Today’s Headline – Satan says “Talk to the hand, but lend me some mittens first.”


Plunging temps are creating havoc across the eastern United States, stressing human services, weary mothers of house-bound children and the pipes of forgetful homeowners. But we’ve found an unexpected casualty of the record-setting deep freeze.

“You’ve got an issue with follow through? Not my fault, people. Leave me alone. I’ve got problems of my own.”  The devil insists this due date isn’t his. “I only run the joint. If you don’t like the climate, talk to the guy upstairs. Ever heard the term ‘acts of god?’ We’re done here.”

Hell has frozen over, and thousands of individuals are facing the unexpected consequences of what they thought were idle promises. But they won’t go down without a fight.

Like Dennis Mattinson of Dedham, Massachusetts. “I don’t care if Satan is doing triple toe loops in the underworld, I am not, I repeat, am not going to see Riverdance.”

Peggy, his wife of forty years begs to differ. “He said it, not me. What happened to ‘a man is only as good as his word? I’ve already bought our tickets, and by the way, he’ll be wearing a tie.” Sorry, Dennis, but Peggy isn’t budging.

“I’m calling a lawyer. Who’s that guy on t.v.? You only have to pay him if you win. That’s what he says anyway.”

For his part, attorney Michael Allen is ready. “This is a gray area, in my opinion. Exactly what does ‘frozen over’ mean and how do we verify the extent of the condition required to trigger satisfaction of the contract? We can’t be talking about a little frost around the edges. Frozen over implies an extensive condition of durable status. I’m not sure these agreements are enforceable.”

Human Resource professionals and former employees alike are pondering the same question–does “I’ll come back to this job when hell freezes over” constitute a threat or a promise?

“I quit that bitch, and I’ll do it again,” says Denise Garret of Pontiac, Michigan.

“We never accepted the terms of Denise’s re-employment,” adds Monica Thomas of Widgetworks Enterprises. “It was verbal only, with no consideration given from either party. Denise is not the considerate sort. Trust me.”

Grant Branch of Chicago, Illinois is ecstatic. “Finally! It’s the Cubbie’s year.” The citizens of Seattle beg to differ. For his part, David Acheson, general manager of the Cleveland Browns is backpedaling. “It’s not like we don’t want to go to the Superbowl. Cut us some slack.”

Katie Dwyer is already planning her spring break trip to Daytona. “Par-tay!!” Her parents declined to comment.

Florists are seeing a boom in business from thwarted suitors seeing a second chance with their future ex-wives, while restaurant reservation lines are the only thing burning up north of the Mason Dixon. “Finally, it’s my turn,” says Taylor Watson. “I’ve been keeping a list. The only problem I’ve run into is that a lot of these phone numbers have been disconnected, and this one,” he points to a number next to the name Emily, “is for the Rite-Aid prescription refill line. When you see this, call me, okay?”

The devil, more formally known as Lucifer Beelzebub insists he isn’t liable for third-party agreements. “What happened to all that free will stuff, tell me that, mankind? I barely have enough time to deal with politicians.” Don’t bother complaining, Lucifer isn’t interested. “And if you don’t like it, you can go to hell, but you might want to bring a coat. Just sayin’.”

All we can say here at the Mobyjoe Cafe is that keeping your agreements is up to you, but at least try to keep warm.

Abominable Behavior

Boston-YetiAbout ten years ago, when I was living in Boston, a major snowstorm hit the city while I was traveling on business.

As fate would have it, parking at Logan was limited, so I had to park on the roof. That’s right. The roof. The part of the building without more building above it.

I was totally screwed. Not only would my car be covered with eight inches of snow, I would be boxed in by whatever the plow left behind my car while clearing the roof for everyone else. In the time I was gone, surely it would have half-melted and re-solidified into a natural barricade which would require a jack hammer to get through.

Come to think of it, I wasn’t entirely sure exactly which row I’d parked in. It’s not like the roof has a lot of identifying characteristics, and I sort of counted on having the identifying characteristics of my car to rely on, unless, of course, it was the only one still covered with snow. Then it would be easy to spot.

I had a snow brush in the car, but what I really needed was a shovel, or a pick axe. Maybe I’d be better off taking a cab home, and then going back the next day with a jack hammer.

And that’s when my husband called.

“So you and the dude are going to drive over and dig me out before I get home, right?”

The dude was six. At seventeen, he still is useless during a snowstorm. If only he shoveled snow as effectively as he manages to shovel everything else.

“Hahahaha. Right.” My husband is such a romantic soul.

When I finally arrived in Boston it was late–well past midnight–and I made my way to the roof of the parking ramp. As expected, the rooftop was a sea of white under bright lights, each car an indistinguishable white blob next to another white blob.

All except for one. Mine. Completely cleared and shoveled out of the mess. All I had to do was back up and I could head home.

I called my husband. “I was joking, but really, thank you. That was amazing. You really didn’t have to dig out my car.”

I basked in the feeling of overwhelming love. It was so good to be home.

“Good, because I didn’t.”

I’ve always wondered who shoveled out my car. My husband’s theory is that someone spent an hour digging out a car only to figure out it wasn’t theirs. Their silver Sienna was one more row over. Their worst night ever had become my coup.

But as of today, I know the truth. It was the Boston Yeti.

Boston has been hammered with snow the last few weeks, and the Yeti has roamed empty streets late at night, played in the snow, and even hailed a cab. Folks all across town have tweeted their sightings using #BostonYeti2015. Last week, he began digging out cars, and he didn’t even put a lawn chair with a box of cat litter on top of it to call dibs on the space for later. I told my family that my mystery was solved.

A lot of really shitty stuff is happening in the world right now, like we’re engaged in a sick one-upsmanship to establish who can be the most horrific of all.  Ironic, isn’t it? Someone in a an abominable snowman suit is representing the best of human spirit, while others engage in abominable behavior while pretending to be human.

The Yeti says he’s just lending a claw, but I’d like to think he’s starting a movement. What would the world be like if we were all Yeti, just doing what needed to be done, without fanfare or attribution, just to make the world a little better for one person on one day by doing one simple (or not so simple) thing.

Is today’s Yeti also my Yeti? I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter. It’s been over ten years since my personal Yeti rescued my car from burial by snowdrift at Logan, and just thinking about it renews my belief in magic. We could use a little magic, don’t you think? Maybe we could all be someone’s Yeti.

Go do it. Be abominable. Be a Yeti.

Photograph from Mashable

I wrote these haiku and you won’t believe what they say!

Trending Facebook News!
Famous couple gets divorced
Oh— and Greenland sank

___________________________

Jen’s diet secret!
She only eats on Tuesday
You heard it here first

___________________________

My note to the Mom
Who judged my cart at Target
Back the **** off, bitch

___________________________

Disney Princesses
Drawn as feminist icons
Click. Damn. Page Not Found

___________________________

Hamster burritos
Versus peekaboo kittens
YouTube cute smackdown

___________________________

Kim Kardashian’s
Booty as a snowblower
*That* was worth my time

___________________________

Don’t eat these five foods
One – Anything that tastes good
Two through five – Ditto

___________________________

A dude trained his cat
To clean its own litterbox
Could you help my son?

___________________________

Instagram picture
Taken while their food turned cold
So they sent it back

___________________________

On Buzzfeed I learned
Cool new ways to cut up fruit
That I never eat

___________________________

These thirty photos
Prove beyond a single doubt
I’m avoiding work

___________________________

Back to work again
But first I’ll take a sec to
Check out Ruelala

Snowday Roulette

The forecasters at the weather service have shaken their magic 8 ball and predicted snow. Not much, only a dusting, but a child can still dream.

In the last two weeks, Northern Virginia has been beset by snow, freezing rain and sub 40 degree temperatures, or as we used to call it in Michigan, January. A snow day isn’t the enormous disruption for me that it used to be. The days of mopping melted snow from the kitchen floor while warming cocoa are only a memory. These days, the Dude verifies that school is canceled, then sleeps until noon. When he gets up he makes pancakes and pretends he’s on vacation while I nag him about doing his homework.

The Dude bounces into the kitchen, grabs a handful of mini-marshmallows and gives me a hug. I pretend for a moment that this hug is somehow related to me, personally. I’m delusional, but with a seventeen year old son, this is as close as I get to filial affection without handing over money or car keys.

