Friday, February 25, 2011

Well... There Goes Retirement

If you read our Bios on the About Page you'll see that I have 2 wonderful daughters. They are awesome. Emotionally unstable at times, but overall still the best kids anyone could ask for. Well their lives are about change drastically. Through mostly fault of my own we will be adding to our brood in October. I am thoroughly excited about this. However, that excitement is paired with equal amounts of anxiety & concern. Before anyone freaks out, everyone is healthy. The concern on my part is just the overall questions that come along with being a dad.

  • Is it a boy or a girl? While some people insist on finding out the sex of their kids, my wife since our first child has insisted on not finding out. We tend fly by the seat of our pants and are terrible planners for stuff like this. So being surprised in the delivery room has been a great thing for us. Also the hospital staff gets into it too because they don't know either. That being said, with 2 girls already on land, I am a bit curious to see if I need to build a tampon closet in 10 years. +1 for gender stress

  • Is the baby healthy? I know I have absolutely no control over this. But this is the number one-ish concern for me.  I want my kid to grow up with every advantage possible and want them to be able to live a normal life. However, it weighs on my mind daily. +1 for uncontrollable factors

  • How the hell are 2 of us going to raise 3 kids? 1 kid is easy although you don't realize how easy it is until you have number 2. Right now 2 is good. Not easy, but we can each restrain one and not worry about a surprise folding chair to the back. +1 for WWE-like interference stress

  • Please don't be a vampire... Admittedly I have read the Twilight series. In the last book the girl has a half-vampire, half-human child. A vampire kid would be cool, but is it worth the beating she receives? Its the pregnancy issues my wife goes through that I have a hard time with. She literally gives up so much physically to have a kid it is amazing that she would want to have more than one. The daily vomiting and constant nausea to me seems unbearable, but she does it. She's also has had preeclampsia & Bell's Palsy with the other kids too. She amazes me at how much she is willing to go through. I just don't want her to be in any pain. This is the other number one-ish concern. +2 for Twilight reference & wife stress

  • How can we afford it? Not that I am Scrooge McDuck and have a room of money to swim in, but planning for the future has always been on the forefront of my wife's & my thoughts. Almost to a fault we put away money for ourselves and kids (mostly kids) leaving not much in the tank to have some extras we might want or go on vacations. We are fine with this rationale. However, I don't know how we can keep saving & pay for another one to go to Day Care (which is in my mind a Ponzi Scheme). We could buy another (larger) house for what child care will cost us. Somehow this blog needs to start turning a profit or I will be reduced to reviewing diapers in hopes I can get them free. +1 for not having a condo in France

Okay, it really isn't that bad, but you get the point. Also, let it be known (and if my wife decides to actually read something I write) that I am extremely happy about the new addition and wouldn't trade any of the stress above for the end result.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Death Flight 2011

Flew from St. Louis to Chicago to Charleston, WV this week, and there were more than a couple of moments that I was less than thrilled about it.

I should probably preface this by saying that I have a knack of working for places that operate in pretty remote locales. My last job was for a healthcare company that served the largely rural portions of Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma and I currently work for a coal mining company (and obviously the views in this space are mine and not those of my company yada, yada, yada) which operates largely in Central Appalachia and the Mountain West areas. I actually do typically enjoy the travel (I don't have to do it much, and it’s nice to get out and see how the money gets made), but it typically involves lots of short flights in a row. I'm not what you'd call a nervous flyer. The worst part to me is only having 20 minutes worth of airline magazines to read but 40 minutes of flight time where I can't turn on my electronic devices (note to self: grab a newspaper before flying home), and somehow still not getting the extra special TSA pat down (kidding, mostly).

So, this week I was flying from St. Louis to Charleston, WV via Chicago. Aside from leaving the gate late (which doesn't even qualify as an inconvenience anymore) the first leg was pretty uneventful. From St. Louis to Chicago is literally up and down -- they don't even bother to pretend they are going to serve refreshments.

The second leg, however, started off a little more ominously. We (I was on the trip with a coworker) got to Chicago late, but fortunately our connecting flight was even more late, so we grabbed something to eat at the Chili's Too (do they even have Chili's standalone restaurants anymore? The link I just included would lead me to believe "yes.") which was directly across from our gate. Which had a paper sign (taped to the functioning monitor) that said simply "Charleston, WV" in Sharpie. Good thing we chose that spot, because they started boarding far sooner than they were supposed to. Only through my Herculean efforts was I able to ensure that none of my French fries were left behind; my traveling companions burger was not so lucky.

