Many of the gifts that Elisa has given me over the years have been surprising. Upon opening a box and being greeted with the unexpected sight of something neither hoped for nor desired, my reaction is often one of feigned excitement and polite thanks. What makes these gifts surprising, however, is the fact that they quickly turn out to be my favorite things ever.
A good example is the Pizza Pizzazz. When I first unwrapped it, I was thankful for the fact that Elisa gave it to me, but not for the thing in itself. Cheap ‘as seen on TV’ gimmicky piece of crap, is what I thought to myself. But man, was my first reaction ever wrong. I cook regularly when Elisa is at home, but when she is away I revert to my pre-bachelor days and crave nothing more than frozen pizza. For a hungry man who wants their frozen pizza, and wants their frozen pizza now, this is the golden ticket.
But I digress …
The best gift that Elisa has ever given me are muck boots. Yup. Muck boots. But not just any muck boots. Bogs Urban Farmer Work Boots. Like with the Pizza Pizzazz, I will admit that I wasn’t totally enthused when I unwrapped these puppies. Work boots = work. Muck boots = …muck. But these quickly became my favorite footwear for three reasons:
- They are functional. The most pervasive problem facing horse husbands everywhere is this: how in the heck do we keep our feet dry at horse shows?! These work perfectly. Whether I am tromping through morning dew, or travailing a cross country course in the rain, my feet stay dry. My feet don’t get too hot in the summer, and they don’t get too cold in the (Georgia) winter. When they get dirty, I hose them off and I’m ready for da club.
- They are stylish. I never feel out of place wearing these in the barn or at horse shows, but I also don’t feel out of place going out to dinner with friends after a long day at an event. I even wore these at a reception at Blenheim Palace, and no one thought any less of me for having my feet adorned with these element-proof poop booties.
- They are durable. Elisa gave these boots to me four years ago, and they are still basically good as new. The insole died after two years, but I can easily go without. The color has faded slightly as well, but who really cares. The main thing is that they have not spring a leak, and I expect them to be waterproof for a long time to come.
I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t wear my my Urban Farmer Work Boots. I use them in the barn, easily slip them on and off when I take the dogs out, and pack them for every horse show (if I don’t, and my feet get wet, then I get no sympathy from Elisa).
Every product, of course, has its trade-offs. These do not have steel toes, which means running the risk of having one’s pinkie toe broken after being stepped on my a horse (not the horse’s fault), but having steel toes would undermine comfort. I worked in a pulp and paper mill for years, and I would rather avoid wearing steel toe boots again if I can help it. They also don’t go up the calf, which means that I can’t just walk through bodies of water like a bad a$$. But it also means that I don’t HAVE to wade through those murky waters and can, instead, wait by the sidelines with a camera (and a drink) in hand.
What are the best and most surprising gifts you have ever received? How do you keep your feet stylish and warm at horse shows and around the barn? Leave your stories in the comments below.