Dear Reader,

I've trashed more tennis shoes by telling myself that I'm just going outside to pull a few weeds. Before I know it, I've been yanking weeds for an hour and when I look down, I see that I've ruined another pair of tennis shoes.

I have my own recycling program for my tennis shoes. A brand new pair is treated with respect, like Sunday church shoes when I was a kid. As soon as they start showing some wear, they advance to my everyday tennis shoes. When those shoes start to look like they've been through a kid's summer vacation, I move them into my gardening shoe category. When the "tennies" are totally trashed from gardening, they become mulch shoes. Mulch shoes are only good for one wear, because after only one round of mulching, theyíre covered with dirt and wood chips and they are finished. But sometimes my tennies donít even make it to the mulch cycle.

I keep my gardening tennis shoes outside on the back stoop, so I donít track dirt in the house. Today before I put on my gardening shoes, I went through my normal routine of first shaking and banging them together, then I headed towards the garden and thatís when I felt something moving in my shoe.

My first thought was that my shoes must have gotten wet and the inside support was breaking apart. But when I felt something move again, I immediately retreated to one of the basic rules you learn when you move to Florida--"If you think you feel something crawling on your body, it probably is!"

You've never seen a woman rip off a tennis shoe so fast in your life. My husband's in charge of bugs and creepy crawlers, so I handed him my shoe and when he banged the shoe on the ground a lizard appeared. But no amount of whacking would chase the lizard out. Apparently he'd set up housekeeping and was determined to stand his ground.

The lizard won and now I’m the landlord of a lizard condo colony.

Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.

Suzanne Beecher