We then hurried onto the plane so we could be passively aggressively directed ("we'll pull away from the gate as soon as everyone has turned off their electronic devices") in order to rush to the tarmac where we waited for 45 minutes to take off in a torrential downpour. Once in the air, it only got more fun as the captain came on the speaker to warn us that they were going to try to retest some system that wasn't flashing right on the flashy thing in the cockpit, and that if that didn't work out we'd be going back to Chicago to land in the torrential downpour. Then the plane got really loud as it sounded like they were trying to open the bomb bay doors. Immediately after that sound subsided the plane banked strongly to the right, and everyone let out a groan because we were obviously going back to Chicago. Two minutes later the captain came back on and said everything was fine.

As an aside, I've never understood the whole "if something is wrong we're going to fly back and land at where we just took off from" mentality. To me, if we are going to crash, I'd just as soon do it at my destination as opposed to my starting point. If we have a terrible landing in Chicago, it isn't like I'm gonna want to hop on the next plane to Charleston. If we have a terrible landing in Charleston, at least I have two days to get over it before I return home.

After that, things got much better. The <sarcasm>cheery</sarcasm> flight attendant apologized for the rough flight and gave us all free trail mix after assuring us that this was his best flight of the day. Free trail mix cures a lot. Maybe <more sarcasm>I'll start bringing that home when I forget my anniversary</more sarcasm>.

The rest of the evening was pretty unremarkable aside from our luggage being wet and the Mapquest iPhone app sucking. Can't wait to fly back home. Hope it is on American Eagle, again.

Pants Make Me Happy

Pants are a staple in every non-clinically insane person's wardrobe. They keep us warm, protect our legs from would be intruders, and in most cases serve as the base for a Man's work wardrobe. Before we dive into this topic much more, I want to distinguish here that when I say "Pants" I mean your khaki-type material 2 legged variety. Anything made of denim are jeans,  & mesh or thick cotton are sweat pants. Also, pants start at the waist and cover the entire leg, not 3/4 of it. They have 4 pockets 2 in front & 2 in back (not cargo pants). They are simple and wonderful.

Until recently, I didn't take much stock into my pants. I had a few here and there and I stayed within the Dockers arena. Dockers are a fine pant indeed, but at the end of the day, I wasn't crazy about them, the weren't flattering and everyone else on the planet (of Metro St. Louis) wears them. They are safe pants. They had served me well before I had lost all my weight because I could find that size 42 waist pretty much anywhere I went, try them on, sulk about being fat, and buy them. And quite frankly when you are fat, you just want to blend in anyway. Which Dockers are great for. Any additional attention would make you seem like you were a fat guy trying to be trendy or cool and that's not what I wanted. I don't want this to sound bad for Dockers, they serve the masses with quality, affordable pants.

So, after the lbs have dropped and I am at a steady size that I'd like to be. I am a new person, more confident, yada yada, yada. I needed to refresh my closet. It has been a slow process for me to upgrade my wardrobe accordingly due to the cost. Shirts are pretty easy for guys, they come in lettered sizes and they have buttons on them. Also I can get away with some of the shirts I already had. However, it has recently come down to getting some new pants and I refused to buy Dockers because I wanted my wardrobe selection to change with my new image. Enter Bonobos.

I was briefly introduced to Bonobos by a friend a few years ago but never bought anything. I completely forgot about them until one off my favorite sites Earndit had a $50 gift card as one of their rewards (and they still do). So I saved up the points and got that Gift Card. Little did I know that gift card would start a small obsession with this company. I went online and bought the The Graham Slackers. It was a good match. The pants fit very well and they have just a small bit of the "hey look at me" that I would shy away from in my fat days. I just bought my second pair this week and I am excited about them. If there's one issue I have with the first pair is that the Length of 32 was a little shorter than what I am used to. I am talking about maybe 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch or so, but not quite enough to test the return policy. They still look good.

So what makes Bonobos different? Here's my opinion. They only exist online. I guess one could go to their NYC office (not retail store) and try stuff on, but I don't think I will get approval to fly to NYC to try on a pair of pants unless Bonobos would foot the bill. So existing online is a cheaper way of doing things for sure, but what if the pants don't fit correctly? Bonobos is crazy about customer service. They will take their pants back for any reason at any time. This security helps a dude in St. Louis feel OK about buying something and not having to deal with the hassle of trying to get a company to accept a return. Also, I have called their "Ninjas" (customer service reps) on a couple of occasions and they are easy to talk to and know their product. Lets be honest, its tough for a guy to call up another guy and ask "Hey whats the inseam length on your "Crabby Shack" shorts?" But its easy with these guys. They just get it. Surprisingly, they really don't do much marketing that I have seen outside of the web. It seems they rely on word of mouth more than anything. Finally, their customers can get referral bonuses for sending people to buy stuff. I would want to work for these guys based on the quality of their product and their business model. Unfortunately the Mid-West is not known as a fashion hub. So the best I can hope for is they want to use my basement to store product.

