Lorelei is off to camp with her classmates this morning. They will be spending three days at Camp Wesley Woods, about an hour from home.
This of course necessitated a lot of shopping. And with one thing and another, I put off this shopping until yesterday. Yesterday evening, to be exact. Because it was my birthday, and Walmart was really not high on my list of places to spend it.
And turns out I overestimated Walmart, or at least its shoe department. Because Lorelei wanted rain boots–insisted, in fact, that she was SUPPOSED to have rain boots (and she can get very obsessive about such things)–and the only rain boots at Walmart were in toddler sizes.
What the packing list really said she was required to have was “hiking boots or shoes” and “tennis shoes for creek walking.” (Or maybe it said sneakers for creek walking, but same thing.)
We decided that her school sneakers, which she only wears a couple of days a week and which are close to worn out anyway, could be used for creek walking. But Walmart was also devoid of hiking boots or shoes. And Payless (and all other shoe stores) were closed (it was Sunday) before we figured this out. So Target was our only hope.
You see the results of the Target trip above. I sure hope that’s close enough to be considered hiking shoes, because they were all that came close, and we had a choice between a size 2 and a size 6 (I think 5 would have been the best choice). And Lorelei was not happy because they are BOY shoes.
I don’t usually get worked up about this kind of thing, being pretty traditional when it comes to gender roles and stereotypes, but I got irritated this morning when Lorelei and I were talking about her shoes. Because there were no hiking shoes for little girls. All the little girl shoes were pink or purple or rainbow or glittery. The only boots in sight were strictly for fashion. And I understand that little girls like pink and purple and glittery shoes, because Lorelei likes them too. But there weren’t even pink glittery hiking shoes. It was as if the people who make little girl shoes don’t think little girls might ever need serious shoes to do important things in. (Yes, I know they make little girl hiking shoes. I know I could have ordered them from Lands End–which is where I got mine–or somewhere similar. But most people shop at Walmart and Target and can’t afford to buy expensive hiking shoes for fast-growing kids, so why should a variety of shoes be available there as well?)
Before the fire, my closet was overflowing, mostly with clothes I couldn’t fit in anymore but couldn’t bear to get rid of. Seriously, I had the dress I wore when I graduated from college in there.
Truth to tell, most of the things I actually wore lived in a laundry basket sitting in the middle of my bedroom. And most of my day-to-day wardrobe was . . . frumpy.
Because we were in Baltimore for a funeral when the house burned down, the four or so outfits I retained (I had consciously packed very lightly!) included some of my dressier items along with the t-shirts and yoga pants I brought along for the nine-hour drive. I made do with this minimalist wardrobe for some time, going out to buy only the barest of necessities.
As I’ve slowly bought things, I have consciously tried to go with somewhat nicer-looking items than those I was wearing before (as far as the clothes I wear to be seen in, that is. If you want to know the truth, at the moment I am wearing an exceedingly frumpy but cozy oversized Wal-Mart sweatshirt.). And when anything I’ve purchased has made me feel dowdy after I’ve worn it a few times, I’ve promptly given it away.
I will probably be writing for years about the fire and how it has affected me. I am not finished figuring it out yet and writing helps me do that. One thing I know is that I get a strange satisfaction from looking at my nearly empty closet and mostly empty drawers. Having lost everything I don’t see the point in collecting new things to get attached to. I feel anxious looking at the huge amounts of stuff that everyone but me has already acquired in the last two years. I enjoy filling up bags with Goodwill donations and getting them out of here.
But none of that really explains the Crocs, does it?
The fire left me with one pair of shoes, I believe–my black summer sandals. And then my hiking boots were rescued from the basement. Which was a shame, because I have trouble finding comfortable shoes that fit, let alone that are stylish. I have very flat feet so every attempt at heels ends up with me kicking them off and walking around barefooted for the rest of the night. I originally wore size 9.5 N. Many companies skip the larger half sizes, and they also seem to assume that if your feet are long they are wide also. A 10 M used to fall right off my foot, so most of my shoes had to have straps of some kind.
After five kids, I probably measure more like 10.5. So that means I have to buy size 11, and I don’t know of you’ve happened to look at that section of your local Payless, but blink and you’ll miss it. And let’s just add the latest twist, which is that for the past several years I have been experiencing unilateral edema, so that while my right foot remains narrow, my left one varies from narrow to wide, depending. (Depending on what? No clue, really.)
This house has wall-to-wall carpet. So after years of wearing shoes indoors because of gritty hardwood floors (What? Yours aren’t gritty? I hate you.) I now go barefooted inside to minimize staining (WHY IS ALL CARPET BEIGE OR TAUPE OR CREAM? WHO THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA?). I have a pair of slip on shoes outside my garage door and outside my front door for quick trips when I don’t want to go all the way upstairs to put on my shoes.
Now, William apparently has some sensory issues and the only shoes he can stand to put on his feet are Crocs. For about two years now, we have just bought a new pair when the current ones wear out. And one of his pairs broke a strap recently. William being William, he left them outside on the front porch, and one day I slid my feet into them because they looked like they would be just my size.
They were! And they stay on, and are completely flat, and don’t hurt my feet when I walk (I get plantar fascitis from time to time on top of my other woes.). All anyone ever says about Crocs is how ugly they are. No one ever told me they would be so comfortable.
At first, I just slipped them on to drive William to school. Then I wore them on one of my walks up and down the street. Then for a quick trip to the grocery store. Pretty soon I was even wearing them IN FRONT OF PEOPLE, when I picked Lorelei up from school.
What I haven’t done is buy new ones in colors to match my clothes. Yet.