Yesterday afternoon my sweetie and I returned from a multi-day out-of-town trip, so this morning I left the house early to get groceries and re-stock our refrigerator. When I returned around 9:30 am, my husband informed me that he was awoken by the sound of our carbon monoxide detector blaring.
Hmm, that’s not good… My sweetie informed me that he re-set the alarm, and that it hadn’t gone off since, so everything must be fine. Hmm…. Let’s make a call to the gas company, anyway. My husband agreed that was probably a good idea, so after we put the groceries away I phoned our state gas provider.
I explained to the customer service representative why I was calling, and after listening to my 10-second summary, he said very calmly, “Okay, what I’m going to do is transfer you to our emergency line. Can you please hold while I do that?” Um, sure, I guess. But it’s not really an emer—- Too late; he was gone, and I was on hold.
Not ten seconds later, a new agent was on the line with me – but he was a wee bit more intense than representative #1. He peppered me with questions like “Is anyone in the house nauseous, vomiting, or unconscious?” Um, no. “Is anyone in the house experiencing burning eyes, difficulty breathing, or seizures?” Good lord, no! “If we get to your house and you don’t answer, do you give us permission to call a locksmith, the police, and/or emergency services as necessary?” Do I really have a choice? “Nope, not really. Open all the windows to your house, and wait outside; we’ll be there within 20 minutes.”
Yikes; I guess this whole thing could be pretty serious.
Long story short: A technician came out to our house, and inspected all of the various gas appliances/devices we own (i.e., furnace, oven/range, water heater, and clothes dryer). He didn’t find any leaks inside, but he did find a tiny little bit of carbon monoxide in our garage. He explained that since we had opened all of the windows in the house, we had effectively cleared all of the spaces of any potential CO build-up. Which is good; except it means that he couldn’t find anything to address. His advice: Plug the CO detector back in. If it sounds again, leave the house closed up, but also leave the house. Call the gas company from our cell phone, from a safe location. With the house closed, if there is a CO issue, he will be more successful in finding it. But really, he didn’t think there was anything to worry about. Probably just a little exhaust from the car this morning that drifted inside.
So. Why I am I writing about all of this here on the blog? What is “smile-worthy” about a potentially serious issue? A few things, actually:
- The response of both my sweetie and I kind of cracks me up. He and I were both pretty laid-back, putting away groceries before we decided to maybe pick up the phone and give the ol’ gas company a ring… Our blasé attitude about a potentially life-threatening situation makes me laugh at the both of us.
- Customer service agent #2 made me smile. Yes, my sweetie and I were pretty relaxed about everything; but seriously, if one (or both) of us were vomiting, seizing, or worse, I think we might be a little more, um, anxious about the whole deal. The contrast between what the agent asked and the reality of our experience was amusing to me.
- While waiting for the technician to arrive at our home, I did have a few moments where I commented to my sweetie, “You know, if – God forbid – both you and I died today, it probably would have gone unnoticed until Monday, when we didn’t show up at work. And even then, our co-workers might assume we just took an extra day of vaca or something; I wonder when we might have been discovered?” Reflecting on the reality of my own mortality made me appreciate life a bit more today. Yes, I’m sick today (just a yucky cold); but congested and tired is much better than dead. Comparing and contrasting the two possible states made me chuckle out loud. Like there is any comparison.
One tiny little molecule can make a ginormously big difference in life. I’m grateful I came out ahead today.