When I lived in Brisbane our home was cursed by marble floors. We were persuaded by the developer that marble floors were wonderful and so easy to care for. Since Pompeii and all those villas in Ancient Rome had marble flooring I was convinced that marble was the way to go. It wasn’t.
Whatever the Ancient Civilisations had on their floors was evidently far superior to the marble tiles that covered all our indoor areas. The marble was easily stained and scuffed (part of its appeal, I was told. The distressed look and all that rot). Polishing the floor every couple of years by a professional cost a fortune. It was a mistake and gradually I bought rugs to cover as much of the floor as possible.
So much for marble.
Our home in Melbourne has parquet floors in the living areas and carpeting in the bedrooms. The bathroom floors and walls are made of marble, which seem to be of a different quality since they consist of large slabs rather than tiles. Perhaps that’s why they are better.
When we were shown the home by the builder he emphasised how special the parquetry was. Not bought by the metre, he said, but individually placed in a design and made of the best timber. Well, it was certainly impressive, I thought, and what a relief not to have to deal with marble tiles!
“Except for one thing”, he added. “You have to take care not to scratch it…be careful with furniture and chairs.”
The hairs on the back of my neck stood up militarily. He had left out “it would be better if you did not walk on the floor at all and then it will remain beautiful forever.”
I became obsessed with the floor. In a certain light you could make out scuffing where angels had not feared to tread. I would bend down after a visitor left and rub out the forensic evidence.
I even threw out my old Homypeds and bought a new pair with an extra cushioned sole which should protect the floor. They were comfortable, elegant and soft on timber. What more could you want?
I was happy with my choice and even while I went through the process of searching for good toasters and leakprook teapots, I consoled myself with the knowledge that I am not utterly hopeless at shopping because I had bought a great pair of Homypeds which I put on as soon as I got home.
I had not looked at the floor for about three days because we went out so often. But one afternoon we found ourselves at home, enjoying a piece of toast with vegemite and a cup of tea when I glanced at the floor.
The sunlight brazenly glistened on scuff marks all over the floor. I immediately accused the love of my life of ruining the floor with his stupid shoes and would he mind removing them at once and putting on his slippers? I said other things as well about would it be too much to ask and how many times and why does he insist on ruining my life. And if I can change into special “at home footwear, why can’t he?”
Being the wonderful man that he is, he immediately changed into crocs, while I cleaned the floor with a slightly moist microfibre contraption. The more I did that the worse the floor seemed to be. I went everywhere as I polished and rubbed away bits of scuffing. By now the sun had set and I could not see any more scuff marks. I was wrecked but very pleased with my efforts.
The next day the marks were back again. I examined my husband’s crocs, rubbed them on the floor to see if they left a mark. No, they didn’t.
It’s so sad, the harder I try the worse it gets. I tested my new Homypeds with the superdooper soles and guess what?
The salesgirl at the pharmacy where I had bought the new Homypeds with the extra special soft cushioning told me that nobody else had complained about this year’s new range of soles. Not surprising since they had only been on the market for a couple of weeks. She could give me a credit, though.
We are thinking of asking all visitors to remove their shoes at the door. It’s a nuisance because the other day I accidentally walked the length of our home without removing my shoes and then actually walked back down the hallway to the entrance again to change them. I think Pavlov must have trained me.