I’ve Been Holding my Breath While I Type This Post, so Please Excuse Me While I Look Up How to Exhale Before I Black Out
I nearly had a full-on anxiety attack the other day while I was driving because I don’t know how to cobble shoes.
I was thinking about one of my shoes, which had broken. Then I was thinking about how I can’t afford to keep buying new shoes every time one breaks. Then I was thinking about how I can barely afford to repair them, either, because the last time I took one in for repair they charged me $1000 just to put a cap on one heel. This reminded me of a newspaper article I read about a very trustworthy shoe repair shop in the area that I’m pretty sure has reasonable rates, but the owner had to close because he has pancreatic cancer. This led to a brief regret that I haven’t learned how to cure cancer yet. But then I realized that even if I knew how to cure cancer, I would still have broken shoes, and the number of master shoe craftsmen is dwindling every day. Which led to the obvious conclusion that I better get on the internet and find a YouTube video about fixing shoes or I am going to be going barefoot for the rest of my life.
And then I started hyperventilating because there are so many things that I need to learn how to do, and there is not enough time.
It was all fine 20 years ago when there was no YouTube, and the only way you could learn how to cobble shoes was to fly your butt down to Italy, and find yourself some old man in a little village who would be willing to take you on as an apprentice. I mean, it was obvious, then, that it was not my responsibility to become an amateur shoemaker.
But now that the skills are only a few keyboard strokes away, I feel that it is incumbent on me to become an expert so I will not cut my feet on shards of glass when the world ends.
The problem is, according to the internet, I also need to learn:
how to automate Windows with PowerShell (I have to confess, I thought we were talking about car windows, which mine are already automated, so this seemed superfluous until I realized this had nothing to do with cars or windows.)
I mean, it just seems lazy to admit that I don’t know how to do something when there are so many free resources available. You might argue that because they are on the internet I don’t need to learn them, just refer to them when the need arises. But what if the internet DIES? And then I need to learn how to be patient with the zombies who are attacking me and the only way to evade them is to dress like Lady Gaga and douse myself in homemade beer to mask my scent? And I could have referred to daguerrotypes of the pop diva if I had ever bothered to learn how to preserve them. I’m going to feel pretty stupid, then, that I didn’t make use of those lessons when I could.
It’s clear now what I need to do.
Quit work so I can learn these valuable skills before it’s too late.
(Twenty-five years ago, in the midst of being “kidnapped” at 1 A.M. by sorority members during pledging)
Fellow “kidnapping victim”, looking at me: Geez, how do you always look so perfect? It’s the middle of the night, we just got dumped out of bed, and you’ve got every hair in place, and you look gorgeous.
(Yesterday, in the parking lot, after spending an hour getting ready to go to the hospital to visit my mother-in-law:)
Dimples, my daughter: Mom, why do you have two different shoes on?
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.
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.
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…
I feel sorry for any woman who is not married to a pirate.
My own swashbuckling buccaneer rescued me once again this weekend.
I hate having to be rescued. And I really hate asking to be rescued. But if it has to happen, thank goodness I have Cap’n Firepants to do the rescuing.
Cap’n Firepants may not be a pirate in real life, but no genuine pirate would be fierce enough to face my husband’s daily trials. Forget scurvy, rotting teeth, and cut-throat shipmates; Cap’n Firepants has to deal with Wonderbutt and me.
At the conclusion of my not-so-great birthday week, Cap’n Firepants sensed that my dissatisfaction with the lack of fireworks and parades in my honor could only be alleviated by one thing – an afternoon of shopping. So he generously volunteered to usher Dimples to her synchronized swimming practice and remain for the entire 2 1/2 hours since she might or might not be feeling well enough to survive the rigors of stretches, laps, and rehearsal for an upcoming show.
I embarked on my afternoon of freedom with high hopes of finding some brown ankle boots to replace the pair that I’ve had for 10 years. Before heading to every woman’s shoe Mecca – Nordstrom’s – I made a quick stop at a mega shoe store across the highway. I scanned the aisles for something that fit my simple criteria: brown, sexy, comfortable, classy, appropriate for work, appropriate for a night out on the town, the envy of all women on earth, reasonably priced.
