Saturday, October 26, 2013

OCD & the Garage Door Opener

We’ve lived in our first house four years, and that whole time we’ve dealt with temperamental garage doors. This is when garage doors randomly open, or don't close all the way, or come down halfway then reverse course. For me, an OCD sufferer, knowing the doors play this fickle game, I insist on driving around the block before leaving for work, or to the store, or anywhere, to make sure the doors are down and staying. Sometimes I do it twice. Once I circled three times. OCD’s a bitch. Temperamental garage doors are just as bad.

The remote opener has to be angled just right. There’s swearing involved, sometimes pleading. It’s understood going in that making those overhead doors obey is a crap shoot. I often imagine a scenario where a band of Clifton Park street toughs are chasing me, and I make it safely to my driveway and house, only to be caught and beaten bloody while trying to open that damn garage. What a way to go.

Fed up with this faceoff, my wife pulled the old battery from her opener, replaced it, problem solved. You may ask why we didn’t do that earlier. Some guy at Home Depot told us we’d have to reprogram the entire system if we changed batteries. I guess we took his word and settled for this daily battle. Hers was always the most temperamental, and with that opener finally working right, I was willing to occasionally deal. Anything not to reprogram.

On cue, my remote opener went bad to worse. It got so bad I’d have to open the door from the wall switch, back my car out of the garage, jump out of my car, run back inside, hit the wall switch, sprint out under the rolling door. This circus show at 6:30AM every morning. I’m always the first to get home, so I’d have to park halfway down the driveway, get out of the car, press the opener against the sensor and go to work. If that didn’t take, I’d fetch the ladder--in work clothes--climb the rungs, break in through the bedroom window, crash to the inside floor, go downstairs and open the door on the wall. Why don't I just go in the front door? Well, I insist on locking the screen every morning and taking my chances with the garage. OCD. What a way to live.

There's no "detectable" battery in my opener, so I thought. I came to the conclusion that the opener was--um--solar powered, and a lack of sunlight, because of Autumn, was causing the problem. Idiot? New-home owner? Both? I decided to drive home, holding the opener out the window as I went. Why? So it could get sun, of course. The dreaded reprogram. After spending fifteen minutes trying to get in on Friday afternoon, we decided enough is enough.

We took the opener to Home Depot, where another worker popped the top to show us that the battery was a tiny, circle-shaped thing that I had dismissed as a piece of the sensor. I’d been running without a replacement for four years, opening and closing several times a day. A miracle battery if you think about it.

Now it’s easy. If I so much as breathe on the opener, my garage door launches open. Good luck getting me now, Clifton Park Street toughs. It’s a wonder what a working battery can do. As for all that reprogram talk . . . The only bad part is knowing how easy my side opens now. It’s seriously scary for an OCD sufferer. Now I'm going to circle the block four times, maybe five, to make sure the door didn’t fly open when I hit a bump and the remote bounced on the sun visor. Your classic win-win.

Brian Huba