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A Thanksgiving miracle!

With or without shoes, if you are 4 years old and at the zoo with your dad, you’re going to ask for a shoulder ride

Every Thanksgiving the Jackson Zoo is free—no admission or parking. We aren’t huge fans of the zoo, but we are big fans of free. This is why a visit to the zoo has become an annual Thanksgiving tradition for our family.

The weather was sunny and warm and two of my three children hopped into the car without shoes. I had just gone on my longest barefoot run since hurting my foot last summer and decided my soles needed a break. It was only two miles, but my skin felt raw, nonetheless. So, I actually decided to wear shoes to the zoo.

As we started to walk through the gate, the lady at the ticket counter told us that our kids had to wear shoes in the zoo. My oldest son happened to have left a pair in the car, but Jonas, my youngest son, had nothing.

And then the most serendipitous thing I have ever experienced happened right there at the zoo. I heard my name from the parking lot. There was my friend Nichole, just leaving the zoo with her husband and two children, one of whom is my son’s age. Not only did he have on shoes that would fit, but they were a pair of coveted Air Jordans! Jonas’ friend was hesitant to just hand over his shoes, and really, who could blame him? People have shed blood over Air Jordans before and his mom was just asking him to hand them over with nothing in return. It was a great sacrifice and after a little bit of thought, he relented. What a friend!

We slipped those shoes on Jonas’ feet and walked into the zoo. Eight paces later, Jonas yanked them off and shoved them into my purse. Air Jordans or not, the animals weren’t wearing shoes, so Jonas didn’t think he needed to either.

The shoes that saved our zoo trip.

Sh@t happens… And sometimes you step in it

Me & the Beeze

S@#t happens and I stepped in it—with my bare foot! I’m in the middle of housetraining Beezus, our standard poodle puppy, and while I am happy to report that the poop I stepped in was located in our backyard, admittedly, it could have just as easily been in my living room, bedroom or entryway.

Now, I know what you’re saying: “See! I told you. This is why you should be wearing shoes, you nut.”

Perhaps. But tell me, my shod friend, have you ever stepped in poop before? Yes, you have. And when you did, it probably went something like this:

1. Step in poop.

2. Continue walking around tracking the poop wherever you go.

3. After a few minutes, your nose gets a whiff of what’s on the bottom of your shoe.

4. Announce that you smell dog poop and suggest to the people around you that they check their shoes. (Certainly you didn’t step in the poop.)

5. After all those around you report that their shoes are clean, your worst fear becomes reality. You—yes you—are the culprit. You stepped in the poop.

6. Scrape your shoe all over the pavement, desperately trying to get the poop off the bottom of your shoe.

7. Go home and rinse the bottom of your shoe off with the hose in your backyard.

And this is what happened when I stepped in the poop with my bare foot:

1. Step in poop.

2. Less than a millisecond later, brain registers warm, squishy sensation as fresh poop.

3. Say words inappropriate for this blog.

4. Hop over to the hose and wash off my foot.

I’d like to point out that unlike you shoe-wearing folks, I immediately knew what I stepped in as soon as I stepped in it, and therefore, I did not track the poop into my house or anywhere else. So I say, who’s the nut, now?

 

Schools in. Shoes on. Feet stink.

The carefree days of a mostly barefoot summer are over for my three children. The older two started school a week-and-a-half ago. The littlest one started preschool today. Like most kids going back to school, all three went sporting a new pair of shoes. Fortunately, “toe shoes” are in so my older two were excited to be getting a new pair of Vibram FiveFingers each. I shopped around online and found the cheapest price, which of course was still considerably more than shoes I could have gotten them at Payless Shoe Source. But minimalist styles are better for their feet, and their feet are definitely worth the extra expense.

Unfortunately, my preschooler could not get his feet into a pair of FiveFingers. Even if he had the dexterity required to maneuver each of his cute little toes into all of the toe slots, his bricks for feet wouldn’t fit. Instead, I bought him a pair of Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves about a size and a half bigger than he normally wears because they don’t come in wide. (Boo!) Vibram actually makes the soles of these shoes, but Trail Gloves have a normal toe box, which means he can easily wear socks.

My other two children, however, stink their shoes up every day with their sweaty feet. I throw those suckers in the wash as soon as they get home from school, because if I didn’t, you’d surely know about it. You could be in Australia sitting at your computer, eating your toast and Vegemite, reading my blog and suddenly your olfactory would be hit with the putrid smell of my children’s shoes. You’d cough and gag, and chunks of bread coated with salty vegetable spread would spew all over your computer screen. I wouldn’t do that to you, Fair Reader. I hope you appreciate that.

