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My problems with grilling

May 26, 2012
By SUMMER WALLACE-MINGER , Weirton Daily Times

I have grill problems. I would be a little less concerned if it didn't involve fire and potentially explosive gas.

We had an old, creaky grill that had been with us since Sainted Child was 1 or 2 years old. (She'll be in seventh grade next year.) I hated it, but we had reached an uneasy truce: I didn't curse and kick it (thereby stubbing and/or breaking my toe) and it lit around 80 percent of the time.

Until it didn't.

I didn't break it, I swear. The Long Suffering Husband did. Well, he thought he did. In actuality, we were sold an empty propane tank. If I had bought it, I would have known by my ability to actually lift said container without strain meant that it was empty, but the LSH carries heavy things all the time, so he didn't notice. He then concluded the grill had burned its last hot dog.

If you ask me, it was all an elaborate ruse to purchase a new, more manly and powerful grill, which he and our Little Professor then spent an afternoon putting together. You want thrills? Light a grill for the first time after a 10-year-old helped put it together. It makes Kennywood look tame.

I supposed I can't complain, as it actually lit. With the retired grill, I could hit the ignition button a million times, and it wouldn't light. (I'm not completely unconvinced it wasn't doing it just to be difficult, because it always lit for the LSH; even the grill likes him better.)

So, when I was trying to get dinner done before he got home and it lit on the first try, I was pleased. Maybe this new grill was going to work out, after all. I tossed some raw meat on there and wandered into the house for five-minute increments to get some housework done.

I had turned the grill down on low, but the meat seemed to be cooking very slowly. In fact, it looked raw. I poked it; it was still cold. Curious.

Grills are supposed to cook things, right? I checked all the knobs and doo-dads, and everything said that the meat was supposed to be getting warm and, eventually, cooking into an edible state. Hmm.

I see clearly now my mistake was randomly poking and pressing buttons, because when I pressed the ignition button again, a giant fireball belched forth from the grill, immediately crispy-frying those parts of my hair that had worked free from my updo.



"I'm OK! Everything's OK!" However, I felt like I had a sunburn. And our dinner was on fire. I slammed the grill shut, realizing the grill had blown out somehow, but the gas had still been on, causing a mini-explosion when ignited.

"Our hamburgers are on fire," the Little Professor observed.

"They will go out in a minute."

"Your hair looks funny," he said.

"I'm fine. It's just hair." Actually, I was terrified I might go bald. (I didn't.) "We're not going to tell your daddy about this."

"But what if he asks what happened to your eyebrow?"


"It looks funny. Part of it is gone."

"We will tell him it was a tweezer mishap."

The Professor put his hands on his hips and cocked his head at me. "Is he going to believe that?"

"Look, we aren't telling him that Momma burnt off half her eyebrow with the new grill. We just aren't. A tweezer mishap, you got it? If you do, there's ice cream in it for you." (Luckily, he is still at that age where he can be bribed with ice cream. God help me when he gets to the age where he wants to drive the car or something equally horrifying.)

"OK, Momma."

I was on pins and needles all afternoon, waiting for the LSH to ask me what happened to my eyebrow.

And in the end, he didn't even notice.

(Wallace-Minger is The Weirton Daily Times community editor and can be contacted at

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