On being a creature of habit

The uniform’s getting a little shabby. So’s the gardener but let’s just not go there.

I have a friend, let’s call him Joe because that’s actually his name, upon whose routines I could invariably set my watch. It gave me comfort, knowing that even though I was in Minneapolis hours away from him, at 8:15 in the morning he was in a certain cafe, tearing his paper apart (sports first) and eating his bagel in a particular way. All that of course was thrown out the window once he married and became a father, but routines are kind of a good way to rule your day.

Never thinking I was a routine person myself, or even one prone to patterns of any kind, I had to change my opinion once I became a pseudofarmer. I realized quite quickly that if I did not have routines and even select outfits I would merely be running around with Gardeners’ ADD all the time, not really accomplishing anything. So yes, I have routines. And yes, I have a uniform. It is with some sadness that I reveal I have completely blown out my favorite pair of boots and, even to a conspicuous non-consumer such as myself, I need to replace them. Likewise my olive Carhartt carpenter pants used for gardening: I’ve blown holes in the knees (diligently and badly patched but I fear it’s for naught).

So. I thought maybe I should mix things up this year, and I bought a pair of really large bibb overalls at the Goodwill. I had to take them in a bit and even so I swim in them: a good thing when it’s hot, but a bad thing as they keep getting bigger until I wash them and shrink them down to normal. You know, I really don’t care for the overalls, hayseed image of myself aside. I really need to get myself a new pair of Carhartts. Too bad they don’t usually show up at Goodwill.

But the boots! I’ve replaced my eight year old Blundstone 500s (architect black of course) with a more appropriate mud-colored brown pair. These things are great: I used to walk to work in them (7 miles roundtrip) and obviously they’ve withstood years of farm life. The new pair will be my walking shoes for our trip to Boston; don’t think I will wear them to Tom’s opening, though. And it will be a while before they see the garden.

Old habits die hard, you know. And there’s still some life left in the old ones. There’s lots of life left in the old gardener!

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13 responses to “On being a creature of habit

  1. Wonderful boots. My mother, however, would wear them to an opening and anywhere else with a long enough skirt and a cane (that she may or may not really need) that about lets her get away with anything.

  2. Nice pic of the habit of a creature of habit.

  3. It’s good to have a reliable costume for work. I, personally, love the overalls. I stencil homes, and I can stuff an amazing amount of brushes into those pockets.

  4. Ditto Pamela on the overalls thing. I like that they cover up most of my shirt and have plenty of pockets for collecting things or holding eggs when I forget my basket, which is often.

    I don’t do Carhartt—too expensive—so I go for the knock-off brand. I bought a pair of insulated coveralls last year for winter, and I adore them.

    I couldn’t bring myself to spend money on summer ones, though, so I just enlisted some denim overalls I already had. What I really want though is a pair of seersucker overalls for summer, but I fear that I’ll need to make those myself if I really hope for them to materialize. Goodwill’s been a no go so far, but I always keep an eye out.

    Hmmmm… maybe I’ve just found a new winter project.

  5. Oh, Alecto, I am so on my way to being just like your mom. Especially the trying to get away with everything. Just got my third muumuu. (Joe is my friend in Westport, by the way.)

    Ohgawd CC. Habit and habit. Can’t think of that word, clothing-wise, without thinking of Sr. Siobhan Kissane, my mean typing teacher. Then there was 2nd grade Sr. Henrietta, complete with wimple and shaved sideburns. Eeks. Me in habit = nope.

    Pamela, I am with you! I resort back to the pants because the pockets work best for me, though…I do love the bibb pockets. Too bad I dump the contents out every time I take them off.

    Danielle, yeah. I am thinking I might just need to make a sewing project to put more pockets on my overalls. They can’t hold all my gardening tools! Yes, the Carhartts are expensive but I amortize. The things last forever if you don’t wash them often. They’re going to be covered with dirt so…who cares how clean they are, at least that’s what I think. But footwear! What do you wear out there?

