Smoking Shoulder

I have taken the time to rotate the monitor to portrait and the font to Calibri to tell you that I hate writing at night and that I’m likely not to write very much at all this evening.

Two things you very well know about me and my habits.

In lieu of creative fantastical prose let me do something simple. Let me tell you why I’m not writing much tonight. Our family throws a party each year. We invite invite friends and extended family to our home to carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns and drink beer. Most children costume up or their parents make them. In preparation for their happy arrival I’m smoking a pork shoulder.

It takes 10-12 hours to cook this beast so I’m starting at midnight or so. I’ll wake every couple hours to check the meat, the water, the fire, and the smoke. Depending on what I find under the dome, I may rotate the meat a little or I may baste it some. This two-hour checking flows on into the morning and trough till noon. My smoker runs a bit cooler than it should, so I may need to keep the meat on past mid-day—time will tell.

That I will struggle to write tomorrow as well will come as small surprise to regular readers of 1000 Days. Wish me luck.

236 words on day 567

The Frenetic Dog

I am writing under conditions nearly indescribable. It’s a weekend. It’s a long holiday weekend. It’s night time. There’s a frenetic dog trying to gnaw his way to Nirvana on a hard plastic bone only feet from my feet. I looked at him; we wapped his tail on the floor.

At least someone is following his bliss.

The good thing about this excuse is I’ve had a full day. No fluff. No fucking around.

I’m ok with that. You shall be too.


92 words on day 520


I yell at my kids.

I yell at them because I’ve made myself angry over something they’ve done or not done. Sometimes they’ve known better.  Usually I have.

Friday I threw a fit because I couldn’t get a cabinet door closed. Littlest Pet Shop dioramas and chokable paraphernalia peeked through the gap. I got into the cycle your brain does: nudge the door, watch it pop open; close the door, watch it pop open; slam the door, watch it pop open. Curse! Slam the door open and start grabbing and flinging all the plastic crap that offends me. My sensible self cringes in the corner with my children. My thumb runs straight into the frame like hammered concrete. A few more furious grabs and flings empty the storage space. A classy finish foot-shoving the scattered bobble-headed dogs, cyan barbershop chairs, and unprobable treehouses concludes the main event.

One’s holding back tears because she knows that showing those would piqué my guilt which would immediately escalate the embarrassing rage. The other’s pointedly not sucking her fingers. Both are waiting for the tidal wave to attenuate and the waters to recede. They’ve seen this before and know it will.

In a practiced calm tone I say, “I’m going to the other room to say good-night to your sisters. When I come back I won’t yell.”

Surely some psychological professional has labeled what happens next—maybe it’s light temporary but functional multiple personality disorder—I’m a different Father in the next room. My smile, my voice, my words, my peace are genuine. These two are spared my anger, my guilt, and a memory they don’t need.

I return down the hallway to where I left the anger soaked children toweling off. I draw a deep breath before I cross the threshold into their room. They deserve an apology and I deserve a spanking. Air fills my lungs mixing oxygen and contrition with guilt.

The apology belongs to them so I won’t detail that here.

Three days later my thumb still aches.

348 words on day 514

The Dark Deep Water

In 2010, Oklahoma said fuck the double digits I’m camping out in the 100s and you can see ninety overnight and like it. Through all the days and weeks and months you’d call Summer summer the tempuratures were hot. People hid indoors clinging to fans, unbuttoned shirts, and the AC. Today the fish we went hunting clung to the dark deep water.

The only one of us to find joy at the end of our line was my youngest. Each time she reeled in her line she exclaimed, “I caught one!”

“Yes, Sweetie, you caught another lure. Good for you!”

105 words on day 502

Brain Drool

I attribute my renewed enthusiasm for writing with my recent regular reading.  This reading kicked off two and half months back with me purposefully buying the complete collection of Hemingway’s short stories.  Three or four in I switched to Harry Potter.  With kids and a job and competition with TV I’m looking for distraction and entertainment—bread and circuses—not thought provoking literary heft.  I hold out that I could handle TPLH and might one day soon.  For now though I’m content with a little brain drool.

