The Timeline

( All the stuff below is © Troy R. Donson, Jan 1 2017 and may not be used in any fashion without my express written permission…so there !!! )

Just because I don’t trust my own memory, I’ve decided to make a “Time Line Page” for all the milestones in the journey of The Joint.

Chalk full of stupidity and derring-do…it’s why _no one_ should EVER follow in my footsteps…

The cast of Characters includes my Lovely Wife Cecily (AKA The Princess), my son Michael and, of course, yours truly…

We’ll start at the beginning and go from there:

From my original Facebook postings, starting on Jan 1st 2015

To any and all who are interested…

Welp, it has been a complete zoo for The Princess, The Boy and myself since July of 2014, hopefully 2015 will shake itself out and “things” will settle down, finally…

Best to start at the beginning.

Cecily has long said that she never quite felt “at home” since she left the Lake Tahoe region in the mid 80’s. To her, that was HOME and she regretted leaving. In June of 2014, we had one of our long drawn out “chats” (our chats are just phenomenal in that we may start talking about her cousin, John Guerrin, and end up discussing the pros and cons of Popeye’s mashed potatoes over the course of a few beers and a few hours).

By summertime of 2014 the whole “how did you like Reno?” thing was again bandied about and we both realized that Phoenix was:
1. Too damned hot.
2. Turning into “Southern California Lite”
3. Too damned hot.
4. Too damned hot.
5. Not where we wanted to die from heat stroke and eventual dessication…

So taking the initiative, I started looking for A JOB in the Carson City/Lake Tahoe/Rhenno area. I found the DOLAN Auto Group right away because it’s the only damned Toyota Dealer in Reaknow, NV. On a whim I decided to check their website for job openings. Hmmmphh, no tech openings.

“Well, shit !!”

Then, GTC (God T. Creator) smacked the back of my head and said “Hey, Jackass!!! Check the Corporate Website…asshole.”

Well, whadyaknow? The corporate website said they were looking for Certified Toyota Technicians!! So, thinking, this is either a colossal waste of time or maybe a chance to climb out of the furnace, I filled out the application.

I, of course, explained my then current status as The Alignment God of The Valley in the little comments box. I was contacted a few days later (on the 8th of July, 2014) by Jeff, the Service Manager. He wanted to know when I would be in the area for an interview. I said “Well, we will be up there in November for vacation, how about I stop in then?”

That (Mythbusters not withstanding) went over like a lead balloon. He said he needed people right away.

Figuring “in for a penny, in for a pound”, I got cocky and said “Are you working Saturday the 19th?” He replied that he was. “I will see you at 8am Saturday the 19th of July, then.”

Friday, July 18th I took a red-eye flight from Airborne Sunken Wreckage Airport (Sky Harbor) to Reeeno, NV.

I had no idea what I was doing or why. Seriously. I just wanted The Princess to be happy and needed a change of scenery myself. I set the alarm clock for 5am and turned in.

At 6:30 I rolled over to get the sun out of my eyes and realized that the “alarm clock” was a clock radio…and that someone had turned the volume all the way down.

Shit.

I got ready in time, got to the interview in time and commenced to absolutely hate Jeff’s guts on sight. The first 15 minutes were nothing short of “undeclared verbal WAR”. Hell, looking at it now 5+ months later, I have no idea who looked like they were going to try going over the desk and commit great bodily harm upon the other first!

Weirdest damned interview I have ever been on. After 15 minutes, poof!!! It was like we had known each other for years. 2 and a half hours later I was hired and The Princess had her own appointment for an interview.

In less than a month we had packed what we could into a Penske moving van (yeah, think Beverly Hillbillies) and headed into the unknown. Thank God for son Michael. I could not have done it without his help. I drove that damned 26 foot truck of impending death straight through to Rhenow. Again, just Michael and I got it completely unloaded the next day.

Seeing as I had more Toyota Certifications than all but the 6 Master Techs (2 of whom are shop foremen and the others are “Team Leaders” and one is..well…the jury is still out on that one) I have been pressed into the role of Recall God Of The Eastern Sierras.

Gone are the days of The Alignment God. I was cast down and driven out of my Eden like a common pygmy… I wonder if this is how Baal felt?

Anyway, the rental house I got us stuck with has no heat in the half The Princess and I occupy. I have never taken a shower in long johns and a parka before but you get used to it. Scratch that one off my bucket list.

