You're In Trouble

It was a routine day at B3 for me. I was in the cleaning materials department looking for some supplies to maintain the impeccable level of sanitation I prefer in my apartment. I was holding a bottle of tile cleaner when I saw it.

I almost didn’t believe it at first as I caught it out of the corner of my eye. But I did a double take and there it was.


A bottle of Urine Gone.

But it wasn’t just a single solitary bottle of Urine Gone. No, there was a stock of Urine Gone. As to say not 1 but many people have the need to get rid of a large quantity of urine on a regular basis.

My mind instantly went into overload trying to rationalize the existence of this product on our planet. Surely it couldn’t be for human pee… right? I mean this has to be for animal owners… right? For a while I thought the “Beyond” in Bed Bath and Beyond stood for beyond good. Now I realized it stood for “Beyond human comprehension.”

Of all the places I would expect to find a 24 oz bottle of Urine gone, B3 was not on the list. For me, the B3 is a place of fluffy towels, spatula sets and electric toothbrushes, not… pee removal.

If anything I would expect to find a bottle of this product in a place like a gas station, the same place you can buy the malt liquor, red Solo cups, and ping pong balls that would cause one to get drunk enough to pee on a… well... anything.

And let’s also consider, outside of the bathroom, the bed is the place you are most likely to find pee. But that you can clean up immediately by just tossing your sheets and mattress pad in the washing machine.

So this product must be for removing pee from OTHER surfaces and locations.

I had questions that needed answers. Most pressing was this:

What human had decided there was an untapped need in the market for pee removal?

It did make sense that the product was housed on the bottom shelf where you have to kind of surreptitiously stoop down to get it. I can’t believe anybody would want to proudly display this product in his or her cart.

Hey, everybody! Look what I got!

Which also makes me think just what an awful moment it must be at the register when the associate has to ring you up. Even if they were ignoring you, you would think curiosity would get the better of them as they wondered who could need such a product.

I know there are some things that I have been embarrassed to buy, My Ped Egg to name one. And usually I can play it off with a silly comment or self-deprecating joke. But Urine Gone? What the hell are you supposed to say if somebody gives you a look?

Boy did I have a hell of a weekend!

And if you are buying it, it is probably not an emergency because you would have used whatever you had on hand to get rid of that stain ASAP. So that means you have an OLD urine stain you need to get rid of, OR you are anticipating an awful series of events in the near future. Either way, I don’t envy you. Not even a wee bit.

Ha-ha, get it? Wee? Ahh.

I was so dumbfounded when I came across Urine Gone that I forgot to read the label, but upon returning home my curiosity eventually got the better of me and I googled it.

Here is what I found.

Urine Gone effectively removes new or old stains and odors from carpets, mattresses, and furniture. Urine Gone works on just about any washable surface or fabric! Just darken the room and use the Urine Gone "stain detector" black light…

Wait a minute.

Stain detector? STAIN DETECTOR?



Here’s the thing, if you KNOW there is urine in your home, but you don’t know where, you don’t need Urine Gone. You need a home security system complete with motion sensors, HD cameras and a barbed wire fence.

Who is peeing in undisclosed locations in houses? Are there criminals regularly breaking into houses to deface the home and then leaving, doing the old “Pee and Flee?”

If you are using a black light you are no longer a regular person, you are a detective. You are a forensic scientist tracking down human detritus. You are the star of the new hit show P.S.I.

The description continues:

For Pet or People Accidents Non-Toxic Safe for Carpet Litter Boxes Wood & Tile Bathrooms Sofas & Beds...

So there is proof it is not just for pets, but people too. There are people with pee accidents in their home. Many people. PEEple.

I’m not sure what would cause such an accident. Perhaps you have white carpet in your home and you recently brought home an Eskimo child who immediately set about to write his name.

If you go on the Urine Gone site they say:

 If you loved the 24 ounce urine gone, you might like… the urine gone refill.

