Today’s Thoughtballs

Church demands my time twice this weekend. Today, our minister will be officially installed as the settled minister. While the concept hold little meaning for me, it apparently means a great deal to others, including the minister, so I will attend. I understand that selecting a minister as the settled minister establishes a special relationship between him or her and the congregation that simply engaging a minister on contract does not. Tomorrow is just another Sunday. Despite the fact that neither day involves a great deal of time at the church, both days do not belong to me in their entirety, thanks to church obligations. Obligations is too strong a word. Both days involve a self-imposed commitment that I could break without risking dislocation of the universe. But I have allowed myself to interpret a self-imposed commitment as an obligation. If I continue to do that, I will find myself resenting the church. This is something I need to work on.


My ultrasound is scheduled for Monday morning, after which I will come home and ready the smoker for the next day’s engagement: smoking a 5-pound (+/-) pork loin for Tuesday evening’s meal. The pork loin is the one a couple at our church purchased during last year’s church auction. They’re finally ready for me to deliver on Tuesday evening. And they generously invited my wife and me to partake, along with the minister and his wife. It should be a fun evening. The preparation of the pork loin will begin Monday afternoon, when I will start the process of brining it overnight. Then, on Tuesday, I will smear it with mustard and dust it heavily with rub. My rub is an off-the-shelf product to which I liberally add lots of pepper and a few other things. I’ll smoke it with a combination of mesquite and hickory chips.


The weather forecast for this afternoon and evening calls for thunderstorms which are expected to last through midday tomorrow. Then, we can expect more of the same, with only brief respites, through Wednesday. Assuming the forecasts to be accurate, a shaky assumption, I will be unable to spend much time working on the deck in preparation for the new contractor’s arrival next week. And I’ll be unable to spend time on other outdoor tasks that desperately need attention…mine or someone else’s.


The tasks requiring my attention around the house have taken on a new dimension of late. That’s because I’ve taken to watching, on occasion, an HGTV program involving people buying island properties. Most of the programs involve couples looking at condos on islands in the Carribean, though some are set in other places. Condos. My wife and I got married in her one-bedroom condo in Houston. It was a converted apartment complex. I’ve always thought of condos as apartments. Which, basically, they are. But I’ve begun to look at the idea of purpose-built condos with excellent sound insulation with a degree of interest. Especially if the condo happens to be located on a body of water with miles of sandy beaches.  I had no such interest until I started watching this HGTV series (I’m not sure what it’s called or when it airs; obviously, I don’t pay close attention). But the few programs I’ve seen have begun to change my mind about condos, at least about condos located in tropical paradises that are not (yet) awash in tourists and cruise ships. What I find most appealing is the absence of responsibilities for exterior maintenance. But the proximity to a walkable beach is rather attractive, too. Regardless of how attractive beachfront condos are, though, they are out of my reach. Because money. Or, rather, the lack thereof.  I really do wish there were a black market in souls; there are days I think I’d sell mine.


A Little Rock television station has reported two interesting mercantile stories within the past several days. Both Trader Joe’s and Costco are said to be evaluating the possibility of building their first Arkansas stores in Little Rock. I hope the stories are true. And I hope the decisions come soon and are in our favor.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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