A bit of background before we dive into today's story: Derek has been wearing glasses since he was 4 years old. Because his eyes have an extreme imbalance in the acuity between them, and also due to the fact that we always get the scratch-resistant coating (duh, he's a KID), transitions option to protect from UV rays, and the warranty (hello, he's a BOY) the lenses tend to be quite expensive. Fortunately, his prescription doesn't change much between appointments, because insurance only covers even a portion of the total every two years--so he pretty much gets a new set on that schedule. Out-of-pocket costs still run several hundred dollars, but obviously this is the price of doing business...um, I mean "raising a child".
So, this Fall happened to be the time when he was due to pick out some fresh specs. We went to the store and did the whole "evaluating the different alternatives...rejecting those that I think make me look like a nerd...determining which ones exude a sufficient degree of 'coolness'"...or, you know, whatever the heck goes through the mind of a 15-year old as he tests eyeglass frames. About a week later, we were called to pick them up. (This was November 19th--yes you DO need to remember that, as it will be critically important to the rest of our tale.)
Here's a second bit of relevant trivia pertaining to the ensuing events: there's a stream that rambles through our neighborhood. Now, normally it's a merry little trickle, bubbling over a rocky bed, only a couple of inches deep at most. However...we've had a tremendous amount of rain lately--really the entire season has been extremely wet. And with the 3-3/4 inches of extra special water-from-the-sky that fell this week, that typically-docile creek was channeling its inner...raging rapids. (Seriously--it was flowing fast enough to have an actual current...you couldn't see the bottom any more...debris was swirling and being carried away to far-off points...it was our own River Wild, I tell ya.)
As it happened, on December 23rd (a day that will, in fact, live in infamy...at least in the WestEnders household) Derek and some of his buddies had a brainstorm (okay, "storm" might be a strong word...maybe "light drizzle" would be more accurate) that it would be an excellent idea to tromp through the muddy woods, following the path of the aforementioned waterway. (What could possibly go wrong, yeah? Right, these are teenage boys...just wait for it...) Well, Derek--my usually strong, athletic, agile son--slipped off the embankment, and splashed right smack into the creek. In the process, he banged his head, which knocked his glasses off his face...after which they promptly disappeared from view. According to his recounting of the incident, he and his friends immediately scoured the immediate area, and even traveled downstream for quite a distance, doing their best to locate and retrieve the errant spectacles.
Finally, he was forced to concede defeat...so he steeled his nerves...and called me. He had to know I'd be livid when informed that he'd managed to lose his ONE MONTH OLD glasses--and he was not wrong. I joined him in the forest to add my efforts to the Search and Rescue Mission...to no avail (alas). After confirming that there didn't seem to be any damage to his noggin, I admit I expressed no small degree of...unhappiness...that we'd be returning to the eyeglass emporium after 4 short weeks...to purchase an identical pair...with even less allowance from the insurance company than the first time. (Grrr....)
I know, I know, it was an accident, these things happen, blah blah blah. But it only seems fair that that kid owes me an appropriate period of...shall we say "remorseful groveling". Hmm, now that I think about it, it also seems like some ahem..."reparations"...may be in order...which of course I will graciously accept in the form of chocolate. Hey, maybe this could even count as a valuable Life Lesson: Derek can just consider it an introduction into the complicated world of "co-payments". Mwah hah hah!