Saturday, November 21, 2009


(Lessons on how to get free cake)

Mortify: v. -fied, -fy, -fies 1.To cause to experience shame, humiliation, or wounded pride; HUMILIATE.

By comparison, they really aren't that bad. Sure, I hear them banging around the kitchen each night between 6 and 7 pm...but then again, who doesn't?

In the past, Nathaniel and I have dealt with upstairs neighbors that were loud, rude, and (I swear) took pleasure in making as much noise as possible. Sure, I called the police - but in my defense, it was 2 am and I had a final exam the next morning. Plus, the pot-smell was really getting old. Not able to get high (not that I ever did), my headache was the ever-present and lingering sort.

Luckily the Madison cops were sympathetic to my cause, and happily wrote the 5 sophomore girls living above me a ticket. I think I hid for the rest of the semester, but at least the parties were scratched and pot smell forever gone.

Later - while living in Pensacola - Nathaniel and I had the interesting dilemma of living directly below the apartment owner's son. Indeed, the place in which we resided advertised "Distinctive Apartment Home Living". But it was very un-distinctive with his (ie twerp above) little dog running laps around the living room while Playboy went out joyriding in his corvette (I am so not kidding on that one. It was black, and he was polishing it on my first encounter with him).

Made fore some difficult study sessions for Nate, chair flying in the Ugly Green Recliner (with help from a House Monster, of course). When his mother (aka owner) came to pick up the dog, even she admitted that it was time her son take 'responsibility' (her words). Yikes - would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in that room. He had moved out before the week was over, and the rest of the time it was great.
But we realized that through sheer dumb luck, by living below people - there will be certain side effects. Stomping, clanging, and yes, even the occasional head-banging noise. In the past, I've had to assure Nathaniel that not EVERY couple is as energetic as our upstairs neighbors.

Its tough, though - when I'm leaving for 5:30 am fill-in-the-blank practice and the people upstairs are just getting started with their romantic endeavors. No wonder Nathaniel put so much effort into studying.

Thus far in California, its been great. And REALLY - most of our other apartments and condos have been really good. No complaints...and I've really liked our neighbors.

Nothing to complain about - and the people upstairs when we first moved out here were...oddly quiet and...never home.... Until the owner returned from a deployment, transferred military bases, sold the condo and moved out. And in all honesty, the new neighbors have been great. Yes, they too have a little dog and make the usual kitchen-banging noises - but all in all, it hasn't been that bad.

Until tonight.

Maybe it was the wine (2 glasses of my favorite Cab Sav!), or perhaps because (for once) Nathaniel was in the kitchen. But they were very very loud - louder than usual. And before you jump down my throat - I GET it. We live on the downstairs unit of a lovely condo building. Yes, I realize it. But when the noise upstairs is akin to a heard of elephants - something needs to be done.

And looking at my husband, I realized it would have to be me. Yes, he flies low and fast, drives a tad too aggressively, but when it comes to complaining to the neighbors - that falls under my domain. Goody.

Please - I hope you can sense the *sarcasm* in that last phrase.

My first time marching up the stairs yielded very little in terms of results. I could tell there were more than two people in the unit based on 1) the noise and 2) the delicious smells emanating from the front door. Half-way to the threshold, I lost heart and scrambled back downstairs.

Yes, I was slightly embarrassed...but at what point do you draw the line? I am serious when I say the floor was shaking, the chandelier rattling, and we could hear every footstep, cabinet closed, beat of music, and cheer made.

My second attempt yielded success. I marched back up the stairs, and before chickening out - rang the doorbell. The dog went nuts and I knew they couldn't ignore me.

The door opened a crack, and immediately I felt like a piece of shit. Oh bloody hell - I'm confronting my neighbors in person and I feel like an ass. It's 9:50 pm, Saturday night... I am a looser.

A bra less ass, pj's covered in cat-hair, and sporting rubber flip flops looser. Brilliant. They probably wondered where I had wandered in from and were too afraid to open the threshold more than an inch. As it was, I could only see her one eye. For the record - all conversation had ceased, save for the barking dog.

"Um. Hi. Um...." And then I stammered.

The girl, sensing my hesitation, turned around and yelled. I wasn't sure if she was talking to me or the dog. The silence confirmed it was the dog to whom she had directed her comment. But it had certainly shut me up.

"Yes...? she asked, her one eye peering out at me.

"Um..." I took a deep breath, and let everything out in one hurried sentence. "Its really loud. I don't know if you guys realize it...but we can hear everything. I was wondering ifyoucouldkeepthingsdown?" I gulped.

She just stared.

And then she quickly apologized, explaining they had company over and would turn down the music.

"Oh - its not the music. Um... I think that, um...the walls are thin... and we can hear everything in the kitchen."

Again, she looked as dumbfounded as I felt, and assured me they would keep it down. I didn't think she 'got it'. The music was fine, loud - but no biggie. The quaking kitchen floor that made the San Andreas fault look like an appetizer had me more worried.

