Live and learn. Some people just don’t know how to keep their eyes on the prize.
This realization came home to roost this past weekend when I asked the Little Missuss to help me with a do-it-yourself construction project.
It all began with a Memorial Day Holiday Weekend trip to Home Depot to buy a new gas grill.
“What sort of monkey-brained fool would try to buy a barbecue grill on the biggest barbecuing weekend of the year?” she asked.
I sheepishly raised my hand, and then asked for a banana.
When I returned home, I knew I was in trouble when I couldn’t lift the big box out of the bed of my pick-up truck. The Little Missuss laughed.
“It looked so easy going in, when they used a forklift,” I said.
To avoid the embarrassment of asking a neighbor to help, I decided to open the box while it was still in the truck. Then, like an ant at his first picnic, I started to run back and forth from the deck to the truck, carrying one part after another.
By late afternoon, when all of the disassembled pieces were in place, I asked the Little Missuss for help since I could not hold
Part A up against Part B while inserting Screw U.
Soon, it became clear to me that the Little Missuss did not appreciate my extensive master engineering background. She began to question everything I did.
She even doubted the wisdom of assembling the grill while it was upside down.
“Silly girl,” I said. “This is how complex projects are put together — from the bottom up. You just put it together, then flip it over.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier to just turn the instruction manual the right side up?” the Little Doubter asked.
Next, she questioned my choice of an assembly site. I think she raised the issue after the fourth or fifth time I dropped a bolt, washer or screw and it fell between the planks in the deck, and I had to crawl beneath the deck on my hands and knees to look for the missing piece.
Each time I got back, I got the same look.
I tried to tell her that it’s just common sense that you should build something near the spot where you’re eventually going to use it.
“I hope you never need my help building a boat. Or a treehouse,” she said.
Finally, the grill was finished, we flipped it over, and I hooked up the gas.
“Just wait,” I said. “Just wait until you sink your teeth into one of these succulent steaks.”
And wait she did. For some reason, I couldn’t get all the burners working. I think it was due to a gas leak somewhere, but I’ll find that later.
Instead, I spent a few hours or so searching for the “hot spots” on the grill, and moving the meat from one side to the other, then the other. The Little Missuss watched in amazement.
“Those pieces of cow have moved around more than free-range cattle,” she said.
“Next time you’re getting a tofu burger,” I warned.
Next time: I can hardly wait.