Sunday, February 24, 2013

Letters from the Battlefront: if this is a white flag, I’m not buying it


Forgive me, but I couldn’t resist sharing this; shortly after I wrote that last blog about my rude neighbors getting a late-night visit from the police, I was in my kitchen making something to eat when I heard a soft ‘tap’ on my front door. 

When I went to see who it was, I found a folded slip of paper slid under my front door.  It’s from my noisy neighbors.  And to be perfectly blunt, it’s bullshit.

Dear neighbor,

We are both very sorry for the disruption last night.   We both have just had very significant things happen within each other’s family and I guess the tension just kept built up and broke within each of us.

However that is no excuse for our loud behavior.  We want you to know we are both good people & don’t fight like that, we just had a bad blow out & exploded and acted like children. 

Again, we are very sorry for disrupting you and causing such a ruckus.  We never meant to bother you in any way and we are very sorry that we did.  We hope you can forgive us & please not judge us for our actions last night.

Sincerely, your very sorry neighbors.

Here’s the thing—if that “ruckus” had really been a one night event, this letter would’ve been awesome.  BUT DUDES WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO KID????? 

This was like the 33rd slamfest over there since you moved in!  The only thing that made this one different is that it ended with the police on your doorstep! 

I’ve listened to the two of you yell, cry, smash things & carry on for months and the only reason I stopped asking you to please turn it down some is BECAUSE YOU STOPPED ANSWERING YOUR DOOR WHEN YOU SAW ME THRU THE PEEPHOLE.

So take your phony letter & stick it--THIS MEANS WAR.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

There’s strength in numbers, both good and bad: and I’m no longer just one

Last night I was sitting here in my teepee, glad it was Friday with the weekend ahead and watching a pretty moving ‘20/20’ about the return of Robin Roberts (after her life threatening battle with MDS) when I suddenly heard a loud crashing sound and my floor shake a bit.

I wasn’t surprised in the least—it’s a Friday night, the gay pair who are my next door neighbors are having another one of their godawful fights. 

I can hear the taller one shouting over and over (and over):  “You’re calling me a f-cking whore??  You’re calling me a f-cking whore!?”  More crashes, more thuds.  I’m actually a little surprised, they just had their weekly blowout two nights ago when the same one screamed “YOUR ASS IS USELESSSSS!!!” (followed with the obligatory crashes and thuds).   I told my sister Shawn just two days ago “I actually don’t mind their fighting, ‘cuz I can go to bed with the hopes they’ll kill each other--what bothers me is the constant other crap.”  

 The noisome duo:  yeah I admit it, I did searches of them online to get a better idea of who I’m dealing with.  Lots of photos, not much else

And then I found a kindred spirit.   It was 12:30am, I was preparing to go to bed and plugging in my earphones (I have a ‘white noise’ app that drowns this pair out nicely) when I suddenly hear banging in the hallway outside my apartment.  I jumped out of bed, slipped on a pair of pants & opened my front door.   Some guy is standing there in a t-shirt and boxers in front of my neighbors door, looking pissed off and ready to murder someone.

I said  “Do you know those two?”  He said  “No I live right below them.  Hi, my name is Matt.”  I shook his hand and introduced myself.  Matt says “Doug, these two are driving me NUTS, I can’t take it anymore.”   I tell him I understand, and I’m sorry someone else has to go thru all of this too.  (And I really am, but at the same time I’m relieved to know I’m not alone.)   Matt bangs on their door again. Again.  They won’t answer.  I said “They stopped answering my knocks months ago.”   Matt says “Yeah me too!”   We start talking, everything that Matt says is everything I’ve been thinking since this awful pair moved in here six months ago.  “I miss the guy who lived here before.”  “Seems like it’s every night.”  “They don’t care about anyone else here.”  “I should’ve called the police months ago.”

We’re both just standing there.  Now what?  Matt says “I’m calling the police.”  I shout at the door—“hey guys, answer your door or we’re calling the police!”  No response.  Shuffling sounds within. Matt says “Be right back.”

He goes downstairs, returns with his smartphone. Calls the police, gives a good description of what’s been going on.  They say they’re coming right over. Sure enough, 5 minutes later 3 policemen show up.  We introduce ourselves. 

(At first, they think we’re a couple.  One of the cops asks if we had a falling out with the pair or something, and warns us it could be a ‘couple said vs. couple said’ situation.  When Matt tells them he just met me 15 minutes ago, he lives below them and I live next door to them, the one cop says “Geez I’m sorry—so this is MULTIPLE complaints!”  Uh… yeah!)

