Grand opening

On Thursday evenings, DD and I have a Pilates exercise class. We quite enjoy it, and neither of us miss a class too often at all. I think in the two years we’ve been going, I may have missed three classes in total, and DD has missed maybe two.

However, we missed this past Thursday, and for a very stupid reason.

My automatic garage door wouldn’t open.

Yes, yes, I know how to detach it from the actual machine that does the opening so that it can be lifted by hand. I tried that, about eleventy times. It didn’t work. DD and I together could not budge that door more than about three centimetres.

This alerted me to the fact that something was more wrong than previously thought. I have had homes with automatic garage door openers for over thirty years, and though things do go sideways with them every now and then, I have never NOT been able to open the door manually. This time I had no idea what the problem might be.

I called a door repair company. The man I spoke to, when I described the issue, immediately said, “Oh, that would be the spring. You have a broken spring.” He said he would call me the next morning, between 8 and 9 am, to tell me when one of their service people would come over and replace the broken spring. Okay. That should be fine, I thought. Although I would already be at work when he called the next morning, I could still easily take the call, and DD would be home all day to deal with the guy who came to do the repairs. Then I stopped.


How was I going to get to work if I couldn’t get the garage door open to get my car out?

Many scenarios came to mind, but complicating most of them was the fact that I had an appointment with my physio after work, at 3:30, so even if I got a ride to work from a fellow teacher, how could I ask them to leave work almost right after the kids left and drive me to my physio’s office? And then what, ask them to wait around half an hour so they could drive me home after my appointment?

I ended up deciding to call my friend Meshka to see if she might ferry me over to my mom’s so I could pick up Mom’s car to drive the next day. Meshka doesn’t live far, so I was hoping it wouldn’t inconvenience her too much to help me out in this way.

She wasn’t home yet, but her husband George listened to my tale of woe and offered to come over and open the garage door manually.

I didn’t think even big, strong George could do it, but I thought he could at least try. If he couldn’t do it, he could then take me to my mom’s.

But less than ten minutes later, Meshka had returned home, and she and George were at my front door. George went down to the garage, looked above the door, and said, “See that black coil above the door there? It’s in two pieces, so the guy was right, it’s broken.”
Well, yes, now that you have pointed it out to me, George, it is most definitely broken. I don’t quite understand why that affects the opening of the door, but that spring certainly is broken and needs to be replaced.

And then George bent down (from the knees, of course) and pretty much with one hand, lifted the door up. Just like that. I scurried to get my car keys, then drove my car out and parked on the street. He gently let the door down behind me, checked to ensure that it was properly locked, and let himself out the front door.

“That happened to one of our garage doors once. It should cost you about 300$ to get that fixed. It’ll take maybe half an hour,” he informed me.

Much hugging and thanks ensued, then George and Meshka went back home. The next day, I headed merrily to work. The door company called me at 8:30 and told me that their serviceman would be at my home between 9 and 9:30. I called DD to pass that message on.

DD texted me about 9:15. The guy was there. She texted again about 9:35. He had just left. The repairs cost 278$.

George was out by only 10 minutes and 22$. But his helpfulness and impressive strength totally make up for these very small miscalculations in his math.

And obviously, those Pilates exercise classes are doing nothing for my own upper body strength. I’m going to have to step it up somehow – once my shoulder is completely healed, of course.


8 responses to “Grand opening

  1. A garage? Wow….

  2. That sounds like an awful lot of money for 20 minutes worth of work. I think I will get into that line of work myself, or do you think I am too old to start? Maybe in my next life I can take this up. You did get good service though. Maybe that is why the price was so high.

    • I’ve used this company three times now, and yes, they are pretty good. All the door companies seem to charge the same prices, and as I told VioletSky above, there’s a flat rate of 100$ to start with, regardless of what the actual repair ends up to be. So if you’re at all mechanically inclined, it does sound like a good business to get into!

  3. Had to get mine done last year but at least it could be opened by hand in my case. But now we have a regular door guy and he was good.

    • Yeah, this was new and exciting to not be able to move the garage door manually. But I now know that there is the actual door opener (which I had to replace two Decembers ago) and then the door mechanism itself, which was the problem this time. Apparently this big spring has something to do with counterbalance, so if it’s broken, then the door is a dead weight, which would explain why DD and I, as the weaklings we are, couldn’t budge it.

  4. I am glad you got it fixed (and in such a timely manner – very impressed with that!!) but that seems an awful lot of money for a spring and 20 minutes work.

    • And get this: all garage door companies charge 100$ just to show up, which is absolutely ridiculous, I think. Of COURSE they have to show up – what else are you going to do, bring the door to them?!