Garage Nemesis

I hate my garage door. And the garage door opener.  The opener is 26 years old; I had it installed (unfortunately not by a professional) when I bought the house.  I haven’t the vaguest idea how old the door itself is.  Of all the things that I’ve had to mess with over the decades, this is my nemesis.  I’ve spent more time putting in my screws, new washers, re-adjusting the various sensors and fixing the lightbulb than I care to think about.  And now it’s broken again, although it’s broken in a way I’ve never seen before.  So, one more trip to the hardware store!

Do you have a household nemesis?

88 thoughts on “Garage Nemesis”

  1. Water heater (it works…just not always quite enough for a hot shower in the morning which can be…surprising) – caulk (I know it wears out and gets bad, but it seems like I have to replace it in the bathtub more often than it should need it) – one hinge on a kitchen cabinet that likes to lose its pin – exterior paint (I am capable of doing the work it’s just a pain in the patoot).

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        1. if you’re hoping to get enough hot water out of your hot water heater to take a shower it’s not too much trouble to flush it
          they all have that little Spicket at the bottom or the petcock and you can put a hose on the Fossett at the bottom and run it into the nearby drain nobody ever notices the nearby drain next to the water heater but it’s always there

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        2. No house I’ve ever owned has had a floor drain anywhere near the water heater. Drawing off water that way would require at least 25 feet of garden hose snaking through the basement. It could be done, but then, lots of things could be done, but aren’t.

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        1. it is either a handle like outside water faucet or a petcock lever thing you lift and pull up to a lock position
          ill bet you tube has it

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    1. About that little hinge problem- it sounds like the hinge was installed upside down. I assume the pin is dropping out the bottom. Hinges are pretty symmetrical. Can you just turn it over?

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      1. if you’re hoping to get enough hot water out of your hot water heater to take a shower it’s not too much trouble to flush it
        they all have that little Spicket at the bottom or the petcock and you can put a hose on the Fossett at the bottom and run it into the nearby drain nobody ever notices the nearby drain next to the water heater but it’s always there

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        1. There are always hidden treasures in tim’s posts. This one gives us two new words: “spicket” and “fossett.” Man, I wish I owned a plumbing company now so I could paint a big sign promoting it: “Spicket and Fossett.” Spicket and Fossett could be the plumbers for Car Talk.

          Liked by 7 people

      2. I’m positive it was installed upside down. It’s an old cabinet so flipping the hinge requires a bit of finesse (and probably some wood putty).

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      1. She is still in the “shower 2-3 times a week” pattern. Guessing it’s probably more like tim’s thought that it needs to be flushed out. Sigh.

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        1. There probably isn’t enough sediment or scale deposit to compromise the volume that much. I’m guessing that the sediment is affecting the recovery time. If the water heater could recover fast enough, like the new tankless ones, volume wouldn’t be an issue.

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        2. It’s easy to check the heater elements to be sure they’re both working. You have a volt meter that you know how to use, right? Or maybe one of them has tripped off. Your heater sounds just like our water heater. Except we finally had it and the water softener replaced a month ago. Now there is hot water galore! And it never runs out!

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    1. The scratching and chewing in the walls that indicate possible squirrels. It is very intermittent so I worry that, if I call an exterminator, it might be nap time.
      I do remember that the last time I had an exterminator, he was very cute so it might be worth it anyway. (probably young enough to be my son!)

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      1. find the hole they get in and fill it with steel wool, if they get caught in take the steel wool out until they are out then put it back in again
        they wont chew through steel wool.
        works on squirrels and mice

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        1. Except if you do that inside a kitchen cabinet, if the light is poor and you look inside the cabinet and see the steel wool, it looks a lot like a mouse. Eek!

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  2. Back in the late sixties, my Dad won a drawing which gave a garage door opener as a prize. Our garage/equipment shed had doors that opened horizontally. I always hated that door in winter as it required snow and ice removal in order to function properly.

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  3. I love your garage door photo…and doubt it’s the door in your article! It looks like one that could be a pain to open…and would not allow for a power opener.

    I love my garage door…it cannot house an opener. The contractor who helped in building/rebuilding of our cabin was insistant I put in a power door and said he’d not build the door I wanted. However after adding cedar planks to the double doors under the cabin…he thought they looked so good that he built the garage doors. Two doors which are in the Norwegian old style door design of a /\The one door planks slant / the other \.
    The negative=’nemeses’ is that cement on the garage entry tends to rise with ground frost during the months of extreme cold winter…preventing the doors from complete opening. We need to remove the doors and plane them but that hasn’t happened as yet. The garage houses my ’85 Mercedes SL convertible which needs a new rag top. It does have a hard top but husband doesn’t fit in the vehicle when that is on…so for now it is driven on sunny days of summer when the garage doors open.

