Thursday, May 31, 2007

Intern Party

Monday evening, we hosted our 3rd Annual Summer Intern Welcome Party, with burgers, hot dogs, and Michael's famous jalapeno-onion french fries. (Followed by 3 flavors of homemade ice cream!)

This has become one of our family's favorite yearly events - getting to know the college students who give up good paying gigs and lazy summers to work with inner city kids at Fortress (link in my sidebar). I think this year's group of interns will be the best yet, and that's saying a LOT.

The party also honors the host families who take these students in for the summer. For the third year, we're hosting two of them. In 10 short days, Russell and Nathan have made themselves at home in our house and have become part of the family. It feels natural having them here. I love them both already. They're two of the most helpful, gracious house guests we've ever had! At least twice, Nathan has unloaded and loaded the dishwasher without anyone asking... and Russell is always asking if there's anything he can do to help. After dinner, they both stick around and help clear the table. I'm telling you... I love these guys. :)

Dani noted tonight that each year, I get closer to being old enough to be the interns' mom. Hmpf. Russell, an MBA candidate, is 24. Nathan is 22. I suppose I COULD be their mom, but I'd have been 13 and 15 when they were born. Still, Dani's right. If we had young interns this year like we have in years past, it would be entirely possible. It's weird to think that. I was just in college myself a few short years ago. Wasn't I?

And yet... it's true that age is creeping up on me. Last night, I tried to pull an all-nighter and finish up a job I'm working on. Couldn't do it. I finally caved at 5:30 and hit the sack. Then today, I was exhausted all day, barely functioning. Finally dozed on the couch tonight between 9 and 10 - only waking when Darren nudged me to tell me I was snoring. LOL! I should've just gone to bed. Instead, now I can't sleep. Full of energy. Good grief.

The 2007 Fortress Summer Interns:

(Russell is standing in the center of the back row, gray shirt and backwards ball cap. Nathan is standing on the right, goofy face, red striped shirt. I have yet to succeed in having him pose like a normal person. lol!)

Sunday, May 27, 2007


"Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an
artist once he grows up.
-Pablo Picasso
My beloved Uncle Eli collected whales. Plastic toy whales, knitted whales, whales carved from driftwood and bars of soap. As a child, I loved visiting his house and standing before his vast collection, trying to memorize each piece. Each time I did so, the first one I sought out was perhaps the ugliest: an awkardly pieced-together navy polyester "whale", sloppily hand-stiched with white embroidery floss around the edges, and featuring a huge red smile made of buttons. Its stuffing was bumpy and uneven, and on the back, a piece of notebook paper was stitched to the fabric. It read: "To one WHALE of a guy, my Uncle Eli! With love from Stacy". I made it when I was 8 or 9, one summer after my Mom taught me how to embroider. I remember drawing the pattern out on notebook paper over and over until I settled on a whale shape I liked, then cutting out my fabric and stitching it together. I didn't even know enough to stitch it wrong side out and turn it, and so all my raggedy-cut edges were frayed and exposed. I didn't care. I thought it was a masterpiece. I stole stuffing from my pillow and filled up my whale, added the tag on the back, and sent it off in the mail to Kansas.
Several years ago, when my own daughter was 8 or 9, I took her to see Uncle Eli's collection. He'd long since purged most of it - only one small bookcase of whales remained. My eyes darted here and there until I saw it - my crude polyester masterpiece, sitting proudly among the elegant stained glass pieces and elaborately carved wooden whales. It made me smile.
Today, it's my second child - my Aidan - who's the artist. He specializes in "found art", often pulling things out of the recycle bin and the trash can to make something. He draws all the time, and he's quite good. Yesterday was the last day of school, and he came home with the painting you see above. He was so very, very proud of it. Holding it behind his back, he asked, "Mom, what's that guy's name who cut off his own ear because he was very, very sick?"
"Uh, Van Gogh?" I answered.
"Yah!" he exclaimed. "I painted a Van Gogh for you at school. It's called 'Sunflower'." I didn't have to fake my enthusiasm; I was GIDDY with delight. I told him that truly it was the most beautiful painting I'd ever seen, and that I couldn't wait to frame it and hang it in our house. Later, when Grammy came to pick him up, he showed her his masterpiece and I overheard him say, "Mom's gonna frame it and hang it in our house!" I know just where I'll display it, and someday, when Aidan brings his own newly-graduated Kindergartener over, it'll still be there. I hope it makes him smile.
(the challenge:
"Every child is an artist.The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."-Pablo Picasso
Reflect on this quote. What was the first piece of art your created? Were you artistic as a child? Did you love to color? Did you learn any art forms - needle arts, painting, sculpting? Did anyone nurture your creativity? Were you drawn to any specific type of art? Has your child created something that he was proud of? Are you still an artist today? In what way? Do you consider scrapbooking an art? Choose any aspect you like, but incorporate a childhood artist somehow into your story. Dig deep, and have fun discovering your forgotten childhood artist!)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

