Me Vs. The Garage Door

Today I fixed our garage door opener.

Now, to some of you, this isn’t impressive, but let me assure you, before today I knew nothing about garage doors.  At all.

Ok, ok.  Not nothing. The sum total of what I knew about garage doors was this:

Push the button, door goes up.  Push again, door goes down.  If you want to be really fancy, push it again before it’s all the way up or down for Special Functionality.

I had a vague notion that there was a thingy that one could pull to make it go up or down when it was broken, but I was unsure about this.  I’m too short to reach said thingy, so that knowledge was officially filed under ‘Does Not Apply To Me’.

But then the garage door broke.  Suddenly, my extensive button pushing skills were rendered utterly useless for actually opening the garage door.

So I told my husband, primarily because he fixes all the things that have height and strength requirements.  ‘Garage Door’, to my thinking, had both and I have neither.  However, it is the summertime, which is the time of year where my husband has 60 hour work weeks, and they are also expanding to a new location this month. So when I told him the garage door was broken, I could see him add this to his mental to do list.  Then the whole list turned red, started blinking, and this was followed shortly by the blue screen of death.  I had to reboot him in safe mode and restore back to a point before I had told him about the garage door being broken.

Not wanting to crash him again, I decided I’d give it a go today to see if I could fix it myself so he wouldn’t have to worry about it.

Approaching the problem, I did what any self-respecting problem solver would do.  I pushed the button a bunch of times to see if maybe it would fix itself.

It did not.

Then I got a ladder.  Now for normal sized/strengthed people, this step would have been pretty easy.  Pick up ladder, set up, climb.  But for miniature people like me who are weaklings, this involved a large amount of dragging, swearing and eventually banging and hitting to accomplish.  I’m totally serious.  Have you ever watched a 5 year old battle with a door that is too heavy for them?  It takes all of their concerted effort, strength, coordination, and cunning to get that door open and get through it without being caught in the middle.  That was me with the ladder.   Except with more swearing.

I get up there and confirm that I have absolutely no idea how a garage door operates.  But at this point, I’m beginning to understand that there are chains involved in the whole process.

So I do what any smart fixit person would do.  TO THE INTERNET!

I watched a total of 1 video about fixing garage door openers and learned a very important lesson.  If you put gloves on, you don’t get grease all over your hands.  Sweet.  Also, something something chains.

So armed with gloves, I ventured back to the garage and up the ladder to stare at the contraption some more.  Whatever problem the guy had in the video was not the problem that I had and his garage door opener looked nothing like mine.

So I pushed the button some more.

Still broken.

Clearly, I need something that looks like my actual garage door opener so I go back to the internet.  (Which I can do easily thanks to my handy dandy disposable gloves!) I locate the manual online for my model, and this is somewhat more helpful.  There are pictures of what it should look like, and while I still have no idea what is wrong, I feel like I’m getting somewhere.  Back to the garage.

Where I push the button.

I start to get an idea of what is wrong, and decide I really want to manually open the door, because I think that that will somehow help me.  At this point, I realize two things.  1) Using the pull rope thingy, I literally can’t even move the garage door from it’s current position, and 2) I don’t really want the garage door open so that all my neighbors can see me ineffectually tinkering away while sweating like a pig wearing fancy disposable gloves so that I don’t get my hands dirty.

So I grab the socket set my dad bought for me a while back and fiddle with it for an embarrassingly long time to both get the right size and figure out how to set it to unscrew rather than screw in the nut to detach the garage door from the arm.

I won’t bore you with the details, but eventually I worked out that

1) I had been completely mistaken as to how the manual opener closer thing worked, and so I was totally wrong about that doing anything useful to the actual opener itself.


2) Somehow the chains had gotten confused as to where they were in the cycle, so there was a thingy hitting another thingy, which was supposed to happen, but it was happening too soon.

Solution: Move thingy to better location.  Reattach arm.  Push button and hope it works.

It takes several tries to get the thingy to the correct location, but eventually I figure it out.  At this point, I’ve gotten much better with the socket wrench so I flip the switchy thing to screw things in rather than out, and reattach the garage door to the arm like a boss.

I stand at the head of the garage, socket wrench in one hand and with the other hand I push the button one last time.


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