Oh, and the built-in dishwasher quit 2 months in. We got a new one, though. Me. So I do the dishes every morning before work.
Then there was the hunt for a suitable “Permanent” residence.

After realizing that the quaint 1200 sq ft brick house in West Reanoe on a 4000 sq ft lot was out of our budget at $650K, we found The Fortress in Sparky, NV.

It is on GAULT Way… BTW, wasn’t GAULT the name of some massive android on Star Trek, the original series?

GAULT is the perfect name for street our house is on.

Did I mention it is half buried? “They” say it has a “Walkout basement”. Trust me, that’s just fancy talk for “your house is half buried”…

The Fortress has so far consumed almost 2000 feet of Cat5e cable, 14 rolls of electrical tape, my entire Home Depot credit card, 5 door knobs, an air mattress and 6 pocket screwdrivers (no, I don’t understand that one either)… Oh, and my trusty pocket knife was swallowed by attic insullation from The Planet Cellulose in the 23rd dimension…

So, there ya go. Oh, and they fired Jeff, the Service Director the Monday after Christmas. Now I have to contend with a clueless college boy bonehead who pretends to be a service manager yet delegates EVERYTHING to people who have no clue.

Geezus, I have a great imagination, but even _I_ could never dream this shit up!!!

Damn, what an adventure this is turning into…

 *****

Ahh, well then… 2015 was not much different just more of 2014’s madness…right up until about October 13th… and then:

Yeah… so maybe I _am_ a special kind of stupid for wanting to quit wrenching on cars 10-12 hours a day, after 35+ years

And instead open up a Takeout BBQ Joint…

I’m gonna die sooner or later…

Why not enjoy the ride ?

*****

Then on October 16th:

And so it starts….

Just dropped $10 K on a commercial smoker and accessories…

An EXTREMELY huge load of “thanks” to my Dad and my Seester, Julie Donson Keil for helping me start my dream of hanging up my wrenches and picking up a set of oven mitts…

*****

Then there was this gem of a post on October while I was still cooking in my Oklahoma Joe’s “Stick Burner” offset smoker/BBQ rig:

One of my friends on-line ( Bigmista from Bigmista’s BBQ and Sammich Shop in Long Beach, CA ) was “venting” about how many people get pissy when he runs out of food at his BBQ shop.

People have no clue how long GOOD BBQ actually takes to make so that it TASTES LIKE GOOD BBQ !!!!

I don’t have my biz running…yet, but here is a typical weekend when I’m going to be smoking “only” 40lbs of pork butt:

Saturday

6 am: I head to my local supplier to get 40lbs of FRESH pork (Boston Butts).

7 am: I get home and prepare the buts with the rub and ingredients I prepared over the course of the previous few nights after my day job. I wrap everything in foil and put in fridge, pissing off wife and step kids because I moved EVERYTHING to make room.

9 am: I start making 2 gallons of my secret recipe BBQ sauce.

9:10 am: Run to the store to grab all the missing ingredients “I was just SURE I had more (insert secret ingredient name(s) here) of”.

9:40 am: Restart the process of completely “trashing the kitchen” making sauce. (BTW … Trashing The Kitchen is the name of my new band!!!)

11:15 am Set 5.25 GALLON (!!!) stock pot to simmer on low heat for next 6 hours stirring every 10 minutes. Open and consume first of many beers that will disappear throughout next 36 hours…

11:16 am Get reminded that The Princess is not going to clean up after me…AGAIN !!!!

11:17 am Pick self up off of ground after a quick yet severe thrashing from The Princess after “smarting off”…

11:18 am Consume 2 beers in quick succession to relieve pain and reduce bruising…

11:20 am Clean smoker with FIRE !!!!

11:33 am Explain to nice Police Officer that “No, Sir, I’m not burning trash in my back yard, I’m just cleaning my smoker and yes, of course I will save you some pork tomorrow night if you won’t cite me for being a public nuisance.”

11:45 am Get hose and put out wooden fence that tried to go up in flames. Give up trying to put out tree that I never liked anyway.

12:07 pm Assure responding fire department hook and ladder crew that things are under control and of course I’ll save them some pork and sauce.

12:30 pm Start hauling 80lbs of charcoal to smoker. Place two 5 gallon buckets of wood chips next to smoker, add water.

1:00 pm Start boiling containers used to store sauce.

1:15 pm Assure The Princess I am not getting drunk.