48 FRIGGING OUNCES OF URINE GONE!

Also on the website, in the “Product features” part, there is this great tidbit.

Don’t leave your house smelling like a litter box… Get Urine Gone.

Hmm OK. So what you are saying is, when faced with the choice of cleaning up pee or just leaving it, most people choose to just leave it? Is that the reason for the arrival of this product on the market? Laziness?

The only thing I found more outrageous were the actual customer reviews on the site.

Mind you these are actual reviews.

I have ten cats, and one of the former-ferals sometimes sprays in the house…

I’m not even going to show the rest of that review because it doesn’t get any better. Ya know what helps get rid of the smell of 10 cats? Not having 10 cats.

I have literally bought dozens of urine removers on the market…

Really? If you have bought DOZENS of urine removers, don’t you think it’s time for a lifestyle change? If you cannot get your animals to stop relieving themselves around the house shouldn’t you be thinking of getting a barn or something? I mean jeez at least buy a tarp.

I have 9 cats and 8 dogs in my house and somebody is always doing something somewhere that they shouldn’t!

17 animals? I’m not even, I mean I just… I can’t…

I think my favorite part of the product is how they don’t specifically advertise but more subtly mention that this can be used in the removal of feces as well. I really think it’s only a matter of time before Urine Gone gets a companion product called, “Damn it, Go Away Poop.”

And I bet you won’t need a black light to find that mess.

Doogie, The Brie, and Me

Megan’s dog got diarrhea and it’s all because of the fish museum.

Here is how it happened.

This is my friend Megan.
I spent the New Year in Chicago with Megan at her Mom’s apartment. It was a very thoroughly planned out trip, it happened kind of like this.

Richard: What do you want to do for New Years?
Megan: What if we just went to Chicago?
Richard: I’ve already bought the tickets.

So we arrived early on a Wednesday morning. Megan’s lovely mother Barbara picked us up at the airport and brought us back to her beautiful apartment.

I forgot to take a picture of her.

When I got to the apartment I immediately looked for Megan’s younger sister Jaime. This is Jaime.
I ran into Jaime’s room. Jaime was still asleep so I jumped on top of her to wake her up. I was joined by Megan’s very fluffy Mini Australian Sheppard dog named, I’m not kidding here, Doogie Bowser.

Yea. I know. This is Doogie.
We get Jaime out of bed and we stroll into an as yet not painfully cold Chicago to get some breakfast. We filled our bellies at a delightful placed called West Egg and then hopped in a cab to the Shedd Aquarium.

Now, I myself am a huge fan of aquariums. I have been to aquariums in several different states and countries. And while they may not always be amazing, they are always a good time.

Not so much this time.
We get dropped off at the museum and there is a line of several HUNDRED people. The line is so long that it goes down the steps and snakes around the park out front. The line bends so much in fact that in this picture we are in line, but not even at the end of it.
So after about 30 minutes in this line a museum employee comes by and says he can get people inside instantly and starts taking people to get into the “express line.” This employee doesn't explain what the “express line” is but to me this sounds like a scam so Jaime, Megan and I pass and stay outside.

Well after another 20 minutes and another offer to get on the express line I decide to investigate and figure out what the difference is. Basically instead of paying 19 dollars you pay 39 dollars (39 Freaking dollars) which guarantees you a ticket to the 4D movie and a ticket to something at “Fantasea” which sounds like some sort of Burlesque show involving King Neptune and a dolphin.

With our extremities approaching blue we cave and decide to pay the outrageous fee. So they take us inside to the “express line” where we end up waiting for ANOTHER 30 minutes. The only difference is it was indoors.

Whoopee.

By the time we finally got our tickets  (including a ticket so see the topless King Neptune show which doesn't start for 3 hours) we were ready for some fish to blow our minds.

