Thursday, January 30, 2014

Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat. A Love Story

We didn't meet in the usual way.  A wise matchmaker first brought us together back in the winter of 1996.  It was November.  My 25th birthday, to be exact.  A large box was put in front of me by my dear, sweet, gift-giving-challenged husband.  I opened it to find a bulky, black, plain, boring, Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat.  It was not love at first sight.  I looked to COW with questioning eyes, and, sensing my confusion over this expensive, ugly gift (He was in law school, making no money, while I was teaching in a Catholic school making $18,000/year.), he said, "It will keep you warm when you have recess duty."  That, of course, melted my heart, so I agreed to give the coat a try.

The first day I wore it to school, I was not excited.  Besides the fact I was being overwhelmed by puffiness, there was a chance that the fashion choice would dim the coolness factor I currently held in the eyes of the middle school students I taught.

Recess came, and I was to be outside with the kids.  I donned my new Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat and headed out.

Sweet Mary, the coat may have been ugly and gigantic, but that husband of mine sure knows how to pick out a functional coat!  I was warm.  For the first time since winter rolled into South/Central Indiana, I was not shivering to death.  Not only did the coat keep my body warm, it melted the iciness I felt for Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat.  I fell in love.

For two years, Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat kept me toasty warm out on that playground.  It has fuzzy pockets to keep my hands warm.  It has a zipper and snaps to provide a double barrier against wind.  It's long enough to cover my rear and the tops of my legs.  It has huge outer pockets to hold everything I could possibly need while working outside.  I didn't even care what the middle school kids thought about it.

Then, in May of 1998, COW graduated and Phoenix was very close to being born.  I left teaching, and we moved to a house near Indianapolis.

With no daily recess duty, and an attached garage on our house, I no longer needed Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat on a regular basis.  I went back to wearing a more attractive but less functional coat, and Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat hung on a hanger.  The only time it came out of storage was on days the kids wanted to play in the snow.  Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat kept me warm for those hours, but was promptly returned to the closet.

Our relationship took a turn when we moved to the farm.  Once again, I was having to work out in the cold days of winter.  Each day, Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat waited for me to retrieve him out of the closet.  I picture it waiting like a faithful dog, excited to go out, but patiently waiting for it's owner.

Through all of the runs to the chicken coop, the shoveling of the walkway and driveway, and the disposing of dead animals, Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat has kept me from freezing to death.

In the new mudroom, it now hangs on a hook of distinction.  The closest hook to the door.  The coat first grabbed when I need to brave the wind and ice and snow.  It has aged well, looking exactly like it did all those years ago.  It's a little less puffy, a bit more manageable, but still ugly and wonderfully functional.

Three nights ago, I wore Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat to take Buttercup to soccer.  My plan was to stay in the car and wait through her 1 hour, 45 minute practice.  The indoor facility isn't known for being very warm, and I don't get along with most of the parents from her team, so going in held no appeal for me.  Wearing Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat meant I could turn the car off for longer periods of time, thus not wasting a ton of gas.

As we were trying to outrun the wind chill, speeding down the walkway to the car, my foot hit the on patch of ice on the path.   I went down, hard, landing on my back and right elbow.

Buttercup got a bit scared and ran into the house, screaming for her dad to come quickly.  I simply stayed on the ground taking inventory of my bones and muscles.  By the time COW came running out in his slippers and sweats, I was already getting up.  I was fine.  Not one thing was broken or even hurt all that much.

I owe it all to Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat.  All that gorgeous puffiness broke my fall and saved me from yet another trip to OrthoIndy.  After 17 years, it's still proving its usefulness.

I love you, Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat.

And I love you, COW, for knowing I would.

Before you in the Peanut Gallery get on my case, I tried to get a photo of myself IN the coat, but Turken was having trouble getting one that wasn't completely blurry, and my arms aren't long enough to do a full-body selfie. 

Do you have an article of clothing you love?  That you've had for years and years?

Have a lovely day!