1:18 pm Start feeling drunk. Switch to vodka instead of beer.

1:20 pm to 5:00 pm Watch a collection of DIE HARD movies.

5:15 pm Transfer sauce to containers. Put containers in fridge and cause near riot because no one can get to anything else in fridge.

5:20 Start “cleaning kitchen”…

5:20:30 Give up on kitchen.

Sunday

1:30 am Start charcoal for smoker.

2:30 am Pull pork from fridge and put in smoker. Add 4th load of charcoal in fire box. Watch with glee as fire box starts glowing red hot.

3:15 am – 4:30 pm Add new charcoal to smoker every 45 minutes. Check meat internal temps every 1/2 hour. Move butts in smoker to maintain even temps. Add wet wood chips to create enough smoke so it can be seen from space as needed.

4:45 pm Remove butts from smoker and put in empty 60qt cooler to “rest” for one hour. Unsuccessfully beg The Princess to get me more beer.

6:00 pm Take butts from cooler and put in aluminum trays and start pulling.

7:30 pm Finish pulling pork and start portioning out to fill orders.

8:15 pm Try to figure out who to piss off because 40lbs of raw pork yields 31 lbs of smoked pulled pork….

8:17 pm add 9lbs of sauce to 31lbs of pork to equal 40 lbs of product and pray no one notices.

8:20 pm Pull everything out of fridge and put on counter. Put pork in fridge. Play Tetris with everything on counter trying to get it back in fridge.

8:25 pm I stop trying to be nice and put cargo tie downs around the fridge and tighten until door closes all the way.

8:26 pm Get beaten unconscious by The Princess…

So the moral of the story is: Be happy I am just stupid enough to do this every few weekends. If you don’t think it’s worth it, ask the people who have tried it…and quit bitching when I run out!!!! — with Julie Donson Keil and Michael Donson.

*****

On October 26th, I did not only “jumped the shark” but I landed on it’s back and held on for the ride:

And so it ends…I hope…

To all my friends, family and treasured customers:

Today, October 26th, 2015, I am starting my (hopefully) last week of being a Professional Automotive Technician.

I gave notice last week that Friday, October 30th will be my last day at The Dolan Automotive Group. I am going to try and hang up my tools after 38 years of being a tech.

I started when carburetors were king. (Fuel injection…what’s that?)

I started when a “tune-up” meant points, plugs, condenser, rotate tires and an oil change. … all for $49.95.

I started when White Wall tires were the normal style, not retro…

I started when white wall tires came “paper wrapped” so they wouldn’t get dirty. At the end of the day the dumpster would be over flowing with paper from those tires I mounted and balanced. Mounting and balancing was included with your tire purchase, not an extra.

I started when front disc brakes were still an “extra cost option” on a lot of new cars. I remember having to “arc” brake shoes to the drums on the front of the car so the car wouldn’t pull when you hit the brakes.

I started when the shop I worked in stocked every fan belt known to mankind…and they were stored high on the wall…you had a long pole with a hook to snag the one you needed…which would then fall and smack you in the upturned face…

I have spent approximately 3000 hours of my life in various automotive class rooms, gotten 2 college degrees related to my career, learned a lot “the hard way” and passed what I thought I learned to 2 follow on generations.

I have spent many thousands of dollars on tools that are now obsolete.

I spent way too much time in emergency rooms due to injuries received on the job. I gave, literally, quarts of blood and pounds of flesh to cars and trucks I worked on. I lost the ability to do many simple tasks due to those same injuries. I am deaf, I have severe arthritis, I have lost much of my vision and a couple teeth due to my chosen profession.

In the last 38 years, I got married, divorced, had kids, nearly lost a child, lost a parent to suicide, heard of and knew of many friends going over the Rainbow Bridge to continue their journey to forever…

Time to put the car tools away and pick up cooking tools instead.

It was a great and interesting time in my life and if only I knew then what I know now…I’d have been a better tech, father, husband and son.

I hope I meet as many wonderful people in the cooking biz as I did in automotive…I doubt I will but I’m hoping. (Boy, was I wrong there!!!!)

Here’s to new adventures, Long may I learn…

*****

On October 30th I was getting the “Long face” from some of my co-workers:

Quote of the Day

Co-Worker: I’m gonna miss you…

Me: Yeah?? Try aiming higher…

*****

It was not a moment too soon:

As the last hours of my Automotive Career wind down, I have finally come up with a diagnosis of why I am leaving the field…

I have PTSD disorder…

Part Time Service Director disorder is characterized by a college educated moron telling me I’m doing a wheel alignment wrong…

Uh, yeah.

