I bought a gas grill today. I have wanted one for at least three summers, with each passing year, the charcoal process seemed to take longer and get easier to avoid. On Mother’s Day I bartered away a Mother’s Day brunch for the grill. Then it started to rain and one thing lead to another, the grill never transitioned from the space in my imagination to take a spot on the back deck.

It was a thought that surfaced briefly in the weeks that have followed, with equally rare appearances of any sun. This weekend the summer officially started, at least as far as the weather was concerned. It was a winning weekend on several fronts and I left home with the sun high in the sky, ready for my first cookout.

Grill choices are numerous on both brand and features, but after the last few unfinished shopping excursions, we had narrowed the field. Getting the grill home was a more daunting task in the Prius, so after a convincing sales pitch on the easy assembly of the grill, we took it home in the box, proud and amazed that it would fit in the car at all.

One man’s quick assembly is another woman’s unending struggle to decipher screw size and the changing order of locking and flat washers. He didn’t mention needing a training in mechanical engineering and I am sure the guy that put together the assembly manual thought it an exercise in building for dummies.

We got to step 8 out of 16, when it became clear that there was no grilling happening tonight. Following the manual with the deft yet still child-sized hands of my 14-year-old son was an exercise in patience and cooperation, not to mention attention to detail. We traded screwdriver and pliers back and forth and moved from one step to the next congratulating ourselves for the previous success.

I hadn’t planned on spending the day in assembling thousands of pieces. I thought I was going to be grilling… but this is often how life works in 3D. Turning the thought into reality is almost always a multi-step process that generally takes at least twice as long as you plan. One way or another, life usually requires assembly. Figuring out how to put something together with my son was maybe better than the grilling anyway.