Just call me FIFI

A million years ago, I took a rug hooking class. I actually really loved “hooking”. Come on, stop thinking naughty thoughts!

I still have a couple of rugs in the basement in the “to do” pile. These are the traditional hooked rugs, not latch hooked rugs like you might see in kits.  In those days, my rug hooking instructor had classes that she called FIFI classes.  She meant “find it & finish it”. They were very popular. Seems with two projects still to be completed, I could use a good FIFI session myself.

This week, I was thinking of FIFI in a new way – find it and FIX it. Over the last year or so, I’ve not only tried to be smarter with money, and more accountable about where it goes/should go. I’ve also tried to be a better custodian of my stuff.

My step-mother has been a good teacher about this. She’s a very devout Christian, and never misses an opportunity to count her blessings. In her view, she’s been entrusted with the care of things, because she’s been blessed to have them. In my usual world view, I have stuff because I brought it home. I probably don’t spend enough time really assessing how lucky I am to have that thing – whatever it may be.

This week, with the snow (and salt trucks) bombarding Toronto, I did a lot of thinking about my boots. There are a couple pairs of boots in my cupboard. There’s the big Sorels, a.k.a. snowmobile-type boots. I probably haven’t worn these yet this year. I used to wear them all the time. In Toronto, you just don’t see much of them, unless you’re shovelling the driveway for hours on end. There’s a brown pair, that are sorel-like, but every so slightly more delicate. They match my day-to-day brown winter coat. Then there’s my gun metal gray long, dressy, shiny boots. Yep, those are the ones I want to wear most often. Trouble is, they’re not very practical when there’s ice, or slushy goop on the streets and sidewalks.

As I look at the salt stained boots inside my front door, I can envision my step-mother wiping off her boots and shoes. I know she does this every time she wears them. Man, wish somebody would do that for me! Her stuff lasts a long time. (I also have to point out she’s retired, so she has a tad more time for this sort of thing than I do.) On the weekend, I noticed my gun metal gray boots had worn heels, and salt stains. I wiped off the salt, but the heels, both bottoms and sides look rather chewed up.

In my neighbourhood, there’s a kindly old fella that runs a shoe/boot repair spot. He’s often put lifts on my heels in the summer time. The other day I wondered if he could rescue my shiny boots. When I took them in he looked at me and said “I have to build up the heel a bit” and I gave him a hesitant “okay”. Then he added “it’ll be $25.”

Initially, I thought that was a lot. Normally it costs about $10 or just under to put lifts on my heels.  I knew this was a bigger job than lifts on my red pumps. I also know I can’t go buy a new pair of boots that I’d like as much for $25. They were looking raggedy enough that I was no longer wearing them with my dresses or slacks. It’s a shame to have nice boots that I’m not wearing. So I gave the shoe maker the nod and he’s now delivered my boots back to me, they look almost like new!  I’m so excited that I FIFI’d my boots.

Now I’m excited to sew on some buttons to pants and shirts that are also waiting for a little fix. I’ve expanded my wardrobe just by fixing stuff. Maybe one day I’ll become a better caretaker of things and need fewer fixes.  For now, fixing is still an economical option.

Maybe I’ll try and be a slightly better caretaker of my stuff for 2011. I can’t promise I’ll wipe off my shoes and boots with every wear, but once a month would be a vast improvement. Now, if I just knew how to stop the coffee machine from turning off every time a pot brews….


4 responses to this post.

  1. I have a wonderful “shoe guy” – I just love him. He is very reasonable and I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes or boots for quite a while. One day I was out walking with my students and one of them stepped on my heel causing a leather strap to break. The leather itself was ripped and I didn’t think it was repairable but my shoe guy came through – you can barely see where he repaired it, plus he reheeled them – all for $10. I am trying to do more fixes than replacements – it only makes sense, especially with our landfills overflowing.


    • Yes, the landfill is another great reason to fix stuff, Jane. You reminded me of a strap repair my guy did on my favourite patent leather strappy heels last year. I had actually thrown them out. As I saw them looking up at me from the trash, I felt bad for the landfill, me and the shoes. The fella down the street fixed ’em up like new. I’m glad. It’s not very often you find really comfortable heels. Good for us for being so responsible!


  2. Hmmm. I think that should be your new blog title and subtitle:

    Middle Class Mom in Toronto
    “I actually really love hooking.”

    You’d get TONS of new traffic 🙂


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