The endurance of nicturation (peein’ lots)

Went with the Wife to see This is 40 last weekend (great movie, by the way), but on the way out, I noticed something.

I pee a lot.

I don’t mean I urinate frequently. Though that does happen when I have a couple of cups of coffee. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Seriously, what coffee does to me isn’t fun. If you’re busting to find out how I turn into Michael friggin’ Flatley’s Lord of the Pee Pee Dance, click here. But I’m not talking about that.

And I’m not talking about stagefright. Stagefright, for those not in the know, is the inability to pee when someone else is in the room, like what happens when you’re in a public washroom.

I’m also not talking about stepping up to a toilet, then waiting several minutes to get in the flow. I don’t think I’ve ever had that problem.

No, I’m talking about the actual act of urination. For some reason, it seems to go on for quite a while.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ah, but Tobin, you said at the beginning that you’d gone to a movie theatre and that’s where you noticed you pee a lot. You likely ordered a Coke in what they laughing call “regular” size but could be fitted with a diving board and comfortably accommodate six.

Biggest-Gulp

Nope. Not the case. Had a very small drink, about the size of a kid’s sippy cup.

sippy cup

But still, when the movie finished and I hit the facilities, something happened that I’ve become increasingly aware of lately.

I went up my urinal of choice, always choosing one with a at least one empty one between me and the next dude. In this case, the row was empty, so I take the end one. That’s just courtesy and allows for comfortable breathing room. I hate those guys that come into a room with three urinals and take the middle one. Not cool, man. That means the next guy through the door either has to stand right beside you or choose the stall and make you wonder whether he suffers from stagefright (see above).

urinal

While I’m on the topic, can someone explain to me why a significant percentage of males have to get up there, unzip, whip it out, then, prior to letting fly, they have to lean forward a bit and spit straight down into the urinal first? Why do guys do that? Do women do that?

Anyway, I chose the end one, initiated nicturation and noticed someone else come up and grab a urinal. He stepped up after me, did what he needed to do. Then another guy came in, saw there was only one open urinal, made for the stall. Meanwhile, the first one zipped and left (without washing his hands, I might add…just gross…I know where your hand was last). I’m still peeing. Then the stall guy finishes, flushes and washes his hands and leaves.

I’m still peeing.

peeing

At this point, several things go through my head…

  1. Are the other guys thinking that I’m standing there with stagefright?  Cuz I’m not.
  2. Are the other guys thinking it’s a little weird that the dude on the end seems inordinately attached to his urinal? Cuz I’m not.
  3. Is the guy on the end doing something other than peeing in that urinal? Cuz I’m not.
  4. Do they think I’m recreating that Tom Hanks scene from A League of Their Own? Cuz I’m not.

And this event that I outlined above…this isn’t the first time this has happened. It kind of happens every damn time I’m in a public washroom. It probably would at home too if someone else were competing with me.

So, now I start to wonder…

  1. Am I holding it too long? But I know I’m not.
  2. Is the opening or piping extra small, meaning the same volume takes longer to travel the distance? Doesn’t seem to be, from what I can tell.
  3. Is my bladder exceptionally large bladder? Looking it up, it seems the average bladder can hold about 700ml (about the size of a Tim Horton’s extra large coffee) to one full litre of fluid, but the average human usually gets the urge when it’s sitting around 150 – 200 ml full, or about half a regular can of pop. There’s times I wonder if I somehow got an extra stretchy bladder, or it got inadvertently super-sized at birth.

Tim Hortons Cup Sizes

All I know is, I have a lot of time to think about it while I’m standing there at that damn urinal.

And, pardon the pun, it kind of pisses me off.

That video is not me, by the way…

Cruising to fifty, part two: Frodo and the immovable bus

This is the second part of a series of blogs about the cruise the Wife and I went on last October.You can read part one here.

A quick set up:

I turned 50 on October 6, 2012. My wife surprised me about three weeks before, during a particular low spot in my life with a piece of paper. “Happy birthday,” she said. I opened the paper and quickly scanned it.

“We’re going on a cruise?” I said, and my mind kind of shut down with happiness after that. In fact, it wasn’t until several minutes later, as I was refolding the paper, that I saw the word “Greece” and just about shit. This is the story of what happened on that trip, taken almost exclusively from the diary I kept along the way.

