Wednesday, October 19, 2016

knocking on heaven's door

The fenders on my Escape have taken a lickin', but they go on tickin'.  At least, the Escape does.

When I lived in Villa Obregón, the gates on my courtyard were narrow enough that I dinged up both rear and front fenders more than once. I swore when I bought a new house, I would ensure the garage doors were a bit wider.

Well, I bought a new house, and the garage doors are even narrower. Early last year, I dinged up another fender backing out of my house (filling the well). Two readers suggested I install an automatic door opener. I have been at both of their houses and have used theirs. They made a good point.

But, it took me a bit of time to finally purchase one. And I probably would not have got around to it if one of my neighbors had not put me in touch with an installer.

This is actually old news. The garage door opener was installed in May. But this story has hunkered at the bottom of my in basket. Starting as a news article, morphing into an information piece, and finally settling into the status every writer dislikes -- the dreaded "human interest" story.

I had two major qualms about installing an automatic opener -- one aesthetic, the other practical.

The aesthetic problem was based on my experience with garage door openers up north. You know the type I mean. You buy it at Sears and spend the afternoon getting whacked in the head by loose mechanical connections because "I do not need to waste money paying someone to do what I can do myself." And the result was redolent with DIY. Not what you would like your friends to see regularly.

Above the Rio Bravo, that would not be a problem. Garages are more private than bedrooms.

But not in the house with no name. The garage shares the same stark lines as the rest of the house. And a Home Depot opener bought on sale would merely clutter up the ceiling in the area where I park the car.

That turned out not to be a problem. Mexican craftsmanship often amazes me. The pistons that individually open each door are about as subtle as engineering can make them. I am not certain what I expected to receive, but the result is entirely unobtrusive.

The second problem was security. Once inside an American home, it is usually very easy for a burglar to open the garage door to assist in transforming what were once your goods into his goods. There is usually a push button just inside the entry from the garage to the house. If not, there is a safety rope that will release the door and allow it to be opened.

As you have already figured out, there is no such problem with my opening system. There is no internal button. The doors open only with the remote control.

And, if the power should fail (as it often does in these parts), a key will disengage each of the pistons. The doors can then be opened manually. Once again giving me the opportunity to run my car into one of the doors.

I have not written earlier about the doors because we spent a few months correcting a small problem. The first door would close properly. But the second would close with such force that it would start the opening process again.

The technician came out twice. The solution turned out to be quite simple. But I was amazed at his patience in getting the doors to operate just so. They now close with a varying tempo that is almost symphonic.

There have been other adventures with doors. The most famous you already know with Barco's midnight escape when he found the remote unattended (a remote possibility). He did that twice. I know dogs do not understand cause and effect as we do. But I swear he would intently watch me whenever I pressed the button to open the doors.

Otherwise, my life with my new automatic doors has been rather mundane. I can now drive into the garage with no new dents -- and I never have to get out of my car until I am inside.

To Felipe and Jennifer, thanks for the suggestion. Life in Mexico is filled with a lot of good things. But having friends with good advice is a treasure no matter where I live.

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