My funny Valentine’s

I’m pretty sure I have covered here before how I am not a particularly romantic or sentimental person. Part of me would like to be, but that part has been beaten into submission by the practical part of me that doesn’t have the time or the brain space to actually care. So.

On Friday I realized that Valentine’s Day was this weekend, and I drew close to my beloved and stared deeply into his eyes and said, “I love you. Can we please not do anything for Valentine’s this year? Can we just… not?”

Otto immediately took on the look of a caged animal. I could almost HEAR the opposing arguments in his head. (“Woohoo!” “Wait, is this a trick?” “I’m off the hook!” “Hang on, I think I’m supposed to do this no matter what she says.”)

I tried not to laugh. “I’m serious, I just don’t think we arbitrarily need to make this a big deal.” And then ANOTHER look crossed his face and it dawned on me. “You already got me something!”

“Just something LITTLE,” he confessed.

So that was the moment I went from being the unromantic but at least somewhat practical wife right into being the romance-killing, thoughtless wife. I mean, I could’ve run out and bought him something just because he’d gotten something for me, but that somehow seems even less romantic than being empty-handed, to me. Seriously. And I did go out on Saturday to run some errands and I brought him back a belt. A really nice belt that will totally hold his pants up. So.

(Supportive condolence notes can be directed to Otto at Sorry Your Wife Is No Fun Station, Northern Georgia.)

Anyway. Valentine’s Day dawned and everyone kissed and hugged and went about their business, and then a little later in the morning Otto set about making (pink!) pancakes for the children, and I made eggs for us low-carbing adults and bacon for the carnivores (turns out I’m perfectly happy to diet when I can still eat bacon…) and veggie sausage for the veggie girl, and Otto set the table and put little heart-shaped boxes of chocolates on the children’s plates and a bag of candy and a little box on my plate, and suddenly I felt like a COMPLETE asshole for not having so much as purchased cards for anyone in my family.

(But… I did GIVE BIRTH to two of the people at the table. Plus, I made BACON. And did I mention the BELT? IT’S A REALLY NICE BELT.)

Brunch was delicious and the kids were delighted with their candy, and my little box held some very pretty earrings that match a newly-acquired dress perfectly. Because my husband is sweet and thoughtful and observant, unlike his downer of a wife.

I vowed right then and there while sitting at the table with my family that I would make it up to Otto. That very night! I would plan for an unforgettable evening. I would SHAVE MY LEGS! And then… uhhh… hi, Dad… well, we could play Scrabble. Because I am always better at Scrabble when my legs are stubble-free. Ahem.

The day went on uneventfully, and at some point after I did my daily session on the elliptical I started thinking about what I’m going to pack to wear to this conference I’m going to later this week, because on any given day here at home I wrestle with important wardrobe decisions like “Shall I wear yoga pants or jeans today?” When I go out to do business-y things I try to act like I actually know how to dress in public, so I was going through some stuff in my closet and at some point I thought, “Oh, I should totally bring my black boots.”

I have these killer black boots I love, you know. I haven’t worn them in a long time; they really don’t go with my yoga pants. Heh. So I pulled them out and put them on and… couldn’t zip them.

Have I mentioned lately that as a result of some really hard work and deprivation I’ve recently lost 6.5 pounds? I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for YEARS. I have a ways to go, yet, but even I—queen of self-deprecation—have to admit I am looking pretty good, y’all.

And the boots are too small.

It turns out that sometimes this whole exercise thing builds muscle. (Who knew!) And then sometimes you end up parts of your body actually being larger than they were before. WHICH UTTERLY SUCKS. So yes, I’ve lost inches off my hips, but I found them! They’re on my (toned! shapely!) calves!


I seemed to remember Karen talking about having stretched out a pair of boots a bit, so I did the logical thing, which was first to stomp around complaining about how I DIET and I EXERCISE and I DEPRIVE MYSELF and the result is that I AM BIGGER, and then I went online and found Karen. “Tell me what you did to stretch your boots?” I asked.

