Sniffing

Okay, so our gas company is required by law to conduct an inspection of gas meters on a regular basis. This, presumably, is to keep houses from blowing sky-high due to something faulty in the meter itself, never mind the remainder of the pipes running through the house to supply gas to the dryer, furnace, water heater, and stove. Those parts, apparently, are not of any of their concern.

Which I guess makes sense when you reason that they need the meter there to actually get the count of how much gas you can use so that they can make their money. Once it’s past there, they have no reason to care, right?

Anyway, we were due up for our inspection, which came at a bad time with the storms that had inundated the basement. But I got things cleaned up, and we had our scheduled appointment set for the 5-7 p.m. period this evening.

Now, cable companies take a probably deserved rap for these appointment “windows,” because they rarely hit them. I actually schedule cable installers or repairers simply because I don’t want to have to deal with the window or the morons they send out.

But this inspection landed in that two-hour window, which for a working person, can be difficult to hit. So I asked my mom if she could come home early with the girls and sit and wait for the dude.

5 p.m. came. No gas inspector. 5:30, no gas inspector. 6 p.m. Still no gas guy. Shortly after 6, though, came the knock on the door.

I led him downstairs to the meter, and he did his thing: sticking a “sniffer” around all of the joints in the piping leading to and from the meter, and around the meter itself.

Bells, whistles, alarms and blinking lights were not to be had from the sniffer, so after about 2 minutes, he turned around, said “All right,” and started walking out of the room.

My two-hour window was there to accommodate probably 4 minutes total.

Oh, I understand the need for the window: traffic, delays, other customers, squid attacks, texting the kids at home…But really? Can’t this be made a more precise science by somehow narrowing the 4 minute visit to an hour-long window?

Oh well. If I actually paid any of my bills by paper and check rather than electronically, I might just put a note on the bill for the gas company. Tell them their payment will be coming sometime during a three-week “window.”

See you tomorrow.