One officer says “Did you try asking them to keep it down?”  Matt says “Not tonight, but before, yes.”  I say the same.  The officer says “What about tonight, didn’t feel like asking anymore?”  Matt says “I tried, I’ve been knocking on their door for 10 minutes.”  The cop BANGS on the door.  No answer.  Bangs again & says “OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW, BELLEVUE POLICE!!!”

Finally the door opens—the tall one is calmly standing there. “Yes officers, is there a problem?”   One cop sticks his head in and says “Oh wow.”  (I’m not sure why, was he impressed with their place or did he see a lot of broken glass?)  The other cop says “WHAT is going on here.”  I hear “Oh, me and my boyfriend had a fight, we’re good now, thanks.”  The cop says “Where is your boyfriend.”  He replies “In bed, hahaha it’s late…” and the officer says “GO GET HIM.”

The dude returns with his so-called sleepy partner.  One of the cops say “We’re getting multiple complaints about this apartment, IT STOPS NOW.”   The dude says “Oh that can’t be, this is our first fight!” and the cop replies “OH NO ITS NOT and the next time one of us knocks on your door, you’re getting a $390.00 citation for disturbing the peace, and the time AFTER THAT WE DONT LEAVE WITHOUT YOU DO YOU GET MY DRIFT.”  The boy says “Of course, I’m just mystified—“ and the cop says “SO WE’RE GOOD NOW, RIGHT?”   I hear “Yes, of course…”   (Yeah right!)  

As the police were leaving, Matt & I thanked them for getting here so quickly and one of them says “How long has this been going on?”  We both say “Months”.  The officer says “Did you contact your building management?”  Matt said no and I said I did awhile back, but they said they couldn’t interfere, call the police.  The officer asks for the building’s owner and says goodnight. 

Oh, I know this isn’t over… but at least now, it’s two against two. 


Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming (well, a couple of ‘em at least)

A few years back, I was at my red-blooded American job at my red-blooded American company & was told “Doug, you’re going to be working with our new pricing specialist, and here she is.”  I was introduced to this stout, serious woman who said “I am GALINA.  Ve haf much to accomplish so follow my orders.” 

Excuse me?!

It was rough going at first (she had a very thick accent and a sense of humor like a sledgehammer) but eventually I learned to understand her well enough that my boss began taking me along to meetings that included her, to act as an interpreter.

  • BOSS:    So I think we should implement these updates this weekend.
  • GALINA:  Nyet, vat I tell earlier.  You vill not listen to vat I say?  Fine.
  • BOSS:    What’d she say?
  • ME:        She said that sounds fine.
  • BOSS:    Yeah that’s what I thought she said!

A couple Christmases ago, Galina gave me a present & said “Do not open until you are home.”  So I thanked her, and as soon as she walked away I tore it open; inside were four large round chocolate balls the size of Christmas ornaments.  I picked one up & bit into it, and burning fluid splashed in my face.  I yelled “my eyes, my eyes!”  and Galina returned.  “VUT DID I INSTRUCT, YOU DID NOT FOLLOW ORDERS.”  I said “Geezus what is this?!” and she said “Holiday candy from Russia… each contain one shotglass Russian wodka.”

A year or so ago, we were working together at my computer & Galina said “Douglas vy you not marry?”  I said “Oh unlucky in love I suppose…” and she said “Luck has nuttink to do vit it, give me keyboard.”   She went online and pulled up a Russian dating site full of glamour shots & said “Here, choose.”  I said “um, this isn’t even in English” and she said “Vat else do you need to know?  Dey all vant to be brides.  Russian vimmen make best brides.”

Anyway, I shared all that because strangely enough, the floor in my apartment building is being taken over by Russians, I kid you not.  Russian women to be precise.  A couple months ago a young woman named Pavla moved into #404, one door up from me.  We share the same bathroom wall, and sometimes when I’m in there I can hear her singing “Dum de dum da DUM DUM DUM”  thru the wall and all I know is, it sounds ominous.  But that’s okay, she’s pretty!

But sometime last night while I was making dinner, there was a knock on my door.  When I opened it, a woman in her early thirties was standing there holding a couple of Netflix envelopes.

