Sunday, April 08, 2007

Is $1100 My New Quarter?

A stroll down memory lane.

Long, long ago, back when we used to live in Santa Clarabelle and before we had The Childrens, I had a friend named Sludge Weckeni. Yes, this was so far back in time that I was still allowed to have friends. Yet I still remember it vaguely, but enough to tell the story. For some reason Sludgy was telling a story about his theory on quarters. It went like this:

Remember when you were a kid and video games cost a quarter, and you used to have to really think about whether the game was going to be fun enough to spend a quarter on, but then as you got older, you didn't have to think about it as much anymore because a quarter didn't mean much to you. Then, you thought twice about the price of a movie. Especially of buying popcorn at the movie. Then, older still, it was the price of admission to an amusement park, or a fancy stereo, or a big-screen TV.

He had some theory about how every person had this price threshold in their mind below which they didn't even bother to give a thought as to whether or not to spend it frivolously, and this price grew as the person got older. And, here's the profound part (if, in fat, Sludgy was ever actually profound), most of your agonizing about money in life existed for purchases right around this value. Less than that, and it was a no brainer; more, and you did a much more black-and-white needs-based assessment of the purchase that was unemotional. But your emotions got all tied up in purchases around the threshold he so aptly named, "your quarter."

Now, fast-forward to the past™. It was Saturday, and I was driving the fambly to the library, which is way the hell on the other side of town. The library near us is quite small, so is found to be inadequate. Because the library to which were were headed is way the hell across town, we get to take surface streets to get there. The one we like is the one that goes by Stink Pond - a pond that is on the south side of the road, but hidden behind a berm on the north side is the local waste treatment percolation field. It stinks to high heaven in the summer, and since the only thing you can see from the road is the pond, you assume it's the pond that stinks. Hence the name.

When I got to the end of the road, there she sat, parked in the field near the corner. In her windows was written "$1100" along with the obligatory "Runs Good". Through my mind flashed the possibilities. This was something I had never even dreamed of buying before, but there it was, and only $1100. About the price of the air hockey table. Less than half the price of the snow blower. About 1/3 the price of Carl. Oh, the dreams I dreamed. This would be the coolest ride in the world. Everyone would insist I drive to lunch every day. Imagine the looks when we all roll up at Hooters in this baby.

What was it that was parked in the field of dreams?

That's right. $1100 buys you a short school bus. Hell-yeah!

I actually thought about it, but I don't have anywhere to park it. Oh well.

Now, we gotta back up another week. I was poking around the back deck, and I slid aside one of the flagstone slabs that forms the cap for one of the decorative boxes on the deck, and inside I found a couple really long weenie-roasting forks. HannahC was with me, so we formulated a plan to cook marshmallows on the build-in BBQ that sets the deck on fire after MaxieC went to bed. Unfortunately, it was so windy that we couldn't get enough heat in the grill to accomplish the task. So, industrious folks that we are, we moved the party indoors and toasted them on the indoor BBQ.

Now, I've been pricing new BBQ grills to go with the new deck, and I can't for the life of me figure out how someone justifies a built-in. The built-in models cost about $500-$1000 more than the exact same grill as a portable, and you then get to throw a few hundred (at least) bucks at building it in, and then when the wind shifts, you're SOL cuz you can't reposition the grill. On top of that, it'll be a long time before we settle on a deck design, and I need to start grilling long before that (having missed out on all last summer and fall as I have not had a working grill in Ft. TomCollins). So after a great deal of research, I settled on a Vermont Castings VCS4007 which I ordered online at

At this point in the story at Hooters, Bozzetto interrupted me to say, "They sell those at Home Depot." I don't know why he throws down an insult like that out of the blue. I should have punched him right in the mouth, but I simply said, "No, they don't," and I moved on.

But then he argued. Little bastard is quite tenacious. All I can say is that neither the Vermont Castings dealer locater nor the Home Depot web page give any indication of this being a grill that can be purchased at Home Depot. I'd actually have to set foot in a Home Depot to research it beyond that, and that is never pleasurable.

Eventually, you just tune out Bozzetto the way you tune out a nagging wife.

The grill was delivered Friday in a big shipping box. And then it promptly began snowing. I tried to wait for good weather before assembling it, but the entire fambly just nag nag nag nag nagged me about it all Saturday. You can tune out a nagging wife, but you can't tune out nagging from all three of them.

So I went out in the 27 degree weather to put the thing together on the back deck. The whole fambly joined me. I put them to work removing the blue plastic film that covers every piece of stainless to protect it from scratching. That took a couple hours given that the cold weather stiffened the plastic such that it tore instead of peeled, and of course our fingers went numb pretty quickly, too.

Hours later, I had the grill all set up and working. I cooked a steak.

Then today I installed the rotisserie and cooked a leg of lamb. It was very tasty. That aluminum foil pack on the left is a "smoke pack" that you make by taking water saturated wood chips and mixing in some dry ones, then wrapping in foil and poking holes through. It's the best way to make smoke on a gas grill. I learned that from License to Grill.


Anonymous said...

My threshold, as evidenced in the recent gift to my sister, is about $19.95.

wife said...

Mine is $2.99. Weird and unbelievable, but true.

CJ said...

Did you try googling for "Vermont Castings Homedepot"?

Vermont Castings Home Depot version

BBQ Source Forums > Vermont castings Sig series or Home depot

lillian said...

As I say so on and so forth in my day it was a nickel - not a quarter. My threshold is about a nickel unless it is something I want and want it now- such as a new saw.

ellie said...

though I've been known to drop of a bill at my dentist rather than pay .39 for stamp. . .


I've been known to make my daughter mail my packages so she pays for it and not me ...hehehehehe

CherkyB said...

So, what I see from the Bozzetto's links is that Home Depot sold a cheaped-up version of the grill that didn't have the fancy lighting system and had much cheaper grates in 2004 and possibly into 2005. Didn't see anything current.

And The Mrs. is fooling herself. Her game is to nag me until I make the decision to buy something she wants that costs more. That way, it wasn't her quarter, but it was mine. Her favorite argument tactic is, "But do we have the money?" not, "Do we really need this." Then nag, nag, nag, nag, nag until there's a $3500 elliptical trainer sitting largely unused in the basement.

ellie said...

Yes Granny, but you've also been known to give me your recyclables and scratch offs in exchange for manual labor. Cash is cash! Thanks for dinner!

Rob said...

Is that a beer shelf on the front - now that is worth some extra $$

And you already have smudges on the front??? tisk tisk

wife said...

We don't need anything. I use Carl, all the time!

CJ said...

Here is a public retraction...

CherkyB is right about HomeDepot not carrying Vermont Castings grill. We went by HomeDepot and he proved me wrong. HomeDepot does not carry Vermont Castings grill in 2007. Coincidentally, the Weber Genesis grill is recalled in 2007 due to fire hazard -- something about cracked hose...

CherkyB said...

"We don't need anything."

I guess I'll stop planning for a new deck and hot tub then.

wife said...

I didn't say we don't "need" (imagine in italics - I don't know HTML) anything.