chest and pecans

Today, Aidan and Ian decided to teach their friend Tristan how to play chess.
They named all the pieces for him and explained how each piece moves.

"So the pecan can move this way OR that way?" asked Tristan.
Aidan and Ian both fell into giggles, and Aidan ran to me, saying, "Mom! Tristan thinks the PAWN is called a peCAWN! hahahahahahaha!"

"Aidan, you're the one who keeps saying CHEST instead of CHESS." I've corrected that several times, but he can't seem to break the habit. Suddenly, Tristan's goof wasn't so funny.

Later, when telling the story to Darren, he laughed and said, "Both boys called the Rook, "Brook", until just recently.

Cracks me up. They totally know how to play with those Brooks and Pecans on that Chest board.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

good things come to those who ask

I hadn't planned to go to Walmart. But Lowe's didn't have the seat cushions in stock that I wanted, and when Dani needed an excuse to get out of the house and have Mom Time with me, the only thing still open was the trusty 24-hour Walmart. "Do you mind going shopping?" I asked. "I'm still looking for seat cushions for the deck chairs."

So off we went. Walmart didn't have any that I liked either, so we headed to the grocery section and picked up a few essentials: ice cream and root beer. There in the middle of Aisle 7 was the coolest sign ever. Just lying there on the floor. Clearly, they'd already done the display, and this was leftover. I decided that I MUST HAVE THAT SIGN, and started searching for an employee.

I briefly considered just taking the sign, but then came to my senses. We walked around and around looking for an employee until finally Dani said, "Mom, it's not meant to be. Give it up."

"It is TOO meant to be," I argued, "'cause I want that sign!"

Even so, I headed to the check-out line. But as I swiped my card, I decided I wouldn't give up that easily. "Is the grocery manager on duty?" I asked the cashier. "Not at this hour," she said. "But there's a regular manager here. What do you need?"

I explained to her about the sign, and asked who I'd need to talk to to get my hands on it. She said, "i know what you're talking about. I'll go ask. Hold on a sec," and then walked over to Customer Service, which was dark and shadowy and obviously closed. But someone was in there, because she came back out and said, "You can have it. It's just an extra one of our generic signs."

"SUHweeet!" I exclaimed. "Daughter, go fetch me that sign." Dani smirked at me and headed back to aisle 7.

As we walked toward the door, I noticed the cashier step away from her register and follow us. I thought, "Oh NO! She's changed her mind. This isn't the sign she was thinking of." I kept turning to look at her, and she kept following. Just as we passed the Greeter, Cashier Lady said, "They're taking the sign. It's okay." WHEW!

I can't wait to hang it. Next Monday is our 3rd annual Fortress Intern Welcome and Kickoff Party. Darren'll be the one manning the barbecue, as always. This sign will get people's attention, dontcha think??

A 24x36 cardboard sign, discovered at Walmart, scored for free, perfect scrapbook page fodder for later, fun decoration for now. Makin' me happy. It's the little things, I tell ya. The little things. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why I Love Darren, reason # 623

We've had a faulty shut-off valve in zone one of our sprinker system which has been leaking a steady stream of water for nearly a month. Darren was able to find the valves for zones 2-6, but he never located zone 1... so we found ourselves in need of a professional.

Today, the repairman from Fort Worth Lawn and Sprinker arrived. Within 60 seconds of his arrival, I called Darren at work and said, "The sprinkler dude is here. You probably better get your tail home..... 'cause the dude is CUTE!"

And THIS is why I love Darren. He replied, very calmly, "So you have a boy crush, eh? Well, just as long as you don't start breaking the sprinker system on purpose."

