Tracey’s enthusiasm for our new BBQ waned a bit yesterday when we drove to the pickup area of the store and discovered some assembly was required. She looked at me doubtfully. I assume foreseeing a need to assemble flat packed goods is why parents of my generation gave their young boys Meccano sets.
My father-in-law wanted to know why we needed to replace the BBQ in the first place, as he gifted it to us only ten years ago. I explained it was old, wobbly, rusty and generally past its use-by date. These things happen to old BBQ’s, I told him. Not to his BBQ, of course. It’s circa 1980 and in mint condition. This would also have been a much stronger argument if he hadn’t also given Tracey’s sister an identical BBQ to ours at the same time, and hers still looks as good as the day she got it home.
When Tracey found a BBQ in a catalogue for $98 she was excited because it meant I would remove the old eyesore BBQ from the balcony. Of course, for the big money we paid, our new BBQ is the Hyundai Excel of the BBQ world (only with a pinstripe or mags because we paid an extra $30 and got a hood), but at least I can burn meat outside, the way nature intended. Eyesore or not, Tracey wasn’t convinced having me assemble the new BBQ would improve the look of our outdoor area.
“We can return it,” she suggested. But I wasn’t having any of that defeatist attitude. I was a man, albeit not a particularly handy one.
“I’m sure I can do it,” I said confidently. To fully understand how ridiculously misplaced this confidence was you would need a tour of our property, where you’d be dazzled by an array of poorly hung photos, poorly repaired fence palings and poorly assembled Ikea-style furniture which no one is allowed to put stuff on for fear of a fatal collapse.
I explained to Tracey she’d need to return my hammer.
“You don’t need a hammer to erect a BBQ, Bruce.”
Poor Tracey. She knows so little about man stuff. “And what if the holes for a bolt don’t line up?” I asked her, eyebrows raised to give my face an especially slapable appearance (or so she tells me).
Tracey keeps hiding my hammer. Occasionally I’ll stumble upon it and race around the house hastily and happily banging away at things until Tracey snatches it off me and hides it again. She tells people I have a tool handicap. Or I’m a retarded tool, something like that. “I guess I could always use glue. Do we have any araldite at home?”
“I’m sorry, we’ve changed our mind,” Tracey said to the nice lady who’d just dragged the huge box along the concrete floor to the dock door. Sometimes my wife has no faith in me at all.
After a curt discussion, where I promised I wouldn’t put big nasty dents in our new BBQ or go near it with glue, Blu-Tack or masking tape, we were heading home with a big box in the trailer. Now the thing about pregnant women is they don’t like to do a lot of heavy lifting so our new BBQ remained safely stored on its box on our trailer for the next 20 hours while I tried to work out how I was going to move it onto the balcony.
For anyone with a similar tool disability, here is my step by step advice on assembling flat packed BBQ’s:
Step 1. Invite over a mate to help you unload the awkwardly large BBQ box from the trailer.
There really is only the one step. The rest will take care of itself because no man worth his salt can resist the chance to work with tools and build something.
Except me. Despite my parents best efforts I was never good with Meccano. Even my Lego creations would fall apart. I was more of a Chess playing sort of kid.
We got lucky with the BBQ, I didn’t even have to invite anyone over. Some out of town friends showed up for a quick coffee on their way to visit local family. My mate didn’t even ask if he could start putting it together after we carted it onto the balcony, he just set to work pulling bits out and fitting them together. When they left, four quick coffee hours later, I had a BBQ which looked just like the picture in the catalogue.
So Neil, my tooled up friend, check mate! Ooops…I mean, cheers mate!
Bruce started his blog because friends and family kept wanting to know how he managed to feed and clothe such a large family while still having fun and being able to afford holidays and beer. He had no idea, but thought if he started writing things down some sort of pattern might emerge. When not at work Bruce enjoys reading, writing, hiding from his children and not changing nappies. He’s recently taken up the cycling challenge with a view to surviving long enough to see all his kids out the door so he can finally sleep in.