Sunday, March 04, 2007

Good Upside Down Electrical Tape Hallway Barriers Make Good Neighbors

So here's what I've learned in the last few weeks, while I've been buried under work, tackling such important issues as the broader business implications of social media and also are glow-in-the-dark ice cubes* a good idea or not:

Even when myriad details are filling my brain -- not just ice cube logistics but things like figuring out how it's humanly possible that the Packing and Shipping vendor requires me to have Packing materials Shipped to her (not kidding) -- it turns out that my everyday running narrative doesn't shut off. I don't always hear it, but it's there, humming in the background like a radio turned to low volume. And occassionally I remember it's on and listen in for no particular reason and catch a few seconds of my Running Narrative Show.

And um.

Well, for example.

I know that my weight would suggest otherwise, but sometimes when I'm really busy, I forget to eat. And so sometimes it gets to be 3 p.m. and I haven't consumed anything except coffee, and then my body gets really annoyed with me and I realize, suddenly, that I'm starving. Which means that out of nowhere I go on a RAVENOUS RAMPAGE, frustrated because I'd rather not interrupt my flow and so I storm through my apartment looking for the easiest and nearest-by thing to eat (even though you and I know perfectly well I'm not going to find much).

Now, I recently had friends over. And because it was a special occassion I served them my very famous hors d'oeuvre, the one I like to call "chips and salsa."

And so last Thursday, when I was very much in my "focusfocusfocus" mental state and I realized I was crushingly hungry and fled to the kitchen, I saw the chips (hurrah! hurrah for food!) and tore into the bag.

And you know? Perhaps because I was so shocked or surprised or delighted to have something as unexpectedly delicious as chips in my kitchen, I shut off the work brain for a few moments and tuned in to the Running Narrative Show.

Thursday's lunchtime edition was apparently featuring haiku. Why? We don't know.

But I call it, Chips For Lunch
"Thin & Crispy" brand
ironic I love it best
since I am neither.


*That's a shout-out, Marc.

* * * * *

Often my Runing Narrative Show features the state of my apartment, which is -- once again -- one of utter disrepair. Chips bags and post-its and coffee mugs and water bottles and mail are strewn literally everywhere.

It occurred to me that I actually receive a whole helluva lot of catalogs and magazines that serve no purpose because I never find the time to look at them. Sure, they make lovely display pieces, but I don't think my guests believe for one second that I actually read Gourmet, since that's what I end up using as a placemat for the chips and salsa.

* * * * *

My cat, Monster, has taken to peeing on my doorstep inside my apartment again. I don't know why. I don't understand his patterns. It's awful and I'm trying to curb it, but mostly it's all I can do to just to keep up with cleaning it, using all sorts of fancy products that claim to be able to completely remove the scent of cat piss from hard wood floors.

Right.

You know, I am more or less unfamiliar with the inner workings of international chemical warfare developments, and seriously doubt that too many chemical warfare engineers read She Walks with any regularity, but just in case at least one is reading this now -- I sincerely hope you're working cat pee into our defense strategy. Because seriously. We would totally win.

Anyway.

I tuned in to Friday's episode somewhere around the time I realized I was actually listening to Monster peeing on the door.

And because I was so stressed and not in my right mind, and with a huge deadline looming over me, Running Narrative Show became something straight out of The Twilight Crazy Cat Lady Zone.

NOOOOOO! THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING!!! I MUST PUT A STOP TO THIS RIGHT NOW! I thought, my eyes wild, my nostrils flaring. I...I WILL BUILD! SOMETHING!! MUST...STOP...THE PEE...

And like a complete raving lunatic, I shot up out of my office chair and ran to my closet, having no idea what I was looking for or what I would do with it once I found it.