As it turns out, every human being in the state of Illinois was at the aquarium. I stepped on the tiny feet of no less than 40 toddlers. We had to wait on a line for everything. A line to see the skinny fish. A line to see the fat fish. A line to get in the elevator. A line to get out of the elevator. It was awful. And we were carrying our coats.

The entire time Jaime keeps raving about the 4D movie because she has seen it before. Jaime tells us this movie is amazing. This movie will change our lives. This movie will make me a good singer and thicken Megan’s hair. This movie is amazing.

This is us waiting on line for it.



We finally get into our life changing movie and does it change our lives?

No.

As it turns out a 4D movie just means that for a 15 minute film they spray water on you, whip your ankles with a string, and poke you in the back with a stick. After that we were cranky and ready to start drinking.

We left the aquarium and abandoned our plan of having lunch somewhere and just went back to the apartment. Extremely pissy and sore (from the pokes in the back) and since the view from Barbara's apartment was so grand we just decided to open a bottle of wine and decompress a little.

Well 1 bottle for 4 people is not nearly enough so we quickly opened another, and Barbara brought out some crackers and a very large, very lavish triangle of brie complete with the rind.

These delicacies were placed in the living room on the coffee table where Megan and Jaime and I sat and nibbled on them while Doogie sniffed around and looked for a cuddle. We didn’t eat much because we were more interested in drinking and bemoaning the dramatic inefficiencies of what I was now calling the Fish Museum.

I say Fish Museum because it did not deserve the title of aquarium. For me an aquarium is a happy place full of fish and joy. Whereas a Fish Museum now means a place where you pay 39 dollars to wait on a hundred lines and get poked in the back.

We were depleted. We couldn’t find enough wrong with the museum from the extra charges, to the misinformation, to the complete lack of order. We had just lost it. We were done.

So when we walked into the kitchen to join Megan’s mother for a third bottle of wine we were starting to feel more than OK. Jaime would tell us later that as we walked into the kitchen she thought to herself that she should maybe bring the Brie with her.

We continued to indulge ourselves in our 3rd bottle of wine and some time before we opened the fourth I wandered back into the living room and saw Doogie next to the coffee table but the brie was gone.

Not have chewed or half consumed but gone as though it had never existed. The plate was completely empty.

Doogie had eaten and entire wedge of Brie, rind and all and was now walking around the house with somewhere around 30 dollars worth of French cheese in his stomach that was going to make his (and Barbara’s) life hell for the next 36 hours.

It quickly became obvious the following morning that Doogie was in a world of hurt. He walked around the house in a listless kind of haze with a look on his face that seemed to say, “What have I done?”

There were many whimpers that came from the poor pooch. Many trips over the door to be let out only to change his mind and turn around when the door was actually opened. He just didn’t know what to do with himself. And in fact every time he came back in from outside, Megan’s poor mother would pick him up and put him in the sink. She would then wash his fluffy little but off so he wouldn’t leave a trace of his poor decision on anything he sat on like he did when he hopped on Megan’s white bed Thursday morning.

Even though he had done some damage Doogie wasn’t done eating.

In fact over the course of 5 days Doogie also ate other things left on the coffee table including:

A small chunk of Boursin cheese
Half a peanut butter bagel
And some eggs over medium

This was all in addition to what he was able to get from the dishwasher.

He was absolutely incorrigible. I would love to say that Doogie learned his lesson this week but I don’t think he did. In fact I am almost positive that if he saw an even larger, stinkier block of Brie on the table tomorrow that he would eat the entire thing without a second thought. So while Doogie didn’t learn anything, I certainly did.

The Chicago fish museum gives dogs diarrhea.

The Bavarian Buff

Like many New Yorkers, I get a fair amount of my random knowledge and news blurbs from small televisions in the elevators in my building. They flash a series of headlines, stock quotes, and other current event updates throughout the day. I am in the elevator about a half dozen times over the course of the day and I will catch 1 or 2 stories each time that I am in there.

While leaving work one day last week I was preoccupied with something but glanced up for a second to catch this headline.