  6. Rubber muck shoes from the Rubber Muck Boot Co. I wear them everywhere outside the house. I wore them all winter long outside (not in deep snow, but for errands and such). No idea how much they cost as they were hand-me-downs from my mom. They’d better not wear out for a long, long time!
    (For what it’s worth? I am not a fashionable person. Wish I were, but I’m not. No talent in that direction.)

  7. Ha! I also recently got myself a new pair of Blunnies. The old ones died after about 8 years of walking and working. I too got the more mud brown/black to replace my inner-city black ones. The only thing I don’t like about Blunnies is that the sole can’t be replaced.

    My favourite story about Blundstones was told by a film editor friend of mine. She happened to be working in LA at the time, Blundstones were the new ‘in/it’ thing. She remembers being in a meeting with film execs, all of whom where wearing shiny new blunnies with their film exec garb. She said during the course of the meeting, they all kept crossing their legs in such a way to rest a foot on their thigh thereby allowing their footwear to be at table level and visible to all. All execs engaged in this She said she had to stop herself from saying, “You know, they are the footwear of choice for the labouring folk.” as she did not wish to offend them 😉

    As an aside, many an Australian cultural event (art openings particularly) has had Blunnies in attendance!

  8. El, I’m sorry I ignited icky Catholic memories. I’m not Catholic, so I can think of “habit” without thinking of nunsuch.
    Think “riding habit”!

    (Amortize clothing! I do that too. I bring down the cost of expensive shoes by buying a cheap pair, and then averaging them. Plus, twice as many shoes!)

  9. I always like the *idea* of overalls, but not the more practical aspects (bathroom breaks). So I’m a Carhartts girl all the way. Totally caked with dirt. 🙂

  10. Hi Anne! I have those muck boots too and wear them daily: they’re the perfect just-put-them-on-and-get-dirty shoes. My hubby even has a pair now. My only complaint with them is they are mighty hot! My Blunnies are much more lightweight and even more waterproof, but I can’t throw them in the washer like I can the muck boots. I have simply traded my city shoe fixation for a country one, it would appear.

    Nada, that is a hilarious story, and of course you just got a new pair just like mine, because I was channeling YOU! I got my first pair because my co-sailboat-owner had a pair that was positively falling apart and I just…coveted them so. Then they became popular. Go figure. I just, well, love how light and comfortable they are. I was rather dismayed though that the soles kind of decomposed as opposed to being worn away, so I figure the chicken poop and clay soil had something to do with that. Dangerous work for shoes, this chickenranching!

    Aw, CC, no sweat. Really, I must have been a bit undercaffeinated when I typed this up yesterday morning, because normally I would’ve picked up the two definitions of “habit,” and would’ve been a bit more tongue in cheek about it.

    Liz, yep. Definite advantage, the potty breaks! So: you still in your same pair of summer Carhartts? My husband has a pair that I might just have to take over (but belt heavily). The other thing that one doesn’t think about with the overalls is…you do need a decent pair of underwear, as, well, your overalls won’t help holding them up. So I had to ditch the hubby’s boxers. Maybe TMI but…it was hilarious, me digging down into the bibbs to pull up my skivvies!

  11. I love Carhartts, but the overalls do have one thing over them. No more sunburned plumbers crack from spending hours bent over weeding in the garden. Trust me, I learned the hard way.

  12. Yep, same pair. Sortof. I scored a new pair of summer-weight ones last year when I accidentally shortened them too much for James (oops!). They’re kind of capri length (perfect when its hot) and everyone asks me where I got my Carhartt capris. 🙂

  13. Hah, Maya, that’ll learn ya! We can put that in the category of “unrepeatable mistakes.” I can imagine that was no fun to heal from.

    Capris, Liz? Sounds good to me, especially since my ankles are currently wet with dew from doing morning chores. I suppose you need backup though during black-fly season. In general I prefer pants because otherwise I am a scratched-up filthy mess. I mean, that’s what I am normally so I might as well try to spiff up somewhat! Just to fool people, you know.

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