adventures in the propane trade

How dare I trust that wacky gauge on the propane tank outside. That rascal has betrayed me before.

On Saturday I checked and had 30% left in the tank. Sunday morning I woke up to no heat. When the stove wouldn’t light either and I suspected foul play did I dash outside in my pajamas and untied boots and wade through a foot of snow in subzero temps to check the tank? Of course I did. It said 0.

So, I ran to town (clothed) and bought a couple of space heaters from the hardware store. I already had a couple, but the forecast was double-digits-below and I wanted to be sure the water pipes against the outside wall didn’t even need to ask for sweaters. My plan was to call the propane company first thing Monday.

So this cheap-but-remarkable rascal has been hanging around Libby’s for many years. Note the cellophane tape holding the glass in the door. The brackets for the glass have long since broken off, as has the cute door handle and many other features. But here it is, heating away.

Which I did. And want to apologize to Julie (I think she said Julie?) in Bismarck who had the misfortune to be the designated Monday Morning Phone Jockey for a heating company on the Northern Plains of the United States in the middle of January. Customer Service: the most abused employees on the planet. Sorry I was crabby when you said it’ll be $645.99 and the delivery will be sometime in the next ten days. I asked if I could call someone else. Answer: not legal for anyone to fill another company’s tank. Within 10 minutes of ending the call, I had myself convinced that the propane truck would be here today. Any minute in fact.

I bought this at Ace Hardware. The box on the shelf was so light, I almost asked whether it was empty. Plastic heater housings seem counterintuitive, but it if helps me store it in the imaginary rafters in my hypothetical garage, well, let’s go.

That was Monday. Today is Wednesday. Meanwhile, I discovered that there’s an online Order Page where I can see when/if the truck is out for delivery. This is helpful in keeping me from pacing and listening for the telltale beep as the truck backs in.

Picked this one up at Hardware Hank to keep the shower pipes from freezing. Has this design been around since the ’40’s or is it my imagination?

I had an indoor wall thermometer at one time, but I think it was a victim of the Mighty Purge last fall and I didn’t think to grab one when I bought the heaters. So I borrowed the outdoor one and hung it from a magnet on the fridge. It’s a balmy 70 degrees in here. And outside it’s a balmy 30-something. Beats the hell out of 20 below.

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