I wrote this “letter” back in 2011 and wasn’t sure I would ever send it to anyone. But if you’re like me and have ever been overwhelmed by your shoes (ok, who am I kidding, by life in general), then maybe this one’s for you.
Greetings! Another year comes to a close and The Quenans hope you are well. They are well!
Well, they are well most of the time. Actually, they don’t know what is happening much of the time.
Life continues for Lisa since she gave up her ovaries and estrogen in December, 2009. Living “No E,” as they have affectionately named it, has had surprising side effects. Heat surges, otherwise known as hot flashes, have nothing on the surges in Lisa’s ability to focus. This year, for reasons no one in the family understands, the shoes in the laundry room became the objects of her attention. There are five people living in the house X two feet per person X at least seven pairs of shoes per person and that equals………… well, a lot of shoes.
Much of Lisa’s time was taken up organizing, arranging, sorting and weeding out shoes. Much more of her time was spent sweeping up the dirt tracked in by all those shoes. Lisa often cleaned the laundry room only to return a few seconds later to find that a floor that was clean was now littered with shoes (and dirt). Harnessing “No E” surges, she silently decided whether she should just pick up one of those pairs of shoes and wear them to clean, move a bench to get at the dirt that always slid just out of reach, or use a dry Swiffer or wet mop to finish the job.
While Pat continued to adjust to life with a “No E” wife, Lisa worried that his own ability to focus would be affected by working 12-hour days and coaching a travel basketball team that none of their kids played on. But one day Pat laced up his court shoes and proved Lisa wrong! He played basketball at 5am, worked his usual 12 hours, coached a basketball game and still had energy later that night to, as Billy Squire once sang, “do what we do.” It is possible that wearing basketball shoes and being able to keep his testosterone helped correct the underlying condition from which he had been suffering: living with a “No E” wife. This condition is worsened by leaving wet, size 12 basketball shoes in the trunk of your car and overuse of the iPad. Even though Lisa was impressed when Pat used that little gizmo to change the channel on the tv, she thought the iPad was only good for distracting him from more important things like putting the last few sprinkles of Desenex foot powder in his basketball high tops and picking up his other shoes.
There are three children with feet that are still growing but they do not walk them into the laundry room and clean up tracked in dirt. Alex, 17, is a senior in high school and has, by far, the biggest feet. His shoes take up the most space in the laundry room. Looking past his multiple pairs of very large shoes, Lisa took Alex on a five-day road trip to visit four college campuses. She began to question whether this trip was really necessary at the very first stop. Even though Alex was wearing shoes with good arch support, he was barely able to support his weight against the boredom of a tour that hadn’t even started and folded his 6ft frame nearly in half, propping himself up on the admissions desk with his elbows. While Lisa was impressed with his hamstring flexibility, she regained her “No E” focus and swiftly kicked him in the shin. She doesn’t remember which shoes she was wearing. Alex will go to college next fall and play golf. Pat and Lisa are proud of him and excited about golf shoes because they are very complicated, with laces, interchangeable parts that require tools, and the ability to track in both dirt and grass.
Maddy and Franny are 15 and 11. This was the year they perfected the application of liquid eye liner and developed an uncanny ability to communicate using only looks and glances. But most importantly, mother and daughters finally have the same size feet and can share shoes. Lisa is excited to have access to three-inch heels that squeeze her feet in such a way that her big toe crosses over all the others and comes to rest just shy of her “pinky” toe. As best as Pat and Lisa can remember, they did not kick either girl in the shin this year.
Despite the fact that Maddy could choose from her mother’s or sister’s shoes, she was the only girl at volleyball tryouts wearing white “gramma” sneakers, yet she made the team. Franny plays softball and wore “normal” cleats to her tryouts. Softball cleats usually stay in the garage because after one good slide into third, they are caked with mud and rust-colored dirt. Pat and Lisa are proud of them both but the whole laundry room situation became almost untenable as the shoes that normally only covered the floor were now strewn about the fireplace hearth and encroached on the family room carpet. Lisa noticed that out of all the shoes everyone owns, softball cleats track in the most dirt.
Well, the Quenans hope you had a happy and prosperous year! They also hope that no matter how many feet and shoes you have in your house, you can find them all.