The Propane Race

The Propane Race

Have you ever chased down a propane truck?  Well, for that matter, have you ever seen a propane tank truck?

Prior to our little move a few months ago my answer to both of those questions would have been a resounding, “No.”

Not so anymore, folks. Not. So. Anymore.

This week I added a much needed skill to my “mommy arsenal”… tracking down a propane truck. I’m sure you have always wanted to possess that skill, so sit back, read through the post and try not to laugh.

But, before we get to the part of the story where I’m frantically running down my street barefooted in the Middle East with my 8 yr old trying to keep up, all while waving down a truck containing enough flammable liquid to take out an entire city block….

…you need to know that the stove in our apartment is a propane stove. Yes, that’s our stove. And no, it’s not a new stainless steel Frigidaire…. but it gets the job done.


All of the above details mean that in the cabinet next to the stove we have two large propane tanks. If you want to cook a meal or boil water for that matter, these big bulky guys are essential. No propane in your propane tanks… no flame on the stove and no cooked food. It’s that simple. IMG_6162

If you stop and think about it, the set up is pretty simple…until you run out of propane, which is exactly what happened this past Wednesday. To top it off, that was the evening before we had company coming to visit for a few days all the way from the States. And that my friend is a BIG problem.

So, how does one go about replacing a propane tank? Well, that is where the fun begins. There are propane trucks that ride around town all day with the bed of their truck stocked full of propane tanks. These trucks drive up and down the street going about 8 mph all while playing an extremely loud tune over a loudspeaker. Think the Ice Cream Man… minus the snow cones and transporting flammable material.

When you run out of propane and you hear the propane truck you have to run outside and flag him down. Even going 8mph, it’s not always easy, especially living on the 4th floor of your apartment building. You must have lightning quick reflexes and the speed of a cheetah, both which seem to have left me since this pregnancy begun.



That particular Wednesday I made sure to only put in one ear bud so I could listen for the propane truck while I was cleaning the apartment . Sure enough, right as I was wringing out the mop I heard the propane song.

With my cat-like reflexes I jerked out my ear buds, which happened to get tangled in my hair clip costing me a much needed thirty seconds to untangle the mess. I grabbed a cardigan to cover my naked arms (wouldn’t want the outside world to see my sexy elbows) and dashed out the front door of our apartment with money in hand determined to catch the propane man.

Did I mention that I didn’t have on any shoes…and we live on the side of a steep, rocky hill?  But, none of that mattered because this Mama needed to cook for her family and friends.

I rushed out the door and quickly realized the elevator was going to take too long so I needed to run from the fourth floor down to the main level of our apartment building. I could still hear the faint sound of the propane song so I was confident I could catch him. I sprinted out the front door with my cardigan half hanging off my arms (scandalous), my hair a big hot mess from the earbud dilemma and my feet dirty from running down four flights of stairs. I rounded the corner to our apartment entrance in just enough time… to see the propane man take a left and head the opposite direction of our home.

At this point I wanted to scream like a two year old and throw dirt in the general direction of the propane man. But I was determined not to allow Mr. Propane Tank to get the best of me.

I started sprinting down the hill. Unfortunately, the propane man did not see me and he was driving faster than this pregnant girl could run.  So I gave up. I accepted defeat and I started the long walk of shame back up the hill. I am sure my neighbors thought “poor American, she doesn’t have a clue.”

By this time our oldest son had joined my efforts to chase down the propane man and he told me that if I would just keep running I could catch him. I turned around again and realized the propane man had stopped at the bottom of our hill. He had juked me by putting the truck in park, which mutes the loud lovely music. I had no clue he was still at the end of our road until my son pointed to the bright blue bumper sticking out down the street.

Once again, I found the motivation to run a bit further down the hill just in time to catch him before he hopped back in his truck. In my very broken Arabic I managed to tell the man that I need him to come to my house.

It must have worked because before I knew what had really happened he was standing in my kitchen changing out my tanks.

IMG_6066We were able to get two full tanks all for the low price of $30. Im just hopping that a YouTube video doesn’t pop up one day of me frantically running down the hill. Trust me, it was not one of my finer moments. But in the end, we had propane and more importantly we had food to eat with our friends.

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