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Question About Birkenstocks

Posted by Necee on 7/19/01 at 00:34 (053657)

I just bought a pair of Birks today, and I've never worn them before so I need to know what to expect.
The saleslady told me that my foot would form to the footbed, I have a heelspur and when I stepped into the shoe I had almost instant relief from my heel pain. She also said that I tend to overpronate on my left foot which is the one with the spur, the new Birk shoes have a buckle that goes across the top of my foot and its there that I have a problem, it presses on the top of my foot, I was told that when the Birks adjusted my overpronation, the pressure on the top of my foot will go away. How can this be? Do these shoes really correct foot problems? I don't see that they have very much cushiony support in them, and wonder if wearing them for long periods will cause my feet to become tired. They just seem so hard in the footbed.
I guess I'm seeking someone who's had experience in wearing these shoes.
I sure would appreciate some info.
Necee

Re: Question About Birkenstocks

nancy s. on 7/19/01 at 01:49 (053661)

hi necee,
i'm an avid birks wearer. like you, as soon as i tried them on in the store a year and a half ago -- in my eighth month of very painful pf -- they felt wonderful. birks were the first real step toward starting to recover.
yes, the footbed will conform some to your foot. it feels hard, but it's cork and it will move and does have some give, even though you can't really feel it consciously.
i wear them almost all the time. sometimes my feet do get tired if i walk longer than usual; i've sent for some soft-footbed birks to see if they'd be better for longer walks. but even if they're not better, i'll stick with birks.
what style do you have, that has a buckle? the style i wear most often is Boston, but the buckle is on the side. yours can't be adjusted? i'm not so sure about that buckle bothering you -- it makes me a litte wary. the upper might soften or stretch a little and stop the buckle from bothering you -- but it might not. did they say you can wear them in the house for a while and return them if the buckle still bothers? i would want that option, if i were you.
good luck with them, necee -- i hope they work out for you, they're great shoes. break them in a litte slowly, even if they feel good right away. they're still an adjustment for your feet, and you don't want to rush it when you have a foot problem.
nancy

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Necee on 7/19/01 at 02:14 (053663)

Hi Nancy,
Thanks so much for answering my post.
The style I bought is Mandera, since I wear a size 10, they didn't have many styles in stock for me to choose from. For that I was a little dissappointed.
Yes they did tell me that if it still was hurting my foot after a few days I could return them. I just hope I got the right pair for my foot problem.
Are there types that are recommended for heelspurs?
Also what is the difference between Classic designs and Papillio Designs?
Sorry for my ignorance, I just don't know a thing about them, other than people telling me they are really comfortable.
Is there a place to get them cheaper than in the store?
I really appreciate your time and response to my questions, thanks a bunch!
Necee

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

nancy s. on 7/19/01 at 02:46 (053669)

necee, i don't know the style you have -- i haven't seen it. and i don't remember the difference between classic and papillo. but i can tell you that you can buy birks online from germany for about half the price, at
http://www.birkenstock-cn.com
it's a great site, explains the different lines, shows you close-up pictures of all the styles, what colors they come in, etc.
i'm sure you'd have more in your size to choose from on that site. only thing is, you wouldn't be able to try them on first -- so if they weren't right, you'd have to send them back. at the price savings, it would probably be worth it even if you had to do that.
everyone is different, and there is no style that's best for pf. it seems that the Arizona style is a favorite here, so that might be a safe bet. it didn't feel right for me, so i ended up with the Bostons and also a pair of Nebraska Tatamis. there are many more i'd like to try, after i win the lottery, which i never buy tickets for!
if you return the ones you have now to the store, be sure you get your special birks size firmly in mind -- you'll want it for ordering online if that's what you end up doing.
good luck! my softer footbed birks should be here from germany in a week or two, and i'll post about them. i think john h already wears them -- maybe he can shed some light. if he doesn't see this post, you might ask him and put his name up there big in the subject line!
nancy

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks Attn: Julie or John...

Necee on 7/19/01 at 03:06 (053672)

Hi Again Nancy,
Thanks so much for the info. I will look up their website, haven't looked there so maybe they will have my size, I really liked the Baltimore style as well as a few others.
Thanks Again, maybe John or Julie will read my post, I know that Julie wears them.
Necee

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks Attn: Julie or John...

nancy s. on 7/19/01 at 03:13 (053674)

julie wears soft-footbed birks too? julie, you never told me! maybe that's because i never asked! now that they're in the mail to me (my superb timing), i join necee in the query: how do you folks like the softer footbeds?
nancy

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks Attn: Julie or John...

Julie on 7/19/01 at 03:50 (053681)

No, Nancy, I don't wear the soft-bed Birks, but I know John has started to. John? Are you there?

Necee, I second everything Nancy has said. Give your Manderas a good try, wearing them only a little at a time, and if they don't feel right, take them back. Re the buckle: are you sure you haven't buckled the shoes too tight? Birks are supposed to fit loosely: it's gripping with your toes that keeps them on your feet (and also exercises your feet, which is one of the good things about Birks).

I wear only the Arizonas, and have several pairs. Didn't the shop you went to have those? I know they didn't suit Nancy, but they've worked for so many that it might be a good idea to try them.

It isn't that your foot conforms to the footbed, but the other way around. As Nancy says, the cork does 'give'. I wouldn't like to comment on Birks' ability to correct over-pronation. Probably they do have some effect on it, because of the high arch, but most people who over-pronate need custom orthotics. There's no one-size-fits-all remedy for a biomechanical fault.

Birks feel strange at first to everyone, and they do take time to get used to.

Re: Hey Nancy and Necee - we're on line at the same time!

Julie on 7/19/01 at 04:02 (053685)

EOM

Re: Question About Birkenstocks Attn: Julie or John...

Necee on 7/19/01 at 11:39 (053721)

Thanks Julie,
I always get good advice from you.
The Maderas have a woventop, there is a buckle that goes across the top and I have it in the last hole. I hate to punch out another one if I'm going to have to take them back. I wondered if they will stretch enough and also my right shoe feels much more comfortable than the left, the arch feels lower. The one on the right, which is my problem foot, feels like its higher in the arch.
Should I give them longer before returning? And is there another shoe better suited for my needs? At work I'm on them 8 hrs a day.
Thanks again
Necee

Re: Re: Question About Birkenstocks Attn: Julie or John...

Necee on 7/19/01 at 12:03 (053722)

I've been really looking at these new Birks I bought yesterday, It's not the buckle thats giving me the trouble, its the first part of leather down from the buckle, its just really tight across the top of my foot, its not the whole top area, just that one spot.

Re: Re: Question About Birkenstocks Attn: Julie or John...

Julie on 7/19/01 at 16:06 (053746)

If it's really tight in the last hole (I assume you mean it's in the loosest position) then they may not be the right size (or style) for you, and I guess you should return them. Don't make another hole: you might not be able to return them if you do.

As I told you, I like the Arizonas - the simplest style they do. Worth trying - but I can't say if they would suit you or not. Can you find another store, if the one you visited doesn't have much of a stock? Or can they order a pair in your size?

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Nancy N on 7/19/01 at 16:17 (053749)

Nancy/Julie--

I'm curious about two things as far as Birks go:

1. Does the size vary depending on which Birk brand you buy? Or is a 41 a 41 regardless? My Betula's from Sam's club are 41s, but I am still nervous about ordering from the German site. I'm also confused because my pedorthist had me try a pair of Tatami Rio Grandes that were a 41 normal, but the Betulas are a 41 small.

2. Is the break-in period for your feet, or the shoes, or both? Do I have to go through the same thing with each new pair?

Thanks!

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Julie on 7/19/01 at 16:31 (053750)

Nancy, here is my opinion on your questions.

I don't know if the size varies from style to style, but 'if I were you' (in quotes because I'm not) I would not buy a style on line that I hadn't tried on in a shop and knew was ok for me. Birkenstock claim the footbed doesn't vary, but I think it does, and I remember others reporting some time ago that it does. Maybe the size varies too - I don't know.

Birkenstocks come in two widths: regular and narrow. Are your 41 'small' Betulas thenarrow width? If they are, you probably need 'narrow' in any style you buy - but again, try them on before ordering on line.

I would say that the break-in period is for both shoes and feet. The shoes need to adjust to your feet - the cork gives a bit, and the leather, which is usually stiff at first, softens a good deal in the wearing. And your feet need to adjust to the shoes. I have only Arizonas, but have found every pair slightly different and requiring a period of adjustment.

But nothing like the very first period of adjustment, which I flunked miserably (almost threw them away, and only rescued them from the back of the closet ten years on when I got pf). Now I'm an enthusiast.

And now it's Nancy's turn. I'm off to bed - good night all.

Re: >>>>

Necee on 7/19/01 at 23:50 (053782)

Thanks to all of you who answered my post. Well I called the Birkenstock store today, I tried wearing my new Birks around the house, the left shoe was still really tight on the top of my foot, so tight that in that area my foot got real red and swollen some. I just don't think that's right. It's becoming painful to wear them.
The sales clerk said to bring them back and get refitted, and try a different style, she is ordering new stock in my size. Can't wait to go back there next week!
I really like their shoes and I'm getting anxious!!
Necee

Re: >>>>

Julie on 7/20/01 at 01:32 (053786)

No, that's not right, and the shoes are probably the wrong size and should be returned. I hope they'll be able to fit you properly next time.

Something you should know is that the right size in Birks always looks too big, because the foot should fit into the footbed with a comfortable surround before the rim. When I look down at my feet, the front rim of the Arizona sandal extends a good half inch beyond my toes. Many people make the mistake of thinking the right size is too big, and go for one that 'looks' right, but Birks really are different from other footgear, and this is one of the differences. A skilled fitter should know this, and your shop probably does, but I thought I'd mention it.

Re: >>>> PS

Julie on 7/20/01 at 01:34 (053787)

Birks should NEVER feel too tight. They fit loosely. You should be able to slip all four fingers between the straps and the tops of your feet. That extra room is what gives your feet space to 'work'. You don't 'just walk' in Birks, with every step you draw your toes back - this works the entire musculature of the foot, which is one reason - apart from their arch support - that Birks can be so helpful.

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Lisa C on 7/20/01 at 03:19 (053795)

Try the site : http://www.footwise.com It is incredibly informative re: Birks. They explain all the styles(Classic, Tatami, Papillo & more) & the footbeds and whether they are good for over pronation narrow/wide heels... They even advise to buy a size bigger for their casual, trekking & handstiched lines as they run short. A fabulous site!! Thanks to heelspurs!!!

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Nancy N on 7/20/01 at 08:18 (053802)

Lisa--

My pedorthist did tell me that my size was 41 for the sandals and 42 for shoes, to allow for enough room in the toe box. So it sounds like that information is probably right on.

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Nancy N on 7/20/01 at 08:20 (053803)

Julie--

Yes, the small and the narrow are the same thing (the German word 'Schmal' is on the box, which my pedorthist says is the Birk term for narrow). I am pretty sure that the Tatami's he let me try were the normal (regular) size, though. He did tell me after I got the Betulas that I should stick with the small, though, unless that doesn't apply to the Tatamis. I'm just so confused!!! :) Thanks for trying to help!

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Julie on 7/20/01 at 10:06 (053814)

All the more reason to find a well-stocked store and try on any Birk you are thinking of buying on line! I've taken the easy way out - just ordered two more pairs of Arizonas (one black, of course - see previous thread) to add to my growing stock of them. My oldest pair is falling apart and is to be thrown out, and my next oldest pair is going to be a pair of travelling slippers.

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Lisa C on 7/21/01 at 01:11 (053883)

I remember reading a post about the fact that Birkenstocks size chart translates about 2 sizes too large. I wear a 38 in Birks, which is a 7. I have always worn an 8 & 1/2. I just bought new shoes in that size and I exchanged them for a 9. Thanks to Julie's advice, since my toes were falling asleep. So I wear a 9 now and in Birks a 7. I had the same problem buying children's Birks too!

Re: >>>>

sherry on 9/10/01 at hrmin (059799)

I have had heel spurs for the past ten years and I have even had sugury on the left foot. I would like to know what the Birks are. I still have so much pain I can't hardly stand, I have the sugury in Dec. of 99, I will say that it is coming back already. I feel I have made the worse mistake of my life. I am ready to try just about anything that will help. IF any one can help me out there please email me at jsward26416@yahoo.com
thank you. sherry

Re: Question About Birkenstocks

nancy s. on 7/19/01 at 01:49 (053661)

hi necee,
i'm an avid birks wearer. like you, as soon as i tried them on in the store a year and a half ago -- in my eighth month of very painful pf -- they felt wonderful. birks were the first real step toward starting to recover.
yes, the footbed will conform some to your foot. it feels hard, but it's cork and it will move and does have some give, even though you can't really feel it consciously.
i wear them almost all the time. sometimes my feet do get tired if i walk longer than usual; i've sent for some soft-footbed birks to see if they'd be better for longer walks. but even if they're not better, i'll stick with birks.
what style do you have, that has a buckle? the style i wear most often is Boston, but the buckle is on the side. yours can't be adjusted? i'm not so sure about that buckle bothering you -- it makes me a litte wary. the upper might soften or stretch a little and stop the buckle from bothering you -- but it might not. did they say you can wear them in the house for a while and return them if the buckle still bothers? i would want that option, if i were you.
good luck with them, necee -- i hope they work out for you, they're great shoes. break them in a litte slowly, even if they feel good right away. they're still an adjustment for your feet, and you don't want to rush it when you have a foot problem.
nancy

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Necee on 7/19/01 at 02:14 (053663)

Hi Nancy,
Thanks so much for answering my post.
The style I bought is Mandera, since I wear a size 10, they didn't have many styles in stock for me to choose from. For that I was a little dissappointed.
Yes they did tell me that if it still was hurting my foot after a few days I could return them. I just hope I got the right pair for my foot problem.
Are there types that are recommended for heelspurs?
Also what is the difference between Classic designs and Papillio Designs?
Sorry for my ignorance, I just don't know a thing about them, other than people telling me they are really comfortable.
Is there a place to get them cheaper than in the store?
I really appreciate your time and response to my questions, thanks a bunch!
Necee

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

nancy s. on 7/19/01 at 02:46 (053669)

necee, i don't know the style you have -- i haven't seen it. and i don't remember the difference between classic and papillo. but i can tell you that you can buy birks online from germany for about half the price, at
http://www.birkenstock-cn.com
it's a great site, explains the different lines, shows you close-up pictures of all the styles, what colors they come in, etc.
i'm sure you'd have more in your size to choose from on that site. only thing is, you wouldn't be able to try them on first -- so if they weren't right, you'd have to send them back. at the price savings, it would probably be worth it even if you had to do that.
everyone is different, and there is no style that's best for pf. it seems that the Arizona style is a favorite here, so that might be a safe bet. it didn't feel right for me, so i ended up with the Bostons and also a pair of Nebraska Tatamis. there are many more i'd like to try, after i win the lottery, which i never buy tickets for!
if you return the ones you have now to the store, be sure you get your special birks size firmly in mind -- you'll want it for ordering online if that's what you end up doing.
good luck! my softer footbed birks should be here from germany in a week or two, and i'll post about them. i think john h already wears them -- maybe he can shed some light. if he doesn't see this post, you might ask him and put his name up there big in the subject line!
nancy

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks Attn: Julie or John...

Necee on 7/19/01 at 03:06 (053672)

Hi Again Nancy,
Thanks so much for the info. I will look up their website, haven't looked there so maybe they will have my size, I really liked the Baltimore style as well as a few others.
Thanks Again, maybe John or Julie will read my post, I know that Julie wears them.
Necee

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks Attn: Julie or John...

nancy s. on 7/19/01 at 03:13 (053674)

julie wears soft-footbed birks too? julie, you never told me! maybe that's because i never asked! now that they're in the mail to me (my superb timing), i join necee in the query: how do you folks like the softer footbeds?
nancy

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks Attn: Julie or John...

Julie on 7/19/01 at 03:50 (053681)

No, Nancy, I don't wear the soft-bed Birks, but I know John has started to. John? Are you there?

Necee, I second everything Nancy has said. Give your Manderas a good try, wearing them only a little at a time, and if they don't feel right, take them back. Re the buckle: are you sure you haven't buckled the shoes too tight? Birks are supposed to fit loosely: it's gripping with your toes that keeps them on your feet (and also exercises your feet, which is one of the good things about Birks).

I wear only the Arizonas, and have several pairs. Didn't the shop you went to have those? I know they didn't suit Nancy, but they've worked for so many that it might be a good idea to try them.

It isn't that your foot conforms to the footbed, but the other way around. As Nancy says, the cork does 'give'. I wouldn't like to comment on Birks' ability to correct over-pronation. Probably they do have some effect on it, because of the high arch, but most people who over-pronate need custom orthotics. There's no one-size-fits-all remedy for a biomechanical fault.

Birks feel strange at first to everyone, and they do take time to get used to.

Re: Hey Nancy and Necee - we're on line at the same time!

Julie on 7/19/01 at 04:02 (053685)

EOM

Re: Question About Birkenstocks Attn: Julie or John...

Necee on 7/19/01 at 11:39 (053721)

Thanks Julie,
I always get good advice from you.
The Maderas have a woventop, there is a buckle that goes across the top and I have it in the last hole. I hate to punch out another one if I'm going to have to take them back. I wondered if they will stretch enough and also my right shoe feels much more comfortable than the left, the arch feels lower. The one on the right, which is my problem foot, feels like its higher in the arch.
Should I give them longer before returning? And is there another shoe better suited for my needs? At work I'm on them 8 hrs a day.
Thanks again
Necee

Re: Re: Question About Birkenstocks Attn: Julie or John...

Necee on 7/19/01 at 12:03 (053722)

I've been really looking at these new Birks I bought yesterday, It's not the buckle thats giving me the trouble, its the first part of leather down from the buckle, its just really tight across the top of my foot, its not the whole top area, just that one spot.

Re: Re: Question About Birkenstocks Attn: Julie or John...

Julie on 7/19/01 at 16:06 (053746)

If it's really tight in the last hole (I assume you mean it's in the loosest position) then they may not be the right size (or style) for you, and I guess you should return them. Don't make another hole: you might not be able to return them if you do.

As I told you, I like the Arizonas - the simplest style they do. Worth trying - but I can't say if they would suit you or not. Can you find another store, if the one you visited doesn't have much of a stock? Or can they order a pair in your size?

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Nancy N on 7/19/01 at 16:17 (053749)

Nancy/Julie--

I'm curious about two things as far as Birks go:

1. Does the size vary depending on which Birk brand you buy? Or is a 41 a 41 regardless? My Betula's from Sam's club are 41s, but I am still nervous about ordering from the German site. I'm also confused because my pedorthist had me try a pair of Tatami Rio Grandes that were a 41 normal, but the Betulas are a 41 small.

2. Is the break-in period for your feet, or the shoes, or both? Do I have to go through the same thing with each new pair?

Thanks!

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Julie on 7/19/01 at 16:31 (053750)

Nancy, here is my opinion on your questions.

I don't know if the size varies from style to style, but 'if I were you' (in quotes because I'm not) I would not buy a style on line that I hadn't tried on in a shop and knew was ok for me. Birkenstock claim the footbed doesn't vary, but I think it does, and I remember others reporting some time ago that it does. Maybe the size varies too - I don't know.

Birkenstocks come in two widths: regular and narrow. Are your 41 'small' Betulas thenarrow width? If they are, you probably need 'narrow' in any style you buy - but again, try them on before ordering on line.

I would say that the break-in period is for both shoes and feet. The shoes need to adjust to your feet - the cork gives a bit, and the leather, which is usually stiff at first, softens a good deal in the wearing. And your feet need to adjust to the shoes. I have only Arizonas, but have found every pair slightly different and requiring a period of adjustment.

