Betty, my trusty backyard barbecue — barbecues should have names — has officially become one more innocent victim of 2015, Halifax’s Winter Without End… joining my car’s front windshield (ice-cracked), front fender (ice-whacked) and underside (salt-slimed, rusting). But I digress…
I only discovered its demise after the winter’s geologic layers of snow and ice had finally melted away from the back deck, revealing not only mountains of buried blue bags full of perfectly preserved cereal boxes and pop cans, but also one sadly expired barbecue.
Last fall, I’d intended to clean the grill, disconnect the tank and find some sheltered spot for Betty to weather the weather. I didn’t. It wasn’t the first winter I didn’t. That may have been the problem.
At any rate, the snows came, and came, and came. The barbecue disappeared. Snow snaked inside, melted, froze, melted, corroded.
Unaware, I unwisely bought steaks so we could celebrate the return of something approximating spring. But when I went to light the grill, I noticed the too-many holes, the rusted pipes — sure signs that lighting this might be a mistake.
Time to replace Betty.
I will confess I have an irrational fear of assembling barbecues. I cannot count the springtime hours of my middle age I wasted wondering where random Part XY went, or how come there were two ABs when the instructions only called for one, or why the instructions were not in any English I understood.
Luckily, I have finally passed the life stage where I feel compelled to prove I can do it myself. I can’t.
So this time, when I told the clerk I’ll take that one, I added quickly: “assembled, please.”
I’m glad I did. As I admired Barb, my gleaming new, fully put-together, stainless steel meat maker, I smugly examined the Assembly Manual’s “exploded diagram,” full of its myriad parts and pieces. I re-read the un-instructions: “The top of the front brace (CG) can be identified by two clips located on the top left, and right side of this part, as shown in B… WARNING: This part may have sharp edges. Wear protective gloves when assembling.”
Not this time.