Friday morning I got up for work at my usual time, checked in with eisenkreis over AIM and then went about my morning routine as quickly as possible. Right as I went into the bathroom to get my shower I heard the cat howling and whining in the hallway. I wasn't particularly in the mood to put up with this so I figured I should feed him before actually jumping into the tub if I didn't want to be serenaded through my entire ritual of soaking, scrubbing and rinsing. When I walked out of the bedroom and into the hallway I thought I smelled something odd but I quickly dismissed it without much thought since my sinuses have been acting bad as of late. A natural consequence of this condition (the result of a broken nose I suffered as a child) is that my sense of smell is anything but acute these days, so consequently my reaction is to second-guess everything. In this case I really wish I hadn't.
I arrived in the kitchen to find that Ra had already assumed his place on the kitchen chair so I could feed him without having to expend much effort coaxing him off the floor and away from my feet. I got the food into his bowl without any incident and he proceeded to chow down in typical fashion -- which is to say he shoved his face into his bowl and proceeded to inhale his entire cupful of food almost whole. Since he was taken care of the for the morning I knew I could go take my shower unmolested, but instead I decided to do something a little different than usual. This proved to be a far more fortuitous decision than I could have imagined at the time. I thought that since I was already in the kitchen I should be productive and make the best of my presence there before returning to my bathroom for the Great Cleansing. My plan was eloquent in its simplicity, yet it was underpinned with cunning: I would get a glass of water and take my vitamins for the day before taking my shower or brushing my teeth, thus avoiding the nasty taste of toothpaste later. As I was reaching to open the refrigerator I realized that I had indeed smelled something: the cloying scent of natural gas was nearly overpowering once my sinuses granted me a temporary reprieve and I could once again sample the air around me. Very slowly I lowered my hand from where I held the handle on the refrigerator door. There I stood as I took careful stock of my situation, the seconds ticking by as my heart raced in preparation for the inevitable ker-WHAM! of an explosion. I was surrounded by volatile gas, something I had only now just realized... and I was still wondering where the leak might be. My immediate thought was that the pilot had gone out on my water heater, but the scent of the gas was incredibly strong where I was already standing, so I ruled out the utility or the furnace closet which were quite a distance away. I couldn't allow myself to believe they were the origin of the wayward oxidizer, because if they were I was truly up the proverbial creek without the equally proverbial paddle. Having made such an immense leap of logical deduction (Holmes would be so proud) I slowly turned my head to the left and gave the stove a once-over. I quickly spotted the culprit: one knob for the forward burner had been twisted partway over and thus was allowing gas to pass to the burner, but it hadn't actually ignited and thus hadn't burned off.
A heartbeat later I was able to piece together how this situation had come to pass: The night previous I had caught Ra on the kitchen counter and scolded him, chasing him off with the spray bottle I use to correct him when he's misbehaving. Not wanting to be squirted with water the cat had naturally leapt to the floor from his perch on the cutting board and fled for the living room in the hopes that I would not pursue him. He was right, I didn't... instead I opted to go back to the couch to catch the last part of Stargate: Atlantis. In hindsight I should regret this decision.
When Ra jumped down he must have knocked one of the dials for the range over far enough to let gas out but not actually cause the electronic igniter to fire. If anything had sparked Friday morning (say, my lighter for my morning cigarette), well, I think I said it best to Ashryn when I said you'd be making plan to attend my funeral right about now... or at least to visit me in the burn ward.
I oh-so-carefully turned the errant burner's knob to "off" and then opened the kitchen window. Once I had some fresh air circulating I retreated to my bedroom so that I could get a shower, hoping against hope that while I was sequestered in the other part of the house the kitchen would air out without any sparks igniting the fumes that hung like fog near the stove. Approximately twenty minutes later I emerged once more, feeling refreshed and just a bit calmer. I gave the kitchen a thorough inspection and determined that the immediate threat had passed -- the room was clear.
The fucking cat isn't even on my beneficiary list and he's trying to off me. What does it say when your own pet tries to reduce you to your component atoms? I mean... I nearly died in a trap laid by a cat that pukes more than a teenage girl with anorexia nervosa the night before the senior prom. To go out that way would have been just plain embarrassing.
I guess it's time to invest in some child-proofing locks for the range's dials. I never imagined it would come to this, but life is full of surprises like that.
The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire