Jackie Hope: Got mud?
You ever look at any of those fancy-schmancy decorating magazines? Ones with multi-syllabic words in their names, like “Architectural” or “Metropolitan?”
OK, true confession time here: We’ve subscribed to nearly every magazine there ever was, or is, including a few that had as short a lifespan as a mayfly — or a lifespan like the last Twinkie in a 10-year-old’s lunchbox. Yeah, I subscribed to “Domino,” which had a couple of good years in it. The publisher rolled over my unused subscription fees, and gave me an extra year of “Glamour” instead. Because, hey, everybody needs an extra year of glamour in her life.
We even have the premiere issue of “H.P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror,” which lasted five issues, including the issue numbered 1½. And yeah, it was a real horror, alright.
Right now our reading room offers publications ranging from “Reader’s Digest” to “Architectural Digest,” with side trips to “Your Dog,” “Biblical Archaeology Review,” “Birds & Blooms,” and “WWE Magazine” — the pro wrestling news mag. That last one is not mine. Even though Ryback rules. And did you see Daniel Bryan ruling “Monday Night Raw?” Throwing it down with Triple H! That heel! Oops ...
Anyway, this time of the year, the mags with “home” or “house” somewhere in their titles do their spring cleaning and redecorating issues. They have exciting articles like “De-Clutter Your Walk-In Closets,” because all of us have closets we can actually walk into.
The featured closets look to be about the size of a double-wide Winnebago with Ikea cubbies and shelving, drawers full of under drawers, and a whole wall of mix-and-match shirts and skirts, matched up by color and length. We can all identify with that, can’t we? Actually, the magazine closet looks a lot like the back room at the Arc Aid shop, minus the Arc’s cardboard boxes.
My closet has mix-and-match shoes, none of which seem to match up when I am late for church, and all I can find are left shoes in varying shades of black. My sock drawer is similarly sorted, except all the socks are for the right foot instead of the left. I know they are right-footed socks because there are always holes in them where my right big toe likes to wiggle around.
There should be toeless socks, like those campy fingerless gloves we wore in the ‘80s. And which some of my friends still wear — you know who you are.
Know what this month’s focus is for “modern homes,” “traditional homes,” “better homes” and “architecturally digested” homes? Mud rooms. Who knew? We can get an intimate view of Madonna’s mud room — our very own Blonde Ambition Tour. Or see Julia Roberts’ welcome mat and rainboot box. Maybe that is where she keeps those cute boots she wore in “Runaway Bride.”
Mud rooms. Yeah. This time of year, in North Dakota, every room is a mud room. Especially if you have a kid, a dog, or both.
But, OK, let’s figure out what a mud room really is. Dictionary.com describes a mud room as, “… a vestibule or other area in a house, in which wet or muddy clothes or footwear are removed.” So a mud room is like a walk-in closet, without the mixy-matchy Ann Taylor separates?
The cunning and coy magazine pics show cubbies of boots, with the boot owners’ names stenciled above their respective cubbies. Beneath the cubbies, there are baskets of clean socks neatly stored on shelves. These socks have never been worn because: they are still in pairs and there are no wiggle holes near the right big toe areas.
Cutesie hooks in the shapes of duckies and bunnies are pictured, too, holding rain slickers and gardening smocks. Nobody in North Dakota owns a slicker; it doesn’t rain that much.
Even when it does rain, it’s too cold to slosh around in, unless you are unplugging a plugged downspout. And who actually wears a smock for gardening? Smocks are what you get tied into when you are sitting in the emergency room with a major case of hives because you’ve forgotten to take your Benadryl before heading out to the garden.
So here’s the deal. Most houses around here have two mud rooms. You got your back steps, and you got your front steps. You leave your muddy sneakers on the front steps if you are gonna get back into the pickup pretty soon, and on the back steps if you are going out to load up the bird feeders. Your muddy flip flops can be left on either set of steps, depending on what you’ve stepped in with them. If you are lucky enough to own Wellies, you only use them for gardening, and for trips to the farm store.
What we really need are practical “house” magazines. Ones that tell you how to get 8 inches of ice out of the end of your downspout, or how to get muddy dog footprints off your tan couch. Oh! I know that one! Stencil gray doggie footprints all over the couch’s upholstery. I am so gonna launch a new magazine, and call it either “Pawn Shop Chic” or “Garage Sale Re-Gifting.”