I made fish for dinner. The really yummy kind. I used a butter alternative and fresh pressed garlic on Tilapia. It was fantastic. Last night.
By this morning, I was distinctly sick of the smell. It had penetrated every inch of my house, despite my best efforts to clean it up. I opened the windows in the kitchen and turned the fan on, I poured baking soda and lemon juice down the garbage disposal, I made sure the trash was out.
Still, the scent lingered.
Finally, my friend arrived for a playdate. As she walked in the door she frowned a little, “It smells like -”
“fish and garlic,” I interrupted. “I’m really sor-”
“No.” She broke in, talking slowly, still frowning, “It smells like carbon monoxide.”
We sent both girls, hers and mine, into the backyard. A quick check of the house found a gas burner on the stove on, but not lit. I turned it off, opened all the windows and turned on every fan in the house.
In retrospect, I can see that we were operating in a poisonous environment. I had a headache, but blamed that and the tiredness on a very late night. Fiona was relaxed and sleepy, but she’d slept in and didn’t seem grumpy or unhappy. I smelled something weird, but thought I knew what it was, so I didn’t investigate.
I’m trying really hard not to play the what-if game. What if I hadn’t stayed up late last night with the door open to let in the fresh summer air? What if I hadn’t turned on the A/C in the middle of the night? What if we hadn’t had a playdate?
I’m not sure how it got left on. Did it not get turned off after dinner? Did it get bumped? Did small hands find mischief?
It almost doesn’t matter. It just means I need to be more watchful. More observant. More willing to question my assessment of a situation. After all, sometimes that horrible scent is fish and garlic and sometimes it’s a chemical called Mercaptan added as a warning, a failsafe.
Now it’s nearly bedtime and I have to go check to make sure that my stove is off. Stay safe out there.