Old Shoes

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A long and busy week at one of our portfolio companies is finally over. For Lois, all of the days were chock full of chores, but yesterday, February 29th, 2008 was particularly hectic and draining.

While not normally a superstitious person, I have a strong feeling that Lois is feeling happy that it will be four years before she has to experience a February 29th again. 😉

Here was the culminating event of a tense day (for her). We were supposed to leave for Richmond at around 3pm. At 3pm, Lois was not at her desk, but I didn’t think about it as I was deep into something and I had my headphones on, so I was basically oblivious to what was going on around me.

One of the employees had a medical emergency. Lois was with him the entire time, waiting for the EMTs to arrive. When they took him away to the hospital, she finally came back to her desk. She asked if I had any idea what was going on, which you already know the answer to.

We packed up to leave, but Lois wanted to go to the hospital first, to check up on him. We gathered the things that he left in the office, and gave them to another employee that was headed to the hospital a few minutes before us.

Once we left the office, we loaded our car (as we always do). That included Lois putting things way in the back of the SUV. I then started driving toward the hospital. When we were roughly 10 blocks away, we heard things sliding around in the back (not that unusual), but also thought we heard a thud, which was not as usual.

Lois looked back, and noticed that she had never put down the rear door/window. Oops. Clearly, she was unnerved. I pulled in to a gas station, and Lois ran around to the back. She declared that nothing fell out, which seemed miraculous.

A quick digression, to set up the remainder of the story…

The day before, I mentioned to Lois that my shoes were starting to go. They might have had a ton of life left in them, but it could also be five minutes. I bought these shoes (Timberland) in San Francisco, in May 2004, on the remnant rack. They have been my favorite shoes ever since, even though they were 1/2 size too big. They were comfy, and (until now) virtually indestructable.

Lois decided that we would head to Walmart to buy new shoes after work that night. We did. I couldn’t find any shoes I was happy with. We headed from there to Super Target (1/2 a mile down the road), and while their selection was way smaller, I found a pair of shoes ($17!). I’m pretty happy with them (having worn them for two days now).

But, when we left the hotel in the morning yesterday, I asked Lois to put my old shoes in the back of the car, so that if the new shoes hurt, I could put the old ones back on.

OK, back to our main story…

When Lois declared that nothing had fallen out, I asked whether my old shoes were back there? She went back to check again, and sure enough, my shoes were not there. I didn’t care too much about those shoes, since the new ones seemed fine, but I pointed out that if she didn’t know the shoes were gone, perhaps she didn’t really know everything that was back there.

So, we decided to double back. Along the way, I was looking in the street on the opposite side that we were driving on (the side we had driven on with the door open). Nothing. Just as we were hitting the corner where our company building is, I noticed a guy walking away from us with my shoes in his hand!

I came to a quick stop, and Lois jumped out of the car and ran after the guy. She told him that those were her husband’s shoes, and he looked at her quite quizzically, but gave them to her. She then asked if anything else had fallen out, and he said no.

I then turned around, and we headed back to the hospital. I wasn’t allowed in to see the employee, because only two people were allowed at a time, and the other employee was already there, so Lois joined them while I listened to a bunch of music in the waiting room (mostly Girlyman, surprise!).

We then headed to Richmond. Along the way, Lois is now not so sure we didn’t lose anything else, but she’s at least sure that the critical things are still there, so that’s a small comfort.

The good news is that the employee is now feeling much better. We’re heading back from Richmond shortly, and will be seeing him later this afternoon again.

The only good news about the shoe incident was that it released a ton of Lois’ anxiety and pent up nervousness, as she couldn’t stop laughing about the absurdity of chasing down a man carrying my old shoes on the street. In fact, she was laughing so hard and uncontrollably, that she was extremely close to a full bore cry!

All’s well that ends well in this case. Whew! 🙂