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36 Shoes
20 May 2007

Shoes

Just because I spend $230 on three pairs of shoes today, bringing my total up to 18 pairs, does not mean I'm a girl.  I *need* all those shoes.  Ok, 'need' may be too strong of a word but it's not like I shop for shoes because I enjoy shopping for shoes. I actually hate shopping for shoes.  My problem, if forced to admit that I have a problem, is that I don't always throw away old shoes when I should.  Probably because throwing away old shoes means I will have to go shoe shopping again which, as I mentioned, is not something I enjoy doing.  It's not like I don't use my shoes.  I have used every pair.  Well, almost every pair.  Let me explain...

1) Flight Boots - These boots have flown around the world with me, they are my old Air Force boots left over from Desert Storm.  They're good boots.  At least they used to be.  They've seen plenty of action and now they're all actioned out.  As you can see, they don't exactly hold a proper military shine any more.  We've had a lot of adventures together, these boots and I.  Unfortunately I'm afraid their days are over.  After this picture I reluctantly put them in the trash.

2) Cowboy Boots - I can't be a proper farmer without owning a pair of cowboy boots.  They're actually quite practical too.  The trick with cowboy boots is to get a pair that is too small then wear them in the water and walk around for a few hours while they dry.  It is really tough on your feet, and maybe not so good for the leather, but it will break them in nicely.  These boots were advertised as diesel resistant.  What modern cowboy can resist that?!

3) Mud Boots - Brand new, $17.95 at Wal-Mart.  I've never owned mud boots before but, just like the cowboy boots (see #2 above), they're pretty much required footwear for any real farmer.  We don't have much mud on the farm (it's too rocky) but we do get plenty of rain.  A good pair of rubber boots will be great for those times when I'm out working in the rain and tall wet grass.

4) Hiking Boots - $180 from the only place on the island that sells good hiking boots.  I've never owned good hiking boots before.  I should have because I've done plenty of hiking and suffering through the blisters is never fun.  I almost cheaped-out this time too but Valerie convinced me that comfortable footwear is a must for the six day hiking trip I'm going on in September.  The similar trip I went on in 2004 was really rough on my feet.  I had so many blisters I could barely walk.  I swore I'd never wear cheap Wal-Mart boots into the Sierra Nevada mountains again.

5) Marvin the Martian slippers - These are great for keeping my toes warm while sitting at the computer on cool winter evenings.  I know we live in Hawaii now but these slippers were purchased when we lived in New Hampshire and I can't help it if sometimes my feet get cold.  Besides, I like these slippers.  Marvin's hat and eyes are starting to tear.  I may need to get a new pair of warm slippers soon.  I wonder if they make fuzzy slippers that look like giant Kona coffee beans.

6) Over Priced Boots - I can't remember how much these cost but whatever it was, it was too much.  I purchased them at a fancy outdoor supply store in Minnesota.  They were on clearance and now I know why.  When I wear them I squeak with every step, it takes me forever to put the boots on and take them off and they're falling apart faster than my cheap Wal-Mart boots.  They'll be headed to the trash soon.  For now they are backup boots for when all my other boots get wet.

7) New Work Boots - They're steel toed, water-proof, oil resistant, electrical hazard resistant, with extra grip soles and $30 at Wal-Mart.  Perfect for daily wear around the farm.  If I tried I might be able to find a $100 pair of boots would last longer, but probably not three times as long.  Besides, I know where to find Wal-Mart but I don't know where to find a good pair of $100 work boots on the island.

Dad 8) Water Shoes - Perfect for climbing over sharp lava rock and coral.  Even the sandiest of beaches around here still have spots of lava rock so we never go to the beach without our water shoes.  My father owns a goofy looking pair of water shoes.  He swears by them and tried to talk me into buying a pair.  I don't think he realized how many shoes I already own.

9) Old Water Shoes - I purchased these water shoes when flying through Guam in 1991 (see #1 above).  When I bought them it felt like an extravagant purchase and I felt bad that I only wore them like twice during the next decade.  Then we moved to Hawaii.  Now they're falling apart from heavy use.  In 1991 I never imagined that some day I'd be living on a coffee farm in Hawaii.  I still use them occasionally when guests are borrowing my newer water shoes (#8).

10) Swim Fins - Required for snorkeling.  They're not really shoes but they still count as footwear.  I don't think you're allowed to live in Hawaii without owning swim fins.  I actually own a second pair but the straps are broken and they're bright pink.  With so many shoes I'm already having masculinity issues, I didn't want bright pink fins in the picture too.

11) Sandals - These cheap sandals have an annoying tendency to slip sideways off my feet.  It makes me wonder if the manufacturer ever tested them or if a shoe designers simply drew a picture then said "That looks good, let's make those."  I should throw them out but they've hardly been used.  I hate throwing away stuff that was never used.

12) Old Running Shoes - These are left over from my days as a computer programmer when when I jogged a couple times per week.  After digging these shoes out of my closet for the picture I decided they're old enough that they can go in the trash.  Besides, I still have #13.

13) Not-quite-as-old Running Shoes- Working on the farm every day I get lots of exercise so I don't go jogging any more.  Still, I'm keeping these shoes for those rare occasions when boots are too heavy but sandals are too light.  I can't think of any such occasions right now but I know I still use these shoes every once in awhile.

14) Sandals - Believe it or not, these are my dressy shoes.  Hawaii isn't exactly known for formal wear so about the dressiest I get is a clean pair of shorts, an Aloha shirt and these sandals.  These aren't the pair I spilled diesel fuel on, those went in the trash long ago.

15) Formal Shoes - I own one suit and these are the shoes that go with it.  They could use a good shine.  When I pulled them out of the closet they were a bit moldy.  That's the problem with living anywhere humid, things left in dark places sometimes get moldy.  These shoes have been in my closet since I married my sister (no, I'm not quite that redneck, I performed the ceremony).

16) Old Work Boots - These are the boots that started this entire footwear discussion.  They're what I wear almost every day and they're falling apart.  Once I break in boots #7, then these (boots #16) will move down the line to replace boots #17.

17) Really Old Work Boots - Soon to be trashed, these are my backup boots for when my main boots are too wet or I'm doing an unusually dirty job.  Can you tell that I wore these boots while painting the barn's roof trusses?

18) Flip flops - In Hawaii they're called slippers (or rubba slippahs).  Other than my daily work boots (#7, #16, #17) I wear these more often than anything else.  I wear them to the beach, I wear them around the yard, I wear them to town, I even where them when going to Wal-Mart to buy more shoes.

I apologize for boring you with the intimate details about my footwear.  Next week I'll refrain from discussing my underwear or why I own eight hammers.  Instead I'll try to find something more interesting to say about Hawaii, Kona Coffee and coffee farming.




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