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We enjoyed a ridiculously long, hot, sunny summer here in Portland, and it was this way most days up until last Thursday.

Then the gray rolled in. With some rain…and some sun, but since Friday, we’ve been more rainy and gray than sunny. Although, today is sunny. Hmmm. Nevertheless, I find myself ill-prepared for the rainy season. Still. Even though we have lived here for almost a year.

Over the weekend, I looked in my closet for shoes to wear to Apple Fest at a local farm. (Yes, we went to apple fest despite our own homegrown haul.) I would consider a pair, then cross them off my list because I didn’t want to get them too muddy. Hahaha. I am kind of embarrassed to admit that. Especially because this is from a girl who mainly wears sneakers. What can I say? Kenny took great care in selecting some sweet Air Force 1s for me over the years, and I have a nice collection I don’t want to muddy up.  Sure, sure, none of mine are collectors’ items, but I still don’t want to mess ’em up.

Yes. I know I moved to the Pacific Northwest and it’s rainy here.

Yes. I know there’s irony in me living in a place where it’s gray / rainy nine months out of the year and I don’t want to wear my shoes out in the rain. It’s kind of hilarious, really. I am sure I’ll get over that eventually. Just not today.

So you know what this means? I have to get rain boots. Rain. Boots. Me! I have to buy them. This is funny to me because I am the girl that used to cry in grade school when my mom would make us wear Ducks and “slickers”, and here I am at 36 years old faced with the reality that I will probably have to self-invest in these abominations of all things pretty if I am to remain warm and dry while outdoors over the next nine months. What happened here!?

I was telling my mom about this yesterday and she told me to get like the slip-on Totes things my Dad has for his dressy shoes. Surely, she was joking. I mean, I am no fashion plate (as evidenced by the fact that I use the term fashion plate), but I do have limits. And slip on rubber coverings for shoes are over the line. (Dad, not for you. They look great on you. Keep up the good work, Zoolander.) My clever retort to her suggestion was, ‘But I want nice ones.’ To which she replied, ‘WHAT ARE NICE RAIN BOOTS?’

Well played, Sarge, well played. And double points for indirectly admitting that you agree Ducks circa 1986 were horrific, especially for a young Catholic school girl whose foul weather gear was really the only chance for her to flaunt her style during the school day. (For the record, I have no idea what my preferred rainy day footwear was – probably just regular school shoes. I just knew Ducks were the pits for kids. Listen, if a 10-year-old girl PREFERS to wear navy blue saddle shoes, there is seriously something wrong with the other option presented.)

So, I have been checking out my options for waterproof shoes. Funnily enough, I don’t hate Ducks / Duck-type shoes as much as I remember. They aren’t that bad. Maybe it’s because I realize their purpose (protecting the rest of my shoes from watery ruin). Or maybe it’s because other women realized that navy and olive with giant tannish-brown soles were not the only option for waterproof shoes, and have created options that are a little (a smidge, really) cuter than the Ducks I remember circa 1986? Probably the latter. I still haven’t settled on what I want, but I am leaning towards Hunter boots. Seems a little spendy, but I want to make one investment in these things vs. buying rain shoes multiple times. I mean, they are a necessity vs. a nice to have, so I think making a good, solid investment is the best option here. Right? (I am ignoring the fact that I will likely grow bored of them by next year.)

And, while we are on the subject of rain gear, let’s add Women’s rain coats to the mix. Seriously. Have you checked out this scene lately? I may not be looking in the right places, but so far, everything I’ve seen should either be worn while hiking or camping or come with a complimentary rain bonnet. (i.e. Not hot.) If you are creative and crafty and looking for a good business idea, start a line of sharp Women’s rain coats. The only real requirements would be to make it have a silhouette other than ‘cardboard box’, cut in a waist that doesn’t require the use of a tied belt, use some cool colors (or just stick with black!) and potentially add some funky buttons / zipper. I’d buy one. For real.

The good news in this whole rain gear calamity? That my kids won’t face this same aversion when they are my age – it will just be part of what they do when preparing for rainy days. When I was growing up in Philadelphia, most folks carried umbrellas vs. having ‘rain gear’. Sarge was fashion-forward and tried to buck that trend with rain boots and slickers. We resisted. In Portland, everyone has rain gear. It’s what you do. It’s what you need to get through the winter. So Gavin and Grace will just accept that when it rains, they slip on some rain boots and a rain coat. I am having a hard time adjusting, but given a crazy experience on the soccer field with an umbrella and wind and rain last night, I am quickly (very quickly) coming around. In fact, Kenny and I were joking about getting ‘rain suits’ in Costco on Sunday. Admittedly, I kind of see the point now. Haha.