Friday, January 4, 2008

Papa Breaking Dump Truck

For those of you who don't know, we've been having major gas issues here. No, no one is sick. We have a gas leak in the street in front of our house.

We noticed the gas smell on Saturday when we got home from our IKEA adventure. It was pretty strong, and it was close to the new home next door, which is currently unoccupied, so I called the gas company and reported it. That evening, when we returned from dinner at Friendly's, a female gas employee was checking our street. She checked our basement, gas lines and sewer line to make sure we had no problem, and then assured us the leak was in the street. Since it wasn't an emergency, she said someone would come to fix it within a few days.

I guess the smell got stronger that evening, because someone called Melrose Fire Department. I woke up around 1 am to see a hook and ladder at the end of the street, and a bunch of firemen trying to open a window at the unoccupied house next door. Eventually, another gas company employee turned up. He checked our basement again and reassured us that the leak was in the street. It turned out that MFD called him directly since he was the on-call guy, and he didn't know we'd already reported the leak and had it checked out.

We've had a few gas company representatives come by in the past week. Someone marked up the area where the leak seemed to be strongest. Someone came out from dig safe and marked where it was safe to dig. A couple people came out and took measurements. I guess it was all leading up to today, when they brought the big truck out.

Jack was thrilled. As you know, he loves trucks and construction equipment, so he stayed right by the window watching them work this morning. He has also learned "big" and "small" this week, so he was enjoying telling me that there was a big box truck and a smaller backhoe (that they keep in the back of the big truck). Because we've had a lot of snow and freezing rain lately, they spent the first part of the morning just clearing snow and ice from the areas where they needed to dig. By the time they got out the jackhammers, it was nap time for Jack.

As an aside, did you know that the gas company not only keeps a small backhoe in its truck, but has a giant mechanical arm that comes out through the truck doors carrying two jackhammers and the compressor hose? It was a pretty efficient set up. I enjoyed watching it almost as much as Jack.

But I digress. Jack went up for a nap, and after an hour and a half, I went up myself to read and wait for him to get up. Before I went upstairs, they started digging a huge hole in the street. It was about seven feet long and five feet wide. When I went upstairs, it was about three feet deep. After I got upstairs, I could hear the conversation between the workers outside (we still have an air conditioner installed in the window by our bed and it isn't very weatherproof). It occurred to me that, even though Jack was sleeping in the other room, he might be able to hear the noise. I guess he did, because once they started to use the backhoe to fill in the hole and tamp it down, Jack sat right up in bed and said "PAPA! NO!"

I went into his room and said "What's wrong?" He pointed at the window and said "Papa breaking KITE! No, PAPA! Papa breaking DUMP TRUCK!!!" I don't know why this made me laugh so hard, but I thought I was going to wet my pants laughing. The kite part cracked me up just because he is so hung up on that word. The idea of Jim breaking a dump truck outside also cracked me up. I guess Jack heard a man's voice and the loud noise and assumed Jim was using heavy equipment outside. He was clearly really distressed, so I took him right downstairs to the window.

He looked outside and said very sadly, "Ohhhhhhh. Dump Truck all gone." He didn't mention the kite. In reality, there never was a dump truck, and the "big truck" and "small truck" were still there. In fact, he wasn't that interested in watching them do what little work remained. I think Jack was a little put out that he missed Papa naughtily breaking a dump truck out on the street.

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