“It’s going to snow tomorrow.” He picks me up until my feet are off the ground. He finds this amusing, saying that turnabout is fair play. One of these days when he does it, I’ll spit up on his shoulder and we’ll see how funny it is.

“Thank you, senõr accuweather.” I remind him that the end of term is near, colleges do change their minds, and perhaps he might want to do his homework rather than play Snowday Roulette.

“One must keep the snow day holy.”

“I wouldn’t count on a day off, Dude. I give it a 20% probability.” The chance of snow is 100%, but the amount is in question–1 to 3 inches–which happens to be the exact number of inches that result in equal numbers of parents threatening the end to the world as we know it (necessitating the closing of school before the first flakes have even fallen) and those who routinely walked miles wearing snowshoes to get to school in their own youth while carrying tasers to fend off marauding polar bears. The only issue that both sides agree on is that everything is the school board’s fault and they all must be excoriated on Facebook. I scan my feed as soon as I hear the weather report. It’s almost as entertaining as television on Bravo.

The Dude isn’t deterred. “Twenty percent. I’ll take those odds.” As if to demonstrate his surety, he pops a mini-marshmallow into the air to catch it in his mouth, and misses. The cat looks on with disgust. The Dude loves marshmallows. I hide bags of them in out of the way cabinets so that I always have a spare or two.

“Do me a favor, Dude. Please don’t ever go to Vegas.” He lifts a brow at me. I know it sounds trite, but he can actually do it–raise one brow. I’m pretty sure he started practicing in utero. Snark is hard-coded into his DNA.

“It’s supposed to be cold. Really cold. It’s too dangerous to be outside.” He knows that cold is my personal kryptonite. “I only worry about the little ones.”

“Very thoughtful of you. Perhaps if you actually wore a coat…” I know this is crazy talk. He does own a winter coat. I think it still has the tags on it.

“Coats are for wussies who have no game. Only those strong enough to survive the cold will mate. It’s evolution at work. Ask Darwin.”

“Cold shrinks the equipment and makes one’s nose run. Neither is conducive to romance. Ask Dr. Drew.”

And with my words of wisdom, he and another handful of mini-marshmallows are gone, probably to play Call of Duty instead of studying his Spanish.

Between his dubious application of both statistics and Darwinian theory I’m beginning to wonder if going to school is helping or hurting him. If it snows enough to require a school cancellation, however, that means my husband will probably stay home as well, meaning I can’t binge-watch Scandal while “doing housework.”

The snow arrives much later than anticipated–not until the afternoon. I watch the flakes tumble, sugar-coating the pine trees in the backyard. I have the house to myself, but no punchline. A small shift in probability and I would have a humorous anecdote about my family interrupting my day, keeping me from this blog as they did all last week, and it hits me. They don’t keep me from my work. They are the very soul of it, and when they are home, safe from the storm, my story will come to life again.

Because last time it snowed, my husband parked the car in the front garden. My son and his friend arrived just in time to help us push it back onto the driveway. Neither one of them was wearing a coat, so I made them cocoa. Luckily I have a few marshmallows left. It could be an interesting afternoon.

Haiku Resolutions

In 2015
No more procrastination
Starting on Monday

I hereby resolve
To spend less time on Facebook
Than my teenage son

I’ll be more patient
Before I tell you you’re wrong
I will count to three

And from here on out
I will not drink my red wine
Straight from the bottle

I solemnly swear
I’m done binge watching Scandal
The third season sucked

Before I shower
I vow to take a brisk walk
To the coffee pot

I found my hand weights
I will put them to good use
As my new doorstop

My New Year’s diet?
I will not eat any carbs
Before 6 a.m.

I’ll no longer curse
Or keep my voice soft enough
So my son won’t hear

No need to worry
I won’t write stuff about you
Unless I’m pissed off

But I’ll keep writing
If I can make someone laugh
Even if it’s me

Let love win and the rest will take care of itself

I was raised as a Catholic, but my religious beliefs have always been a little…squishy. A pastor at one of the non-Catholic churches I attended said technically, I was still a Catholic and a heretical one at that. He said it kindly and with humor, at least that’s how I remember it. These days, most would consider me to be an agnostic. I can’t put God in one tidy box. I prefer to call my particular brand of faith Episcobudditarianism.

