Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shuffling shoes in Oz

I wrote, not too long ago, about being mom to a large family and how humbling it can be trying to keep all the pins and schedules in place.
I didn't, at that time, write about the shoes.


Van Gogh, "Shoes" 1888.

Oh, my goodness, the shoes.
I mean, really, think about it.  We are a family of ten.  We each have two feet.  If we all have only ONE pair of shoes then that is twenty shoes, right there.  I know, I know, you're saying "Hold up, shoes are counted in pairs.  So twenty should be twenty pairs." (So, follow me, in my house that would be forty count - to be precise you know.) Well, um, nope.  Not in MY house.  In my house we count SHOES.  Single shoes, usually unmatched, in no proximity to each other.
Sounds kind of disorganized, I know.
That would be because it is, disorganized,....that's how we roll, er, or perhaps I should say "march?"

You all know we have more than one pair each, we are most fortunate that way.
Heck some of my kids are growing so fast that I swear they need a new pair about once a month, not kidding....

Shoes are gonna be the end of me. 
Or, more precisely, shoes are going to be the blessed downfall, eventually and until I can finally let it go, of my endless stubborn pride.
Shoes are, almost daily, my "mom fail moment."

Let me illustrate what I mean, another "so not the great and powerful Oz" moment:
A week or so ago, I was being getting ready to take kids to another Saturday basketball game...by which I mean, I was settling down at my computer to read some emails and surf some favorite blogs.  I had just poured my first fresh cup, ok maybe my second, of coffee and had waved my hands at the kids telling them we would go to basketball in an hour or so.  See, on top of the job....


The phone rang, a number I didn't recognize, but local so not a salesperson (which I would have ignored), so I picked up.  Turns out, it was the mom of one of my first grader's classmates.    Now, let me clarify, this mom is one of those moms that I am  not, nor can ever be.  She has two children (there might be a .4 in there somewhere, I'm not sure) and she is practically perfect in every way.  She is very pretty, she has great hair that is low maintenance, she has cute clothes, she is  young and fit though not an amazon type that you can write off just because they are freaks of nature.... Her car is clean and tidy (I've seen inside at pickup, even the cargo area is organized. I covet this.  Not that I'm snooping, those rear doors open right in front of you when you're in line, ok? But I digress), and what's more, she's always on time.  Plus, she's nice.  Really.  So, you know what that means: yup, I'm kind of intimidated.  Heck, she probably crafts too.  I'm pretty sure she's been the room mom before and will be again.  You see what I mean.  She IS "the Great and Powerful Oz!"  But that is supposed to be ME, right? Ha, never.

Anyhow, so she started talking to me about Anthony and her son and shoes.  My mind was racing ahead as she talked, trying to figure out what this meant and what my kid had done and how could I fix it?  I heard her say something about different sizes.
What? Different sizes? Same shoes?
OH! As my dear goddaughter would say, "I've got this!"
So I breathed a quick sigh of relief and interrupted her, "Oh! Well, hey, if X has my Tonio's shoe I can give you the other one.  Tonio just grew out of them over Christmas! I've ordered up a size, no problem!"
And I blathered on about how funny it was that his feet were so big so fast and he's a size 5 now and Marta wanted his shoes because they fit her and they were the unisex school shoes and she thought they were cute...until I realized that phone mom had fallen silent.  Oh.  Dear. Then I realized what she had been saying: shoe mixup at school somehow, the boys brought home each other's single shoe.
OH! "No, ok, right then.  You want me to FIND your son's shoe and bring it to basketball?!! Of course! Of course we will! Sorry, not enough coffee yet today, doh!"
I hung up quickly and even more quickly went to make an espresso to wake up my soggy brain cells.  Doh, indeed.  And of course, then began the great, loud, furious (because now I was totally embarrassed) hunt for the shoe.  Which gave over to much drama and loudness and gnashing of teeth, because said shoe was NOT to be found.
Finally, it was time to leave.  No shoe.  Oh, we had Tonio's shoe in a plastic Target bag, all right.  NO, I don't know what I was thinking I just somehow felt the need to bring it.  What can I say, I'm a dolt.
I knew what I had to do...hope like mad that we'd find his shoe in the afternoon and bring it school.....
Until my Chris, deciding to go with us to the game at the last minute, broke the news to me.
He asked me about the odd bag with the single shoe.
I told him my tale.
He said, "Uh oh.  Is it a brown shoe with a velcro strap?"
Oh dear, my heart sank, I knew before he said it, what he was going to say.  I sighed, "Yes."
"Well, I found one of those all soggy and wet when I was cleaning the backyard.  I threw it in the truck and took it to the dump.  Later I found another......" and we both looked at the bag.
Yuh.  We had thrown away this boy's shoe.
And I had to tell the mom.
You might guess, I dreaded going to that basketball game.


