An otherwise harmonious weekend went sideways in a big way when the above, thoughtless, words were uttered. The conversation took flight in exponentially increasing and angry tones in response to the follow-up comment that there was no need to shout. Apparently, shouting was required, as the previously repeated mentions of said need, had been ignored and the accumulated frustration of so many similar conversations over the years roiled up front and center.
I do have multiple pairs of shoes in my closet. Many are seldom worn, from days gone by when my big toe had no osteoarthritis and I could wear them with impunity. Nowadays, I must calculate the number of steps from car to house door and know if I am going to a seated event or will be required to stand on burning toes. Anything with a sole that is supple rubs the rough ended bones at the base of my left big toe together, with every step.
It took a long time for me to tune in to the fact that the problem was me, not the shoes. I'd go to a basic high street shoe chain, try on something cute in my size and make a fun and inexpensive purchase. I always tried on the right foot, from habit. I'd later select those shoes for an outing and wonder why they hurt my feet. Sometimes, I couldn't even get them on. Especially on the left foot. I started having changes of shoes both at work and in my car, as well as carrying a shoe horn in my purse. I'd curse the darn shoe designers who made such uncomfortable shoes. Then my toe started keeping me awake at night, throbbing and burning. It was sore to the touch. I finally talked to a doctor and an x-ray revealed the truth.
I was given a shot of cortisone into the joint, which is one of the worst experiences imaginable. Big needle full of viscous contents that have to be pumped into a very confined space, that was already on fire. It did help, for months at a time. I'd hobble around as the injection wore off, trying to avoid returning to experience that repeat torture. After seeing me squirm through the process a few times, the podiatrist decided to pull on my toe at the same time as he injected the cortisone. That made a huge difference. There was a space open to be filled.
The other thing I was advised to do was to select shoes with solid soles. I started buying clogs, hiking boots and those "Rocking" tennis shoes that are supposed to enhance your butt muscles. Wedge heeled shoes came into fashion and were also a good alternative. I've gone along in this way, without further steroid shots for a long time now.
My two standby pairs of wedge heeled shoes that have walked on California construction sites and cobbled village streets in Europe, have given me a lot of mileage. They reached the shabby chic stage at the end of last year and were well into the scruffy and irredeemable phase of their history as 2015 came around. California has sandal weather almost all year so, by March, I knew what I needed for my birthday splurge.
When you have your own business every decision is colored by issues of time and/or money. Something always came up that I felt should be put before spending time at the shoe store or spending money on the higher quality shoes I must now purchase.
The last event that bumped shoe shopping off my calendar was the appearance of two feral kitties in the empty lot on our street.
Initially the tuxedo cat was hanging around, presumably left by someone who moved away and, not long after, the little Siamese fluff ball was running after her, belly flattened to the floor, in fear.
I reached out to animal services who were overwhelmed with kitten season and I checked in with various rescues. The best solution I could find was to capture, spay and re-release the cats to stop further breeding.
I rented two traps and started feeding the cats on a regular basis right next to the cages. I had them covered with blankets and the cats got to sitting on top waiting to be fed. They still skittered away like wind blown leaves when I came out of the house.
I had to get strategic as I was taking them to a vet near my work, which is an hour drive from home. I needed to catch both cats on the same day. I had one false start when I had set the spring loads on the traps just to be sure I could do it in the semi dark, pre-coffee morning of the day I was aiming for. The kitten went inside, even though I hadn't put the food in there and she was captured a day early. Mama cat stayed by her baby's side, next to the cage. I released the little one with grave doubts that I'd get a second shot but hunger overcame their fear and the next morning I had them both.
They were quiet in the car. I'd draped the traps with old curtains and left space so that they could see one another. I dropped my husband at work and headed to the rescue vet's office. Spay, vaccinate, de-worm, de-flea treatments for two. It all added up to a nice pair of shoes but there was never a doubt it had to take priority. Two female kitties can multiply into great numbers and their health suffers. The vet found them to be exceptionally healthy for ferals. They haven't had too bad a start in life. They live on a quiet cul de sac with shelter, if it rains again one day. The older lady across the street feeds them in the evening and I'm condemned to continue feeding mornings, now that I've started. They have each other for company and play. The receptionist at the cat rescue said they have four hundred cats and they often get sick and stressed from being confined in such numbers.
That was a month ago. Poppy, mama cat and Mango, the baby are outside my front door as soon as I get up in the morning. Mango will let me touch her briefly, as she dives for her dish, but Poppy has become more aloof than before. It's hard to blame her.
To return to the shoe story, this weekend was Labor Day, a time known for sales and with an extra day off work. There were clients who had paid their bills on time and a deliciously surreal feeling that stems from the incredibly rare occurrence of a moment without worries.
The shoe store chain I have found to best fit my needs (Footwear etc) has a shop closer to our current home than the one I frequented before. I found directions and headed out to conquer new territories. As soon as I walked in the door, I heard a familiar voice. The manager had been transferred from the store I knew to this one and we had a bit of a reunion chat. Every shoe I selected was available in my size. There was a 30% off sale on all summer shoes and a few with even bigger discounts. I found shoes that I liked, were comfortable and reasonably stylish and was given an additional 10% off because he knew me as a loyal customer.
When I got home, I pulled the two pairs of worn out shoes from my closet and put them under the nose of the rage inspiring idiot mentioned in the first paragraph. I put them in the trash can in his bathroom, just in case he wanted time to look more closely.