Shoe-fly

Unbelievable though it may seem — I, Ellen, am the owner of a pair of  ridiculous, platform sandals. They are red. They are, as I mentioned, ridiculous and I, of course, love them.

And I paid only one dollar.

Indeed, how it all went down was a little unbelievable and, of course, it happened at Shoe Carnival, home of the ridiculous when it comes purchasing shoes.

To quote someone I worked with long ago, if I only wore them to take out the trash, I’d be getting my money’s worth. But of course, I wouldn’t be doing that. I’ve got other shoes reserved for trash-taking duty.

So there I was at Shoe Carnival buying my son Tras some shoes, and to get to the children’s department, you have to pass Ladies Shoes. Well, to get anywhere you have to pass Ladies Shoes, seeing as it takes up fully the middle two-thirds of the store. On this particular day, there was a sale table and I won’t lie, I did stop to see if there was anything there I had to have.

Ta-da!I found these.

Just $10! Marked down from $39.99. Pretty sweet deal. And though I woudn’t be wearing them, as Audrey suggested, to convey rubbish to the curb, if I traipsed about in them two or three times in the coming summer it would totally be worth it. So I tried them on, posed a bit in the mirror —

And, pronouncing  them fabulous, tucked them under my arm and we continued our journey to Children’s.

But lo, what is that I hear, blistering my ears over the loudspeaker? It’s the Shoe Carnival Barker, announcing a that all pink-tag shoes, for the next 10 minutes would be marked HALF OFF. Just bring it to a carnie, and they’ll mark it down.

Back to the sale table I went, and my shoes were duly marked down to $5.

Can I get an AMEN?

We resumed our trek for Trassie’s shoes, selected them in short order, and were drifting cash-registerward when again, the loudspeaker doth proclaim —

“Contest! All women wearing sandals come forward!” So, since I was wearing sandals, come forward I did and took my place in a quickly forming line.

“We’re having a pedicure contest!” brayed the carnie – and immediately, two women bolted.

The rest of us laughed; I a bit more jovially than most because, owing to the fact that my sister Leah had recently gotten married, I sported only the second pedicure I’d ever had in my life.

I stood there glorying in my French-manicured toes, confident that I could be A CONTENDER.

So maybe you can guess the rest. One of the carnies looked over our tootsies  and narrowed the field down to another lady and me. Being (as I believe I have mentioned before) ridiculous, I did a little pirouette, and the other woman, whose toes were every bit as nice as mine, said, “Give it to her!” And so I won, and so I spun, and was handed a coupon for $4 off my purchase. My $5 purchase.

Loud and proud

This wasn’t the only time Shoe Carnival has made me dance for my coupon. Well, what I’ve done in the past is sing. Once it was “I’m a Little Teapot” which earned me a $5-off coupon. Another day, anyone who knew all the words to the theme song to Spongebob Squarepants was invited up to caterwaul for those assembled.

My children have gone from being oblivious to my antics, to being embarrassed by them, and now have muscled their way through the gag reflect and are merely tolerant when I sing or dance in public, which thankfully (even to me) I do only rarely.

Although it makes you kind of wonder, doesn’t it, what I could get away with if I went searching for my old tap shoes and really cut loose.

 

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If you like it, put a ring through it

In December, my daughter turned 18. In October, I’ll turn 50. Oh, how old I feel.

Aging sucks but, as they say, it beats the alternative, so I’m attempting to embrace it with good grace. Part of that good grace is accepting the reality of my first statement, which is I am actually the mother of an adult-age human being. And being such, she announced that in honor of her birthday, she’d like to do “something 18.”

Uh-oh, I thought, steeling myself for a discussion about tattoos. But no, she had her sights set on piercing her nose. So what ensued thereafter was a long amusing conversation wherein I questioned her desire to be tagged like an animal, and indicated that my approval would only be forthcoming if she’d consent to have the procedure completed by a qualified veterinarian.

Unsurprisingly, she wasn’t particularly amused.

But after torturing her a bit, we agreed that the piercing would be accepted, but only after I’d extracted the promise that she wouldn’t nag, cajole, beg, or plead that I agree to a tattoo and the subject was taboo until such time that she’d both earned a college degree and was self-supporting.

And lo, it was decreed that a piercing of the nostril shall occur.

We hied ourselves to Bleed Blue Tattoo and Piercing, a dubious choice based upon the name alone. Seriously, can’t people in Lexington name a business without inserting indecorous body parts, functions and fluids? Apparently not. But to explain a bit for those without the benefit of living where I do, “bleed blue” refers to the University of Kentucky Wildcats, the local religion which inspires in its fans a stigmata of fresh blue blood.

In our company with the piercee, Claire, was her beau fantastique, Graham, and sightseer brother, Christopher.