This is her!  Well, minus the babushka and sickle, but it’s her alright

  • ME:  Hi--yes?
  • HER: Forr naught six.
  • ME:  I’m sorry? 
  • HER: Thees ees for you.  Come in mel. 
  • ME:  Oh, 406!  Yes, that’s me.  So you got these in your mail?
  • HER: Yes.
  • ME:   Yeah, the mailman does that sometimes, thanks.  Um… so you live here?  My name is Doug. 
  • HER:  I am Urinal.  Yes, I leaf—down there.  In four naught seffen. 
  • ME:  Nice to meet you Urinal.  So do you know Pavla in 404?  She’s Russian too.   
  • HER:  I do not know this Pavla.  Why do you tink I know this person?
  • ME:  Well, we don’t get a lot of--so do you like it here?
  • HER:  No. 
  • ME:  Oh!  Well, to be honest there’s a few residents that aren’t too happy here either.
  • HER:  Apartment is fine, it is decent.  I mean outside.
  • ME:  Ah… I’m sorry.  Are you here for work reasons?
  • HER:  You esk a lot of questions.
  • ME:  Oh I’m sorry.  Well, I hope things get better for you Urinal, it was nice meeting you!
  • HER:  My name ees NOT URINAL.  It’s Uriel!
  • ME:  Omigosh, I’m sorry about that!  I didn’t mean--

Well, I suppose that first meet could’ve gone a bit better, but who knows what the future brings.  Wait until I tell Galina, maybe I won’t have to go to Russia for a bride after all!

Monday, February 4, 2013

The single man’s guide to Hot Sausage: there’s a first time for everything


Have you ever been in the grocery store, saw an item and thought to yourself “I want to eat that” but you pass it by because a) you know it’s not good for you or b) you don’t know how to prepare it?

Well, I sure do every time I walk past the meat counter and see those hot sausages.  Gosh there’s nothing I’d like more than one of those crusty, aromatic hoagie rolls filled with a hot sausage & peppers;  BUT I’VE NEVER MADE THEM AS I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO COOK ‘EM—for me, they’ve always been an infrequent delicacy.

That all changed today though—I went grocery shopping earlier, and saw some of those plump, bright red hot sausages on display & thought “how hard can it be?”  (As it turns out, easier than pie;  all they needed was a dash of common sense and a few taste-tests along the way.)  

Of course I might’ve done it all wrong (I wasn’t working from any recipe) but I thought they turned out great!  If there’s a better way, let me know. 

ApacheDug’s Hot Sausage Sandwiches (makes 4)

  • 4 links hot sausage
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 16 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • Hard (hoagie) rolls

1.  Brown the sausage links in one teaspoon olive oil.  (Don’t cook them all the way thru; just brown ‘em, 7-10 minutes.)

2.  Remove sausage from pan, set aside.  Leave the oil & sausage drippings in the pan, add the sliced onion, green and red peppers cut into julienne strips. 

(Heat and stir the onion & peppers for just a couple minutes, enough to coat them with the oil & soften them a bit.)

3.  Now stir in the can of tomato sauce, teaspoon of minced garlic & half teaspoon of white sugar (to reduce the acidity).  Add the browned sausages back to the mix.  Cover and simmer on low heat for one hour.

4.  Time for a taste test!  Hmm… the sauce needs a little more kick.  I added a couple shakes of crushed red pepper flakes.  (These are potent little devils, so really just a couple shakes will do it.)

5.  Much better!  But it still needs a little more spice.  Stir in a couple dashes of onion powder, and taste again.

Okay, that’s good!  Cover again and let it simmer for another 2 hours.

And that’s it!  After those 3 hours, the sausages are fully cooked & the sauce is reduced to a thick, tomatoey blend of onions and peppers.

Some red-skinned potato salad makes the perfect accompaniment (it sure helps when you have a deli right up the street) and of course, any leftovers are going into the freezer for some future penne pasta.  Smile


Friday, February 1, 2013

Thought for the day: when it’s 13 degrees outside, don’t do this

                                     ”Doug, do you mind if I use your chair?”   

Just a quick note here to say I learned a valuable lesson today:  when it’s 13 degrees outside, with a wind chill of –2F, and you’re the only one working from home… don’t email your coworkers in the office and complain that your apartment is a little chilly & you’re bummed because you had to put on some pants.

My one coworker Julie said “cry me a river!”  & my team-lead (Jamie, as seen in the photo) has just informed me that my Movie-Edition USS Enterprise (with lights & sound!) is in great danger.   Message received, there’s no place like home.

Especially when you’re at work.  Smile