Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Grill Incident

gas grill, fire, grass, st augustine, grill

It was late Spring in 1998 and my husband had gone to play golf with his buddy.  I had a rare day off work and decided to surprise him when he got home by having watered the whole yard.  For those who don't know my husband, he's a bit psycho about our yard.  He mows several days a week, picks or sprays weeds with great glee, and checks every shrub or flowering plant almost daily for disease, bugs, and whatnot. 

Things were going along great and, while I was at the grocery store, I came across some really beautiful steaks on sale. In addition to surprising him with a fully watered yard, I decided I would also surprise him with his favorite meal - a slab of cow. 

As the afternoon turned to evening, my husband called to say his golf game was over and he was on his way home. As I hung up the phone, I got the absolutely BRILLIANT idea that I would go ahead and grill his steak and have it ready the minute he walked in the door.  

I quickly went out to the patio and tried to light the grill with the "ignite" button.  No matter how many times I pushed that button, nothing happened.  With lots of propane gas floating in the air, I realized I needed to get this grill lit quickly.

I ran in the house, grabbed the lighter and one of those very long fireplace matches. Like a grilling master, I lit the match and stuck it in the little hole on the side of the grill. All of the burners came alive with a great big "SWOOSH".  I quickly checked to make sure I hadn't burnt an eyebrow off. 

Following what I had witnessed my husband do I many occasions, I tossed the still lit match into the bottom of the grill and closed the lid. We grill masters know you have to give the grill a few minutes heat up to the right temperature in order to get the perfect sear on the steak.  

I checked my watch and noticed it was time to move the water sprinkler out front one last time. I hurried through the house and out the front door. With moves that would rival a ninja, I was able to avoid getting sprayed by the sprinkler.  While moving the water, I noticed a funny smell but continued dealing with the sprinkler. 

Once I was sure the sprinkler was watering the correct spots, I turned back toward the house..... and saw tons of smoke coming up from the backyard.  I thought "Oops!  Need to go turn down the grill.".

I quickly headed back to the front door and expertly avoided the sprinkler spray again (Woot!). As I rounded the corner of the entry way into the family room where the big bay window overlooked the backyard all I saw were flames.  

Flames everywhere! "FIRE!" my brain screamed. I ran out the back door and immediately spied the sprinkler I had left running out back. 

The flames were so close to the house, I was afraid the house was going to catch on fire. I quickly leapt off the patio, somehow managing to jump past the flames, grabbed the sprinkler and started spraying down the fire.

Within a few minutes, I was able to knock down the fire. As I continued to douse the still smoldering areas, I surveyed the damaged.  The entire front half of the backyard was burnt to a crisp.  I mean totally.  Nothing left but dirt. And oh good heavens, it stunk.

My husband's prized grass St. Augustine grass was G.O.N.E.. "Well," I said to myself, "the best thing I can do at this point is cook my last supper before I am executed.". 

I dreaded my husband's reaction and took great care to grill those steaks to perfection. Just as I pulled the steaks off the grill, he was walking in the front door.  "Hey!" he said, "it smells like somebody's house in the neighborhood caught on fire.". 

"Ummm....... SURPRISE! I made steaks for dinner!".  His face lit up with a big smile. As he walked over to the plate of steaks I held, and in front of that darned old bay window overlooking the entire backyard, his mouth dropped open.  "You sure did," he said, "You know, you didn't need to use the grass in order to cook them over an open flame.". 

After having eaten the perfectly grilled steaks, he surveyed the damage. As he walked around he discovered the source of the fire......... that darned wooden match I threw into the grill. Apparently it had fallen out of a rusted out crack that had opened up in the bottom of the grill, which neither of us had known about. 

Every time it rained for the next year, the smell of smoldering ashes was thick in the air - and was a harsh reminder that I had been permanently banned from using the grill. 

The next summer, the grass came back greener and thicker than it ever had been and I was taken off the list of dangerous threats to the yard. I am, however, still permanently banned from using the grill. After having to put out that grass fire, I'm good with being banned from grilling.

Christie Bielss

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