It’s official: I am NO pioneer. Neither is Olivia. My brilliant idea about using wood heat exclusively this winter officially came to a FREEZING HALT this past weekend. I had ample oppotunity to reflect upon just how cold Missouri can get as I waited out the arctic blast from the relative comfort of the Travelodge in Platte City until Ferrellgas opened up Monday morning.
I didn’t run out of propane because I was inattentive to my tank gauge. That’s something my ex-husband would do. Seriously. And what made it worse, he owned a propane company and was supposed to be my propane supplier. Thanksgiving Day it took my turkey all day to cook – two hours for baking time and another four to send Robert out to the plant to get the bulk truck to bring me my fuel, and another four to finish roasting both the small turkey in the oven AND the large one who let me run out of propane on the cooking-est holiday of the year.
No, I ran out of propane a few weeks ago because I determined that (a) my wood stove was sufficient for heating my house; (b) it’s a whole lot cheaper than propane (especially when you’re not married to your supplier); and (c) if I had propane in the tank, I’d get lazy and not build fires. So I let myself use up what was left in the tank and was proud of myself for taking this step to ensure that I wouldn’t take the easy way out.
Friday, when I got home from work, I immediately built a fire, knowing that the temperatures were expected to plummet. I’d already left all my faucets trickling, since I didn’t want a repeat of last time when all my water froze.
But FOUR HOURS LATER, after burning a small forest in my wood stove, the thermostat only read 55 degrees. At bedtime, I heroically stoked the fire with as many logs as I could fit, and Olivia and I put on our warmest jammies and snuggled together for warmth. She wasn’t cold all night, because she got to sleep instead of staying half-awake to make sure the fire didn’t go out.
The next morning, after dreaming all night about fires that needed tending, water lines that wouldn’t stop freezing, and propane deliverymen that looked frighteningly like my ex-husband, I checked the thermostat – we were in the 40’s somewhere and the fire was all but gone. I can’t say what the exact temperature was, because at that point my eyeballs froze and I could no longer see.
Whereupon, Olivia begged me to “take us to a motel,” and I got right on the Internet and booked us into the Travelodge. Her first question about it wasn’t her usual about whether or not it had a pool. It was “Does it have a heater?”
I’m a hotel snob, and I hate paying for what is essentially a bed for the night. For $68 we got two nights with a bed, bath & shower, internet, cable TV – and a heater. It also had a very nice continental breakfast AND an indoor pool. And it was clean. After a (warm) dinner in Weston, my mood had risen, as had my body temperature.
So all in all, we had a very nice unplanned getaway. Until at 9:00 p.m. last night, when I was watching the news and realized a snow storm was due to hit my neck of the woods in about three hours. So we packed up and left right away so we didn’t have to deal with winter driving in the morning. We took refuge on my sister’s sectional. I hate her – her house is twice the size of mine aend is WARM AND COZY – and all from wood heat. Every wall is covered with windows, but they’re “good” windows, and there’s enough insulation in their house to keep a small town warm. Plus they have a wood stove that is as efficient as they come. Like I said, I hate her ::sigh::
And I nearly kissed the propane delivery guy when he was able to come this morning, but that was probably just the uniform (ex-husband used to work for Ferrellgas decades ago). I am now both running the furnace AND the wood stove, determined not let get lazy and depend on propane alone. At $400 for a minimum fill, I’m dreaming of the days when I paid about 1/4 that cost because I WAS kissing the propane guy.
So all’s well – my water isn’t frozen, the house is relatively warm, and I am free, independent, self-sufficient – nearly broke, but grateful that my lips are my own to command and the only chapping of them will be as a result of the cold weather…I wonder if it’s just me, though, or does that Ferrellgas logo look kinda like a pair of blue lips?