With that background research accomplished, I now felt I was justified in making a trip to Nordstrom’s. I headed back out to my car to continue my journey.
And my trusty red Rav wouldn’t start.
A few things went through my mind – the first being, “Of course. How else could I end this less than stellar birthday week, but with a disappointing afternoon stranded in the parking lot of a store I’ve already scoured up and down?”
Because it’s all about me, People.
Over the years, Cap’n Firepants has had to: change at least two of my tires, drive home from work to let me into the house, drive home from work to take me to the hospital, stay up until 1 A.M. trying to fix a garage door that I broke (not even ours – long story for another time), and drive to my school because I took the wrong set of keys (his). He has never once complained, called me an idiot, or in any way shape or form used any of these situations to make me feel guilty.
And he didn’t start now.
After I explained the situation, and we decided that I wasn’t exactly in dire straits, being stranded in the parking lot of a major mall in broad daylight with a SuperTarget across the street, he offered to finish up supervising Dimples’ practice, swing by the auto store to get a new battery, swing by our house to pick up his tools, and drive the 20 miles to where my pitiful car that he hates waited to spit grease all over him.
He didn’t even yell at me when it started raining as he began the delicate operation of attaching wires to the new battery. We’re in a SEVERE DROUGHT, People. And it started raining right during the five minute time period that was pretty much the only moment in the last 6 months we would have asked for it to NOT start raining.
The testament to his true nature, though, is that, when he was finished, drenched and filthy, he never even questioned the thought that I was going to continue my shopping.
I defy any Knight in Shining Armor or Swashbuckling Pirate to be more chivalrous than that.
I’ve decided how to tell when you are living a life of luxury. Shoes. Not just the fact that you own some designer shoes. Anyone can save up their Starbucks money and buy a pair of Manolo Blahniks. It’s when you can go the shoe store and see a pair of shoes that you know would go perfectly with an outfit in your closet, and you actually go ahead and buy them.
Well, everyone does that, you think. In fact, isn’t that the point of actually going to the shoe store in the first place? But look at that last sentence in the first paragraph carefully, and you will realize your mistake. “An” is the key word. Yes, a pair of shoes that will only go with one outfit. That is true luxury.
I went to the shoe store yesterday, and found the absolute perfect pair of red shoes. I’ve never bought a pair of red shoes in my life. Because, let’s face it. How many outfits will they actually go with? There are 10 million shades of red, so you probably won’t wear them with a red skirt or blouse. So you have to be a little more daring, and try to slide them in as the third color in a combo, like black and white, or gray. Or you can be a patriotic red, white, and blue. Attractive.
So it was foolish of me to even try them on. But they beckoned as I traveled down every aisle. I’ve been crushing on red shoes ever since I watched The Wizard of Oz movie the weekend I unknowingly had the chicken pox. (Long story.)
I reasoned that, once I slipped them on, they would look awful and I would be able to abandon them with a clear conscience. But that turned out to not be the case. I could tell that heads were turning admiringly as I strutted toward the long mirror in my tank top, khaki shorts, and three inch red pumps. I was certain that those shoes could transform me into the sexiest forty-two year old at next weekend’s soccer game. Or a hooker.
But I could only think of one outfit that I owned that might even be a possible match for these lovely shoes. And it was not the one I had on. (Come on, people, I’m not a complete dufus in the fashion department.) I tried desperately to think of others. But nothing came to mind. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pull off the high heels with bobby socks look that Dorothy rocked. And I am not at the point in my life where I can spend eighty dollars on a pair of shoes that can’t multitask.*
So I tearfully packed the shoes back up and forced myself back down the more utilitarian aisles of beige, black and brown shoes. But I left with nothing. It was too depressing.
*Some of you might feel obliged to recommend the ultimate multitasking shoes – Crocs. Yes, I am aware that you can buy them in every color of the rainbow and that they are oh, so practical for any occasion. At the risk of starting a blogging controversy, I would like to ask you to please refrain from suggesting Crocs. I do fine on my own looking like a clown, and do not need any other fashion accessories to exaggerate this image.