Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Romance of the Historic Home
We live in an old house. I have always been enchanted by older homes. I love the high ceilings and the low ceilings, the abundance of woodwork, the glass door knobs, the paned windows. I love the giant trees and the way each house seems to be tucked into the landscape. I love how each room has a different temperature and its own sense of being, unrelated to the other rooms in the house.

The thing is, older homes have their quirks. Over time, they can shift and contort so that doors may not stay closed, marbles all roll to one side of the room and you may have to know just the right way to wiggle a door handle to get the door open. And, sometimes, the garage door simply will not budge.

We have been struggling with our garage door for years. Our garage is a separate structure. It really is nice to look at, with a small apartment attached to the side complete with 4-over-4 pained windows sporting lace curtains. It has a full attic with cedar floors. The trouble is, the only door into the garage is the actual garage door, which weighs at least 500 lbs. If the electricity goes out, the door will not open.

We have had several people look at the door to make minor repairs, and nobody has the equipment to fix it anymore. One company found an old remote for us (to supplement the one we already had), but we were warned it was unlikely we would ever find another. That one has since given up the ghost, so we are back to our lonely one, and hoping it never dies. The cost to replace the door? At least $20,000 for one that won't even look pretty! (You may think that sounds excessive, but we have unusual dimensions going on!)

Recently, the door has decided it will do as it pleases. We try to open it and it may or may not open. Usually it just makes us wait five or ten minutes. We have adjusted our schedules accordingly and expect to wait. Today, the door tried a new tactic.

After 15 minutes of waiting, we finally took the drastic measure of calling friends to take our children to school. Then we waited some more. After 30 minutes, the door opened two feet then stopped. Ugh. James was conveniently dressed in his nicest suit, so he generously suggested that I might like to roll under the door and disconnect the electric. He's nice that way.

I said my goodbyes, knowing full well that if the door should decide to close during my roll, I would be squished beyond recognition. As I got to the floor, I pushed away all the thoughts of the creepy crawlies that inhabited the space hours before and I rolled as fast as I could.

And there I was, under the wheels of James' car, stuck between a door and a round place. Ever cognizant of the door's weight, I was in a panic scramble to get myself out from under the car without getting back under the door. My flips flopped as I scurried like a soldier (well, a screaming soldier) whilst James tried to hold his laughter. (He was unsuccessful.)

Obviously, I made it out alive. Not unscathed, mind you. The mental toll is there. Oh, yes, it is. But I saved the day and now I'm left to deal with the fact that we just can't close that door again. . . at least not with electricity. The pretty, pretty facade is shattered. The romance is dead.


Blogger chichimama said...

Huh. We are fans of old homes as well. May I suggest putting in a side door in case of future incidents? It has saved us a number of times.

The house we are about to move into doesn't have a side door, and it is high on my list of things to do...

8:01 AM, September 16, 2006  
Blogger simple faith said...

This story is too funny!

I love the idea of historic houses. Our house is old, but not quite of the historic distinction. We seem to sense that we would lose the romance all too quickly in such a house!

I am sure you will overcome this bump in your journey.....

10:42 AM, September 16, 2006  

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