My oil tank and me

I swear, I never saw a home heating oil tank before I moved to the Maritimes.

Maybe I just wasn't looking because I was living in my naive, Ontario, natural gas world, but I don't remember seeing one.

Erin and I moved to Fredericton on New Years Eve 2001 (we drove straight through from Ontario in a U-haul, unloaded half the truck, dug out the mattress and sheets, crashed and woke up to find it was 2002). I picked up a copy of The Daily Gleaner the next day to try and wrap my head around my new home.

There was a full-page story about the first-ever New Brunswicker to switch from oil to natural gas heat. I remember chuckling through the article, especially the questions (from both the reporter and the guy) about whether it would feel warm.

I like that oil is a delivered utility. It helps me ration the stuff better than if there was a seemingly unending supply. In Iqaluit, even water is delivered to your house. Scary, at times, to think that if that truck doesn't show up, you're screwed. But, there's also that wonderful feeling of relief when you hear the truck arrive, back up, bang the ice from the lines and start pumping.

We keep our house cool: 18 degrees during the day and 16 at night. We pile on the sweaters if (when) that seems too cold. My Ontario mum, who came to visit over Christmas, found it a little chilly. She never said anything, but I kept finding the thermostat touched up a few degrees from where I'd last left it. It was kind of fun.

I play a funny game with my oil tank. I convince myself that as long as I don't look at it, I don't have to worry about it. I generally have an idea of how much oil we have, but I sill take chances. I avoided looking at the tank from about Christmas Day to just a few days ago. I finally pushed denial aside on Sunday, only to find the indicator below the "-E-" line. I called my oil company.

"Mercer's Fuel."

"Uh, hi. Sorry to bug you on a Sunday, but I was wondering if I could order half a tank of oil?"

"Ok. Is it an emergency, or can we bring it tomorrow?"

"Uh..." I paused to think about just how far below the empty line the tank was. "Well......... I guess.. tomorrow.. would be... fiiine."

I didn't sleep very well. I kept waiting for some sign that we'd run out of oil (I don't know why, but I imagined either a loud clunking sound, or maybe sirens). When we woke up, the furnace was still chugging along.

Jane was the first to see the truck arrive that morning.

"Beep Beep! Beep Beep!" She ran around the house, shouting at the top of her lungs. I was pretty happy too.

We'll play the whole game over again in February, I'm sure.


Anonymous said...

I am totally with you on the thermostat, Dave. Does Henry need any sweaters (not that Seb's would fit him)? Our lad has a complete drawer of sweaters, fleeces, cardigans, sweatshirts that he has NEVER worn this past 4 weeks. We were told that we would be able to air-dry our laundry and open the windows in January. And it's true.

I miss the cuddle-up factor of a sweater.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the offer!

How can I put this -- I've seen recent pictures of Seb; Henry the Beast could eat him.

Why can't we have normal-sized kids like you?