I am giving Company a rating of A Little Bit of Italy & the Pants the rating of Amighetti's Special (only because of the length issue) from our sandwich scale. This is a pretty impressive 1, 2 punch.

So anyway, you should go check these guys out, do it, buy the pants. Also use this link so I can get some referral love from them:


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Man Clean

Full disclosure: I just cleaned an entire bathroom with nothing but 3 baby wipes.

Beyond the obvious pride that comes with such an accomplishment, I'm also left with a question: why would anyone else work any harder at cleaning a bathroom than I just did? Because, and I'm not gonna lie, when I was done, that bathroom looked good, smelled good, was totally free of any visible grime, and probably didn't have too many germs left in it either (of course, my kids go to daycare, so even if there were germs left, they'd be far more scared of me than I am of them). And yet I can't help shake the feeling that half the population is repulsed by that admission and the other half is either wishing they had thought of it first or can't believe it took me that long to think of it myself. And I'd guess that demarcation falls pretty evenly along gender lines.

I'm no sexist (I do laundry and dishes...) and I'm no pig (... because I care that they get done), but it is my firm belief that women and men have big differences between them both in defining clean and determining how best to get there. This is not exactly groundbreaking territory, but we haven't covered it here yet, so my recent sojourn in the bathroom seemed like an opportune... opportunity.

Now, I've never been accused of being TOO clean (I had roommates in college -- and I'm not making this up -- who would put apple cores high up in the kitchen windows to keep the flies away from the stove and sink. Sadly, this was a step up for me, as I moved in with them from a fraternity house. Also sadly, I didn't change their system. It worked.), but I do like things picked up. Conversely, my current roommate (who is female, and who we will refer to as my "wife," as we are married) refuses to spend less than 30 minutes cleaning a half bathroom but is perfectly content with a closet knee deep in last season's fashions.

Obviously, neither strategy is foolproof. In order for her to keep everything cleaned with her particular nature, she'd have to spend approximately 30 hours/day cleaning (and that's on top of the cooking, kid-raising, full-time-job-having and book-club-attending she already does). But my strategy (where everything really, really seems clean) obviously can't be foolproof, by definition.

So which method is better? The woman way (unreasonably labor intensive, often leaving a few things out of place for "character") or the man way (in which no one would ever actually know if it wasn't clean)?

The woman way, obviously. I may be efficient when it comes to cleaning, but I'm not stupid.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Brother got some respect...

At some point after my initial post this morning, the very well-meaning people at Pi got back to me today and have graciously offered to send me a gift card to actually come and try their food (which I will definitely be blogging about).

Based on the tone and thoroughness of their response, I'm assuming this is how they'd treat anyone that they forgot to contact back (their explanation for it slipping through the cracks was very reasonable) and not based on the sway I hold over both of my adoring blog fans.

In any event, I hope to be able to report back soon on their in-restaurant service and food (and hopefully I'll get another crack at that truck - ummm, rolling pizza). Ideally, this will turn into one of those situations where perfect service would have been overlooked but because of some imperfection and the resulting outstanding response I'll end up happier than if everything had just been fine the first time.

Labcorp, despite your eventually (and through an intermediary) giving me the answer I wanted on the test, your poor service leaves you at the top (or bottom, depending on perspective) of my list.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Can a brother get some respect for his time?

I've had two experiences in the past week that are really making me reevaluate just about all of my thoughts on our society as a whole, and both of them have to do with customer service, people having some respect for my time, and why you just can't expect companies to act reasonably anymore.

Let me first preface this by saying that I'm a realist first and foremost (actually, first I'm an elitist, then I'm a realist) and I that recognize that companies work for profit and that pandering to me specifically is the easiest way to go out of business (took a LOT of student loans to learn that lesson). I, however, don't think it is unreasonable to expect any company to not go out of their way to do a terrible job and then go out of their way to reply to my being-pissed-off-ed-ness.

