Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Serious Work

First off, I apologize.  I had to turn comment verification back on because some annoying anonymous user, probably a bot, keeps leaving comments loaded with links advertising crap.  It's been hitting one of my posts over and over, so I block comments from that post, and then it finds another post to pick on.  I'm hoping that if I leave comment verification on for a while, it will go away all together and forget about stalking my blog.

Now, about the title of this post.  What is serious work?  Well, I know a lot of gals enjoy shopping, but I'm not one of them.  All that hunting tires me out, and I usually end up having to return or exchange whatever I bought because it magically develops some kind of defect by the time I get it home.  It's always something glaring, so I can never understand why I didn't see it when I examined the item in the store.

I have some new friends who love shopping.  They are always recommending shopping locations to me, and I politely feign interest.  Their house is furnished and decorated with art.  It's truly amazing, and I do admire them for putting so much time, energy and money into finding just the right artwork to match everything else.  People with a talent in interior decoration are few and far between.  For me, I just wait until something breaks, and then I say, "Oh, I need to go buy a new (insert furniture item here)," and then I pick out something I can afford that will do the job whether it matches anything else in the house or not.  The furnishings in my home could be an advertisement for Walmart.

For birthdays and Christmas, I usually shop online.  It's faster, I can avoid the crowds as well as the man with the cart in the mall who always grabs me by the wrist and leads me over to a bowl to wash my hands in the product he's trying to sell.  He soaks them until they are soft and buffs my fingernails until they are shiny only to have me tell him no, I won't pay hundreds of dollars for your line of beauty products.  He always asks if I'm a nurse or a doctor who washes her hands a lot, because they are so dry.  I tell him different things.  I'm a rancher, a photographer, a writer...  He asks why I don't use hand lotion and wear make-up everyday.  I repeat that I'm a rancher, a photographer, a writer...  He doesn't get it.  He's a city boy.  I don't get him or his products.

Anyway, this year there's no getting around it.  I have to... ugh... get out there and buy some Christmas gifts in actual, physical stores.  Also, Mikey forewarned me to wear my boots out at the ranch, because the rattlers are still out down there.  All my boots come up just above the ankles, and I've heard stories about 7-foot rattlesnakes that can spring up pretty high in the air, so I wanted to see if I could find some knee-high boots while shopping.

If you like boots, now is the time to get them.  They are very much in style and almost every department and shoe store stocks them.  I remember searching for boots high and low in the past, and not being able to find them simply because they were not in style.  Or the only kind of boots I could locate where fashion boots with 3-inch heels.  Those don't work well around the ranch. However, on this shopping trip, I hit the jackpot.  There were boots galore everywhere; not just fashion boots, but riding boots and cowgirl boots, low-heeled boots and no-heeled boots.  Many had fancy decorations like laces up the back or studs and spikes, lots and lots of buckles.  Really fun stuff, but also comfortable, useful stuff for the average Jane who is not a fashion model.

But boot shopping is serious work.  You not only have to find a boot that fits your style and shoe size, but it also has to fit your calf size.  I have both a wide foot and a wide calf, but my general shoe size is one of the most common for women, so it is difficult to find them in stock.  I had to try on the display models for three different boots, because those were the only ones left in my size.

After looking around 5 different department stores and 2 shoe stores, I found that most of them stocked the same boots, but the prices varied dramatically.  Sears was the best with $30 and $40 price tags for what I wanted, J.C. Penney's and Kohl's were next best with $50 and $75 price tags, then came Macy's with $100 to $150 price tags, and Dillard's was way up there with $150 to $250 price tags.  Of course, there were some variations in the boots that were carried.  The more expensive ones looked similar, but were better quality.  The more expensive stores also had a wider variety.

I decided to take advantage of their availability since I will be needing boots for a long time, and I picked up three pair.  I'm working on breaking them in.  Someone once told me to break them in by walking around in a creek, because the water stretches them out, and then they reshape to your foot as they dry.  I'll have to wet them down in a bath tub.  Here's my loot:

This last boot is the only one I had trouble with.  I tried on the display boots and they were very comfortable, but no one was around for me to ask if I could buy the display, so I dug around looking for the same boot in my size.  Took a while, but I finally found it and bought the boots in that box without trying them on.  I didn't think I needed to, because I just tried on the exact same size, brand and style.  Wrong.

It turned out that one of the boots in this box had a manufacturing defect.  The hard part that shapes the boot in between the outer and inner layer of the heel was bunched up and rubbing badly.  Fortunately, it popped back into place and flattened out while I walked around in it, so I don't have to drive all the way back to exchange it.  Whew!  Close one.  Lesson learned:  Always buy the pair you try on.  Boots are like horses.  You wouldn't ride one and then buy its brother.


Katharine Swan said...

