So, it’s been pretty lemony over here lately. Anyone have a good recipe for lemonade? But seriously…it’s getting hot. I NEED a recipe.
A friend sent me a message a little over two weeks ago and asked how things were going (this was after Patrick’s clavicle fracture, dad spending some time in the hospital, and our kitchen sink backing up and spewing all over the place…both men and the kitchen are doing well now). And I boldly said, “We’re doing well this week. Nothing earth shattering!” Annnddd…JINX.
Please, don’t ever ask me how we’re doing because I might say something stupid like that we’re doing well and then I’m sure, sure, sure, the earth will crumble beneath us.
On with the story.
We had some friends over a few weekends ago and we were in the backyard. One of them went inside for a minute and came back out and said she smelled gas. I went in and checked the stove but never really smelled anything so I didn’t think about it again. And then it was Monday morning and something kept nagging at me and I felt like I just HAD to call the gas company. In retrospect, I should have made a different call. Keep reading to find out why.
I dialed the number for the gas company and moments later found myself scurrying around the house trying to “evacuate” to at least 100 feet away with two toddlers who needed to “pee the potty” and badly needed a snack. We drove around the neighborhood for a bit and through the drive up window at Starbuck’s and then drove back by our house to see if anyone from the gas company was there waiting for me to open the door. The gas man had just arrived and so, I parked 100 feet away from our house, locked the kids in the car and sprinted to the front door to let him in. Then I sprinted back to the car. I had to run back and forth to the house from the car about 5 times to answer questions and show him where all of our gas appliances were so he could test them to make sure they weren’t leaking. They weren’t. Not one of them, according to his detection device (who knows what that thing is actually called?). Also, he was scared of the dog and kicked her and she peed all over the place. Not cool gas man, not cool at all.
He informed me that he needed to check the furnace and lines underneath the house. I showed him the crawlspace access–a piece of plywood over a very ominous hole in the ground outside our house–and he climbed in. Normally, I feel bad for anyone who has to go under there, but after the dog incident, I sort of felt like he deserved it. Sorry, not sorry. He crawled back out and told me that he smelled gas under the house and that he would be, “pulling our gas meter.” I had no idea what that meant and I asked him what the next step was. He looked at me like I had three heads (and like I was a total idiot) and told me to call, “a LICENSED plumber.” And then he told me 3 more times that I needed a LICENSED plumber. OK…I get it, I get it…I won’t call my neighbor’s cousin’s brother who took a class on plumbing at the community college one time many years ago.
Luckily the LICENSED plumber we use for all of our plumbing needs was working right around the corner. Several hours later, we had two gas leaks repaired (one at the furnace under the house and one at the hot water heater in the laundry room), but the gas line was still losing pressure, which meant that there was still at least one leak. Thankfully, our house didn’t explode. Seriously. You think you’ve experience mommy guilt, try not realizing there were several dangerous gas leaks in the house you’ve been living in for years. Who knows how long this had been going on.
Icing on the cake for day one of this fiasco was when I dropped an entire jar of home made pasta sauce on our front porch and it shattered. While I was cleaning it up, the kids locked me out of the house. Not cool toddlers, not cool. Don’t worry, I got in right away, I have a key hidden in a super duper secret spot.
Day two was filled with more awesome news: two more gas leaks under the house for a grand total of 4, yes, FOUR gas leaks. Yikes. And…we were informed that in order to have the gas turned back on, the city inspector would have to come. Bad news. Worse news: the city inspector would not sign off on the installation of our water heater, so it had to be reinstalled so it was up to the new city codes.
Day three: the water heater was reinstalled. I’m thinking about having a contest to see if anyone I know can remove it from it’s current position using brute force because that thing is SECURE. I don’t actually want it moved, it’s just sort of silly how secure it is.
Day four: wait for city inspector and write this letter:
Dear City of Albuquerque,
It is absolutely ridiculous that your residential inspectors can’t give people a time frame for when they’ll arrive on the day they’re scheduled to inspect a residence. Waiting for an inspector to arrive anytime between 8:00 and 5:00 is perfectly rude. Make a schedule. Stick to it. Give people a window of time. Or, call their cell phone when your inspector is on the way. Have you heard of cell phones? They’re these things that most people have with them at all times so they may be contacted by another human.
The inspector showed up at 3:30 and informed us that our furnace, way under the house, was not installed up to code and that the furnace itself did not meet current safety standards. He also informed us that without a working and up to code furnace, the gas company would not replace our meter. Nevermind the fact that it’s April in New Mexico and we don’t really need our furnace anymore. Nevermind that.
And so, we got a new furnace. And a new gas meter, ten days after the original meter was removed. We spent ten days being a nomadic family of four with two furry dogs. It was awesome. Seriously. Awesome.
Other things that happened during this time:
– Patrick was out of town for a conference.
– Patrick started working nights again.
– Stella (the dog) tried to take a chunk out of Chole’s (the other dog) face.
– Our families really stepped up and took care of us. Yay for family!
– We discovered a most amazing park.
– The kids rolled with the punches and were super good the whole time (except for the part where they locked me out of the house).
– I spent two whole days at the house by myself waiting for various inspectors and got a lot done.
Moral of our story (we were lucky our leaks weren’t severe so…): If you smell gas, call the plumber, not the gas company. The plumber can arrive just as fast as the gas company and turn off gas to your house. They can fix the leaks and turn it back on. Heck, they can even disconnect your old (unsafe) furnace for you and you can take your time thinking about the purchase of a new and improved furnace at a later (more weather appropriate) date. All of this can be done without any interaction with the gas company or the city inspector. Call a LICENSED plumber. You won’t be sorry.