Back in the 60s when materialism steamed full speed ahead on its way toward dominating (some think ruining) American life, I acquired my first real big boy toy. We bought a house with an electric garage door opener. The devices were just starting to become standard gear for homeowners. Now, even those with so much junk in their garages they can’t fit a car in have automated door openers.
What fun I had. A favorite amusement was seeing how far away from home I could be when the control button opened my door. As I recall, the record was a block-and-a-half. Opening a few neighbors’ doors along the way didn’t faze me. That happened often before opener technology improved.
Recently, our 23-year-old garage door opener died. An emergency trip to Home Depot was mandatory.
|A weight-lifting exercise I can do without|
“We’ll be around all week,” I told the service manager. “When can we get installation?”
“They’ll call you,” he said.
The voice on the phone sounded a bit subdued, “I’m sorry, but we’re really busy. We can schedule you three weeks from now.”
“What! Don’t we still have an unemployment problem here in
Michigan? Are you sure
three weeks is the best you can do?”
“Yes’” she said. “Maybe somebody is out of work around here, but our installers definitely are not.”
The first few days went badly. Ours is a double door, eight feet tall, with glass panels across the top. It is heavy.
Because modern garage doors have no outside handles, my first attempts at coping with opener-less life were to get out of the car, walk around to the front door, unlock it, walk through the house to the garage, lift the door using the handle on the inside, get back in the car, drive into the garage, get out, and pull the door shut.
Beautiful wife Sandy, as usual, found a better way. I was a little surprised when after observing me in action a couple of times and listening to my complaints she said, “Let me do it,” after we pulled into the driveway.
She walked straight to the left corner of the door, bent down, got her fingers into a little gap under the door edge, and with a mighty heave lifted it up. That became our standard entry procedure. I could barely budge the damn thing off ground zero that way. But if a little lady could, what choice did I have?
After a week using the Simplified Sandy System, I began to ponder the “want vs. need” question. We now and then mutter about the need for more exercise. Getting in and out of the car a few extra times surely could help maintain or even develop agility. Raising that heavy door had to have some positive influence on the old upper and lower body muscles.
Perhaps, I thought, we could return the new toy to the Depot and live without an opener, as everyone did for years before clever advertising and our desire to “keep up with the Joneses” convinced us “we just had to have one.” Installing an outdoor handle and lock could be handled easily as a do-it-yourself project.
Without an unneeded opener, we would be healthier and a bit wealthier by enjoying some minor savings in electricity costs.
Then I thought about getting out of the car and wrestling with a heavy door during a typical
driving rainstorm. Or, in the midst of a lake-effect blizzard. Or, when I was
in a hurry to get inside to begin enjoying the cocktail hour.
I called the installation people and begged, “Can’t you possibly get to us sooner?”