It is a little chillier than I like here in the Commandant's Quarters this morning, too cold for comfortable showering.
That happens from time to time in wicked cold weather when I don't take proper care of my wood burner. It runs far less efficiently when it wants its ashes hauled, and that chore is overdue.
The ordinary solution is technology. A lazy twist of the propane dial quickly brings things up to a toasty 77 or so. That's exactly what occurred about 5 a.m., despite yesterday's news that propane had spiked to a painful $3 per gallon. Making my regular morning news scan about 5:05 a.m, I learned that the going price is suddenly $5. I madly twisted the dial the other way, killing the main flame and the pilot.
I turned on some electricity (expensive, but cheaper than propane at the going Adam Smith-determined price), stirred the coals, and put on a hat. As I type, the mercury is 70 and rising. Propane sellers weep.
I've modified the daily tactical plan. First light will find a clean firebox and a hearth full of special emergency high-output cellulose -- thinner splits of oak and even a piece or two of old cedar fence post. Take that propane hustlers.
An hour later the Command Thermodynamic Production and Control Center will be ready for normal fueling with big billets of hard wood. I shal then resume the grace of normal life, a breakfast of organic, free-range eggs shirred with hummingbird tongues and Benedictine in preparation for rigorous fencing practice to a background of Vivaldi.
So it's no real problem, just a flurry of inconvenience. That's offset by a timely object lesson in the extreme ludditarian and free-market positions I've been ranting about lately.
(a) The cure for $5 propane is $5 propane. The more people who turn off the valve, the quicker the cure works. (b) Implementing (a) requires an alternative. In this case it is wood and, to a small extent, grid watts. Beyond that, there is the Knipco heater. Further yet (power failure?) the old Kerosun still works and doesn't need electricity.
So I'm several steps away from spending my days in bed, huddled under a blanket, whining about the evil forces of capitalism making me miserable, dreaming of going on network teevee, telling the world of my misery which, of course, ain't my fault no how.
Footnote 1: If I did decide to tell it to the cameras, I could blame Obama. Or Goldwater. But I suppose Bush would get me the most nods of statist agreement, and a guy can't go wrong reaching for a high Neilson rating.
Footnote 2: I hope I'm not alarming my family. If worse comes to worst, there's enough gas in the tank to make it to mid-March, at least, when the sun shines warmer and the Invisible Hand tells the propane industry: too much. That gas was sold to me some 13 months ago at c.$1.25 per gallon.
Footnote 3: Betcha my state and local regulators secretly love it. A 300-gallon propane fill at $5 would render unto them $105 in sales tax. Do that enough times and you can build all sorts of neat new bicycle trails and sincere people to adminster them.