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It’s a Gas Gas Gas!

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I’m so proud of my Boston terrier, Murphy. He is truly a wonder dog.

Aaron and Murphy during our excitement.

I was taking a nap this afternoon about 3pm, and, as is the norm, Murphy was sleeping at the foot of my bed. My son, Aaron, who has a cold, was also asleep. Patty was at work.

Suddenly Murphy jumps on my head and starts barking incessantly. He’s never done that before. So I get up, get dressed, opened the bedroom door and was overpowered by the smell of gas. I ran downstairs, thinking that perhaps Aaron had somehow started a fire in the kitchen and the smell was even worse there.

Then it dawned on me: The street repair folks out front must have broken a gas line. I ran out on the front porch and the smell of gas was overwhelming and you could hear it hissing loudly. The crew, except for one staunch fellow and one staunch woman, had hauled ass down the street a ways.

My neighbor next door, Karl, who works nights, walked onto his front porch with a cup of coffee and an unlit cigarette in his mouth. I yelled, “Hey, Karl; I wouldn’t light that if I were you!”

Neighbors Karl and Bill; we’re cracking jokes once safely down the street.

I got Aaron up and leashed Murphy and, joined by Karl, we all went down to the corner; on the way, we saw Buddy, another neighbor, poke his head out of his front door and told him to get out of his house. By now the smell was super strong.

I called 911 and the Hyattville Fire Department showed up very quickly. The Washington Gas folks weren’t as prompt, but they showed up after about 40 minutes and sent a crew down to the hole in the street where gas had been spraying out all this time.

Hyattsville Fire Department pros suit up before walking to the gas leak.

Washington Gas trucks arrive.

Brave young men.

After about 40 more minutes, the gas line was capped and the Washington Gas techs gave us the all clear. One of their techs, a really nice man, brought a sniffer wand into my house to make sure it had aired out after I had turned on all the ceiling fans and opened the windows.

From my front porch.

So all’s well that ends well. My only concern, and I expressed this pointedly to the WSSC contractor’s supervisor, the fire department folks and the folks from Washington Gas, is that somebody should have alerted the residents of the street that there was a problem and that they should (a) not turn on any flame and (b) vacate their homes until everything was safe again and (c) the contractor should have called 911.

And I am so proud of Murphy for knowing something was amiss and waking me up!!!

That white PVC pipe down in the hole is what broke.

Words to live by . . .

7pm Update:

Still at it!

The contractors are still hard at work; now they’re filling the hole where the gas line broke. I guess they’ve got a few more hours of work ahead of them.


I love the colors in this iPhone photo. On your left, about a third of the way from the bottom of the pic, is our friend, Little Blue Thing. That’s his headlight shining.

Buddy, one of our neighbors, walked over to Jefferson Street when the gas was escaping and he said the smell of gas was very evident at that point, well over a block from where it was whooshing out of its pipe. So we were lucky that all turned out well. Karl and the folks across the street, Colleen and Mar, still don’t have their gas restored, but everyone is hard at work trying to restore the service.

Morning After Update:

As the above photo indicates, this morning the contractors have marked the gas lines a lot more obviously than they had previously done. Before, there were just thin yellow lines of paint to show where the high-pressure gas lines were; now there’s big white lettering, too. The importance of good, clear graphics!

The Washington Gas guys told me that those gas lines have a pressure of 50psi, which doesn’t sound like much but can produce a huge volume of gas in the air when the pipe is ruptured, as our event yesterday afternoon proved.

iPhone Cameras Are Amazing . . .

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I’m constantly astonished at the photos that can be taken with an iPhone. Here’s a spiderweb I saw this morning, taken from 15 feet away:

As one who used to lug the old Speed Graphic, Graflex, Mamiya and other bulky large- and medium-format cameras around, I appreciate what the little iPhone camera can do! And no film processing!!!

Here’s another iPhone photo of that spiderweb, which is above the hedge separating our yard from the one next door. It was taken from five feet:

Ansel Adams was once asked, “What’s the most useful camera accessory?” He replied, “Your feet.”

Jim’s Nature Corner: Know Your Moths!

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If you’re anything like me, and, after all, who isn’t, you don’t know enough about our friends, the moths. Admit it!

Here’s one I see every year by my front-porch light:

It’s the Ailanthus webworm moth and is about an inch long. Its coloring reminds me, from my scuba-diving days, of a little clown fish, not found by my front-porch light but nonetheless darned attractive and quite friendly:

According to Wikipedia, these pretty moths are originally from South Florida and now found all over the country. They do no harm and are known for their biting wit, ability to sing in a four-octave range, and have a life span of up to 122 years.

Okay, I made up the last three items but they are still an interesting little creature and I look forward to seeing each year’s new batch. From my own observation, they do have the ability to stay in one place for days at a time.

Ice Cream Soda; Delaware Punch . . .

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I’ll show you who is my Honey Bunch:

Murphy!

Of course, he joins Patty, Neenie, Aaron, Greg, Maddie, Sophie, Katie and a honey-bunch of others, but Murphy is such a wonderful little friend. The funniest thing about Murphy is that he is not in the least intimidated by anything or anyone, and he keeps me in line by yapping at me when he feels it’s time to play tug-of-war, or go watch TV or go to bed.

He’s shown above as he barks at me to COMPLY! The photo doesn’t show his tail, or what passes for his tail, wagging a mile a minute. You can see that he’s exasperated, though.

Here’s another photo from a few minutes ago, where he’s jumping up on my leg. Please notice his magic eyes and stylin’ Hawaiian collar. Murphy is all about style, though he doesn’t impose his preferences on me:

Thanks for being my buddy, Murphy.

“Sorry, Murphy; 404 Not Found Error!”

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My grand-daughter Maddie shows Murphy how to surf the Net.

Murphy Makes A Friend!

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Say “Hi!” to a new addition to our neighborhood! Milo, who I guess is either a Husky or a Malamute, is 14 weeks old and he and his owner, Raphael, stopped by a few minutes ago. Murphy is so excited to have a new friend.

Milo has beautiful pale blue eyes, which look somewhat askance at Murphy!

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