December 13, 2006

Passing Gas

Or, How the Very Expensive Plumber f*cked up....

So our next-door neighbor, a lovely woman who I will refer to as "JoAnn" has been having some trouble with her hot water heater. Including a hell of a flood last week. Good thing we have clear drainage. She decided to replace it sooner rather than later, and sooner turned out to be yesterday. As she told me last night, she chose the most expensive plumber to do the replacement simply because he had a reputation for NOT screwing things up.

In any case, JoAnn works strange hours. Like she leaves the house between 10 and 11 in the morning, and usually returns after 9 at night. So in this case, she left them the spare garage door opener to get access to the garage, where the water heater lives, with the understanding that they would bill her and close the door after the new machine was up and running.

One thing about the garage. JoAnn's garage and ours are under our respective houses and are connected by a walkway and a staircase that leads to each of our back doors. So you can enter either of our garages from the other. This, in fact, is why we knew in advance about the repair. She wanted to let us know that strangers would have access to our garage. No big deal, unless of course they like to steal empty cardboard boxes or Army uniforms. Or laundry detergent.

So I leave the house at 6:30 am, husband in tow, and drop DH at work before I go on to my own office. I had meetings and things all day yesterday, culminating with a staff meeting/ party. So I don't get home until 6:30 PM. All I wanted to do was address Christmas cards and veg in front of the TV. And go to bed early.

Did I mention I left here at 5:30? Fucking LA trafffic.

Anyway. By the time I arrived home it had been at least 3-4 hours since anyone had been in either garage. I pull into the driveway and roll down my window for the garage opener (which has a weak ass signal) and as the door opens, I smell something.

By the time I pull in and turn the car off, I know what it is: Gas. Immediately I go into panic mode. I run out on to the driveway and dial the house, meanwhile yelling at DH to pick up the phone. He picks up the phone and I ask him to open the back door and tell me what he smells. He concurs that it is gas and rings off to call JoAnn's cell.

In the meantime I have recovered sufficiently to realize that if I could drive into the garage that there's not enough gas to flash over, so I go over to JoAnn's garage and hit the button to open the door and turn off the light in my garage and then back the car out and park it on the street.

DH then went down to the HOA reps' house and asked about the shut offs, and she brought out the gas wrench, and we turned off JoAnn's gas at the main. Within 10 minutes, all of the gas had cleared.

I'll find out from her this afternoon why this happened, whether it was a blown pilot light or a loose connection or what.

Scary, though.

Posted by caltechgirl at December 13, 2006 12:50 PM | TrackBack


And, about the flood, I've never been to JaAnn's house, so I refuse to take the blame. Even though I have a history with floods.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at December 13, 2006 01:04 PM

Holy Smokes - she has my luck. I'm so glad you found the gas leak and got it stopped before it all exploded! Even the best plumbers can have weird stuff happen when they do this kind of work. I hope it's an easy fix.

Posted by: Teresa at December 13, 2006 01:22 PM


Posted by: vw bug at December 13, 2006 02:30 PM

That's not good. Fortunately the gas wasn't severe enough that opening the door and driving in set off a bang.

Posted by: Contagion at December 13, 2006 03:07 PM

Any updates on the situation??

Posted by: Mia at December 14, 2006 05:31 PM

Holy shit! That could have been so-o-o bad!

Posted by: Mrs_Who at December 14, 2006 07:44 PM


Posted by: Marie at December 15, 2006 11:02 AM