The Annual Neighborhood Yard Sale

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No matter what I get involved in it always seems that I get asked to drag my smoker out and do what I do best. Some people cook, some people grill, but only the best can smoke. For those of y’all new to The Sting Of The Scorpion all I can do is recommend that your do a category search for “Smoking” and catch up. For everyone else this in just another day in my life. I’m not sure if I have ever posted pictures of the “other woman” (as it is called by my wife) so here she is. I have more smokers but this one is my oldest and my favorite. I built this trailer smoker back when I was in high school in the year 1985 based on a smaller project I had completed in shop class earlier that year. My smoker was built-in my parents garage using leftover metal from other projects. The trailer was bought at a yard sale and then modified and beefed up to make sure it was up to the task at hand. Since its conception and completion this smoker has been in my family ever since. When I joined the United States Air Force in 1988 I made sure this smoker went with me all over the planet, wherever I went, she went. Anyway, back to the present.

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This past weekend was the annual neighborhood yard sale. Around 200 houses and businesses participate and it is generally a real big deal for this community. My baby sister happens to live here in this small country town southwest of Houston and they participate year after year because she invites all of the family and in-laws to participate. I always have two specific jobs, I smoke and I play cashier. This year was a little different because I actually brought some big things to sell like a leather living room set, dining room table with 8 chairs and three 2 foot leafs, two different Arachnid (brand) electronic dart boards that I had restored (circa 1982), an adult go-cart, washer & dryer, and an ass-load of clothes. When I pulled up at 5am with my trailer-load and smoker in tandem tow I was greeted by my parents, my sister, and some early morning “shoppers”. In the end, the only thing that made it to be sold in the yard sale was the clothes. I had made $8800.00 before it ever began. I unloaded the trailer onto 4 different pick-up trucks and I was basically done. I wasn’t expecting it to be that easy, but it was, and it made the rest of the day a breeze for me. Over all, selling 90% of the clothes brought in another $413.50 making my grand total for the day $9213.50 which wasn’t too shabby in my book. I got a whole lot more money like this than I would have seen using Craigslist. So, I had a great day. The rest of the clothes were given to my mother to donate to their local Goodwill.

I would like to discuss the people who came here to buy “other people’s junk” because the range at the yard sale was better than I could ever find at the mall. There are three types of people I saw that really stood out. There were the “lookers and fondlers” that basically had to see everything, did through everything, yet bought nothing. Then there were the “hagglers” who wanted to get a better deal than the best deal offered. These are my favorite because they have the most money to spend and they are trying to get as many deals as they can for their buck. Luckily, for me personally, I only had to drop off my price for one item which was the adult go-cart, I was asking $3500.00 since I paid $3500.00 for it. It was ran hard and I know it, but it was clean and well maintained, we settled on $3400.00 and the old man thought he got a bargain on the 5-year-old cart. I guess it is time to go buy me more toys for Christmas. The last group was the “in a hurry” people because they move at high speeds hoping one won’t see something or something will get missed. Are they scamming, probably not, but if something was overlooked they wouldn’t say anything in my opinion. But, they never haggle, just pay how much they owe, which is super easy for me. When I price something I always go high with it because I know people will want to work the price down, which is the game we play, but everything has a bottom dollar they won’t budge from.

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Pictured above was load number two of the meat that was smoked, ribs, brisket, and sausage. Earlier I had smoked 80 sausage links and sold them for $3.00 a piece as sausage on a sticks. Since the meat was provided (donated) by my sister’s father in law, he wanted all proceeds to go to the “kitty” and divided up between the 6 families that were there, so we all got an extra $40.00 to boot plus I basically snacked on whatever I wanted all day long so I didn’t go hungry. In the end it was a good day, I went home with an empty trailer, a pocket full of cold hard cash, and a full belly. Anyway, that was my Saturday what did yours look like.