Especially since I was doing wheel alignments before he was born and Toyota felt I was the best one in the Phoenix Region to figure out what THE FACTORY was doing wrong AND would bring me cars other Toyota Dealerships couldn’t fix… Gee maybe I should get ANOTHER college degree (uhm, that would make 3 degrees I hold) to compete with his BA in business so I know how to work on cars…
That is all.

Carry on.

*****

I still had time for a few giggles along the way:
“Kitchen sink??? Screw that….”

The Douglas A-1 Skyraider was known as “The Flying Dump Truck” so it kinda fits… The single engine plane could carry more bombs than a WWII B-17 bomber (4800 lbs vs. 8000 lbs for the Skyraider).
https://www.warhistoryonline.com/vietnam-war/its-true-a-toilet-was-used-as-an-aerial-bomb-during-the-vietnam-war.html?src=fba&type=int&page=who

*****

Then there were the daily battles for home kitchen supremecy, like this one from November 8th :

Discretionary Bowlage is the name of my new band!!!!

And, now… The rest of the story:

Dateline: Sparks, Nevada

It seems that Cecily Donson has failed to keep her husband abreast (yes, and that’s another story) of the State of Affairs Regarding Kitchen Implements of Goodness…

“In other works, we have no good pots and pans to make my recipes for the mythical and fabled BBQ Shop soon to open someday in Sparks, NV.” Troy Donson, Pitmaster of Sparks and Smoke BBQ Takeout said during a recent and quite candid interview.

“Have you ever tried to make a recipe for Mac & Cheese that not only feeds 25, but also requires Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Colby Cheese, Pepper Jack Cheese, Asiago Cheese, 20 cups in all, and all you have is a bunch of cereal bowls to mix it in ??”

Troy Donson, 265 lbs of lardass and stray wisps of sanity, bristles at the memory of using flimsy (“They were 43 for a dollar”, adds Mrs. Donson, not helping the matter at all) cereal bowls to mix his heart attack causing Mac & Cheese. “5 POUNDS of elbow macaroni !!! How the hell do you mix 20 cups of shredded cheese and 5 pounds of macaroni in a frigging CEREAL BOWL ????!!!!!”

When asked for a comment, The diminutive Mrs. Donson said “I’ll kick his ass he ever makes a mess like that again!!! I can’t help it if we don’t have discretionary bowlage…”

And now, you know…the rest of the story… Good Day!!!

*****

Then things started moving forward:

Nov 9th, 2015 – Just signed a “Letter of Intent” to lease a space for Sparks and Smoke BBQ Takeout…

Fingers crossed that I don’t screw it up…

*****

And now a word from the Dark Side Of The Moon

I mean, they’re not gunna kill ya, so if you give em a quick short, sharp, shock, they wont do it again. dig it?

I mean he got off lightly, cos I would’ve given him a thrashing – I only hit him once!

It was only a difference of opinion, but really…i mean good manners don’t cost nothing do they, eh?

*****

Nov 10th:

Business plan….???

What is this thing you speak of ?

I thought you just rented a place, filled the place with stuff you don’t know how to use and learn as you go…

Oh, wait… That’s what modern Service Managers do… My bad…

Anyway, Business Plan submitted to landlord, application filled out, check for $25 sent for background check (must be pretty snazzy for 25 WHOLE DOLLARS!!!)…and now we wait.

*****

November 15th on a trip to San Diego by train, it would our only “Vacation” for the next 13 months:

So,

Seems The Princess is losing all patience with me…

We went to a dive bar/hamburger joint last night. I received my Double BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger just drenched in sauce. It had so much sauce that my beard became saturated with BBQ sauce.

Rather than, say, oh, I don’t know, WIPE IT OFF WITH A NAPKIN…

…I decided, why “waste” it, and used my beard as a receptacle to dispense BBQ sauce onto my french fries… It was terribly easy to replenish, just have a bite of that BBQ burger and the BBQ sauce would then refill my beard to capacity.

Actually I felt it quite handy to dip my fries into my beard for a dash of BBQ SAUCE!!!

