We had an interesting evening last night. Things have been chaotic around the house lately as we prepare for our move. The garage is filled with boxes and garage sale items, the house looks empty-ish yet somehow still extremely cluttered. Two nights this week we have sold big items, my car Maxi and the refrigerator/freezer we had in the garage. It actually belonged to our friend and we were storing it for him, but we used it for our back-up freezer storage and also to house water and beer. He decided to sell it since we would no longer be able to keep it for him, and a nice couple came and took it away on Sunday night. There has been a lot of coming and going and rearranging this week. To say things in the garage have been jostled around would be an understatement.
Last night I went to the garage to get totes. I planned on emptying our closets of clothing we wouldn’t need for the next few weeks. When I flipped the light on and stopped into the garage, I immediately noticed a strange smell. It smelled like sewage. Or maybe rotten eggs…uh oh. I have heard the “rotten egg smell” warning a million times in my life. Gas. I paused and collected myself. I sniffed again. It was there but not overwhelmingly strong. I sniffed around and tried to find the source. It smelled stronger near the water heater. I called Mike who was running errands.
“Hey, I think I smell gas in the garage.” I opened the garage door to try to air it out a little just in case.
“Really? Yeah, I kind of smelled something when I left but I thought it was the garbage. It smells like shit, not like rotten eggs.”
“Well, the garbage is outside the door and I smelled it when the door was closed. I think it might be gas but I don’t know for sure. It does kind of smell like shit… but shit smells like rotten eggs to me. Are you almost home?” (You’d think we would be more concerned about why our garage would smell like human feces…but no. This smell is so common after having children that it is rarely cause for concern.)
“Yeah, I’m almost there.”
We hung up and I waited for my back-up nose to help determine my course of action. Mike got home and said he smelled it too, but he didn’t know for sure that it was gas. I wondered if a line had been damaged somehow with all of the furniture moving and banging around in the garage as of late. We went back and forth deciding if we should call. I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time but I didn’t want to wake up dead either. (Ha!) Mike was Google-ing it and I was looking up Southwest Gas’s phone number.
“I think you should call.” He determined.
“Yeah, better safe than sorry.” I agreed. It was almost 8:00 and Truman was very ready for bed, Grant was wearing only a diaper since a he had a massive blow-out earlier, and I was in my usual at-home uniform: Hideous jogging shorts and a tank top with no bra.
I dialed Southwest Gas, (instead of 911 like their website suggested) and got the emergency gas leak line. The lady asked me what was happening and I explained to her that I thought I smelled gas, but it might not be and while I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time, I also didn’t want my house to explode. She got my information and asked me a few questions. She said the next available technician would be out to inspect the problem, but had no way of knowing how soon that would be. She said they strongly recommended we evacuate the premises, don’t light any matches, turn off all running appliances, and DO NOT use the automatic garage door. (I did not tell her that I had opened it 65 times since initially smelling the gas.) I looked at the clock and then at my two exhausted and whiny children. Bedtime. So close to bedtime. I tried bargaining with the gas lady.
“Soo… do I definitely have to leave? I mean, can’t I just wait until the guy gets here? It will be really soon right? I mean… I can’t go walking down the street with two kids at 8:00 at night…” The lady was quiet. I could pretty much see her rolling her eyes on the other end, calling me a moron in her head. I would have been if I were her. “Ok, we’ll leave the house.” I said feeling foolish.
She piped up with, “Well, someone has to be there to let the service man in.” Now wait just a minute. Here she had me feeling like a jackass for not taking this thing seriously enough, and now she wants me to flee but leave some treasured part of my family behind to answer the door?
“Ok… um… will they call me when they get here?” If we were evacuating, we were all evacuating. I wasn’t staying behind to explode and I’m sure Mike wasn’t going to volunteer either.
“Yes, they will call you and you can come back!” She seemed pleased with our compromise.
“Thank you.” I hung up. I told Mike they wanted us to evacuate and he was already getting ready.