Have mercy
Been waitin’ on the bus all day

ZZ Top

October 6 – My birthday!

I turned fifty over the Atlantic, but didn’t notice it until a couple of hours later. Could be I was tired. Could be I was old. Either way, I’d crossed that threshold.

The flight landed twenty minutes early and for the first time, I stepped on European land. Not that I had time to think about it. I think we’re spoiled in Canada and the U.S. when we walk off the plane and straight into the terminal. In Venice, we walked down a flight of stairs, stood on the tarmac and a crazed transport driver came by and did his best to make us puke, or at least drop us all to our knees on the ten minute drive from plane to terminal. Sharp turns with no warning, rapid acceleration and rapid stops were the order of the day.

We managed to hold down our nasty airline food and, once in the airport, desperately look for a washroom. I was quite happy I was male at this time, as I was able to simply walk in, find a free urinal, and do what I needed to do, which was to pee in my first European urinal. You’re a peein’ indeed! My wife, on the other hand, lined up for a solid twenty minutes. We both survived, then got our baggage, then we assembled to wait for our transport to the ship. If I’d known exactly how exasperating it was going to be, I would have hired a taxi. Ah well, hindsight’s 20/20, right?

So the first endurance test was to wait within the terminal. We had to wait until all the Transat travelers arrived. No biggie. The plan was to hop on the bus and get delivered to our various floating holiday accomodations, the Divina, the Jade, and ours, the Splendour of the Seas.

It wasn’t a horrible wait. We’d landed by noon local time, got our luggage by 12:30, and by 1:00, a short, balding, slightly anxious, hobbit-like driver walked us from the terminal to the bus with his hand raised to shoulder height–this from a guy barely scraping 5’3″–as though that hand could be followed through all of Middle Earth to the depths of Mordor.

Ten-ish minutes later, we were at the bus and we separated our luggage out depending on which ship we were headed to. A second group showed up, all headed for the Divina. We were all told to wait outside the bus. It was about ridiculously hot outside, but one of the other passengers described the bus as being “about 900 degrees” so we figured outside was better. Twenty minutes later, our hobbit driver started up the bus and the air conditioning and loaded us on. We were left with the impression we would leave shortly and, after eight hours in a cramped seat on the plane, here we were again, stuffed into a seat with no legroom. Meanwhile, Frodo was out chatting up another bus driver and sweating profusely.

Soon, a couple more groups showed up, stowed their luggage and got on the bus. It’s probably important to note at this point that this bus could likely seat about 70 people. I mention this because that first group I mentioned? The ones going to the Divina? There were eight of them, four couples. They obviously felt a deep, abiding love for each other and very much looked forward to spending a week with each other at sea, because when they got on the bus, they each claimed a section of two seats for themselves. Yes…sixteen seats for eight people. Four couples. Or, should I say, eight ignorant assholes. The other groups that got on the bus kind of gave them all the stink eye, then moved toward the back of the bus.

Anyway, it’s now about 1:45, almost two hours since we’ve landed, when Frodo finally climbs aboard and puts it into gear. Yay! I think, prematurely. We drive out of the parking lot, down a short laneway and get out to what looks like a main thoroughfare–a total distance of maybe a quarter-mile. Frodo then says, “Sorry!” and some other stuff in Italian that we couldn’t catch, then pulled a U-turn and we headed right back to the dreaded parking lot. He parked us in the exact same spot and leapt from the bus and ran back to the terminal.

Several minutes later, sweating worse now, he showed back up with more people and luggage.  He’d stow their luggage, direct them on the bus, grab a little fanny pack from the driver’s cockpit, say something about dropping off tickets, then scoot back to the terminal. Ten minutes later, he’d show up again.

With more travelers and luggage. Which would start the whole cycle all over again. Stow, direct, fanny pack, tickets, scoot, ten minutes.

Every time he came back, there was a feeling of anticipation, of woo-hoo, we’re on our way! Each time we saw more travelers, that feeling would deflate again. This went on for five full trips to and from the terminal for Frodo. By now, it was just getting old.

A solid hour after he’d left the parking lot, then returned, somewhere around 3:00, we’ve now been in Venice a total of three hours and seen nothing but an airport, a parking lot, a bus and a tantalizing glimpse of what lay beyond. We finally left the parking lot again, the bus packed to the gills and the ignorant assholes finally having to give up their individual sections and sit with each other.

