Propane

Posted on Jan 31, 2009 in Eliza Brownhome | 0 comments

It is 2:00 am. I am snuggled in bed. Down duvet. Down pillow. Aaron and Rain are cuddled next to me. It is raining outside and I can hear the steady drum of drops on the metal roof, lovely lullaby because I’m not out in it. Being January, the temperature outside is probably hovering around zero.

A sound rouses me from deep sleep – the steady whirring of a fan blowing. The propane furnace runs periodically and we are used to it. But there is something different about it. With dread, I drop my hand over the edge of the bed to hang in front of the vent. Cold air blows over my warm fingers. Out of Propane.

I slip out of the covers and walk to the fuse panel to turn off the furnace. No point letting the fan blow cold air all night. Returning to bed, I pull the blankets as tightly as I can and squirm close to Rain to warm up. The temperature in the bus has already started dropping and I want to stay warm as long as possible. I nudge Aaron “We’re out of propane.” Groan.

There isn’t much that compares to the sinking feeling in that groan. The knowledge that all night the temperature inside will keep declining, until morning when we’ll be able to see our breath inside. It’ll likely mean hitting the snooze button many times because it takes an iron will to get out of the warm bed in the dark to get ready for work in a propane-less bus. It’s even worse because you’ll forget and think “At least a cup of tea to warm up while I eat my cereal,” only to remember an instant later (or when you try to light the burner under the kettle) that no propane means no furnce, no cooking, and no water heater. It means washing your already cold hands and face with frigid water and dressing quickly, making the space between getting out of bed and leaving for work as short as possible. For those who get to go to work.

For me, it means sleeping in as long as Rain will let me, then bundling myself and my toddler to head out in the winter weather. Unhooking the small propane tanks in the rain, icy fingers slipping on the wet couplings, and driving down Grandview to have them filled at 8:30am as sleepy commuters shuttle past. The attendant filling the tanks in his regulation issue SuperSave Gas parka looks at me like “Great day for a bbq.”

I don’t miss that one bit.

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