Is that a confident man, or what? He's totally okay with me being smitten in a schoolgirl way with a random sprinker repairman. Well. Maybe not totally ok. But he doesn't get bent out of shape about it. I love that we can joke and play like that. So confident and comfortable with our commitment and passion for each other.

I hope I don't sorta accidentally drive up on the lawn tomorrow. Oooooopsie. I just broke a sprinker head. Better call the sprinker dude. BWAhaha!

And here... a pic of supercute Darren - and me obviously happily in love with him - lest you worry your little head that I'm seriously infatuated with the sprinkler dude.

Monday, May 21, 2007

you can quote me

I love quotes. i have them painted on my walls, plastered on my scrapbook layouts, and tucked into frames around my house. I even have a little Moleskine that I write 'em down in as I come across them. (I blogged about it here.)

Recently, I've come across some good ones, and I'm amazed at how timely they are. I mean, each one of them totally works with stuff I have going on in my life right now. Isn't that the way it is, though? You never notice how many red Xterras are on the road until you're driving one yourself, and then you see them everywhere. Same with quotes. I probably wouldn't have thought much of these if I hadn't been experiencing some truth about them.

I discovered this one on Lisa Bearnson's blog today:
When everything in life seems to be getting to you, and even the littlest things seem to be plotting against you - "Q-TIP"! Q-TIP means Quit Taking It Personally.

Example: The newspaper boy did not throw your morning news into the mud puddle because he has a grudge against you - he just has bad aim.

I'm not the one who needs to remember Q-TIP, but it's now a part of my vocabulary for those who do.

And this one, which I loved when I first discovered it several years ago, was recently brought back to the forefront of my mind by my friend Elaine, who sends me quotes on a regular basis, 'cause she's a word nerd like me, and she knows I appreciate it. :)
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'" -- Erma Bombeck

And this one, from one of our favorite movies. Kristi gave Darren this t-shirt today as a just-because gift, and it inspired me to not be defeated, even in the midst of defeat. Even with my arms and legs chopped off and blood spurting forth in a most unbelievable way, my heart and soul can believe that "It's just a flesh wound!"... figuratively speaking, of course. But you knew that.

And finally, this one, from Ferris Bueller's Day Off:
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Two weeks ago, Darren skipped over to Costco and bought me my heart's desire: a Canon Rebel XTi. I've been in love the digital Rebels since they were born several years ago, but they've always been so out of reach. I finally have one, and I couldn't be happier. Really. I LOVE IT. At least, I know I'll love it. Just as soon as I take it out of the box and play with it. Can you believe that I, Stacy Kocur, haven't taken the time to play with this toy yet? ME! I've been too busy being busy. I need to stop and look around. And play with my new camera. Pictures tomorrow! :)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

BLOG CHALLENGE: love/hate with the 5 senses

the SIGHT of my backyard when I pull in the driveway.
the SMELL of freshly mown grass... and cigars.
the TASTE of hot buttered yeast rolls.
the SOUND of my kids laughing together... and thunderstorms.
the FEEL of smooth, clean sheets.

the SIGHT of people throwing fast food containers out their car window while driving down the street, you moronic, thoughtless, selfish pig in the white minivan!
the SMELL of maple syrup. Gag me.
the TASTE of black licorice.
the SOUND of the cat yacking up a hairball.
the FEEL of hot water - as hot as I can tolerate it - in the shower.

EDIT: Oops. Cleary I was too sleepy when I blogged, because the fact is, a long shower as hot as I can stand it is one of my very FAVORITE feels.
I've been trying all day to think of a touch I don't like. I can't.
I love the feel of cat paws. And Darren's beard. And holding hands with Aidan. And the way a cold Diet Vanilla Coke feels when it slides down my throat on a hot day. And the sightly tingly sensation on my lips when I apply Burt's Bees lip balm. And... no. I can't think of a touchy feely that I don't like. I'll keep thinking.

the challenge:
My blog well has been totally dry for a long time now.This is the best I could come up with this week.Follow my format, and have fun exploring your senses!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

a happy Mother's Day :)

After possibly the busiest Saturday we've had in the last six months, I woke up this morning and again hit the floor running. I thought we'd overslept; when I finally stopped hitting snooze, the clock read 9:50. (Church starts at 10:30.) Darren hardly slept all night because of his back injury, so he'd already decided to stay home this morning. I high-tailed it to Dani's room, threw open her door, and said, "We slept late. Get up and move fast."

