...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, September 5, 2011

When St. Bernardus and I assembled a grill

Happy Labor Day!

In honor of this last good weekend of grilling for many Americans, I’m posting this live diary that I wrote on the evening of June 10th.  Please note, the following contains language that is NSFW (not safe for work). Though this violates Principle #2, I've chosen to present this unedited.


Okay, here’s the situation.  Kristen is away on an extended business trip.  Kristen wants a grill.  It’s Friday night.  I need to combine all of these elements.  So this is what I’m doing:

A bottle of St Bernardus Abt 12 (delicious!) Belgian Ale and I are going to assemble a Char-Broil 2-Burner Grill…unbeknownst to my travelling bride.  (I can still call her my bride as we haven’t been married for a year as of this typing.)

I’m not the handiest of men and my 750mL bottle of Patience is always half-empty.  It’s not that I’m trying to prove my virility to my woman, but I seem to turn into a childish dingbat every time I’m left to myself.  So this time, I going to prove myself useful and get drunk while doing it.

Here’s the bottle:

The bottle on the right

Here’s the box:

(Terrible pictures courtesy of my terrible BlackBerry Bold)

One thing to note, the majority of online reviews for this grill state that the assembly is unnecessarily complicated by poorly labeled parts, bad directions, and missing pieces.

So this should turn out well.

8:45pm – Going to the bottle.  Going to the box.  Charging my phone in case I lose a finger.

St. Bernardus 12 is 10% alcohol by volume (3x the strength of Amstel Light).  The bottle is 25.4 fluid ounces.  So this will be like doing five shots.  Good for coordination and dexterity.

How genteel it looks in a wine glass.

There are a lot of parts.

There are A LOT of parts.

Already found a piece that’s not part of the parts diagram.

9:30pm – So, I finished my first drink before starting step 1.

And it took 45 mins to complete 1 & 2.  The parts take up the entire living room.  I have found the pieces I’ve needed, but really after 45 minutes I’ve only partially assemble the two legs.

Already bent the metal on a support beam, out of brute fucking strength or maybe just on accident.  Time for another round.

9:45pm – So, yeah, step 3.  First cognitive issue...

Ever stare at a three-dimensional illustration and not see the exact three dimensions that the artist(?) had intended? Apparently the M.C. Esher-motherfucker who drew diagram 3 had me seeing the legs inverted.  I got concerned that the hole were misdrilled in the main front piece, but once a gained a moment of ocular clarity, I realized that I was screwing in the wrong holes…

10:10pm – The girl’s got wheels! And by girl, I mean grill.  And by grill, I mean this thing that looks nothing like a grill.

Had my first stubbing-of-the-baby-toe.  I think I wept blood.

And by the way, what’s up with Step 4?  Step 3 required two actions.  Step 4 requires TEN actions.  What’s up with that?  Fuck you, Step 4.

10:25pm – Step 5 & 6 had fewer actions combined than Step 4.  Fuck you, Step 4.  

The grill now has the hose attached as well as the ignitor!

Had a moment of panic because I didn’t think they’d included the Stamped Nut (GAH!).  I searched the floor, the packing, the bags, the counters, my pants, and my empty glass.  And then at the most desperate hour, I found the Stamped Nut (GAH!) already screwed onto the piece that it needed to be screwed onto.  Good sentence structure, there.  Comma.  Drink break.

10:35pm – You ever find yourself in a situation where you’re assembling something, then you discover a whole bunch of parts are missing, so then you freak out thinking that the manufacturer forgot to include those parts, and you panic for ten minutes, only to realize that you fucked up an earlier part of the process?  Yeah, I used the wrong screws in Step 6.

Did I mention that I had a generous glass of Guinness an hour before starting this drinking?

10:40pm – Step 7 complete.  You may be wondering how many steps there are.  The answer:

More than 7.

I haven’t looked.  I just want to be done by midnight so that I won’t be an asshole neighbor to my Asshole Neighbor.

11:00pm – So yeah, I screwed up something royally somewhere around STEP ONE.  Spent the better part of the last 20 minutes attempting to fix it.

Step 9 is like Finnegan’s Wake.  There are like 50 actions that are diagrammed non-linearly.  Just like Finnegan’s Wake.

11:40pm – It’s been 40 minutes.  Step 9 was as epic as it had seemed.  I assembled the firebox (not a venereal disease).  The whole contraption is beginning to look like something that could be used for something useful.

Poured an extra large final glass.  Dexterity failing slowly.  Neighbor just came home.  I’ll bet he’s gay.  Pride Weekend started tonight, locally, and he just came home late.  Do the math.  In Bewitched the nosy, pushy neighbors were the Kravitzes.  Bunch of anti-Semites wrote that show.  Or Jews, I don’t really know.

12:05am – Fuck the neighbors I’m going to complete this damn thing right now.

At 12:32am Pacific Daylight Time I id it.  I really can’t believe I finished it.  The bottle of ale, i mean.

Sincerely, though, I really dint foresee actually finishing the grill.  But instead, here it is:

I don’t recommend what I did, though I do recommend St. Bernardus if you like your Belgian Ales like you like your men, pale and emotional, I mean, dark and strong.

I needed to accomplish something this week.  And I’m glad that this was it.  I’m reminded by a quote...... that I can’t fucking remember.   Sweet dreams.

Postscript:  Though the legs were assembled backwards, the grill works very well.