Ice, gas, and appreciation…

Early last week there was rumbling of an impending ice storm. Having been seasoned by 21 winters in Western Maryland, most versions of frozen precipitation don’t phase me. I mean if I have the option, I don’t want to drive around in any of it, but with snow or sleet, you’d need to see some pretty biblical amounts before I’d be concerned about not being able to get the Jeep through it if I absolutely needed to leave the house for some reason.

Freezing rain, in my estimation, has always been something of a different animal. Good 4-wheel drive and all the torque in the world might let you get going, but with one little slip it’s hard to tell exactly where you might end up. 

Fortunately, my schedule last week called for me to mostly be home, so driving around in anything wasn’t going to be an issue. The catch for me was the propane tank buried in the back yard being only just a hair north of 25% full. Under most circumstances that wouldn’t be low enough to worry about. 100 gallons is plenty to run the furnace and water heater for a good long while. 

What it isn’t enough to do, however, is keep the generator running for more than a day without manually powering it on and off to conserve fuel. The whole point of putting the genny in was to avoid needing to do that sort of thing during a power failure. I want the heat on. I want George’s sun lamps on. I want the well and sump pumps running. I want light in every room. What I told the guy who calculated the size generator I needed was that I wanted to be able to still host Thanksgiving dinner even Delmarva Power suddenly went out of business. 

All the utility cables in my neighborhood are underground. It means we don’t get too many local outages. The outages we do get, though, tend to be because the larger transmission lines stretching through wood and dale have somehow gotten smacked. When they go down, they tend to stay down for half a day or longer.

All of the long power outages I’ve experienced since moving in here have been the result of freezing rain. Since it looked like there was a good chance we’d be getting iced over, I called my propane delivery company hoping they could pull me ahead on the delivery schedule. Sure enough, the next day Tri-Gas and Oil backed up the driveway and pumped off 300 more gallons for me. The ice ended up bypassing us here at Fortress Jeff, but it’s a decided comfort knowing that our local run time is now measured in days rather than in hours.

As much as my teeth grind when it comes time to pay the fuel bill, it’s hard to be too mad at a company that makes an effort to come when you call rather than making excuses about why it’s too hard to do. I appreciate the hell out of them for that.

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