Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Never a dull moment.....

Well, let's see....where do I start. The other day I was doing laundry and noticed that my water just didn't "feel" right. I figured that it was no longer soft water and probably the reason was because my water softener needed to be refilled with salt. So I trudged downstairs to check it out.

Now, I had my laundry facilities moved upstairs a while ago because the stairs are just too hard to navigate with my bad knee and bad hip, but I CAN go down there if I'm careful. It just hurts, plus takes me a while. I would say that I probably haven't been down in my basement for about 3 months.

So anyway, I go downstairs to check out the softener. Now I'm no Martha so I go barefooted inside my house. I've always done it and probably always will. As I'm walking toward the softener, I have to step on a large piece of kitchen carpeting that's been down there for ages. It's better than standing on a cold floor when you're doing laundry. I step on the carpeting and immediately jerk my foot back.....its wet.....very very wet. My first thought was that the wash water may have come back up through the drain in the floor but there is no smell. I look around some more to find a clue. The water must have come out quickly at one time as the water line on the paneling is about 2 inches up from the floor and there are calcium deposits that have settled in between the tiles on the floor. Bright white they are and there's no missing them. About the only place those could come from is my water heater and upon closer inspection....yes, its leaking.

I can't really complain; it has served me well. It was installed in 1985 and I've never had any trouble with it. So I call my furnace guy and make arrangements to get a new one installed the next day. I thought briefly about getting one of those new tankless water heaters but they are expensive and take much longer to install. My budget dictates that I stay with the tried and true.

First and foremost I have a clean-up job that must be tended to. That soaking wet big piece of carpeting is not going to be easy to contend with. I call my son and ask him if he would do this for me and he readily agrees to take care of it. He will do it the very next day and the day after that I get the new water heater installed. Perfect timing. The next day he comes over and cleans everything up down there, carts the wet carpet up and out of the basement and mops the floor. He did a very good job. The next day the new one is installed and it takes about 2 hours. Its nice to have hot water again. Oh and my softener was out of salt, so that was replenished and now I should have soft water again. Life is good.

This happened yesterday. Fast forward to about 3 in the morning when I wake out of a sound sleep and smell gas. Now I am terrified of natural gas. I have a lot of respect for it and for what it can do for us as well as to us. My emergency dispatch training pops into my head so I know not to turn on any lights as I roam around my home sniffing the air. Yes....definitely gas odor coming from the basement. Strong gas odor. I call the gas company and report a gas leak.

As I sit there in my nightgown with my hair sticking straight up on one side of my head, I'm listening to this guy on the phone giving me instructions which make no sense. They really should update this speech they go through. First of all, he tells me that they recommend that I evacuate my home immediately.....which escalates your fear factor about 100% right there. In the next breath he wants to make sure that someone will be here to let in their employee. Then he tells me not to turn on any appliances or any lights and not to use the phone. At this point, I actually take the receiver away from my ear and look at it. WTH does he think I'm calling him on? Oh well, it hasn't exploded yet.......I continue to listen. He states he will have someone here within 60 minutes. SIXTY minutes. I was figuring maybe 15 to 20 but not 60. There's not much I can do but wait. I then get dressed and open the front door to let some fresh air in. After about 10 minutes of fresh air, I turn on a table lamp, thinking it will be safer than a wall switch. Then I wait some more. All of a sudden my whole house is submerged in darkness. The power has gone out! I can't remember when I've ever been so scared. I figured that this was just a prelude to a house explosion and I tightly shut my eyes and brace myself. Nothing happens. I open my eyes and then the lights come back on. I'm thinking to myself....oh great...this can't be good, power going off and on through-out the entire house and here they warn you not to be turning stuff on. Then it goes out again and this time I look outside and discover that the entire neighborhood is pitch dark. The wind is very strong at this point and its spitting rain. I was surprised when the power came back on a minute or so later. This time it stayed on. (my daughter wasn't so lucky.....she's still out of power and the power company says it may not be restored until early Friday morning!)

The gas company showed up within 40 minutes and he yellow tagged the water heater (dangerous) after shutting off the gas to it. He said there was a definite leak in the connection....a substantial leak. He said to have my installer come back and fix it, then fill out the card and mail it back. He said that if they (the gas company) have to come back out again after the installer has been here, I will be charged for it! Off he went. (personality rating out of 5 stars: 2) I felt better but it took me nearly an hour to calm down enough to where I could go back to sleep. At 9 a.m. I called my guy and he came over and fixed it all up. Apparently there was a problem with a fitting, which he replaced. I should have hot water by 6 tonight so I can do dishes and my white laundry.

Right now I'm sleepy and so I'm headed for a nap. This old girl can't take all this excitement in stride any longer. Time to recharge the batteries. Hope your day was more calming than this. Peace!


forsythia said...

What an experience! BTW, I never knew that you shouldn't turn on lights or appliances in the event of a gas leak.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh my gosh Val...I hope this is all taken care of now and everything is running smoothly again. What an ordeal. I would have been wiped-out too. I can't take these things anymore either...they exhaust me. Hey, you handled it beautifully... Hugs, Joy

Karen said...

That was a scary thing you had to go through. You seemed to have handled things well.
Hope all is well and you got do your dishes and laundry with hot water.

Jamie said...

Good Heavens...things like this are so rattling, why do they always happen at night? Amazing that you were dealing with a gas leak and power outage at the same time. You are my hero, you never ever break down, always keep your cool and manage just fine. :)


Gypsy said...

You are a wonder Val and handled that beautifully.

SOUL: said...

wow-- this is the most exciting blog post i've read in a long time!
charlotte to the rescue!
i woulda been freakin out too. your trouble-shooting skillz were right on too. i don't think my brain woulda been so on target -- not sure what i would've guessed first-- but surely not the water heater.
you did great!
i didn't know not to turn on a light either. i know other things-- not to create a spark-- as in umm, turning on a light. ugh.
glad you are safe and sound and that you're son was there to help in a hurry
big ole hugs to you
have a happy day today

Cheryl said...

Wow. You are so lucky on so many levels with all this. Thank goodness! It could have turned out so different.

Jamie said...

Where are you friend?

Missing you...


SOUL: said...

well, i was gonna say what jamie said--
just checkin on ya--
let us all know you didn't blow up!!!!

big hugz and lotsa coffee

Smocha said...

wow. how did I miss this post?
Ditto what they all said :) since I'm so late.

That was a nightmare I bet. Gas scares me too. I also didn't know about NOT turning on lights .

happy saturday!

SOUL: said...

hmm.. i came here -- third time now..
i'm still proud of you-- and still happy that you are ok!!!
happy saturday--
get some fresh air girlie-
it'll do ya good!