Getting winter off your feet.

thWhen I was a kid we got one pair of sneakers each year – always in the springtime, and always a size too big so we could grow into them. Invariably they were either red or blue, because black was considered a “boy” color and white sneakers would get dirty too quickly.

While researching this month’s post for Retail Me Not, I learned just how big a fashion statement sneakers can be. To paraphrase the poet, April may be the coolest month when judged solely (pun intended) on the stylin’ sneaks of today – especially since they’re among the best deals of the month.

I also learned about the existence of vegan sneakers. And here I thought vegan condoms were startling.

Looking at all that footwear inspired me to go back and re-read the chapter of “Dandelion Wine” that dealt with Doug’s need to obtain new sneakers. His father tells him, sensibly, that last year’s model still fits and that if he wants new ones he’ll have to save up his money.

That won’t work for Doug, who believes that summer is in a new pair of shoes:

“…He felt sorry for boys who lived in California where they wore tennis shoes all year and never knew what it was to get winter off your feet, peel off the iron leather shoes all full of snow and rain and run barefoot for a day and then lace on the first new tennis shoes of the season, which was better than barefoot. The magic was always in the new pair of shoes. The magic might die by the first of September, but now in late June there was still plenty of magic, and shoes like these could jump you over trees and rivers and houses.”

That’s the way sneakers used to feel for me, too. Although we spent a fair amount of time barefoot, we needed sneakers for the last month or so of school, and for baseball games in the back field (too much clover and too many bees to make shoeless play a wise move), and for those rare trips “uptown” (i.e., a small nearby town with actual stores) where flip-flops would be hick-ish and bare feet illegal.

These days, sneakers are just running shoes. I wear them although I do not choose to run. Plantar fasciitis forces me to wear inserts in whichever footwear I choose. Still, when I read “Dandelion Wine” my feet start twitching, recalling the days when shank’s mare was my main method of transportation and new sneakers seemed pumped full of tightly coiled springs that propelled me faster, farther than I ever thought I could run.

The other best buys highlighted in the piece are spring clothes, tires, car-care products and organic health and beauty products. Auto care is particularly important to anyone whose vehicles have absorbed months of damp and muck, to say nothing of stray French fries, spilled apple juice or the lingering aftermath of a carsick young’un.

Some floor mats, a can of upholstery cleaner, a tub of wax – clean assiduously and wax brightly and you’ll take years off your ride. To further the illusion, you can even buy that-new-car-smell-in-a-can – a product called Ozium. Scary.

Two more places to read me

Over at Money Talks News, “Painless ways to turn junk into cash” discusses  ways to get rid of some of the stuff you’ve vowed to jettison, finally. This time you really mean it. In addition to the usual yard-sale route, the piece mentions venues (real and virtual) you might never have heard of before.

Remember: Yard sale denizens aren’t looking to pay top dollar. If you want to make decent money, you’ll need to think outside the garage. Should that all seem like too much work, consider just donating the stuff. It’ll be out of your house and you’ll feel much calmer.

Recently I was asked to offer advice on spending less money for an article for Grandparents.com. Had a nice chat with the editor, Kristen Sturt, whom I’d met several years ago in conjunction with her previous blog, Cheap Healthy Good.

Assumed that I’d be one of several interviewees, but nope: “6 moments when we spend too much money” features just me and my advice. I feel like a rock star! Thanks, Kristen.

Note: Her old blog is currently dormant but take a look anyway. It’s got wonderful recipes archived and the author is extremely funny. I used to read her site for the amusement as much as for help with cheaphealthygood recipes.

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  1. Holly S

    Cheap Healthy Good has been dead for a LONG time – several years. I used to follow it as I try to eat at least lacto-ovo veggie/vegan for 2 meals/week in addition to breakfast.

  2. Wow this IS scary…You mentioned “Dandelion Wine” and I immediately remember the author….Ray Bradbury. AND I read this in the 70’s sooo wow. I do remember getting new sneaks in the Spring, if the folks were having a “good year” …Jack Purcells….Aaaand as for dandelion wine….I had a dear customer from my “store days” give me some home-made dandelion wine once….let’s just say….one has to develop “a taste” for the stuff. My batch was nasty…..

  3. Betsey

    Spring for me always meant rehabbing the “Fort.” We had found lots of old doors dumped on a hill where we lived, so one of our fathers helped us put it together and that was our residence all summer long. I lived a charmed existence when a child!
    And yes, we all had new sneakers.

  4. I have a pair of vegan sneakers. I love them!

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