German Nudist Hiking Trail

Whatever I was thinking about before, was quickly forgotten as my mind tried to wrap itself around the ridiculousness of this news story. I did a little more research to find out the details. This is what I found:

Germany is launching a new hiking trail for tourists who like to walk in the nude. The 18km (11-mile) route runs through the Harz mountains in central Germany, between Dankerode and the Wippertalsperre, near Leipzig and is receiving praise for giving nudists an opportunity to express themselves more freely.

Now, I am not a hiker. In fact, I know very little about hiking. But I am of German lineage. And I would now like to take this time to make fun of my people. For the sake of this post, I will be taking the side opposing the German Nudist Hiking Trail.

I will start with the obvious. Hiking usually involves being out in the wilderness with bugs and critters and other things. There are places on your body you should never NEED to put sunscreen, never mind bug spray. These are the parts of my body I do not want to expose to mosquitoes or poison ivy. And ALL of those parts get exposed during nude hiking.

I mean, can you imagine trying to explain that to your dermatologist?

Oh yea, I was hiking in Germany. What's that you say? No, no I was not wearing pants. What? No, no underwear either.

I would also like to point out that from what i do know about hiking, it is not something you should do barefoot. Good socks and hiking boots seem to be necessary equipment. So if you are wearing shoes and sock you are not technically naked. I know I'm splitting hairs here, but I just want to point that out.

Being German I know that when I am outside I should stay as covered up as humanly possible. There are many kinds of sunscreen available but the only kind appropriate for me is SPF Poncho.

Germans take good things to the height of ridiculousness. I mean... just look what they did to dancing.

Some things are good in extremes. Giant beer? Good. Giant bratwurst? Very good. But this latest spin on hiking just doesn't seem to be an improvement at all.

Also shouldn't the possibility of chafing along turn them off the naked hike? And again, does backpack = naked?

I just don't think it's necessary for a nude trail. I mean, even the animals on this trail aren't naked. They at least wear fur!

What also scares me is Germans affinity for travel. in my travels around the world I have noticed they travel more than almost any other country. This naked hiking thing is something that could possibly spread to other trails in other countries!

What if I DO decide to take up hiking? I don't want to have to worry about being accosted by Frau Hatenmypantz. But in fairness to the trail itself, the proper authorities (be they naked or otherwise) have put up a sign warning people that says;

If you don't want to see people with nothing on them, you should refrain from moving on.

But if I saw that sign, I would probably just think it was a joke. I wouldn't honestly believe there was a chance I would see some naked people!

It is also understood that some kinds of naked are hilarious. Like watching somebody streak across a baseball field from hundreds of feet away. That is hilarious.

Watching somebody streak towards you in the middle of the woods? That is terrifying.

As I understand it, undergarments were made to enable us to move quickly with ease, thereby streamlining the transportation of ourselves. So what happens if a bear made his appearance in the woods and you had to run? I can't imagine running naked feels (or looks) good.

Also I am curious as to when it is that these naked hikers remove their clothes. Is it before they even leave the house? Do they gear up that way? or do they arrive at the trail head and somebody just fires a gun and yells STRIP!

Is the park ranger for this particular trail naked? Shouldn't he or she be? Because if they park ranger isn't naked, I can only imagine the kind of perverts you'd get applying for that job.

And also can clothed folks be on the same trail? If you have committed to an 11 mile naked hike you have probably also committed yourself to not taking any sit down breaks. I know I am not crazy about putting my bare butt on public toilet seats, so, putting my bare butt on the world of nature? I mean jeez.

Plus I don't like animals seeing me naked. I think they judge me. A cat saw me naked once and I might be exaggerating here, but I am pretty sure it was judging me. It cocked its head as if to say; "You disgust me pale boy. Cloak yourself."

And then the cat walked into a closet and tried to dig a hole.

My point is this whole naked trail thing can only be a harbinger of bad things to come. I know this might seem like a momentous occasion to some. And there is a probably a swell of enthusiasm for would-be nude hikers around the globe.

