My lack of attention to details is going to cause some major problems in my life someday. Actually that statement is not true, My lack of attention to details has caused some major problems in my life. Case in point: The destruction of my barbecue.
As my son stood at the patio door the week before thanksgiving his face glowed. This glow was not the glow of a child that was proud or happy like in the phrase “he glowed with pride”. His face glowed because of the reflection of the huge flames that has consumed my barbecue and were presently burning up our deck. My wife said she heard an loud boom and wondered what it was, then came around the corner of the kitchen to see my son staring out the patio door. She yelled “Ash what’s wrong?” And all my son could do was slowly turn and look at his mom, and then look back at the fire. Like many people he was caught in a moment that his brain was having a hard time processing.
Since winter was coming I decided it was time to burn all the junk on the inside of my grill off so that I could clean it and cover it up for the winter. I went out to turn the grill on, a grill that last year I had done extensive research on because I take my grilling seriously. I found that the propane tank was empty so I went to get my back up. I did what I usually do when I attach a new tank, I listen and smell. If I don’t hear a leak and don’t smell a leak then I proceed. There are fire marshals and and barbecuers everywhere cringing at my last sentence to which I would respond “DON’T JUDGE ME!” if there wasn’t so much evidence to indict.
So I started the grill, turned it on high, and went about my business for about 10 minutes or so. I came back, saw that the burn off was successful and turned off the grill. I then waited around for about 10 minutes to make sure that the grill cooled off without any fires cropping up and then went out to my shop. My job was done and I had other things to do.
About the time that my son was walking toward the deck I heard a noise that sounded like high pressure gas being expelled. We live next to a highway so I am used to hearing noises coming from the roadway. But I do remember thinking that there was no way that could be my propane tank because I had watched it cool and I had not heard an explosion. It was about that time that I heard my wife scream “Honey!” and my stray thought suddenly crystallized and I knew exactly what had happened. My wife was standing on the road with the phone in her hand talking to the 911 dispatcher and I went sprinting by her, grabbed the hose and started spraying the huge flames that were burning up my deck, well my landlords deck as we live in a rental.
The flames were managed pretty quickly but the flame thrower that was my propane tank was not finished. As I continued to spray water on the deck until the tank had exhausted itself, my wife was calling off the fire department. Once the smoke cleared (and that is not metaphoric) I took a look at the damage and swore a few times. So here is what my forensic investigation concluded:
With the help of my forensic investigation team (Myself, my landlord, and his son) we concluded that there was a gas leak somewhere along the line that filled the lid of my grill and then something ignited it and the lid blew off. The reason we believe that is because the lid was torn, the cast aluminum lid tore in half (he said with a reserved pride).
Over the last month before this accident I had started a (contained) grease fire and stepped through the ceiling of my house. I was not having a banner fall season. Throughout all of this my kids observed a father that made big mistakes. I would like to think that I handled it well, but the reality is that I lost my cool (that’s funny because I started a grease fire and blew up my deck. I find that pointing out my humor is important sometimes because many people don’t understand it) more than once and said some things that I wished I had considered more. As the title suggested, I think my kids are starting to realize that they might need to help keep dad alive. I hope that I am learning from my mistakes, but I make so many that I have a hard time processing quickly enough before the next one happens.
As a side note, even though I tried to burn my deck down my landlord brought over lumber to fix the deck. I tried to pay for it but he had it to me the next day, what an awesome Guy. I fixed the deck and will paint it in the spring.