    My indoor nemesis is my frig which was intended to be the cheap extra but when our new wonderful one died 3days out of warentee with recomendation of no repair we turned to the frig now in use. It freezes anything toward the back of the top shelf. Lowering the temp means a thawed freezer…so I work around that…as well as the short life of vegies which occasionally freeze in the bottom drawers. Not ready to purchase a new one…I just grumble a lot.

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      1. Um…I’ll let you know when that day comes…probably upon our deaths or daughter takes away car keys because we’re too old yet still trying to drive.
        Husband is just 5’11” but his torso is long. Even with the top down his head kinda peeks over the windshield.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My husband did run fast years ago=sports….just not fast from me!

        (He drove to Chicago and back a couple of times with the hard top on. Reclining messed up his neck every trip so quit.)

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  4. Paint the house, but first repair screen porch exterior and cut down vines; electric lights in the horse barn that don’t function….basement that needs clearing and perhaps rehab the hot water heating pipes that froze thirty years ago, upstairs pipes that need new exterior whatchacallits….etc etc etc ad nauseum.

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  5. Without going into a lot of specifics, I’d have to say that my greatest nemesis in the houses we’ve owned has been the plumbing. Most of the issues have been ones arising from unprofessional and inept installations by previous owners.
    Our current house, when we took possession, still had a fair amount of galvanized supply lines. Galvanized pipe eventually corrodes and accumulates blockages that choke off the supply. In addition, where the galvanized pipe had been replaced by copper, dielectric unions had not been used. The conjunction of copper and zinc and water produces a mild electrical reaction that accelerates corrosion. So I have gradually replaced all the galvanized with copper, but since most of the remaining galvanized pipe was in the walls and terminating at the fixtures, that often meant that I had to open up the walls to make the change.
    There are always surprises when you attack a plumbing problem. When the pop-up drain in our pedestal sink deteriorated to the point where it would no longer function, I tried to find an identical replacement. That’s one of the problems with plumbing. Unlike electrical components, there is very little standardization in plumbing parts. You can’t just buy a universal drain pop-up, for example and count on it to fit. Ultimately, the only way I could fix the problem was to disassemble the plumbing and completely dismount the sink from the wall and, while I was at it, replace the drain trap assembly with a fresh one.
    I could regale you with many more plumbing travails, most even less exciting than these, but I’ll spare you for now..

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    1. The guy that taught me home repair was a purist and thought that water running inside plastic pipe was a terrible sound and get me to drink the Kool-Aid
      The house I’m living in now has all plastic plumbing and cheesy fixtures that are at the age where functionality either makes you laugh or cry
      The beauty of plastic plumbing is how easy it is to get in and do work on a good set of locks will allow you into anywhere

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    2. I did a lot of black pipe plumbing in the barn. And I did a little bit of soldering copper pipe back in the day… but nowdays it’s either PEX or they crimp the copper connectors. …you don’t suppose that rubber washer in there will ever wear out do you??

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      1. ive done black pipe for gas not water. I had a house built in 50 I bought in 75 that was a well built rambler but the water turned the scotch green with sulphur and lime. there was lime scale everywhere and the shower smelled like Yellowstone. I had a hot date over one summer afternoon and the water died in the middle of a shower. she was really mad with soap in her eyes. I got to live for a month with no water because the city had decided to install city water right at that tiem an I would be billed for it anyhow but if I hooked up while they had the road open to do the hookup I could save a couple thousand bucks. a friend of a friend was a guy who did this for a living so out he came with his little backhoe bobcat things and he started digging, the whole yard was basketball sized rocks that made it impsoosibe to dig. the next door neighbor signed up too but got charged 5000 extra because it was horrible work. the neighbor next to him came over and the plummer said it was the worst job he had ever done and two was enough. he wouldn’t take it. when they finally hooked up the water the water pressure was fantastic for taking showers but it blew all the solder joints out of the copper plumbing. not in one spot but in each and every spot. he was so mad he could spit. I had booked the job at 2500 to be done. he informed me time and time and time again how much he would have charged for each portion of the job. I got him a bottle of good scotch when he was done and he smiled as he drove away.

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  6. My charming bungalow on Juliet had several incorrigible problems. The issue with the basement toilet was too disgusting to describe here.

    A surprising one was the gutter system. When I bought the home, the roof gutters fed rainwater into a fat pipe that led to the city sewer line. One day the city workmen showed up to install a big rubber plug in that pipe so my rainwater would no longer run into the city sewer line under the street. After they were gone we learned that all that water would now run off the roof, pour into our window wells and then run into the basement. A good Minnesota thunderstorm would rush in the basement windows like rivers and quickly fill the basement to a depth of two or three. That concerned me because I had extension chords running all over the basement floor, and I didn’t think they were supposed to be submerged.