My very Catholic mother rocked Christmas. We had two trees; the fancy tree, color-coordinated with our green and gold living room, and the kids tree, which had everything we could load on it. My siblings and I would sing along to classic Goodyear/Firestone holiday albums while we made ornaments for the Carols and Candles service using the eggs from L’eggs pantyhose (drilling the hole in those suckers was hard. They were also quite resistant to glue.)

Over the years, while I wandered through literal and spiritual homes, my Christmas spirit remained firmly in place. When the Dude was little, we used to cover the house with lights, inside and out. The more garish the better. My husband maintained some sense of reason, otherwise we would have had a blow up snow globe in the front yard that projected a Mannheim Steamroller laser show.

With the dude getting older, he’s not really interested in much beyond eating butter cookies, so it was up to me to bring on the Christmas. I was more than up to the task. And when my mother-in-law, in the grip of advanced Parkinson’s, began to fail, I promised my husband I would keep bringing the Christmas. I baked more, decorated more, sang “Sleigh Ride” until he begged me to stop.

Early in my marriage, my mother-in-law and I didn’t connect the way either of us wanted to. We both held on to our resentment and let it get in the way. As her memory faded in more recent years, our relationship shifted into something more loving and open. Her illness was awful, but it gave us a do-over. I wish we’d done it sooner. As she entered hospice care, I thought about my own parents, who I didn’t get to see this Thanksgiving due to the weather, and my siblings, with whom I share so many of those happy holiday memories, the ones I can still page through on demand, and wanted to have them all with me–even my brother who always woke us all up at the crack of dawn.

The hospice nurse said my mother-in-law could hear everything around her, so I played the Pandora holiday channel on my IPhone while I sat with her. A week before Christmas, she passed away.

On Christmas Eve, my husband, my father-in-law, the Dude, and I, went to service at the National Cathedral. Since one has to buy a ticket, it’s the only place I don’t feel like we’re taking someone else’s pew.  It’s an impressive space, built for contemplation and anonymity. So there I was, in the nation’s church on one of the most important days in Christian faith, and I’d been “bringing it on” by playing with cookie dough and glitter. I needed to do something to honor the woman who raised my wonderful husband since it took us far longer than it should have to reach a level of mutual respect and affection.

I looked at the cross and wondered what the heck I actually believed in. I wasn’t looking for a religious awakening, just something absolute that wasn’t bound into any one -ism. They gave us all candles to hold as we sang Silent Night. I lit my taper from my father-in-law’s candle and thought. “Let love win, and the rest will take care of itself.”

I may never be able to categorize my religion, any more than I can describe my career plans or my actual hair color. I do, however, know what I believe in.  And there’s nothing wrong with a  little glitter and cookie dough, too. Just saying.

Happy New Years to you are yours.

Holiday Haiku from the cats

Human–thank me nowIMG_0292

I’ve killed the evil red ball

One less ornament


Holiday ribbon

Makes for a festive hairball

On your yoga mat


Humans don’t get it

You can keep the **** inside

Just leave me the box


The lights on the tree

Aren’t blinking in unison

I will remove them


Go on–laugh it up

While my food bowl goes empty

Kiss dessert goodbye


The coats on the bed

Are the perfect place to sleep

Screw their allergies


Sorry mantel crecheIMG_0666

But I have dibs on this space

Kick it to the curb


I don’t care, grandpa

The dog stays at home capiche?

Or I shred your pants


Dearest Santa Claus

The human lies–I’ve been good

Just send some catnip


Like the humans say

Climb high, and I’ll reach the stars

Up the tree I go


Cocktail party – yay!

I will sit amongst them all

And lick my privates


Opening presents!

How should I know if they’re mine?

Cat’s can’t read, Einstein


I will shed my fur

On your new cashmere sweater

Until you pet me


If that’s what it takes

I’ll wish you Merry Christmas

Now go fill my bowl.

Happy Holidays from Hunter, Sasha, and the Mobyjoe Cafe