Automatic

Today around lunchtime I was standing in my closet, trying to talk myself into real clothes, when I heard the garage door go up. To recap: I’m the only one home, it’s the middle of the day, and the garage door just went UP. Since I already operate under the assumption that I’m a character in a Stephen King novel, my immediate reaction was bound to be fight or flight.

I went with fight.

I took off down the stairs brandishing only an iPhone as protection and ran straight to the door that leads into the garage and flung it open. That was as far as my plan went, so it was probably a good thing no one was standing here. All I found was that, yes, my garage door was now open. And it had apparently, randomly, opened itself.

I’d be more worried, but I already know the garage door hates me.

Let me explain:

For years we lived with a garage door that operated on a schedule known only to itself. In other words, most days it went up and down when I pushed the automatic door opener. Most days. On days when it was negative 100 degrees, or pouring down rain, the door did not open or shut automatically. It also seemed to have a preference for taking the day off if I was in a particular hurry, or wearing a dress and high heels.

But I learned to work around it. I became extremely adept at pulling the cord attached to the motor, jumping up to grab the metal handle and then hauling the heavy door down manually. In my car, I’d push the automatic opener in order to “reset” the motor chain so the door would go up when I returned. Maybe. Maybe it would go up, or maybe I would have to physically lift the door back up, world champion weight lifter style, preferably in high heels and pouring rain.

Then one day, last November, I had an epiphany: I could call a garage door repair company and I could pay them to FIX the damn garage door. Something that caused me stress on a regular basis–I could simply pick up the phone and solve this problem. Eureka. I decided it would be my Christmas present to myself.

In general I try to avoid calling any sort of repair person because…well, remember the cable guy we almost adopted? And then there was the dishwasher repair guy. He came back three times before I finally had to show him how to install the drain hose myself. And also, to be fair, I don’t normally need to call for repairs because John is able to fix most things. Just not garage doors possessed by demons.

So fast forward to the magic day circled in red on my calendar: new garage door installation day. I was even pleasantly surprised because the garage door guy they sent was…pleasant. The kind of pleasant where I kind of zoned out for a bit when he was showing me how to use the new outside key panel because I was busy trying to decide how I would convince him to read the entire owner’s manual to me.

He became even more attractive in retrospect, especially when my garage door went up and down quietly and reliably each and every time I pushed that button from the comfort of my car. It went on like that for months…..

Then, one day last week, about five seconds after my Twitter feed informed me that it was zero degrees outside, I stepped happily into my garage to go fetch my darling children from the bus stop. I pulled out of the garage and pushed the magic button and……nothing. My brand new garage door sat completely still, mocking me with its silence. Worse, when I pushed the button again, it did that thing it does where it kind of dances up and down, just a half a foot in either direction, hanging in limbo while I sat perplexed and forlorn in my car, dreading the inevitable moment when I would have to get out into the zero degree weather, climb over a snow drift and put the door down myself.

And garage door boy? He became infinitely less attractive when I discovered that he didn’t even install one of those handles halfway down the door that I can use to haul the 10,000 pound wooden piece of junk up and down with my little chicken arms. Instead I have to get out a step stool, and then haul it half way down perched up on the stool, then put the stool away and pull the door the rest of the way down….are you picturing this?

So yeah. I wasn’t really too upset when the door went up all by itself today, without anyone even touching the button. At least there’s something automatic about it now.

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