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January 08, 2009


So much excitement here in Encino tonight! Its now 12:42 AM and Kevin and I are still reeling from seeing six fire trucks, one battalion chief, and one paramedic come to our rescue. (And no, Denis Leary was not one of them)

 A little before midnight, we were lounging with our evening spirits discussing the idiosyncrasies of punk and rock, when our fire alarm sounds. Naturally, living in an old building (and no, I'm not just talking about the residents), we figured it was simply someone's aqua net too close to the water heater and not to worry. But the alarm kept going off like a ranting Joan Rivers on a red carpet event (but not quite as shrill). 5 minutes.....10 minutes....15 minutes....okay, reality check. Is this a real fire? And who is brave enou....I mean stupid enough, to venture out into the din. One lone warrior arose with girded loins, his breast heaving like Beowulf after his defeat of Grendel. Alright, so we're not talking Superman here, we're talking about a man in old navy cargo shorts and a sleeveless old marine t-shirt wearing holy socks who used to play Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, I mean my husband, Kevin. Issuing forth into the clamber and slight "haze", Kevin strode forth like General Patton onto the European Theater. How odd it was to find that no one in our 54-unit apartment building bothered to get up out of bed to discover what nuisance caused this ruckus.

At last, Kevin stumbled upon a shirtless behemoth wandering the halls in search of answers. At this point in his journey, Kevin only knew that there was a mysterious odor wafting from the depths of the lower floors. So Kevin did the only thing he could do: come back to get his Vans, take a sip of his now watery evening spirit,  and venture down below.

As the smoke grew ever stronger, and oddly more like burnt food (latkas to be exact), Kevin grew suspicious of the cause of this commotion. Entering the second floor, his conjectures narrowed with the aid of his nose toward the source of the "haze". Kevin headed toward another curiosity seeker in search of answers. Just then, yet another seeker found his way toward the two men. The three stood before one another hoping the other held the key to unlocking this mystery of the fire on White Oak Ave. As they looked at each other in agreement, one reached toward the portal that read "203".

"I think its coming from there," said the first curiosity seeker in plain English. "It smells like burnt latka."

The three nodded in unison and parted ways. Kevin now knew his mission: to save the weak and downtrodden of Encino. He trod upwards, back from whence he came, to inform me of his mission. We ventured out together, in hopes that we may regain the safety we once knew.

As I headed outside with my shoulderbag in tow, Kevin searched for the village idiots too clueless to leave on their own, that had left now their apartments in droves wearing snazzy flannel and tattered robes. Leading the hoards down the stairs, Kevin emerges victorious from the front door. An eclectic blend of individuals mingled in the front (not nearly a third of the minions who live in the building), as the battalion chief sped towards our building in hopes of a Great Fire. As he pulled up to the building, the chief quickly scanned the slight crowd in order to find its leader. Seeming that Kevin and I were the only two people that looked as though we had both oars in the water, the chief went right to Kevin to find out the dilemma.

Like Paul Revere, a shout arose from Kevin, "The latkas are burning!"

The chief understood completely. "Oye Vay! That's no way to treat a latka!"

We gazed upon the steady stream of fire trucks lined up along our street. Some blocking traffic, while others had firefighters leaping from their confines as a latter was raised to the roof. Kevin and I looked at each other in amazement and awe at how Encino takes such good care of us in time of need. (Of course, we failed to remember at the time that this is a good half hour after the alarms had started going off. Its nice that someone decided to finally phone it in...)

So anyway, an old couple had managed to fall asleep while their food was cooking in the oven. Aside from the fact that this was the second time in less than a week that this couple fell asleep while cooking, we finally got to meet more of the myriad of people who take up residence with us here in the confines of Encino. In spite of such a commotion, we grieve for the latkas, and yet rejoice for the friendships we may have gained as we finally drift off into dreamland....

In latka memory,

Kevin and Kat