“Yeah, of course they do.” (Mr. Know it all over here…)
“Do you think it is really that necessary?” I was feeling him out. I struggle with being a paranoid freak sometimes, and he generally balances me out. I was back and forth about the seriousness of our current situation. I didn’t want to drag the kids out unless it was absolutely necessary.
“Uh, yes!” He said, like he could not believe I wasn’t more concerned. I suddenly became nervous and was in a hurry to get out. If he was worried about blowing up, the possibility suddenly became very real to me. I sprang into action. I threw some clothes on the baby, pajama pants on Truman and put on a bra. (You know, in case we got pulled over or something. I try not to be floppy in public.) Mike got the keys, and we left the front door unlocked. We crated McGillicutty, (the lovable pit bull who may or may not eat a stranger walking into our home when we aren’t there. Though now I think we should have brought her with us. What the Hell was I thinking?) I put on my flip flops and we loaded into the van. I figured we could go check out this amazing view of the city I had noticed on my way home from Bunco the other night. (Horizon Ridge heading west, Las Vegas/Henderson people! Beautiful.) I would wait for the call and tell the technician to just walk in and investigate.
We drove and chatted, checked out the amazing view and waited for a call. It was nearing 8:30 and we started worrying that this may take hours. At 8:30 exactly, my phone rang. The technician was completely confused as to why we weren’t answering our door. I told him the lady on the phone said to evacuate and he laughed. “Really?” He asked incredulously. “I was right here. I’ve been listening to your dog bark for ten minutes waiting for you to answer your door, so I figured I better call.” I told him to please go in and we would meet him there. He triple checked with me that the dog wouldn’t eat him, and I assured him she was caged. We pulled in the driveway ten minutes later. I decided to wait in the car with the kids while Mike found out the details. I didn’t want to unload and reload if we had to go to a hotel or something. The tech and Mike met in the driveway and spoke for a second. The guy waved for me to get out of the car.
“You can open the garage door!” He said with a smile. I turned off the ignition and hit the garage door button. As I prepared to get out of the van, Mike and the tech walked to the front of the garage and I saw Mike reach and pick something up off of one of the tables shaking his head. He held up a package for me to see while walking toward the trash cans on the side of the driveway. I got out of the van feeling relieved and pretty dumb.
“Oh no! You’re kidding me!” I said as Mike shook his head and the technician laughed. The week’s events came flooding into my brain, and everything suddenly made sense.
The freezer. Mike had emptied the freezer when it was sold and there, sitting on the table, was a venison roast. A roast that had been flown to Las Vegas by my wonderful Dad in November with a bunch of other packages of venison. We had eaten everything except this one last roast, which had been thawing and rotting in a 90 degree garage for the last 72 hours. The technician had a good laugh but assured us that this type of thing happens all of the time. He knew it wasn’t gas the second he had walked in and started looking around for the source. He noticed the package and left it right where it was and waited for us to get home to show us. He didn’t even open the garage to let out the smell so we would be sure that what we had been smelling matched what he was smelling. We talked with him for quite awhile, he was extremely friendly and very knowledgeable.
“So are we the dumbest call you’ve gotten?” Mike asked.
“Not even close Bro,” He said shaking his head. “Today? Yes. You win today so far, but overall, not even close.”
So, our gas leak was actually a rotten roast and it hadn’t been necessary for me to put on a bra after all. I’m still glad we played it safe though. Besides, Truman thought taking an impromptu bedtime ride was awesome, so win-win. If this ever happens again, I will investigate a little more but ultimately evacuate if I can’t find the problem myself. Next time, we will bring the dog too. (What an asshole I am!) We went to bed relieved and pretty sad that our last venison roast was wasted. Good thing we are moving back to Michigan, the land of plenty when it comes to deer and can replace it soon enough. Many thanks to Southwest Gas Company for their prompt and professional service, and for having a sense of humor.