But I did.  And I saw her in the stands, so I squared my shoulders and took a deep breath and went right up to her.
I blurted out before it hurt too much, "I'm so sorry! Please please give me  your address so I can send you another pair of shoes, I can get the same shoe at zappos, you will get them Monday."
She looked at me, and looked at the bag and said, "No, it's ok, see there's the shoe." 
I choked out, but fast, "No, this is still the wrong shoe, wesentyourstothedump.  We sent yours to the dump.  I'm SO sorry.  Tonio left them outside, they got rained on, snowed on, Chris was cleaning and saw it a mess and took it to the dump. I'm sorry! Please let me replace them."
And, because she is practically perfect in every way, she smiled over her bewildered gaze and said, "It's no big deal, don't be ridiculous."
Which of course just made me feel worse.  I am ridiculous, our house is ridiculous...because we leave our  many mismatched single shoes out in the yard to get snowed on and ruined even when they are not ours.  Because I didn't even know any of this until she called me. Because I cart single used shoes to basketball games in Target bags even though no one wants his old shoe.
She refused to give me her address. 
I'm pretty sure she thought that was a safety move.
Sigh.

So, any of you who might think that I think that I've got it together.....I so know better.  I am the mom who is NEVER behind the curtain.  I won't even begin to describe the random plops of unmatched shoe or shoes that we trip on here there and yonder in our house, or my nagging to pick them up or how often or how quickly they wander out of their closet or cubby .... But just let me say "Do the math."  Mom fail - think of the shoes, people.  And have pity. 
Still dreaming of those magic ruby slippers....

7 comments:

Paula said...

Can we be best friends? I don't drink coffee, but I do enjoy a refreshing good morning diet Coke.

I can just so relate to this whole tale.

coffeemom said...

Paula- you betcha!!

becca said...

I'm sort of dying of laughter right now... i apologize.... it's just so hilarious.... and just like me... except that i only have three kids... pathetic... and oh my car, my car is the grossest, smelliest thing in the whole entire universe... and actually, it eats shoes, and single socks as well, apparently...
hahahahaa! we can just know that our kids will, at least, have a FUN and ADVENTUROUS childhood, if not entirely organized! HA!

Jen said...

You are the best! I love this post. Real life. Just another reason why I would choose you to be my friend:)

graceling said...

Can I just say that I feel so reassured- so validated- to know that one of my mommy heroes *also* is intimidated by the "perfect" moms?

shannon said...

I haven't checked in in a while and boy am I glad I did today!! I am laughing so hard, with such genuine empathy and relief. It happens to all of us (with more than 2 kids) right? And if you have a dog, or a neighbor's dog, then it's all over. My neighbor's dog hunts our shoes and has been known to bury one, drag one all the way to his house (far away through the woods), and totally demolish another. My son insists on wearing the totally demolished one. And it's just one that's demolished- the other is fine.
I love that you brought that shoe in that bag to the game- I don't know why but it is the funniest, sweetest part. . . . Thank you so much for relating the story.

Amy said...

Shoes!
Ack!
And there are only 8 of us.

And worse...
the socks!

Can't even TALK about the car...

Organization eludes me.

:o/