Monday, January 4, 2010

The nose knows

Working out of my home, I am responsible for the day to day operations of it - the package deliveries, service calls, doggie duty and following up on the mysterious bumps and crashes during the day. I've done it long enough I usually know when to check on things later and when to run to the source of the sounds.

Today, it was a case of the odd smell. It smelled rather like gas. I've smelled gas before in this house. When Brian was in elementary school, he accidentally turned the living room fireplace gas key left instead of right. But the weather was nice, so a couple of hours spent outdoors waiting for the gas to disperse was no big deal.

We have three gas furnaces that heat our home, so today when I smelled gas, I checked all of them to make sure warm air was coming through all vents. It was. I checked with my daughter, home from work, to see if she smelled anything. Nope. I worked a little while longer, then headed out to drive Wiley from one campus to the other for soccer. Coming back into the house, I definitely smelled gas.

We have three gas fireplaces. Living room....check. Den.....check. Master bedroom.....oops! This is what I found.

I can reconstruct. It was a real Mousetrap game. Addie, the devil cat, taunted the orange cat(s) and started a chase. Through the living room, into the master bedroom, then bathroom, then a full reverse back to the bedroom. Launching herself up to her normal queenly perch, this time Addie's momentum tipped the desk chair, causing it to fall against the wall, where it hung on the fireplace gas key, ripping the key loose from its connections inside the wall.

(I am sure this generated noise at the time, but only at the normal hub-bub level of our wacky cats. Now if it was the dog chewing (usually important) paper, I would have checked on it within thirty seconds!)

Now I call my husband and leave a message. I call my dad, like every daughter instinctively does during a household emergency. My dad and I agree that the gas leak is IMPORTANT. Nervous, having had a house fire fifteen years ago, I call 911. The operator instructs me to get out of the house and he will send a truck. My daughter and I and the dog get out of the house and wait. I decide the cats are on their own. I'm sure they're indestructible and, if not, they are somewhat replaceable, hard hearted as I am. The dog, on the other hand, I have way more invested in, subject of a future story.

The firemen arrive, identify the leak, and shut off the gas to the house. A couple of hours later, I'm back at my desk. The plumber, sheduled for in the morning, has managed to make it here today, so we should have heat back before the sun goes down.

I do have a couple of concerns for the future. First, the fire truck took well over five minutes to get here and originally stopped about a block away, looking for our house. We live in a big house in an established neighborhood on a somewhat busy street. I guess if there had been smoke pouring from the roof they would have found it quicker? Second, when I directed them to the location of the gas meter near the front of the house outside the master bedroom they were just in, they could not find it. Hmmmm.

But again, our minor gas leak was just that, so I must trust they would have been quicker in a real emergency.

The bottom line? A prayer of thanksgiving that I work at home during the day and can prevent inconveniences from becoming cat-astrophes.

1 comment:

jennifer said...

never a dull moment at your house!