I shop for shoes.
I love shoes.
I switch pairs several times a day, just for kicks.
And buying new shoes is the best feeling in the world.
I love using the waterproofing spray to protect my footwear from the dew found on my lawn first thing in the morning. I love polishing them with the special balms I keep just for that purpose. I adore keeping them perfectly and trancendantly clean at all times, even the bottoms, and have been known to, in cleaning the visible portion of the shoe, continue on to cleanse the bottoms as well. Just in case.
And I buy shoes regardless of the clothing I have to match them, because I organize my wardrobe around my shoe collection.
So you can imagine the problems which are about to erupt in my house. Why, you ask? Why problems, Laura?
You see, the only thing Laura loves more than buying shoes is having pets. As many as possible. It is my lifetime goal to be the Crazy Cat Lady on someone's block. But not just with cats, because I also love dogs, and turtles and hampsters and birds and rabbits and cows and sheep and goats and just about every other living creature in the world--except I prefer the endoderms to the ectoerms. Just a personal preference there.
And when my dog, Patches, died last year, I was miserable. I thought I would never get another dog; I loved her too much to ever reach a point at which another dog would be welcome.
But things change.
Patches was almost fifteen when she died, which is old for an outside dog. She was a Dalmation/Border Collie mix, and was the most adorable dog ever to be found. I couldn't imagine ever finding a dog so wonderful, even if she did constantly carry around fallen trees which were triple her length, often turning her head to smack innocent bystanders in the back of the knees. And even if she did find a dead groundhog head and present it to my mother on Groundhog Day (dead serious here, folks). And even if she did roll on dead things, the freshly-fertilized field across the street, or my little brother's face after he fell and broke his leg. She was a great dog.
But I started getting a little tug at my heart in March. Something that made me wonder...
I wanted a puppy.
Now my dad has always hated animals. Some kind of childhood indocrination. But Mom has been a dog-person since birth and wouldn't stop until we got Patches. Dad hated Patches, yelled at her (reducing me to tears) and kept her at arms length, even though Patch loved him, big-time.
I never thought he would cave.
But I had a secret weapon I never knew about, stashed away.
See, when I was younger, I had this sweet little face with big brown eyes (gosh, what happened there? I sure peaked early) and I could look up at Dad, say please, and he would give me anything I wanted. I just assumed that, once I reached adulthood, or even pretend-adulthood, this look would no longer be effective. In fact, I was sure it would only bring pain to me by making Dad incredibly angry.
But I looked up at Dad one day, said, "You know what would really make me happy?"
"What?" he asked.
I concluded, "A puppy."
And he said OKAY.
So now we have Darcy (that's her in the profile picture--like a little bear cub). She is an adorable puppy; I love her and have no idea how we survived without her.
But there had been a huge gap in between our initial puppy experience and this new one.
Puppies are hard work.
Every day, Mom is up at six to take Darcy out. Then she tries to get the puppy to go back to sleep, which never works because Darcy knows Mom is a sucker, and all she has to do is whine once to get out of the crate and have fun. So Mom has to wake me up (or Paul) so Darcy can have someone to watch her while Mom sleeps a little more. And the second Mom leaves the room, Darcy falls back to sleep again. So no one gets the sleep they want, ever.
And she loves to chew. On anything or anyone that comes into her path. And this shows no sign of stopping any time soon, and although we have done everything in our power to keep her chewing on the right things, there is always a moment where she slips up and gnaws on something else, like people-fingers or--guess what?
Yesterday I caught her with an insert, today I caught her giving a flip-flop a test-nibble.
I am afraid my babies are about to become the victims of my baby.
But this has accomplished a glorious feat, one I have been waiting for my entire life.
It has given me a reason to put my shoes away, instead of leaving them by the door. And for that, I'm sure Mom is eternally grateful.