Karen told me that her husband had deflated a ball, inserted it into the boot, and then partially inflated it and left it there for a few hours. Sounded simple enough. I went and batted my eyelashes at Otto and he was on the task.

After a bit of rummaging around (and, apparently, the discovery of several nests of bugs in our shed, ACK), Otto returned to the house triumphant, soccer ball in tow. Together we stuffed it into one of my fabulous boots and zipped it back up, and Otto began inflating. The boot began to swell.

“You’ll have to tell me when to stop,” he said. “I don’t want the zipper to rip.”

I was mesmerized by the process—the boot was aliiiiiive!—and absently offered, “Oh, I don’t think the zipper will rip. It’s pretty strong.”

The good news is that I was right: The zipper did not rip.

The bad news is that there was a loud POP as the boot exploded.

Yes, I know I’m given to hyperbole ’round here. But this is no exaggeration; the boot ripped along two outer seams as well as the inner lining just sort of… disintegrating… and it all happened simultaneously, leaving the shredded boot laid open, FLAT, in front of us.

Poor Otto. He looked like he’d just run over his best friend with his car. I had, just prior to the insertion of the soccer ball and the beginning of this exercise, mused that I’d purchased those boots for quite a bit of money during a time when I had very little, and that I had justified it, somewhat, with the knowledge that hey, good Italian leather will last forever, and here we were going to make sure that it did, etc.

I waited for the rush of despair, of anger, of frustration… and none came. I laid my hand on Otto’s arm. “Honey, it’s okay.” He was speechless. Let’s be honest; he was SCARED. He was waiting for me to freak out, because hi, MY EXPENSIVE BOOT EXPLODED. I said it again: “It’s okay. Seriously, I’m not mad at you. I’m not even mad. It’s my fault, this was my idea, and it’s okay.” He seemed cautiously relieved, and we went about the rest of the day (after I tossed the boots into the bottom of my closet).

I renewed my (secret!) resolve to make the evening a memorable one for my longsuffering sweetheart, given the stressful experience of Bootgate.

For dinner we cooked for the kids and then picked up some buffalo wings for us. They were delicious, and it was probably the biggest meal I’ve had in a while.

Which is why I probably shouldn’t have been all that surprised when a few hours later I started showing signs of food poisoning.

Otto didn’t get sick, so in the end I think it was more a case of “been eating small, healthy, low-fat meals and my system said NO THANK YOU to a pile of greasy animal limbs” than actual food poisoning, but, um, it was really not the evening I’d had planned.

So, to recap:
1) My diet is apparently self-regulating at this point.
2) My boots exploded.
3) I wrecked Valentine’s Day.
4) My husband is a saint.
5) Try not to be jealous.


  1. liz

    We ate Red Lobster take-out straight out of the box (so we didn’t have any dishes to wash) and watched “The Hangover” for our romantic Valentine’s Day. ‘Cause we’re klassee like that.

  2. Nicki

    Umm. I just found my sexy black boots. Now I just need to lose a few so they stop cutting off my circulation. And I could never be jealous of you, I simply want to BE you! Silly, Mir.

  3. Sheila

    I call a do-over.

  4. Angela

    Hey it is memorable.

  5. Laura

    I carried a load of wood down to the basement woodstove for my husband, he in turn tried to outdo me by washing my kitchen window (inside and out!)
    Practical almost always wins over romantic at my house.

  6. My Kids Mom

    You put the (exploded) boots back in your closet?

    I passed my darling husband the tissue box and even made him tea with honey and lemon. We snuffed into tissues side by side until he fell asleep at 9:30. Romantic as always.

  7. Summer

    My condolences on the loss of your boots, Mir. Do you think there’s any hope that they could be repaired, or is it time to have a memorial Mass said in their honor?

    Earlier this winter, one of my favorite shoes broke. They were platform wedge mary janes, and the sole snapped into two pieces while I was wearing them. “My shoe broke,” I exclaimed to my husband and son, showing them how the sole could now flop back and forth. “We can fix it,” said my son, “we’ll use some glue. And glue rhymes with shoe!” “There’s another word that rhymes with shoe,” I told him, “and that word is NEW.” So… silver lining? It’s not as if you aren’t trolling the sales on 6pm every day….

