The Hellhole

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Great Shoelace Safari of '09

Alan wears the most basic, normal sneakers known to man: the Nike Air Force mid rise (like this picture except his lace the whole way up; they don't have a velcro strap). He likes black, unadorned, comfortable sneakers. Myself, I prefer high-top Converse Chucks in fashion colors but chacun à son goût.

Several weeks after we got Mister Fusspot, he went on the typical puppy rampage of chewing everything but his chew toys. A Liz Claiborne sandal, a ballet flat and a sneaker of mine fell victim, though a local cobbler was able to save the sandal, and I replaced the others. Then one morning, all my shoes were unattainable and Mister Fusspot breakfasted on Nike shoelaces. Alan is still not sure how it was possible for Mister Fusspot to nab his Nike, drag it through the bedroom, across the hall, into the study and up into his little puppy bed for gnawing, the sneaker being both larger and heavier than Mister Fusspot, but there is no underestimating Chihuahua determination.

"No big deal," thought Alan. "All I need are simple black shoelaces for one of the most popular sneakers in America - how difficult can it be?"

"Ha-HA!" laughed Fate. "Ha-ha, I say!"

We went (not just for shoelaces, in the course of normal errand-running) to two grocery stores, two different Targets, Kohl's and Dillard's. Either no shoelaces at all, none that were black or none that were both black and long enough. At that point, I sent Alan a weblink to a site that sold every shoelace imaginable, in every color and length, so that he could replace his nommed laces. He didn't order anything, though, remaining steadfast in his conviction that it could not possibly be THAT HARD to find plain black shoelaces for one of the most popular 8-eyelet sneakers in America.

"Ha-HA!" laughed Fate. "Ha-ha, I say!"

Tonight we have visited three shoe stores: a Payless, a Rack Room and an Athlete's Foot. You'd think Athlete's Foot, at least, would sell shoelaces that went in the shoes they sold - but if you thought that, you'd be wrong. Oh, they had shoelaces: fat, puffy, neon green ones; pink glow-in-the-dark ones, checkerboard patterned ones - surprisingly, my husband did not want any of those. Which is just as well because the longest available were 12" too short to fit his sneakers.

Funny anecdotes related to the Great Shoelace Safari of '09: while in Kohl's department store, roaming through the shoes, searching vainly for a display of shoelaces, we saw these two very old ladies looking at shoes. They were nicely dressed and about 150 each, stooped, white-haired and hard of hearing, which I knew by how loud they were talking. One stopped at this display of EXTREMELY high-heeled open-toed pumps, so very high-heeled that I would not wear them - not because of any health, balance or walking issue, just - well, we have a name for them but I can't write it. There was a brown pair but the elderly lady wasn't interested in that one - she wanted the purple patent leather one.

"Lookit these!" she exclaimed. "Them's VERA WANG!" And oh, if I could write the extremely Southern way in which she articulated "Vera Wang"...if only...I really wish she had tried them on while we were there, but they didn't exactly match her mint-green pantsuit. Still. WAAAANG!

After our fruitless search for shoelaces, we stopped by Applebee's for dinner. While we were waiting for our table, several other couples/groups came in and added their names to the list. I kept scouting each man and rejecting him.

"Sandals. Ugh, flip-flops. Bah - white shoelaces." Then, this VERY ENORMOUS man came in with a group. He was HUGE, both in height and girth. Guess what he was wearing?!? YES! Nike Air Force! With black laces!

"Requisite shoelaces at eleven o'clock!" I hissed to Alan. "I think I can take him...but I don't think I can take him alone!"

"Okay," Alan whispered back. "You kneel down behind him, I'll push him over and while he's distracted, you steal his shoelaces!"

Then we imagined this dude relating the story to his friends later, how he'd been jumped in the parking lot but they left his wallet, car keys and pricey sneakers, and only stole his shoelaces.

"He'll think we're totally stupid!" said Alan.

"Yeah, until he tries to replace his laces, finds out how impossible it is, and sees the logic behind our madness!"

I continued to scout out men in Applebee's, rejecting many sandal- and flip-flop-wearing men. Even the sneaker-wearing men seemed to favor New Balance and/or white shoelaces. Bad taste abounded. My best prospect still appeared to be the ginormous guy in black Nikes, so I was shadowing him while he ate. My biggest worry was not his large size, but the large number of friends he had with him.

"This isn't do-able, I'll have to get him alone!" I said.

"No jacking folks in the parking lot, honey - remember our wedding vows."

"I can take him! I'm pretty sure."

At one point Alan noticed I was rustling about, gearing up to follow the guy towards the restrooms. "Sit down!" he hissed. "You are SO not mugging that man for shoelaces! Finish your salad! You have not thought your cunning plan through: there are too many witnesses!"

I spent dinner devising many devious plans that would have totally worked, and I don't see anything wrong with jacking people for laces if you really, really need them (which we did) but Alan was a big spoilsport and refused to let me put any of my nefarious plans into action. Instead, he wanted to drive to yet another shoe store in the same shopping center where OF COURSE they didn't have any plain black shoelaces that were long enough.

This is a problem because tomorrow we are going to an outdoor, all-day blues fest in a fairground, and he really needs his sneakers. After we returned home this evening, I found him attempting to transplant a lace from his four-eyelet Timberlands into his sneaker.

["Why, Helly!" I hear y'all saying. "Spiffy oiled full-grain Timberlands! We had no idea your husband was so hip and stylish!" "You should have seen him before I took control!" I reply. "I'm still working on getting him to wear an actual color, as opposed to the many hues on the black to grey spectrum."]

Knowing the flat dress lace in his 4-eyelet Timberlands was never going to work in his big ol' sneaker, I said, "Just grab my Docs."

"Which ones?" [yes, there are several]

"Doesn't matter, just grab a pair of Doc boots and use those. They will work." So he did, and they did, and he's using borrowed Doctor Marten Air-Wair laces for tomorrow, but after the blues-fest he's going to have to order his own shoelaces and give mine back. There have to be limits to this sharing thing, even for married folk, I'm just sayin'. But I'd totally jack a guy's laces in the Applebee's parking lot for him - that's love, that is.


  • I KNOW you don't 'do' WallyWorld, but they do have a pretty full selection of replacement laces, in black. If you'll supply the dimensions, I'll make the trek....


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:09 AM  

  • You totally could have taken the man in Applebee's! I have faith in your powers of subterfuge.

    By Blogger A Margarita, at 9:45 AM  

  • We also have a shoelace problem here. Carlo enjoys chewing them up, unless we stuff them inside our shoes. My favorite tennies have one shoelace that we actually tied back together, so I could use them. I know I should buy new ones - they're white and should be easy to replace, if I could remember. Then again, I accidentally dropped a piece of flat taffy (you know the kind, it's big & rectangular & flat, and if you hit it against something, it shatters) while at my desk and it dropped into my shoe. It melted and I wasn't able to remove it properly, so I put a giant band-aid on it. Oh so classy. Yet, it's comfortable and it stops the grape taffy from sticking to my socks. So, I'm clearly about the short-term fix, but making it last long-term.

    Maybe you should've politely asked the nice large fellow for his shoelaces. He may have been so shocked that he might've just given them to you. Or, he might've just thought you were crazy. :)

    By Anonymous FlippyO, at 2:27 PM  

  • I have two sets of brand new shoelaces that were long enough for Alan's sneakers: one hot pink, and one white with pink flamingos on. And yet he declined the loan of either - go figure.

    By Blogger Helly, at 3:47 PM  

  • I did locate a pair of 60" black laces - I guess they could be retained in case of a Fusspot emergency...


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:27 AM  

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