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?

Scary. Terrifying.

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.


7 thoughts on “Gassy

  1. You can’t play “What If?” on stuff like this. It IS scary, but you’re okay. I guess the smell of fish masks a lot of stuff… The good news is that this just made you much more vigilant. Although I recommend an electric stove when you get a new one.

    • Thank you. I don’t think I would have confused the smells if I hadn’t been expecting it to smell like fish. The Mr. and I have already decided that we’ll need an electric stove and I feel a little OCD about the stove now.

  2. Whatif?

    Last night, while I lay thinking here,
    Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
    And pranced and partied all night long
    And sang their same old Whatif song:
    Whatif I’m dumb in school?
    Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pol?
    Whatif I get beat up?
    Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
    Whatif I start to cry?
    Whatif I get sick and die?
    Whatif I flunk that test?
    Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
    Whatif nobody likes me?
    Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
    Whatif I don’t grow talle?
    Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
    Whatif the fish won’t bite?
    Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
    Whatif they start a war?
    Whatif my parents get divorced?
    Whatif the bus is late?
    Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
    Whatif I tear my pants?
    Whatif I never learn to dance?
    Everything seems swell, and then
    The nighttime Whatifs strike again!

    – Shel Silverstein

  3. Glad you are ok, I’ve had a FEW run-ins with such a smell as gas and trust me it’s always scary. For some reason we do always attribute the headache to something other than what it is. But, at least we are both here to tell the tale. Be safe.

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