But nothing like the very first period of adjustment, which I flunked miserably (almost threw them away, and only rescued them from the back of the closet ten years on when I got pf). Now I'm an enthusiast.

And now it's Nancy's turn. I'm off to bed - good night all.

Re: >>>>

Necee on 7/19/01 at 23:50 (053782)

Thanks to all of you who answered my post. Well I called the Birkenstock store today, I tried wearing my new Birks around the house, the left shoe was still really tight on the top of my foot, so tight that in that area my foot got real red and swollen some. I just don't think that's right. It's becoming painful to wear them.
The sales clerk said to bring them back and get refitted, and try a different style, she is ordering new stock in my size. Can't wait to go back there next week!
I really like their shoes and I'm getting anxious!!
Necee

Re: >>>>

Julie on 7/20/01 at 01:32 (053786)

No, that's not right, and the shoes are probably the wrong size and should be returned. I hope they'll be able to fit you properly next time.

Something you should know is that the right size in Birks always looks too big, because the foot should fit into the footbed with a comfortable surround before the rim. When I look down at my feet, the front rim of the Arizona sandal extends a good half inch beyond my toes. Many people make the mistake of thinking the right size is too big, and go for one that 'looks' right, but Birks really are different from other footgear, and this is one of the differences. A skilled fitter should know this, and your shop probably does, but I thought I'd mention it.

Re: >>>> PS

Julie on 7/20/01 at 01:34 (053787)

Birks should NEVER feel too tight. They fit loosely. You should be able to slip all four fingers between the straps and the tops of your feet. That extra room is what gives your feet space to 'work'. You don't 'just walk' in Birks, with every step you draw your toes back - this works the entire musculature of the foot, which is one reason - apart from their arch support - that Birks can be so helpful.

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Lisa C on 7/20/01 at 03:19 (053795)

Try the site : http://www.footwise.com It is incredibly informative re: Birks. They explain all the styles(Classic, Tatami, Papillo & more) & the footbeds and whether they are good for over pronation narrow/wide heels... They even advise to buy a size bigger for their casual, trekking & handstiched lines as they run short. A fabulous site!! Thanks to heelspurs!!!

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Nancy N on 7/20/01 at 08:18 (053802)

Lisa--

My pedorthist did tell me that my size was 41 for the sandals and 42 for shoes, to allow for enough room in the toe box. So it sounds like that information is probably right on.

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Nancy N on 7/20/01 at 08:20 (053803)

Julie--

Yes, the small and the narrow are the same thing (the German word 'Schmal' is on the box, which my pedorthist says is the Birk term for narrow). I am pretty sure that the Tatami's he let me try were the normal (regular) size, though. He did tell me after I got the Betulas that I should stick with the small, though, unless that doesn't apply to the Tatamis. I'm just so confused!!! :) Thanks for trying to help!

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Julie on 7/20/01 at 10:06 (053814)

All the more reason to find a well-stocked store and try on any Birk you are thinking of buying on line! I've taken the easy way out - just ordered two more pairs of Arizonas (one black, of course - see previous thread) to add to my growing stock of them. My oldest pair is falling apart and is to be thrown out, and my next oldest pair is going to be a pair of travelling slippers.

Re: To Nancy S. Re: Question About Birkenstocks

Lisa C on 7/21/01 at 01:11 (053883)

I remember reading a post about the fact that Birkenstocks size chart translates about 2 sizes too large. I wear a 38 in Birks, which is a 7. I have always worn an 8 & 1/2. I just bought new shoes in that size and I exchanged them for a 9. Thanks to Julie's advice, since my toes were falling asleep. So I wear a 9 now and in Birks a 7. I had the same problem buying children's Birks too!

Re: >>>>

sherry on 9/10/01 at hrmin (059799)

I have had heel spurs for the past ten years and I have even had sugury on the left foot. I would like to know what the Birks are. I still have so much pain I can't hardly stand, I have the sugury in Dec. of 99, I will say that it is coming back already. I feel I have made the worse mistake of my life. I am ready to try just about anything that will help. IF any one can help me out there please email me at jsward26416@yahoo.com
thank you. sherry