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Our first real glimpse of Venice from the bus.

On the way into Venice

On the way into Venice

Our first glimpse of our ship

Our first glimpse of our ship

Fifteen minutes later, we were at our boat. We’d waited almost two and a half hours for a fifteen minute trip. Goddamn.

Anyway, the Royal Caribbean staff were all young, attractive and friendly and we were welcomed with big smiles. From their welcome, we then walked down a long, covered gangway and then…then we were on our ship. And it was beautiful.

The ship from the gangway

We found our way to our room and it actually had a birthday greeting right on the door. Karen let me open the door and I found the room decorated with birthday s

tuff. Holy crap! In all the fuss with Frodo, I’d forgotten it was still actually my birthday.

By now, it was about 3:30 local time, or about 9:30 am by what my internal clock was telling me. We’d been up for about 28 straight hours. We were tired and hungry.

We headed down to the solarium–a beautiful area, by the way–and had an excellent carved roast beef sandwich and it was nice to just sit in a comfortable chair with legroom  and look out at Venice sprawled in front of us.

Venice

At 4:30 (29 hours and counting), everyone had to attend muster–gathering beneath our designated lifeboat (ours was #10) and were taught, in English, Italian, German and Spanish, how to put on a lifejacket. It was interestingly refreshing to not get the instructions in French, as we would have in Canada.

We took a couple of pictures then went back to the cabin for a nap. Okay, I went back for a nap.

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I’d just laid down when Karen dragged me back out–twice–to look at interesting things. The launch of the ship out of port and Venice sliding by.

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I should say, it’s always been a dream of mine to go to Venice. And here it was. I wanted to enjoy it. I truly did. But 30 hours awake and 4500 miles of travel by plane, bus and ship had done their work. I fell on the bed and died.

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I woke up at 6:30. Karen had been too excited to sleep, so she’d taken pictures and unpacked. I’d slept through it all.

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It was time for dinner, so I clambered into the teeny, tiny shower and scrubbed off the exhaustion of the past day and a half, got dressed and we headed down for dinner. I had an excellent dinner of pork medallions, mashed potatoes and mushrooms in a ragout sauce with a Caesar salad. Dessert was Strawberry Povlova…which was crazy good.

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We took a brief walk around the ship, then came back to the cabin and we both fell down in exhaustion.

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And that’s how I turned fifty years old. A little rough in spots, but overall, it turned out fantastic. Story of my life!

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 124-2Tomorrow was going to be a better day.

See part three here.

Cruising to fifty, part one: Taking flight

This is the first part of a series of blogs about the cruise the Wife and I went on last October. A quick set up:

I turned 50 on October 6, 2012. My wife surprised me about three weeks before, during a particular low spot in my life with a piece of paper. “Happy birthday,” she said. I opened the paper and quickly scanned it.

“We’re going on a cruise?” I said, and my mind kind of shut down with happiness after that. In fact, it wasn’t until several minutes later, as I was refolding the paper, that I saw the word “Greece” and just about shit. This is the story of what happened on that trip, taken almost exclusively from the diary I kept along the way.

Well I’m leavin’ on a jet planeDon’t know when I’ll be back again.

John Denver

October 5, 2012

Two hours and eighteen minutes before I turn fifty. Shit!

I had a realization on the highway as we headed toward the airport and felt my heart drop to my stomach. We’d ensured the kids were well provided for, kissed and hugged them (probably too much) and left. But, more than a half-hour away from the house, I realized something horrifying and turned to the Wife. “Oh my God, I forgot to say goodbye to Maxx!”

Maxx is my dog. We’ve had him about nine years and I’ve walked him twice a day, picked up his crap, taken him to the vet, fed him, bathed him etc since we got him. You could say I’m his primary caregiver. And, in my excitement to leave, I forgot to say goodbye to him.

The wife smiled broadly. She was actually happy. I didn’t get it. “Finally!” she said. “Finally I come before that damn dog!”

maxx

That’s just hurtful.

We got to the airport, got through the baggage lines and then went to the appropriate gate to wait for the plane. We were ridiculously early, but I’d rather be early than late. However, I had put in a full day of work as the Wife did the final packing and getting us ready for a week away. So, when I basically unplugged from work at about 4:00, we were pretty much good to go and left about 90 minutes later.  For a flight at about 10 pm.  Yeah.

Anyway, we’re sitting waiting for the plane and the Wife jokes about throwing me off the ship’s balcony so she can upgrade to a hot Italian or Greek guy. “It’ll be easy,” she says as she leans over and pats my belly. “You’re top heavy.”

I gave her a look, reached over, patted a boob and said, “You’re not.”

Interestingly, she didn’t seem to find that as uproariously funny as I did, for some reason. Imagine.

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 060

At one point, I figured I’d go get my last hit of good old Canadian coffee from Tim Horton’s. It was a long walk from our gate, but I figured with the all-night flight, I could use it, and God knows I had the time. So I finally found it, got in line behind three other patrons. The line moved at a glacial pace and it was then that I realized that each of these morons refused to take that fifteen minutes of time standing in line to actually figure out what the fuck they wanted, choosing instead to wait until they walked up to the cashier and only then decide to read the entire menu board in great detail before making their decision. Yes, I became rather vocal and spoke loudly of morons to the person waiting behind me. Yes, I’m that person.

Back at the gate, we finally get the word that the flight will be boarding shortly. The flight time is seven hours and forty-five minutes. Holy crap…we’re going to Europe!

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 062

One the plane, we’re in the middle section of three seats, with me in the middle, the Wife to my right and a nice enough guy to my left. But then there’s the goddamn woman directly in front of me who stows her luggage, sits down and immediately kicks the seat back. The stewardess comes along and tells her to keep it upright until the seatbelt signs go off. As we leave the ground–and I mean literally as the wheels leave the ground, she kicks the goddamn seat back again.

But that isn’t the worst. About every two to three minutes, she reaches up, grabs a wad of her big, curly hair, fluffs it, then tosses it back over the headrest, pretty much into my face. Every. Two. Minutes.

When the meal is served, I’m sorely tempted to forfeit it just to hold it up high enough for her to fluff her hair into it. I wish for some sort of creamy soup. It doesn’t happen, unfortunately.

A side note on the meals. The first one was some sort of chicken and pasta. It tasted all right, but the chicken was as hard as plastic and the cheese at one side had morphed into an impenetrable glob of cold, hardened lava. There was some sort of cake thing that I believe was supposed to be spongey, but it was more coral-like. This meal was brought to you by the word, “hard.”

The Continental (which is code for “half-assed”) breakfast consisted of orange juice, yogurt and a hard danish. This meal was brought to you by the word, “prepackaged.”

Coffee? Yeah, the word here is, “unspeakable.”

Anyway, back to our friends in flight.

There’s the three older women beside the fluffer. One on our side of the aisle, two on the window side. They come on and proceed to cackle like three old witches in a Greek tragedy. As soon as the seatbelt sign goes out, they’re up and pulling bags from the overhead bins. Then they’re down and cackling. Then they’re up again. Down and cackle. Up and grabbing. Goddamn.

This could be a long flight. Ah well, at least they’re showing Men In Black 3. I haven’t seen that one yet.

See part two here.

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 063

The Wife’s looking a little tired. Or, she’s thinking of how much better the pics will look with a hot Italian or Greek guy…

Annoying to the Maxx

This may come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog, but people can really piss me off.

Last week, I was out walking my dog Maxx who is, by the way, the coolest and most educational dog in the world. Don’t believe me? Go read this.

maxx

I always know within about 15 minutes when it’s time to go, because Maxx will find me wherever I am and then just sit beside me and stare at me with those soulful, sad brown eyes. It kills me. So, I then go down, grab the coat, gloves and hat, grab the iPod with whatever audio book I happen to be reading at the time (this week it’s John Grisham’s The Racketeer which, unless he pulls a giant rabbit out of the hat in the last fifty pages, is not going to be recommended by yours truly, but you can find that out here). After getting all geared up, I slip the collar on Maxx and we’re out the door.

Now, Maxx is a funny dog at times and truly needs constant vigilance when we’re out. He loves to find wet tissues and carry them in his mouth, which is a supreme gross-out when you consider what’s likely held in those wet folds. He’s a sniffer, constantly zigging this way and zagging that way. Along our regular route, if something is out of the ordinary, such as someone putting out their garbage bags, or a Halloween or Christmas decoration, he’ll slow down, growl, then bark it into submission. Oh, and he loves to pee on election signs, which I take great delight in considering the act as a canine commentary on the choices we Canadians are provided to vote to run our country.

