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I have no shame when it comes to secondhand. I love me some vintage, and I don’t see how anyone can purchase furniture at real retail prices. I’m an avid thrifter, so, although it’s my worst nightmare, I haven’t let bed-bug paranoia affect a purchase.
Little did I know, there are others things to fear, things that can appear from seemingly nowhere.
I started city-living with a decent futon bought from a fancy part of Brooklyn. Eventually I grew tired of that couch, not to mention the mysterious stains it acquired from a variety of roommate guests. With my love of vintage, I started looking for something reminiscent of mid-century design. I knew it would be hard to find, not to mention expensive. My friend sent me a link to a couch he found on Craigslist. It looked bright blue with a very vintage vibe. I thought it was vaguely mid-century shaped, but we later found this was definitely not the case.
My boyfriend was moving that month so we used his U-Haul to drive deep into Queens and pick up this couch. I was disappointed with the look, but at a mere $50, I wasn't one to complain. It was colorful enough to appease me.
The couch was set up in my apartment and later moved to a second location. At this point, I’ve had the couch for over a year, maybe a year and a half. I frequently wash the bottom cushions and Febreeze the top half. I recently got a dog and bought special couch cleaner for any new stains.
One gross problem at a time. I've had an on-again, off-again mouse problem since moving to the second apartment, a place built in the early 1900s. I'm diligent about vacuuming mouse poops wherever I may find them, which means occasionally vacuuming little pellets under the couch cushions. Sure that's gross, but it got worse, oh so worse.
The bottom cushions tend to slide forward whenever you move. One day, as I got home from work, I sat next to my dog to give her a little belly-rub. I noticed fabric sticking out of the couch next to where we were sitting. I assumed it was something of mine, maybe a scarf I dropped.
I tugged it slightly, pulling the fabric from the couch beyond. Right off the bat, I noticed the words Tommy Hilfiger and realized the shape of the fabric. It was definitely not mine. Not only was it not mine, but it was a stranger’s pair of white undies.
I spend a lot of time on this couch, not to mention family that comes to visit. It’s been over a year of relaxing, binge-watching and catering to sleeping guests. No one could possibly have known what was lurking between the top cushions. I never thought to look.
I sat in shock wondering where this even came from as I turned the pair over and noticed a dried up yellow pee stain in the middle of the crotch. My eyes widened and I shucked the disgusting pair of panties onto the floor. I shuddered as I wondered how they could have possibly been hiding for so long.
I used paper towels to put the panties into plastic bags and washed my hands furiously. I called my boyfriend to relish in the hilarious horror.
Since then, I've made peace with the whole ordeal. What else can I do? I washed the bottom cushions, but the top is where it dislodged. It took a year for the pee-stained panties to slither from my couch. I fear something else will magically appear soon.
Got a story of grossness? Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Gross Out Fridays."