Friday, January 18, 2008

Vitamin C and Propane

Nobody will tell you the price of propane. Prices per gallon are so high that if you ask the fuel company they won't tell you. Even the deliverymen won't say. They only ask you what dollar amount you want. When they're gone, you divide it by the gallons you got. There's a $100 surcharge if you call them after you've let the gauge sink below 10 percent -- an emergency.

I am fond of my blimp-shaped silver propane tank, and fed it $600 worth last May. Sixty percent was gone by Christmas. Electric power, if I play it right, can perhaps get the remaining gas to last until March; mid-March if I'm frugal and use an electric cooking ring rather than the stove. It's so old and crusty I feel like an old Alaskan prospector -- like Sam McGee in that Robert Service poem.

Please notice that I don't whine about heating the house. Native Missourians have one bizarre quirk: They think they deserve to go barefoot in the house in January, and if that means 80 degrees, they crank it up. We from the frozen north grudgingly raise the temp to 55, put on two pairs of socks, leg-warmers, shoes, a hat, fingerless gloves, a down vest over two layers of sweats, and tie a fleece bathrobe over everything; then close off three rooms and live in two. I look like a bag lady -- but who's looking? I'm saving money and the planet!

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