…where’s there’s always something to take a bite out of the old budget.

For example, a garage door that refuses to stay down, this in addition to aforementioned gates, steps, dishwashers, pool-sweeps and a couple dozen other items that assaulted the checkbook. All of which can quickly get you to the argument over buying versus renting; in this city the preference is about 50-50. I’ve been in both situations and I’m still not convinced of which has more advantages. Despite the tax write-offs come April, if you blow a water heater there is much satisfaction in simply calling the landlord or the agency (to say nothing of rarely having to get your hands dirty with a complicated installation).

But the garage door. Tomorrow an alleged professional will be out to remedy the problem with dispatch — we hope — and once again the basic function of the door rising and descending will occur reliably on command. Lord knows we couldn’t do it, though we’ve been at it for at least a week.

I go back, I should point out, to garage doors that came in pairs. Double doors that you opened by hand, fastened to the sides of the garage before backing the car out on the driveway, and doing so, of course, in fair weather or foul. This was a very big deal back East in the teeth of a snowstorm. We had ’em, the affluent were not so burdened. And more often than I decided was just, my brothers and I did the hard part while Dad backed the car out into the elements. The good news was that the doors could generally be counted on work as designed for decades.

Today that’s not always the case.

Modern automated garage doors are not technological marvels. An iPod has about a jillion times the complexity and you can lose it in one of the pockets of your cargo shorts. A heavy garage door, in contrast, is raised and lowered by virtue of a small electric motor that pulls a metal attachment along a track fastened to the ceiling for a distance of, oh, maybe five feet. In the upward direction, the attachment stops when it hits a small plastic electrical switch. Going down the door stops gently when it reaches the floor. You can make either action occur from a button on the wall of the garage or a remote from your car. Simple.

But if it goes bad…we tried everything, and this does include, over the last six months, garage door guys who do not work cheap. We’re beginning to understand — now — why they only guaranty their work for 90 days, at a time when you can buy a car that’s warranted for five years or 100,000 miles! We do suspect the gene pool, but that’s another matter.

The first guy said we had to replace a monstrous overhead spring that aids in counterbalancing the door, so we did — well, he did.

The second guy insisted that we replace the rollers that travel along supporting rails at the sides of the door, so he did, and we nodded appreciatively when he told us not to over-use the door because the electric motor might overheat, causing errant behavior on the part of the door.

Notwithstanding, yesterday we had to cycle the door at least a dozen times before it finally remained closed as we watched with exasperation from the car.

In th meantime, all of the king’s horses, men, assorted screwdrivers, hammers, miscellaneous parts and ample cursing has not resolved the problem: i.e., the stinkin’ door to go up once and stay on command, and do likewise on the way down.

It can drive you crazy. I mean, there you sit with the engine running. What are you supposed to while the f_ing door goes through its gyrations? “Go head, babe. You go inside and catch up on your soaps while I watch the door. I’ll call you when it’s done.” There is this: we probably have a better understanding of the mechanics of garage door operations than any dozen people we know, yet we still can’t get it function properly. We’ve thought about just leaving the cars in the driveway and opening a bar in the garage, but getting a pool table in there would require, you got it, opening the door.

Yeah, we’ll pay the money, if only to preserve our sanity. But then you can probably guess what is sure to happen 91 days down the road.

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