I've been getting a ton of spam comments, too, on ALL my blogs, but I thought Blogger's system made it pretty easy to go through and mark them as spam. Maybe I'll go back and turn on comment verification, though... Wasn't there a reason we all turned it off? The new system made it too difficult or something? I guess I'll find out in just a minute here! :o)

And I love your top pair of boots!

Reddunappy said...

Yeah something like that is trying to send to my blog too. Except I am only getting it in my email?? From Anonymouser. So annoying, I am sending them all to spam, but like you said they come up on other posts.

Cute boots!

I bought a pair of Justins last Summer that I just love!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Did you try Shoppers or the Boot Barn? BB Has a good selection and the pair you try on is the pair you can walk right out the door wearing if need be.

Water is good but a good way to dry out the leather as well. For starters it is okay, but follow it up with a good oil and your boot should last a while.

I need to oil mine again, but I bought my Ariat's at Boot Barn 2 years ago now and they are still going strong. Well worth the $130!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Katharine - It's easy to drop them into a Spam folder, but if they come from Anonymous, they can just keep coming. We turned it off because the verification was difficult to read and took several tries of inputting the code in order to submit your comment. Google just needed or needs to lighten the difficulty level. If the letters and numbers are smashed too tight together and overlapping, it's hard to make out what they are supposed to be, because there are several possibilities.

CNJ - I looked up Boot Barn, but didn't want to travel that far in case I had to return what I bought. We recently got a Boot Barn in our area in Nevada, but that was after the last time I stocked up on boots and I didn't need them anymore. I'll look into Shoppers. Not familiar with that.

I have two pair of Ariats and one pair of Justin's, but they are all the ankle-high riding boots.

sydney K said...

Don't wet them!! Leather stretches naturally about an inch over time. Get boot stretcher or spray rubbing alcohol on the insides then walk in them. Water is so detrimental.

Cindy D. said...

I've got the exact same stupid spam message coming too! Argh!
I deleted the post it was commenting on, and now it is hitting a new one. Blogger is throwing it to spam, because I can see that it isn't actually showing up on my blog, but it does come to my email.
I love your boots! Especially the top pair. I have the same issue you have. Common size foot (8.5-9) but thick calves and it makes it hard to get some of those boots up all the way. Although I have noticed that some of the manufacturers seem to be accomodating people like me.
I seriously had to lol at the part about the guy at the little stand trying to sell you the 100 dollare moisturizer. They always grab my hands and say, "Wow you are so dry!" Well Duh, I sell truck parts for a living and I have horses and dogs and kids.
Well congrats on your boot finds. There is nothing better than a few good pairs of boots!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Ack! If I had to shop in 5 different department stores and 2 shoe stores I would lose my mind! I've not been in a mall or department store for over 12 years, and I avoid Walmart, too. I do most of my shopping online. All those crowds, stuff everywhere to look at and buy, and driving in all the traffic to get there is way too much over-stimulation for me.

Sounds like you got some good deals, though. That first pair would be my favorite. I like the last pair, too, but I'd remove that huge belt buckle thing and wear them without. The color is very nice.


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Ha ha! I'm hoping the snakes will strike those buckles.

fernvalley01 said...

Very nice I like all three. I just bought boots too, dress ones for work, low heel similar to the top ones but in a reddish brown with sips up the back. they are awesome ! fit my feet like slippers and were cheap because they were supposedly narrow in the foot and calf, well ! Color me lucky ! So am I ! Payless Shoes is where I got them ,m,not sure if you have that there

Paint Girl said...

Cool new boots! I agree with Sydney, leather stretches when you wear them so I wouldn't put them in water. I worked retail management for 18 years and boot stretchers work awesome!
Thankfully I haven't had a problem with spam on my blog. Every now and then I get a comment I delete but very rarely. I read most blogs from my cell phone now and the word verification is extremely difficult to read this way. But I think blogger has made it a little more easier. Thank goodness because I don't have a lot of time for my desk top computer anymore!

Anonymous said...

Did you check out Sabas. in Queen Creek... Lots of current style boots there. I love my Justins.

Cheryl Ann said...

Very informational and yes, I, too, am having problems with spam. I had over 100 spam messages over the weekend...sigh...

achieve1dream said...

I LOVE those first boots!! I want them lol. I try not to, but since everyone else is, I totally have to complain about shoe/boot shopping too!! My problem is that I'm 5'11" and wear a size TWELVE in women's (sounds huge, but my feet are proportionate to my height) and they are WIDE too. Try finding a size 12 W in anything even remotely attractive or comfortable in women's shoes! Not fun. I HATE shoe shopping. That's why I own one pair of sneakers and have had them for years and I hate them because they are white and ugly. And my boots are a size too small..... when I wear them I'm always in a super hurry to get on the horse just so I don't have to walk around in them. That's why a lot of the time you'll see me wearing my sneakers while riding. Even shopping online I can't find my size. It's horrible. I'm glad you found some nice boots. Maybe I should go shopping if they are that popular right now. :D