  8. elz

    Sorry about your boots. I had to laugh though, the picture of you watching your boots explode seems right out of a sitcom. Hope you find some pretty, pretty boots before your conference. And, I hope you are going to Mom 2.0 b/c I would love to meet you and thank you for all the wonderful stories, discounts and codes you have shared with us all.

  9. Cathy

    I just have to say two things:

    1. Sorry about the boots… that made me wince from 1500 miles away.

    2. Otto = awesome. And I am sure you will make it up to him later with a Scrabble tournament.

  10. Megan

    I dragged everyone in the house up a very, very large mountain and then? I got the flu. On the principle of the thing I believe I will avoid touching or even looking at my nice boots until the Curse of Valentine’s Day is really and truly over.

  11. Frank

    OK.. I HAVE to ask… are those “THE” Infamous FMB’s of myth and yore from days long past, Etc… ? All men mourn the loss of a pair of those. ;)

    On a different note, its perfectly fine to do Valentines Day type things such as dinner and exchanging cards… on any random day. So I hope you don’t sweat the not so romantic ‘Official’ Valentines Day.

  12. Nancy R

    Now you can make your own sexy-modern boot-wearing version of a leg lamp for Otto!

  13. Kelly

    You know yesterday was the first day in a bit that I’ve splurged – had a piece of pizza and king cake and glass of wine – very tiny amounts compared to the good ol’ days – and I feel almost food poisoned this morning but the hubby is fine. So I think I am familiar with the phenomenon. Ick.

    And were you going to wear your fish nets with them?

  14. Jamie

    Do you think a cobbler can help the boots? Summer, above, really made me laugh! Hopefully she did for you too, Mir. Sucky day, yes, but unforgettable, right?

  15. Jennifer

    My husband got me lots of nice gifts for Valentine’s Day. I did nothing. NOTHING. I didn’t even bother shaving my legs. See? You’re not looking like such a lousy wife anymore now are you?

  16. RuthWells

    Yeah, we spent Valentine’s Day watching LOST on Hulu. SO romantic….

  17. mamalang

    I went out on Saturday to get the kids something and purchased a card. Then found out he bought me something, so I added a note that I would make reservations for a massage for us both. Heh, pulled that one out at the last minute :) But really, why? I hate the whole holiday. We try to do little things for each other all the time, and that’s good enough for me.

  18. bob

    see – just another reason not to celebrate some made-up greeting card holiday. too much pressure.

    the only reason, as far as I am concerned, for valentine’s day to exist is to by discount chocolate on Feb. 15th.

    I sure hope for Otto’s sake that there are other days that you’re willing to shave your legs.

  19. Tracy

    Your husband is a saint as is mine. I wouldn’t worry about Valentine’s Day. It’s EVERYday that counts. WE don’t celebrate it because WE agree that a card and flowers doesn’t show love and we would rather spend the money on a movie or something we don’t do on a regular bases.

    About the boots…I have NEVER laughed so hard. I was trying to visualize it in my hand and I bet when that thing exploded, ya’ll jumped 10 feet in the air. That had to be funny!

    Have a great Monday. Now, go and show that saint how much you love and appreciate him. =)

  20. Julie

    Just picked up my killer black boots from the shoe repair shop on Baxter Street…they are pretty much miracle workers.
    Hope you feel better!

  21. Nelson's Mama

    Sorry that your boot bit the dust – but I’ve got tell you that I’m still giggling over the mental image of your boot exploding!

    I don’t care for Valentine’s Day either; don’t like being obligated to shave my legs just because I got a box of damn chocolates!

