It was time.
The old grill, from Sears, was about to turn twenty, and it was struggling to manage even a couple burgers and dogs. It served me well over the years, considering that I use it twelve months per year, even though cooking in sub-freezing weather presents some interesting wardrobe challenges.
Actually, it was long past its time, but I had held off making the move for a new one out of a morbid fear of having to assemble the sonofabitch. I recall the nightmare that I went through to assemble the current grill some twenty years ago, when a cousin of mine (as hopelessly inept as I) and I spent the better part of the day reading and debating the instructions, only to assemble disassemble and re-assemble the damned thing a half dozen times. When we were through, we were left with a couple â€œmystery partsâ€.
In addition, I knew that these things come in big boxes â€“ VERY BIG BOXES. The boxes are even too big to fit in the trunk of my big, black, capitalist car.
I called upon Usual Suspect Jeff (da â€œChef of da Futureâ€ â€“ a Jackie Gleason thing), who: (a) has a TRUCK (something most people in Jersey donâ€™t have), and (b) he knows how to do stuff like put stuff together.
We trucked off to Loweâ€™s where from the collection of grills I picked out this one. It was the only Weber Loweâ€™s had, but that was OK, because it has everything I need. I didnâ€™t want a grill that looked like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. I need it to cook the occasional burger, hot dog, chicken breast or steak. I donâ€™t plan on roasting any pigs (ewwwwww), or spinning a half dozen chickens on a spit.
We got the big farookinâ€™ box in the truck and brought back to the House by the Parkway, where â€œweâ€ began the assembly process. Actually, as a first step, we emptied the big farookinâ€™ box, spread all of the gazillion parts all over the garage floor and then unfolded the mondo instructions out on the floor.
I looked at the instructions and almost puked.
Jeff, recognizing the terror in my face, suggested that I make us a couple cocktails. Now, THAT, I can do.
Mrs. Parkway, who has an unmistakable aptitude for putting stuff together (which has served me quite well over the years), came out and jumped right into the project.
I made more drinks and told interesting stories.
As the job neared completion, it became my task to gather up all the packing stuff to be thrown away. No one let me near any screws, bolts, washers or any of the parts that had come in the huge box. I was now the Garbage Guy.
After about 45 minutes and a couple three cocktails, the job was done, and the garbage was all packed up.
We humped the new grill up the stairs to my deck and fired it up for a test run. Everything worked. Sweet!
I poured more Chivas for Jeff, and a cocktail or two for me, and we spent an hour or so celebrating â€œourâ€ successful assembly of the new grill, generally shooting the shit and having a few laughs.
I may be a helluva Cocktail Guy and an average Garbage Guy, but I damned sure ainâ€™t a Put-Shit-Together Guy.
Iâ€™m glad that Jeff is my friend.