Snow Birds and Unwanted Visitors

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3 April 2017 - 13:20, by , in Blog, Propane News, No comments

Propane pricing bounced up and down throughout March, but the overall outcome is that it has fallen to more reasonable levels as we head into April. In my last newsletter, I commented that I thought winter was pretty well over. Now I know how the weather person on TV feels, say one thing and the opposite happens. My sweetheart had rented a house in Florida for two weeks in March. We left town on March the 7th, and drove to Florida. We had never driven down to Florida before, and probably won’t again. On the trip down, I would periodically call into the office, where I was informed that the weather had turned very cold with some snow. The propane guy in me was selfishly glad to hear of the cold weather extension into March, when I had all but given up on the prospect of a few more litres of home heating and construction heating propane.

We took our time driving to Florida, did some sightseeing along the way. Experienced some cultural challenges at a few stops on our trip. I had purchased a new Dodge truck in December, and had it converted to run on propane like a lot of our vehicles do. My sweetheart and I decided to take the new truck to Florida because it is big, roomy, and comfortable. This truck has a large propane tank in it, which we filled before we left. I didn’t need to get any propane in my tank until we were all the way to Tennessee. Propane refill stations that could actually fill up my truck were pretty well non-existent along the way, but we found a filling location at a TSC store in a small town in Tennessee. They had a hose long enough to reach my truck tank with the appropriate fittings to get the job done. This TSC store fills the odd recreational vehicle, but had never seen a pickup truck that ran on propane. I was quite a novelty, so much so that the fill person was calling some of the store staff out to witness this rarity. Propane was $2.42 per US gallon at this spot. Later, on Marco Island in Florida, I inquired about propane for my truck and was informed that it was $4.94 per US gallon. Gasoline on the other hand ranged from $1.91 to $2.39 per US gallon. Considering my truck can run on either fuel, I elected to stick with gasoline for obvious reasons. Here in Ontario, as you know, gasoline is much more expensive, and automotive propane is considerably cheaper.

The first week of our actual holiday in Florida we had our daughter, her husband, and the two grandkids stay with us. We had an enjoyable week, even though the weather was cool and windy. One morning, the temperature was 47°F. A little cool for Florida. The second week warmed up quite a bit, ending up more like we had expected. While on Marco Island the second week, we spent a fair bit of time with friends from Cambridge who have a condo there and spend months each winter on the island. We did the typical things like dining, walking, sun tanning, and some fishing. These friends are also propane customers of Waterloo County Propane. This couple have been friends and neighbors of ours for a lot of years, and are younger than we are. At some point this newsletter came up in conversation, I think they remarked on the last newsletter. Oh, I said, do you read it? The reply was “every last word”. Now, when I put in stories, I am careful not to identify individuals directly for a variety of reasons. At the remark about ‘every last word’, though, I was thinking this lovely lady might be making sure that any future articles that may happen to make slight reference to them were appropriate. Just a guess.

I mentioned last month about warm winters, and the mortality rate among creatures. Well, not long before we left on holiday, we had a visit from one of those very creatures. Ours is an old house, and certain times of the year we get visits from mice and moles. Not a lot, but some. We catch and dispose of them when the need arises. This time, though, we had a visit from their cousin ‘the rat’. Over a series of weeks, this perpetrator was into the kitchen garbage pulling plastic bags, tea bags, and other miscellaneous items in behind the adjoining dishwasher. I only found that out after a request to my sweetheart to pull out the dishwasher. What a cache of stuff we found. I had set an array of traps in various locations, to no avail.

Our toaster sits on the counter beside the refrigerator, up against the wall. One particular morning, I pulled the toaster out to use it, and the little creature had chewed a hole in the wall above the backsplash behind the toaster. That night, I awoke to some pretty loud gnawing. I crept out to the kitchen—very quietly, I thought—and turned on the flashlight. No creature that I could see anywhere. Back to bed, but within minutes the gnawing returned, so back out I went, on with the flashlight again—nothing. I repeated this two more times before finally giving up and going to bed. Next morning I find a pile of wood chips and wood splinters beside the refrigerator. The little (rhymes with hugger) had chewed up the pine door jamb moulding. (I’m thinking, what is this, a beaver or a rat?) Now, bear in mind, we are about to go on holidays for three weeks. I started to picture my kitchen totally chewed up when we get back home, so I decided to call in the professionals. I made a call to Orkin Canada, a pest control company. Their representative showed up, and put bait boxes strategically around the house and the shop. These baits basically do in the rodents after one feeding. They also set multiple traps in our basement. Orkin check the bait boxes regularly, and replace them when necessary. The traps we monitor ourselves. Considering we were going away, I had our youngest son come up periodically to check the Orkin traps, as well as the five I had set. About one week into our holiday, we get a text with a picture attached from our son. The picture showed a large rat that had met his demise. We haven’t seen any more rodent activity and assume that, with the bait boxes reducing the numbers of undesirable creatures, our problem should be solved (I hope). My sweetheart was talking about a new kitchen some time ago and these events might just move that timetable up.

Had a letter from one of our fine customers just after I came back from vacation. The gist of the letter was that she was attempting to reconcile the litres of propane we put into her tank periodically with the float gauge reading on the tank. These gauges are merely an estimated indication, showing an approximate fuel level of the tank. More of a convenience than anything else. Sometimes they are very accurate, and other times they are not. When we put propane in your tank, it is through an approved Canada Weights and Measures registered meter that we have to get re-approved every year. The litre amount printed on your delivery slip and invoice is an absolutely accurate account of how much propane we put in your tank.

Well, spring should be here by now. Time to watch out for frantic gardening types and over zealous fishermen.

Remember to take care of your health, smile lots, and enjoy this great time of year.

Thanks again for being great customers.

Peter Rivers

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