I wrote this blog in not one, but two, posts on a website that no longer exists.  The website format was ideal for very short blog posts, and writers got paid by the page click.  After the website closed, I put the two parts of this story together in one piece.

I read “The Can of Tuna Rolled Away” on episode 064 of my Words of Jen podcast.

Few things are more mundane than grocery shopping.  Eventually though, you have to do it. Putting the groceries away after you return home can be a tedious chore.  Over all, its a boring task.  This time, however, things went differently than planned.

My husband Shawn was putting the groceries away when something completely unexpected happened. He accidentally dropped one of the cans of tuna fish that we bought, and it rolled behind the stove. It was a random thing that has never happened before.

It seems the can landed, and rolled, just right.  We used a flashlight to check and see where the can of tuna went. At first, we could see the edge of the can. It was standing on its side, wedged between the wall behind the stove and the cabinet next to the stove.

What to do? First, we each tried using a really long pair of barbecue tongs to see if we could grab the can of tuna. That didn’t work. Instead, this caused the can to get nudged just enough for it to roll completely behind the stove. Next, we tried using a shop vac in the hopes of removing the can of tuna by suction. That didn’t work either.  The hose of the shop vac didn’t reach far enough and there was no way to get it to go around the corner at the back of the stove (where the tuna can had rolled to).

We were now out of ideas as to how to get the can of tuna out from behind the stove.  It just seemed like a bad idea to leave it there, and neither of us felt confident about trying to move the stove ourselves. Fortunately, Shawn has a friend who seems to know how to fix just about everything.  If anyone could retrieve the runaway can of tuna, without requiring the removal of the stove first, it would be him.  Or, worst case scenario, the friend would probably know how to safely move the stove.

A few days later, the helpful friend came over to see what he could do.  The stove is a gas stove. My concern was that if my husband and his friend moved the stove to get the can of tuna they would accidentally bump the gas line and cause a gas leak. The stove is situated in a way that prevents us from seeing how the gas line is connected to it.

That’s just one of the “quirks” about our mobile home.  I’m not entirely sure how this stove got hooked up in the first place, since a person would pretty much have to be standing between it and the wall to do that.  How did that person get out?  Did he climb over the stove?  It’s one of the many mysteries about this place that will never be fully explained.

My concern was that moving the stove, even just a little bit, could cause a gas leak.  Now, a small gas leak, quickly turned off, would probably not cause much harm to me, my husband or his friend. However, it would likely kill our cockatiels who were in a large cage in the living room, not incredibly far from the stove. The kitchen and the living room share the same space in our small mobile home.  The bird cage is on the opposite end of the room.  It isn’t siting right next to the stove, or refrigerator, or anything.  But, since the mobile home is small – nothing is that far away from anything else.

Ever heard the phrase “canaries in a coal mine”? That was my fear.  The cockatiels could die from a small gas leak, long before the humans in the room would feel any strange side effects as a result of it.  This was not something I was willing to risk.

The plan was that I would put the birds into two pet crates before the stove was moved – just in case. Each crate could easily fit a large cat inside it. We use the crates to take the birds to the vet. Obviously, this meant that as soon as they saw the crates, the birds were going to start getting upset.  Once inside the crates, I could safely take the birds into our backyard. This should get them fresh air in case of a gas leak.

Fortunately, that particular drama did not have to happen. My husband’s friend came over with one of those “grabber” devices. It is a long pole with a claw like thing on the end. To use it, you aim it at the thing you want to reach and press something to make the claw close around it. I’ve seen this tool used in clothing stores where racks of clothing are attached so high up the wall that they may as well be on the ceiling.

They only had to move the stove an inch or two, and were able to accomplish that with no difficulty.   The friend used the “grabber” and pulled out the can of tuna. The two of them moved the stove back into place. Problem solved!

Since then, we have blocked off the small area between the stove and the cabinet with an old pair of shoes that barely got worn.  For reasons only they can understand, the cockatiels took a sudden interest in that little space. One of them would walk over and stick his head in there  – ready to do some exploring.

We definitely didn’t want to try and coax a frightened cockatiel, who put himself in an unfamiliar environment, out from behind the stove! So, that space got blocked off for safety.  It is now impossible for cockatiels, or cans of tuna, to end up behind the stove.

The Can of Tuna Rolled Away is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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