Home Tomagrams Tom’s Glasses: The Never-Ending Story

Tom’s Glasses: The Never-Ending Story


tape glasses for tomFresh tape applied, counting to ten…

My Kingdom for a Pair of Glasses!

In our last episode of Tom’s Broken Glasses (yes, they are taking on a life all their own), I spared myself the expense of  new four to five-hundred dollar glasses by doing a little home repair–plastic glue to the rescue!

Yesterday, something happened, something cruelly precise and painful in its delivery–delivery by a mischievous universe and faulty glue job. The day began with lumbering low clouds, the kind that portend a Pacific storm. In from the southwest, the skies will scour the seas of the South Pacific and wrangle all the moisture they can, only to force every droplet into an atmospheric fire hose that deluges the Pacific Northwest with the accuracy of a meteorological bullseye. Around here, we call it the Pineapple Express, a gift from Hawaii that keeps on giving. (Mahalo.)

My hardworking pals Rick and Tamara, and I ignored the forecast and the clouds, and settled into the methodical and labor-intensive task of building  a steel framed hoop house. Think ginormous steel whale skeleton.

The rain came with a vengeance, producing a chilly pelting that soaked us to the bones. I seemed to think a cotton sweatshirt could repel nature’s torrent. Bent over, water dripping drip off the brim of my cap, glasses steaming up and rendered useless, I began to fantasize about a trust fund and condo in the city. At that moment, as I pushed my glasses back up my nose, the right lens popped out. In a lifetime movie moment and definitely in slow motion, I watched it spin and spin and spin and pop right into the rabbit hole that was between the foundation bow pole and the compacted earth.  If this had been a carnival ring toss, I would have won a car. While I was not proud of the stream of words that followed, I did apologize to all ears present.

tom tamara rick hoophouse Before the big dig and rain: celebrating the installation of the steel bows.

Rick suggested we use a post hole digger to make a new parallel hole next to the pole, remove the hoop  and go in from the side, much like the successful freeing of the Chilean miners. Tamara, a woman who never met an improvised tool she didn’t like, suggested we remove the hoop, and she could get salad tongs or thin slat of wood to bring up the lens.  For me, all plans were on the table. (Did I mention that I have no back up glasses?) Tamara returned with a wooden crepe spatula (a really nice French oak crepe spatula) and stainless steel salad tongs. While Rick dug a post hole, I held up one steel pole so we could see down the hole with a flashlight. Extricating the pole and keeping it vertical was quite a challenge in itself.

hoophouse hole and poleBad mix: the hole,  the pole, and a loose lens. 

We could see the lens about 18 inches down, but when we removed the pole, it fell to the bottom of the hole along with copious amounts of clay, hard-pan and gravel. Tamara got an “A” for effort and persistence, but the kitchen utensil plan came up short due to the new depth and a hole too small for any adult hand. Rick bored down to about 30 inches and then he broke through to the hole on the other side, but alas, no lens. More digging, more grunting, more rain-soaked sweatshirt, more gratitude for friends who would even have stayed around during this personal excavation. At last we found it, the lens that acted more like a razor clam, slipping deeper down the more we tried to dig it out.

A little Dawn detergent and warm water later, the lens was placed back in the cracked frame and secured with painters tape–a look becoming my current sartorial status.  Unfortunately, the lens was pretty scratched. Back to work we went, remarking that the rain was as relentless as our determination to find my lens.

What next for Tom’s Broken Glasses? Who knows, but for now blue painter’s tape is part of my eye-wear standard, one that will keep me seeing clearly enough to finish my hoophouse.  Stay tuned for (hopefully) the final installment of my eyewear mini-series.

toms repaired glassesOne day later: Happiness is a dry spell, helpful friends, seeing clearly and not giving a hoot about a big wad of painters tape on your glasses. Who knows I could be starting a fashion trend on Vashon.  😉

Same price, but certainly not equal

And just one last thing since the cost of eyewear has my attention and my ire, I thought I’d list a few things that cost about the same as eye glasses, a simple hinged 2-ounce piece of plastic with plastic optical lenses. For the same amount you can buy the following:


  1. Tom, you made me a fan of Zenni; with your wild pugilistic lifestyle, (albeit accidental), perhaps a cheaper, yet just as attractive pair would better suited. I could see you in frame number #278521

  2. Oh dear! My glasses are really expensive as well and I guard them with my life, especially since I got laid off and lost my vision coverage. Maybe some black electrical tape might be more becoming? Good luck with your hunt for glasses, sounds like this pair is telling you something. 🙁

  3. spinning down the rabbit hole? sounds like a lost chapter by lewis carroll!
    even with the blue tape, i prefer these to the black ones you showed us last week. 😉

  4. Karma, Tom, Karma. This year’s crop will be terrific to balance it all out. Besides, electric blue is so fetching…

  5. One word for you Tommy boy… contacts. And yes I can testify that the multi lens versions do work on our increasingly aged eyes.

    Nice hoop house, love the roof shape.

  6. Hilarious escapades. Thank goodness for good friends. While you are waiting for inspiration (or possibly lottery winnings) to guide your acquisition of replacement glasses, play up the tape accent. Find different colors of tape and ‘accessorize’ by changing it regularly. Islanders can pull this off.
    Your hoop house looks fantastic! Harbour House Hotel on Saltspring Island has two about that size on their organic farm. They have not bought salad greens year round for their restaurant for over 3 years now and they are also able to supply several local restaurants and a farm stand in season! (Their maple syrup made from tapped native broad leaf maples is pretty darned spectacular as well…) http://www.saltspringharbourhouse.com/organic-farm

  7. Wowowow. What an ordeal!
    Firstly – I had no idea progressive lenses costed that much!
    [I just need Hi-index lenses cuz’ I’m blind… for the most part, hehe.]
    Secondly – THAT HOOP HOUSE! I think you need to keep us FARRRRR more informed with that! The SIZE alone makes me salivate…
    Uggg… spring needs to get here fast. You have rain right now – I’m under 5 inches of snow still! Curse you weird Northeast weather! ::shakes fist::

  8. You are so funny!!!!!!! Cannot wait to see the hoop house! This is a HUGE change! What will you grow? Thanks for your great sense of humor. Makes my day! xo

  9. You know, if you tape up the other side in the same way people might think they came that way. You could just be starting a new glasswear trend…

  10. Have you tried JC Penny Optical? I’ve gotten 2 pairs of glasses through them and they were about $350, not bad for progressive lenses and they have a reasonable selection of styles. And very awesome hoop house!!

  11. Tom- I too looked on the Zenni site – #430023 in clear and #246425 tortoise shell . Both under $30 , I totally see you in tortoise shell. Totally.

    • Thanks Kim, what’s so funny is I have the 430023, I ordered them as reading glass frames. Good taste Kim! I’ll check out zenni again!


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