Category Archives: Shoes

Got Too Much Stuff? Donate it– UNlimiters Style!

imagesA few weeks ago my husband and I got a new couch. Well, it wasn’t really new, but it was “new to us.” Unlike our many other pieces of “new to us” furniture, this was very gently used. I love it. Of course, since I use the furniture and the walls to get around my house, we had to make sure that everything was positioned just so; but now that everything has been arranged it looks lovely.However, there is one small problem, and by one I mean two, and by small I mean rather large.

See, despite the fact that our trash company had agreed to take the old couches away for $10 a piece, they are still sitting in my basement, along with the two couches we were using before them. That’s right; I now have four used couches in my basement. Why? Well, that’s a logical question, and if I had an answer there would not be four couches in my basement. I cannot move the couches, so my husband has to do it, and he says that he cannot move them because he needs someone to help him. To date, he has not asked anyone and no one has spontaneously volunteered.

This is seriously enough to drive a woman insane. Fortunately, I have found a way in which I can get rid of some of the other stuff that seems to accumulate when you are a home owner, without needing my husband to help. Donate Stuff is an organization that accepts donations of gently used clothing and household items. The best part? They will pick them up for you on a scheduled date and time. The items you donate will go to a local charity and the pick-up is absolutely free. In my area, the items picked up by Donate Stuff goes to my local Purple Heart, a charity that supports military veterans and their families. It is really easy to schedule a pick – up, you just go to www.donatestuff.com and enter your zip code, then follow the instructions. If pickup is not available in your area, Donate Stuff will send you pre-paid UPS bags to mail in your clothing donations, for free.

Unfortunately for me and my couch situation, Donate Stuff does not pick up large items; they only take items that can be moved by a single person. But they will take clothing, small furniture, small appliances and other household items, which make them a great resource when you clean out your closet at the end of the season, buy a new coffee maker or your child suddenly decides that trains are for babies. You can donate these items knowing that they will be going to new families instead of filling up a landfill or your basement.

So when I look at those four couches sitting in my basement, I remember to be grateful that it is only couches, and not the hundreds of other items I have been able to donate to a good cause. I just keep hoping that someday soon a magic fairy, or a very large man, might come and take them a way.

No More Untied Shoes!

I love shoes. This is a little ironic because my CP severely limits the types of shoes that I can wear. I am envious of women that can wear hooker boots, sexy heels and strappy summer sandals. I will never be able to wear those types of shoes. In college I wore only sneakers; for some reason I was convinced that was the only type of shoe I could put on independently and have it stay on my feet.

Unfortunately, sneakers came with their own set of problems, mainly the laces. I did everything I could to avoid tying my shoes, including just leaving them untied which annoyed my college roommate to no end. If I had a quarter for every time that girl tied my shoes, I’d have enough money to buy my very own shoelace tying robot; which I need now that she doesn’t live close enough to tie my shoes anymore.

Shortly after college, angels descended from heaven and delivered unto the world cute, velcro- sneakers for grown-ups. I thought my life had been made, but then I found there were cute mary janes, flats with elastic sides and boots without laces. I no longer needed to struggle with laces, or ask my husband for help. My sneakers soon found themselves pushed into the deep recesses of my closet, shoved under the bed and forgotten, for the most part.

Except, this bounty of laceless shoes isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They may be cute and easy to put on, but when I am walking for more than a few minutes at the mall, the grocery store or with my dog, they offer absolutely no support for my feet. This was fine when I was young and spry, but now, I often find myself uttering “oh my aching feet” like the grandma on an 80’s sitcom.

I tried to go back to sneakers for those longer walks, only to find that tying my shoes is even harder than it used to be. Seems that old phrase ‘use it or lose it’ definitely applies to my shoe tying ability. So, as I often do in times of trouble, I turned to the internet and discovered that many of my fellow Ceeps (that’s a person with CP, for all you non-Ceeps) were using something called Lock Laces to solve this dilemma. I decided to give it a try.

These laces are awesome and  relatively easy to put in your shoes. It took me a little more time than some; if you have trouble with fine motor skills you might have to employ your shoe tying robot for assistance, but once you get them in your shoes, that’s it! You will never need help tying your shoes again, and you can retrain your robot for another impossible task, like folding a fitted sheet.

Go Walk.

Unlike many of my friends who have Zappos bookmarked and love spending hours walking through DWS, I have never been a “shoe person.” Of course I buy shoes, but simply because it is more comfortable to keep my feet covered versus trying to make a fashion statement. I don’t coordinate my shoes to match an outfit (unless I am going to a wedding or funeral) because it is inconvenient to change shoes on my prosthesis. If I cared about fashion, I suppose it wouldn’t be an issue, but since I don’t care, it is nothing short of a hassle to pry the shoe off of a plastic foot shell and then try to wiggle another one in its place.

Even before my amputation I was not a shoe aficionado. Since I’ve become an amputee, my blase feelings towards footwear have only increased. I find shoe shopping an exercise in frustration. People inevitably stare when I whip off my leg so that I can have a better angle to wiggle on a new shoe. Although I typically smile through the process, I hate trying shoes on in public!  I tend to buy the same brand, style and size of shoe once I find a pair that is comfortable.

I have found Skechers to be the most comfortable and prosthetic friendly shoe for me. I like the stretch along the tongue, which allows easier access for my quasi-human shaped foot shell. I am particularly fond of Shape-Ups, not because of the toning benefits but because the shape of the sole allows me to roll over the toe of my prosthesis with ease. My gait is more natural with this little boost of assistance.

A few weeks ago I tried a new style of Skechers, the “Go Walk” shoe. My first impression was the weight of the shoe. This shoe is light, weighing in at only 4.5 ounces. By comparison, my Skechers DeLite shoe weighs 10 ounces. When wearing a prosthesis that weighs upwards of 7 pounds, any reduction in weight is greatly appreciated!  (Yes, I admit to digging through the abyss of my kitchen cupboard in order to find my scale so I could provide an accurate weight. I not only found the scale, but discovered a can of Spaghetti-Os that expired in 2009. I really need to clean out my cupboards!)

Impressed but not convinced by weight, I decided to try on the shoe . Wow, the stretchy material on the top of the shoe certainly made it easier to slip it onto my prosthesis. A few steps and I was sold! The bubble-like sole assists with the roll-over that I love from the Shape-Up shoe, without compromising heel height or comfort. Not only do I love how these shoes feel, but I like the way that they look.  Because of the simple lines, I can wear them with a skirt or with jeans.

I know that this sounds like a commercial for Skechers, but I assure you I am not compensated by the company. I am simply excited that I found something that is working so well for me. Every once in awhile I discover a new product that makes my life as an amputee easier. I know that others struggle with shoes and I think that the Go Walk shoe might be a solution. I have found that Skechers shoes have helped me become an Unlimiter in life!

Here is a brief video of me walking in the Shape-Up shoe:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfafnQ_Z1S8&w=500&h=281]

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