MITCHELL'S MUSINGS: Cooking with gas

I might have mentioned that I’m not that handy before. And I’m not rich either, or even particularly good looking for that matter, but for some reason my wife agreed to marry me all those years ago. I’m sure there’s times when she wonders why but I might be getting off track here just a wee bit.

You see, the other day the barbecue stopped working, at a most inconvenient time of course but then when else would it stop, so I did what I always do, unhook the tank and get it refilled.

Except, this time, a week later when I finally managed to get it filled and went to hook it up again, the darn thing refused to work. Another dinner plan down the drain and what was a guy like me supposed to do about it? Aaaaarggggghhhhh.

Well, actually a guy like me does have a game plan when these kinds of things happen but it ain’t pretty. I waited a week, hoping it was maybe due to the cold snap and something got frozen in the line or something, but in reality it was avoidance strategy, as in the chances of me fixing it were remote so delay, delay and then delay some more.

So a week later, and by then it was a bit warmer, I tried it again with, of course, the same result. What’s that quote about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Right, never mind.

This time, however, I actually noticed something, it seemed like the propane wasn’t getting to the burners because I couldn’t hear it per usual.

That meant one of two things in my challenged mind. Either the tank wasn’t really full of propane and I paid that money for nothing, and it was pretty darn heavy so that didn’t seem likely. Or something was blocking the propane from getting to the burners, which seemed more likely from my vantage point.

Of course while I’m trying to figure this all out there’s that more than slight fear of playing around with propane isn’t always a good idea for a man of my talents but I pursued nevertheless, trying to follow every safety precaution along the way.

When I took off the grates I did notice that there was a more than a slight build up of ash that might or might not be blocking the propane from getting to the desired area.

Seeing how cleaning out the barbecue had been on my list for several years now, ahem, and that there was also the slight chance that it might resuscitate my one way to contribute to cooking dinner at the homestead, I went for it.

So after thoroughly cleaning out the ash and soot, let’s just say there was a lot of it, I optimistically tried it again. Nothing. So now I had one clean but apparently useless barbecue. Great.

Once I settled down, a week or so later, I pursued another theory – maybe it was the hose that connected the propane tank to the barbecue? Although why did it just suddenly stop working after refilling the tank? And, hopefully, even though it looked like one easy connection to install one, was it in me to do it?

So, after writing down every serial number I could find on the contraption, I went to Canadian Tire and found out they’re pretty much ‘universal’ anyway.

The device sat on the counter for a week or so, avoidance strategy kicking in big time because if this didn’t work, well I was out of options, except buying a new one of course and that meant I might have to put one together again. Yikes.

But, finally, I bravely went for it, after taking a half hour to find a crescent wrench of course. I somehow successfully got the old hose off and the new on one.

It was show time and I knew the next few seconds were going to affect my self-esteem for a considerable length of time.

I turned on the tank. Turned the left knob to high and hit the ignite button. Presto, it lit up like a dream (and it was clean, too).

I couldn’t help but smile. I don’t want to exaggerate how I was feeling but I thought I knew how the first caveman must have felt when that rubbing sticks together thing finally paid dividends.

To me, it was a small miracle and my son and wife pretty much concurred. I happily barbecued that night and every night since. I’m starting to think my family’s taking advantage of my present state of mind, but you know what, that’s fine with me. Isn’t life grand?


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