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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A long day

(Sigh.)

Today was scary.

At about 11:40 I got a call from our nanny.  She's out of breath, clearly stressed out, and I hear loud beeping in the background and a lot of screaming children.  They had just walked in the door from a morning outing and the smoke detector in the basement was going crazy..  The loud beeping noise was really upsetting the boys and she couldn't get it to stop, she had looked all over the house, there was no fire anywhere, no smoke...

She figured out how to disable it, actually ended up just having to pull the thing off the ceiling, and I figured we'd take a look at it when we got home.  Must have been some sort of malfunction with the battery.  Weird.

Twenty five minutes later, my brother and I are on our way to lunch, and I get another call from her.  She was cooking lunch in the kitchen and then another alarm started going off.  More screaming, panicking children, she's running all over the house and realizes it's upstairs in Gus's room.  The carbon monoxide detector in my little boy's room is going off.  The display says the air quality is unsafe.  She doesn't know what to do, what that means.  What should she do?

Oh my goodness, I was so terrified.

Get out, get out now.

All I could think of was my babies, and that they were in danger and I wasn't there and I felt so out of control.  Such a horrible feeling.

I gave her directions to my mom's house.  I told her to go there immediately, abandon lunch, get the eff out of there.  Dan or I would call the fire department or the gas company or whoever you're supposed to call, but she needed to make sure she and those children were safe.

She had just gotten Louie down for a nap.  God, just thinking about it.

Go get him.  Go wake him up.  My baby.

She called me when they were in the car on the way to my moms.  She had put the dog outside, she didn't know what to do with her but knew she shouldn't leave her there.

A twist of the knife.  I hadn't even thought about the dog.  Thank you so much.

Dan immediately went home and took care of things.  Sat in the car outside our house, waiting for the guy from the gas company.  They went in together to search for the leak, and the CO levels were through the roof, over 100.  Levels in the early 200's are deadly.

The scary thing is, they couldn't find the source.  The furnace is fine, the water heater, fine, the gas dryer, fine.

He tested levels all over the house, the carbon monoxide levels in the furnace room were actually less than other areas of the house.

This deadly, odorless gas, it was EVERYWHERE.  Even in the refrigerator and in our cupboards.  It's just, I can't wrap my mind around it.

Dan followed the gas man's instructions, turned off the furnace and water heater, opened every single window in the house, opened every cupboard, every place where it could hide.  He let the house air out, and then left to purchase carbon monoxide detectors for every single room in our home.  

The furnace was turned back on and each of our detectors read "0".  It's gone, and that is a relief, but we have no idea where it came from.  NO IDEA.

The gas man came back around 7:00 PM and walked through the house with Dan and my dad again, levels are fine.  He okay'd all the same appliances again, it's safe.  There's no reason this should have happened.

So why did it happen?  WHAT IN THE HELL?

It's just all so surreal.  One minute I'm going about my day at my run-of-the-mill office job, and in the next my family is in this terrifying life or death situation.

Our home was poisoning them.

Dan admitted tonight that he was probably in the house too long this afternoon, when he and the gas man first went in to get the readings and search for the leaks.  He didn't admit it to himself at the time, but in retrospect it felt like he was drunk.  He caught himself going 45 mph on the 30 mph road we live on.  He had a headache, felt sort of oddly clumsy, confused and slow, just out of sorts.

So scary.

And it's still scary because we don't know why this happened.  I'm just, so paranoid.  It makes no sense, I can't get comfortable in our home.  I accidentally woke Louie up earlier from a nap when I had to go in there and check on him, "just in case", which is sort of crazy because I can look at the multiple sensors throughout the house.  We're in the clear.  They all read "0", and if this happens again, they'll go off.  That's the point.

Still.

Who knows if this is over, but I'm here to tell you this, my own public service announcement:

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, IF YOU DON'T HAVE A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR IN EVERY SINGLE BEDROOM OF YOUR HOUSE, CHANGE THAT RIGHT NOW.

DON'T WAIT.

Gus's room on our second level and the basement were the only rooms where we had them, and while I'm sooooo thankful that they were there, and both went off as they should have, we should have had more of them.  They should be throughout the house.

We'll see if I can sleep tonight.

12 comments:

val said...

So are you sleeping? The back door is unlocked if you need to come over here and sleep in the futons downstairs.

I am not comfortable with this situation.

At all.

love, Val

Amy said...

I'm so glad you guys are safe! Thank you for this timely reminder to put my detector back up now that the kitchen renovation is done (and probably buy some more as well!)

Erin said...

Oh my gosh, that is SO scary! So glad you had detectors. We only have one in our house... definitely will be getting more now.

I came home one day to find that a burner on the stove was on and the house smelled like gas - I have to say, I was pretty impressed with how fast xcel came and checked the house out for us!

Erin said...

I am crying right now reading this - I can only imagine how scary that all must have been! I am SO glad you are all ok. What a freak thing.

Thank you for the PSA. We have a detector upstairs in our bedroom but I'm not even sure if we have one on our main level. I'm going to go buy more!!!

Lisa said...

Oh I have goosebumps. How scary! I'm so glad you guys have detectors and everyone is safe. Where in e heck did it come from? That definitely makes me want to check ours to ensure they are working.

Sarah said...

That's so scary. Very glad everyone is okay though. We have only one in our house and I am definitely buying more asap!

Jo said...

So glad everyone is ok after this experience. And I hope you can feel safe in your home again soon. This is a reminder to me to get more detectors!

I would also add to not get the cheapest detectors out there. We once had a cheap battery only operated one. It went off in the middle of the night. We called 911 and the fire department came (side note: the fire department was 4 houses down, but still brought their truck). The gas company also came out and confirmed that all was ok. Both the gas company and the fire department noted they get a lot of calls from people who buy the really cheap ones. Apparently, they work, but lose their effectiveness fairly soon and you don't know if they are working properly or not.

We threw the bad detector in the garbage outside and it proceeded to beep for an entire week.

AliRose said...

Ack Jo!

Agree, the one in Gus's room was pretty crappy, and yesterday Dan bought some good ones that even give you a reading as to the levels. That way I can SEE that it says 0, which is very reassuring.

Thanks everyone, very scary, I'm just so thankful that we had those detectors. This morning it was really hard to leave the kids there with the nanny, that's for sure, but she handled things well and I know she is now just as paranoid about it as I am, so she'll be making note of the sensors all day.

She just sent me a picture of Louie at the Children's Museum, and they're now all home, fed and napping, which was just a relief to hear.

Erin said...

So glad everyone's okay!! We have one CO detector but now I want more...

Heather said...

Scary! The same thing happened to my husband when he was traveling for work last week. They were all staying in a motor home and when he woke up, he felt drunk and dizzy. Luckily there were detectors in there, otherwise none of them would likely have woken up.

Glad you're all safe!

Betsy said...

Terrifying. We only have 1 detector in the house and I will be buying more tomorrow. I can't even believe that happened to you...especially with no explanation! So happy everyone is safe and that you have such an awesome nanny who handled things so well.

Julia said...

Holy crap--I'm adding detectors to our list of things to get this weekend. We only have one and will be buying more ASAP. I'm so glad you guys are all okay! How freaking scary!!