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09 August 2007 @ 10:55 am
The trouble with natural gas ...  
... is it makes you stupid.

I get up with the alarm at 7:30 to open the doors (so the cats can look and sniff) and to give the cats their morning serving of cat-tuna in the kitchen. On days when I'm working from home, especially when the Red Sox played past 2am the night before, I'll usually go back to bed until I have to start working.

After I opened the front door this morning, I noticed a very strong smell I thought was the scent they add to natural gas so that leaks are easily detected. I wasn't sure, largely because I was still sleep-addled. I live a short distance from the old Texas Instruments campus, so I've gotten used to strange smells (usually glues) at odd times. I remember that I tried to figure out if the smell really was gas and if it was from inside or outside the house. I remember noticing that the cats did not seem lethargic; I remember noting that I did not have a headache or feel confused. I had to take the completely full newspaper recycling box out before crawling back into bed, and I didn't notice the smell outside ... but it was only in weird places inside. Somehow all this meant that the leak wasn't inside the house.

I reset the alarm and went back to bed. When the alarm started going off again at the new time, I noticed I could smell the gas even upstairs, but the cats kept checking on me, so they were fine, so it couldn't be inside, right? When I eventually got up, I went down and checked the clothes dryer, but there was no smell near that. I then had to think for several seconds what else I use gas for, and I finally came up with the stove as my only other gas-using device. (Now that I think about it, it isn't; the furnace (off) and water heater, both in the basement, also use gas.) I finally went and checked the stove, and yes, one of the lines had been knocked open. (Gonzo uses the stove as a stepping stone to the top of the fridge and then onto the kitchen cabinets. I've had no success in deterring this.)

I have a gas detector, but it only triggers if the concentration reaches explosive levels; apparently it did not, at least not over by the television ten open-architecture feet away. I'm guessing Gonzo knocked the gas on this morning, and my opening the doors helped to disperse it. I've since set up fans in windows to air the house out; I set one blowing in downstairs and one blowing out upstairs to get a cross-flow, and it was probably another 20 minutes before I realized that if the "out" fan is next to me, I'm drawing the gas to me.

On a related note: Folks with kids, are there any good gas-stove-knob childproofing gadgets out there?
Current Mood: weirdweird
zoward on August 9th, 2007 05:34 pm (UTC)
stove knob covers
We have plastic covers over all of our stove's knobs. You need to remove the cover before the stove knob can be turned, and it takes enough arm strength to open the cover that this is one of the few safety precautions we've implemented that our children have been unable to beat - so far.

The link is below (assuming LiveJournal's HTML rendering is standard):

stove knob covers

michelel72: DoctorCatmichelel72 on August 9th, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
Re: stove knob covers
That looks exactly perfect. I figured there had to be something. Thanks!
E.T. Davidoffvettecat on August 10th, 2007 05:43 am (UTC)
Yeeeike! Glad you're OK!