Last week, I was very excited that pi, a hip and cool pizza place relatively new to St. Louis was sending their lunch truck over to my office park. Not being hip or cool, I don't get to visit many "good" restaurants, so this was going to be a very pleasant respite, until my experience led me to the following email.

"Just wanted to let you know that, at least in my opinion, your visit to City Place didn't go very well today. I headed out in the snow about 30 minutes after you all first arrived to see wave after wave of empty-handed people walking back into the office park. When we made it to the truck, we went to the back of the line, where people were talking about how the wait was 30 minutes in order to place an order for a pizza that would take another 30-45 minutes to order. I can't verify if that was true, but it seemed plausible enough I turned around and went into the cafeteria (which I never do, but was sort of stuck since I had planned on buying and didn't now have time to run out). If I may be so bold, I'd like to recommend that if your food takes 30-45 minutes to cook you park, open the phone lines and the windows and start taking orders and letting people know when to come pick up their pizza (I think pre-paying would be fine to make sure you don't get stuck). I'd also recommend that even if it takes 30 minutes to get your pizza after it is ordered, a 30 minute line to *place* an order it ridiculous and you should let people order then move back. Finally, if you are going to have a huge line waiting outside, I'd recommend having an employee out there to at least direct the conversations (they may end up as a whipping boy, but at least you wouldn't have some customers bad-mouthing your truck in a vacuum, which is what was happening)."

I have yet to hear back from them.

Then, trying to get some closure in my ongoing and very personal war on fertility, I sent the following email to LabCorp, a local medical testing place yesterday morning.

"I had to drop off a specimen this morning. I normally go to one of your locations by my house in St. Peters, but because of timing and my need to drop my kids off this morning I went to the one near my office in City Place 5 in St. Louis. I got there at stood patiently at the window for 5 minutes until the person manning the window opened it to talk to SOMEONE ELSE at which point I said I just needed to drop something off and he said I'd have to sign in anyway. Over AN HOUR LATER I went back up to the window to see how much longer it might be before I could JUST DROP OFF my sample, and he said he wasn't sure but that he had 4 other appointments before he could take my sample. I had visited your website and knew you took appointments but didn't believe I'd need one just to drop off a sample. I finally had to walk out so I could get to work which I was already late for. I understand that you all have a process and that it isn't fair to let people cut it line, but I don't believe that dropping something off should take that long and that if appointments even apply to that you should say that somewhere on either your website or in the office, and I think it is reasonable to expect that if I am going to have an unreasonable wait (and over an hour to drop something off is totally unreasonable in every case) then I think it would have been appropriate for the person manning the desk to tell me that when they told me I had to sign in. I'm extremely disappointed and I'm going to complain to EVERYONE about this experience. I understand things take time, but I would have probably been there for 4 hours just to drop something off, and that isn't any excuse for that, and even if there was there is no excuse for not making me aware of that upfront."

I don't anticipate a response, especially since I didn't make an appointment to contact customer service. I was able to successfully, and in about 30 seconds, drop my specimen off at another location in the afternoon.

So I can't actually, at this point, review the goods and services of either of these vendors, but I can report that their customer service is on the level of an egg salad sandwich that has been waiting very patiently only to be treated very poorly.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dude's Guide to Fake Holidays

If you are like me, you haven't bought anything for your wife/girlfriend/partner/whatever for Valentine's Day yet. If you have, your "other" has already hand picked it out and told you to buy it. Sound about right? Well for the majority of us that don't have anything already, didn't pay attention to the clues our wives has subtly dropped since Christmas, and work best under pressure: this post is for you. I am going to attempt to give you some good, last minute gift ideas that you can take care of this weekend.

First off, if you don't pay attention to anything else I say, GET A CARD. Yes its common sense but its overlooked constantly. I think it took me at least 2 years after getting married to understand that no matter what the holiday was that a card goes a long way. Yes, most of them are poorly written and have lots of swirly flowers on them but its the effort that counts. Also, take 5 minutes to actually write something in the card besides your name. Chances are you won't be able to compete with the carefully crafted, sappy poem on the inside, but more than likely your better half isn't going to expect a dissertation on your undying love. Just class it up a little better than this guy. This is easy and is worth more points than you can imagine.

As for gifts, Its probably too late to buy anything online and have it shipped unless you are willing to pay for overnight delivery. Plus, that's too easy. Its about the effort.  So after reading this, get off the computer and hit the pavement.

