Greetings from the land of Unplanned-For Expenses, otherwise known simply as Home Ownership. Why, we’d noticed the deck seemed to be settling a little, last year, when we moved in, and this spring we could no longer ignore that the gazebo seems a bit… SLANTY… and so we called our favorite contractor and asked him to come take a look. He checked it out and told us how much it would be to bring in a jack and prop up the corner and reinforce it, and we nodded and agreed, and the price was not exactly pocket change, but it made sense and wasn’t too traumatic.
The same week, it became clear that we need a new air conditioner. For some strange reason, the unit which is ORIGINAL TO THE HOUSE was having problems. (Hint: This is not a new house, y’all.) FORTUNATELY, we have separate units for upstairs and downstairs! UNFORTUNATELY, the furnace attached to the ailing AC unit is original (read: dying!) as well! Yay!
[Let the record show that all of this happened right AFTER we’d decided to replace the living room floor, and given the confluence of other expensive events and, well, the fact that I was becoming increasingly concerned that the flooring place is run by morons, I canceled our order. You know, the order for the floor I was supposed to get last year when we moved in? That one? No, I’m okay. There’s just something in my eye. SHUT UP.]
And then the contractor came back to fix the deck and started digging and SURPRISE! Have a look at this, folks! It’s not a single sagging corner, actually, but it turns out that the WHOLE GOSH-DARNED DECK doesn’t have a speck of concrete reinforcement. Not one! How about that? Darndest thing. Oh, don’t worry. He can fix it. Um, how does three times the original estimate sound? I mean, the alternative is to leave it until the whole thing sinks into the clay, but… okay then! How about next week? FABULOUS.
So basically, all you have to do around here lately is show up and I will hand you some of my famous buckets of money! Because I have extras! Or because I don’t want the deck to fall off or the children to burn up in the next heat wave! DETAILS!
You would think—in the midst of all of this—that it wouldn’t make any sense at all to go out and buy a big fancy grill, but you would be SO WRONG. Because, I don’t know if you’ve noticed? We’re just not very bright.
Also, our family has felt the loss of our former grill quite keenly, as we are all about the charred meat ’round here. Charred veggies, sometimes, too, but we are big, big fans of cooking on the grill.
Honestly, grilling out has everything to recommend it: Fewer dirty dishes, less heat in the kitchen, more pure carnivore ecstasy (generally speaking), and—perhaps most important—although I consider Otto a fairly liberated guy, he is physically incapable of allowing me to cook when it comes to an open flame. So grilling = me getting to relax.
We needed another grill, is my point.
And AS LONG AS we were grill shopping, we figured it made sense to get the RIGHT grill. You know, the one that had everything we wanted. The one which would allow us to cook 36 hamburgers at once. Because sometimes we are REALLY HUNGRY.
Kidding! We are never quite THAT hungry, actually. But we do entertain a fair amount and sometimes our old grill seemed a little small for the task. So we figured we’d look at something a little bigger. Off to the home improvement store we went.
The grills, as it turns out, are conveniently located next to the patio furniture. The kids conducted extensive testing of each and every lounger and patio chair while Otto and I wove amongst the various grills, opening lids, rattling grates, oohing and aahing over rotisserie attachments, and so on. After about four hours we had selected our new grill. When it came right down to it, we carefully weighed all the factors and made a sensible decision.
(It was the shiniest one they had.)
So we left, and Otto went back to pick it up the next day, and for some reason Chickadee was DYING to be part of this excursion, so she went with him. And yesterday afternoon he pulled up to the (slanty) deck stairs and we unloaded The New Grill, the one we’d thought was just “a little bigger” than our old one. Chickadee danced around with unbridled glee while we wrestled it into place.
I’m not saying it takes up the entire deck (because, dude, our deck is bigger than Otto’s last house), but I am telling you that calling this thing a behemoth would be an understatement. It is ginormous. Hugantic. BIG.
No one suffered a hernia during the unloading (reason number #529 to love Otto: he owns ramps suitable for just such a task) and we carefully wheeled it to the spot where the old grill had lived. Then we adjusted and readjusted it until it seemed to fit, when really it just sticks out like the gigantic, shiny apparatus that it is.
“What do you think?” asked Otto, finally, clearly fearing I was about to bust out with an edict to remove this eyesore from my garden paradise.
“I think…” I said, still walking around and peering at it from all angles, “that it is a sexy beast.” We grinned at each other.
“Okay, but, I have a question,” piped up Chickadee. “What happens when THIS grill catches on fire?”
So much for our carefree moment.
“THIS GRILL IS NOT GOING TO CATCH ON FIRE,” we answered in tandem. I went on to explain to her that one of the reasons we picked this particular model is that it is constructed in such a way that flare-ups from grease are pretty much impossible. (There’s a screen under the grates with holes in it. Air can pass through, but flames cannot.) And I lovingly assuaged her fears, mostly by telling her that I refuse to even entertain such thoughts and hey, don’t you have homework to do?
At last she was soothed (or disgusted; hard to tell) and went back inside. And then I turned to my husband, the light of my life.
“Dude! Char me some dinner!”
And he did. And it was DELICIOUS. The end.