I bought some new shoes this week. Like, actual new shoes from a retail store. Not only that, but it was a retail store located inside a mall.

I was driven there out of desperation. Sometimes, in every secondhander's life, they find that they need something kinda like now. They cannot wait until they find whatever they want at a yard sale or a thrift store. Plus, it's amazing how when you actually need to find something used, all of those things suddenly stop appearing.

This desperate situation was brought on by the dog, who has made great progress in not chewing our stuff, but still cannot resist the siren's smell of shoes. Dogs interact with the world in a different way than we do, and there is something about shoes that turns Remix into a very bad dog. She turned my favorite pair of sneakers into open-toed shoes. Then she did the same to my backup pair, and though I still wore them for a week, I realized that even a small hole in the toe is kind of annoying. I'm considering duct tape. Then if anyone asks, I can just tell them that there is a recession on.

Obviously, I need to do a better job of keeping my shoes away from the dog.

In search of new shoes, I went to several retail stores. I was disappointed as usual by both the selection and the prices. Actually, I was disappointed by the selection and nauseated by the prices. We'll skip my growing frustration and all the angry muttering I did as I left each store roughly five minutes after I came in.

But finally, I found a pair of cute little slip-on sneakers at Payless for $11. The only problem was that they were a size 10.

I have big feet. It's not something I mind for the most part, because I figure it is something that goes along with being tall. I know girls who are of average height with big feet, and if I were them, I would feel very ripped off. It is harder to find shoes in my size, just because stores do not carry very many of them. Plus, a lot of women's footwear does not translate well to large sizes. Just looking at them makes me think "get on de boat."

I actually wear size 10 1/2. However, most shoes don't come in that size. They come in 10s and maybe they come in 11s. There just aren't enough women with clodhoppers that size to merit making the half-size. So most of my shoes are either a little big or a little small. On the rare occasions that I come across an actual 10 1/2, it fits like it was made from a mold of my foot. It is a miraculous experience that I'm sure women with size 7 feet take for granted.

I'd found the shoes that I wanted, but the size 10s were a little snug. There were no size 11s at the store. I could order them online, but then I'd have to buy them without trying them on, at which point I might discover that the 11s were too big. It's tough being me, with my shoe size that doesn't seem to exist.

Bigger problems that being a size 10 1/2: being a size 13, not being able to afford shoes, having your feet bound, not having feet.

So I decided to just suck it up and get the small shoes. My big feet would stretch them out after a day or two, and it would be fine. I was really just tired of going to stores. The plan was to wear really thick socks for a few days. I would break in these shoes like a rebellious colt. Then I had a better idea.

You know those shoe form things? You know, old men have them for fancy shoes so that the shoes don't lose shape when they are sitting in the closet, waiting for the Queen's visit. Well, I bet I could use a set of those to stretch out the shoes so that I didn't have to.

Amazingly, I happened to have a pair of them. I bought a giant bag of wooden hangers (Josh favors them) for a dollar at an estate sale, and in the bottom were a nice set of wooden shoe form thingies. I'd kept them, because...well, I don't know why. Because they looked cool and vintage. Because maybe Josh wanted them. Because they might come in handy someday. And they did! And since I have great big feet, they actually fit into my size 10s. Now I didn't have to use my own poor suffering feet, I could use these fake wooden ones. In just a few days, I'd have my own custom pair of 10 1/2s.

Just keep them away from the dog.

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