I found an old dresser at the dump last week and I hauled it home and put it out in the baby barn because I was sure all I’d have to do is clean it up a bit and it’d be a piece of cake to sell it. Stick a note on the board at Sobeys and a few days later, you’re $20 or $30 richer.
I don’t know if your house is anything like mine, but any time you come in the back door, it looks like we’re havin’ a shoe sale. There’s only the four of us – me and Minnie and Little Bill and Rosie, but holy cripes there must be two dozen shoes out by the back door at any given time.
Seems like it’s always worst right around springtime and fall, and I guess that’s because the weather’s sort of changin’ but not yet changed all the way yet, so you’re just as likely to find a flip-flop next to a winter boot.
Anyways, Saturday afternoon I heard Minnie pullin’ in the yard and went out to help her carry in the bags after she came back from the grocery store. I slipped into my work boots without tyin’ them, loaded up my two hands with grocery bags, and the minute I came back in, my foot hit one of Little Bill’s clodhoppers and made me roll over on my ankle, so I fell sideways, knockin’ the garbage bucket over and droppin’ the groceries all over the floor.
That’s it! I yelled, cursin’ and rollin’ around on the floor grabbin’ my sore ankle. Somethin’ gotta be done about all these shoes at the door!
Now see, where I went wrong was thinkin’ that complainin’ about the situation wouldn’t affect me too much because none of the shoes were mine. I only got one pair of boots and I wear them for pretty much everything. Minnie, on the other hand, got her good sneakers, her old sneakers, her winter boots, flip flops, fancy sandals, plain sandals – easily 10 pairs of things to wear on your feet.
And even though Rosie’s still young, she’s almost as bad. I remember a few weeks ago she went around sayin’ she couldn’t find her “slingback” and I asked her what in the hell a little girl needed a pocketknife for. With Little Bill, it’s not that he got a whole bunch of shoes, it’s that he takes a size 12 already, and they’re them skateboardin’ sneakers that are bigger than regular sneakers anyway, so when you put a pair of them together, you get a hump of rubber and leather about the size of an armchair.
So anyways, when I was finished cursin’ my head off and writhin’ around holdin’ my ankle and yellin’ about how somethin’ gotta be done about the shoes, that’s when Minnie told me – Good, you can build a shoe rack and we’ll stack the shoes on it right here against the wall, she said, pointin’ to a spot.
Holy cripes – only in my house does a fella damn near break his neck trippin’ over somebody else’s shoes and then gets punished by havin’ to build a shoe rack.
I swear sometimes Minnie gives me these little projects half because she wants them done, but also half because she knows I don’t really know what I’m doin, and whatever I come it with, I’ll have to spend a day out in the baby barn tryin’ to figure it out.
So I get out to the barn and see what I got for supplies. I root around for a bit and what I come up with is four pieces of two-by-four, each different lengths, an L-shaped piece of plywood with three holes drilled it, and two of Little Bill’s old road hockey sticks with the blades broke off. Not exactly the New Yankee Workshop, my baby barn.
For about the next hour, I sit lookin’ at the wood, holdin’ one piece up against another, eyeballin’ it for a second, and then puttin’ it back down and thinkin’ about it some more. And there’s not enough room to move around and do anything, really, because that old dresser was in the way. After about the fourth or fifth time squeezin’ around the dresser to reach for somethin’, I got an idea.
I hauled the dresser in the back door and plunked it down in the kitchen. I opened the four drawers and started firin’ everybody’s shoes in. They fit in all perfect and I was able to close the drawers.
Minnie came in the kitchen when she heard the noise and when she seen what I did, she was actually surprised. Holy cripes, she says, I think that’ll work perfect! Where did you get the dresser?
Ohhh, I got my ways, I said. See, I never told her about haulin’ the dresser home because if I could keep it a secret, I could use the money for beer when I sold it, with her bein’ none the wiser.
Minnie was right happy with me (for a change), and I thought – holy frig, you’re gonna come out ahead on this one (for change).
The next day, I got back from helpin’ Cyril pull the studs out of his tires and there was the dresser and about half the shoes, in a pile next to the back step.
Minnie was out the door after me before I even got in. That thing stinks! All the shoes smell like garbage! she said. Where’d you get it, the dump?
Oh well, at least now there’s less shoes by the door.