  22. Billie

    Every holiday since thanksgiving has been messed up for my husband and I. his sister was diagnosed with pancreatic (stage 4) cancer the day before thanksgiving. His bday in early December, I was in early labor in the hospital (totally stole ur bday idea and did 35 things I love about u which he loved). Labor was stopped but I was put on bedrest for dec so he got to take all of his vacation time to wait on me hand and foot. Brother in law died on Christmas morning from lung cancer. Baby born on dec 27 so I ended up sleeping through new years. Other brother in law had heart attack. Husband got vasectomy Friday. Was told yesterday his sister is in her last days. Things just suck right now.

  23. Heather

    Haha ohhh Mir. Maybe we should all refresh this page a gazillion times to get you enough ad money to buy some new boots ;) Otto really is a pretty amazing guy, but you are also a pretty amazing woman. So. There. :P

  24. Karishma

    l.o.l. i think i pink puffy heart otto. you guys are awesome. well, if you ever need to stretch out another pair of shoes, i know of another method that can sometimes help. (might not be practical for boots though, since they’re so big.) fill a plastic bag with water, drop it in the shoe, and freeze it overnight. water expands as it freezes, so ta-da! the leather stretches out. repeat if necessary. this works really well on pinchy toe areas, and also works better on good quality leather.

    @billie: god, i am so sorry. what a clusterfuck. i hope you guys get a little time to surface for air soon.

  25. Dawn

    I will try my best not to be jealous. Right after I stop ROFLMAO! I <3 you, Mir!

  26. Lori N

    V-day not a biggie around here either — brought home ice cream treats for the kids & after they went to bed dh & I ate sushi & watched Survivor — cuz we’re romantic like that.

    Is it wrong of me to love the fact you blew up your boot? Seriously, I am sick & should see a doctor for getting great joy from expensive italian fancy boots being shredded by a soccer ball. (I’m laughing just typing this! Thanks for sharing!)

  27. Dawn

    Um. My comment disappeared. I think. I believe my attempt at using an emoticon may be the culprit. Or maybe there’s just a “you’re not really funny at all get over yourself” filter on the comments today.

    At the risk of repeating myself (because my comment is SO illuminating)…

    I will try not to be jealous. Right after I stop ROFLMAO.

    I heart you, Mir!

  28. Em

    I did NOT see that exploding boot coming. I admit, I LOL and not in the facebook way where I just say that.

    A story to make you feel a little better (I hope): 6 years ago I had the second of two closely spaced babies (like your two). Partly thanks to weight watchers and partly thanks to the insanity of that decision, I lost a bunch of weight, got pretty darn cocky about keeping it off and bought a bunch of new stuff including FMB’s (tall, black leather, zipper). Of course, 6 years, 1 more baby and 30 (ok 40) lbs gained and I will NOT give up on those boots. Thanks to you though, I will also not be stuffing then with a soccer ball and attaching them to an air compressor. You’ve become a cautionary tale.

    If Otto is like most guys, I think he would have preferred a good Scrabble tournament over any old paper Valentine or box of candy. And the good thing is Scrabble games are good any night, so if you poison yourself with wings on Sunday, you can pick up where you left off on Monday.

  29. Sherry

    You put the exploded, no good, useless boot back into your closet? Shouldn’t your kids be saying, “Pot, meet kettle.”?

  30. ellbee

    Hee! We were at a funeral this weekend, and I’m pregnant–right at the really pukey stage–so when my only V Day gift to my husband was a half-hearted offer of Scrabble last night… well let’s just say this will go down in history as one of the less memorable V Days ever. At least yours has a great story!

  31. Karen

    You know, I’m sure a simple – *Hi Mir’s Dad* – would have made his day and erased any of the “wow, you didn’t even get the kids candy hearts?” that might have still been hanging in the air. It’s never too late, you know. For scrabble, ofcourse. *ahem*

  32. Tam

    Billie – Dear God I’m So sorry! Things really Do suck right now!

    Mir, You seriously make me laugh so hard i have to worry about my bladder control. Particularly love the part about putting the post-exploded boot back in the cupboard… Can always throw it out next year right?!

  33. jodifur

    Wait, but the morale of this story is that due to some, um, awesome, consultation you bought some kickass new boots? Right, right?

  34. Pam

    OMG Mir, I laughed until the tears kept me from seeing!!!!! How funny!!! I’m sorry about your expensive leather boots, but you sure made my day!!! Now I know why I love you and your family so much…… kill me!!! Got to go find the kleenex……

  35. Mare

    We’ve reversed Valentine’s day at our house. We spend one day “hating” each other (playfully jibing) and spend 364 days loving each other. I don’t need a card, or flowers, or chocolates to know that I’m damn near as lucky as Mir…nah, I’m luckier.

    I agree whole heartedly with the sitcom aspect of that scene. I imagine the surprise on both of your faces and I can’t help but laugh. Sorry about the boots, but you’d need new ones to break in anyway for the conference with your new found shape.

    Love and Blessings

  36. Kate @ And Then I Was a Mom

    Seriously, bacon does make all seem better. It’s like gold-plating everything around you, but with the most delicious grease imaginable.

  37. Nikki

    We spent Valentine’s Day with my grandparents, my great aunt and uncle, my aunt and uncle, and my parents re-celebrating my 4yo’s birthday. Yep. Nothing screams ROMANCE like elderly family members and very small children. Sex-ay.

  38. Brigitte

    It’s our anniversary too, and we still didn’t do anything. Well, we had a nacho platter and a couple martinis Friday afternoon while DD was at grandma’s. But that was it. We’re low-key, plus the Daytona takes precedence, dontcha know.

  39. Marissa

    I totally whiffed on Valentine’s day too. I thought we agreed we weren’t getting anything, just dropping the kids off and going skiing together – by OURSELVES – on Saturday.

    But then flowers arrived at work on Friday. But I thought oh that’s just because I’m a girl and it’s really a girl holiday. Then on Sunday morning darling son gave us a lovely handmade card and one for his baby sister. Then hubby gave me a very thoughtful card and darling son gave me another card! I burst into tears, I didn’t get anything for anyone. I suck. Every other year I get small things for everyone but I really thought we had agreed nothing this year.

    So I attempted to make fancy heart shaped pancakes and caramel lattes to make up for it. It worked – for the most part. And then I dutifully shaved my legs and umm – made up for my lameness later Sunday night.

  40. Scottsdale Girl

    My friend and I celbrated “Singles Awareness Day” by taking our dogs to a patio bar and hanging out in the 76 degree weather all day.

    Oh yeah.

  41. Katie in MA

    Oh, I am so sorry! But, that? was HILARIOUS! And I so needed a laugh today as evidenced by the few tears that snuck through. I’m sure 6pm or someone else will have a fab sale on boots JUST FOR YOU.

  42. 12tequilas

    Unfortunately I don’t have time to read all the comments here, so forgive me if I repeat, but hasn’t there been an occasion upon which you did something for Otto, and he did not reciprocate? And wasn’t that okay with you? I actually did something small for the hubs this year, and he had done nothing for me, what with all the snow and shoveling out weaker neighbors’ cars and such, but I could tell he felt bad so I quickly pointed out that he’d gotten me some chocolate for our anniversary (even though we agreed we’d skip the gifts), and I had done nothing. He said, “oh, yeah!” and felt much better.

  43. Flea

    I’m SO jealous. You beat me by a mile. I took a brief nap, then went to work with small children for the evening. Came home exhausted and collapsed. But I burned baby animals the next day and all was right with the world.

  44. Debra

    Poor Mir. Get those boots out of the closet and take them to the cobbler now! Yes, there are still people who can fix them. Just Google “shoe repair in “

  45. Holly

    We rarely do things for holidays, just probably because we are lazy. But this Valentines, I dragged my honey to the local mineral springs (he hemmed and hawed) but finally relaxed when we got there. We only spent a couple of hours – but it was fantastic, no TV, no computers, no cell phones, not even a dog (who wiggles between us when we hug). Just a couple of hours, but fun time talking philosophy with my honey.

  46. mom, again, again

    You mean, you didn’t set aside a packet of Fun Dip, just for Otto?

    Think of the fun he could’ve had with that!

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