I’ve been working like a rented mule in the yard most of July and August, trying to clean up some shamefully neglected planting beds. They require weeding and mulching, and it bothers me that those words don’t begin to convey the amount of hard labor involved, especially when you’re doing it in relentless Florida summer heat. More than once, I’ve been incapacitated by crushing heat-induced migraines, dizzy spells and heart palpitations. Thank goodness I had the sense to stop.
Meanwhile, my wife got the idea that we would switch my daughter’s room and the guest room. Ordinarily, I would consider this to be an unacceptable amount of work, but she’s decided both rooms need painting as well, which pushed it over the edge into the “absurd amount of work” category. We’ve had to play a continuous sweaty puzzle game moving furniture around the house. She agreed to handle the painting chores herself, except for the double bifold louvered closet doors, which require painting with a spray gun. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to paint bifold louvered doors, but if you haven’t, don’t even bother. It’s a thankless, drippy, lung-destroying job, and impossible to do right, even with an Art School degree, which I have.
But the worst part of the job came after it was finished. I went into the kitchen to wash the speckles of paint off my glasses, but I just couldn’t seem to get it to wash off. So grabbed the sponge from the sink, which has one of those Scrunge pads on the back. I thought, “If it doesn’t scratch Teflon, it won’t scratch glass, right?” Wrong. Here’s my expensive, lightweight polycarbonate, no-line bifocals with the scratch-resistant coating after I had ruined them trying to get the paint off.
I had made plans to go fishing with my brother at 6:00 am the following day. I couldn’t cancel, because he had already gone to bed. So the next day, I put on an old pair of prescription sunglasses that I’ve had for years (not bifocals), and got in the car. It was pitch dark, so I couldn’t see well at all. The sunglasses cut down what little light there was, and because they were so old, everything was blurry. Worse, I couldn’t even see the instrument panel, because I’m nearsighted. I drove to pick up my brother at 25 miles an hour, praying that a deer wouldn’t dash out of the woods in front of me.
By the time I picked him up, the sun had started to rise, and the driving became much easier. But I was straining to see things clearly, and fatigue was setting in before we ever got to the beach.
We went to a bait shop and were informed that they had run out of live shrimp. That’s the single most effective bait you can use when shore fishing, so it was a gigantic disappointment. My brother found that he could swipe the net around in the tank and pull out one or two stragglers, so he kept that up for a few minutes until he had caught a dozen. When I tried to pay for them, the bait shop guy said, “He caught them, he can keep them.”
Once we got to our fishing spot, we hauled all the crap over the dunes to the beach, and I set up a couple of chairs. When I sat down in mine, it collapsed. Not a promising omen. I set up my tackle, cast it off the beach and watched in amazement as my brother waded into the surf, where the water was up to his armpits. He was thrashing around in the water, fighting the waves crashing into his face, his rod waving around like the antenna on a ‘79 Lincoln Continental at a Demolition Derby.
When he came stumbling ashore to rebait his hook, I said to him, “Any fish you catch won’t replace the calories you spent trying to catch it. Just stand up here on the beach and relax.” He wouldn’t take my advice, though, because he believed he needed to get the bait as far out into the ocean as possible. By the time we left, he was soaked and exhausted.
We caught a total of two fish, nothing very interesting. A couple of guys down the beach from us kept catching little (18-inch) hammerhead sharks. They had lots of live shrimp.
We drove home and I raced over to LensCrafters. They gave me an eye exam, and I ordered two new pairs of glasses. I got titanium frames, because they’re so light, it’s like wearing nothing (of course, by the time I was finished, I had spent over $500). Bifocals require an adjustment period, so I’ve been woozy and nauseous for a few days. Here I am in my nice new pair of glasses. Hope you like them; they’re freaking titanium, dammit.