On the ground and in the air

The shoes go marching two by two

On a rainy Northwest afternoon that wasn’t good for much else, I decided to take the shoe challenge. Eric teases me and calls me “Imelda,” a label I reject. Exactly how many shoes do I have? I marched them out to the parade grounds for review. I dragged shoes out of the closet, from behind doors, from under the bed, and from the foyer. Here they are—a mere 63 pairs.

shoes covering bed

Big Chex was minding his own business, catnapping on his favorite corner of the bed, so I just arranged the shoes around him. He awoke to find himself a kitty in shoeland … and he was freaked out. He clambered around the strange landscape and even tried laying on some of the flatter shoes, obviously desperate to communicate his angst. Defeated, he left for the living room. Poor baby—you can see the stress on his face in these photos.

black and white cat amongst shoes

black and white cat laying on shoes

My shoe collection is fairly utilitarian, long on comfort and practicality but a little short on style. Carrie Bradshaw, I’m not—not a four-inch heel among them. I was surprised to see that most of them are in good shape, even though they have many miles on them. Nearly all of them are walking shoes, or colorful summer office sandals, or boring winter office shoes, or sport sandals and flip-flops. A scant handful are slightly dressy. Apparently I have a thing for hiking shoes. I have three pairs, but it has been years since Eagle Scout Eric and I have gone for a hike.

Eagle Scout poked his head in the door and guessed, “About 60 pairs?” And then he said: “That doesn’t seem like a lot of shoes compared to some women.” Yes. He said that.

In the end, I tossed six pairs because they were wearing out or I figured no one would want them, and bagged another six for charity because they were too big, too small, or too painful. I’m down only a dozen, but that’s progress. (That means I can buy a dozen replacements!)

I dismissed the shoes back to their quarters, picked up Checkers in the living room, apologized to him and escorted him back to his nap spot. He wasted no time resuming his nap.

sleeping cat

Notice anything different in this view? The Heap is gone! All put away. You didn’t know that heap of clothes was hiding my grandma’s copper-trimmed cedar hope chest, did you? Now it’s glowing in the light once more, as it should be.



cedar chest and cellular shade

Inside the chest’s cover, written in pencil, is something like a date (2/10 1911) and a model number (m 53) and possibly a price (16.50). My grandma would have been a young woman in the early years of the Twentieth Century.

interior of cedar chest

Above the cedar chest, we’ve ditched the old miniblinds and installed new Levolor cellular shades, just like the ones in the library, except these are translucent white. Top-down/bottom-up … perfect for blocking out neighbors but still stealing a glimpse of night sky.

top-down bottom-up shades

Next to the bed, I also tossed the worn and stained IKEA paper lamp and replaced it with this porcelain beauty, which you might recognize from that visit to my parents’ house back in 1952 Milwaukee. It was one of their wedding presents, and I dare any cat to knock it over! It’s beautiful, it’s vintage, and it’s sooo much classier than that IKEA lamp.



bedside table and lamp

If you look closely, you can see where three-year-old D’Arcy took a pencil and traced the outline of the leaves. Mom was not impressed.

lamp close-up showing pencil lines

The room feels so much bigger now that it’s tidied up. It would feel downright spacious if Duke’s bed weren’t taking up all the free floor space, but that’s non-negotiable.

Look—up in the sky!

This weekend when I was out in the garden, I spied a little blue radio-controlled helicopter that had crashed in the bushes, or maybe one of our wily cats brought it down. Eric and I joked about it being a drone and set it on the fence in the hope that its owner would find it.

RC helicopter

Later that day, I was on the deck and heard a strange mechanical whirr above my head. I looked up and saw a real drone hovering high over our house! I ran in and called Eric, who had the presence of mind to grab his camera.


With a mixture of fascination and alarm I waved at the drone as if it were a living thing. It saw me. It quickly descended low over our yard to check us out, then zoomed off to a neighbor’s house a few doors away. Eric and I beat feet down the alley to investigate. We found a not-very-talkative young man controlling the drone from his back stoop. I have no reason to think he was up to anything other than playing with his high-tech toy, but it made me glad that we installed the new blinds. Sigh … I guess the days of topless sunbathing in the backyard are over! (Just kidding, of course. They were over years ago.)



15 thoughts on “On the ground and in the air

  1. Jessica@CapeofDreams

    Cute shoes. Poor Checkers. He obviously does not share Creme’s desire to be in the midst of things. I’m glad he was able to get back to his nap. The room looks wonderful. Great job!

    The drones terrify me. Big Brother come to life. Did you see the episode of Modern Family with the drones? It was hysterical.

  2. Karen B.

    I’m impressed with your commitment and subsequent paring down. I’ve slowed a bit on my quest for my version of minimalism, but shoes are next on the list. I’ve never counted, but I know based on the boxes, that there is no where near 60 pairs. I do love shoes!
    I don’t think I’d like a drone hanging over my yard, friendly or not. I know the are often equipped with cameras and it seems creepy to me. I guess if it was an Amazon drone delivering a package I’d be okay! 🙂

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Thanks, Karen. We could see its camera and I’m sure it was on because the drone responded to my wave. A wake up call! The bedroom’s not quite done, but SO much better!

  3. Nine Dark Moons

    63 pairs of shoes! OMG! I have probably 12. But I know I’m not normal in that sense! My husband has more shoes than I do! Holy cow. Congrats on getting through the stack of stuff and your closets and dressers! 8 bags of clothes is an awesome donation to GoodWill! I did about the same over the past 2 years. It always feels great to declutter. The drone would freak me out big time! So creepy. What’s a dude down the street doing with his own drone, anyways? Keep an eye on that…

  4. Jo

    You’re my decluttering heroine. As for the drone, if one shows up in my yard, I’m reporting it (and its operator if I find out who it is) to the police or his mother or both. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  5. Pingback: In a Shoe Box | Let's Face the Music

  6. yardandplate

    Awesome post…loved seeing all your shoes. I, like you, am not a high heel gal…I prefer styles like the ones you have…you have an awesome flip flop/sandal collection…all I wear in Austin for the summer. What size did you say you were?? Mwwwwwaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!
    btw…I love the wood trim around your bedroom windows…so lovely 🙂 Cedar chest is so lovely too 🙂

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Thanks, Danielle! I so wish all the trim in the living/dining/foyer wasn’t painted. Had I known I would stay here for over 30 years, if I’d started stripping when I bought the house, maybe I would be almost done by now!! 🙂


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