I hate buying new shoes.
My feet slip comfortably into the indentations they’ve formed in my old shoes like a nice hug. My old shoes form comfortably to my feet. Unfortunately, they also form to the ground and the ground and my toes are starting to kiss when I’m not looking.
My old shoes are comfortable, but the leather is so worn they won’t hold a shine anymore. The seams are popping, the heels are peeling and the soles have holes.
But I hate to buy new shoes because I never know about the fit. They’re stiff, but will they loosen eventually and conform to my feet? Although they’re the right size by the chart, they feel tight. Will they loosen up or do I need to go up a size?
I don’t like to buy new shirts, either. I can’t just get a “medium” because the sleeves are too short. I can get fitted shirts with a sleeve length that works, but I don’t wear “dress” shirts much anymore.
I hate to grocery shop because I don’t know where anything is. I could spend two hours in the grocery picking up half a basket full of food I need – and filling the rest with food that triggers my visual and olfactory nerves.
My wife is so efficient with her list she could make the same trip, minus the bad things I tend to toss into the cart, in 15 minutes.
The simple truth is I hate shopping period. I don’t want the fridge to empty, or my underwear to get holes in them. I don’t want to stand in front of the Red Box and try to pick out a movie that will satisfy everyone.
I don’t want to have to pick out the roses for Valentine’s Day.
But there are two things I don’t mind paying for: my mortgage, and tires.
There is something satisfying about providing my family’s cave of safety, the abode alamode, the harbor of peace and haven of labor. In many modes and varieties, it’s where we raised the kids, where we come home each night.
I help in an overflow homeless shelter and the women who sleep there wake in the morning not always certain where they’re going to spend that night…or if they’re going to have a safe, dry, warm place to lay their heads.
My home anchors me in the world. I have a place, an address. I belong. When the snow falls outside, I can watch it through the window while sipping hot chocolate. I don’t have to wade through it to find a spot under a bridge, over a grate or in a doorway for shelter.
When the kids come to see us, when the grandkids come to Nana and Papa’s house…this is where they come. When they think of us, their visual is this house, these bricks, the backyard where we throw the ball, the garden boxes at the side, the deck where Papa grills the burgers. I keep my bike in the garage here.
I slide under the covers in a bed in this place, and God willing, I’ll do the same thing tomorrow and every tomorrow I have.
This is my home and I’m glad to pay the mortgage on it.
Tires aren’t quite so romantic, but I get a warm glow when I think of how they keep me from danger. Think of it. You’re racing 70-80 miles an hour down a highway littered with debris and broken asphalt, massive trucks close enough to touch, crazy drivers weaving in an out, curves that test your grip, wet weather, even snow. What is the thin black line keeping you from careening into a ditch, wrapping yourself around a tree or flipping end over end like a stunt car driver in a Marvel flick?
Years ago we made an extended trip from Nashville, to Wisconsin to drop the kids off and on to Pennsylvania for a meeting. Hours on the road, high speeds, mountains and summer heat.
I pulled the car into the driveway, glad to be safely home. Unloading it, I looked at the tires…so bald the steel belts were showing. That morning I drove the car 70 miles an hour down the interstate. That afternoon I was afraid to drive it 25 miles an hour to the tire store.
Ever since that day, I’ve been very conscious of my tires, maybe even replacing them sooner than required. But the peace of mind knowing they can roll over a stone in the road, or a piece of glass or handle a rain slick curve is worth the nominal price.
Someone told me once don’t be afraid to spend money for a good bed and a good pair of shoes because you spend your whole life in one or the other.
I’m saying don’t feel bad about your house payment or rent, and keeping good “shoes” on your car. They’re good investments.