The Natural Gas Scare AKA Rancid Chicken in the Basement

There's been a weird smell in the house the last few days. I got home twice last week and immediately changed the kitchen garbage thinking something we had thrown out smelled bad. Then, I went into the furnace room on Friday for something and realized that the really really foul smell was emanating from that room. (If you're a kid, this is the part where you would think there is a dead monster rotting in the cold storage room, or worse, if you grew up in Kap you would think "I'll y a des baveux dans cave!!")

Mac had a really bad diaper rash and we had let him run around butt naked a few days to let it air out so my first guess was my husband had let Mac go in the furnace room and he'd (Mac, not my hubby) pooped and it had gone unnoticed (I've learned that husbands are good at not noticing/smelling poop - it goes hand in hand with not wanting to change too many poop diapers I think). So I scanned the floor of our very cluttered furnace room but didn't see anything so I quickly exited the room, closed the door and prayed for a miracle to get rid of the smell.

Saturday morning I walked into the furnace room again and was VIOLENTLY ASSAULTED by one of the most horrid smells I've had the displeasure of encountering. At this point the thought occurred to me that it may be a natural gas leak. Harry's uncle is a fire fighter so I called him and asked him what I should do and he said call 911. I hate calling 911 so I didn't listen to him. In the back of my mind was the lingering thought that I had missed a Mac "mountain" somewhere in there and would be very humiliated if it took firefighters to find it. I called my dad, who told me to check on my union gas bill and find their emergency number and call that instead, I went back downstairs, did a more thorough poop exploration, still found nothing and decided to follow my dad's directions. So roughly 40 minutes later a nice (sick with a cold) older man showed up in the Union Gas truck with his little meter that looked like the ones used on 24 to detect radioactive material - this made me feel great.

He wandered around upstairs and then asked me to take him into the furnace room. As soon as I opened the door (which I was keeping shut in order to minimized the smell that at this point could only be described as having nerve gas capabilities) the man took a step back and said "Whoa, I've got a cold and can't smell anything and I can smell THAT!" (which made me feel great). He also said "That's not gas, that's sewage" which made sense to me because we've had sewer problems before.

So after seeing the nice man out the front door, I called my friend Mary whose husband is in charge of the water and sewer department for the city (gives a new meaning to the song "I've got friends in low places"). After describing the smell to him he told me it sounded like either a p-trap had gone dry, or something dead was rotting in the basement.

Once hubby got home, we decided to take one more tour of the furnace room in order to see if we could find something dead. And we did. The furnace room is where our giant ancient dead freezer is. Apparently, I had gone into the freezer one day to hunt for supper and had taken out chicken breasts, laid them next to the freezer, kept hunting and FORGOT ABOUT THE CHICKEN!! The scary part is I can't remember when I did this.... so it was a FEW days ago... more likely a week.

After a lot of head shaking on my husbands' part, a little gagging on mine and some mild interest on the dog Hemi's part we safely dispatched the chicken into the garbage in the garage... or so we thought.

A little while later, I heard Hemi puking in the back porch. I was up on the ladder painting so I didn't immediately go down and pick it up - I was going to do it once I was done painting the wall I was working on. In the meantime we started to smell the nasty rotten chicken began permeating the house. AGAIN.

Turns out, Hemi thought that rancid chicken was an acceptable alternative to his dog food and went into the garage, into the garbage and ATE IT. Then, when his stomach violently disagreed, he regurgitated it all onto my welcome mat on the back porch.
So I called Adam back and told him there was in fact something dead rotting in my basement, at which point he and Mary laughed at me. A lot. I'm just glad the gas man didn't find the chicken. I would have felt REALLY stupid then!
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