Not, one could argue, when the Splurger is supposed to be pinching pennies to get through a ridiculously tight time.
That bit of logic notwithstanding, today I blew $400 out of my monthly diddle-it-away fund, reducing the balance to just over a thousand bucks. After the glasses and the clothes episodes, this might (one could argue), just might not represent the highest pinnacle of wisdom to which I have ever aspired.
But it’s not bothering me. Here’s why:
Today’s purchase is a new gas grill, a Weber Spirit E-210, which sells here, there, and everywhere for $399. It’s small—only two burners—but it comes highly recommended by reviewers on several sites.
I love my charcoal grill, which replaced the last gas grill. But…it’s just enough extra work to make me not want to fire it up for dinner. Even when I feel like hassling with it and then scrubbing charcoal dust out from under my fingernails, at this time of year it feels unsafe. During monsoon, a stiff wind can come up with no warning; the hardwood charcoal I favor shoots out hot sparks and cinders with the élan of a magnesium sparkler. In a stiff breeze, they blow into the shrubbery and trees, and frankly I’m concerned about starting a fire in these hot, dry conditions.
Meanwhile, cooking in the kitchen also creates a hassle. Every time I get that darn stove clean, I end up splattering more grease all over it. Last night I cooked a piece of steak and, craving a little enhancement, poured in a few drops of wine to deglaze the pan. Even though I’d turned the heat off under the pan, the wine and hot grease exploded all over the kitchen!
So with dinner congealing on the plate, I got to break out the de-greasers and scrub down the walls, counters, floor, and even the counter all the way across the kitchen from the stove. That was fun.
When I’m tired, which is most of the time, I just don’t feel like making another mess to have to clean up, like having to scrub a frying pan and at least one or two other pans if I make side dishes.
The result is, I’m not eating well. Sometimes I’m not eating at all. I just don’t want to be bothered with the mess.
Half the time I snack on cheese and crackers, often washed down with a beer or two. If I feel energetic enough to cook, it’ll be a pot of pasta, because I can prepare the pasta and a quick sauce in the same pan. As a result, despite not eating much, I’m getting even fatter than I was.
This isn’t healthy.
When I had the gas grill, I usually tossed meat and vegetables onto the grill to cook. All that had to be washed was a dinner plate, a glass, a knife, and a fork. The stove never needed to be scrubbed more than once a month, if that often. I ate well because it was easy to eat well.
Now I’m eating badly—when I eat at all—and I’m getting fatter and fatter.
You see where this is going? I regard that $400 as an investment in my health, not an extravagance. I have got to get back to eating properly!
This little grill, which actually cost a bit more than I planned, is just about the right size to cook one or two portions. The big charcoal grill can be reserved for when guests come over or when I have enough ambition to cook up something that tastes smokey and good.
I think I got a pretty good deal on it: commenters at Amazon revealed that the version sold at Home Depot comes with cast-iron grates; most Weber Spirit models have sheet metal grills, far less desirable. Went over to Lowe’s and found the Weber Spirit there, and sure enough, theirs had the chintzy grates. Lowe’s was having a sale on a larger, fancier model, but the $500 asking price was more than I could afford. On to Home Depot: yea verily, for the same price, their Weber Spirit 210 has nice, heavy cast-iron grates. Not only that, but the Depot will assemble the thing for free.
So I think this is a case where a splurge is not a splurge.
♦ Did I already have a charcoal grill? Yes. But because it’s charcoal and not gas, I use it less and less.
♦ Did I need a gas grill? Probably not, given that a perfectly fine charcoal grill is standing out there in the backyard.
♦ But really, do I need a gas grill? Sure, if I’m going to get back to eating healthy again. Or eating at all.
Cheese & crackers vs. meat and veggies? No contest. I really do think this is not a splurge but a wise move, in spite of the bad timing.
Have you ever had a splurge that was not a splurge? What did you not-a-splurge on?