Saturday, May 1, 2010
How Blocking Helped Me Avert Danger
Several days ago, I was blocking my Lace Fichu shawlette on the rug in front of the fireplace (sans Scout's puppy). Our house was built in the 20's with a wood-burning fireplace. But darn it if I didn't smell gas. Ah, probably nothing. Pin, stretch, pin, stretch, curse, pin, curse (that's the sound of me blocking lace with a hundred or so points). Sniff. Sniff. Geeze, that's pretty strong. I called in DH ... why is it that only women smell things that don't belong in a particular place? Anyway, I insisted that DH call the gas company which gratefully he did the next day (after my shawl had dried). The "gas man" (what do you call those guys anyway?) walked around the room with a Geiger counter-type machine that went wild by the fireplace. I'm here to tell you that these guys don't mess around. He shut off the gas immediately and locked the meter saying that in an old house with old wiring, one spark and poof...no house. (Even I thought that was a bit dramatic but I wouldn't take any chances). He suspected that the gas came from a defunct in-floor heater and that the gas line had not been capped. After searching around DH and Gas Man concluded that there was no access to the gas lines that once fed the heater. Good lord, the scenarios they were spinning. Yah, uh, well you could blow a hole through the exterior wall to the kitchen, pop the tiles out, grab the line from under the island, reroute it to....blah blah blah. Why don't you just go in through the floor heater, I asked? Pshaw. Women. They continue: we could rip up the deck and try to access the pipes that way. Again, why don't you just go in through the floor heater? Well, finally, our handyman came and he actually listened to me. He removed the floor heater and easily saw that there were 3 dead gas lines that had never been capped; one of which ran towards the fireplace. The next day he capped away. Gas Man reinspected, declared us "clean", and within minutes we had hot water and a stove again! As far as I can figure it, the lesson here is: never ignore a smell and speak until heard!