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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)