Two or three Halloweens ago, my husband and I shelled out
massive amounts of money to have our garage doors replaced. Trick?
The old doors were heavy and cracked, freely admitting the winter
winds, and, occasionally, even snow. And
every time we put down the doors, the mechanism shook and rattled in its
The new doors were pretty; insulated; clean and white. They had new trim, clean and white. We were pleased with ourselves and our new
purchase; satisfied with this small improvement to our home.
There was only one problem: In warm weather, my door refused
to close. I’d hit the button and the door
would go down about a third of the way. Then,
stubborn old thing, it would pause, as if deciding something, before retreating
back up overhead. From inside the car, I’d
hold the button down, but the same thing would happen. I’d get out of the car, still running, and
hold down the button by the fancy new keypad whose combination I always seem to
forget. Again, the door would refuse to
close. Finally, I’d turn off the car,
slam the door, utter a few swear words, return to the garage, jab a hand at the
interior button and hold it down, quite firmly, as if to say I’ve got you now and wait until the darn
thing finally cooperated.
I called the installer out.
And like the hair that always decides to look good on the day you’ve
scheduled your appointment, the garage doors behaved beautifully. He pushed the button. Watched the door go down. Pushed the button again. Watched the door go up.
“It normally doesn’t work,” I said. “In warm weather.”
He arched an eyebrow at me.
“Call me when it starts acting up again.
In the meantime, have your husband put some WD-40 on it.”
I rolled my eyes at V.
This door was going to need more than the placebo of WD-40. Besides, I
am the handyman in the house.
But perhaps handy
is the wrong word: I’m more willing to risk damaging our home with my ignorance
than my husband. Where I am brave, my
husband is wise.
Now, it’s nearly spring and the garage door has begun
rebelling again. And this makes me
I’m angry that the installer couldn’t find the problem. I’m angry that I have to rely upon someone to
fix this problem, again contracting out a piece of my life that I cannot
handle. Most of all, I’m angry that I
feel inconvenienced by something so trivial as a stubborn garage door. What happened to the days before electric
garage doors were common? Perhaps if I
expended a bit more energy lifting and lowering my garage door, I wouldn’t have
to go to the gym as often.
The other day, V ran the car against the framed entrance to
the garage, leaving the white trim streaked with black. Of course, the trim is vinyl and won’t take
Trick? Or treat?
Labels: Creative non-fiction, households