"Are you on crack?" she asked in a sleepy stupor. "It's not even 9 o'clock."

"No, it's 9:50," I argued.

She pointed to her clock. 8:51. Then she verified it with her cell phone.

"Huh," I shrugged. "So let's go out for breakfast, just you kids and me, for Mother's Day."

"How 'bout just me and you?" she countered.

"No, the boys get to come, too."

She humpfed in mock annoyance, then skedaddled out of bed and got ready. We dined at Jack in the Box on the way to church. LOL!

During lunch at Fortress, my sister called. OH JOY!!!! Loved hearing her voice. HI BOBBIE! MUAH!

After church, I headed to Target to buy a baby gift for my great-niece, and bought snacks for the afternoon Mother's Day gathering at our house. When I arrived at home, Darren had removed all the plastic that covered the entire front room, AND all the layers of dust that coated every surface of said room. He's been scraping and sanding in there for months, and the room has been a disaster zone. He cleaned it up and put all the furniture back in place. It feels so good to have that room back! Dani worked her tail off, helping him get it all done. Happy Mother's Day to me!

At 4, our house began to fill with people we love: Darren's mom and dad, his brother Chris, his brother David and his family, sister Cheryl and her husband, niece Shaina and her fiance, and niece Sarah and 6-month old baby Hannah, my first great-niece. Hannah is just beautiful... perfect, even. Holding her brought a flood of baby memories for me, because she felt just like Dani did when she was a baby - petite, light as a feather, and perfectly precious. Oh the love. I fell instantly.

Early this morning, as soon as I woke Aidan up, he said, "Mom, will you go on a date with me tonight? Just us. So we can spent some time together." It sounded rehearsed and polished. How could I say no? As soon as our company left, Aidan and I headed out; we saw "Hurricane on the Bayou", an IMAX film at the Museum of Science and History, then we dined at Bennigan's. I wanted to go to Macaroni Grill, 'cause I had a craving for Penne Rustica. But Aidan didn't want pasta. He wanted french fries. Guess what he ordered at Bennigan's? PASTA. Little turkey. I wanted to throttle him! lol

A cup of Baked Potato Soup, half an order of Monte Cristo, and half (maybe more) an order of Bananas Foster later, I came straight home and jumped into something loose and comfy. Aidan was so attentive and sweet and adorable on our date. We talked about his class, his favorite subjects, and hurricanes. It was a wonderful date.

After the boys went to bed, Dani and I cuddled for a few minutes on the couch, and now Darren and I are enjoying a quiet - and clean! - house.

Busy, busy. But perfect. Happy Mother's Day to all of my mother friends out there!

Friday, May 11, 2007

why is it...

...that I love Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape" so much? Every time I hear it, I sing it for hours afterward. WeeeOoooooh. WEEEEoooooh. WeeeOooooh. WEEEooooooh. SweetEscapeSweetEscape...."

...that chocolate never gives me heartburn during the day, but if I eat it at night, I'm pounding my chest within 10 minutes?

...that Conan O'Brien is much more likeable as a guest on Jay Leno than he is on his own show? He was downright endearing on Leno, but I can't stand to watch Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

...that my Albertson's only stocks one scrapbook mag these days??

...that I always run into someone I know when I look like death on toast?

...that I so abhor watering my plants?

...that I have immediate buyer's remorse every time I finally buy something that I've wanted for a reallllllllly long time?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

conversations with Ian, age 5

Proof that Ian is Darren's son:

Ian: 200 pennies is $2. 400 pennies is $4. 800 pennies is $8. Right, Mom?

Mom: Yup.

Ian: So is 1000 pennies $10?

Mom: Yup.

Ian: How much is a million pennies?

Mom: Go ask your Dad.

