BBQ smoker: MIA
Rarely do I (Robert) get to write a blog. Most of the time I’m called upon for proofing or I/T support (which typically includes the uttering of ‘why does it only work when you’re here?’). Lisa blogged the other day about my ride on the struggle bus to get the basketball goal and I feel I need to share it from my vantage point. So the family and I are driving home and pass a house for sale. As we go by, I immediately spy a bbq smoker in the driveway. I quickly stop the van and throw it in reverse, ignoring the calls of ‘what are you doing?’ and ‘this isn’t the way home!’. No, but it’s the way to tasty smoked meats and that’s even better. We pull to the end of their driveway and I gaze at the smoker and admire it; mentally placing it on my deck to see where it would fit best. You have to consider important factors like quick accessibility in rain or shine, ease of use and general sizing requirements. I quickly ascertained that it would fit no problem, but we might not be able to fit all the kids on the deck anymore. There are always trade-offs. I had a brilliant idea, why not call the realtor and tell her that it’s kind of an eyesore and I can help her get rid of this so she can sell the house quicker. It’s a win/win. Lisa doesn’t see the grill at all, but she notices a portable basketball goal and says we should ask if we could take both. Until she had mentioned it, I hadn’t even noticed the hoop. The boys are playing basketball now and it would be great to have, so I can show them some of my skills and beat them solidly in a game of horse. Or anaconda, like I did when I was younger, usually because I enjoyed a slow, painful death since I always missed. I call the realtor and leave her a very professional sounding message. I say ‘Hi, my name is Robert and I’m looking at your house on X Street. Nice house but I noticed it’s got a bbq smoker and basketball goal in the driveway. I’d like to help you out and I think this will be a great deal for both of us. I’d be happy to take them off your hands so it makes the property more visually appealing. Let me know what you think, thanks!’ I’m quite proud of my message, it sounds good and what realtor wouldn’t want to take the word from a random stranger that they need to clean up the clutter at their house? I’m sure she’ll call back with a resounding yes. Well almost, she leaves a confused message asking what is it that I really want. Am I asking her if I can actually have them for free? The home is under contract so she’s got to ask the new owners. They say the smoker stays and the hoop can go, but they aren’t helping to move it. I’ll learn why soon enough. I’m quite disappointed but Lisa’s really excited. I was thinking about teaching my family to eat and how to survive if they can only use a smoker to live off of, and she’s thinking about another way to get the boys out of the house.
After work I decide to go get it. ‘How?’ asks my wife. In the van of course, I say, like it should be the most obvious of choices. ‘What about our neighbor’s truck?’ No, why should we dirty up his nice truck when we can just take seats out of the van? I’m sure it will fit. Yes it will hang out but that’s OK, we are just driving through the neighborhood. Lisa drives over, the boys ride their bikes and I walk. We get to the house and I have to ignore the smoker, staring at me. It is a nice one, not too old either. Maybe I can do like that ancient saying where if you love something set it free and if it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it shows up on my deck, it was meant to be. Things are going good until I try to move it and it doesn’t budge. Ah, that’s right, the base is filled with water to weight it down, no big deal, I’ll drain the water. Except these people were overachievers and filled it with sand. Sand! Who does that? It’s a great idea if you plan on never moving it again or allowing a stranger to help clean up your vacant house. I realize there’s no way it will make it into the van. But what’s this? Tiny wheels on the front of it so you can move it a few feet around the driveway. We tip the post and it rolls, ever so slowly, but it rolls. The boys are riding their bikes all around me like bees circling a hive, and Lisa is just watching me. I’d like to think it’s because of my awesomeness….yeah we’ll just say it is. She asks what I’m doing and again, I feel the most obvious answer is that I’m going to wheel it all the way through the neighborhood back to our house. She laughs. “Are you serious?” Of course I am. The boys need a hoop and this is the only way I know to get it home. How could this not work? She starts to drive off and I follow. I notice the neighbors across the street watching us, wondering why we are taking this goal. I sort of nod, you know the kind of guy nod that means anything from ‘what’s up?’ to ‘yeah I want a milkshake with that’ or even ‘yes I’m taking the basketball goal’. I am slowly trudging down the street, mostly dragging the goal because those tiny wheels don’t do much and with the base filled with sand, it’s really heavy and sluggish. Get to the corner where some guys are checking out their new, really nice, crotch rocket motorcycle. I notice them all stop and stare at me, mouths agape. They watch me round the corner like construction workers watch a pretty girl go by. They are jealous of my portable basketball goal, I can tell. I refuse to look at them and stare straight ahead. Except that I have to look through the frosted backboard and can’t really tell what’s in front of me. As I go, the goal gets heavier and pausing at the stop sign is a bad idea because getting started again isn’t quite that easy now. I trudge through the intersection hoping that drivers will take pity on me and run me over to put me out of my misery.
I remember thinking how it was a lot hotter that afternoon than I thought it was supposed to get. And why didn’t I change out of my work clothes? Half way home. I pause to catch my breath and make sure no one is following me, waiting to take advantage of me in my weak state. The only one I see is my wife, laughing and driving away. I make it to our street a good while later and it’s like the final stretch of a marathon. One where you strap a small fridge to your back and run on the beach. The boys have left me far behind to fend for myself. Lisa returns, at least I think it’s her, through the frosted backboard. Whoever she is, she’s laughing uncontrollably and taking pictures. Why would you take pictures of someone obviously in pain? I can’t even defend myself. We finally make it to the driveway. I mean ‘we’ in the same way that some spouses say ‘we should put in new landscaping’ or ‘we should paint the house’ and look right at the husband. After some effort, we get it up the curb and into our driveway and nestle it in the yard. Right next to where my tiny car has to park so it can fall on my car in a storm. But I’m always thinking ahead. I bought more sand to fill the base with. No wind will knock this thing over and if the wind is that strong, a hoop will be the last of my worries.
The basketball goal now is in its final resting spot, it will never move. The extra sand I added will ensure that. The boys love it and are using it a lot. Funny though, it’s not such an eyesore in my driveway.
How can you not notice the grill?
The bees are swarming
the long walk home
Helping? No, it’s picture time instead.
The basketball goal is holding me up at this point.