But then I saw the enormous roll of electrical tape and suddenly a plan formed.
[Over the holidays, Ish was in a very random comedy/improv show in the city, and there maybe was drinking, and maybe the theater he was in was still sort of under construction, and maybe one of my friends accompanied me to the ladies' room and decided it was rude to have a huge roll of electrical tape just sitting there, in the bathroom, and so took it and stuck it in my purse without me knowing. Later, on the street, I wondered why my bag was so damn heavy and you can imagine my surprise when I opened it to find a huge roll of electrical tape next to my wallet and lipgloss. My friend thought that was hilarious.]
I grabbed a big pair of scissors, and went to my doorway.

CATS HATE TAPE! HA! HATE IT! I WILL BUILD A TAPE BARRIER! HAHAHAHA!!!!!

And that is how I discovered that industrial strength electrical tape is not very easy to work with. And also why working not at home is maybe sometimes a good thing.

I plopped myself down on the floor, about three feet from where Monster has claimed his space, and I ripped a long strip across the whole hallway like this, _______, sticky side up, with the ends curled down to stick to the floor. Then I cut several 8" or so strips of tape, and ran them length-wise.

Um, like this:
||||||||||

I would just like to re-state how difficult it is to unroll and cut electrical tape while you are sitting in your hallway with cat pee and a deadline, but I managed.

I was probably laughing maniacally.

My thought was that cats hate to have tape on their paws. And I was certain that Monster would want to investigate this new hallway development, as he wants to investigate anything new in the apartment to determine -- I suppose -- if it's something worth peeing on. And I thought he would go to step on it, and discover its horrible stickiness. And that that would stop him from thinking the doorway was a nice place to hang out.


So moments after I put the tape down, Monster decided to check it out, as above. He stepped on it and jumped off it, towards the door. Then he tentatively came back over it, and, upon realizing it was still sticky, even though he was coming at it from a different perspective (cats? not so swift), ran away from it.

Later that evening a knock came at my door. I was still in the throes of working-with-deadline, and didn't really think through the implications of actually opening the door to speak to the couple standing in my hallway.

I should have.

Upon opening the door, I realized I had not showered in three days, was not wearing makeup, and was in sweats that probably could have gone over and opened the door all by themselves if you know what I mean.

I can't imagine I opened the door with anything less than a look of desperation in my eyes.

"Hey, um..." this cute couple looked at me and said. "I'm [some name I couldn't retain] and this is Brett and we live in #4. We're having a little housewarming tonight, some champagne. It'd be great if you could come by. At like 8:30? It'll go probably till midnight or so."

And do you know what I said?

No. You don't. Because I don't, either. I'm certain it wasn't coherent, and went something like, "Working from home deadline early morning I am not sure about sorry pants mess welcome! try cats I'll dinner kind of hectic thank you so much that's very nice of you."

And then because I was feeling so terribly self-conscious and was convinced they'd seen the bizarre arrangement of tape on the floor directly behind me, I figured I should offer something of an explanation. So I started to say it was there to keep my cat from peeing in the doorway, but then stopped myself because I didn't want them to realize that meant they were probably standing inches away from said pee.

"Oh, um, that's tape because cats don't like it and I'm having a problem with my cat...uhm...who...likestorunintothehallwaywhenthedoorisopen." Yeah.

And then Sherlock ran into the hallway.

"Um," said the guy, "But can't they just jump over it?" He didn't want to be rude, you could tell, but he saw the flaws in my lie immediately.

Well, especially since my cat was already in the hallway, having jumped over it.

"Oh, not that cat," I said, trying to sound not lying. "His brother. And um, it's not that he really...um...it's just...he sits at the door a lot, trying to get out. And um, claws at it. And I think this might make it less desirable now."

And even as it was coming out of my mouth, I realized I was essentially telling my neighbor that my cat claws at the door in an effort to escape from me.

I am pretty sure the conversation ended swiftly thereafter, as I reclaimed Sherlock from the hallway and they retreated down the stairs wondering about the batty recluse cat-torturer they're sharing a building with.

