The past two days have been blazing hot. 80s and 90s. Humid. Hot. Ugh.
I'm not a heat-loving chick, in case you didn't know. I can deal with it, mostly, but too much and I wilt.
I was okay these past two days because of several things. For one thing, according to the weather forecasts, there was an end in sight. So I just had to hold on. I figured I could get a LOT of laundry done in such hot weather, and you know, cranking out laundry (and drying it outside on the line) is my raison d'etre. Of course it is.
So there was that.
Another reason? Quite simply, the sunny, non-rainy last several days allowed the gorgeous peonies to continue blooming without being smashed and crushed by the heavy rain that's destroyed them all too soon over the past couple of years. It's just been that way, it seems – they start blooming up a storm and then, when they're at their height of glory, a downpour pelts the fluffy, fragile blossoms and leaves droopy, damaged petals all over the driveway. One year I knew a storm was coming and that they'd all be ruined, so I just cut them all and brought them inside. Somewhere in this blog is a picture I took of Julia on our front steps, her arms overflowing with huge peony blossoms. Do I get this nutty over any other flowers? Um, no, though the irises are pretty close.
Well, another reason I was able to survive these two days has been because I finally, FINALLY, went out and bought some new footwear. Really. I needed new sneakers. Not just because my old ones, two pair of them, were falling apart. Also because those old ones, well, they were too small. Had probably been too small when I bought them, but I have my weird little stubborn quirks, and footwear seems to be one of them.
For years, I had the smallest feet among the women in my family. (Which makes it sound like there's a whopping big clan of big-footed women stomping around my family tree, but no, I'm just comparing my feet to my mother's and my sister's. And their feet aren't gunboats, either. But I'm the shortest, and I have the smallest feet.
Now, when my sister had her two kids, her feet went up in size a bit with each pregnancy. My mother said hers did, too. So, naturally it should follow that I finally got around to having my kids, my feet would get bigger, too. And I'm not just talking about the Fred Flinstone swollen feet I had toward the ends of each pregnancy. I'm talking permanent enlargement due to a big giant heavy pregnant belly.
And guess what. After I had my kids? I could still fit in my old shoes JUST FINE, thank you. I could! Yay! My feet broke the pattern! They went back to their pre-pregnancy size!
Well, I'm just a modern medical miracle, you might think. And you'd be wrong. I'm just a person who doesn't buy a lot of shoes…and so the shoes I'd had, I'd had for a while and they were, well, comfortable. As in, stretched out. How do I know this? Because I ordered another pair of my absolute FAVORITE shoes, only in a different color…and they didn't fit. Too tight. Hmm. Maybe the other ones had been too tight, too, and I just didn't remember it.
(Actually, when I first got those other shoes, they fit perfectly. Like gloves. I loved them.)
So…that was a bit of a clue, wasn't it? A clue I chose to ignore completely. Because, well, I didn't like what that clue was trying to tell me.
I have a history of ignoring these clues. When I was little, don't remember how old, my mother took me to get new shoes, probably at the beginning of the school year. And I tried on these red shoes. I really, really liked these red shoes. But they were a bit tight. And I don't know what I was thinking at the time (probably "I want these shoes"), but instead of saying they were tight and, perhaps, getting the next size up, I said they fit great. "Are you sure?" Oh yes, I was sure. I probably thought that if they didn't fit, then I just couldn't get them at all. And I wanted those shoes. Very much. So my mom bought them. And I didn't wear them. Not more than once, maybe. Because, you know, THEY WERE TOO TIGHT.
But, delving backward a bit more (isn't this so fascinating? "Jayne, when are you making cheese again, because we'd really rather you talk about that than about your stupid feet.") in my podiatric (is that a word?) history…when I was a kid, my feet didn't fit in regular girls' sneakers. Now, back then there weren't 8 billion sneakers to choose from, either. Basically, there were boys' sneakers and girls' sneakers. I had to wear boys' sneakers. Which was actually pretty cool. They were Keds. Canvas sneakers with that wide chunk of white rubber that covered the toe. I think back then Keds were supposed to make you run faster and jump higher. I know mine did.
Anyway, maybe it was because I knew I had "boy feet" and couldn't fit in "girl" sneakers that I assumed those red shoes were going to be a tight fit, and if I didn't just DEAL with the pain, I'd never have pretty shoes. I'd be wearing boy sneakers the rest of my life.
