My feet were not well taken care of prior to leaving California, but they were at least presentable, provided one could look past a permanent third toe corn that is partly genetic and partly due to a pair of too-tight Nike trainers that I squeezed into back in ’98. But now, after just a few days in the Ohio cold, they have been ravaged.
To be fair to Ohio, it was a combination of the cold and mismanagement that destroyed my dogs. After moving in to our home, I kept thinking about paying off the credit card that we used to buy new floors and carpet. So I skimped on the heat to save a few dollars. I kept the temperature at 68 even though it was in the teens outside, but then moved it up to 69 because I was bored and 69 made me laugh.
It felt a bit nippy, so I slept in a sweater and khakis (like Jim Harbaugh) and managed pretty well. But I was also barefoot. And I was walking barefoot in and out the freezing garage to dig through boxes and find hot sauce and other basics that I needed until we could get everything arranged. I may have also walked barefoot outside to check the mail because I am a mail addict and often too lazy to put on shoes.
The result was horrendous. The soles of my feet cracked. My heels were jagged; the dry, peeling skin hung like flesh from a large fish being nibbled on and taken apart by schools of smaller fish. I clawed at ’em, hoping to reveal new flesh hiding underneath. But the more I scratched the worse they got.
My two youngest boys saw the commotion and tried to help me out. They picked at the bottom of my feet, announcing to each other, “Dada skin is falling off!” “I can see the bone!” “Dada has a big ow-wee!” I asked them to stop, but Ca$$ius, the older of the two, persisted: “Let me fix jour foot, dada.”
We covered my feet in Vaseline and I slept with socks on. We woke up the next morning, and the kids, still curious about my hideous feet, pulled my socks off. I was not cured, but they looked and felt much better. My boys were amazed. “My God, his skin not peel off anymore!”
Now I just need them to help fix my decades-old corn.