Needless to say the waitress was horrified and The Princess was trying her best to Jedi Choke the living shit out of me via her eye stare and death growl…

*****

On Nov 26th of 2015…depression set in. I had been struggling mightily to find some place to rent and was almost at the point of giving up… The last thing I wanted was people telling me what I should do:

Sorry folks, ranting time..

I can’t find an agent, a “property manager”, a landlord or some guy with an old house in a “transit oriented district” who will give me a chance to sign on the dotted line so I can get my damned take out restaurant going. I have looked at 237 possible places and…nothing.

I have, to put it as a old co-worker told me, “Mad Cooking Skilz!!!”, so that part is easy. The getting a PLACE part is harder than I ever imagined. It weighs on me as I am right now warming up the smoker to smoke 5 turkeys for someone else’s T-Day…

But the absolutely worst thing is:

Advice.

Yup, there I said it.

It’s not that I don’t want to hear what you have to say, it’s just that everyone’s advice is about things I can’t do anything about yet. Trust me, I DO listen, but, if I can’t even find a place, how am I supposed to tell you the address to put on your website/business card/t-shirt/apron ideas? Or what are my hours are going to be? How many items are on the menu? Fried food? Catering? Food truck? Franchise?

A good friend of mine (Tyson Ho) owns a restaurant and he posted something that rings very true to me.

He said:

“My days are filled with a hundred voices screaming for my attention. There’s the day to day of running a restaurant—the mislaid checks, the equipment that’s constantly breaking—and then there are the suggestions. From the moment I awake at 7 a.m. to the minute I leave the restaurant at 11:30 at night, my wife, staff, partners, guests, vendors, neighbors, and random passersby all have suggestions for me and my restaurant. It all congeals into one ball of white noise, buzzing in the background.

One day I tried recording it all. I carried a notepad with me all day and made a tally every time someone gave me one of those “you know what you should do” suggestions. The total: 53.

Let’s say, hypothetically, I received only half that many: 26 a day. That’s 182 suggestions a week, 780 tips a month, all that I have to consider while dealing with broken equipment, staff conflicts, upgrading my electrical service, 17 hour work days, worrying about the rent, issues with workman’s compensation insurance, and restocking my inventory.

Sometimes it may seem like restaurant owners aren’t interested in hearing your suggestions. The truth is that we do listen, but your voice is drowned out by a few dozen others. There’s never enough time to weigh pros and cons, no room in the day to perform cost-benefit analysis. We get to things as we can, but we’re always behind. The buzzing continues.

The one group of people we business owners reliably draw advice from is ourselves. Fellow restaurateurs most readily give straight answers to questions like, “which mid-priced mezcal are you pouring and how’s it moving?” “Do you have a last-second electrician?” “Who does your garbage collection?” “Who’s the distributor for XYZ obscure beer?” ”

I love you all (no, REALLY!!!) but I am drowning under the weight of just trying to find a place to START. Please, PLEASE don’t think poorly of me when my eyes glaze over when you give me a suggestion or offer advice on “What you need to do is…”

*****

Then on Nov 30th… :

What’s that ? That yelling and screaming ?

Why that would be ME (!!!) celebrating after doing a handshake “deal” on finding a place to rent to open my BBQ joint…

Not quite nailed down YET, but closer than I’ve been so far…

Close to the University of Nevada, Rhennno… And we all know how much those Political Science Majors love BBQ !!!!

*****

Dec 8th and reality kicks me in the shins:

Trying to get an answer from a commercial leasing agent is like pulling teeth from a pissed off evil vernicious kanitt…

“We will probably do the deal. Just finalizing a couple of things. Your credit was checked and approved.”

Well, that whole “probably” thing keeps me on the hook but prevents me from moving forward at the same time…

Gawd, I wish Sherrif Larry was here… He’d kick him like a red headed step-snozwangler !!!!

*****

Dec 10th – Cautious optimism:

well… who’da thought ???

“Troy, They have accepted your offer. They are just checking the Port of Subs exclusive with your menu to make sure there is not an issue with it. We will be drafting the lease and then we will get it over to you.”

Gee, I guess I’m gonna be opening a BBQ Takeout Joint after all…

*****

Dec 10th – A bit of side action:

Fringe benefit of, Hmmmm, gee, CATERING A LARGE BANK PARTY…?

The guy in charge of Small Business Administration loan origination in North America for a HUGE bank says:

“That is the best damned BBQ I’ve ever had!!!”

