A year in my shoes.


This was supposed to be easy.  Throw a picture up, toss out some words and poof!  Instant post.  Instead it’s over four days past my plan of posting and I’m still struggling.

I fell into the trap of overthinking. I needed new work boots and wanted to explain why I picked those originally and why I switched to something else.  The idea was good, but the words that came were so sterile and analytical.  Completely uninspiring and off-putting for me. I wanted something else, something better.

Kinda like my boots.

The boots I had were so disappointing this time.  They were Wolverines.  I’ve owned four pair of Wolverines in my life and three of them were this style. This pair just did not work.

You see the toes?  It took just one day for the leather covering the steel safety caps to wear off.  I was weeding and the shuffling of my feet against the asphalt wore the leather off by the time I was done.  The boots were one week old at that time.  I’ve had that happen with $30 boots, but never Wolverines.  There was no way I could explain this as normal wear and tear either, so I didn’t bother to call or write about warranty work.

The rest of the boot was fine.  They still were comfortable and supportive.  Together, we dug, moved, pushed, hiked, crawled, and even kicked through our work time.  I had noticed that this set of boots wasn’t as flexible as the earlier ones.  It took more effort to flex on the balls of my feet.  Still they did their work, but the stress was showing.

Then the rains hit.

Florida is known for its torrential rains, but this one was impressive.  It wasn’t tropical in nature, but the results were the same.  Roads closed, traffic diverted, trees fallen, electrics under water, and hundreds of fire-ants huddled together in a ball, just waiting for some poor soul to latch on to.   The last time I saw flooding like this was after tropical storm Gabriel.  The water was so high that the utility vehicles stalled from the strain.  I pushed mine off to the side.  It took three days for my boots to dry completely.  The leather never fully recovered.

The final straw came when the left sole split completely through.  I hadn’t noticed it until the day I had to clean brush out of a drained canal.  The area was drained, but not dry.  Its mud was slick and water seeped up with every step.  My soaked sock alerted me to the crack the boot’s sole.

It was time for a change.

But to what?  I sifted the search engines, read articles, and waded through the horribly arranged Amazon filters.  (It was easier pushing the utility vehicle through the flood than it was trying to find decent work boots with specific requirements on Amazon.)  Given the events of the year, I came up with an unusual result.  Jungle boots.  What other style would handle the abundance of water, humidity, and mud?

Jungle boots are not the easiest things to find.  Rack Room Shoes, Sears, and all the other usual stores were out and while I will buy some things online, boots aren’t one of them.  You have to go to an army surplus store.

Army surplus stores are very interesting to visit.  Tucked in the corner of a strip mall, they can be as bright and organized as Dick’s Sporting goods, or as dark and cluttered as a Hollister’s run by teenage boys.  The store I found was a mix of both.  The lights were low, but everything was organized.  Unfortunately they didn’t have any Jungle boots.  They did have other choices.  Desert boots, training boots, combat boots, parade boots, boots for almost anything.  I had no idea what to look for at this point.

So I asked for help.

The lady listened to what I wanted as well as the price I was willing to pay.  She offered a pair that is light, flexible, durable, and well-constructed.  They aren’t water proof, but they are good against high humidity and dry quickly.  They also are bought by police and fire fighters who are used to standing in their boots for long hours at a time.

I’ve had them for a week and they have handled having the toes scraped against the concrete, heavy mud, miles of walking and flexing of the soles.  So far I’m impressed.  Only time will tell if they last they year.  A future review will be coming.

In the end, this article is similar to my journey into new boots.  I struggled with it at the beginning and took many unexpected turns along the way before ending in an upnote.

With the creative damn broke, I look forward to the journey ahead.


Ramblings on: Daydreams

As a writer, I’ve found that one of the most unappreciated tools we have is the ability to daydream.  Daydreams are often persecuted as wasters of time and energy when, in reality, it’s just the time that such daydreaming is done that is the true crime.  Obviously there are times when daydreaming is not wanted nor desired.  You’d never want your doctor so engaged in a daydream while doing hearty surgery on you that she pulls out a kidney instead.  Nor would you want a lookout on a vast cruise liner mind-wandering with his thoughts as an iceberg floats directly ahead.

But in many situations, daydreams and meandering thoughts can free you of the now involved drudgery or waiting period.  Who hasn’t solved the world’s economic and social problems while painting a fence or pulling weeds?  (Who also hasn’t realized that solving the problems are easy; It’s getting everyone to agree with the solution that is the problem.)  Who’s waited in traffic and not pretended at one point to be on the starting grid of a race or far off in another land where there is no traffic at all?

Daydreams are the savior to our monotony and the sparks to our creativity.  Daydreams have given us thing like phones, cars, planes, rockets, and computers.  Refrigerators, microwaves, and bar-b-que grilles have all been spawned from that spark called daydream.  Music, art, literature, are all results of daydreams.

Science and math are tools to make those daydreams real and tangible.  Science gives us ways to follow our daydreams of space exploration or nano-biological studies, while math gives our daydreams size and dimension.

So let us not disparage the noble art of daydreaming, but let us embrace it.  For with the daydreams come our world and universe.  Just please don’t do it while driving.  It’s dangerous enough out there.