Sunday, January 23, 2005

Sub (Zero) Rosa
The recent spell of freezing weather upped our heating oil burn rate. Refill delivery was scheduled for Wednesday, yet as to be expected, we ran out of oil on Tuesday. My oil company said any emergency delivery after-hours would incur a $150 charge on top of the cost of oil. After a fruitless scramble calling competing oil companies to see if they would deliver "fee-free"(they don't), I called back my oil company and reluctantly scheduled an emergency delivery for that night. Our thermostat was plunging towards 50 degrees.

So a half hour later I get a call from the oil delivery driver, and it was pretty obvious that he was not at all thrilled to be doing deliveries that night out in the freezing cold. He informed me that he wasn't going to be able to get to my house until midnight. He said:
"So, how well do you know your home heating system? Because if you want, you can avoid the $150 delivery charge all together and save me the trouble of having to deliver you oil. All you got to do is get your hands on some diesel fuel and pour it down the fill pipe on the side of your house. Put in about 15 gallons worth to get you through the night, bleed the line, restart your furnace, and you're set."

To me, these instructions were the receipt of an arcane and secretly guarded knowledge. This delivery guy had no desire to do deliveries, and I myself had no desire to pay The Man's exorbitant fee. Both self interests could be satisfied through the taking of subversive action on my part. I hung up and immediately leapt into action - a trip to the store for a 5 gallon container and then on to the gas station. 5 gallons of diesel fuel was transferred from gas pump to house by way of automobile. My third refill at the gas station confirmed my membership in The Club - there was a guy at the pump filling several cans of his own.

"Hey, are you filling up your furnace?" I asked.

"definitely. No way am I going to let them take an arm and a leg from me!" he replied.

Awesome! Now it was official. There were others out there creatively attending to the favorable resolution of their home heating emergencies. Needless to say, the outcome was as expected - the exotic fuel burned without a hitch and the resultant heat was welcomed by pipes, home, cat, and wife. And the next day I received my regularly scheduled oil delivery at standard prices sans fee

So the next time there is a home heating emergency, please remember this bit of advice. Screw the fee. Go diesel.