12:15: Continuing my text to the board member.
Me: What if I hadn’t had a CO detector and my son was napping and something had happened?? What if my pet had been trapped? Don’t the residents have a right to know what had just happened??? I had a horribly terrifying day yesterday. It was me and the gas man alone for hours thinking the building was going to explode and people were dying. You are all getting in on this after it’s all been cleared up. You have no idea how scared the gas man was! This could have been a fatal happening. People deserve to know what happened so they can get CO detectors – I’ll bet you are getting one!! And you have pets. How would you feel if your pet was in high levels of CO all day. Now what if that fact were being hidden from you? The residents deserve to know. If something had happened to my son you know who I would blame! I was the only one there – do you understand this? I am the only one whop knew what was going on that day so don’t tell me it’s over and done. The gas man kept saying “This could have been a real tragedy” about my son and the whole building!! This attitude of it’s over and we won’t speak of it again is horrifying! Everyone’s acting like this was no big deal. I was there! I called the gas co. How about a fucking thank you! And you asked me – no told me I had to back to my place last night!! And no one is going to be told? Hideous. Horrifying!
1:00pm: A loud knock on my door. I expected to see the board member standing there with a threatening glare, but instead, it was Nshan, my hero gas man!
Nshan had been at the complex all morning testing stuff and he wanted to know why I called the gas co last night.
“I was just nervous because they turned the gas back on,” I said. “And the only gauge they had was the one in MY place!”
Nshan understood my angst, but told me he’d just heard about the hydro blasting. “Remember when I asked Lola if there was any carpet cleaning going on?” he was having an aha moment. “Well, this is why I asked!” He explained that carpet cleaners often ran generators like this hydro blast company did. I wondered if he’d run into my tattooed friend.
Nshan left and I immediately called the gas co to give him high praise. I felt badly that I hadn’t offered him a beverage.
The board member had not texted back.
It was time to get more drastic.
I have very strong beliefs, I’ve volunteered for No on Prop 8 (which was a fight against prop 8 that would have reversed the legalization of gay marriage in CA,) I went to ERA rallys in my past and I sign a lot of petitions. Maybe this was a one time mistake. Maybe the hydro blasting in the garage would be properly ventilated next time (though I am not going to be home to find out,) maybe this was a one time thing…. but I didn’t care. The residents here needed know what happened.
Maybe because I’m a mom now, I need to fight. I need to protect my child. I need to be heard and I need to know about dangerous shit that happens at my home! So everyone needs to know!
I needed to address the board.
I wrote a letter and sent it to Lola.
The gist of the letter was:
You guys are acting like this was no big deal. I was the only one there. It was a huge deal. Nshan kept saying that this could have been a big tragedy. If the cause was the hydro blasting, great – make sure this never happens again. But find out 100% what it was. The people who live here deserve to know what happened so they can arm themselves with CO detectors. By saying this is over and done with, you are trying to avoid blame and angry people like me. If you don’t send letters to everyone saying what happened, I will.
Lola’s response was, “I will send it to the board, but you weren’t alone, I was on the phone with Nshan trying to help you! I take this matter very seriously.”
Yep. That’s what she wrote. She wanted credit for doing her job – minimally, I might add.
She added, “The hydro blasting theory is only an assumption.”
To which I responded, “All the more reason to tell everyone what happened so they can get CO detectors.”
She wrote, “And you can’t assume this would have been a tragedy.”
To which I wrote, “Those were the words of the Gas Company professional/expert. So you can’t assume is wouldn’t have been a tragedy.”
I mean for fuck sake, does this woman understand what had happened? If she really thinks this was not a big deal then she’s just dumb. If she’s trying to hide something or avoid an angry mob, then she’s just horrible.
I got no response from the board that day. I wasn’t going to wait for it… Action needed to be taken right away. I felt like I’d had 20 cups of coffee. Amped. Nervous. Determined. I knew what I had to do. I didn’t really want to do it, but I HAD to.
I wrote a letter to my neighbors. I told them what had happened at they deserved the truth. I told them the poor ventilation in the garage due to hydro blasting may have been the cause while some members of the board think it is only an assumption. I urged them as a concerned neighbor to get CO detectors. No signature. Let them call Lola for details.
The next morning, Spenser woke up around 6 (he’s starting to sleep a little later!!) and I printed and folded 100 letters while he played with his garbage truck (another great hand me down.) I put him in his car and we started off to deliver letters.
7 am: I kept saying to Spenser “we have to be quite” as I slid the letters under the doors. I didn’t want to wake neighbors and I didn’t want to be seen. I felt like a sneaky criminal and didn’t want to have anyone see me and try to stop me. I knew I was doing the right thing.
Spenser was excited at first. and wanted to try to help. We scooted along sliding notes and ducking down halls; not a soul in site. We were going about 15 minutes, half way done when I ran smack into a board member (not the one I texted with.) This guy was very friendly. He said he’d read my letter to the board and he wasn’t sure of the hydro blasting theory either. That was it. He walked away. I don’t think he knew what I was doing.
At one point, I saw a note by the mail boxes in the lobby; one bland piece of paper with medium print and no exclamation points, stuck to the side that read: “If you smell gas do not enter your unit. There is an issue with a gas leak and some units are experiencing high levels of carbon monoxide.” I saw this note for the first time Saturday morning. This thing happened on a Thursday. Great job with the note, guys Way to put out the effort and show you care.
Spenser and I continued on, but now he refused to sit in his car. So now I was holding him and lunging at every doorstep and pushing the car. I knew my quads were going to be sore for days
7:30: We were back at my place. I was hot, sweaty and relieved.
Since then, I’ve been to the hardware store twice to get more CO detectors for my small place and another for my dad.
I still haven’t heard a word from the HOA or board.
The good news is, the last few days, I’ve heard echos of loud beeping throughout the complex; people installing their new CO detectors, I’m betting.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS!