Last week we awoke to the glorious sound of a thunderstorm. Not since living in Texas have I heard such a lovely storm. I really find it peaceful and relaxing to hear the pouring rain and distant thunder rolling. We have thunder here sometimes, too. It's just not remotely the same. It's always very timid and very brief. This storm was like the ones I grew up with.
Apparently that's because it was right on top of us. Our building was hit by lightning (so they fire department says, though they couldn't find where it hit). It was an unbelievably loud boom, followed by (the astute will have guessed) a crack and a snap. Maybe two cracks, or two snaps? Those two I think are similar in this context. Anyway the fire department showed up because people in the upper floors reported smoke and/or sparks. Panther reacted to the noises of the firemen and maintenance guys outside by slinking into our bedroom and yowling quite peculiarly, while puma got into the cabinets where we store beans and potatoes and hid behind those (actually a very effective hiding spot, but he was in a lot of trouble for it).
The firemen never found any fire, though they did knock a hole in the wall somewhere (not in our unit, but we'll get holes in our walls soon, so don't worry). By the time they were wrapping up, it was starting to smell like gas in our apartment. I told one of the maintenance guys who was milling about, and he got a fireman to come check it out with one of their little gas detectors. It didn't show any gas. Huh. They thought the smell might be something to do with the sprinklers that had gone of in some units (thankfully not ours!). Apparently sometimes the water sits in a tank somewhere for a very long time and often gets really gross. I never knew that. So they left.
By then it was time to get to work, but alas, our cable modem wasn't working. Probably related to the lightning. It must have gotten a power surge or something. I spent a while trying to get it to work (it still turned on, it just didn't work anymore), but eventually gave up and had to go buy a new one. Throughout the day we continued to smell what we thought was gas. We opened the window in the evening to get rid of whatever the smell was. That night we discovered that the TV had also fallen victim to the lightning. I try not to be materialistic, but this was actually pretty sad. We can't really go buying a new TV every couple years. We only got this one from saving up money from Christmas and birthdays. Sigh.
The next morning a guy from the gas company came by because enough people in the building had complained of smelling gas in their units that they believed us that maybe the fireman had been wrong the previous day. Yeah, we had a gas leak. It was somewhere in the actual gas line inside the walls. Apparently most of the gas was getting into the apartments above us, since the leak was inside the walls. Still, there was enough in our unit to detect it. Cue holes in the wall. At least they were interior walls. First they knocked some holes with a hammer, and later that day someone came to make a path in the wall for a new gas line to be installed. Basically he cut a 1ft tall opening in the wall from the laundry room to the back bathroom to the exterior wall, where they'd later drill a hole for the new gas line.
That was on Wednesday, so I guess now it's been a week since they cut the gap in our wall. The guy finally came back yesterday to put the gas line in. Now we have to wait for someone in the county to inspect it before they can fix the wall and turn back on the gas. I'm guessing the inspector (who works for the government) will take even longer to show up than the contractor who put in the gas line, so who knows when we'll have a wall. Honestly, we're not worried about the wall. It's kind of funny, and isn't going to cost us anything.
Meanwhile, our renters insurance told us they would cover the TV and the modem, although they wanted us to first take the TV to a repair place and get an estimate to see if it can be fixed. If it's fixable, then probably it will barely cost more than the deductible so I don't even know if we'll do it. But we still don't know, because TV repair places apparently take at least as long to give an estimate as contractors take to come install gas lines. We also don't know whether our Wii and Xbox 360 are working, because we have no TV to plug them into. They both turn on, but so did the TV. At least it pretended to. Made that clicking noise. Lit up the little light around the power button. Then nothing, the screen never came on. So for all we know those are also busted.
At any rate, we're still alive. The gas leak didn't cause us any harm and the stuff that was damaged was just stuff. Plus, I got the TV box out of the back of the closet when we took the TV to the repair place, and now we're using it to block the kitchen from Puma. He does not like it ("It's super effective!"). But. I don't really know how to feel about thunderstorms anymore.