“But, Troy, don’t tell my mama I said that…She’d have my ears!!!”

“You need anything, I mean ANY damn thing, you just let me know… Here’s my card, I wrote my direct line on the back…”

*****

Dec 11th and the “Regulatory issues”rear their ugly head:

Who in gawds name figured I would EVER need to spend $400 on thermometers to be “Compliant” ???

*****

December 15th and a bit of humor:

TOO DAMNED FUNNY NOT TO SHARE !!!!!

Conversation about smoking my pork butts with oldest son James Donson:

James Donson Are those turkeys on the third rack down?

(He is commenting on a photo I posted)

James Donson They look like they have wings

Troy Donson They are all pork butts… the 3rd rack I injected with Red Bull…

James Donson Oh, I would never have thought of that. Jenelle wants to know what does the red bull do?

Troy Donson Duh… It gives it WINGS !!!!!!!!

BWAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!

*****

Dec 17th – a bit more humor because I get stoopid when I’m scared:

Gawd, I am so happy there are still nice folks out there who actually “get it” !!!

The following is an e-mail exchange between me and one of (yeah, I said “one of”… so far I have 4) insurance agents.
Hiya, Beth,

Since you made my Workman’s Comp insurance so easy, I was wondering if you’d care to help me with my Business liability needs.

I am in the middle of securing a lease to open my BBQ joint at 2900 blah blah blah, Rhennow, NV.

I know you will need a lot more info and I will get it as soon as I find out what THEY need as far as liability requirements etc…

Talk to you soon,

Troy Donson

Sparks and Smoke BBQ Takeout

—————–

Hi Troy,
Sorry I am just now responding, I have been in a compliance training all day. But that sounds great, we can absolutely help with this. I actually just specialize in the workman’s compc/payroll end but my partner, Yadda Yadda (he is my favorite and does the best work) can help with giving you a quote. Would you like him to give you a call or send you an email first?

—————–

Hi Beth,

An email to start with would be great. Just have him send me to the application site and I’ll be good. I’d love to call but I am up to my armpits in catering Christmas parties, so I am limited on “business hours” that I can sit and talk.

Compliance training was a drag when I was a mechanic at Toyota… Why in Gawd’s Name would I ever try and harass a fellow employee? Harassment is just dumb… Setting each other on fire with flammable liquids was much more direct and “attention getting”… (I’m kidding, of course…we usually just singed each other…)

Have a great day and if I don’t talk to you before Christmas, a Very Joyous Christmas, Happy Hanuka, Happy New Year , etc etc…

Troy Donson

Sparks and Smoke BBQ Takeout

——————

Troy,

Your emails crack me up, I feel the same way about compliance trainings but apparently there are some crazies out there that actually need to be told not to do things like that (so sad). Completely understand you being swamped with work, I can have him send you an email with all of the info and then you guys can go from there. He is great to work with! And thank you so much! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday as well!!

Feel free to reach out any time if you ever have any questions or just want to make us laugh! Have a great day 🙂

———————

Beth,

I am glad you and your co-workers enjoy my “different” sort of humor…

Almost 40 years of being a professional mechanic will do that to you… Somebody once mentioned the abundance of gas fumes as a possible cause…right before I set him on fire (with the alleged “gas fumes”) for his heresy.

I look forward to speaking to Yadda. Just please warn him to read everything a couple times before thinking I am a complete loon. I deal with pain through humor and this cold weather and trimming cold meat at 2am is killing my arthritic hands… I attached a few pictures to make everyone envious and to show what it is I do 18 hours a day.

And BTW, I thought you said you had compliance training!!! What’s up with this:

“Feel free to reach out any time” ???

I MUST say I am shocked… SHOCKED, I tell you !!! What was your test score? A _71_??

LMAO

Any hoo… Thanks for all your help. I look forward to a long term relationship with you and your company. You have my genuine respect and gratitude…such as it is…

Troy Donson

Chairman, CEO and Grand Poobah

Sparks and Smoke BBQ Takeout

*****

Dec 18th:

Well…..Wubba Dubba !!!!!

Just signed the lease for the “store”…

And now the PANIC starts….

