4:30: My neighbor Christy came home and saw us. “Come in to my place and hang out,” she offered. I waited till Nshan came back so he could check her place. Her place, across the hall, was OK. I didn’t know her too well, though we always said hi and she was so sweet to Spenser. It turns out, she was AMAZING with him. They were playing games and laughing and he didn’t mind that I went back outside because…
5:00 pm: The handyman finally arrived!
The handyman that the HOA uses is a nice old man. He’s quite old actually and seemed to be more interested in making excuses as to what took him so long rather than listen to the dire situation we were in and what had been happening. Though, eventually, he and Nshan seemed to be working together.
Just then, one of my neighbor’s mom’s and her friend walked down the hall. They were going in to one of the high level through the keyhole places. I stopped them and told them what was happening. They seemed alarmed, but only slightly, because they went in to the home anyway. “We’ll just open the windows and keep the door open,” They said. And then added to me, “Don’t worry, everything’s gonna be all right.”
That’s one of my least favorite things people say. I mean… how do you know? Or maybe it will be all right because I am worried and doing something about it. If everyone just sat back and didn’t worry and let things just be all right, we’d be in some trouble. We need to take responsibility. We need to take action.
I remember when I was in my late 30’s and single people would say to me, “Don’t worry, it’s all gonna work out.” And yes it did – but not because I didn’t worry and not in the way they meant.
Anyway, I went back in to Christy’s check on my boy. They were eating plums (Spenser’s favorite) and playing basket ball with dog toys. She gave me water and plums too.
She is a DOLL!!! What can I get her as a thank you gift???
5:30: I was called back over by Nshan. They needed to go back into my place so they could test the levels of CO.
Nshan said the levels in my place were going down! WOW!! It must have been a leak in hot water gas tank! Yay Nshan!
He and the handyman had also discovered a cover for the vent on the water boiler was missing and that could have led to the trouble. A water heater repair person was coming over now.
6pm: The levels in my place were back to normal. “You can go in now,” Nshan said.
“Everything’s safe,” the handyman echoed, taking some credit for Nshan’s hard work.
“Do you need me any more?” I was spooked and freaked and tired and angry. I wanted to relax and see my family and feel safe. We were going to sleep at my dads.
“No,” they said. “We don’t need you anymore.
I went to my place to pack – leaving Spenser with Christy just in case.
Then I went to find Nshan before he left. “Thank you for everything,” I said. “You are great at your job, you were amazing and helpful and caring and I think you are fantastic. Thank you for treating this with such urgency.”
My dad had told me on the phone that he had no food in the house so I threw a pack of spaghetti and sauce in my bag, along with frozen spinach.
6:30: At my dad’s. Spenser was having dinner with my sister, her husband, my dad and me. It was going to be a late bed time. Oh well.
6:45: As I was hungrily shoveling pasta into my mouth, the handyman called and I got a text from a board member. They wanted me to go back to my place and let the water heater repair man in, so they could see if my CO detector was going off!
“Why?” I asked.
“He turned the gas back on the water heater,” he said.
“He fixed it?” I asked.
“No, there was nothing to fix. Can you come back?” the handyman asked.
“You can just hear it through my door,” I said. I was exhausted. Hadn’t I don’t enough for this building today?
“We don’t know if it’s plugged in properly or what,” they said.
I let my sister give Spenser a bath and put him to bed in his room at my dad’s house. Even though I was with him all day, I was sad not to be with him to tuck him in and kiss him goodnight – though he LOVES when my family puts him to bed.
7:00 pm: I drove back to my place. I met the handyman and a water boiler repair guy. We went up to my place.
“So it’s fixed?” I asked.
“Nothing was wrong with it,” the hot water repair guy said. “There was no problem so I turned it back on.”
“And you tested the CO levels at the water boiler?” I asked.
“No,” the water boiler repair man said. “I don’t have anything to test it with.”
“That’s why we need your detector,” the handyman said.
Does anyone see anything wrong with this? My detector is being used to gauge a huge condo complex. I was speechless.
We went into my place and the detector wasn’t beeping.
The two men felt sure they had done a great day’s work and everything was fine. And maybe they had.
7:15 pm: I drove back to my dads. I was not staying there and yet I felt terrified for my neighbors. They needed to know what was going on and since they didn’t, they were unprotected tonight. The gas was BACK ON in the water heater!!!
7:30: I got home and Spenser was asleep. I peeked in at him. He’s so adaptable and wonderful, curled up with his Pa’s house sleeping buddies- a kangaroo and an Ugly doll.
8:00 pm: I sat down to blog for you guys. But I couldn’t concentrate. What if the levels were back up? What if all my uninformed neighbors were being poisoned?
8:30: I called the gas co. I had to explain my situation and explain that I didn’t smell gas, but this is what happened today… The agreed to send someone out to re check, but someone had to be there to let the night shift guy in. I was trying to find a neighbor to let him in, but no one was home and I was the only one who really knew what was going on. I went back to my place (even though it was almost my bed time.)
9:00: Got to my condo. Walked around with Robert (the night shift gas man) and he checked the garage with me.
Out of no where, a tattooed man with a dog appeared, like some mythical creature. “You guys can keep doing these checks, but do you wanna know what really happened to get the Carbon Monoxide in everyone’s homes?”
“Yes!” we both said, taken in by his mysterious eyes (OK, I was taken in.)
“It was the hydro blasting in the garage. The generator wasn’t ventilated at all and it was a horrible hazard. I told those guys the needed to either put the generator out side or get it ventilated, but they didn’t listen.”
How did this guy know about the CO problem? Was he home when Nshan knocked on his door? Who else had he talked to? How long had he lived here? Had he told anyone else? What unit did he live in? So many questions but for some reason, all I could manage to say was: “Hey, is your name Michael?”
“NO!” he snapped in an unfriendly way and didn’t say what his name actually was. It put me off, but I still asked him one more question: “How do you know this was the cause?”
He looked at me like I was dumb – which, I’m not, OK? “Because I have life experience with generators and ventilation.” He said and walked away.
“He didn’t have to be so mean about it,” I muttered to Robert, who thought I was hilarious.
Everywhere, including my place, tested clean. No CO had come back. Had it been this garage happening with the generator and the hydro blasting? I guess that made me feel better.
10pm: I went to bed on the couch and couldn’t sleep. Then I did. Then, by some miracle, Spenser slept almost 12 hours.
7am: Spenser woke up and we went about our day.
12pm: Back at my home and put Spenser down for a nap. Kept the windows open, just in case. Nervous.
I texted the board member who’s asked me to go back home the night before (and fellow resident here at my complex):
Me: Will the HOA and board be sending out notes to all the residents telling them what happened? I really think everyone should know so they can get CO detectors.
Board Member: The plumbers used gas powered generators for hydro blasting, for some reason and the garage was not vented. The whole building is free and clear now. There was no leak.
I wondered if the garage stranger had talked to this guy.
Me: OK, will there be a letter going out to the residents telling them what happened and why?
Board Member: No. There will be no letter. This won’t happen again, so it is done.
Is your blood boiling? Mine was.
To be continued….