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When Bad Moms Wear Good Shoes

I decided not to duct tape my shoes.  Not because I didn’t think it would look good.  Primarily because of an incident that occurred several years ago around the 4th of July.  That was back during the time when Dimples somewhat let me select her outfits, and I was determined to have a cute Independence Day ensemble for her to wear, but Old Navy refused to cooperate.  (Because I was shopping in July.  If I had had the foresight to shop for the 4th of July  the day after Valentine’s Day, I would have had a huge inventory from which to choose, I am sure.)  By the time I realized June had ended, and the holiday was fast-approaching, the only footwear left at Old Navy was blue and red flip flops with yellow and purple paint splotches all over the soles.

So, I got out some red paint that I used for scrapbooking, covered up the unpatriotic colors, let the paint dry for 24-hours, and Dimples was perfectly accessorized for the Celebration of the Birth of Our Great Nation.

And then we went out in the real world of San Antonio, where the heat and humidity and the sweat on my daughter’s feet became the perfect chemical combination to bare her mother’s idiotic quest for perfection to the entire world in the form of red feet.  And somehow the coloring started to creep up the tops of her feet, which made her look like a piece of celery in a science experiment gone very wrong.

Anyway, so I learned my lesson about modifying footwear.  Which is, Don’t – Because Something Embarrassing Will Happen.  To Me.  Even if It’s Not My Footwear.

There is an addendum to that rule, however.  You can modify footwear when something embarrassing has already happened, and you are trying to Prevent it From Getting Worse.  This is best exemplified by the time that Dimples’ flip-flop broke at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – a place that has an overabundance of wizard wands and chocolate frogs, but no Payless Shoes kiosks.  In that instance, I took my cloth belt off my shorts, pulled one end through the hole in her flip flop, the other end through the other side, and wrapped it like a thong around her leg.

In retrospect, that was probably not less embarrassing than hopping around in one flip-flop, and I really wish I had taken a picture of my innovative solution for that problem.

So, regarding my great Shoe Dilemma in yesterday’s post (which was really written over a week ago), I’m afraid this is going to be very anti-climactic.  I feel compelled to finish up the shoe story, because some of you asked.  To be honest, though, the shoe story is one of those stories that should just remain incomplete because, really, it ended very undramatically.  In fact, I probably shouldn’t even have started the story in the first place.  Lesson learned.

So, I did not duct tape my shoes for Harvard, because I was afraid of the embarrassing consequences.  Instead, I wore one of my new pairs of sensible shoes on the first day.  Big mistake.  They cut the crap out of my big toes, leaving me with sizable chunks of flesh carved out right underneath each cuticle.

I wore black flip-flops the rest of the time.  And Harvard did not expel me.  For my comfortable shoes, my ugly toes, or my stupidity.

Insensibly Torturous Shoes



MacGyver Wouldn’t Have This Problem

I just returned from my Harvard trip, and realized I forgot to post this before I left…

I just bought two pairs of shoes that I didn’t really want.  I am very depressed.

I am going to Harvard next week, and I keep getting e-mails about the dress code.  Because we will be walking to most places on cobblestone streets, we are being told that “flats are great.”  We are also being told to dress professionally.  And there is my conundrum.  Because the only women who wear flats and are professionals are nuns, in my opinion.

The only “flats” I like are flip-flops.  According to many bosses I have worked for, flip-flops do not fall into the “professional” category.

Flats with closed toes make me look short.  None of the e-mails forbade me to look short.  But I still don’t want to look short.  Because that makes me feel squat.  And squat = fat.

I decided that I might be able to compromise by wearing wedges, which are flat on the bottom, but would not make my foot flat, and my legs short, and my stomach fat.

I was thinking about this very issue the other night when the Cap’n and I went out on a date.  A woman passed by who was wearing the perfect combination of professionally flat shoes that I had pictured in my brain.  They were black, peep-toe wedges with a bit of leopard print near the toes.

“She is wearing MY shoes,” I hissed to Cap’n Firepants.

Cap’n Firepants was not looking at her shoes.  She was a very attractive woman, who was very tall, and had many other attractive attributes besides her perfect flats.

I considered asking the woman where she had bought her shoes.  And if she had bought her other attractive attributes as well.  But I had not had a glass of wine yet, so I was not feeling very assertive.  After two glasses of wine, my self-confidence returned in such full force that I fully believed that I did not need those stupid shoes anyway because I am so wonderful that I can wear any pair of shoes – even the ones with the separate toes – and I will look professional and unsquat – and even, to some, attractive.