I thanked them, turned away, and felt like a complete ass while walking back down the stairs. In all my cat-hair-covered, bra less, pj's and flip-flopped glory.

Nathaniel was waiting for me when I schlepped back into our apartment, and I gave him the full report. Yes - they are having friends over and no - they're not usually that loud. But, gosh darn it - the noise emanating from the kitchen was the LOUDEST I'd ever heard. I feel bad, but it needed to be done...

I went to the kitchen to put a few things away... perhaps pour another drink (but ask no questions and I shall tell you no lies) and then...

The doorbell rang.

Oh. My. God.

I had a feeling I knew who would be on the other side.

Oh. My. God.

Now I'm going to die of humiliation, while my upstairs neighbor gives me a piece of her mind. Holy crap? What have I done?

Confirmed - she was there. But instead of a cleaver...she was holding...a plate of...


I swear that I winced, expecting a verbal lashing. But instead - I received an apology and two VERY large pieces of cake.

My jaw opened in surprise...and rather than the ass-like sensation I was feeling before, my ears turned red, I stammered, and every feeling I had was replaced with a good dose of mortification.

She apologized again, explained that they had two large pieces of cake leftover - homemade Kahlua Chocolate and Red Velvet - and wanted us to have them. (And the GREAT frosting, to boot! I sampled a bit - later...)

I was reaching for an apology of my own, "Um... oh my gosh - you didn't have to do that. I feel awful... It's just that...thin walls...husband is helicopter pilot studying...we have no life...not that sorry... thin walls...."

She gently pushed the cake into my hands and we made small talk for a few minutes. I could feel my ears turning redder by the minute, and I knew a hot flush was creeping up my cheeks (for those rare moments I am truly embarrassed. See how red my ears are in the pictures? Not attractive, and a dead giveaway if you ask me. There - now you know my secrets).

Mortification doesn't begin to describe my feeling. Its so bad that I might not even be able to eat cake.

Might being the opportune word. I'm sure I'll get it down, along with a good dose of shame and humiliation.

Whoever knew the bonds of friendship could be founded on some elephant-like stomping and cake? I think I'll feel better in the morning, after this has all passed.

Then again...

I'll still need to return their plate. Uh oh. And along with it, another apology. But that can wait until morning. For now - we've got two pieces of cake waiting for us. And...silence.

"Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse..."


D said...

You know, a few people have been telling me that I need to do "something" about my hot neighbour (he did make a move, but it was morning and I was caffeineless so, needless to say, it was a fail). Too bad he lives a couple doors down otherwise I could complain about noise and demand cake.

Nicole said...

haha, that so is something that would happen with me! You had to do what you had to do! At least you got some free food out of it! haha

Missy said...

I love that! Yep, that would be something I would do except I'd get invited in with my no makeup, greasy hair and glasses and asked to join in the party because you're our NEIGHBOR, c'mon in. Yeah, no reason to be mortified, I'm sure they're also mortified. When you see them again, just laugh and blow it off as - yeah, the tunes were OK but our light fixtures were swinging, hahahah. Do you have any more cake?

GoBigGreen said...

That is fantastic, Marit! And the cake looks delish!
You two look so adoreable in both the pics in the previous post, as well. I sure wish you were coming home for the MBC turkey day 5k, but this way I can get the pie ( hopefully)! I will take some pics and yell at Miriam for you. Last year she was the one that got me to realize ( in her deep loud voice) how to pronounce your MAR-Sh-Mallow:)

Angela and David Kidd said...

What great neighbors. In our old condo a horrible woman with two large dogs lived upstairs. She may have been hot when she was 21 but she did not age gracefully and she slept with A LOT of guys and I am convinced she faked a lot of orgasms. I finally worked up the courage to ask her if she could maybe put some rugs down or something because we could hear "ummmm everything" and she told me if I had a problem I could buy her a rug.

Stef said...

Great story, so humorous and TRUE! Sounds like you were both mortified. :) I know that I would have been mortified had I been the one making the noise.

Seems like the apologies have already been made so all you really need to say when returning the plate is Thank You and let her know how yummy the cake was! Sure does look delicious. ;-)

Anonymous said...

i'm with nathaniel on this, i'd prefer someone else talk to the neighbors about the noise. It takes other things to awaken my ire. I definitely make my share of noise sometimes, but usually not during peak sleeping hours.

Nice cake though, nice gesture from them.

Steph said...

oh geez marit---

i am reading this before tucking in for the nite...... this is THE best bed time story EVER!!!

Surely this nite's dreams will be entertaining thanks to your prose!

Ahhh, this would make a great kids book! and the moral of the story......just like in the movie Crash.....people/neighbors just really want to meet's just how?? Well, that certainly worked well!

Decadence will pacify......just as in the Amelia Bedilia book......Mr. Rogers was swooned by the new housekeepers ability to bake a K.A keyliime pie......awhhh

Erin said...

Loved the story and even more so, I love the photo of the red ears!

Roo said...

I'm just impressed that you had the guts to go talk to them. I usually wimp out and leave a note! Maybe now whenever they have people over they'll just invite you and you can have cake!