(at Costco)
Ian: Can I order my own hot dog and pay for it?
Mom: You betcha.
Ian: How much will it cost?
Mom: $1.62. You have $2.
Ian (to employee): Hot dog.
Employee: Here's your change.
Ian: HEY!! You're supposed to give me 38 cents, but this is only 29!!
Employee: (makes no sound... just picks her jaw up off the ground)
Mom: Ian, this is 38 cents. I think you mistook this old dime for a penny.
Ian: Can I keep the change?
Employee: jaw still gaping


Dale: I taught Ian about square roots today. He understood immediately.
Mom (later): Ian, what's the square root of 4?
Ian: 2.
Mom: What's the square root of 9?
Ian: 3.
Dad: What's the square root of 1?
Ian (thinking hard....): One?


(at Target, where I let him choose a new jigsaw puzzle)
Ian: Mom, this puzzle has 300 pieces.
Mom: Uh-huh.
Ian: My other puzzle only has a hundred.
Mom: Yep.
Ian: THIS puzzle has THREE TIMES as many!
(I haven't taught him about multiplication. He just KNOWS this stuff.)

Ian: I can read, too, Aidan.
Aidan: Okay. What does d-o-g spell?
Ian: dog
Aidan: What does c-a-t spell?
Ian: cat
Aidan: What does s-t-o-p spell?
Ian: Stop. sigh.
Aidan: Ok, I'll give you some hard ones. What does... x...f...r...y spell?
Ian: (blank look)
Aidan: What does .... uh.... p...w...k...t spell?
Ian: (blank look)
Aidan: what does h-p-t-r spell?
Ian: AIDAN!! These words are too DIFFICULT!

Proof that Ian is my child:

Ian: What's that smell??
Mom: Oh. Excuse me. I just farted.
Ian: Mom. Your farts smell nasty.
Mom: Ian. Everyone's farts smell nasty.
Ian: Not all of mine do. Some of them don't smell at all.
Mom: Is that so?
Ian: Yah. The loudest ones don't stink! They're just LOUD! heee heeeeeheeehe heheheeeeeee


My friend Melissa (in Aus) used to say she wanted to eat him with a spoon. She'll have to get in line behind me, 'cause I'm so in love with this kid I can't stand it.
(click to see his face. Goofball.)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

BLOG CHALLENGE: the power of words

For the last 8 weeks, I've been teaching the high school girls' class at Fortress Church on Sunday afternoons. It's hard to know what to teach sometimes, because the level of Bible knowledge and life experience is so vastly different among the girls in attendance. Some of them have been in Sunday School their whole lives, and know many, many Bible stories. Others can't tell you how many days the great flood lasted, or who betrayed Jesus, or who killed Goliath. Still, they come. They want to be there - I know this because they make sure they're ready when the van comes to pick them up each week - and for whatever reason, God put me there to minister to them. Some days I do an adequate job; most days, I fail to reach them at all. At least it seems that way. Reaching out to teens who are often angry, troubled, belligerent and disrespectful is exhausting work. I often feel completely and totally inadequate to do the job. I look up at the clear Texas sky, throw my arms in the air, and demand of God, "WHAT? You tell me. You led me to this place, and I still don't know WHY. I SUCK at this. When will it get easier? When will I start making a difference?"

For reasons I may never fully understand, girls who come from the inner city neighborhood in which Fortress resides are hard. They're bitter. They're distrustful. They're unwilling. They're cold. Every Sunday, the same old barriers are there. They fiddle with their cell phones, they spin in their chairs, they turn their back on me when I talk, they look at their feet, they mock me when I try to engage them. Every week, when we walk in and sit down, I must break through that barrier. Some weeks it's easy. Other weeks, especially if there's a new kid in class, or a particularly tough one who doesn't come often, the other girls follow her lead and stubbornly refuse to participate. It's heartbreaking to me. I so desperately want to reach them, to build relationships with them. Sometimes their silence is more discouraging than their snarkiness.

Today, I was prepared to teach a lesson about the power of words - how God created the world with a word. ("Let there be light.") How Jesus performed miracles with a word. ("Peace, be still.") ("Take up your mat and walk.") And how the words WE say are powerful in their own right. This week, we were going to talk about the positive power of words, and how the Bible tells us to use words to encourage and uplift one another. We were going to exercise those commands by writing notes of encouragement to people at Fortress... and to the people closest to us. We would spend the hour identifying the people in our lives and how to best bless them with our words.

But only one girl came today. I was disappointed. I was so eager to teach the class, and had spent time in prayer while I prepared it, something I'm ashamed to admit I rarely take time to do. In the end, we decided to combine the boys and girls class, and my lesson will wait for next week.

