Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dear Makers of the Sorel Boots I bought

UPDATE!!!: Can you believe that in far less than 24 hours, the PR Rep for Sorel found this and offered to help my sore tootsies? See comments section. And she is REAL. Way go to! So...I emailed her, she emailed me back and I will be taking a photo of said boots so she can identify them and we'll go from there. Score 1 for Customer Service. Oh and I failed to disclose that I bought a pair of Sorel boots for the little guy while in Canada also. His are NOTHING like mine and are awesome. I'll be sure to let you all know what comes out of this.

I wanted to take some precious time between the business plan I need to write for Monday, the website copy that needs revamping asap, the demanding job of mothering a 3-year old, a husband and my upteenth load of laundry this week to bitch about the $150+ boots I purchased from one of your retailers in Canada.

I've learned that if you're going to criticize, you should instead start with the positive and work your way smoothly into the negative. It's called constructive feedback, I believe.

Your boots LOOKED awesome when I first laid my boot-starved eyes on them. I've been proudly sporting the same pair of fur boots for the past seven years or so. Almost knee high, white mukaluk types. They cost me a fortune at the time. But I needed a change. My feet needed the feel of newness. Something more 2010 if you will. And forget UGGS. I am not buying into that craze. Purely because everyone else has.

Back to the shoe store.

They are white, with red trim and to top it all off, had a Canadian flag emblazoned on them. They're a serious outdoorsy winter persony type of boot. I am not that person but the boot exuded coolness or warmness or both. Rubber soled, red laced, mid calf high. No question about it: A real winter boot. I was sold. Noone in Sweden would own these puppies, reason # whatever to buy them.

To the airport.

I wore them with pride. By Heathrow, I was limping. By the time I arrived at Arlanda Airport, I was walking on my tiptoes with a gorgeous blister on my right ankle.

I chalked up the hobbling and blood to "needing to work them in". Right? I mean they are Sorels, suppose to be one of the best manufactured winter boots in Canada.

Back home in winter

It takes me 25 minutes to walk to my son's school. It took me 45 minutes the first day I ventured out in your boots. The blistering started about 1/4 of the way in. Then I realized I wasn't actually wearing boots, I was dragging them like two blocks of concrete on each foot. Oh, and, because the backs are so rigid, but not rigid enough and your toes don't actually touch the ground when you walk, it felt like I was wearing downhill ski boots. You know how those boots actually pitch you forward slightly and your calves are like two big charlie horses the day after your first run down the slopes? That's what it's like walking in your boots. Or ski/walking.

Let me explain the design flaw of your boots. The shell is made of some thick kinda stuff but then you decided to cover them in suede? Well this combination, though adding a pretty flair to an otherwise work boot, sucks. The backs buckle. And WHERE do they buckle? Right at the blister point of the ankle. Thank you very much.

The backs of each of my feet are once again, smeared with polysporin. My calves have turned to cankles and I want nothing more than to smell burnt rubber as I douse your boots with gasoline and toss in the match.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A rumble in the jungle part 2

For Part 1

But first he needed to pee. He never said the word piss. "I gotta take a piss." That kind of language was reserved for his buddies. He ought to thank his mother for that. He'd never forget the first time he told her he needed to take a piss. He might have been ten. She had her hands in the sink, scrubbing feverishly at some caked on food bit when she asked him to take out the recycling. He answered by forcefully proclaiming his desire to urinate. There were only a few times in his life that he could remember his mother making that face. She didn't have to say a word for him to banish that word from his vocabulary forever.

While looking around for a suitable tree, he realized it was his weak bladder that had saved him those days ago. He could never hold it in. When he had to go, he had to go now. He was like a pregnant woman, or at least the way Aunt Amy was on the family trip to Albuquerque. His Dad had to stop the car every half hour so she could pee. Daniel was the only one not rolling his eyes in annoyance because half the time, his bladder was in step with hers.

They had to stop the jeep. He had to go. Rufus politely obliged while the others tried to mask their eye rolling under sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats.

"Go ovah deer, behind that tree. And you keep yo’ eyes open man. Rufus be watchin' afta you." Rufus was the driver slash bush guide, employed by the Mapungubwe Game Reserve for over 20 years. He was what Daniel's mother would have termed, "salt of the earth". He entertained the group with the kinds of stories one would expect a bush guide to tell: Disappearing tourists, close encounters with jungle cats, a host of near-death experiences. They always culminated with his unwavering devotion to his employer, the man who had saved him and his family from a life of poverty in Botswana.

Rufus was possibly the darkest man Daniel had ever seen up close. With the exception of the blob of loose tobacco hanging down from beneath his upper lip, his teeth actually glowed in the dark. He was a tongue acrobat, somehow managing to keep that packet of dung-colored goo from dribbling down his chin as he spoke, laughed, smoked cigarettes and even ate.

The human Google Map, he had every inch of the Madagascar jungle and the expanse of the reserve memorized. They felt safe with Rufus. Lovable, devoted, reliable, forty-something Rufus with four kids, a wife and a grandbaby on the way. Daniel winced. Rufus would never get to see that look of amazement on his first grandchild's face. It would have been the same awe-struck expression Daniel wore when Rufus told the story about facing down that lion on the plain.

A rumble in the jungle

The roar he heard turned out to be not so far in the distance. In fact, it was close. Real close. Focusing his ear drums to pinpoint its location, he realized rather painfully it was coming from his stomach. He couldn't remember the last time he had tasted anything but cool water collected from a floppy jungle leaf. How many days had it been? He couldn't say. And even if he could, there was noone around to hear him.

When he awoke to realize his predicament, he had tried to keep track of the sun's position overhead. A long-forgotten skill learned from his boy scout days. In and out of consciousness, he had no idea how many times the sun had risen and set since it all happened. He had lost count.

Days or hours, maybe even a week had passed since the attack. Back in Minnesota, he had been dreaming of this adventure since he was a boy. He struggled through school, a few girlfriends, a few cash registers, a whole lot of raw meat and the general monotony of small town life for his chance. His Dad's collection of National Geographics were dog-eared, dull and torn from his incessant skimming. He preferred them that way. The real thing, the astonishing colours, would materialize soon enough.

Daniel had patience. That was likely the reason he hadn't gone mad with fear and hunger, yet. But he had to find food and fast. He had to take advantage of this period of alertness. He promised himself that this time, he wouldn't give into the warm embrace of sleep. He inhaled rather forcefully. As if by doing so, his energy reserves would go from bordering on E to nearing F. Now to formulate a plan.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

To write or not to write and Haiti

Hmmmm...I feel like I should write something. Mostly for the sake of just writing something. And because it's been awhile. I had an idea for a post earlier today but with making pancakes for breakfast, preparing the Sheppards pie for supper (which sucked for some reason), the whole 10 minutes of outdoor skating on a fake rink (not ice, but plastic? very weird), the 1.5 hours of preparing to go skating, the visit to a fast food joint and watching our friend's daugther play basketball, well, I'm spent and uninspired and can't remember my idea.

Well, there's always Haiti. But I can't bear to go into IT. The horror, the unfairness of it all, the gross delays in assistance arriving (thereby leading to loads of preventable deaths), Sanjay Gupta...urghhhh...It's heart-wrenching, it's terribly frustrating, etc. And it makes me feel very grateful for my life.

The end, for now. Oh, I just had an idea for a new post. No, not the one I forgot but a brand new one. Next time I'm going to write about the "necessity" for parents to take time away from their children. And yes, I put "necessity" in brackets because, well, it's my personal opinion.