- ABOUT US
Karlie Tipton, Editorial Assistant
Photo by STEVEN WALKER
By Karlie Tipton
January 16, 2014
I’ve never been taken with fantasies of extravagant wealth or fame, but the one American Dream I’ve allowed myself since I can remember is home-ownership.
Living with my parents over the past year—as grateful as I am for the opportunity to save rent money—only heightened my desire for a space that belonged to me, my husband, and our terrible dog, Achilles, alone. Since the day I moved back to my childhood home, I started looking for such a place.
On the evening of Sunday, January 5, my husband and I officially moved into our first house.
On the morning of Monday, January 6, we awakened from a deep sleep to an ear-splitting screech. I assumed the house was on fire, but when I frantically searched for flames or smoke, I saw none. After a few minutes of panic, Phillip discovered the source of the horrible noise: Our carbon monoxide detector was going off.
Having been an avid C.S.I. and Law and Order viewer for many years, I automatically assumed I was going to die. The O2 in my blood cells was quickly being replaced by O, so I would soon fall into a deep coma from which I would never wake. Frozen by the sheer terror of my inevitable demise, I could only repeat “We have to get to fresh air” over and over, without actually getting out of bed to seek said fresh air.
Luckily, Phillip handles stress slightly better, so he got up, put some sweats on, and walked into the living room. Following his example, I fled the invisible death fumes, still sure the house would most likely explode (needless to say, my understanding of chemistry is rather limited).
We brought the detector into the living room, shutting the bedroom door, after which the beeper stopped almost immediately. The rest of the house seemed safe enough, but we had no idea what to do next.
A quick Google search on my phone said that we should call the fire department right away. Or wait until we started vomiting and then call the fire department. Or call the gas company during regular business hours and wait for them to call the fire department. There was very little consensus.
So we called my grandparents about twenty-three times until one of them finally picked up. My grandpa, a self-taught handyman and home ownership expert, told us not to call the fire department. Rather, he assured us that the house was not going to blow up and that, as long as we stayed out of the bedroom, we probably wouldn’t slip into a coma either. He offered to let us stay at his house in Edmond for the night so we might get a few hours of sleep, and we took him up on it.
The next day, we called Oklahoma Natural Gas out to the house to check things out. Their sensors determined our heater was releasing amounts of carbon monoxide more than ten times the acceptable level.
The oxygen levels have since been restored to our home, thanks to a brand-new, $2,000 heater, but the lessons of that night will linger on.
Throughout my life, I’ve been told anything worth having requires hard work. Although I hope the hardships of home-ownership come a little bit slower in the future, I’m ready to deal with every disaster and work as hard as I have to in order to make my American Dream come true.