Muddy shoes have no place on a clean floor
LADIES, I need your advice.
If you share a home with a farmer, a tradesman, a labourer - anyone who wears work boots and gets them dirty and muddy - I want to hear about how on earth you convinced them that taking off said boots before walking into the house was a sensible idea.
Because no matter how many times I try to gently reinforce this message to The Farmer in my home, it falls on deaf ears.
As a consequence, I am often sweeping or vacuuming up clumps of dirt or suspiciously boot tread-shaped bits of dried mud from our wooden floors.
Thankfully, the patches of dark-coloured carpets we have in the bedrooms tend not to show up dirt so easily, although I'm not kidding myself it's not there. In fact, the noise of random muck hitting the metal of the vacuum cleaner pipe on its way up confirms it absolutely is there.
But the problem has intensified recently with an admittedly dubious decision of mine.
As some of you may know, we're expecting our first child at the end of July and I will go on maternity leave in just over two weeks.
We are spectacularly disorganised in many ways to welcome this little person into the world - don't even ask about name choices - although I have at least managed to buy a few necessary items over the past few months and stack them in an unruly pile in our sunroom.
In the past couple of weeks, it's occurred to me that this unruly pile needs to start resembling a nursery soon, so I was able to get The Farmer to assemble the cot and I've managed to arrange a few other things around it.
With this recent cold snap that has just kicked in, our house has dipped to its usual uninsulated, Arctic temperatures, so we bought a heater and I laid down a couple of rugs in the sunroom-turned-nursery so we don't freeze this poor child to death.
Enter the boot issue. In essence:
The nursery is right next to our room.
The rugs I chose were the only ones I could find that were suitably "kiddie" and of a decent size to cover the right area, but are cream with lots of brightly coloured patterns over the top.
One of the rugs covers the doorway between the nursery and our bedroom - one of the highest traffic spots for The Farmer's footsteps.
You see the problem?
The Farmer was away for part of the weekend and, before he left, I warned him: "Now, when you get back, there's going to be a rug here so it's more important than ever that you take your boots off at the door." He agreed.
I even fell foul of my own advice when I walked outside in my sheepskin slippers to feed the dogs, then came back inside to do something in the nursery - and noticed with horror my slipper treads stamped red-brown all over the rugs as though it were an advertisement for the brand of shoe.
Cue 10 minutes of spraying carpet cleaner on all fours and scrubbing out the evidence of my own mistake. I then went out and bought a mat for the doorway so we could have a stepping point onto the wood floors without dirtying the rug. Genius, I thought.
I fessed up to my indiscretion when The Farmer came home, thinking it would reinforce the point about work boot removal.
But the other morning, while I was still trying to wake myself up, he popped his head in the doorway of the sunroom to say goodbye before going to work.
Through sandpaper eyes, I watched him turn and walk away. My blood pressure rose slightly.
"Oi," I called out groggily. "Did you just walk on my new rug with your dirty boots?"
"Er, yep," he replied.
Then he popped his head back into the doorway: "But you've got to admit it is a pretty stupid colour."