*****

2016 Started out being I real pain in the butt…and I wouldn’t change a thing…except for a lot of it…
January 5th 2016

So, it’s 1:26 am as I start this… My arms are killing me and their screams of agony woke me up even earlier than usual. It’s funny that I thought people were different here…

Allow me to explain:

So yesterday I was running hither and yon trying to get “stuff” done. Rent a truck, move my smoker to the shop, pickup a used beverage cooler I bought Saturday for the sodas and water I plan to sell, take dad out to eat for his Birthday, get some sodas for the cooler to make sure it maintains temps…just a bunch of running around and doing stuff.

All was going really well until I woke up yesterday morning. I found a dog had decided my face was a warm place to curl up on to sleep. I had 47.273 pounds of dog hair in my mouth and eyes when I woke up.

Dad was asleep when I arrived at the agreed upon time and totally incoherent. I had told him when I would be there and even set his alarm clock to help get him up to take him to breakfast. “Let’s do lunch instead, dad.”

Dad started calling my cell phone every 7 minutes from 11 am until 1:30 when I was able to get back up to him.

Why 7 minutes ?

7 minutes is the exact amount of time he needs to put the phone down, stumble to his chair, forget he just called me, wonder where the hell I am, struggle up out of his chair, stumble back to the phone, read the instructions on how to “speed dial” my cell phone and actually call me… (Think of Prince Humperdink in The Princess Bride re-enacting the sword fight, that’s how I tend to understand what my dad does…)

They didn’t have a truck for me at the rental yard even though I reserved it 4 days in advance. An hour later I have a 18 foot truck instead of the 10 footer I wanted…to move 1 smoker and 1 refrigerator…

I guess I should have known that there are hidden nooks and crannies in the smoker that hold 749 gallons of pork renderings that only drain out all over me when I try and put it on or take it off a moving van…

BTW: My furniture dollies are in jail for attempted murder… Bill Curtis will have an ENTIRE American Justice episode on A&E for that one.

But the point of all this?

I opened the door to my shop and the wind, which had not been even a slight Zephyr all day, decided to break records and rip the door out of my hands and pull itself off it’s hinges…all 375 pounds of double thick double pane majesty nearly hit the ground…I still have absolutely no idea why or how I held on to it…

So, I am in a wind storm of Biblical proportions, the door is trying to make a break for parts unknown to become, ultimately, a pile of parts unknown and 472 people walk right by glaring at me because, evidently, I’m “in their way”.

It is the law of all things mechanical that, when something “falls off” for no good reason, it will require infinite time, the power of 150 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs and the vocabulary of a broken down, homeless, transvestite, former Merchant Marine to get things back together…and then you worry that as soon as you “let go” it will fall off again…

So, all by my lonesome and an hour and a half later, I finally get the door back on the hinges and reward myself by sitting right smack dab in the middle of my empty restaurant and have a beer…and THEN people stop in front of the now re-secured door and say, “Hey I see ya got that door back on…what happened?”

What, indeed, happened ?

I was passed by 472 people who saw me struggling with a door when literally 2 minutes of their time and a single hand, (no strength required – I just needed SOMEONE to put ONE FINGER on the lower swing plate while I lined up the upper hinge) would have saved me a shit-ton of pain and aggravation. The way the “auto-door closer” was making the door push and pull, I couldn’t let it go or it would have crashed the door AND ripped the door frame apart. Yet, though I was able to locate the door pins, I just could not stretch enough to put anything on the lower hinge receiver until I managed to get a shoe and sock off (!!! Yeah that was a trick I never thought I could pull off…) to use my big toe to line things up…and now my body is letting me know I should have tried that first. “Dumbass…”

I should have asked help from LANDRU…ah, hell who am I kidding he would have just said “You are NOT of The Body…Fuck Off !!!” (That’s for YOU, Brent Powell)

Funny thing is, anyone who would have helped me would have gotten an entire Pulled Pork Butt or a WHOLE SMOKED BEEF BRISKET for being kind to a stranger… But since everyone I happened to notice was glaring at me for “blocking the sidewalk” – yeah, I know you raised your voice for my benefit, suit and tie wearing, 20-something asshole, I’m SURE your girlfriend was MIGHTILY impressed – was of the “non-caring” type, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

But, today is a new day…one where I get to face down the 5 departments of HELL known as the Health, Environmental, Fire, Building and Engineering Departments all who need copious amounts of money to tell me how badly I failed to take in consideration the fact that there are no rules to follow “just do what we say which we will then deny saying the second we have said it…”

I need a beer… — at Sparks and Smoke BBQ Takeout.

to be continued…