One through five were rereads.  I reread books because I have a poor memory for the details but a great one for the experience.  When I reread I’m never surprised or left wondering, but I am returned to the emotional territory of surprise and wonder.

Book six of the seven sits with the Braum’s receipt bookmark well past the halfway point on my side table.  With this sixth book—which I was convinced I’d never read—I’m finding unexpected familiarity about every third chapter.  I’d thought this might be due to me having seen the movie adaptation and not recalling I’d done that, but yesterday at the theatre I saw the preview for the unreleased sixth movies so its not that.  I don’t think it’s magic or clairvoyance or whatever they call it when you mix déjà vu with book reading, but it is uncanny.  Since I have no idea where I’m going with this I’ll just drop it.

I would like to get back to the preview for the movie.  Except for a single portion of the trailer I haven’t read anything int he book like what I saw on screen.  I guess the later half of the book will suddenly turn into a Michael Bay flick.  I can’t wait.  Does anyone know if the Hemingway shorts use the guns more and the brains less after the first four?

Day 354

Big Green Square Weekend

That’s right.  I write on weekends too.  How the hell else am I going to get caught up?

I rocked that camera I talked about earlier this week.  Meaning, I pushed the button on it for a couple hours while leaving the dial locked on Big Green Square.  If you take 150 pictures some will turn out.  Some did.  But I’ve got to stop relying on that setting.

Hosted a birthday party today.  I’ve been skeptical all month about the content of this thing.  I’ve been dubiously supportive of it in the last week.  Last night I got around to cutting out the swords while my wife pieced together an astounding castle cake.  This monstrous pastry sported four ice-cream cone towers, iced rosebuds on delicate vines, chocolate candy rocks, and home-made frosting.  And the idiots bragged on how nice my foam core cut-out swords looked.

I plan to use the weekends for editing.  I’ll find something I wrote a ways back.  Review it.  Then re-write it.  Or substantially clean it up.  I think editing is a skill I need to work on.

Day 235

A Title So Dull Even Reverse Psychology Won’t Get You to Read On

I’d hoped to be back writing short pieces of truncated scenes this morning as I normally do, but I’ve gotten a late start due to an early start.Maybe some sort of weekend recapitulation is in order.

Our house is clean this morning.  Last week while cleaning resilient wads of red hair from the rollers of our vacuum I determined I was wasting time.  The thing was well and truly busted.  I didn’t want to fix it; I’m not Bedouin or a junk man.  Carrie quickly priced a couple options for a Dyson and we were off to buy the cheaper of the two since the pet hair one exceeded our gut cost-to-performance expectations.  Once home I jerked it out of the box and fired it up.

A trip around the living room filled the canister.  A second trip around the same carpet nearly filled the canister again.  The vacuum performs under expectations or the carpeting exceeds them.  I’m going with a win for the carpet.  We’ve found a comfortable combination of ambivalence and willful ignorance a quick route to a clean house.

So we Dysoned it up.  Moved all the furniture to the periphery.  And rolled out the Bissel home steam cleaner.  I use the word steam loosely—I don’t think they use it at all—because I don’t think it would make as much sense to call in a wet-vac.  This lonely tool bewilders and impresses me every time I use it.  An unintuitive combination of dials and triggers coupled with a long-ago skim of the instructions means I start each session by figuring it one more time.  In the end it’s simpler than I recall.  Then the cleaner sucks up all the pet stains—that’s marketese for shit, puke, and pee—and kid stains—not exactly the same but close.

The other pleasure is it’s facility.  I come away thinking we should do this once a month.  Why don’t we?  Why haven’t we?

Sink’s clean.  Kitchen counters clear.  Garage 10% better than the weekend before.

Hopefully these conditions maintain throughout the week till our 10th Annual Pumpkin Carving Party on Saturday.

Day 305