Here we are, ensconced in Chez Bleed Blue, awaiting the piercing by one Zak, a multi-tattooed and pierced personage who, truly, was a delight to meet. I asked him about his facial piercings, which he referred to as “surface” piercings, which I misunderstood as “circus” piercings. Ha, ha! But no matter, turns out Zak actually IS a member of a circus, and serves as ringmaster for a small local troupe.

And so we proceeded with the procedure. These photos, by the way, were ably snapped by the aforementioned Graham on his iPhone, and don’t represent the breadth of his photographic ability. Boy’s good; look at his website and you’ll see.

Zak sterilizes the area:

Zak crams a long, dangerous looking needle up into her nose:

And finally, Zak tags the young heifer … ahem, excuse me, places the nose decor into the nostril of the 18-year-old young lady:

As you can see, it’s a painful and horrifying experience, especially for the mother/witness.

Aw! Poor pierced pup!

Honestly, the whole thing didn’t alarm me very much; I myself possess several piercings, though all are confined to the ears. I just have five, and they’re in the usual places: the lobes and one perched at the top of my left ear. Years of allergies and the accompanying dripping and sneezing have rendered me totally without interest in poking holes and jewelry into my own tender nose.

But as you can see, a puncture wound seems to have made this gal happy.

May she forever be moooooved by the experience.

Love and the application of lipstick

Like a good many women, I like to look my best.

Therefore, I spend an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom each morning, applying lotions, makeup, hair-styling products, and other mysterious unguents in a (more or less successful) attempt to make myself look slightly better than I would in the natural state. Which in my case would be a pale face accompanied by tired freckles, less-than-luminous eyes, and thin, non-luscious lips.

It’s the lip portion of my face that I’d like to discuss today.

My lipstick-wearing has changed and evolved since becoming a mother lo these many years. In my teens and twenties, I slathered on the lip color with abandon, never worrying about its potential effect on others. Sure, I was careful not to unintentionally give cherry-red lips to the men I loved (or at least smooched), but other than that, I lacquered up the lips anytime I felt the kaleidoscope that was my eye-shadow palette at the time — we’re talking The Cyndi-Lauper Eighties here — needed the balance of some glossy hues.

Then came the nineties, and my entry into The Childbearing Years. Once I’d produced an infant, I gave up wearing not only lipstick but also perfume, after experiencing the shock of receiving back perfumy infants when I’d allowed them to be held by over-scented female relatives.

But mainly I kissed my sweet babies so often that there never was time to even think about lipsticking myself. Occasionally I’d dab on some Carmex to ward off winter chappiness, but otherwise my lips were completely au naturale.

Later, with preschoolers around, the high-volume kissing tends to be reciprocated. You love to kiss them, and now they’re kissing you back. Double the smoochiness and lipstick-wearing its pretty much down to zero.

Then there’s the period in the middle years where they don’t seem to want you to kiss them all that much, say from around the age of 9 until about 14. Oh, they’ll put up with it a little, if there is no one important around — that is, one of their friends, someone around their age, or anyone who remotely resembles a human — and you get to sneak in a good-bye kiss now and then. But by and large, during these years, kissing your offspring is over.

Then come the teen years where they seem to crave it — then abhor it on alternating days. But never, ever, kiss them and leave your lipstick behind! That’s a death sentence from a teenager, right there. They will rub their face until it’s raw rather than having something as embarrassing as Mommy Lip Residue on their cheek, forehead, or whatever part you can snag before they flee. But oh how they hug and kiss when they themselves are in need of affirmation and affection! Mama’s need to kiss ’em and show these ingrates how much she loves them? Fuggedabowdit!

The only good thing I can conclude about these many-changing periods in the life of a kissing mother is that is spreads out the cost of purchasing cosmetics. Right now, with kids at the 8, 15, and 17 levels, I’m doing a moderate amount of kissing, and thus only remember to apply lipstick every third day or so. I’ll probably make it until Spring with this tube I’m on right now.

With no female relatives either in the possession, or in the manufacturing phase, of an infant currently, I don’t envision having babies to kiss on the regular, so my lipstick-wearing will doubtless increase.

But whatever the state of my lips may be, I’m happy to report that I am the satisfied owner of a husband who allows me to kiss him whenever the mood strikes, and I don’t remember any complaints as to whether my lips be lacquered or bare. He seems to appreciate any and all affection I throw his way, irrespective of whatever the state of my war paint may be.

Parenting in the new millinium

I have an iPhone with SIRI; you can speak into it and it translates your words into text. Amazing, right? So I use it a lot to text my text-mad teenagers.

Last night as I was getting my 7-year-old son Trassie out of the bath downstairs, I spoke a text to my 14-year-old son Christopher upstairs, whose bedroom is adjacent to the laundry room.

I said into the phone, “Get a pair of Trassie’s underwear out of the dryer and throw them down to me, please.”

Trassie looked at me, then the phone for a moment. He then asked —

“Can it do that?”