35 comments:

  1. I love this and I love that coat too. It's perfect for the cold weather where you live. It's a happy coat too. I can tell.

    I don't have any favorite clothing, well except when the warm weather gets here. Shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. That's my favorite kind of weather. Now hubby had a sweatshirt that's more holes than not and he loves that sweatshirt. He's had it for about 5 years and it's his workout sweatshirt in the winter. Boy is it ugly.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. It is a happy coat. And the perfect coat for anyone who lives with the possibility of a polar vortex.

      He has managed to get that many holes in only 5 years? Wow. COW and I still have sweatshirts from high school and college that get lots and lots of use. Some are stretched beyond reason and have plenty of holes. We know ugly sweatshirts. But when they're your favorite, you just can't part with them.

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  2. I love this, Christine. You are a wonderful storyteller. I always love reading tales of your family - a family in love. I do have some items of clothes that hold memories for me, but nothing as marvellous as the story of your coat :)

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    1. Oh, thank you LIzzy. You are so sweet.

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  3. What a great story - I love it! Get this - my Hub has one of these. A great big, blue, puffy coat. I'm pretty sure it's an Eddie Bauer and he's had it since college, I think, so that means like 1995. Small world for puffy coats! I just bought a puffy parka because it's been so cold here and none of my more fashionable/less functional coats would cut it. I have to walk about three blocks (uphill - no joke) from our parking lot to my school building and I was tired of freezing to death. I never should have made fun of the Hub's puffy coat because let me tell you how grateful I am for mine! And WAY on sale, too. Even better.

    Great story!

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    1. I'm glad you like it!
      It may not have been a joke, but it made me laugh. Of course, I am sorry you have to walk three, long, uphill blocks in the cold.
      A puffy coat on sale is a great find. Never make fun of the puffy coat. (I have to remind my daughter of this, too. She refused to wear a puffy coat someone gave us. Instead, spent her own money to buy a fashionable coat.)

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    2. That walk up that hill is horrible no matter what the weather. You'd think it would be good for all of us - keep us in shape, be good exercise, etc. Nope. No matter how many times you do it, it kills you. Hate.

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  4. Oh my. Gee...this is a little awkward. Ummmm....I have that exact same coat. ;)






    I kid. I kid. Baahaahaa! OMG...I was laughing so much that G asked what the heck was going on. Would I be dating myself if I told you I had the same relationship with a pair of "Moon Boots"?!?!?

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    1. Living in Canada, you SHOULD have the same coat!

      You do NOT have a pair of moon boots. I want to see photos, Missy.

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    2. :( I wish I could...sadly they disintegrated. But wait.....I think I may have an old photo around here somewhere. ;)

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    3. Whenever you have the time...I'd say have a look for it while Riley eats his pasta, but that only takes about 10 seconds. :)

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  5. Living in cold n' snowy states my whole life I can't remember a "cool" coat. To me the cool coat was the one that keep me from freezing to death. That lit'l Eddie Bauer number is most definitely a cool coat. Great story. :)

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    1. Would you mind telling my daughter that? :)

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  6. Awwwwh such a sweet love story of you and the coat. Really well written - if you'd told me I'd be hooked on a story about a coat...

    Not sure what a peanut gallery is, but I'm certain I'm in it, still waiting for a pic of you in the Japanese panda shorts :p

    I haven't got this relationship with any article of clothing. But I do still have my baby blankie, which was crocheted for me by a great-aunt, and covered me in my cot. It's not quite *in* bed with me these days, but it's not far away...

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  7. Awwwwh such a sweet love story of you and the coat. Really well written - if you'd told me I'd be hooked on a story about a coat...

    Not sure what a peanut gallery is, but I'm certain I'm in it, still waiting for a pic of you in the Japanese panda shorts :p

    I haven't got this relationship with any article of clothing. But I do still have my baby blankie, which was crocheted for me by a great-aunt, and covered me in my cot. It's not quite *in* bed with me these days, but it's not far away...

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    1. High praise, right there! Hooked on a story about a coat...

