Rob Loos, Ledger Columnist

We’ve been waiting to buy a new outdoor grill until autumn, when the prices drop as hardware stores make room for cornhusk scarecrows, pimple-covered gourds, and giant inflatable pumpkins.

My wife let me choose the BBQ grill, then asked me if I thought it would be a good idea to have the store assemble and deliver it. I scoffed at the notion of paying extra money for a grill we got our hands on for such a super deal. But quickly, I felt like a bag of candy-corn the day after Halloween.

The first thing you need to remember is that gas grills come unassembled, which in grill-language means “impossible to put together unless you’re an aerospace engineer.” The second thing is that the box is a lot bigger in your car then it looks on display in the store. The third thing is that the six-foot-four inch hulk who stuffs the grill crate into your SUV has no plans to stick around to help you get it out of the car. Even after a generous two-dollar tip.

So after arriving home and spending 45 minutes wrestling the grill box partially out of the car, I decided that I would carry the smaller grill pieces into our house for quick assembly. After 12 trips, my 127-piece dream grill was spread across the living room floor. As I tried to match the diagrams to the bizarrely worded assembly instructions, I realized that there might have been some wisdom in paying the hardware store to assemble and deliver the beauty. But five short hours later, the assembly was completed and our black and chrome grill was ready for action.

As darkness fell we had a special family bonding moment as we wheeled the grill outside. I placed the propane tank from our old grill into position, attached it, opened the grill lid, and tah-dah. Nothing. The grill would not light. There stood my beautiful wife with a plate filled with burgers and corn ready to be BBQ’d, but the grill was as cold as my preseason bet that the Patriots wouldn’t lose a game this season.

So I did what I always do in these situations, I called my friend Dave, the super-contractor and wizard of all things home improvement. I reached him as he was downing an energy drink after his polo lesson. He quizzed me on all of the pertinent assembly instructions, then asked an especially probing question: “How heavy is your propane tank? If it’s heavy, it’s filled with propane, if it’s light, you’re out of gas.” I picked up my nearly weightless propane tank, revisited the hardware store and exchanged it for a very heavy tank, then returned to cook my family a great grilled meal at 9:30 that night. Which goes to once again prove, “If I can’t figure it out—and I know that I can’t—my friend Dave can.”

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