27 January 2015


According to the good word nerds at dictionary.com, the word hyperbole is defined as follows:

obvious and intentional exaggeration

Yeah, that seems right. For any of you who either live or have found yourselves along the Eastern seaboard and the Northeastern part of the United States in the last few days, you know all to well what hyperbole means. Why? Because you have sat through a veritable tsunami of unrelenting hyperbole from any number of weather prognosticators. Hah, see what I did there? Threw in my own bit of hyperbole.

It's become as predictable as death and taxes. A weather event presents itself and the weather prognosticators and their cohorts across the studio in the form of anchors and producers create drama bigger than the storm itself. Dramatic 'storm' theme music is introduced. A lame hashtag is introduced (#blizzard15 I'm talking to you). B-roll footage of empty grocery store shelves are played endlessly. Can we talk a minute about the 'run' on grocery stores? Why the run on bread? Are we that ill-prepared as a nation that not a one of us has more than a one days' supply of food on hand? What are we, people? Living off the land? Um, no. It is insanity.

It all played out again over the course of the last few days as Winter Storm Juno sprung out of nowhere. Media went into overdrive here in the 'stan as well as our surrounding states. 20 - 24 inches and raging winds were predicted for us. What did we get? Maybe six, maybe eight inches of snow and some strong, swirling gusts. Power stayed on for the duration of the horrific event. I didn't even need to tap into my secret reserve of Coke Zero to power through it all.

It's all this hyperbole that explains why I pretty much ignore local news coverage. I'll stick to the Twitter for my news, thank you very much. Honestly if we hadn't gone over to see some friends on Sunday night I wouldn't have known about this non-event. Now, to be fair, I'm all kinds of glad I'm not in the Boston area, where the hype met the experience. It was an EVENT there.

I think I'll go make waffles for dinner now. How else can one properly recover from all this weather terror?

26 January 2015

Now that was a surprise

New companion, new house, new city. Wait...what?
With Winter Storm Juno and its evil love child, the Blizzard, which is so unfortunate to be known as because who doesn't love a Blizzard from the Diary Queen, bearing down on us, it might have been easy to forget that it's Monday and the day we hear from TMFKATB.

I say might have been because just after noon, I was finally able to come up for air from a super fun Monday of work, when his first email arrived. Like last week, he surprised us again. It's safe to say he was surprised himself. Not only did he get a new companion, a young man from Guatemala, and is acting as his trainer, he found out that he and his new missionary were being assigned to a new city. Right. Then.

So his missionary life pretty much changed overnight. He's a trainer, a brand-new district leader, and now trying to figure his away around a town he's never been in in his life and he knows not a soul. But, as he pointed out, he found a good hamburger place (he is his father's son). His letter reflected a little sense of being overwhelmed but his attitude overall was positive. He has a remarkable ability to find the good in pretty much any situation. That will serve him well the rest of his life.

We're glad to know where he is. It's funny that we spent a week thinking he was still in his old area and that all was well. The fact of the matter is that all was well, just in a new city. We're glad to know his companion is a native Spanish speaker. I'm glad he found a good burger joint. He's going to have to take me back there one day. I can't wait.

One thing I can wait for is this #Snowmageddon2015 foolishness. When you are hashtagging a storm, something has jumped the shark. Anyway, I've got to go figure out how to fire up my generator in case, as the weather hysterics are predicting, we lose power. This is one time when I need the internets to prove it is not "an infinite well of nothing" (all credit to the brilliant Mike Birbiglia) for that, so YouTube fail me not! Let's go find an instructional video!

23 January 2015

Live from a...bus

I've posted from planes.
I've posted from trains.
Tonight I'm posting from the lanes.

The lanes? A bowling alley, you ask? Wait, you say, but I thought bowling shoes creeped you out as much as that Satanic ceramic clown you got at the Christmas party. Well, you are right on the creepy thing but the lanes I'm referring to are the lanes of the I684. I'm hurtling along said piece of freeway back to Connecticutistan aboard the Peter Pan Bus. Yes, that's right. The Peter Pan Bus. It's a thing

For any of you who have followed me on the Twitter, you are painfully familiar with my frequent sparring with the faceless and soulless, I might add, Twitter persona of our nation's passenger rail provider. It just never ends well and some times you need to know when as our nation's warmest and most effusive First Lady, Nancy Reagan, said, "Just say no." Tonight was one of those occasions.

Not in the mood to risk the chaos and gambling for departures that is Penn Station on a Friday night, I opted for the relative 'calm' of the Port Authority Bus Terminal and a ride on the bus. Suffice to say, my commute has changed. I used to frequently lament TSA lines, gate lice, and no more warmed cashews in a ramekin in First Class. Don't get me wrong, I'm still flying, just not at the clip I used to. Um, I miss it.

One thing though about flying that tonight's bus ride has reminded me of are the bad old days when smoking was allowed on the plane. It was hideous, right? I pretty much had to incinerate after a flight back to the States from Istanbul where I was seated entirely close to the smoking section. Looks like I may gave to sacrifice the suit I'm in today for much the same reason. There's a bit of at tweeker on board who's, from what I'm guessing, having a bit of a rough go. He keeps sneaking into the onboard Tomb of Horrors, I mean, lav, and grabbing a smoke. It's not good. Not good at all.

This wasn't my first ride on the bus, but after tonight's ride with Smokey Joe, I think I'll go back to taking my chances on the train.

19 January 2015

When the trainee becomes the trainer

My favorite picture that he's sent us so far
We've tried to plan our Mondays around the 'ding' of the bell announcing there's something in the email inbox. That something, of course, is an email from TMFKATB. Today, he surprised us by being on 30 minutes earlier than usual.

Once we read the first couple of lines of his letter, we knew why he was early. He had news. His trainer is being reassigned to Tuxtla Gutierrez (TG) and TMFKATB was heading to TG as well to pick up his new companion - a brand-new missionary. After just about three months in country, TMFKATB will be training. He is also being given a leadership assignment and so his letter was full of appeals for prayer on his behalf. He has no idea if the new missionary he'll be training is an American or from Mexico or any where else in the world. He'll know more tonight. He's glad he's staying in his little town for now.

Although feeling a tad overwhelmed today, he's happy. The picture at the top of this post nails it for me. He has embraced the people he's serving and they are his family. I just look at that picture, that smile, and I am at ease.

Now, because he is my son and the manzana does not fall far from el arbol, he shared a couple highlights of his culinary adventures as well:

Green Enchiladas
Of these green enchiladas, which look freaking amazing, he said, "We ate these amazing green enchiladas. It was incredible. Super spicy and so dang good. I can't eat anything now without a tortilla!"

Apparently, he likes these gems
Of the cookies, he said, "Also these are the best cookies in the world. BUY THEM. DAD YOU WILL DIE. THEY ARE SO DANG GOOD."

The screaming ALL CAPS were his so apparently he means business. So it's a good thing I have the day off today. I'm on a hunt. So far, Amazon doesn't have them. Looks like I may need to hit a mercadito when I'm in the city later this week. I mean what kind of father would I be if I DIDN'T find these taste treats?