These are professional, right?
photo credit: JasonTank via photo pin cc

After I slept off my two glasses of wine, and awoke my normal, pusillanimous self, I panicked.  With one day left until my trip, I made a last-ditch effort to find some appropriate footwear by visiting two mega shoe stores in my neighborhood.  At each one, I broke my Cardinal Rule of Shoe Shopping (to spend money only on Shoes That Make Me Look Awesome), and bought a Pair That Makes Me Look Like A Woman Who Wears Pantsuits.

Even as I write this post, I am glaring at the shoe boxes holding my Sensible Shoes.  My eyes wander and light on a bin in the corner of the room.  A bin of duct tape.  The leopard print roll is right on top.

Maybe I can salvage these shoes after all…

Legally Blinder Than Elle

My first day of my Harvard conference, I woke up early to shower and make my legs smooth with my brand new razor purchased during a risky nighttime trek to the local CVS in Harvard Square.

Everything was going well until I attempted to insert my brand new, 24 hour old contact lenses.

The right one was ripped.

I am always prepare for this problem. Every time I travel, I bring an extra pair of contacts. For 20 years, I’ve never needed to use them.

So, for this trip, I decided to shed the .111 ounces that they might weigh, considering my luggage had a weight limit, and I did not bring them.

I have been known to make dumber decisions, unfortunately.

I did however, bring my glasses. Which I never, ever wear in public. Great. My first day to make an impression on the people of Harvard, and I get to walk around looking Mr. Magoo.

Our conference was scheduled to take place at Harvard’s Department of Education. But the group for this session was too big. So, they moved our meeting place.

To the Law School. Harvard Law School.

Our room looks like a set from Legally Blonde.


Just walking into our auditorium made me feel like my I.Q. had risen 25 points.


Until I had to go to the restroom.


I think that there should be a course added to all high schools called, “Toilets of the World.” Because every time I think that I have seen it all in the world of flushing, something else sets me back. And bathroom stalls are not my favorite place to have to learn new things. As far as I am concerned, potty breaks should not require any type of thought.

I am expecting the Harvard Campus Police to escort me from the building any moment for forgetting which way to jiggle the handle.

I just hope they will let me take off my glasses before they take my mugshot.

I Have a Razor and I’m Not Afraid to Use It

“This all comes from having a husband who has a sketchy history with lizards.” This is what I was thinking Sunday night when I was in the middle of risking my life on the mean streets of Boston.

My day started early in the a.m when I started getting ready for my trip to Boston.

In the middle of my shower, I decided I should shave my legs in case my plane crashed. Then, I told myself that I needed to remember to pack a razor. Then I put my foot on my little teak table in my shower. And then I bent down and was face to face with a lizard.

I am not freaked out by lizards – though it is somewhat disconcerting to find one in my shower. I responded to this surprise visit by finishing my business, and then grabbing Cap’n Firepants’ phone from his bedside table so I could take a picture.

“Whadrudoin?” the Cap’n sleepily asked.

“Documenting the lizard in our shower.”

It’s a testament to Cap’n Firepants that he did not ask any follow up questions.

A few minutes later, the Cap’n got up to take his shower.

“Where is the lizard?” he asked.

“Why?” I said, cautiously. Actually, I think I said, “Why? Don’t you dare kill him. He’s cute.” The Cap’n and I differ on the treatment of varmint trespassers. He likes to squish them under his foot, while I generally pick them up and take them outside.

“So I don’t step on him by accident,” he responded, to my relief.

The point of this whole story is that I completely forgot to pack my razor, due to my fear that Cap’n Firepants might squish the unfortunate lizard in our shower. This is what I realized when I reached my Boston hotel later that evening after my exciting adventures barely evading the law for flying under an assumed name that wasn’t even my choice to assume in the first place. (See yesterday’s post for that fun story.)

So I decided to make a trek around 8:30 at night to the local CVS pharmacy.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned before that I completely lack any kind of map-reading skills, night sight, or sense of direction. Or common sense.

Oh, and I was alone.

Of course I went 10 blocks in the wrong direction at the beginning of my trek. But I finally found the CVS with the help of the good people of Harvard Square.

There were some decidedly unacademic looking people hanging out at the CVS.

Quite a few seemed to be having an attack of the munchies.

But I made it back to the hotel safe and sound, and confident in the fact that I would have smooth legs during my first day on the Harvard campus.

Now I am going to include a picture of the lizard and, in retrospect, it really wasn’t worth risking my life to take. I am telling you this now because I don’t know how to make captions on my pics using the WordPress iPad app.


