Sunday, February 7, 2016

Garage Door - Adventures in Property Management

I received a call while I was at work from the Mrs. - the upstairs tenant couldn't get into his apartment - a very old lock was frozen up. So that evening I jumped off of the bus already knowing that I was stepping into One of Those Nights.

No answer at the broken-lock tenant's house, I left a message.

Mrs.: "He wasn't home?"

Me: "Nope, not home. Just give me the keys, and I'll go up and take a look at the lock without him"

"I don't have the keys, they are lost - I had them when I left the house"

Sigh. Another call to the tenant's answer machine: "We'll have to wait until you're home again, Milt, because we have no keys."

Retracing my wife's steps, I found the keys mashed into the slush in the road, the key ring in pieces. Another victim of Parallel Parking.

I let myself in to the tenant's apartment, the sluggish lock had been worked open. Annabelle, the Labrador answered the door. She decided that there was nothing she could do to help, what do dogs know anyway? Annabelle went back to her sofa, and resumed her nap. Then, I heard Milton's voice.

"Gary is that you?"

"Yes, I'm here to look at the lock."

"I'm here on the bedroom floor. I couldn't get to the phone."

Milton is a weight trainer. One of his over-tensed muscles had tangled into a paralyzing leg cramp. He wasn't even able to get to the phone.

"Could you bring me a glass of water from the kitchen?"

I brought him the water - "Say, isn't Annabelle supposed to run for help or something when you can't get to the phone? Like Lassie?"

Ignoring the sarcasm, slowly, Milt worked the hydration into his system, and soon was able to try standing up. While waiting to make sure Milt would be OK, I fixed the lock with a judiciously placed spritz of WD-40.

And So - Milton standing? CHECK
Lock working again? - CHECK-O My work there is finished.

Arrived At Home. - My wife was waving the TV remote at me menacingly. "I can't get this @#$@ to work." Wanna see vexation personified? Separate my wife from her TV! The remote had lost its programming. I think it was just despondent from all those lawyer ads and courtroom shows. Reprogrammed it to factory freshness while waiting for the Mrs. to put on her coat - we had places to go! Couldn't do anything about the crappy programming, that's a network thing.

Next Stop - 3rd street, a mile away, to show The Duplex to Dave, a prospective tenant. Dave was on time, he took the tour, and talked awhile, and then he wanted to see the garage. I've always believed that if you've seen one empty garage, you've seen them all, but the customer is always right. So, we left Mrs. inside the heated house because she had a cold, too. And I took my own cold, the remote opener control, and Dave, and went out to the garage to have a look.

I pushed the button on the remote control, and, the door went up three feet. Then it changed its mind and went back down. Repeated that a few times. Finally, wanting something more than a 3-foot preview, with a little upward pressure, we got the door to go up all the way. Dave toured the empty garage, that didn't take long, and we headed back. Close the door? Push the button!

This time when I pushed the button on the door control, the door rumbled down halfway, and turned around and went back up to the top, kind of the opposite of its opening act. A few of these capers, and Dave and I decided to give it an assist via the handles, me on the inside, Dave on the outside. Finally the garage door rode all the way down. Me on the inside, Dave on the outside. Yes, this is, after all, Excelsior's Adventures in Property Management, and something always goes wrong. And to answer your question in the back row, "Yes, yes. Gary has trapped himself inside the garage." As the garage door settles down and comes to rest on the driveway, I just knew that the door had completed its last move for the night. We tried the button a few more times, and all we were able to get was one side of the door to shrug up about 2 inches.

In the stillness of the winter night, one comes to the realization that there is no door, no other way out of the garage, except through the garage door. But the garage door does not go up. Dave was asking if there was anything he could do, but by then I was already making plans to spend the winter in the bleakness of an empty garage - we could slip some books through the 2 inch space under the door, maybe some protein bars, and sooner or later, it would be spring.

But, then gradually, I regained my will to live. MacGyver that I am, I found a 3 ft length of 2x4, and went to work wedging it into the space at the bottom of the door. Heave the door up about 9 inches above the ground. Dave kicked away an ice shelf at the base of the door. I took off my jacket, and managed to ooze through the 9 inch space. Filthy but free, I emerged into the cold and spacious freedom of the near-zero Milwaukee night. Free at last.

Of course, my wife was mad at me for keeping the prospective tenant out in the cold so  long with my time-consuming shenanigans. Why, yes it IS a beautiful night when you're watching it from the comfort of a heated house!


Giovanni said...

Thank you for sharing this. Our garage doors have been causing us issues. For some reason it will only open halfway and it will not budge. Both my spouse and I were stuck at home all day waiting for the repairman because we could not get our cars out the garage. My mom came and took the kids to school.

Giovanni @ Coastal Contract Hardware

Garage Doors said...

Garage Door - Adventures in Property Management. I received a call while I was at work from the Mrs. - the upstairs tenant couldn't get into his ...