* * * * *

I end this entry now saying it's five days later and the tape has worked so far. Unfortunately, it has also attracted a bug who is now lying dead in the middle of it. I may have to work on an upgraded system this weekend.

In the meantime, to prove that I may be a crazy cat lady but am not a horrible cat-mommy, I bring you this video. Because I'm proud.


12 comments:

  1. how cool are you teaching your cat to sit?!??! i'll tell you. VERY. cool. loven the video. thanks for sharing.

    oh. and story time about the new neighbors? hill-arious. thanks.

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  2. There is no way to say this without it sounding like the punchline to a really bad joke, but I swear to Blog it's true! S0 let me just say...

    ...you've known me all this time and didn't know I was a chemical warfare engineer?

    I don't know about cat pee, but I do know it's the ammonia that makes that up in the nose smell that everyone hates so much. And I also know that ammonia is a major component of the Chemical Laser System I'm working on, the one that shoots planes out of the sky. So...maybe I could work in the cat pee? If I wanted to get laughed out of a job?

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  3. I work at home. Not just periodically, but everyday. I totally understand deadlines, having not showered in 3 days... it really happens. Yous not a cwazy lady. :)

    tape. I'm gonna use that one.

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  4. hilaaaaaaaaaaaaarious.... all the way through.

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  5. Hilarious.

    And sweet Jesus, you taught your cat to sit! That is literally amazing. My cat basically rolls over whenever I speak to him, maybe I'll just incorporate "Ninja, roll over!" into ever "Heya baby boy" that I give him. It would make it so much easier if he liked treats or food, generally. Such a weirdo.

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  6. I've been reading and loving your blog religiously since the firemen/ass days, and I can't believe it's this that has finally brought me out of hiding. But! I know a couple of things about cats and pee.

    Try putting a bowl of food in the place where Monster pees. Cats often don't like to mix the two and this may stop his problem.

    Also, if all else fails, Stink Free (stinkfree.com) is an awesome product that eliminates both the odor and the source.

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  7. Whoa...it eliminates both the odor and the SOURCE? As in the source being Sherlock?

    I don't think Stinkfree (marketed only by dog lovers, obviously) is a good idea...

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  8. On the subject of electrical tape being used sticky-side-up (there's a phrase that I never thought of before), I have a little story. When some friends of mine were in high school, they lived sort of out in the country. They and their friends were in the habit of playing practical jokes on one another. They had a long asphalt driveway, and one day discovered that the driveway had been covered with very strong tape, sticky-side-up. Such that, when one would drive on the tape, eventually the car wouldn't move anymore. Even after the tape was off the driveway, there were huge clumps of it all over, and when a car drove over one, it made quite a mess on the tires. A completely random joke (and story), but it was a good one.

    (Word verification: thiinutm. Sounds like a Nutella diet product.)

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  9. That video is hilarious. Go Sherlock!

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  10. The best part of that video is that he's giving you that look that says "I will sit at your suggestion because I want to, not because I obey you." He is so, so cute!

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  11. I'll be impressed when you can get the cat to high five.

    About the door issue: Get an old chair mat from the office. Cut with a dremel to shape if needed. Place up pointy side up in your doorway long enough that the cat can't jump over it. If you put the skinny part of the chair mat (the tab goes under a desk) under the door, the wide part will fill up the doorway on the inside. no jumping out (or peeing) at the edge of the doorframe. Just make sure you wear shoes when answering the door and pray the cat won't find another place to pee -- i.e. on the shoes you will now need to keep near the door.

    Depending on whether or not you like your neighbors, you may wish to consider marking the part sticking out the door into the hall with bright yellow tape or something so the neighbors won't trip over it.

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  12. Awww - sweet kitty!

    ...and ugh, I'm familiar with the 'wait til you're ravenous and then binge' routine too. I struggle with sticking to a schedule to keep that from happening. So far I'm 1 for 58,921,437!

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