garage intrigue Oct 10, 2006
[I'm copy/pasting this from a little site I keep over at vox. I do my main blogging here, but every now and again I'll write a little essay there.]

So I'm at my Dad's place for the weekend. He had to get some little surgery thing done on his bellybutton and my stepmom was going out of town. I was going to hang out with him, do the heavy lifting and see my friend J who is a librarian nearby. I should have known bad things were going to happen when my friend J called from the hospital. Seems she's had her gall bladder removed in sort of an emergency fashion the day before. As you may know, my Mom has been in the hospital lately, and my sister caught the cold from hell. I was doing well, until....

I've been sleeping badly lately. Little noises drive me nuts. I assume this is stress, and seasonal changes, and quitting smoking (oh didn't I mention? guess who's irritable!) so I try to roll with it. Last night I noticed that the room I'm staying in had a pernicious hum. I traced it to the fan that was on in the garage. They call this guestroom here "the cottage" but it's a fancy room over/next to the garage. Anyhow, I turned it off but there was still some hum and I eventually got tired and fell asleep anyhow.

Tonight after my dad retired with a bottle of wine and a stack of magazines I decided to check out the garage. It's full of junk from the upstairs of the house that they're getting remodeled, I mean full. So I crawled around some, unplugged the flourescent lights that were humming and decided to close the door and see if I could tell if that took care of the hum. I just assumed there was an "open the garage door" button on the inside of the garage as well as the outside. There wasn't. The door closed, the light went off and I was locked in the goddamned garage on Saturday night, in the dark, and I'd just personally unplugged the lights from the hard-to-reach outlets in the ceiling. Fuck me.

It wasn't totally dark. The battery charger -- which I'm sure was also giving off noxious fumes -- jad a blinky LED that gave off just enough light to make out some shadows. I managed to climb on top of an upended couch to see if the garage door opener had an on/off switch on it (no). I felt around for a flashlight, nothing. I felt around the door to see if there was a push button opener there, nope. I tried opening the door by hand, nope. I did trip over a floor lamp which I managed to drag over to the socket where the battery charger was plugged in and bingo, lights. So now I'm locked in the goddamned garage on a Satuday night looking at myself all dirty and pissed off in the mirror thinking "You are a piece of work, you know that?"

Ideas that I try and discard: phones, but there aren't any there, ditto for walkie talkies and palm pilots. There is a DG One laptop in its original box and I think a) I feel like I'm in a fucking Zork game and 2) it would be a Slashdot-worthy hack if I could get the thing rigged up to send a message to anyone, maybe make a front page post to MetaFilter: "OMG, get me out of this godforsaken garage." In any case, Macgyver I am not, and hungry I am.

I decide maybe I can rouse my Dad now that the light is on and I only look like a partial shithead. I bang and holler and bang and holler and either he doesn't hear me, or he's partially unconscious or he's getting his gun. I don't even know if he has a gun but it occurs to me that this would be a truly terrible way to find out. No response from the big house, so I start investigating the door. Automatic garage doors aren't really that sophisticated. In fact this one had just a few parts that attach it all to the chain drive thing in the ceiling. It's a tinkertoy, basically. And while I may be locked in the garage with a bunch of silly furniture, I am also locked in the garage with a tool chest!

The two bolts holding the door to the chain drive have nuts of different sizes, meaning there were a lot of trips up and down to the tool chest. What do you think, SAE or metric? Metric. 14 mm and 12 mm. Once I got the door part off of the pull-the-door part, I could open the door enough to scoot under it, but any futher and the two parts jammed together and the door wouldn't go any higher. So this was a pickle. Fix it for now and never be able to open the door again, or stay in the garage like some idiot martyr. I propped it open using a stepstool and considered this. If I got squished under it, my Dad would come out in the morning, view my smushed corpse and be forever perplexed. I decided to set the garage door to open, using the "open door" button that I could now reach. The mechanism scoots along the ceiling without opening the door along with it. I open the door myself and prop it open with a ladder.

I am free! I'll fix it tomorrow. For now I need to figure out where all this freaking noise is coming from.

update: someone on IRC said last night that there must have been an emergency handle I could have pulled to have gotten me out of this mess more quickly. I asked my Dad about this today and he said there wasn't a handle, door's too old. He also thought the whole thing was funny. He also said that there is an open button on the inside... but when we went to look for it, it turned out to be two wires sticking out of the wall that you'd need to hold together to operate the door. No surprise I didn't know this.
You are, as ever, my heroine.

Reminded me of a recent MakeShift in Make magazine.
11 October, 2006 00:15
I wouln't call it funny, but many people would probably have gotten in this situation a lot earlier in their lives. As to the heroine-thing, absolutely.
11 October, 2006 03:17
I'm sorry, but this made me laugh, too. I sympathized, but I laughed at the account. You're my heroine as well.
11 October, 2006 08:30
When you left here, we were talking with my mom about the whole "I'm next" theory when everyone around you is falling apart. I hope this was your "I'm next."
And, yeah, I laughed out loud at this post, but I would have been peeing my pants!
11 October, 2006 11:22
absolutely wonderfully written - my daily 4 minutes a day reading your blog turned out to be 21 minutes of wonderment!(I read it twice) - made my day
11 October, 2006 11:57
  Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home
Jessamyn is in...
Bethel VT

last month | archive

17sep... novascotia
24sep... NH lib thing
15oct... NELA

more? more?