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O Tannenbaum

My flu recovery schedule was a tad ambitious. I fully intended to finish up the demolition of the kitchen walls last weekend, but lingering fatigue kept me sidelined from any heavy-duty house work. It’s frustrating to sit idle after finally managing some significant headway a few weeks ago. Once the demo phase is done, the floodgates can open and the fun part – building – can begin.

Compounding the weekend’s discontent, I was forced to bid farewell to some old friends, my trusty, crusty work shoes:

work shoes

Weezie begged me for months to put these old kicks out to pasture. Sure, they’d seen better days, but to borrow a phrase from my dad, I felt like they were just getting broken in. Never mind that the soles were falling off and that the heels looks like they’d been shoved in a leaf shredder, they were still perfectly serviceable foot protection. Weezie bought me these shoes four or five years ago. They were lightweight, comfortable, waterproof and served me reliably for all manner of house projects. I value longevity in all forms, which explains my love of old houses, and my reluctance to give up these shabby shoes. Their condition didn’t embarrass me; it was a point of pride. Isn’t it funny how quickly you progress from the young man who can’t imagine wearing unstylish shoes to the thirty-something who shamelessly mows the lawn in shorts and black dress socks?

Speaking of shoes, Louis is always looking for an opportunity to chew on them. To minimize dirt in the house, we remove our shoes at the door. When we aren’t looking, Louis will grab them, sprint to the corner of the yard, and chew them into oblivion.  After losing several pairs of slippers, a pair of dress flats and an expensive pair of medical clogs to Louis’ mischief, we decided we needed a permanent fix. Now, we safely store our footwear in this:

storage bench

shoe storage

It’s a teak storage bench from Signature Hardware. We searched for weeks for a piece of outdoor furniture that would prove durable outdoors that wasn’t plastic. Though pricey, this piece should stand up to sun and moisture and will weather to a nice silver-gray color over time.

By the end of the weekend, we mustered enough holiday enthusiasm to make our way to the tree lot to pick our 2013 Tannenbaum. We found a Butterball tree, squat and pudgy around the middle. Our parents gave us ornaments every year growing up, so we actually have enough flair to put together a respectable tree.


My ornament from last year has an image of The Ordinary House, a reminder of our first Christmas in our new home.


Thankfully, this year nobody had to wear a parka while decorating the tree.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Weezie #

    I would just like to point out that the “several pairs of slippers, a pair of dress flats and an expensive pair of medical clogs” that have fallen victim to Louis’ oral fixation have belonged to me. While he wasn’t afraid to gnaw my bodily fluid-covered clogs, even Reid’s nasty work shoes were too gross for Louis.

    December 18, 2013
  2. mom #

    Welcome to another “charming” eccentricity possessed by the male members of the highley clan!

    December 19, 2013
  3. mom #

    love the tree!

    December 19, 2013
  4. Hey Reid!
    If you still have these old work Shoes I’d love to buy them from you! I have a collection of shoes worn by famous and noteworthy people while they did noteworthy things! You are definitely a well known fellow who I’ve been following for quite sometime now. Your work Shoes have tons of history from your good projects! It would be an honor to be able to buy them from you and put them in the collection with some pictures of various projects you’ve done! Of course, it would be great if you could autograph them as well! I will pay you in advance and include shipping charges. I can use PayPal or any other method you prefer. If you have any videos and/or photos of you using them while you’re working, that would be great! I’m in suburban Philadelphia, by the way. If you no longer have these guys, I’d still be interested in buying your current work pair, as long as they have lots of project history, ha-ha!
    Thanks so much for your consideration and all of your great work!
    Best wishes,
    Mike Cook

    February 28, 2016


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