So for all you who are exited about what this trail means, and the opportunities it presents, I will say to you what my parents said to me when I got too excited about things as a kid.

Keep your pants on.

Fear Thy Neighbor

Do you really know your neighbors?

I postulate that the further you live from your neighbors the more you know about them. Case and point, when I lived in suburbia I knew a decent amount about people who lived throughout my neighborhood.

Now I live in an apartment on a floor with 6 other apartments that take up roughly the same amount of space as my old house. I know almost nothing about the people I live next to and across from, except what I can glean from observation.

I walked out of my apartment not too long ago to find a Houdini sized chest sitting in the hallway next to one of my neighbors doors. It looked like it was straight out of the 1920s. Upon closer inspection it appeared that this chest was in fact extremely old, and also, it was from Holland.

I’m not sure how this 5 foot tall chest ended up in America, or more specifically, my hallway. I imagine something that size is tough to move around one’s apartment so it probably made sense that it had to be temporarily relocated out into the hall for a bit to allow some space.

Did this mean someone on my floor was a magician? Or even better, a Dutch magician? I was so curious to see what was inside the chest. A sawed in half lady? A whole bunch of shackles and chains? But I didn’t touch it for fear that it was also a trick, and a dozen springy snakes would shoot out of it and scare the crap out of me. So I left it untouched.

The next day I come home to another surprise in the hallway. In addition to the Dutch chest, there was also a grody looking four story carpeted cat condo. (That is some awesome alliteration, OH there it is again!) So now I have Houdini’s chest and a cat condo in my hall. Two very large but very different items.

Granted it really doesn’t bother me because the area outside my elevator is more of a rectangle so they don’t block anything. But I did find the pairing of items quite bizarre.

Especially the fact that on this cat condo there was a yellow note taped to it that said “Please Don’t Move This.”

As though someone would be in the elevator up to the 6th floor talking to their spouse just as the door opened;

“Yea honey I was thinking if we could just find some sort of used really smelly shelving unit with a built in rug we could…. Oh my god its FATE!”

Don’t move this? I imagine the only possible move would be to chuck it down the stairs, or if you were feeling ambitious, bring it up to the roof and chuck from there. But either way I feel that note on a smelly carpeted cat condo just isn’t necessary. The hideousness of this object speaks for itself.

Stay away, I am a cat condo.

Aside from the stuff your neighbors leave outside their doors, sometimes we are given a glimpse into what goes on inside their apartment.

The exterminator comes to my apartment every other month or so. This is always a welcome visit, because as you may know, I have had some experiences with his clientele.

He comes in, sprays some stuff in the kitchen, puts some goo down in the bathroom and then leaves. He is in my apartment 2 minutes tops. Upon leaving I sign his sheet to say that he visited my apartment and I accept his services

On his sheet I can also see whose apartments he has already visited. Once, upon signing his sheet, I saw that someone had refused preventative bug measures.

REFUSED!

What would you think if you found out that someone had refused fumigation service from the exterminator? Wouldn’t that make you wonder just the tiniest bit? Living amongst a kingdom of bugs and disgusting may be your prerogative but I live on this floor too.

I can only imagine 2 possible reasons you would not want the exterminator to come into your apartment and spray for bugs.

1. You run a Meth lab out of your bathroom
2. You are gross.

I envision one who does not use preventative bug measures also leaves open jars of maple syrup lying around and pieces of shredded Mexi-chicken on their floor.

It shouldn’t be up to you whether or not your apartment gets fumigated. It should be up to me. I want you to be fumigated. I need you to be fumigated and that should be enough for all of us.

For all I know it was probably the same guy with the cat condo and the Houdini chest, which I now know is either filled with dead cats or Crystal Meth.

So is it better to know your neighbors? Perhaps. But if your neighbor is the Meth addicted Dutch Cat Magician… perhaps not.