One of the things that I really hate as a twice-daily dog-walker, is other, less intelligent dog-walkers. The ones that move to the sign, a tight rein on their pet? Those are great. I love them.

No, it’s the assholes that strut their animals down the streets unleashed, as though the entire cities walkways are theirs and theirs alone. When I come trotting along with my tightly-leashed dog, and their dog, completely ignoring their so-called master’s commands, comes scampering up to my dog, now I’m in a worse spot. My dog is mostly friendly, but there’s certain species that seem to set him off, and there’s no rhyme or reason to it. Hence the reason for the tight damn leash.

If your damn dog doesn’t listen to you in the presence of other animals, leash the goddamn thing.

The other ones I hate are the walkers who are out to give their dogs a “social experience.” You know the ones. They see you walking your dog. They watch as you tighten your grip and shorten the leash and move off to the side…all very obvious signs that says My dog and I are doing all we can to avoid you. So what do these morons do? Of course they bring their stupid dog over to you and usually after the dogs are nose-to-nose, they ask, “Is your dog friendly?”

Little late now, isn’t it asshole? “Nope,” I’m so tempted to say. “He’s responsible for the deaths of four dogs and the maiming of scores more. He’s wanted in eight provinces and can never set foot in a PetSmart again.”

maxx-5

Anyway, this past week, Maxx and I are out doing our evening constitutional. I manage to avoid all the discarded booger-rags and Maxx is well on his way to getting his fifty-seven pees in. We’re about halfway through the walk and Maxx pulls off to the side and does his hunch-over. I immediately reach for the poop-bag, not taking my eyes off the spot where he’s dropping the deuce. I have to watch because he tends to wander a bit as he does his business, so it’s a bit of a scavenger hunt to get it all. Even more of a challenge at night.

So, there I am, ready to stoop and scoop. Maxx finishes, does his halfhearted scratch and dig at the ground as though he’s doing a brilliant job of covering his mess, and moves off for me to swoop in. As luck would have it, another dog walker has been behind me and, in the time it took for my dog to release the chocolate hostages, they’ve caught up. I rein my dog in while trying not to lose the exact positioning of the tootsie rolls.
And of course, moron heads toward us instead of just walking by. Then he says those three dreaded words, “Is he friendly?”

I say, “It depends on the dog and I’m really just trying to pick up his crap here.” By now, he’s already brought his ugly-ass dog over and Maxx is straining and pulling and, as I said, I never know how he’s going to react, so I’m at DefCon 4, holding him back while still desperately trying keep an eye to the poopsicles. Then the guy, deciding his dog isn’t getting the full social experience, comes in closer.

Now we’re in danger of the two dogs trying to circle each other, hopelessly tangling the two leashes, or worse yet, getting a leash wrapped around a leg. And if that happens to Maxx and he pulls it tight, it’ll hurt. He’ll possibly snap at the other dog, blaming him.

maxx-10

“Dude, seriously, I really just want to pick up his shit here, okay?” I say, still trying to be polite, but letting annoyance creep into my voice.

Nope, he’s not taking the bait, and now my dog’s getting excited and I know he’s going to get circling soon and then it’s just going to be a damn thing. The other guy and I will then have to move in, try and reposition the dogs or do a whole untangle of the leashes. I’m so not in the mood for this. I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t want this.

This guy is not taking the hint. I distinctly remember thinking, Fuck polite. He started it.

So I pull back on Maxx, stand up straight, look this douchenozzle in the eye and say, “Will you please get your goddamn dog away from mine so I can pick up his dogshit? Jesus!”

And which point the guy, now acting all hurt, backs his ugly-ass dog up to the sidewalk. “Okay,” he says. “Geez, I thought you said he was friendly.” He walks away all hurt the way only a douchenozzle can.

“No,” I say. “You didn’t give me a chance to say whether he was or not!” Then, as I go back to look for the dogshit, I finish with, “Next time, ask me if I’m friendly!”

I don’t think our dogs are going to continue to see their newfound relationship blossom. Hell, the next time I see him and his ugly-ass dog, I may just lean down to Maxx, point to them and yell, “KILL!”

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