In which I drain my savings account


Back in December, a natural gas leak was discovered in the crawl space beneath my house. The inspector from Xcel told me that it wasn’t urgent, and that I could have it repaired at my leisure (pronounced “lehh-zhure” in my mind). So this past Friday, I finally had someone come take a look. He shut off the gas, unplugged all of my appliances, and started testing.

Here is how a gas man “tests” for a natural gas leak: he uses a spray bottle of soapy water to mist the joints of your pipes (not an innuendo). If bubbles form, gas is leaking.

Well, bubbles were forming. Gas was leaking. It’s much worse than I was originally told: I need a full (multi-thousand dollar) replacement of all of my gas lines – that is, if I don’t fancy a dramatic death by explosion.

This worker would have started the job when he was here on Friday, except that my gas line actually runs from my cellar out beneath my neighbor’s house, and he will need to access their basement to complete the repair. My neighbors are out of town for the next week – and since the worker said that it would be dangerous to turn my gas back on, I have been gas-less for the past three days, and will be for at least four more.

But don’t cry for me Argentina – it’s basically like fancy camping. I have a comfy bed and electricity – at least, I did until my space heater blew the breaker (momentary setback). I have coffee in the mornings and a microwave to heat up the soup from my freezer. But I don’t have stovetop burners or an oven, a shower with hot water, or heat of any kind. Luckily, this week is off to an unseasonably warm start, so I don’t have to worry about my pipes freezing. I’m cooking in the CrockPot and wearing wool socks and counting my lucky stars not to be dead even though I haven’t taken a proper shower since Thursday.

On Saturday night, I crawled into bed and tucked the covers around myself like a burrito. It was 10:30 or so, because I am geriatric – and even though there was a party with a bonfire raging in the vacant lot across the alley behind my house, I put in earplugs and fell asleep.

When I awoke to shouting and laughter, I figured that I hadn’t been asleep long since the party was still going – but when I looked at the clock, it was 3:45am. “Seriously?” I thought. I walked to my kitchen window and looked outside – and yes indeed, the bonfire was in full force.

So I called 911. (See above: geriatric.)

I asked the operator for the non-emergency line, but she said she could help me. I told her that I needed a squad car (and yes, I called it that) dispatched to break up the party, and after taking down the information, she said she’d send someone as soon as possible.

An hour later, the drum circle started.

At 4:45 in the morning, my neighbors started a drum circle.

So I called back, this time to the non-emergency line like a decent human being (720-913-2000, FYI), and asked the status of my knight in shining cop uniform. They said that the night was busy, and assured me that they would send someone as soon as they could.

I hung up the phone and burst into tears because in that moment I so desperately wanted someone else to fight my battles for me. But then I pulled myself together and tugged on my boots and marched across the alley like a BAMF/high school chaperone, and informed them that they were at least 5 hours past their bedtime and could they PLEASE stop DRUMMING around their BONFIRE.

I didn’t stick around long enough to experience their reaction. I was too mortified at my old lady rage. I did a step-pivot and scurried back across the alley, blessing the darkness for shrouding my face, lest I see these hooligans in the daylight.

I slept from 6-8am, and then got up to go on a hike with Kristen. We made it a half mile before Foxy bounded up a hill and then started limping. After checking her paw for thorns and not finding any, I carried her back to the car, which is kind of like carrying a 4-year old without the benefit of legs that can wrap around your waist. As we drove home, I passed one of those traffic cameras that take your picture if you’re speeding – which I was (54 in a 45, which also happened to be a construction zone). The camera flashed, and I can now look forward to a hefty ticket in the mail.

Foxy’s limp worsened throughout the day and her paw swelled up, so I took her to the emergency vet. The x-rays revealed no breaks, but potential torn tendons. So I spent last night worrying that she would need surgery – but luckily the radiologist called with the report that she should heal up without it [cue the angel choir] and oh by the way, your bill will be $500.

So now it’s Monday and it’s back to work and I’m still without gas and my poor pup is on pain meds and all I want is some roasted vegetables and a bubble bath, and I guess that the moral of the story is that we don’t always get what we want.

Hope you had a better weekend than Foxy’s foot and my bank account.




  1. Daniel on January 26, 2015 at 10:34 AM


  2. Sarah on January 26, 2015 at 10:54 AM

    Sheesh… so glad you’re no longer potentially breathing in gas fumes, and that Foxy only had a sprain. Hope the rest of your weeks is better!!!

  3. rachieannie on January 26, 2015 at 11:12 AM

    So sorry about all those setbacks. Such a frustrating thing to be a grownup!

    And oh my goodness, a drum circle at 4:45????? Who are these people who have no sense of other people around them???? Good for you and your geriatric anger.

  4. Eric on January 26, 2015 at 11:19 AM

    Was the “gas man” from the natural gas company or a contractor who works with gas equipment? If a contractor, you may want a second assessment on replacing ALL the pipes. Being an ex-employee of a NG company, that sounds excessive.

  5. jannell on January 26, 2015 at 11:36 AM

    Maybe participating in a drum circle would help ease some of life’s current frustrations? I’ve heard there’s a particularly glorious one that takes place right near you…

    Kidding of course. Sometimes life is crazy tricksy, and it’s usually filled with people saying, ” how’s it going?” Hope you find some cheer sprinkled throughout your day.

  6. kendall on January 26, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    emailed you, but just in case you didn’t get it:

  7. Alissa on January 26, 2015 at 12:15 PM

    Yes, yes. Please get second opinion on the gas replacement. (Unless, of course, they are recommending full replacement because your pipes are a material that is no longer allowed in code… which then, yes, it may be prudent to replace the whole lines.)

    If your house is not that old, perhaps some questions to the orginal installer are in order – do they have a warranty? What do they have to say about numerous leaks, etc? If things are relatively new and they won’t come back out and do the repair, then perhaps a report to the BBB…

    Sometimes I really don’t like being a grown up.

  8. mom on January 26, 2015 at 12:47 PM

    the part where I burst into tears? …”because in that moment I so desperately wanted someone else to fight my battles for me.” Probably because I feel that one so strongly myself. And because I’m basically a she-bear mama, and someone is messing with my girl-cub! And, you don’t really want someone to fight them FOR you…..but WITH you would be so glorious!

  9. Peg Achterman on January 26, 2015 at 1:35 PM

    Ugh – sorry. I too would like someone to fight my battles for me – sometimes. But – you did well fighting for yourself too.

  10. Angie Taylor on January 26, 2015 at 4:31 PM

    You know, I know we’re not exactly next door neighbors, but you can take a shower at our house and I’ll fix you dinner… From a stove instead of a microwave.. just say the word.

  11. Paul on January 26, 2015 at 5:39 PM

    I too am (or act) like a geriatric. On Saturday after a *very late* movie (950pm), I swung by King Soopers to buy some nightlights for the house. This is after comparing nightlight options at Safeway and the Dollar Store. Embrace your geriatric-ness!

  12. Colleen on January 26, 2015 at 8:49 PM

    And as my favorite band says, “Sometimes, you get what you need” – my house, gas lines, dog beds/bowls/toys, guitars, food, booze, showers, and friendship are open here 24/7 if you want to hop over and camp out for one night, or many! Hugs!

  13. Holly on January 27, 2015 at 11:58 AM

    For four years I lived in a hundred-year old house without any sort of heat. And Vanderbilt frat boys next door. I feel your pain, quite literally.

  14. [not the] Best Blog Ever on January 28, 2015 at 2:42 PM

    Update please?? Do you have gas yet? Is Foxy feeling better?

    Truly truly hope all is well.

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