Moving Madness Multiplied

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I like to think that I’m real easy-going most of the time. In person, people know that I usually have no problem helping out someone when asked. People know I have certain equipment and that I usually work pretty cheap. With that being said, a few weeks ago I was asked by my wife to contact her pastor so I could sit down with him because he had a “favor” to ask of me. At first I was in shock because she had the absolute brass balls to come to me with something he wants. You see, the pastor and I have a little history of bad blood. In other words, I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire. Get the connection. I don’t like him or what he stands for. However, money is money if there is money involved. She told me that they would “rent” my time and the use of my dually and my 48′ box trailer. Rent me? apparently my time and equipment is worth money now, who knew. Perhaps I could chat with the jackass and see what he has in mind. The whole meeting was real uncomfortable for me because, in no fewer words, I despise him as a human being. The meeting was short and involved the details, which were pretty sketchy if you ask me. Anyway, I needed to be in place at the church by no later that 6 a.m. on Saturday 14 September 2013 with my truck and trailer and should be done somewhere around 3 p.m. that same day. I was pre-paid the entire “rental fee” as it was listed on his receipt I signed and noted as “other church services” at the bottom. What was I paid? I was paid $1,500.00 for my services. Which, after doing a little research was real cheap since most rentals of the same caliber, like a 48′ box truck, had a $1,5000.00 deposit, $495.00 per day rental, $1.09 per mile, and the cost of the amount of fuel used. So, I was real cheap in comparison. He never asked me what I wanted to charge, he just told me what he needed and what he was willing to pay, take it or leave it. I should have left it right on the table. I shouldn’t have just returned his call and told him to kiss my ass and never looked back. But, for some reason, my wife gets involved and she asked me nicely. Her, I respect her opinion.

So, anyway, Friday evening my son and I prepped the trailer, meaning we swept it out and made sure all the tires were aired up properly since this trailer has been sitting in the same spot for over a year. Everything checked out which was a relief. We went into town and fueled up the dually then returned and hooked the trailer up. Again, no problems. We were ready to go in the morning. My son and I arrived to the church at 5:30 in the morning. While we waited we ate our breakfast burritos we got on the way, my sons request. At just after 7 in the morning not one person has shown up yet, not one. I called the pastor and my call went straight to voicemail. Seriously. I called my wife, who in turn was on her way to the church to collect my son to go to get his hair cut and do a few errands. She has not heard from the pastor. Promptly at 8 the pastor showed up, parks, and comes to my truck. He asked why I was here so early at the same time I was asking where everyone was. He apologized as he must have “forgotten” to call me, there was a change of plans because a few people couldn’t show up until 8 in the morning. According to him he did tell me when this all developed 2 weeks ago. Thinking back, that would have been the perfect time to just drive away. It was breach of contract on his part. But, I’m a sucker for punishment I don’t deserve, so I stayed. Immediately I was being told to move so I could back up across a sidewalk and across a section of grass, about 30 feet. Doesn’t this idiot know how heavy this truck and trailer are? Come to find out, nobody cared, it will all be okay. Piss on that, I will not pay to get towed out. So, I continue backing up, I hear screeching as the tree branches slide down the sides of the trailer. I’m thinking it just keeps getting better at this point. It made ruts going in I can’t wait to see the ruts when I pull out. Have y’all ever just known that something was going to turn into a great story. I knew that it would be a factoid when I was first told about this crap. Sometimes I can see the future.

Pretty much the entire day I either sat in the a/c in my truck or I would walk around a bit to stretch and see how loaded the trailer was becoming. According to my wife, somebody donated a large sum of money to the administration of the church so the church could update their offices, the two classrooms, and the day care. So, that is what they were loading, all the furniture coming out. I was supposed to take the loaded trailer to a warehouse where the people who bought all the furniture at auction were to unload it. At almost 7 p.m. they finished up. They almost completely had the trailer full and packed pretty well, I was almost impressed. After closing it up one of the men guided me out back into the parking lot. I thought I was stuck coming across the sidewalk, but after the trailer snapped it as it rolled over it everything was smooth getting out. I wonder what will be said about that because I told them it was going to happen, not maybe, but that it would get broken, my opinion was dismissed by the pastor. So, the pastor gives me the address and directions to the warehouse, it was about 30 minutes away. The only thing I can think is I hope they unload it faster than the trailer got loaded. When I arrived to the address I was presented with a rather tight turn into the driveway, it took me a little time to negotiate it but I got it. I went up to the office and explained who I was and I was told that I didn’t have permission to be in here number one and I needed a copy of the manifest or receipt before they would accept it. I was told to hurry up because they closed at 9 p.m. and would not be back until Tuesday. After multiple calls to the good pastor and to my wife I was getting nowhere fast. I was, however, growing more pissed by the minute. At 9 I was asked to remove my truck and trailer from the property. At 9:15 I finally get a call from the pastor who explained he had taken the men and woman who helped him all day out to dinner which is why he couldn’t take my calls. He says he was unaware that I needed paperwork and would talk to his contact about making arrangements. I told him I was going home. When he asked where his stuff was going to be I explained it will be at my house tucked away out of my way. I waited all day Sunday for his call. Finally around 3 I called him and he actually answered the phone. He has been busy all day and has not been able to make arrangements and rushed to get off the phone with me.

