I called the gas company. The best they could do – they said – was deliver within 24 hours. I was not pleased with that answer and this time did call our plumbing/heating guy to see if he had any recommendations on another company that would come out. He told me it was a futile search – they wouldn’t fill a competitor’s tank – and the best bet, as long ours was going to do it in 24 hours – was to get a couple of electric heaters and hunker down. He then, graciously, offered to loan me some of his. I drove into town to his shop and picked them up. By now it was 6:30, the outside temperature had sunk to 20, and the weather was getting really bad. When I got back to the cottage, I put one in the TV room, and one in each of the bedrooms, cranked them up and shut the doors. They became quite manageable – low 60s, probably. Joe and I microwaved some leftovers and watched a couple of movies (The American and The New Star Trek). By the time we went to bed (about 12:30) the temp in the rest of the house had dropped to 42.
I slept well and awoke at 7:00. Even though it was still dark, I knew immediately we’d had a big snow because it was stuck in the screens and piled on the mullions of the doors. I turned the outside light on as I let Jack out and watched him trudge through 8-10 inches of powder. Outside, the temperature was 10 degrees. The house, amazingly, was still not that bad, just under 40 degrees. I was doing all right in that without a jacket - only a heavy fleece and a stocking cap to keep my bald pate warm. It took me about an hour and a half to shovel the deck and stairs and by then the sun was peering above the dunes to create one of the more glorious mornings I’ve ever experienced. As the sun's rays hit the water of the Lake, tendrils of vapor started rising, eventually forming a cloud that sat down on the surface of the water about a quarter mile offshore. Overhead the sky was a piercing clear blue.
The propane truck arrived about 11:00. I was happy to hear the driver say that he should have been called out last night and that we wouldn’t be charged an emergency delivery or a pressure test fee because they should not have allowed the tank to go empty. By 11:30 the furnace was cranking out the heat again, and we were feeling pretty comfy.
And the test?
My patience, of course. But I did keep it.
But the one I was really thinking about was living without central heat, living in the cold. I doubt I’ll have electric heaters in Morocco, but this nevertheless convinced me that I can deal with the cold as long as I dress right.