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Saturday, August 21, 2004
The night the house (almost) blew up
It's 1:30 AM. You open the front door and it hits in the face: a heavy cloud of natural gas. What do you do?
If you're anything like me, you wander inside, calmly use the restroom, calmly turn on the lights, and then flip-out when you abruptly recall the refrigerator scene from Fight Club.
Fine, so this is my first home with a gas stove and it's been a while since I last caught one of NW Natural's cautionary TV ads. I assume the only threat would be gas inhalation, which wasn't a threat since the windows were open and I was about to head outside with the phone book. The fact that the house might burst into flames at any second couldn't quite negate my burning physical need to...take a wiz.
So I immediately ran outside, abandoning the house to the neighborhood mosquitoes. "Get out of the house," the operator warned. Done. "And whatever you do, don't turn on the lights."
Ooops. Apparently, the electric spark in a light bulb is enough to turn a cute little cottage like mine into a four-alarm hell ball in a second flat. She said someone would be out in 10 minutes. 45 minutes later I'm still sitting in a lawn chair, terrorizing the neighbor's dog with the cheery "WOO HOO!"s and "YIPPIES!" wafting out of my copy of Mario + Luigi. At any given second, the house will no doubt burst into flames behind me.
The NW Gas guy finally arrives and wakes up the neighbors before sending their dog into a fit of hysterics with the rear-gear beeps on his truck. He immediately diagnosed the problem. The pilot light in the stove must have gone out during the day, allowing the house to slowly fill gas. He kills the line, tells me to leave the windows open and makes arrangements for another rep to come out the following day.
Twelve hours later, a man that looks appropriately like Mario, wanders to the door, turns the gas back on and lights the pilot. If this ever happens again, I'm to repeat the process. "Kill the gas. Let it all out. Turn the gas back on. Light the pilot."
I want to put this on a t-shirt. Or maybe a pair of boxer shorts would be more appropriate?