In the meantime, I was blessed with words from my friend Dale. In the adult class he taught (before the kids arrive for youth worship), he referenced Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength." What is it that you're trying to do yourself? he asked. I admitted that in my weight loss journey, I have never once asked for God's help. Not once. I spend a lot of time asking him for other stuff... all KINDS of stuff, some of it seemingly insignificant in the long haul. I spend a lot of time just talking to Him. (God is COOL like that. I love that I can just bust out talking to Him. I've even been known to say "sucks" and "crap" in my conversations with Him, and while I'm sure it makes Him cringe, He listens anyway. 'Cause, you know. He's REAL, and He's cool like that. But I digress.)

Later, during lunch, Dale approached me and said, "I have to tell you. I was really surprised to hear you say that you've never asked God to help you with your weight loss. I mean, that really surprises me. I think of you as such a spiritual giant." At that, I fell into him, laughing. "Oh DALE. Dale, Dale Dale. Bwahahahaha!"

He laughed a little too, and said, "I'm serious!"

"Spiritual GIANT? You are SO wrong about me. Bwahahahaha." I rattled off some story about how I've often asked God to help me not poop my pants (don't ask. Or ask if ya wanna. lol), 'cause I know He's not too small to make that happen. Or more accurately, He's not too BIG. And yet, 'tis true. I've never asked Him to help me lose the weight. Then I beat a hasty retreat to the other side of the room to compliment Frankie on her new haircut. Dale was making me uncomfortable.

But his words were POWERFUL. I've let them roll hither and yon in my head all day long. "Spiritual Giant." I know it's an exaggeration, but oh, how encouraging it is to think that someone whom *I* consider to be gentle, kind, patient, loving, joyful, good... well, you understand. Could it be that I'm not the wretch I think I am? If someone who knows me as well as Dale knows me considers me.... wow. Just wow. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle of how he perceives me and how I perceive myself.

Whatever. The point is - and I do have one, lol - is this:
Words are powerful. They can be powerfully positive, or powerfully negative. I'm more excited than ever to teach next week's class. Between now and then, I'll be mailing each girl on my class roll a note. With words. Powerful words. I can't wait.

the challenge:
Words can be powerful. Think of an occasion when someone blessed you with their words. (Conversely, words can be powerfully hurtful, too. Write about one of those instances if you must, but try to think of a positive memory instead.) Describe the circumstances surrounding the words that were powerful to you. Who said it? How did you react? How does it afffect you today?When I was in 6th grade, my teacher told me that I was a gifted writer, and that someday she'd be reading my books. I hate to admit that I've disappointed her, for though I still love to write, I've never had the guts to try to get published. Even so, her words were a powerful encouragement to me. It was because of those words that I entered writing contests in high school and college. In some way, I'm sure it was those words that made it okay in my head for me to write a blog. She probably has no idea how powerful those few little words were to me, and how I still remember them all these years later. But that's not even what I blogged about for this challenge.I can't wait to read the powerfully positive words you have to share!

vision and other stuff

I couldn't get used to the bifocals. I gave it a valiant effort, I swear. I put 'em on and didn't take 'em off for a week, even though my old glasses were crying to be given another chance. "Just give it time," I kept telling myself. "You'll get used to them."

In the meantime, I was slowly losing my mind. My distance vision never cleared up. I couldn't find that magic spot where everything looked clear. I bobbed my head this way and that, tilted it at this angle and the other, pushed my glasses up my nose and down. Still blurry. I became cranky, crabby, cross, and declared to everyone around me that getting old SUCKS.

Finally, after a week, I went back to the eye doctor. "I've really tried," I said, "but I just can't get used to these. I think the prescription is wrong." He checked the lenses... and sure enough! In one eye, they were off by 1/2, and in the other one, 3/8. "You'd have NEVER gotten used to these," he reassured. "They're quite a lot weaker than they should be."

The next day, I slipped on the corrected lenses and the fuzzy clouds that had gathering in my brain evaporated. I could see. CLEARLY! I busted out into my favorite song... "I can see cleary now, the rain is gone.... gonna see all obstacles in my way..."... and bounded out of the store with youthful energy. Old, Shmold!