Sorry about this morning's post. I was still a little traumatized by something that happened last night. (You have no idea how many babbling-brook/stream-of-consciousness vamps I write and don't post...I'll get done with one, sit back, and think, nah, I can't inflict that on people.)
Last night I had hopped into the car, late for an appointment, and the garage door was opening when it made a loud "SPROING!" sound and essentially disintegrated. The rollers came off their tracks, the cables jammed, and the appearance of the panels became the reason why the word "wopplejawed" was invented (it's sort of like "akimbo" only worse).
Zander called the garage-door repairman, Stu, who was here until well after 9 p.m. despite the fact that it was his wedding anniversary(!).
I need to try to remember every now and then that garage doors are expensive, and that they need maintenance. We use our garage door several times a day, and the wear-and-tear adds up. Assuming you live in a house and have a garage door, here's what, according to Stu, you should do: every year or so, look it over and tighten up all the many bolts and screws you can find. Use silicone spray lubricant on the metal hinges between the panels and on the chain and chain-rail. About every three years, call a garage-door repair outfit (find 'em on Angie's List) and have them come out and give your door a checkup. That still doesn't guarantee you won't experience a catastrophic failure, but it betters your odds. And it will cost you about fifty dollars, as opposed to, oh, let's say $790.80, which is what you might be charged if the garage repairman has to come, let's say, in the evening, after business hours, all the way from Milwaukee, and leaves his missus stewing at home about him being late for their anniversary dinner.
And by the way, if you live in a condo or an apartment with indoor parking, don't assume you'll never be the victim of a malfunctioning garage door. I used to live in a condo with a huge commercial overhead door on the garage, and one day the spring broke and the door jammed shut; it was ten hours before it could be fixed, my car was trapped inside, and I missed a job and lost a client. Best not to assume that routine maintenance is being performed on a communal door. As for me, you'd think I'd learn.
(I gave Stu a Chet Baker CD to give to his wife. Nobody can stay mad listening to Chet.)
Anyway, I'm not the least bit thrown by a broken garage door; it was that $790.80 that had me traumatized.
Featured Comment by Geoff Wittig: "True garage door follies:
"We live out in the boondocks at the end of a winding 250 yard driveway. We haul our trash to the road in the trunk of the car, seeing as how 250 yds. is a bit far to carry it on your shoulder. About 15 years ago I hit the door opener and backed out like usual, with the trunk so packed with trash it wasn't closed. Unfortunately I was about 10 milliseconds too fast; the raised trunk lid caught the lower edge of the rising garage door, with hideous consequences for both. It sounded like a beagle caught in the trash compactor. Total repair costs were about $1,500.
"About five years ago, my daughter hit the door opener button inside the garage and then hopped into the car. She unfortunately then absent-mindedly hit the remote button in the car to 'open' the door, which of course promptly began to close again. Which she failed to notice, so she backed into the door at high speed. Crushed two panels and the bumper of the car. That was also about $1,500, if I recall.
"Two years after that, my son did exactly the same thing. My wife and I were sitting in the kitchen over coffee; we looked at each other as we heard the garage door cycling down again (waaaaay too soon) and we both jumped up just in time to hear the 'crunch.' Sigh. Fortunately my son was slower than his sister; we were able to bend the kinked door panels back into semi-functional shape.
"The door screeches like a banshee every trip up and down since then. We're leaving it like that as a daily reminder to our youngest son, who still lives at home. We're hoping maybe the the unpleasant din will stick in his head if he's tempted to back into the door."