Close Call

I smelled something funny on Tuesday mid-afternoon when I walked downstairs to feed the dogs.  Not funny ha-ha, but funny as in odd, peculiar…a strange odor.  My first candidate for the culprit was the kitchen trash cans so I opened the lower cabinet door to have a sniff.  No, nothing in there with an unusual aroma.

Maybe the garbage disposal?  I had emptied a small Tupperware container of overripe pineapple at noon but that shouldn’t smell bad, I thought, and it didn’t when I checked.

After the dogs ate, we all went outside for an afternoon constitutional in the back yard.  We didn’t linger, though, because it was too hot.  The short walk aggravated my right knee aches and pains so I went back inside and up the stairs for a nap.  My best friend Red was glad for a rest so he and I curled up together on the king-sized bed and drifted off.  I felt Chelsea and Spike join us later on but didn’t bother to rise and pet them.  They were on their own.

Teresa got home from work a couple of hours later and we made a parade going down the stairs to welcome her from her hard day of  work at the Mast General Store.  As soon as she walked through the door she said, “Something smells bad in here.  What’s going on?”

She was right.  The slight odor from earlier in the day was now more pungent and pronounced.  Then we both began to search in earnest.  We looked in every kitchen cabinet and around the stove and refrigerator.  We looked under furniture in the den and in the laundry room around Spike’s crate.  Finally, with no luck, we decided we must have a dead animal somewhere under the house.  If the odor wasn’t better by tomorrow, we’d have to call someone to get rid of whatever had died.

We went out to dinner and put Spike in his crate and left the doggie door open to the back yard for Red and Chelsea.

Dinner was good, but I told Teresa my stomach had been slightly upset this afternoon for some unknown reason.  I decided to take food home for tomorrow instead of overeating that night which was always a possibility at Miyo’s when I could have Szechuan beef and spring rolls.

When we came home afterwards, the odor had intensified and we again searched for its source.  Still no luck.  We were hooked on a Netflix series of a BBC production called Luther starring Idris Elba and watched an episode and then discussed why we would choose to watch a show with so much violence.  What did that say about us when we were morally opposed to violence? Then we veered off into why the British didn’t outlaw knives since that was apparently their weapon of choice in the midst of their ban on guns.

I admitted to having a thing about Ruth Wilson who was the femme fatale in Luther.  Teresa said she loved Idris Elba in spite of everything we were morally opposed to – so there we were.  Around 10 o’clock we decided to take ourselves upstairs to bed.  That’s how we roll.

By now we were used to the bad odor and had decided to think about it tomorrow – like Scarlett O’Hara at Tara when I went back into the kitchen to fix a Diet Coke to carry upstairs for my evening meds.

As I opened the refrigerator, I glanced at the stove and saw that something wasn’t quite right.  One of the knobs for the stove top burners was slightly, ever so slightly, turned to the “on” position.  I closed the refrigerator door and walked over to take a look and smell.  In an instant I realized what was happening.  I turned the knob off and ran to open the back door.

I yelled to Teresa and asked her to open all the windows and turn on the fans in every room.  I told her I would take the downstairs and she could get the upstairs.  I don’t think I’ve moved that fast in a long time.  We had the house open in record time, and the gas began to escape.

We took the dogs outside, loaded them in the pickup and drove to a 24-hour Wal-Mart to buy a carbon monoxide alarm.  I’m still not sure why we felt the need to buy that for a natural gas leak in the house but we clearly weren’t thinking on all cylinders.  Nevertheless, when we came home with our new alarm, it was almost midnight and the odor was gone.

I’ve wondered this week about what didn’t happen Tuesday night and why.  For example, I almost lit a scented candle while we were watching Luther –  but didn’t.  When we leave the house in the evening, we often let Spike roam downstairs with Red and Chelsea and shut the back doggie door – but this night we didn’t.   We could’ve stayed home and eaten leftovers and grown more accustomed to the noxious gas and gotten too sick to realize what was happening –  but we didn’t.

It wasn’t your time.  You’ve got an angel on your shoulder.  Somebody up there likes you.  God isn’t finished with you yet. You must have more lives than a cat. You’ve got miles to go before you sleep.   Fill in your own blanks……….your guess is as good as mine.

Let’s just say I’ll call it like I see it.  It was a close call, but we have a few seconds remaining on the clock.










About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Close Call

  1. Pingback: Close Call | I'll Call It Like I See It

  2. zareenn3 says:

    Close call indeed! Glad you’re safe. I just shifted to a new place and the knobs on the stove are different from the ones at the previous place. When you turn them clockwise they turn off, and vice versa. I almost left one knob on myself last week!


    • Wow, that’s a strange knob system if you ask me! Glad you figured it out before you had a problem – I read your blog and see that you shift frequently. I have shifted more frequently than I like recently so I understand how unsettling it is. Your ability to write is a constant in your life. No amount of shifting can take that away from you. Write on.


      • zareenn3 says:

        Shifting is one thing I detest the most. Glad I’m finding more and more people who hate it too.

        Hey thanks for reading my blog. Thanks so much for your kind words! I will continue to write more!


  3. I’m so very glad your family missed its appointment with Death. Much too close for comfort. I think we do things after a close call, like buying the CO2 monitor, as a way of feebly reestablishing control over our lives. What else is there to do?!

    So glad you all are safe!



    • Teresa could’ve come home and found me and her three children gone all at one time – I wonder how people survive such a tragedy when disaster strikes entire families…yes the CO2 monitor is happily quiet!!
      Bless you and all of your family today,


  4. PattiMo says:

    Wow Sheila Rae! Wow – that’s all I can say … WOW


  5. That was a lucky escape, just shows how easily tragedy can happen, glad you’re all safe.


    • Hi Andrea,
      Thanks so much for the response – somehow your comment slipped past me and I apologize for not replying earlier…it really was a lucky escape and you are right. Tragedy can occur so easily…we are glad to be safe!


  6. says:


    Sheila!!!!!!!!  I’m so glad you are alright !  Don’t tell me the Lord isn’t looking after you .  He is there every minute aand I’m so thankful. You are a special lady with many more wonderful stories to tell and dreams to weave. We need you !   Love,    Anne[


  7. Debbie says:

    You had a guardian angel watching out for you!


  8. Dianne says:

    Reminds me of your Foudray House experience when you lived next door to me in Brazoria! That was a much worse experience from Carbon Monoxide poisoning! You were very lucky at that time!


    • Hi Dianne,
      Yes of course that reminded me of our Foudray House experience, too, but that was an even closer call and my family was lucky to survive that scare, too!! Glad to hear from you = see you at # 5-0 !!


  9. So glad all of you are ok, how terrifying.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.