I went to bed relatively early last night. My internet crashed, so of course I had no other choice. As I headed into my bedroom, I set up the doggy gates for Heckyl & Jeckyl, then crawled into the giant powderpuff that is my bed.
All was quiet on the homefront. That is until something completely magical must have inspired my two lovely pups to begin Christmas caroling. They weren’t barking. They weren’t running through the house doing their usual high-speed “zoom zoom” routine. Nope. They were singing. Howling, and singing.
I jump from my bed, and there stand Heckyl and Jeckyl at the gate. They’re plopped in front of my door, noses upturned to the sky, mouths agape. They continue on in melodic doggy harmony. “What the hell are you two doing?” I mumble. They peer up at me, and continue singing. Well, gee, who knew that two dachshunds could hit such a fabulous falsetto at 1 AM?
I know now. My neighbors know, too.
I’m pretty sure that their new doggy gate was their source of inspiration. I’m thinking we’re going to go with the old-fashioned closing of the bedroom door tonight, so as not to wake the entire Eastern seaboard again at 1 AM.
Just as soon as my upstairs neighbors begin to give my overly-imaginative mind a rest, they’ve gone and done it again.
The entire 3rd floor and side of my building is lit up like Radio City Music Hall. I’m not sure if they’re shining industrial-strength spotlights or they’re guiding lost ships at sea from up there, but I fully expect to see Batman or the Rockettes show up before the night is through.
I would like to thank Dunkin Donuts for a dining experience reminiscent of meal time at Mom’s house. Who knew that some 15 years after leaving home and heading out into the great, big world of adulthood, this establishment would hold true to the old saying, “Just Like Mom Used To Make”? When I arrived yesterday morning, I was famished. The posted menu with all of it’s combos and pictures really made my mouth water, so much that I could hardly contain my excitement for the breakfast feast in which I was about to partake. That’s when I saw it, in all of it’s golden, flaky glory.
Combo #16 – Chicken, Bacon and Cheese Croissant with Hashbrowns & Large Drink.
Holy Cannoli, I’d never seen anything so breathtakingly delightful! I’d stumbled upon Saturday Morning Breakfast Heaven. Fantastic! Unable to further contain myself, I took my place at the counter.
The young lady who took my order was truly a treat. While I’ve never considered reverse psychology as a marketing strategy, I will say that she employed this new method without hesitation or restraint. “Is your tea home-brewed or is it instant?” I asked. “You don’t want that,” she answered. “Is it bad?” I asked. “No, I made it…” she replied. Her uncanny ability to assess my personal tastes without even having to look up from her cell phone was as close as I’ve come to mental telepathy in my 35 years on this planet. Let’s give credit where credit is due. She knew I probably wanted the tea, but sensed some hesitation in my voice. I get it. Tell me I don’t want it, and of course I’m going to want it even more! Kudos to you, young lady! “I’ll take a large sweet tea.” I continued with my order. “I’d also like the #16 – Chicken, Bacon & Cheese Croissant, please.” She hurried me along toward the end of the counter. “Your order will be up shortly.”
The wait was not long. I’m still reeling in shock that the young chef was able to create my food items in less than five minutes. After all, he put an immense amount of thought and effort into creating my meal. Not only did my meal come out after a few short minutes, but the young man preparing it took the liberty of deciding what it was that I really wanted, and what I did not actually want or need. “Order 177“, he called out. I practically hurdled the booth the get to the counter. There it was, my chicken croissant, basking in all of it’s glory.
Except it wasn’t a chicken croissant. There was no croissant at all, actually. I’ll admit, this threw me for a bit of a loop, as surely I had said “Chicken, Bacon & Cheese Croissant”. What was this before me? Dumbfounded, I asked. “Sir, I believe this may be the wrong order. I ordered a croissant, and this, well… I’m not sure what this is.”
He glanced down at the breakfast sandwich. “Yeah, it’s yours.”
I must be confused. “Well, no, actually I ordered the croissant…” I said as I nudged the sandwich closer to him. He nodded again. “Right. That’s it right there, ma’am“. He pushed the sandwich back toward me. “I made it on a hard roll for you instead of a croissant.”
You did wha?
If ever the universe were to come to a screeching halt, it did at that moment, as cars crashed and glass shattered. Babies screamed and buildings crumbled before me.
“You did what?” I stumbled. I reexamined my sandwich. Sure enough, in place of my buttery croissant stood a hard, powdery roll. Atop the roll lay a single piece of chicken, some bacon, cheese and...what’s this? Sauce.
Sensing the very real possibility that I may fly into cardiac arrest at any moment, the young man inquires, “Did you want the croissant?“. “Well yes. It is pictured on a croissant, and it is described as a croissant. Yes, yes… I would like a croissant. Could you tell me, please, exactly what is the sauce that is all over the chicken? I didn’t realize that it came with a sauce…”
“Oh, I added barbecue.” he smiles proudly.
“Does it normally come with barbecue?” I’m barking now. At this point, I fully expected Freddy Krueger to lunge over the counter. My breakfast dream had turned into a breakfast nightmare. This just couldn’t be.
“No, I thought barbecue sauce would be good,” he replies, “so I just added it.“
He pushed the sandwich back at me.
While I can’t say that I was particularly pleased at the time, I finally see the big picture. Dunkin Donuts, you’ve trained your employees well. As a matter of fact, your entire staff played an instrumental role in reminding me how much I missed eating at Mom’s. You knew what I didn’t know all along. It wasn’t the golden croissant or the plain chicken sandwich meat that I was longing for. It wasn’t the sweet tea or the hashbrowns in which I delighted. It was that down-home, “eat what you get or eat nothing at all” feel from my childhood that I yearned. “Just like Mom used to make.“
“Heckyl & Jeckyl Make Their Big Bust” – the nightly shenanigans between my two most beloved pups.
“The Face of Jesus or Kenny Loggins on my Best Friend’s Wheat Toast”- there really are not sensible words to begin to describe this fiasco. Soon enough, and she will kill me.
“Sleeping Like SpongeBob. Hop on the Deck and Flop Like a Fish!” – my nightly bedtime ritual of sorts.
“Praise n Gaze” – My peek into the idea of finding a suitor at Church.
I had to crawl from my bed and post these down as I would surely have forgotten by morning.
For those who know me, you know that I am completely terrified of spiders. It’s not just an average, “Yikes, a spider! Kill it!” type of fear. This fear can turn me from a stone-strong statue of a woman to a weeping, frenzied storm of terror in less than a nanosecond. Let’s put it this way, if you’re going to rob or assail me, forget the pistol or the blade. Just dangle a Daddy Long Leg within a 10 foot radius of where I am standing, and I can assure you, you’ll be leaving with my purse, my car, my shoes, and anything else you desire. That, or you’re doing to die. Either way, 8 dangling, dancing legs will produce a more profound effect on me than a man-made weapon any day.
Case in point. A few nights ago, I decided that I was going to order pizza. I usually wait right outside my door for the deliveryman, as I have two very loud, ferocious dogs that love to intimidate anyone who dares venture anywhere remotely close to my residence. I see the pizza man pull in through the complex gate, and I head outside to meet him. As I’m standing there waiting, my eyes are drawn to the door across the hall. The neighbors porch light is burned out, but I am still able to make out a menacing shadow above their door.
“Holy shit!” I scream. It’s a spider. Not a regular spider-spider, but a monstrous Haunted-House Style spider, legs outstretched from the top of the door frame and over, sprawled out and ready to pounce in full Battle-Spider mode. “Nope.” I walk back inside. Looks like I’m not having pizza tonight, unless Delivery Man finds a way to slip it under the door to me. A knock at my door, and I fly into a panic. Do I open the door, snatch the food and throw him some cash? I’d be willing to forego an extra $10 to him just to avoid Big Scary out there.
I open the door quickly, and peer past the man carrying my food. Suddenly, something tells me that I need to warn him. What if it pounces as he’s leaving? I would want someone to warn me. In a calm voice, so calm as to actually alarm the man before me, I say, “Whatever you do, do not back up and do not go near the door behind you.” His eyes widen with confusion. He turns around slowly, perhaps expecting a weapon-wielding robber, or a rabid animal. He studies the door, and then it comes – “Holy fucking shit! Look at that thing!”. He squints his eyes and starts towards it. That is when any social boundary ever instilled in me crashed and burned, right then and there. I grab him forcefully a pull him to me. “No! You can’t!” I shout. He stops, glances at my hand on his arm, and looks at me.
“Oh my God. I am so sorry!” I mumble. Yep. I’ve just manhandled the pizza man. “Here’s $25, keep the change.”
He hands me the pizza, shakes his head, and I close the door as fast as humanly possible. Ten minutes later, I peek outside to see if Big Scary is still looming above the doorframe.
