Sunday, August 22, 2010
Friday Night Drama
Let me share my latest drama with you all. For the past week and a half to two weeks, I have noticed a strange smell in my house. Now with a 4 year old, a geriatric cat, a dog and a working husband you wouldn't think this would be anything new, but this particular smell is. I first noticed that we all had been rather sick lately, and I've had a stomach ache and a nauseous feeling on again off again since mid July. I'm praying that it's not my gallbladder but that's another story. I've been getting headaches a lot lately, too and have been having dizzy spells. Again... a kid, a dog, etc. My husband and kid have been having colds and we just aren't 100% well. So jump forward (or backward?) to about 2 weeks ago when I noticed the smell. It all started one evening when we came home to find that Zoey had had an accident in her kennel. No big deal, I washed her bedding and sprayed the tray with vinegar water to clean it and disinfect it. I immediately noticed a foul smell as I was down on my knees wiping the tray. I thought it was just the vinegar and having my head down in it.
Fast forward a couple days and I notice that the smell just isn't going away. I get my trusty "stink finder", which is a fancy black light that finds all sorts of gross stuff like cat urine, vomit, all kinds of bodily fluids one doesn't want to know about (I can't imagine taking this thing to a motel) and I start searching in the general area that the smell is around. But I can't pinpoint it. The light doesn't find anything (that I didn't know about and had cleaned up in the past with a steam cleaner). I am perplexed at this point and start scouring the entire house. Even the attic. I'm down in the basement getting closer to the floor than I really care about and still nothing. So then I start to wonder if I've caused some sort of chemical reaction with the galvanized tray in the kennel with the vinegar. But then I think, well it will just go away eventually and I spray with abandon Febreeze on the carpets and everyones bedding and Air Effects all around the house with Linen and sky... ahhh fresh laundry smell.... with a side note of sickening something I cannot put my finger on. Yuck.
Another day or two goes by and I noticed that the smell has gotten stronger. Again, I get the stink finder. Nothing. I really try to dissect the smell, to explain what it is like to hubby since he still has a cold and cannot smell. I determine that it is a metal like smell. He just shrugs and looks at me like what do you want me to do about it. hmmmpfff.
Another day goes by and I am really going nuts trying to find this smell. A friend offers to come smell it and help me find it, but we haven't worked out a time yet. (busy women, we are you know). So I pounce on my husband every time he comes in the house. Do you smell it???? It is in a certain area, the back part of the hall, my son's room and now the entry way!! I was coming down the stairs (to the entry way) when I noticed as I paused at the bottom that the vent was blowing up on me and I could distinctly smell it again. Hubby, who has now regained his sense of smell or so he says, smells nothing. I feel like I am the little girl that sees the monster in the closet and no one believes me. Asher says he smells it, but he'll agree with just about anything. I finally decide that it smells like metal and that weird chemically metal like smell that synthetic fertilizer smells like. You know, 10-10-10. That night, Friday night, which is last night I might add, I get online and google metal smell in my house and wouldn't you believe it, there are like a zillion pages. So I start going through the ones that seem most like my situation and that's when I see it. Someone mentions carbon monoxide. I read more, faster and faster. I then remember I have a carbon monoxide detecter upstairs in my studio. I run upstairs to get it and as I am again at the bottom of the stairs where the vent blows on me I hold it still over it and within 20 seconds the detector is screaming and beeping and flashing it's CO light at me! I freak out. I'm alone, cause the hubs works nights and Asher is sleeping. I try Asher's room. BEEP BEEP BEEP! I can't believe it! My head starts spinning, and I feel queasy, what should I do??? I check our bedroom where I don't smell the awful smell and it goes off too. Now this thing has been sitting upstairs for months and it's not made a peep, or beep and now it's screaming it's head off!
I stop and think a minute. I try to call Daryl and it goes straight to voicemail. ERGH!!! I call again and again. Nothing. It's about 10:30 at night so I decide to call some really good friends of ours one of which works for the power company for our area. His wife is relaying the whole story to him through me. He said call the fire department.
AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!! Panic has officially set in. Visions of screaming sirens and flashing lights come to my head. My child waking in a fright, forever scarred (ok, I'm getting a little melodramatic here, but I get that way real fast for less usually). The firefighters telling me I must leave my house until it is resolved! Oh what a mess! and I haven't even dialed the number yet. So I think for a moment, or try to at least. I manage to open 2 windows. I had so efficiently (read: stupidly) taken off the screens of most of the windows earlier in the summer, oh stupid efficient me!!! Moths and bugs are now dive bombing the windows to come in. Oh my God. This really was a terrible scene.... ha ha but I laugh now. So I decide I have to call them because you know people actually die from carbon monoxide poisoning. I look up the number instead of dialing 911. The very first thing I say when they pick up is this is NOT an emergency. I then repeat my entire story to the dispatch officer who basically just wants the facts as I can tell in her tone. They tell me they'll send someone out. Hear that? SomeONE. as in singular. whew.... ok. this will be alright, no trucks and lights and so on. I've saved some therapy money for ASher later.
So, a few minutes go by. Long enough for me to put the girls back in the sling and get some clothes on and pick up Asher and take him to my bed. I see a truck pull up. A volunteer, they are always the first to arrive... go getters I'm telling ya. I go out to greet him and I'm thankful that he has just a flashlight but there is that loud radio with him. I tell him about the sleeping kid. He comes in and I repeat the whole story yet again. But this time HURRAY! He can smell it! Plus the carbon monoxide detector is going off again with him to witness it. He talks on his little radio and I discover there are more people coming. Low and behold here comes the rescue truck and then a fire truck and then another vehicle all with the lights flashing and about 8 firemen come trudging into my house with radios blarring, boots and all talking and searching with their hand held detectors and they are all very hero like, hats and all. I'm telling my story over and over to all the guys. They check the entire house and find nothing! In fact the first guy is the only one that smells it! I am floored. They start to ask questions about my detector. When did I replace the batteries, how old was it, stuff I really didn't know but I was quite certain the batteries had been put in when the time changed not even 6 months ago, but upon closer inspection by a firefighter, I had been pretty efficient then too and had wrote the date on the battery, he noted that it was a year old. I'm starting to feel a little sheepish about now. They read me the numbers and even show me their detector and tell me that it's within the normal limits. I can feel myself getting embarrassed and my voice starts to raise a few octaves... "Oh I believe you... are you sure your batteries are good in that one?" I ask with a sheepish laugh.... ha ha? No laughs just looks. Oh boy. And then one firefighter points out that my detector says on the back that it will sound the alarm when it needs to be replaced. Oh, and look there on the back, it's like 10 years old or something. Who has time to think of such things when they are in a full blown panic? They ask if I have a new battery and I do, so I find it and they put it in and the darn thing is still going off. So here it is 11:45 on a Friday night and I've gotten all these guys out of their beds and houses to come look at the stupid girl that can't even open the back of the detector to check for batteries. One tells me I should replace all detectors after they are 7 years old. Who knew? I profusely apologize and they are all very good about it and one keeps assuring me that if they didn't love their job, they wouldn't do it. Oyi. I feel like the biggest pannicky idiot in the world. They all pack up and finally leave, probably thinking "women" as in dingbat. Just as they leave, the hubs pulls up home from work. Asher never did even wake up. So I get to tell my whole story yet again this time with added drama about the firefighters. I can tell as I share the story with no sympathy looks coming from him, hubby does think I'm a pannicky dingbat even though he doesn't say it.
Better safe than sorry though, right?
So... that's my Friday night drama. Today, I went to Lowe's and bought a brand new carbon monoxide detector that you plug in and has a battery back up for $50 bucks. Yeah... it hasn't gone off yet, dammit.
So with all that drama, I'm still left with this horrible smell. If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears unless it involves calling the fire department again.
p.s. I have the utmost respect for all firefighters and do not mean any harm or disrespect to these true heros.