In the old days, we had a tiny grill right outside the back door. In the summertime, you could barely get out there and flip a burger and get back in the house without getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. But when we added the pool, the screen enclosure made all that space into living area – at least during the more moderate times of the year, like football season. With a big sun umbrella covering it in summer, the grill was a terrific place to cook year round.
But a space like that makes a previously large grill look suddenly small. Funny how that works. A new couch makes the walls look like they need to get painted; freshly painted walls in one room will make the rest of the house look old and decrepit. That’s how you end up spending your whole summer painting the inside of your house. (And then painting the outside of the house that Fall.)
So our previously large and relatively clean grill suddenly looked small and old once the pool was finished. There was rust on it we had never seen before. The burners didn’t work properly. The little thermometer in the lid was fogged over.
And as the wife started shopping for a new grill, discussions emerged about what kind to get. Since dreaming costs nothing, somebody stupidly lets out that one of those big built-in grills with the stone veneer and the side tables, one of those would be really great to have.
Okay, it was me.
And once you start shopping for those big built in grills, you find out that they cost a ton of money. I was shocked. It’s just stones, for Pete’s sake. Rocks. Rocks are free, aren’t they? Can’t you just pick ‘em up off the ground?
Well, anyway, that dream evaporated pretty quickly once we started the actual shopping, but that didn’t fully remove the idea from my wife’s mind. Even though our existing trill worked fine, when she was at Sam’s Club she saw a “do it yourself” outdoor kitchen.
Of course, “do it yourself” means “have you husband do it.”
This thing was a sheet metal kit, painted to look like wood, but with granite tops and a big stainless steel gas grill in the middle, and a little side area, all attached.
I was in! Merry Christmas! Let’s do it.
I had already built a small wood deck for the grill to sit on, with the idea that one day we would do something grandiose out there, but when the Sam’s kit arrived, it took up the whole deck.
That was fine; that’s what it was for.
I did say it was a small wood deck, right? There was plenty of “cool deck” around the pool, and plenty of paver deck around that. All happily coexisting under the screened enclosure, so no mosquitoes.
Which may have been what was holding her back from taking it all over anyway: the bugs. But once the big outdoor kitchen was put together, a subtle transition occurred.
Men cook on grills. Women cook on outdoor kitchens.
Sure there are some guys who have a big fancy cooking area outside by the pool, but at our house, as soon as that thing got put together, I wasn’t cooking out there anymore.
I’d like to pretend that I enjoyed the extra free time, but in fact guys like grilling burgers and hot dogs. They like playing with fire. But all that was now over. The outdoor kitchen was hers. (To placate me, she eventually bought me a small charcoal grill. It fits neatly under a corner of outdoor kitchen.)
I was tasked with building the deck, and with finding a large enough umbrella to cover her beloved outdoor kitchen when it was too sunny out, so she could still cook on hot days – that actually worked well in keeping the rain off of it, so she was still able to cook out there when it was raining. Hello, baby back ribs. Touche!
(The grill sits on a deck next to a covered porch. They butt right up against each other. She doesn’t get wet; I’m not a slave driver.)
So somewhere in that transition, I kinda quit cooking on the grill and she took over. It was probably a good idea, too; she’s a much better cook than I am. And she likes it more, too. So it all works out. She makes restaurant quality ribs, and a grilled salmon that is to die for. No kidding. Me, I can do steaks and burgers and hot dogs.
Well… burgers and hot dogs. She makes better steaks, too.
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And buy “The TERRIBLE Two’s” or any of the other books in the Savvy Stories series.
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