The gift of Text - I don't care who you are shopping for, but everyone could use a book. Whether your wife likes to cook, decorate, or play Dungeons & Dragons there's a book out there for her. Being that my mother-in-law works for Barnes & Noble, I prefer that store over the others. Also, one of the hottest gifts out there is an eReader. Barnes & Noble has the Nook. It looks awesome and you can have around 10,000 books or magazines at your disposal. Ahem, if any B&N folks are reading this, we would love to review the product for you, ahem.

The gift of Booze - I would like to think I have a good grasp on our demographic here, and I would wager a guess that 95% of you enjoy the devil's brew. So, why not give booze as a gift? I'm not talking about a 6'er of Natty, but a nice bottle of wine or liquor. If you haven't figured out your eternal drinking buddy's favorite bottle, I can't help you. Howeverr there is a win-win scenario for you with this gift. You get to make someone happy (win) and get buzzed (win) at the same time.

The gift of Clean - This one is so simple. Unless you already have a live-in maid, your house is dirty... somewhere. My wife is very particular about how things get cleaned in our house. I have recently been granted my Bathroom badge, but I still can't do the job that she does. That being said, I shed a lot and she gets tired of cleaning. So, if your wife is burnt out on cleaning, call up a maid service and have them get to work. If your house is already clean, her car isn't, guaranteed. Take 20 minutes and run it up to a car wash and be sure to vacuum the inside.

That's 3 easy ideas that will put you in a better position when March Madness (i don't know how to put the copyright symbol here) comes around. Now this being a blog on the internet I couldn't finish this article without giving out at least 1 internet based idea. So, consider this last idea your ace in the hole if you need it.

The gift of Produce - I am legitimately upset I didn't think of this. Fruit My Cube is a weekly service you can sign up for. For $9.99/week you get fresh fruit delivered to your home or office. Its a great way to give someone a year-round reminder of how awesome they are. Disclaimer: this site only services close to St. Louis, MO but I bet there are others like it. If not, you can pay me royalties for giving you the idea for your new business.

Have any other ideas for the Wayward Man? We'd love to hear them in the comments section. This is an alliance after all and we are here to help each other out.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Last Night, Six and a Half Years Ago

Today I drove past the restaurant where I got engaged to my amazing wife, which has since closed. It made me a little sad, but better them than us, right? Anyway, that made me think of the email I sent out the next day, which I'll share here.

From: Jamie Oswald
Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2004 2:30 PM
Subject: Last Night
After much fanfare and bally-hoo, I got engaged last night.  No date is set, probably sometime around next May.
As a disclaimer, it may get cutesy below, so if you aren’t into that sort of thing, you should stop reading…now.
To start out, I should say that Becca is romantic, and I am not.  Our entire relationship is basically like that video for “Opposites Attract” with Paula Abdul and the animated cat.  Knowing this, we had been talking about getting married for a while, and I, knowing that I would have a great propensity for screwing up all things romantic, made her promise me that if I asked and it wasn’t perfect, then she should tell me, and I would ask again.  I figure it isn’t that big of a deal for me (I just want to be engaged to her) and I really want her to have the kind of memory of this event that she wants.  Plus, I figure, if I screw it up once or twice, it will be that much better a story for the grandkids.  I can’t really explain anymore what I did next; all I know is that it seemed like a brilliant idea at the time.
Let’s break momentarily and let me give all of you who may one day consider proposing on a golf course a couple of words of advice.

  • Unless you’re dating Annika Sorenstam, don’t propose on a golf course.  Ever.

  • If you are standing behind her at the tee with the ring, and she shanks it, you should abort the mission and go to secondary protocol.

  • If you can’t spit anything out that sounds even remotely sweet, pretend like you have something in your eye and try again later.

  • If you go ahead and propose anyway, and she says “Yeah” and then asks for another ball, go ahead and drown yourself in the nearest water hazard.

  • Finally, don’t ever propose on a golf course.  It may be unique, but sweating and cussing for 2 hours beforehand isn’t nearly as romantic as it may at first seem.

