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