He’s gone. Good? No. Now I don’t know where he is…
This week I’ve made a conscious effort to not only avoid going near the door across the hall, but I avoid that side of the hallway altogether. I also haven’t ordered pizza from Dominos since.
I’ve come to two conclusions. The first being I am completely obsessed with the goings-on in the apartment above me, and secondly that the apartment above me is being inhabited by 150 people. My second conclusion further reinforces my first.
I’m not sure how they do it, but somehow they’ve managed to occupy the place to full capacity. I live in the largest of all the buildings on my block with 3 floors with 12 units in it. I’m smooshed right smack dab in the middle of everyone and everything, and I LOVE it. My upstairs neighbors are loud. Loooooud… And when I say loud, I mean there are times when I find myself wondering if they’re throwing dressers and tables and barbells and bowling balls across the house as some weird sort of midnight ritual. There have been times when I’ve wondered if The Harlem Globetrotters have taken residence above me. The family that lives above me moved here from India about 9 months ago. There are two elderly women, a couple of older men, a couple of mid-30’s men and women, a few younger college-aged kids, and 2 or 3 small children whom I see on a regular basis. They play loud Middle Eastern music that makes me smile despite the fact that my door frames are shaking and my dogs are howling throughout the songs. When I open my patio doors, I hear foreign conversation and laughter. I smell their cooking and wonder what they’re eating. I imagine whatever it is, it’s beautiful. I’ll bet it was handmade by Daadima and it’s as colorful and intricate as the dresses she wears. My upstairs neighbors are always friendly in passing. I’d be willing to bet that if I walked upstairs and asked to join them in the Heavenly feast they’re consuming, they would welcome me with no hesitation. They are super friendly. However, they do not make any apologies for their boisterous living above.
I remember one incident recently that had my mother reeling, ready to storm upstairs and totally blast off. We were sitting on the patio one evening, watching the sun float lazily over the lake. One of my favorite things to do after a long shift is to sit outside and drink cup after cup of coffee. I contemplate my day, clear my mind, and lose myself in my drink. Mom and I were talking about the day’s events, recounting the craziness at work and enjoying our little relaxation ritual, when suddenly we are surprised by a ritual from above.
Down pours a torrential stream of water from the patio above, through the crevices in the wooden planks that separate the neighbor’s floor from my patio ceiling. “What the Hellllllllll,” my mother cries, her Alabama drawl shrill and panicked. Another wave of liquid splashes down upon us, into my coffee, all over our scrubs, and covers the table. I jump up and push back my heavy, wrought iron chair. My mom looks up with bewilderment.
“Ohhhh nooooooo. I’ll be right there…” comes a voice from above, and suddenly I see a little eye peering through the crack above me. “Oh no, no, noooo… I’m coming. Please you wait. Be right there…” And before I know it, there is a knock at my front door, and a small Indian woman standing before me. I open the door and she is giggling nervously. “I am so sorry. I am so very sorry. This happen when I do offering, my prayer. I don’t mean to wet you. I should do this somewhere else, then, maybe, no…?” She produces a small, silver pot before me, and nods toward it. “See, my prayer.” She smiles, and I start giggling, too. “No, ma’am. You’re just fine. It was hot outside anyway. It’s really no bother at all.” It really is no worry, as she’s just reinforced my fascination with her family upstairs.
She smiles, heads back toward the stairs, then suddenly turns around. “Maybe you put plants on patio, and I water them, too. Yes?” I nod. “Yes, Ma’am.”
This is just one of the daily incidents that occur between my neighbors and I. It is typically one-sided, me wondering what they’re doing as they live their day to day lives.
Still, I am truly convinced, and you will never make me believe otherwise, that there are hundreds of people up there, dancing and running with bricks attached to their feet. There may be livestock up there, stomping around as I watch the white plaster crumble from the ceiling onto my bed at midnight. Perhaps they all have Pogo sticks. Perhaps they’re slam dancing. Perhaps they’re not really doing anything at all, except living, which is a lot more that I do in my apartment. My mother finds it strange that it doesn’t bother me. She finds it even more bizarre that I, well, love it.
“Doesn’t that drive you crazy? You should call and complain…”
“Nah. I like the raucous…” I say. As I lay in bed at night, staring up at the ceiling, I thumb through all the wild scenarios in my mind. “Perhaps they’ve adopted an elephant…” Unlikely, but an enjoyable thought to entertain nonetheless.
I can only continue to speculate, and that’s just as entertaining to me….