Eyeglasses

The comedian Steven Wright once said, “I had some eyeglasses. I was walking down the street when suddenly the prescription ran out.”

My version, not so funny: I was making my way through the woods up the hill, looking for a missing cow (don’t ask), when I brushed against a branch that knocked my glasses off my face. After fifteen minutes of meticulously sifting through the underbrush I gave up looking, thinking that after seven years of careless treatment it was time to replace them anyway (the cheap frames were now coming unscrewed several times a day). And eyeglasses are gloriously inexpensive online.

I looked around for my prescription but couldn’t find it. I called the optometrist to get a copy, but the receptionist wouldn’t give it to me—it was seven years ago, and in Kentucky eyeglass prescriptions expire after one year. No matter that the prescription hasn’t changed in basically forever. Kentucky optometrists think it is in your best interest to be examined yearly (not to mention their own), and this is how they arrange for that.

Even if I had found a copy of the seven-year-old prescription, it wouldn’t have mattered. Kentucky eyeglass shops will not fill a prescription that is more than one year old.

This is not a matter of state law; just the opposite. If Kentucky optometrists had their way in the matter, they would not give a patient their prescription at all. They didn’t used to, until a federal law required them to do so. Now they will give you one, but with a one-year expiration date. And eyeglass shops refuse to fill expired prescriptions, not because of the law but as a professional courtesy.

So I’ll be getting my eyes examined again, but hopefully for the last time. Kentucky eyeglass shops will not fill expired prescriptions, but online shops have no such scruples.

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Leaving the farm

In early March we accepted a contract on our farm here in Pellyton, and last Monday we closed the deal. The Konvalin family will be taking possession soon, and Tony Konvalin has promised to chronicle the transition on his weblog.

We’ve had seven good and enjoyable years here. Farm life has shaped our thinking and our characters in important ways, and we have no regrets about the experiment. But we’ve reached a point where staying in this very rural area would work against us as a family. We were unable to create a self-contained family economy, and opportunities to work off the farm around here are limited. As our three oldest become young adults, we realized that they would likely have to move at least 100 miles away to start lives of their own.

Instead, we decided to move the family closer to those opportunities. We’ll be in Frankfort, which is not only the capital of Kentucky but a delightfully small town of 25,000. Aside from the potential for work in Frankfort, Lexington is 30 miles east, Louisville is 60 miles west, and Cincinnati is 90 miles north.

Our new house is five minutes from downtown, in an older suburban neighborhood with an acre of backyard. It was custom built in 1950 by the previous owner, who recently died two months short of her 101st birthday.

There’s plenty I could write about what we’ve learned from our time on the farm, but it will have to wait—at the moment writing is far down my list of priorities. I’d like for that to change soon, but I can’t predict when it might happen. In the meantime, rest assured that our life continues to be richer, fuller, and more blessed than we have any reason to expect.