Wednesday, November 3, 2010
There's not a whole lot left in this world that is 100% dependable, but even at my most cynical, I never thought I'd lose faith in the little button that opens my garage door. But last night it let me down. It let me down hard.
Theresa and I were all ready to leave to go see the new Bruce Willis flick, but when I pressed the garage door button on the wall . . . nothing happened. This left me perplexed, because when I got home from work just a couple hours earlier I'd opened the door with my remote and then closed it when I got inside. That whole process went off without a hitch. But now? The garage door responded like the willie of a Viagra-less octogenarian judging an ugly contest.
We were running late for the movie, though, so we pulled the red cord to open the garage door manually. I backed the car out of the garage and, just for the hell of it, pressed the button on my remote. Curiously, the door shut as usual.
When we got home a couple hours later, we set out to fix the problem. I pressed the garage door button just in case a band of repair elves had visited while we were gone. None had, so once again I opened the door manually and pressed the button. The door went down. Okay, so there was nothing wrong with the open/close mechanism or the button itself. There was obviously another explanation.
Many years ago, when I lived in a different house, I had dealt with the opposite problem -- the garage door opened just fine, but it wouldn't close. I noticed this only occurred when I was leaving for work in the morning; when I got home at night, everything was fine. After a few months of utter befuddlement, I finally figured out that in the mornings the sun would shine directly into the LED sensor that keeps garage doors from closing on pets or small children. I fixed that particular problem with a two-inch length of PVC pipe.
Which was absolutely no help to me now.
"What are you guys doing?"
It was Doug, Theresa's twenty-year-old son. We explained the predicament, and he said, "I'll take care of it, you guys go on inside."
Doug's pretty good at fixing things, especially compared to me.
Forty-five seconds later, I heard the garage door opening. And closing. And opening. And closing. Theresa and I went out to the garage.
"Hey!" said Theresa. "You fixed it!"
"Yeah, it was really complicated, too," said Doug.
"What was the problem?" I asked.
"Come here and take a look at the button on the wall," said Doug. I looked where he was pointing. "See this switch on top? That's called the lock/unlock switch. When it's in the locked position, the door won't open. It's so no one can clone your remote and break into the house. Using my amazingly brilliant repair skills, I flipped the switch into the unlocked position, and the door opened."
Doug can be a bit of a smart-ass.
Apparently, the last time I'd shut the door from the inside, I had accidentally flipped the switch to "lock".
Yes, I know. I'm lame.