Now, to be clear, my kids aren’t any stinkier than the average hooligan running around the school yard. They take a shower every night and when barefoot all day long, their feet have no noticeable odor. But put those little puppies in a foot glove and let sweat-eating bacteria stew all day? Well, get back. The rotting flesh of a roadkill baking in the Mississippi sun is a pleasant perfume by comparison.

 

Bicycle safety for giraffes

This week I visited the orthopedist for my final check up on my stress fracture. Even though I had been back to barefooting for the past three weeks, I grabbed a pair of shoes as I walked out the door, thinking that if I showed up without them, I’d get a lecture from the doc. Well, I ended up getting a lecture, all right… For wearing shoes, or at least the wrong kind.

The stress fracture appears to be completely healed and I would have canceled the appointment and saved the $35 co-pay except that I am still feeling a little bit of tenderness in the joint at the base of my baby toe. (This is a pain I started feeling after moving from the boot to the orthopedic sandal. It is a pain that initially had me panicked, thinking that my stress fracture was not healing.) When I told the doctor about this tenderness, he looked at the shoes I was wearing—black, open-toe flats—and had me step barefooted on a piece of paper so he could trace my foot. Then he picked up my shoe and compared it to his outline. My bare foot was significantly wider than my shoe and thus began the proper footwear diatribe.

He may as well been lecturing a giraffe about the importance of bicycle helmets. His speech was totally irrelevant to my situation and there was only so much I could take. Finally, I interrupted him with my confession: I don’t wear shoes. I only put these ones on so you wouldn’t reprimand me. Apparently my plan backfired.

What do you mean you don’t wear shoes?

I mean just that. I don’t wear them.

Then, after a long pause and with an absolutely bewildered look on his face, he told me that I had a bit of inflammation in that joint, likely caused by my gait change while wearing that stiff-soled sandal.

While the pain is still present, it has steadily decreased since I ditched the sandal and returned to barefoot life. He said as soon as the tenderness is completely gone I can ease back into running. And with that, I dropped my no-good flats into my purse and walked out of his office in my bare feet, hoping never to have a reason to return.

Kids of Walmart

If your kid comes to my house and takes off his shoes, don’t expect Barefoot Lady to bother putting them back on before she takes said kid with her on an errand. I’ve always wanted to get on the People of Walmart blog, but this picture is probably not going to make the cut. They have high standards over there. At the very least you need a totally awesome mullet and/or rippling cellulite spilling out of a mini-skirt. I’ll be working on the mullet.

Barefoot friends

I’ve had some friends text me pictures of their barefoot experiences. I love seeing others buck social norms by going barefoot in public, too.

The feet belong to my teenage niece. The floor tiles belong to 7-11.

This cute guy belongs to a friend of mine who has gone out to lunch with me and my bare feet so many times that when her son decided to go barefoot to a restaurant, it was no big deal.

 

Good news from the doc

If you followed the comments in my last post, you met my dad. Here he is with me and my oldest son at Pearl Harbor. He is a great dad, Asics Gels, notwithstanding. 😉 Here’s a glimpse of my footwear for the next four weeks. Also, FYI, shoes are required at Pearl Harbor.

So, I am a hypochondriac. After feeling pretty good for most of my Hawaii trip, I freaked out when I started feeling pain again. Then I went into panic mode after researching my symptoms online, believing  I would be crippled forever, or at least immobile for a very long time.

Yesterday, I went to the doctor who brought me to my senses. First, I was wrong. I did not have a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal. It was at the base of my fourth. This was confusing information for me because the pain that began after doing all that walking in Hawaii starts at the base of my pinky toe and shoots down the lateral side of my foot—the area of the fifth metatarsal.

“Are you sure it’s the fourth and not my fifth?” I asked him. He got out my MRI results and showed me. Yep, there it was at my fourth metatarsal, an area where I no longer feel any pain. I explained to him my symptoms on the lateral edge of my foot and asked him what was going on there. He wasn’t sure, but suspected it had something to do with how I had been compensating for the initial injury.

In any case, he told me to get out of the boot and off the crutches. He put me back into the orthopedic sandal, encouraged me to swim and bike, and gave me some strengthening exercises to do each day. I see him again in four weeks. If I still have that pain on the outside of my foot, he said he’ll run more tests, but he suspects I should be feeling back to normal by then. Hooray!

Of course, he also told me not to even think about running until I can walk three miles without any pain. I’m OK with that. Right now, I am just grateful for a positive prognosis and the clearance to be walking at all.

And the take home message for you folks: No good comes from Googling your symptoms online.