A random look at the life and times of Jim Rising recovering radio addict and newspaper columnist.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Diesel fit her

I now know more about diesel fuel than I want to. This began exactly a week before Christmas Eve. Thursday. With the extreme cold weather here in NEPA I check the trusty heating oil tanks often. This year in spite of the human flesh freezing chill the gauge wasn’t moving. Hurrah! Our conservation efforts and triple layers were working. Until I tapped the gauge and it went from half full to mostly empty in a heartbeat. Uh oh. My friendly neighborhood fuel guys deliver on Thursday so I thought I was in luck. No soap. They would be happy to come…Christmas Eve. “But”, I cleverly protested. “I’m going to run out.”

“No problem” said she. “Just fill it up with diesel fuel.”

“That’ll work?” I said incredulously.

“Would I steer you wrong?”

I should have known better right then. As it turns out she was right. Diesel fuel and heating oil are basically the same. The dye color (red here in the US) indicates the difference and has more do with how it’s taxed then how or what it burns in.

Now here is where the stupidity comes in. I did it. Instead of picking up the phone and calling one of the 40 other fuel guys who no doubt would be only too happy to take my money, I fell for it. Hook line and yellow plastic five gallon container which cost me $9.99. Diesel fuel is more expensive than fuel oil. I did manage to find a gas station that had dyed diesel but it was still pricey.

And it was a pain in the ass. The burner in the basement was thirsty. To the tune of five gallons per day. So every stinking day out of some misguided sense of loyalty to the friendly neighborhood fuel guys I went through the process. And I do mean stinky. Diesel smells. Bad. And the fancy specially marked yellow fuel can? Well let’s just say someone improved the spout technology to the point where I never got more of the smelly stuff in the tank then I got on me or on the ground.

But Christmas Eve was coming. The long suffering wife said “You really think they will come?”

“Of course,” I replied. “They promised.”

Of course you know they didn’t. And so it was that on Christmas Day I was back at the gas station whose clerk knew me on sight. And smell. I noticed a bunch of fuel oil trucks parked near this gas station. A phone call the next day produced a same day delivery. I wish I could say my original friendly neighborhood fuel guys got a cheery message from me. I would be wrong.

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