One of my two-year-old son's winter boots was outside the door.
There were three possible reasons why — either it had fallen off while he was being carried in the house, he had tossed it out the door without anyone knowing, or my wife had pitched it because the boy was attacking Jacey, our fat cat, with it.
Turned out none of that had transpired.
Earlier in the day, the boy had stepped in dog poop, entrenching it in the deep-tracked soles.
"Can you clean it?" my wife asked.
"No sweat," I replied, thinking the task was easy-peasy-let's-get-it-done-Weezie.
When the young one went to bed following an epic game of Chase Daddy Around the House, I went outside to take care of the poop business.
Problem was, the temperature had dipped enough to give Jack Frost a chill, and the doo-doo was now frozen firmly to the footwear.
This was going to be much harder than expected.
With no jackhammer or blow torch available, and the warmth of the house far more appealing than being outside in the cold wrestling with a dirty boot, I dreamed of going in, watching the season finale of "Boardwalk Empire," and dealing with the dung in the morning.
But the boy needed his boots first thing in the a.m.
I thought about firing up the barbecue to thaw the sole, but the resulting odour would have been pretty darn bad. I worried what the neighbours would say: "Whoa! That Steve just can't barbecue for sh- ..."
Hmmm, what about my wife's hair dryer? I pondered long and hard about going inside and getting it, but decided not to in the name of maintaining positive marital relations.
I soon declared myself in a puppy poop pickle. (Time, friends, for the interactive portion of this week's column: say "puppy poop pickle" 10 times fast. Ignore the reaction of those sitting next to you.)
Sitting on the back step, das boot next to me, a Christmas lightbulb flickered in my head and I thought about the cat's litter box.
The boot could thaw there overnight, allowing me to clean it with ease early the next morning. Brilliant, Stevie, brilliant.
Well, maybe not.
The poop was still as hard as concrete the next morning. It wouldn't even break up with a nail.
If you live east of Grand Falls-Windsor, you may have heard me cursing.
This was a new literary theme - man vs. doggy dung, and I was bent on winning. Hemingway's Santiago battled that giant marlin. I had a child-sized winter boot full of dog droppings!
With precious morning time ticking quickly away, I got all resourceful and held the boot under hot water, scrubbing the sole with an old toothbrush.
It wasn't the greatest sensory experience — in fact, it was one of the worst I've ever had — but it got the job done.
Victory was mine and I indulged in a happy dance - after I cleaned and scoured the sink.
Before my boy was born, I'd often listen to parents talk about the crap their kids sometimes put them through.
This is not what they meant, is it?
Steve Bartletrt thinks John and Yoko really sang: "A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let's hope it's a good one, without dog poop on footwear." Reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at bartlett_steve.