You know the saying, “When it rains, it pours?” That’s all facts. I have been stressed to the MAX for a plethora of reasons, some of which aren’t my reasons to share and so I shan’t, but please trust when I say: I am teetering, people. TEETERING.
So, as I’m teetering, my kids have amped up their annoying factor to, like, infinity and beyond. And bless their hearts, they’re not even doing it on purpose. My 9-year-old was “trying to help” the other day when she sprayed our kitchen floors with Pledge, a lovely little dusting polish that is meant for table tops because, when applied to floors, turns them into effing ice skating rinks. BUT SHE WAS HELPING so what’s a mom to do? Apparently, fall on her ass in her kitchen, but I digress.
There are the big things, and then the little things, and then the daily things, and when they join forces to wreak havoc, it’s JUST. TOO. MUCH.
< A slow gas leak has entered the chat >
The same helpful duster kid is also a climber. I was a climber, too, so I get it. It’s FUN. Especially when you’re a little one, climbing things makes you feel big and strong and the whole world looks different. So, again, she’s not doing these annoying things on purpose. She’s doing them because she’s a KID. Anyway, she climbed her way up onto the kitchen counter to reach something and, on her way back down, inadvertently kicked a knob on our stove. Her big sister witnessed, and likely encouraged, the whole thing. Neither of them knew the knob had turned. There was no flame, no sound of ignition. But there was a very slow gas leak.
At the time it happened, I was upstairs cleaning.
After it happened, my girls went back to their bedroom to paint each other’s nails. (They’re cute, right?) We were all inhaling our respective chemicals on the second floor of the house which, I think, is why none of us smelled the gas right away.
Once my cleaning stuff was put away, I took a break with Netflix and my older daughter came into the room asking if I had a candle that smelled “like pumpkin or roasted pumpkin seeds or something.” Ever the basic white girl for all things pumpkin, I enthusiastically offered: “I have the BEST candle! Want to light it?”
I don’t know if I want to cry or vomit each time I think about what could have been. Just…no.
We all remained upstairs and after about an hour, I ventured downstairs to make the girls lunch and myself hot tea. I smelled it immediately, but only saw the slightly turned knob when I grabbed my teapot.
Another way too close call.
I turned the knob to the off position and made sure all the others were the same. I threw open windows and screen doors and consulted The Google to see what else I should be doing. Apparently, I should be calling 911 so I did.
The 911 operator told me to not touch anything and get all people and pets out of the house. He then asked what kind of phone I was calling from and when I admitted to still having a cordless landline, he instructed, “Don’t even end this call. Put the phone down and go outside NOW.”
I shat in my pantaloons and out we all went.
Within minutes, a police officer responded. I explained what happened, told him I’m confident the gas is leaking from the stove, and he said, “Ever since what happened in Plum, we don’t take these calls lightly.”
About a month ago, a home exploded in a community near ours, killing six people including a child. The mention of it made my girls cry. I tried to be strong for them, but I was feeling ill at the thought that we had endangered not only ourselves, but our neighbors. By then, many of them had started texting us because they’d heard “gas leak” and our name in the same sentence over police and fire scanners.
The first responders showed up and walked right into harm’s way to keep us out of it, and even writing that sentence gives me chills. I kept apologizing and thanking them. They told me to stop doing both; they were just doing their job. They took readings of the gas levels, deemed it safe for us to go back in, and we spent the rest of the day airing out the house and thanking our lucky stars. I’ve yet to decide how to best thank those men and women who were “just doing their jobs,” but I haven’t ruled out giving them my kidney, being their indentured servant for life, or just sobbing and snotting all over them with grateful hugs.
Our story thankfully has a happy ending, but you better believe I thought about alternate endings all night as I tossed and turned. My knob-kicking Pledge spraying counter climber must have been having the same thoughts because she appeared at my bedside no less than three times during the night. I promised no one was upset with her, and that we were all safe.
But holy shirt balls if that wasn’t forking terrifying.