I will admit that sometimes my excuses for not getting around to these on Monday are pretty lame...but this week, holy cow.
My husband set the alarm yesterday for 7:00 AM. At 7:40 he woke up, hearing it for the first time...and he was the first one of us who heard it. So we hurried to get everyone in the house ready as we knew we had a full day ahead of us. My step-daughter had to be taken to school, my husband had to go drop the car off at the auto shop, I had to pick him up, then make a stop to deal with some insurance issues, then we had to be at my son's doctor's office at 10:00. Lots of stuff.
I was sitting in the school parking lot getting ready to take my step-daughter in (because of course, she was late having got up 25 minutes later than she usually does) when my phone rang. It was my husband, the mechanic was refusing to honor their estimate unless I brought in my copy. I let out a great big sigh, took my daughter into school and headed back home.
I parked my husband's truck directly in front of the door and shut it off because I needed the keys to unlock the house. I left Gabe in his car seat because the estimate was sitting right on top of the microwave, literally two feet inside the door. I walked back out and saw that my neighbor (who I share a driveway with) had chosen this exactly horrible moment to back out of her garage. Meaning she'd have to back up onto the busy street, or I'd have to move my truck so she could leave. I prepared to move the truck. She started backing up, I heard a loud clunk and suddenly she was pulled up in front of her garage again. She is a notoriously bad driver (one of those people who takes up two parking spots because she's just that nervous about hitting someone else's car). I assumed that she had stupidly slammed her car into drive when I startled her, and that the clunk I heard was the sound of one very angry transmission.
She backed out onto the road and I went out behind her.
I went over to the auto shop, dropped off the estimate and picked up my husband. We drove downtown to the insurance office, got some paperwork we needed and headed across town to my son's doctor. We were 15 minutes early, so we waited around for awhile, then got in right on time and spent about 15 more minutes discussing my son's ears. (They're better, FYI.) On the way home we passed a house for rent. We pulled in and excitedly took down the information, delaying us even more.
We drove home and ate a little lunch. My husband left for an appointment of his own while I put the (not such a) baby down for a nap. I curled up in my chair with a cup of coffee and the book I'm reading. We stayed this way for two hours. Gabe woke up and wasn't crying, so I left him in the crib playing with his trains for an extra ten minutes while I finished my chapter. My husband came home, I ran upstairs quick and grabbed the baby and we all got ready to go pick my step-daughter up from school.
Then the phone rang. It was my neighbor two houses down. She said that my immediate neighbors had sent their kids to her house, there was a gas leak. I walked upstairs and immediately smelled exactly what she was talking about. It wasn't strong, but it was there, just a few feet from where my son had been laying for the past two hours...where I had left him for an extra ten minutes. She quietly told me that she wasn't sure my neighbor would report the leak, and that I should call my gas company. It seemed odd, but I didn't question it and got my husband on his phone immediately while I got what few details she had on the situation.
My husband went outside, walked around to my neighbor's side of the house (it's a duplex...might make this whole story make more sense) and saw a broken pipe, literally hissing gas out at him. The neighbor (the man this time) came out and said our meter had broken. My husband surveyed the area and came back inside. "She hit the gas line!" I asked him if her husband had told him that. He said, "No, I saw the tracks coming directly out of the garage that led right up to the broken pipe." My brain clicked away. The clunk that I had thought was my neighbor ripping out her transmission that morning was her backing up into my gas line and breaking it off.
It was 3PM before anyone reported the leak. A full six hours after my neighbor broke the pipe. The man from the gas company would eventually tell us that gas was leaking out of that pipe at 10 psi the entire time. Because the line was on their side of the duplex, my neighbors' house filled with the gas that leaked out. My own home only had trace amounts leaking in from where the walls aren't sealed around the pipes in the bathroom.
Six hours. Who knows how many times their furnace kicked on? Who knows if the kids came home from school and threw a snack in the microwave? How many chances did all that gas have to ignite and it didn't? I could have cried. And then I could have punched someone.
She knew she hit something, and I think the odds are pretty good that she knew what she hit. Her husband drug his boots up and down her tire tracks before the technicians got there, realizing at last what we had seen immediately. What kind of people don't care like that? I can't even honestly understand the complete disregard she had for the fact that my family would be here all day...but at the very least I expect her to be concerned about her own children coming home from school, her own husband coming home from work all four hours before she was due back.
I thank God that I had so many errands to run yesterday. I thank God that my home and my son are still here, because I had many chances to lose them both. And it may be wrong, but I'm praying that there's a special place for someone that stupid...or at the very least that the gas company sends them one hell of a bill.