The plastic box and a 9 volt battery

Late into the night we dragged our stiff bodies out of the car after an eleven hour drive home from a trip. We hesitated because the last time we walked in late, a bird flew in our house that had nested in the door wreath. That bird got lucky…

We walked in through the garage this time. No bird, but our house had a permeating oil smell. My husband could barely smell it but he knew by experience my hound-dog nose did not lie and there was no way I was going to stay in a house that smelled like the residual of a steel mill oil sludge leeching through our house cracks hovering oily air pollution over our bed. I could feel my lips swelling and I already had a head ache.

I believe every human is born with a “super power.” My husband’s is he is a natural salesman and can talk anyone into just about anything to get “a deal”; mostly me. We could go to a hotel, but did “we” really want to? Look our bed was waiting for us after that long trip.

I began googling poisonous oil smells to find out how long we had to live, sitting next to the open window with 39 degree air. My husband knew he could convince me to stay. He went for the best idea he could come up with; trying to locate the $14.99 carbon monoxide alarm in the plastic box that was plugged into the hall electric outlet about three years prior. It has been a sensitive subject along with smoke alarms for three reasons.

#1: the boxes never chirp at a convenient hour.

#2: when the boxes chirp and you remove the battery they continue to chirp like they are possessed.

#3: If the boxes are not screwed to the ceiling we take them down do the depths of the basement and cover them up with what ever is the closest thing and then…go back to bed. In the morning we hit them with brooms.

My husband’s plan was fading even though he was “selling” we would be fine as long as we had that box…as he kept looking for it in drawers and backs of closets to keep us from getting back in the car and going to a hotel in that late hour. I knew exactly where it was but I let him look for awhile to make him want to leave. True salesmen do not budge. I ran down in the basement and grabbed where we stashed it three years ago under old National Geographics to muffle the chirps way back then.

The 9 volt battery space was empty and so was our battery drawer that carried extras. My husband was getting more frustrated so began searching for items which held 9 volt batteries in the house. I had my jacket on waiting for him to give in. I tried to break the tension by mentioning this isn’t as bad as the bird, right? He grabs his keys and goes out into the night to find a 9 volt battery to plug in that  d#^@&+ carbon monoxide alarm so that I would get in bed and go to sleep! (It would have been easier to get in the car and find a hotel.)

He came home 30 minutes later. That new battery went in and the plastic box was plugged in the wall and we were supposedly saved. It was not blasting an alarm so obviously we were not being poisoned by that non odorous carbon monoxide smell chemically reacting with oil and so now we could go to sleep. He crawled into bed “selling” that the smell had really subsided and we would be fine, then nodded off. I stayed awake using a blanket as a filter imagining us sleeping in Chernobyl and  wondering how we possibly could have faith in a plastic box with a 9 volt battery.

The next day the furnace people found a substantial leak in our system. I asked if the oil smell was harmful. They hesitated which did not make me feel relief. But our home now emits the olfactic aroma of oil from a galvanized steel barrel mixed with a floral scent of Febreze.

I know we were negligent. Actually I wanted to have that box plugged back in the wall three years ago for safety…so I am happy.  Thanks hubby.

Are we all loony-tunes?



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