Sunday, May 04, 2008

Day 18 alone on the side of a mountain....

In which I've been knocked on my ass by a fever and a cold and I just want a bowl of soup.

I'm a grown woman, I've lived alone before, I've survived colds before, I've done a lot of things in my setting up home in a foreign country with no job and very little money...what about making a bit of soup would bring me to tears?

Well, let me tell you.

I heave my fevered self off the couch and make it all the way to the stove where I fill a pan with some left over onion soup. It goes on the burner. Perfect, just a little heating and I will be sipping the ultimate comfort food.

5 minutes later I taste a cold. What the f$^@? No flame. No gas. The freakin' gas tank is empty.

Just a little explanation of cooking system in Casa Cornwell di Maberga. Ya know those gas tanks that can be found in a lot of people's backyards, you know, the one next to the BBQ grill? Yeah, that one, we have one of those in our kitchen, next to the stove. I suppose that is only slightly dangerous, since it clearly states on top of the tank "KEEP OUTSIDE AND AWAY FROM CHILDREN". But I don't want to give you the impression that we are playing with fire (no pun intended, 'specially since technically there would be no fire, just a big explosion), most people we know around here have the same set up.

So, once every4 to 6 months the gas tank runs out and needs to be replaced, sooner if you are drinking a lot coffee. This just so happened to occur the very evening I'm alone and knocked on my ass by a cold and want a bowl of soup.

I seriously consider heaving myself back to the couch and forgetting about the soup but then I realize I can't have any coffee without gas either. So instead of the couch I go to the patio on the side of the house (yes, we keep the non-connected tanks OUTside).

Ever lifted one of those gas tanks? Yeah, me neither. They are HEEEAAAA-VVVVVYYYY. I dragged, rolled and wrestled the beast down the side step, across the front patio, up the step into the house where I wedged a rug under it so I could slide it across the kitchen thus not leaving a big skid mark across the kitchen tile like I did on the cement outside.

Now, old tank gone, new tank in place. I'm so close to some soup.

I cut the yellow plastic cap off, use the wrench-key thingy to get the tube hooked up just like I was told. No problem. Now all I have to do is open the gas. I try the knob. Nothing. I try again. Still nothing. I get close to the thing to make sure I'm doing lefty-loosy, not righty-tighty. Wait, I'm in Italy, maybe it's the opposite... destra-apri, sinistra-chiusi. Nope. The little arrows show me the way. Still nothing. It's just simply screwed on too tight for me. Like a jar of pickles.

This is where the tears came. I went to the couch, sobbed, called David so he could feel sorry for me.

Feeling a little embarrassed at not being able to help myself (and crying about it), I went back to the stove. It opened as easily as a jar of almost empty peanut butter.

I happily ate my soup and even pan-toasted a little bread too...just because I could.

I do have to admit there was a slightly anxiety filled moment just before I pushed the button that sparks the flame...


  1. Anonymous3:10 AM

    Olive Olive!! Your dilemma with the heat supply make me very sad. I too cried, even though I have no cold and had my soup. Could you not have heated the soup (and even some water for coffee)over several candles placed closely together or wood chips from the stove? The vision of you dragging in the tank makes me very sad and almost frightened if it were not that you are so damn competent.

  2. Mike Rowe in Boulder5:17 AM

    Ah, the wonders of chicken soup! It works, you know!

    As for the gas cylinder, well, you know Murphy's Law--and O'Toole's Corollary states that "Murphy was an optimist!" The gas was bound to run out at the most inopportune moment.

    Methinks it would be wise to run a short piece of pipe through the outside wall and put the gas cylinder OUTSIDE, so that if it goes "BOOM!" (or leaks seriously), it won't take you and the house with it. Actually, my biggest concern would be cylinder leaks inside of the house. You can't imagine what a beating those fittings on the top of the tank take, and inspection on returned tanks is not always the greatest, at least in the good ol' USofA. Defective fitting could escape notice, and a gas leak could result.

    I trust that you are feeling better, and that chicken soup is no longer the order of the day.