Tonight, when I arrived home, Tracey had nearly twenty carpet samples in Miss17's room for me to test drive and judge.
But before we do that we've decided the carpet in Miss17's room needs replacing. Actually the carpet throughout the house needs replacing, but we're starting with her room because it's empty.
Seven years ago we recarpeted the house with a beautiful, thick, deep blue carpet which we instantly fell in love with. The honeymoon lasted about a month. The only way mess could stand out more on this carpet than it does at the moment would be if a fanfare of trumpets went off every time a speck landed on it. It shows up EVERYTHING.
Plus, it LIKES mess and doesn't want to give it up, even when vacuumed.
Of course, what hasn't helped are our kids walking the outdoors inside, a steady progression of dripping bottles, leaky nappies and maybe the odd spilt milk or stubby, plus the usual wear and tear from a family of nine, the last seven years has turned our lovely, expensive carpet into a wannabe nature reserve, complete with walking tracks. It's gone from flash to trash.
This time, Tracey was leaving nothing to chance. For two days she's been visiting all the carpet stores in G-town and checking out their stock and telling them exactly what she wants.
"Easy to clean! And when I do clean I don't want it to look like I haven't vacuumed five minutes later. I want it to hide dust. I want to be able to throw a handful of bark on the floor and they can't be seen without a UV light and a microscope."
The carpet samples all looked pretty much the same to me, but I do have a bugbear with floor coverings. Tracey's priority is mess, mine is carpet burn. And keep your minds out of the gutter - it just so happens I give all the horsey rides around here.
On all fours I scuttled around all the samples, quickly rejecting and tossing several sandpaper hybrids and finally whittling the contenders down to a knee-friendly three - two browns and a dark cream. Tracey seemed very happy with the one's I had left.
You see, when the store assistants' backs were turned Tracey would reach into her handbag and pull out a packet of sample mess - dog hair, bark splinter, link, grass, Lego, hair tie, paper, feather - and scatter them over the sample carpets to see how they fared.
"I lost the grass and lint at one store," she told me, then bent to lovingly pick up a motley dark cream sample and beamed. "That's why this one is my favourite."
Ladies & Gentlemen, we have a winner!
Only trouble now is working out which samples goes back to which stores. And by trouble I, of course, mean it's Tracey's problem :) Not that it's not all beer and skittles for me - I've got really sore knees from a mild carpet burn.