She:Visit several stores, punctuated by hangry episodes and at least a dozen variations of "I want them, but: there's a seam / tightness in the toes / no one wears shows like this / nah." Buy at least one pair of new socks to make show wearing bearable. Can't be any socks, there are usually at least 3 qualities that MUST be present for sock wearing. Deal with Accessories Temptation on both our parts.
Finally get lucky at REI / Big 5, far from home. Once (as in only once) I scored during Black Friday Deals weekend at Old Navy with Uggs. Current favourite shoes are glossy black rain boots. They look fantastic, but they are rain boots, bought on Amazon.com after searching in vain at Garretts, Old Navy, Costco, and Target.
He: Make plans to spend up to an hour at Payless Shoes, mostly looking for the right size and something on sale-ish. Run late and decide WalMart will have take care of frozen chicken nuggets, bigger underpants, and shoes for James.
Stroll down shoe aisle at the back of the store, after scoring last package of undies in the new size. Spot 2 pairs very blue tennis shoes. Whisk off his sandal and hold them up to the soles and decide he's probably now a size 6. Ask if he likes them. "Yes." Ask if he really will wear these shoes. Every day. "Yes." Purchase shoes after snagging chicken nuggets. We pretty much traveled in a rectangle inside the store and were out in 20 minutes, 5 minutes from home. With any luck, both pairs will last for more than 6 months.
The old vacuum (I cannot even remember how old it was) has finally died a slow, ugly, noisy, smelly death. I knew it was time to give it up and get a new machine when the old model started channeling the Exorcist by spewing out what it had just tried to consume creating hazy, odoriferous mayhem. I put off finding a replacement for as long as I could.
Over the past dozen years or so, vacuuming has become a traumatic event - for the kids because of the noise (it would literally send James running, screaming as he bolted in panic to escape the noise) and for me because it turned the chore into a horrible beat the clock kind of ordeal that had to be planned and frantically executed in a small amount of time when the kids were not around (which got even more challenging once I went back to work full time and the vacuum started breaking down and needing constant fixing).
Even opening the closet and seeing the red instrument of malevolent cacophony would set of anxiety attacks for James, who would then need constant reassurance that that hideous thing would soon be safely back behind closed doors. Unplugged. No really, I mean it.
So, new vacuum. I debated endlessly the merits of vacuums. We have cats. There is dirt galore. Crumbalanches have been known to happen in areas near the TV. I discover that lower decibel vacuums for pet owners in a modest price range are now a thing. Excitement! After hours of research and second-guessing myself, I schlepped off to Costco for a new Shark. I've never bought one before, but it got good reviews online and was on sale.
As I was eyeing the two Shark models on display, an older gentleman paused his cart alongside mine and regarded me with faint dismay. "Oh my, no. You are thinking of buying the Shark?" Out whisked a business card. "Forgive me, but I run a vacuum repair shop in town. You do not want a Shark. Those things come in for repairs? They are useless. Just a big metal paperweight. I am sorry for for interrupting but I just could not help myself. You can call the number on the card if you need anything." And off he sailed, as gracious as all get out.
Okay, Universe, I can take a hint. Hoover Wind Tunnel it was.
I got it home, assembled it, and turned it on. Oh my goodness - it really is a lot quieter!! And it does work well. I just have to continuously empty the canister. That's okay, though. It's easier to get to the canister and overall it is much lighter and easier to maneuver than the old one. It was more on sale than either of the two Sharks. My favourite feature? Auto-retractable cord. Yes!
The mini miracle? James isn't scared of it. He even came out to see how it worked. Both hands over his ears and bent over with anxiety, but I actually think he will get more used to this. He even tried pushing the vacuum himself. This is one of the times I am doing a victory whoop and dance inside my head. Yes!!!! We are just that much closer to mastering another life skill.
Which is good, because our mastery with the mop still needs a LOT of work. But that's another story ...