This week, I gave my kids the gift of a story that will become part of their permanent memories.
A tale that they will use to regale friends and family members alike for years and years and years to come.
A tale that will quite possibly be part of my defining legacy here on this earth.
A tale that probably would have defined just how uncool mom was, if they were at ages where they thought of such things.
Thankfully, however, it was a tale that I’ve heard them reliving together through giggles.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Chapter 1: The Feet
Before kids, I had normal size 8 feet. They were lovely, as far as feet go.
After kids, I have size 10 feet. They are still fine, particularly for my post-childbirth frame, but, I mean, let’s be honest here, they are pretty much flippers for all intents and purposes. As in, Ariel would be jealous.
Size 10 feet can create particular challenges for things like boots or booties. If the opening where the ankle feeds into the foot isn’t big enough, or if there’s no zipper, well, you are headed for trouble.
Chapter 2: The Boots
Despite living in the Pacific Northwest, which seems to be a prime market for Hunter Boots, I have shunned them. Between the height and the rubber and my propensity to quickly overheat, I thought I’d just be asking for trouble. And expensive trouble at that.
However, a particularly rainy day on the soccer pitch recently made me question my shunning. Couple that with a sale price on Hunter Boots, and well, I now have Hunter Boots. I tried them on when they arrived and they were fine. Not my favorite, not my least favorite. They fit. They looked nice in the mirror. And they’d serve their purpose of keeping my feet and legs dry on particularly rainy days here in the PNW.
However, they are spendy, and I didn’t LOVE them. They were just fine. Utilitarian, if you will. Well, for me – I know some gals love them.
Chapter 3: The Feet and The Boots
Fast forward to Monday. I am still on the fence about these boots, and my window for returning them is closing. I decided to slip off my slippers and slip on the boots to see if I wanted to keep them.
I put my bare foot into a fully rubber boot.
I walked to the mirror to check it out again. Still fine. Still not in love.
I sat down to take the boot off.
It’s not easy getting a rubber boot off a bare foot. Particularly an Ariel-would-be-jealous, size 10, flipper-of-a-foot like mine.
Ever see a dog feverishly chase his own tale? Imagine that. But with a woman trying to wrestle a knee-high Hunter Boot off her own foot.
My foot got sweaty. Which didn’t quite have the lubricating effect you might think. It was more like a glue effect, and, in fact, I am quite sure at one point I heard a ‘schluuup’ sound as my flipper and the boot vacuum-sealed themselves together.
I took a break from trying to pry my foot out of this freaking boot and started to plot my next move. As you can imagine, short of cutting myself out of the boot, there were no good options. They are too damn tall to slip a pat of butter down there to grease things up. WD-40? Fresh out. And, it’s probably not something you will ever need to think about , but there’s really no eloquent way to reach out to another adult and say, “I am stuck in my boot, please come over and help.” and salvage that relationship. And frankly, I am not sure I am close enough to anyone (except perhaps – PERHAPS – Kenny) from whom I would ask such a favor. (And I can just imagine having to ask him to leave work to get me out of a boot. One single boot. Not exactly the makings of an afternoon delight. 😉 Long time readers will remember that I have, in fact, had to reach out to him at work for ankle issues before. If you haven’t read that story, finish reading this one, then come back up here and click-through to read this little gem: This Takes the Cake.)
So, I started wrestling my own leg again…to no avail. At this point, I was laughing and crying at the same time. I was literally STUCK in this boot. It was kind of like trying to remove a ring after you jam your finger – there’s no good way to get it off that doesn’t involve cutting of some kind.
I sat and rested again. Between the wrestling and the laughing / crying and growing anxiety that I was now pretty much Flint Lockwood and, much like him and his spray-on shoes, doomed to a life of perma-Hunter Boots, you can imagine how my sweaty foot situation was not getting any better.
Chapter 4: Enter Gavin and Grace (or An Epic Family Story is Born)
At this point, at least 30 minutes have passed. Gavin and Grace had now arrived home for the evening.
And they found me sitting on our stairs. One foot bare. The other foot Huntered.
In typical Gavin style, he trotted past, “Hey, Mom! Can I have a snack?”
Grace, on the other hand, was still messing around with her school bag and coat in the hall. She called out, “Hey, Mom – where are you?”
I said, “Sitting on the steps.”
As she peeked around the corner to the stairs, she started asking why, but then quickly switched to, “Why are you sitting there with only one boot on? And why are you so sweaty?”
Resigned that I was in fact, the female Flint Lockwood, I flatly said, “Because it’s stuck on my foot.”
Her eyeballs grew into the size of saucers. Her eyes searched mine to see if this was, in fact, as funny as she thought it was. I slightly nodded – giving her the signal to crack up. And crack up she did. She called Gavin over. And they both stood there and laughed. Kind of like slapping each other on the back as if to say, “That mommy. She’s a real riot getting a boot stuck on her foot.”
Being the killjoy that you’d imagine a one-booted Mom might be, I said, “You guys have to help me get it off.”
The uproarious laughter quelled to some nervous giggles.
In disbelief, Gavin said, “No, Mom! Really?”
Grace looked super worried. She squeaked, “Seriously? That boot IS stuck?”
Gavin grabbed the heel and started pulling as he laughed, saying, “I can’t believe this is serious.” which was quickly followed by, “OH MY GOSH! It’s really not coming off.” Grace pushed her way in exclaiming, “Let me try! Let me try!” I am not lying: they were pulling so hard that I thought they’d lose their grip and go crashing into our hallway table. That’s how stuck this thing was. In hindsight, I should have probably popped some corn, called the neighbors and charged admission. Freak. Show.
Still nothing. And I knew my sweaty ankle and flipper were probably now also swelling because of all the wrestling and tugging. I told them we needed a team effort, and that I would pull my foot as hard as I could as they both simultaneously pulled the boot. It took at least 10 tries before, finally…SWEET RELIEF.
After doing a round of high fives and a group hug in celebration that their mom would not, in fact be some sort of perma-Hunter Boots, Flint-Lockwood-wannabe or drag the family to the emergency room for an urgent boot-ectomy, I marched right into my office, and repacked that boot.
I think it’s safe to say that all signs point to Hunter Boots not being my thing. But they’ve made a wonderful addition to our family stories. (Let me know if you want to make a deposit to my kids’ future therapy funds.)