As I hurried home one evening from a Council meeting, I had a hundred things going through my head, none the least of which was trying to figure out if I had packed everything for the Orlando vacation that my wife and I were going to leave on as soon as I arrived home. Lori had the car ready to go, so when I got home we left immediately… me still dressed in my suit and tie. Although we were going to arrive late at the hotel, the plan was to have a good nights sleep, head out the next morning and then walk way too much, eat way too much and spend way too much money at the “House of the Mouse”.
After completing the three hour drive, we were checking in at the resorts front desk when suddenly it dawned on me that I hadn’t packed any shoes other than the black dress shoes I was wearing. Now, I know that I’m getting a little “long in the tooth” but I’m not quite ready to go out in public wearing short pants with black socks and black dress shoes… yet. “Is there a store open in the hotel where I can by some sandals?” I asked the clerk. She paused typing for an instant and motioned towards the map of the huge resort. We found the store just as it was getting ready to close and although they had mouse ears all over them, I found a pair of forty-dollar flip-flops. They looked comfortable, so we paid the nice young lady and went to our room for the night.
The next morning we got dressed in our tourist garb and headed out, hand in hand towards the “happiest place in the world”…. or at least a hundred yards down the long hallway to the elevator. After I pushed the lobby button I looked down at my feet. Lori was looking at me. “What?” she said. I made a face and wiggled my feet. “I can’t believe this but, I already have a blister between my toes. These shoes obviously aren’t going to work out.” She shrugged. “No big deal…There has to be somewhere in this place where you can find something better, right?”
We began by stopping at every little shop in the resort until we found a really expensive looking store that had beach apparel and other outdoorsy stuff. The closest thing that I could find that looked like something a grown man would wear was a pair of opened toed sandals made of black rubber. (No… they weren’t “Crocs”) They looked more like bedroom slippers but, they felt like heaven compared to the flip-flops that were eating my toes… so for another fifty dollars, my feet were happy, the offending flip-flops were in a bag and we were on our way to Epcot.
After we got off the bus we walked briskly towards that giant silver ball at the entrance, anxious to finally get started having fun. (Flip, flip, flip, flip…) Lori looked over at me and frowned. I looked down at my comfy, yet noisy bedroom slippers. Little repetitive noises make Lori crazy, so I curled my feet up tight like a bird on a perch as I walked and the noise stopped. But within 60 seconds, I was concentrating so hard on keeping my feet scrunched up that it was causing me to walk like I had mashed potatoes in the back of my pants. Lori, being like every other understanding and compassionate wife, started laughing at me, “What in the world are you doing?” she giggled. “Is there something you want to tell me?” “Oh, you’re funny!” I said, throwing my hands in the air. I relaxed my feet and kept walking. (Flip, flip, flip…) “See! I’m just trying to stop them from doing that!” (Flip, flip, flip…) “Well…” Lori said frowning down at my noisy feet as we walked. “Don’t worry about it, it’s not that bad.” Ten minutes later. (FLAP, flip, FLAP, flip, FLAP, FLAP…..) Lori stopped dead in her tracks in front of a dinosaur and spun me around like I was one of the other ten year olds at Disney World. “What!” I whined. She pointed at my rubber feet. “Those have got to go or we’re going to go!” I looked down. “But… They’re so comfortable!” Lori was already walking towards the giant souvenir store. “… and it feels like I’m walking around in bedroom slip-…” “Don’t care… Let’s go!” She said dragging me by the hand. (FLAP, FLAP, FLAP…) “Mannnnn…!”
In the store we found actual shoes… well, close to actual shoes. They were “Crocs” with closed toes, heels and of course… mouse ears everywhere. They were also comfortable, quiet and “only” 60 dollars. But all four of us; my lovely wife, me and both my feet, were happy for the rest of the day…all for just under $150. (Well, not including admission, food, lodging, travel expenses and Excedrin.)
To this day the shoes stare at me from a dark corner in my closet, reminding me that you can never be too prepared. But if you see me at the grocery store some day, walking rather oddly, it’s just me trying to get my moneys worth out of the wrong pair of shoes.