Reply

  8. Oh, Mary! The idea of watching one child with limited faculties is a bit scary, never mind FIVE! I can totally see (heh) why you weren’t going outside…

    Thank you. It seemed reasonable to (paranoid) me…

    Comment by kittenpie | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  9. Dontcha just love being fodder for someone else’s wonderment?

    Ten to one though is that the conclusion they came to was that you were his wife and he was just taking time out to help you run an errand. People can be real boring that way. hehe

    Yeah, you’re right. Oh, well. It was fun for a minute there, imagining I was fodder for outrageous fantasies… (snort)

    Comment by Zayna | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  10. lol, I have to always wear contacts or glasses, the only time you will see me with out either is when I’m asleep! I take such care of my glasses because I cant see to get my contacts out of their case without them!!! My prescription is +4.75 x

    We’re just about blurry twins. I’m a -4.5. I thought that was bad until I discovered a close friend is a -7, and a friend of hers is a -TWELVE. Can you IMAGINE???

    Comment by jenny uk | June 15, 2008 | Reply

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