Beware the Wrath of Mrs. Cap’n Firepants

This is going to be a Yelling Post.  It is that time of the month, and I am sorry if that is T.M.I.  but I feel that I should give you fair warning.

First of all, I would like to yell at the veteran bloggers out there who either A.) did not warn me that there is some kind of summer slump that completely decimates your number of readers, or 2.) did not tell me that the quality of my writing has plummeted so deeply that I am shedding fans faster than Wonderbutt can pee all over my new furniture.

Secondly, I am yelling at Apple.  Or Adobe.  Or all technology companies.  To Flash or not to Flash.  I don’t care.  But come up with a friggin’ consensus.  Because of your shenanigans, I have to bring my 10 million pound laptop to my conference in Cambridge next week.

Which leads to me airline companies.  It’s not all of you.  Just the one that I happen to be flying tomorrow that charges for people to check one bag.  I would say your name, but you will have my life and, more importantly, my luggage in your hands tomorrow.  You took away my meals.  You took away my free wings and my tour of the cockpit.  And now you want me to pay to check one suitcase!!!!!!!  Which I would not have to bring if I did not have to bring my laptop.  Because I was planning to bring my super lite iPad.

My laptop not only weighs 10 million pounds, but it is antiquated.  Plus, I dropped it a couple of years ago, and the back button has never been the same.  But, now I have to bring the laptop because my conference at Harvard requires access to “Flash-enabled” websites.  Which means my brilliant idea of taking one personal item and a carry-on is out the window.  Because I HATE dragging a Bunch of Stuff with me when I have to change planes – and a 10 million pound laptop plus a full carry-on falls within my definition of a Bunch of Stuff.

So, now I must check a bag.  And pay $25 for that checked bag.  Going and coming.  And they will probably lose it.  And then I will be stuck at Harvard with an antique laptop and no clean underwear.  And everyone at Harvard will laugh at me.  Because of the horribly old laptop.  They won’t know about the underwear.  I hope.

The airport Stormtroopers better not got through my antique underwear.
photo credit: pasukaru76 via photo pin cc

They are Finally Letting Me In

So, it looks like, in the middle of my Summer of Purging, I might end up going to Harvard.  I know.  You are thinking, “But, Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, haven’t you already been to Harvard for 4 years?  It’s quite apparent from your erudite vocabulary that you attended an Ivy League school.”

Which leads me to my true topic for the day, which is, “Why do people think that I know things that I don’t?”

I am going to Harvard for a week-long conference on a topic that I never heard of, substituting for someone else who registered and cannot go.  She kindly recommended me to take her place, and I am really excited.  Because the Car Talk Guys, Tom and Ray, are in Cambridge.  And they are retiring in October.  So, this is my last chance to be in their “fair city” while they are still broadcasting.  Although it’s not like I’m going to visit them or anything.  Probably.  I mean, I’m not planning to stalk them.  Not in any kind of illegal sense anyway.

For some reason, this person who cannot go thought of me and Harvard in the same sentence.  And that cracks me up.  But it doesn’t really surprise me.  I exude an air of Harvardness, I guess.  It’s been my curse for years.

People are always asking me questions to which I can’t possibly know the answer, and then they seem completely shocked when I say, “I don’t know.”

For example, we passed a work crew on a busy street the other day, and my car passenger said, “Are they putting in a new telephone pole?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Well, what do you think they were doing?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

And so continues the questioning, with the same answer every time, until the person sullenly admits defeat or the next slightly out of the ordinary scene catches the person’s eye, and I am subjected to a new round.

The reason these questions bother me is because A) the person assumes that I was perceptive enough to observe the same exact thing he or she saw, and I am both completely blind and thoroughly unobservant 2.) the person assumes that I am in charge of city work crew assignments, and III) the person assumes I give a care.

And, for some reason, people seem to think that, if they ask me more and more detailed questions, that I will suddenly have a revelation and be able to answer what I could not answer before because they pried it out of me with their amazing interrogation skills.

This is why I like teaching gifted students.  They are all under the assumption that I know absolutely nothing, and they are pleasantly surprised whenever I reveal a modicum of wisdom.  When I say, “I don’t know” to one of their questions, they just move on instead of trying to pull out my fingernails one by one until I give them the answer.

So, I will be going to Harvard later this summer.  But I’m not going to tell anyone I know because their expectations are already way too high, and I am pretty certain that 5 days on that prestigious campus will qualify me for about as much as my achievements playing Pocket Law Firm on my iPad.

Great quote. Too bad I don’t know what it means.
photo credit: NKCPhoto via photo pin cc

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