      You are most certainly part of the peanut gallery. (I can't remember why it is called the peanut gallery.)

      Oh, that is so sweet that you have your baby blankie that a relative made for you.

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  8. Great story! And thank goodness for Eddie Bauer Puffy Coat saving your skin (and bones!). I have special relationships with lots of clothing. I have a very hard time getting rid of anything even though I know the chances that I will ever wear it again are very, very, very slim!

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    1. Thanks. And yes, I couldn't be more grateful for the puffy coat in the ice situation.

      I don't have too many things that I hang onto. If it isn't being worn, I get rid of it. There are a few shirts from high school, but COW keeps all of his. Since we went to the same high school and had many of the same shirts, I got rid of mine.

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  9. I was so worried that you once again ended up in the ER. God Bless the Puffy Coat and the Man who bought it

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    1. Looks like 2014 is going to be better than 2013 in the injury department. :)

      God bless them, indeed.

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  10. What a meaningful story of love. And I'm not talking about the coat.

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  11. great story, perfect illustration of the Doctrine ( easy worldview clue:"...back to wearing a more attractive but less functional coat" not a judgement on vanity, an assessment of relationship of person the function of clothing and/or fashion)…
    reminder! don't forget the photos at the concert!

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    1. Ha! Each and every day I prove myself more, don't I? :)

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  12. Christine, I love a sweet story like that! His "it'll keep you warm on recess duty" remark melted MY heart too! (I just two hours ago experienced a not-so-sweet coat story -- my husband discovered he'd left his brand new Patagonia jacket at a giant tourist attraction yesterday.

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    1. Oh no!!! No chance of getting it back?

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  13. I got a bathrobe for Christmas our first year of marriage. And it was gray. I looked at my hubby and thought "why would you buy a bathrobe at Victoria's Secret when you could have bought me something lacy and pretty?" And I was only slightly annoyed with him until we got home, and I put on my long gray bathrobe, and I fell in love. She has bleach stains, frayed elbows, and she's no longer soft, but I curl up in her every night. Gotta love those hubbies and their insights....sometimes.

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    1. I love that you call your robe "she". It really shows how you feel about the robe. It's wonderful when they are spot on with their gifts. Doesn't always happen, which makes these wins even better.
      (I, too, have a robe I love, which my husband bought. In the winter, I wear it every single day.)

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  14. I love this. And laughed out loud about your arms not being long enough to take a full-body selfie. Wha-hooo to COW for knowing that the ugly puffy coat would be so functional and important. I'm also really glad that you weren't hurt when you fell but have to ask - you don't get along with the other parents? Are they weird or what?

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  15. Waiting on why the soccer moms sucks. I mean no rush or anything...

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    1. There are many parents who take youth soccer way too seriously. Their bitching and yelling and blame hit such a low at one point last year, during a parents' team meeting I got in their faces and basically told them their daughters weren't going to improve because they, the parents, wouldn't shut up. There were plenty of parents who thanked me later for saying it, but not one of them had the guts to say a word during the meeting. (Although, every single coach at the club loves me now.)
      I'm sure Clark would have a field day with this entire situation. :)

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    2. Ahhh...so it's "those" kinds of parents. The really annoying ones that are actually a bit cruel to their kids in the name of a sport. You ROCK for getting in their faces! Seriously - that's awesome. And you're right, Clark would totally have a field day with it! :D

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    3. Yes, those. Very unfortunately. They have a reputation throughout the club as being one of the worst groups of parents.

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  16. I'm glad the puffy coat saved you! I go through phases. Right now my favorite item is a pair of sweat pants I bought at one of my races last year. I could seriously live in them. It's probably good I have to leave the house from time to time because I'm not a wear sweats kind of gal. Except stupid early during the morning drive allthekidstoschool. Then anything is fair game.

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    1. I am happy to hear you change into real pants when you leave the house. Stupid early take the kids to school doesn't count as leaving the house. Ever.

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Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you're thinking!