Monday, September 06, 2010

Rhythm and Grill

I still have an overwhelming desire to buy ice.

It's hard to shake it off after spending a week at the beach. You get into a rhythm, a structure, a routine very quickly. Get up. Ride the bike. Find an obscure Breakfast place. Shower. Get Ice for the cooler. Put up the tent. Go to the beach. Pack up and leave from the beach. Ice Cold beverage. With Lime. Maybe two. Shower. Occasional 5 PM tipsy shave. Eat snacks. Make Diner. Boardwalk. Acquire. Repeat.

I'm easing back into my regular routine. We came home yesterday and unpacked. The house looked great thanks to my friend John and family who stayed here. It was swept and cleaned and the fridge was so clean I could have sworn some one stole out ours and replaced it.

I've also had a bad string of luck with gas grills over the past 3 days. One of the many outstanding features of the home we stayed in was the gas grill . In Ocean City, gas grills are as rare Hurricanes that actually strike the shore.

This is for a good reason. The houses are very close to one another and there is always a breeze so if one house catches fire, they pretty much will all go. So unless you have a very large patio, you can't have a grill.

I love grilling and was looking forward to grilling - a lot.

On Tuesday, I grilled hotdogs as a dry run. No problem, the grill worked fine. The secret to good grilling is knowing your equipment. This one had only three burners but the were new and even. This was good. No hot spots. No noticeable issues.Ready to go or so I thought.

So Tuesday night I came out, preheated grill and went inside just like every elementary school fire safety movie tells you not to. I had to prepare the chicken, right?

Not ten minutes into chicken prep and my niece yelled "The grill is on fire" from downstairs.

I raced downstairs and sure enough, flames were visible below the grill and black smoke was pouring out the top, attracting the attention of everyone one on the boardwalk. The thing about having the nicest house on the boards is you don't want to mess up. It's very noticeable.

I reached under and shut the gas and the neighbor came over with the kitchen extinguisher. I held the extinguisher and waited, watching fire decrease. I kept the lid shut and was happy I didn't have to shove the grill into the pool or use the extinguisher. 

The fire was out and we found that a summers worth of debris had built up in the tray below the grill and caught fire. We cleaned that up, re-lit the grill and found it was out of gas.

There would be no further Ocean City Grilling and I had narrowly avoided becoming the "Mrs O'leary" of Ocean City.

Last night we decided to have grilled mesquite shrimp and so I lit the grill to preheat it while preparing shrimp kabobs. Everything was moving along fine when I came out the grill with the kabobs. I noticed the flame was a bit low but threw the kabobs on anyway. They sizzled and I was delighted.

Then the gas ran out.

No Problem, I had a back up.

For years I had gone with a single tank and when it ran out, it forced a trip to refresh it and disappointment. Now I had a spare and it was simply a matter of replacing the empty with the spare because I had filled both last time.

Or so I thought. I lifted the spare only to find it too was empty. Unbelievable. In four days I had seen the end of three 20 lb propane cylinders. I'm still not sure what happened to the spare but this meant I was forced to use the broiler, again.

Now I;m sure I had filled both tanks at the same time and never switched tanks. I was sure the other tank was ready to go, so sure in fact that I suspected foul play. Who stole my gas? Maybe the tank leaked? Leaked 20 lbs of gas? I doubt it.

I filled both tanks today and was determined to solve this mystery. When I came home with the freshly filled tanks I had an idea. Why not put the tanks underwater and see if they leak?

Really. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Wouldn't Archimedes been proud of me when I tied a line to the first tank, put it in the pool and watched it float away.  I had expected it would sink like a stone but it made sense after seeing it float away that it was mostly compressed gas in a metal tank and therefore less dense than water.

It also did not leak so I have a mystery.

Stay tuned.

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