Over the past couple of weeks I have been acting out of character. I have handled more wrenches, nuts, bolts and screws that I thought myself capable. It is not a natural gift but rather a learned necessity, because when new pieces of equipment are delivered (basketball hoops, lawn mowers, etc) varying degrees of self-assembly lead to huge cost savings.(Yes, I know that in a previous post I said.... but...)
It is also a fascinating learning curve. I have practiced the art of staring at assembly instructions for long periods of time, during which they slowly morph from classic hieroglyphics into something approaching guidelines; I have also learned that a socket set with ratchet wrench is a tool that every modern family must possess, and above all else I have discovered just how fragile and delicate human fingers really are – mere flesh and bone compared to the sharp and aggressive pieces of metal that seem hell-bent on inflicting painful damage. And yesterday was the day to keep all these lessons in mind, and build a new gas barbeque grill.
The old grill has seen seven long and busy years, standing out in all weathers, and in the warmer times often in use five times a week. Only its frame is original, the various parts and plates having been replaced as needed over time. But this year not only is it impossible to get some new parts – the grill is in such a bad way as to warrant replacement. Sad, but a fact.
So to work on a rainy Sunday afternoon. (Unpacking the box I was amazed that there seemed to be more cardboard than grill!) The secret was then to stay as calm and organized as possible, laying the parts out on the garage floor, glancing at the huge instruction sheet that had twenty-three diagrammatic sections but very few words, and trying to project the air of someone who knew exactly what he was doing. (Cough.) I was also aware that my daughter’s math tutor was in the nearby room, using impressive-sounding words like ‘congruent’ and ‘obtuse,’ and in the event of a painful incident with all that metal I did not want to enlarge her vocabulary.
To give the Weber company full credit, the whole assembly process took exactly one hour and twenty five minutes, two cold sodas, and no bad words. I even enjoyed it! The new grill stood proud, and was finished just in time to celebrate one of the most important days of spring – the start of the local asparagus season!