Subtitled: Of all things, shoes.
Many are the moments that we plan because they’re “bloggable.” That’s the way it is—or rather, becomes—when you have a blog. It’s a bit embarrassing to acknowledge up front but there you have it.
Other events take us unawares. We are caught, guard down, by one of life’s fastballs. We are knocked flat to the ground and it hurts, at first, yet God is always with us.
Do we blog about those moments, too? We do if we want to remember.
Two Fridays ago I had a couple of errands to run with the kids—quickly—before Jamie picked me up for the homeschooling conference. Summer sandals and Jem’s birthday present—that was it, we had to hurry.
I had seen the BOGO sign posted at Payless Shoes the day before: Buy one pair; Get ½ off the 2nd. I watch and wait for this sign like the cost-efficient beacon that it is. Hey, when you’re fitting five kids for new shoes each season, you have got be frugal!
You know that.
Except when we pulled into the parking lot, I saw that the BOGO sign was no longer in the window. Dang it, I thought, in my frustration. I missed it by one day! I felt helpless and annoyed, a victim of my busy life and my bad planning. I was about to turn the van around when I noticed a new sign: Summer Sandals 50% off! An even better deal, I thought with relief. We scurried in.
Now then. A visit to Payless is not so much an errand as it is an expedition. My boys aren’t the problem—they stand there laconically as I fit the shoes upon their feet, they murmur, “Looks good,” and we are done. They have long since figured out that the faster they are fitted, the faster they can get back to reading Tintin.
Cate, too, is pretty much amenable to anything I hold up. “Oh, those are pretty!” she’ll exclaim agreeably. “Sure! I’ll take ‘em!” And then she, too, goes back to reading Tintin.
Three kids down—two to go.
The hardest two.
The most painful two.
The so-picky-and-particular-about-their-shoes-that-I-want-to-yank-out- my-hair -in- great-big-clumps-and-run-screaming-from-the-store two.
Between the two of them, Felicity and Angela take more time to shod than a homeless shelter. Felicity, who is normally the most easygoing and affable of children, turns into an opinionated and furious little boar when it comes to an ill-fitting pair of shoes.
I’m serious. She bares her teeth when her shoes bug her.
This is so frustrating. They’re just shoes! I want to fume at her. Can’t you just put up with them?
Many are the times that she has loved her shoes pre-purchase and hated them one day later. This is an aggravating and expensive habit. She is a pint-sized Imelda Marcos.
Angela is not quite as particular about her shoes as her older sister. However, she is a holy terror in the aisles and it is very hard to pin her down for a fitting. By the time Felicity had made her selection, Angela had amassed an armload of goods—none of which had anything to do with summer sandals. Huge, furry white kitty slippers, a fake-leather Dora purse…all of this had the potential to be a huge problem when I checked out.
Speaking of which. As I made my way—finally—to the counter to pay for all the shoes I saw again the Summer Sandals 50% Off! sign, only this time I looked closer.
At the bottom of the sign in very small type were the words: On Select Styles Only.
None of the five pairs of sandals that I had were on sale—none of them. Who pays full price for five pairs of shoes in a store that’s known for its sales & deals & specials? Nobody, that’s who. (And that is exactly what I felt like—a big fat nobody.)
On a normal day—a centered day—I could have dealt with this more calmly, but given the time restraint and the hassle I’d just been through…
Well, it was way more my frazzled mind could handle.
That helpless, anxious, help-me-I’m-on-the-brink-tears feeling returned. After all that work, do I buy the shoes or don’t I?
“I’m sorry,” I said to the saleslady. “I need to think about this for a minute.” (Read: go to the van and phone the voice of reason that’s my husband.)
I could not have anticipated the events that were to follow.
To be cont.