To make a long story considerably shorter, we immediately talked about my indecent proposal and decided that wasn’t the right way, so, true to her word, Becca kept her promise (and I had made her promise), and I took the ring back.  I am still very, very happy about that decision.  Grandkids’ story: check.
Now, having to propose twice presents one especially interesting logistical obstacles.  It is impossible to surprise her.  She knows it is coming, she is antsy, she has seen the ring, and she wants it.  So, you have to balance out holding her off and coming up with a way to get to a romantic spot without her thinking it is for a proposal.  This is where my mother came in.  She gave birth to me on a very convenient date 27 years ago yesterday.  Thanks, Mom!  So, I had an excuse to have her out, and have reservations, and get a private room at said restaurant.  I also asked her three different times what we were doing on the 29th, which is the day after my birthday, which was nice, because she did not see anything coming on the 28th.  So, after working with her family, the restaurant, and my jeweler for 3 days on it, it was finally go time.
We went to dinner at Rich and Charlie’s, an Italian restaurant out by where she lives.  We walked in, I said I had reservations and it was my birthday, so they led us into the back room.  At this point, all I had to do was keep it together until the show started.  The waiter came in and got us some drinks, and I proceeded to “not be able to decide” what I wanted for what seemed like an eternity.  Finally, he brought in a vase with nothing but greens in it and set it on the table.  Becca thought it was weird, but assumed that they had just forgotten our center piece.  I had her right where I wanted her.  A minute or two later, he came back in with a ring box and a red rose.  He knelt down and gave her the box.  Right now, reading her face, I can tell she’s thinking, “He’s having the waiter propose to me, I should have just said yes on the golf course.”  Inside the ring box was no ring, however, just a note.  A minute later, another server came in with a box and a flower and another note.  Then another server, and another server, all with little notes like “I adore you,” “You amaze me,” or “I love your butt.”  After 6 servers came in, her brother’s girlfriend Valerie came in with a box and a flower.  Then Becca’s Mom’s husband Ed came in.  Then her brother Zak.  Then her brother Sam. And finally her mom.  Her mom came in with two roses and gave me the white one.  After Becca had opened this last box, I got down on one knee, gave her the last rose, which had a note on it asking the big question, and I let her open the ring box with the actual ring.  She said yes.  Or possibly “yep” (there is some confusion), but the second time around definitely took.  We all had dinner together and had a great time.
Anyway, I just want to say that I’m really glad that we didn’t just stop with the golf course.  This is a much better memory, and story, and I love her to death and just want for us to make each other happy for the rest of our lives.  I know I’ve been kind of rough on those of you were already married or engaged, but now that I have found that perfect someone for myself I completely understand.
And, if you think I’m a big girl now because I got all sappy, at least I warned you at the top.
Love you, Jamie

So there you have it. A bit of nostalgia, a bit of romance, and a bit of me being too lazy to create new content.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I need a new shoe company

Nike and I are sort of in an unhealthy relationship right now. I keep buying their shoes. They keep disappointing me. I keep buying more of their shoes anyway.

I can't totally blame Nike here. I'm clearly the codependent one since I'm responsible for 2 of the 3 steps in our vicious cycle, but I am still pretty unhappy about the whole bit.

My whole rant of the moment with them has to do with these shoes, the Nike Men's Air Max Total 365.

These shoes are sold as a cross between soccer shoes and training shoes. So they'd be ideal for someone like me who likes to kick the ball around with the aspiring Pele's in my house and then pretend like I'm going to go and run after that. Sounds like a great idea, combining the best parts of two types of shoes to build an uber-shoe that you would never have to change out, because it is perfect for EVERYTHING! Unfortunately, these shoes turned out more like when Daimler (a company renowned for quality craftsmanship with little innovation) bought Chrysler (a company who developed fantastic ideas and then built them poorly) and they started building boring cars crappily.

This shoe set out to do two things and failed miserably at both:

  • Soccer shoes - These shoes have an awful touch. They are all slick, so the ball slides off of them. They have a really pointy toe, and really tall soles so you can't get off a clean kick. They are even rounded all the way around, which is sort of a no-no for soccer shoes.

  • Training shoes - These shoes are really, really uncomfortable. The air cushions are too stiff. The toebox would be too small for a four year old. They just aren't comfortable.

This was actually the second pair of Nike soccer shoes I got. The first pair (Nike Air Tiempo IC's)literally fell apart. When I sent them in to be looked at, because I had only worn them about 15 times and I didn't think the sole should spontaneously fall off, I was told they were made too long ago and they couldn't help me. When I wrote in to say that they really missed the mark on these soccer trainers, I was told I should have bought EITHER soccer shoes OR trainers. Grrrr.

In any event, these were obviously a bad buy on my part (fortunately, due to my charitable leanings I was able to find them a good home). Now what I need to do is find a comfortable pair of trainers that will give me a decent touch on the ball and isn't really narrow. If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears. In the meantime I need to give them puppies an MLT.

And I'd love to find them in a non-Nike pair if possible. It's time to get out of this relationship.