Odorless or not, it stinks

Friday and Saturday were the big moving days. Adding to my misery those days was the unique chill of early winter in Seattle, a chill that is compounded by rain and wind. It was one of those weekends in which all events seemed to conspire against me, inspiring a mild and debilitating self-pity that I loathed in myself.
Friday I discovered that my TV wouldn't fit through the door from the garage into the basement of my new place. The movers ended up leaving it upstairs in the living room. It just plain doesn't fit there, and I think I'll have to sell it. It kills me to have to sell it as I had it calibrated to my liking, and the HD picture is gorgeous. Those of you in Seattle who have the room for a rear projection set and want to step up to HD may be able to get a bargain.
After that setback, I stayed up until three in the morning trying to finish packing as much as possible for the movers who were showing up early the next morning. Having disassembled my bed, I slept in the guest room, and the feeling of strangeness and alienation I felt was the beginning of what is likely to be a long period of limbo that occupies the space between the familiarity of one's old bedroom and the onset of comfort in a new house.
Saturday morning was a flurry of activity. First, some delivery people who had a washer/dryer for the new house showed up an hour earlier than anticipated at the new house. Poor Sang, fresh off his first alcohol binge in years at a wedding, had to go over to the new house to let them in while I stayed behind to work with the movers, who had arrived. It took a good five hours to load their truck, drive over to the new house, and unload everything.
Then a Comcast guy came over to install an cable outlet in the basement. We went out to look at the stretch of wall where the cable would come in. There was a good spot just to the left of the gas meter where he could drill in. I assumed he could take things from there and went upstairs to try and unpack a few key things I needed.
While in my room, I suddenly detected a subtle odor. Soon it was not as subtle. It couldn't be...could it?
"Sir! Sir! We need to get out of the house right away!" shouted the cable technician from the basement.
He had drilled from the inside of the house out and somehow missed his target by a good several feet and drilled through the back of the gas meter itself. The meter was so close to the house that the fumes instantly flooded up from the basement through the entire house.
We ran out into the rain and called 911. The technician was bug-eyed, incredulous.
"It's been one of those days you wouldn't believe," he lamented. "I've never done anything like this before." I felt no pity for him because he was in his fluorescenet yellow rain suit, and I was in jeans and a t-shirt. It was some 35 degrees out, and I decided to go back in for my jacket and to check for any pilot lights, motivated less by bravery than thin skin.
I made it upstairs to get the only jacket I had unpacked, a light windbreaker, and had just gotten to the bottom of the stairs when I went all woozy in an instant from the fumes. I grabbed hold of the banister and slowly made my way outside. It was only after a minute of fresh air that the two of us could run back in and check for pilot lights.
The fire department showed, up, four men and a woman in full gear. Just backing the fire engine down the narrow street was a debacle, and I wondered if my neighbors were looking out their windows at me and speculating on whether they were witnessing the first antics of the new village idiot.
Eventually, the gas got shut off, the fire deparment took off after determining there was nothing they could do, a few Comcast supervisors showed up and offered apologies, then they and the technician left, and I was left standing in the rain, waiting for the fumes to clear. All the windows and doors were open, rain accumulating in the house, and I stood outside shivering, cataloging my miseries.
The Puget Sound Energy guy who finally showed up about two hours later was a character. An older white-haired guy, dressed in a grey one piece suit like a locomotive operator.
"Whooo-eeee," he exclaimed when he saw the gas meter, one hand on forehead and other hand on hip. "Yup, I figure these Comcast guys do something like this once a month." He removed the entire gas meter and turned it around. There was a pristine hole the size of a drill bit in its back plate. That the metal drill bit going through that metal plate hadn't sparked and blown the Comcast guy and myself sky high is, in hindsight, some consolation. The PSE tech put in an entirely new gas meter, numbers all reset to zeroes. Then he threw the other meter in his trunk and got set to go.
"When will it be safe for me to go back inside?" I asked.
"As soon as you can tolerate the odor, after you can't really smell it anymore."
"Is it dangerous?"
"Natural gas is the safest gas around. Oh, it'll give you a damn nasty headache, but it won't kill you. You know, natural gas is odorless. We give it an odor so you can smell it."
When I finally got back into the house, I had lost all will to unpack. My spirit was broken, so I went out to dinner in the company of friends and then to watch Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Never had the inside of an old wooden ship looked so cozy or inviting.