The hustle and bustle of getting ready for a kid’s birthday party is always fun. That gets ratcheted up a notch when you do a combined party for both kids. Of course the upside of that is that there are only costs and prep / clean-up time for one party instead of two.
We just had the party for our kids this past weekend. It was great, but getting ready was a thrill ride of sorts.
The Crooked Garage Door
Friday night, I was cleaning out the garage, finally getting around to sweeping up all the leaves and organizing the clutter that always seems to build up around the perimeter of the garage. I had almost finished when dinner rolled around, so I closed the garage door, and went inside for dinner, which was delicious by the way (Chinese food). When I was done I went back out to finish the last few things I had to do. I pushed the button to open the garage door and watched in horror as the door started jerking around, rising twice as fast on one side as the other.
I hurried up and hit the button to stop whatever it was that was happening from continuing to happen. Using my awesome troubleshooting skills, I figured let’s just try hitting the button again. This time it started lowering it but it basically jammed as it got toward the bottom. It was still crooked, about eight inches open on one side and three or four inches on the other.
It was then that I looked up and noticed that the spring had broken.
We had one car stuck in the garage, but because I’d pulled one out so that I could clean, we thankfully had one in the driveway. Which was great because there was no way that the garage door was opening. One of the metal support lines that rolls up onto a pulley had jumped off, so I couldn’t even raise it more than a few inches. I did manage to give it enough push to get it lowered all the way.
Thankfully, I had received a referral and used a ‘garage door guy’ in the past, when I had some issues shortly after moving in. I still had his contact information, and was happy when he got back to me within an hour. He offered to come fix the door the next day, on Saturday morning! He was so nice about it that he even offered to come that night and at least loosen things up so that we could get a car out if we were totally trapped. Luckily that wasn’t necessary.
I wasn’t planning on that repair cost, but I was happy enough to get it done so quickly. And, because he does weekend work ‘on the side’, it was cheaper than if I had used his company directly. That saved about $50
The Open Screen Door That Wasn’t
Later that day we were getting the deck ready, and one of the last tasks I had to do was get the kids table ready. We have a table that’s down in their playroom along with a few chairs and stools. I took the table up and went back down to start getting chairs and stools. I had six total to bring up and I wanted to figure out a way to get them up in two trips rather than three (they are plastic chairs from IKEA so while they’re not heavy, they’re kind of bulky and awkward). I figured out a way to get two chairs and a stool. The only issue was that I couldn’t see very well in front of me, but it’s a pretty straightforward path.
Most of the time, anyways!
I went up the stairs, and through the kitchen, and was marveling at my ingenuity at carrying three items at once when I hit the screen door.
I had all three chairs in my hand and ran into the door full tilt. I bounced back, the chairs went flying and I could immediately see that things were not right.
The screen itself didn’t tear or rip. But, the force of the hit bent the frame in multiple places. It didn’t knock it out, but instead it was wedged and would not budge in any direction.
After a few curse words and assessment of the situation, I decided that I would either have to try to bend the frame back or somehow damage it further and pop it out. Obviously the first option was preferrable but I really didn’t know how it was going to play out. I went outside to look at it, went back down, grabbed a screwdriver and some channel locks and set to work.
Luckily, I was able to bend and pry things back to pretty good shape. The only issue is that there is a slight bend right near the handle, so the lock won’t latch. But, honestly, when you have a big screen right next to the lock, I don’t think that really acts as much of a deterrent. If it really bugged me, I could probably take the whole thing down and try to better bend it. For the few minutes it took, I was satisfied enough.
The best part of the story is that while this whole thing went down, my wife and sister-in-law were right there in the room. They watched it happen, fell silent for about five seconds, and then immediately went back to their conversation, acting as if nothing happened.
Later on, I thought about it and I realized that was the best possible handling of the situation. My wife later told me that after she realized that I was not hurt, she just knew that backing off was the best way to handle it, and she was right. I think I was embarrassed and upset enough that I would have had a negative response to any type of communication about what had just unfolded.
And, yes, after fifteen minutes or so, I was shaking my head and laughing about it. It did take fifteen minutes.
All in all, the party was a great success. We did a stars and stripes theme, so most everybody was dressed in some fashion of red, white and blue, as was the theme of the deserts, the decorations, and even elements of the menu. It’s amazing to see our kids grow as fast as they are, but it’s great to put together celebrations to mark the special occasions. Just be prepared for things you don’t prepare for to pop up….like screen doors that I just know were open!