|I'm putting my money where that mouth is.
It’s 10:15 pm on Tuesday night and I’m only just now starting to calm down from an extended battle with my garage door. And in the big scheme of things, a garage door shouldn’t be crazy-making but my reserves of internal strength ain't what they used to be.
The garage door worked fine earlier when I’d been out running some errands. And it worked fine in the late afternoon when I rolled our trash to the alley. Then I saw someone’s Facebook post about putting out saucers with stones and water for thirsty bees fighting the Texas heat (they won't lap up water from a bowl, but they like to collect moisture from a solid surface) and that struck me as a nice thing to do for our hard-working pollinators.
So I got a plastic saucer (the kind that goes under clay gardening pots outside) then opened the garage door to go fetch some small rocks. Upon returning to the house with my delicious plate of stones, the garage door would only go down a foot or so before stalling then creeping back upward.
Repeat repeat repeat.
When that didn’t work, I detached the chain drive and tried to lower the door by hand. No success. I tried multiple times, but it was useless - and increasingly killing in the 100 degree heat. Great - my garage door would be open all night for the thieves to enjoy pillaging.
SOooo I started calling emergency garage door repair places and no one could/would help me until tomorrow (I don't think they understand that whole "emergency" thing) causing my panic level to continue rising. Finally, someone said they’d come out in an hour.
So rather than sit in my blistering hot garage guarding my stuff, I decided to put a security camera in there. Only I couldn’t find the damn cam and worked myself up further looking for it. Finally, I found it exactly where it shouldn't have been and plugged it in...but it wouldn’t connect to the Internet from the garage. So I moved a repeater/router to different locations around my house until a tenuous connection was made.
I then decided I should move the cars to give the repairman room to work. There was no problem with my car, but the battery in Kathy’s car was stone dead after not being driven in six months. So in the hot garage, I popped the hood and attached a trickle charger to the battery which, by tomorrow, will either have charged the battery or set the car and house on fire.
The repair guy finally arrived and he was a very nice fellow with a thick Jamaican accent making communication nearly impossible. He showed me places where the metal of the door had crumpled and cracked and said that he could do a temporary fix, but I’d need to replace the door soon.
But it turned out he COULDN’T fix the door. So he at least helped me close it and, remarkably, only charged me $29 for his services. He’s also sending me an estimate on a replacement door. Although mine was a low-end garage door, replacing it these days would be about $2600 although I can get a crappier one for about $1800. So much for the $1200 I'm saving by cutting my cable TV.
Hoping to find a better deal, I checked out the “Nextdoor Neighbor” website to see who people recommend. One vendor, in particular, seemed popular, so I went to their website and requested a free estimate on a new garage door. The models they offer come with a limited lifetime warranty, which seems ideal for a guy with an increasingly limited lifetime.
But there was something in the back of my mind…the company’s name sounded familiar. Was it possible that they’d installed the broken door some eons ago?
I knew what I had to do, though it wasn’t easy; one of Kathy’s many virtues was wonderful organization. So I went to her file drawers and started leafing through folders all neatly labeled in her precise handwriting. Nothing under “Outdoor Warranties” or “Misc Warranties" but “Home Improvement” was a winner! There was an aging receipt from the company, dated September 11, 1998, for the installation of the garage door, and it was stapled to a sales sheet showing that the garage door came with a limited lifetime warranty!
Of course, I assume that they’ll balk at honoring the warranty, but that will be a fight for another day. Specifically, Wednesday.
And if the company gives me a hard time, I hope their installers get stung by the bees who are gathered around their nice, new, surprisingly-expensive watering hole.
WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE
My garage door drama is in the process of wrapping up exactly the way you would expect: with me bleeding money.
My "limited lifetime" warranty isn't compensating me diddly-squat because it states that it's voided if any other company works on the door. Which the Jamaican guy did last night. D'oh!!! But what the heck. I mean, how much can it cost to replace a garage door?
$3300, it turns out. Oh, the door itself isn't quite that high, but it requires new rails and a new spring. And although my garage door opener works fine, it's 30 years old and might NOT work with the new door since the techs have no idea how to adjust such a dinosaur and, oh yeah, if my old opener damages the new garage door or spring then it voids the warranty.
The new opener adds over $800 to the whole shebang, but it comes with alleged bells and whistles like photoelectric sensors to prevent cutting toddlers in half ("It's the law"), and a built-in security camera that will connect with my cell phone so I can easily see if my garage has mysteriously become infested with toddlers.
By the way, the tech was a nice young fellow with no sense of humor whatsoever. A case in point:
ME: Wow, Chicago seems like a long way to go just to check on my garage door.
TECH: You don't have to go to Chicago, sir, that was just an example.
Before anyone busts a gusset (and don't even start me on the poor quality of modern gussets), I know that I'm overpaying and I could probably save considerable money if I shopped around, haggled, threatened legal action, or rolled the dice on mixing old and new parts.
But I just want this done. My ability to cope with this kind of aggravating crap is at an all-time low and sometimes money is cheaper than spending life essence. Moreover, there's a real value to just getting problems solved quickly so I can get back to the important business of day-drinking. (Kidding, mostly)