So there's that.
Oh, and actually, I had high arches, not wide feet. Same effect – they needed a lot more space to fit in the shoes. High arches sounds so much better, though, doesn't it?
So, here we are again today. Or, rather, a couple of days ago. I was going shoe shopping. Now, I haven't bought anything new for me for a long time. But I'm trying to get back into some sort of exercise regimen (I know, I've said THAT before, but really, this time, I mean it. No, really, I do.), and I needed – not just wanted, but needed – new sneakers. Sneakers (or "running shoes," as all the cool people say), that actually fit me comfortably. Sneakers, or running shoes, that I'd wear. And walk in, and maybe even run in.
And in order to get the required footwear, I'd need to make a rather big mental adjustment.
I needed to admit that I was powerless over the size of my feet.
Hi. My name is Jayne, and…my feet are a size 8.
There, I said it.
Do you know how painful that was? I used to be a size 7! 7 1/2 at the most. Even a 6 1/2, depending on the shoe! And now? Now all that was but a memory.
I had some practice in this over the winter. I needed new boots. And I had to get over the size issue in order to get them. And I did. But somehow it didn't matter so much with the boots. Well, it did, but I got over it fast. Winter boots are big anyway, so it didn't matter that they were a size 8 instead of a 7 or 7 1/2. Winter boots, like winter coats, are supposed to look big, because they're supposed to keep you warm, and big and bulky = warmth.
Sneakers, or running shoes, however, were a different story.
But on Tuesday I squared my shoulders, put on my less smelly pair of falling-apart sneakers, and headed to the store.
Once I'd resigned myself to my shoe size, it got easier. I just had to pick out the boxes that had that new magic number on them and TOTALLY IGNORE my former size.
Julia was with me, and that helped. Really. No matter what I tried on, she was enthusiastic.
"Mom! Those ones are BEAUTIFUL! Are you going to get them?" Over and over. She was my little cheerleader.
I tried on a pair of Nike Free running shoes, and I really wanted them to fit because I'd heard (mainly from my sister) a lot of good things about them. And they're so lightweight! But no. They were too tight at an 8 and when I went up a half size, they were too long. Not my shoe.
I tried on several other pairs…different brands…I had one set aside that felt…well…fine, and I was kind of leaning toward them, but I kept looking…and just for kickes I tried on this pair of Asics that looked pretty cool and were on sale, so why not…
And I actually said "Aaaah!" when I put the first one on my foot.
It was my Cinderella moment. My glass slipper. Really. It felt like someone had made a mold of my foot, and then built a sneaker (running shoe) around it.
I wiped the grateful tear from my eye and laced up the other one. More "Aaaah!" I think I heard angels singing, somewhere up above the shelves.
I walked – no, I floated – back and forth a bit, flexing my feet, bending my knees and rolling forward on my toes (which sounds silly, but in these shoes? Ballet!), just making sure they felt good completely.
"Mom! Those are beautiful! Are you gonna get them?"
Why, yes, Julia, yes I am!
And I skipped all the way to the register, my Asics glass slippers in a box under my arm.
Okay, no, I didn't skip.
But I was very, very light of heart.
And later that morning, after we got home, I was rather annoyed with the pair of shorts I was wearing. I'm really set in my ways (not you, Jayne!) and it's taking me a while to get used to the whole "below the waist" fit of a lot of the styles of pants and jeans and shorts. But I'm trying. I don't want to be accused of wearing "mom-jeans" – even if I AM a mom and have every right to dress the part.
Anyway, so these annoying shorts, they just seemed to be riding TOO low. It was really bugging me.
And then I suddenly saw this annoyance through a different prism.
Maybe they weren't fitting right…because (dare I say it?) they were too big.
Too big? How can that be? I need to lose weight!
I pulled open a drawer in my bureau. In it, under all the stretchy exercise stuff, were a couple of pairs of shorts that I bought last summer without trying them on. And guess what. They were too small for me last summer. And I was too mad at myself and embarrassed to bring them back. So I kept them. You know, hoping that I'd fit in them.
And so I grabbed the first pair. And I put them on. And…I zipped them up. And I buttoned the button.
I think it's because of the new sneakers.