Today, being Monday, I still have their stuff inside my trailer which is parked out at my house. At this point I really don’t know when he thinks I will be able to take it to the warehouse. I work, I have a day job that I can’t just up and leave at the drop of a phone call. After Wednesday when I get off work if he has not arranged anything then he will be having to wait until the end of the following week since I have foot surgery scheduled bright and early this Thursday morning. I told my wife I am charging him storage, $150.00 a day and that started Sunday. Snidely, she told me to do what I am comfortable doing and hung up. This has worked out well so far I think. Should be an interesting week. I have a feeling when this is said and done I will never be available to assist these people again. Everytime I do it turns into a complete clusterfuck on their part.

Just Smokin’ My Life Away

There’s no question about it, I really enjoy smokin’. Those of y’all that have been around a while already know that I smoke every opportunity I get. Those of y’all who are new will soon find out that I smoke every chance I get. I have found that there are different degrees and fashions to smoke meat. I have been doing this for 20 plus years and I think I am finally figuring the science of it all out. Since I have multiple ways to smoke or cook meat I get asked allot to cook at family functions, work functions, and at home all the time. I don’t mind. One can’t mind or be bothered when he has a true passion for doing what he loves to do. I enjoy it so much that I have built some good smokers. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a few failures as well which were very valuable lessons in my life. My most valued and treasured one is a trailer mounted 100 gallon reverse flow smoker. I take it to most places I go to and have found it is a very welcome site when I am seen rolling up. People know I am not going to disappoint. I take pride in what I do and everyone knows it.
 
 
I have bought different things over the years to broaden my horizons a bit. Last summer I picked up a roaster since cooking a whole pig is easier to do on an open pit. I could have done it the old fashioned way and built me a pit but I can’t go mobile with that. I like mobile since I like to go camping. Nothing beats throwing a couple big birds or a whole pig on the roasting pit and let them slow cook all day or all night. I realize many of y’all are city dwellers and this might all seem a bit barbaric since everything y’all buy is in a supermarket or at a restaurant. I have friends that live in apartment style building and have to resort to a little hibachi grill that holds 8 wieners or 3 hamburger patties or 2 small steaks and they think they are truly grilling. I tell them that they do what they can do. There are so many people that don’t even know that a person can cook their own meat outdoors. I feel very sorry for those types because I feel they are missing so much in life. In fact, I can’t imagine a lifestyle where there is no grillin’, roastin’, or smokin’.
 
 
I was reminded a few weeks ago that I had a project going on that my wife would really like me to finish. This particular project is close to completion from my point of view. I wanted to build a “smoke-building” out by my shop but shied away from the idea because I didn’t actually want to have to build a structure. It’s not that it was going to be too much work, but it ends up being relatively permanent. That idea scared me a bit because I could never just pick a spot, I was torn between about three place. I want it close enough to the house where it isn’t a hike to get to it yet I want it far enough from the house where we don’t get smoked out when the wind changes. So I came up with the idea to scale it down and make it portable. This way I can put it on the deck, outside my shop, or even take it with me somewhere if needed. I’m not done with it by no means and really need to get my ass in gear if I ever want to be able to use it. In reality all I lack is the “pit” enclosure which will fit into the bottom partially, but mostly out to the back, which will probably be fitted with some kind of small squirrel cage blower for increased smoke volume and transfer.

 
I will get done with this little project in due time. I need to get it done because it is in the way. I need to get it done because it’s not smoking anything for me the way it is. I don’t know which is worse, having an idea or building that idea. Seems if I would stop coming up with different things then I wouldn’t get in such a pickle. I think once I am done with this I will take it easy for a while and just enjoy the fruits of my labor. I know what your thinking and I will tell you I do not have an addiction or a problem, I just like meat of all sorts. Wait til y’all get a taste of the rabbits I smoked up. I will include in a post the ingredients, preparation, and cooking for anyone who wants to give it a shot. Do y’all have rabbit locally available? If not you should probably move. I hear Texas is a real nice place to live. So, I think that is all for now, I have allot of work to do.