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No one ever dreams of losing their eyebrows. Sometimes life is unpredictable. You have to roll with the punches.

The anticipated day was cold, gray and rainy. Nothing could dampen the enthusiasm carefully contained in a large cardboard box freshly delivered. Not even the extra time required to find the fuel.

After meticulous searching for wood pellets, we wandered to other parts of the store. An employee asked if we were finding everything all right. Heath asked where the wood pellets were. “Not wood chunks. We need wood pellets for a pizza oven.” The cheerful employee led us directly to the aisle we had just visually scoured many times over for the last quarter hour. There still weren’t any wood pellets.

She was as determined as we were. She searched several store databases to determine that our local Lowe’s no longer stocks such a product. Apparently it wasn’t selling well. A nearby Lowe’s had some though. The price was comparable to what the pizza oven company sells online. We’ll probably try that in the future.

The pizza oven was assembled. One rabbit/hamster food looking bag of pellets was dumped into a new plastic container. The other bag remained sealed.

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A plastic folding table was set up and the oven was heating up nicely on top. An infrared gun confirmed that temperatures had exceeded its ability to read, meaning temps were over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain was pouring. Time to cook!

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Dough was ready to go along with all the toppings. Assembly of the first pizza began. Mouths watered in anticipation.

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Each pie took about one minute to fully cook. This included frequent turning.

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This was the first pie. The following four were equally works of homemade culinary art. Crust was charred to perfection. Vegetables were tender crisp over a landscape of melted cheese, tangy sauce, pepperoni and bacon. Hummina hummina hummina!

For a first attempt with a real, honest to goodness pizza oven, all signs pointed to job well done. Of course there is always a learning curve with every attempt to try something new. The time to cook the pizza had been slashed dramatically. Yet there was still too much time in between making the next pizza. I tried to help but learned that it’s easier to make each one on the metal peel. So we may need a few more metal peels.

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Heath was pleasantly surprised by the amount of pellets required. While they burn quickly and the oven needs to be fed often, we didn’t use nearly as much as he predicted. Good for us for buying 40 lbs. of the stuff. It should last longer than we thought.

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The smoke looked cool and smelled like camping in the woods. If only it wasn’t raining so hard. Our neighbors could have been jealous! For those of you taking note, don’t cook in the rain. It was a large pain in the butt and my newly mopped floors need another mopping.

Heath learned not to touch the front door to the table right after coming out of the fire. Two touches with burn marks later … It’s an old craft table that we only use to eat on while he was on conference calls. The table also has an ancient cup ring. I have scrubbed that thing until the texture on the table has smoothed. The ring still remains. All yellow with mystery and awe.

The other lesson we learned was the most enjoyable. By pizza #5 the flame had died down. Heath thought there was enough heat for that one last pizza. The dough wasn’t crisping up as well. Heath went to the back of the oven and blew as if he could breathe new life into an old flame.

You had to be there for what happened next. Several things happened simultaneously. Imagine if you will an extra dose of smoke billowing to the sky for an impromptu smoke signal (probably something obscene). The front door popped off and back on. To the point that I actually saw air between the door and the oven. But that door snapped back in place perfectly.

In the back, where Heath was, a large and short lived fireball exploded. At the same time there was a loud WHOOOMP sound. Heath said something eloquent like, “Whoa!” My “Woo!” scream came a beat or two later. I shut the sliding door that seemed to be suddenly teeming with curious kids who were not there five seconds before.

That last pie was more blond than the rest. (still tasty) It was sliced and taken to the table. Parker was asked to offer a blessing on the food.

Parker: … and please bless that Dad’s eyebrows will grow back!

When they do, you are welcome to a pizza party at our house.

p.s. No eyebrows were actually harmed in the making of this pizza. If you don’t believe me, just know that Heath has been cursed with thin, blond eyebrows anyway.

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