I have heard some pretty clever excuses for why the Carpenter doesn’t want to cook dinner when it is his turn, but when he told me that the barbecue was on fire, I thought that was a little over the top. That’s why I ignored him when he said those very words to me last weekend.

Only, here is the thing: he wasn’t kidding. The barbecue was on fire, and not in a good way. Flames were shooting out the back of the unit and the elements were melting. The only thing cooking on that apparatus was the barbecue itself. And it was well done. That’s when he said it again, but with slightly more urgency, bordering on panic. “Kel, the barbecue is on fire.”

He was running in and out of the house, slightly animated.

Yeah, yeah, I thought. Whatever. Just get going on dinner, already. We were well behind schedule after another day of silly hectic family stuff and I was famished. I just wanted to get the meal on the grill and smell that lovely aroma of nearly charred food, hear that sizzle when you flip the food over. How I have missed the barbecue this winter.

Now before you judge my lack of reaction, you should know that the Carpenter is a prankster. He enjoys doing or saying things to freak me out. It usually works. Actually, it always works. But a hungry Kelly is a grumpy Kelly.

Nobody should ever prank grumpy Kelly.

Just minutes before, the two of us stood outside conversing while the Carpenter lit the barbecue. All was fine.

We headed back inside to get the vegetables prepped. True to our usual routine, we were joking around in the kitchen, (we love to goof off in the kitchen, we just don’t like to actually cook in it). Meanwhile, the unattended barbecue was heating up to reach optimal grilling temperature, or so we thought.

And then it all went up in flames, as it were.

Quickly and cautiously the Carpenter managed to turn off the gas, extinguish the flames and spared us a call to the fire department. The barbecue was done like dinner, except there was no barbecuing dinner.

While I implemented Plan B, the Carpenter stayed outside to pay respects to his favourite appliance. Watching him I realized we were going to need to purchase a new barbecue. Great.

Another expense. But how do you put a price on love?

One look at the Carpenter’s sad face and I realized the true magnitude of his loss. His beloved man stove had just gone up in smoke. He had char-grilled the chargrill. The barbecue was burnt like Sunday morning toast. Kaput.

I went to the Kelly Balance Sheet (an oxymoron) and added a new barbecue to the priority list. Fortunately, that item came under my two mandatory columns: a want and a need.

Looks like the Carpenter and I will be barbecue shopping for our next date. Now that’s hot and is sure to get him fired up. This could work for me.