    When it rained hard the basement flooded. I would run my wet vac and dump the (dirty) water into my basement sinks. They were connected to the city sewer line under the street. So, after the city plugged my rainwater pipe I still was pouring all that water into the city sewer lines. I just was running it through my basement first.

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      1. at one time it likely seemed to be a logical thing to send your raingutter into the street drain pipes. whats a little extra rainwater. as we enter the millennium all stuff has to be run through either the sewer system where water treatment of a million or two extra gallons is exactly what they don’t want or it dumps straight into the river which would be ok except for the awful stuff steve kept in his gutters. if the city can do it can the burbs? if Minnesota can do it can st Louis? ask new Orleans how they like it. my last house had a deal where the gutters go into a 55 gallon drum full of rocks buried 20 feet underground and then drill a bunch of holes in the 55 gallon drums and it is kind of like injecting it into the subsoil. that would have been ok at steves im sure but the window well must have been easier

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      2. Storm water coming from my gutters (and all the gutters of my neighbors) would surge into the sewer line, overwhelming the capacity of the sewage plant. Raw sewage would then be washed into the Mississippi. The original system, built early in the 20th century, had shortcomings that were only understood much later.

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  7. Mainly nuts and bolts, screws. Anything that opens and closes, screws and unscrews, and can rust shut. So many handyman jobs have hummed along nicely until it came time to unscrew bolt A from hole B. One hour (for the “easy” problems) and either a new screw or a call to a repairman later and the job is finished.

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  8. Our house on the Shore: frost.
    House we updated in North Mankato: marrying new to old, such as plumbing, wiring, and plaster.
    Our current apartment: I don’t do maintenance, excellent building employee does it, but have had few issues. Maybe the light bulbs. 9 foot ceilings and any modern ones but the curled ones do not last very long.
    Lifelong nemesis is cars.

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    1. Leaving car repairs to the professionals is one luxury I’ve allowed myself as I’ve gotten older, especially as cars have gotten more electronic and less mechanical. I never liked working on cars anyway.

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        1. When we were young and poor and had only one old car, it was just something I had to figure out. I remember once having to remove the radiator from our car and then ferry it by bicycle to a radiator shop to get fixed. My fingertips are still prone to going white in the cold from freezing during midwinter car repairs when I was younger.

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      1. I’ve heard that cars have gotten so complicated that even mechanics don’t understand them. The trend in auto repair is toward specialization, so if you want a Volkswagen fixed you have to go to a VW mechanic. He might not understand the car much better than you, but he plugs it into a computer that tells him which thingies to throw out and replace.

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        1. I used to some of my very basic car maintenance (oil change, air filter, bulbs. Every time I pulled out my little ramps to do the oil, it gave me a “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar” feeling. But the day I had to go buy a special screwdriver just to GET to the burnt out lightbulb I knew I was in trouble. When I got my new car, I did look up the instructions for changing the oil – but it is now beyond me.

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      2. I would too if they didn’t charge 120 per hour. I have a guy who is great but every job is 120 labor. brakes axel tune up, a whole bubnc of stuff. its always 120 dollars plus parts.

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    2. This just came up: Sandy thinks a nail driven into sheetrock can hold as much weight as she wants.
      Rinsing out washcloths with one weak hand is a current issue.

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    3. my current mechanic tells me life can be silpme. but a Toyota or a honda, nothing else.
      buy led bulbs with the long warranty and take them with you if you leave. they are expensive but last years and years. in my last house I counted 150 bulbs
      this one has 12

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  9. Our nemesis is past, but when Husband went to add insulation in our “new” Winona house last summer, he found he had to replace the old Knob and Tube wiring throughout the house. Luckily, he’d had some electrical training when helping a neighbor (contractor) do improvements… We’ve been toasty warm all winter thanks to the new insulation.

    Now my only nemesis is how to dust mini-blinds without driving myself crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, I saved my from the last time I had mini-blinds (30 years ago), and you’re right, it’s worthless. Isn’t there some kind of spider that licks up mini-blind dust (kind of like the fish that keep the sides of your aquarium clean)?

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    1. Fill you bath tub with dishwasher soap and hot water…at least 5-6 inches probably. Take one blind unit at a time and dump it into the tub. Swish back and forth in that water…then shower off the soapy water and re hang. Best to do with rubber gloves, on a warm day and when your dressed to get wet….but it does work.

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    1. Oh no… we’re dealing with them too. But I discovered (too late) they were coming from a bag of bird seed in the basement.
      Have you checked all the dark ceiling corners for the hanging cocoon?
      We still get a couple every day.. but I keep hoping we’re on the winning side of this…

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    2. all grain flower and cracker kind of stuff has to be gotten into plastic bags tupperware or glass containers. when you open them up to use them you get to decide if the critters dancing around in there make you want to junk it or not. some one told me they are born eat all there food leave their droppings and die in there. its the circle of life in the bag of flour.

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  10. At this immediate moment, our nemesis is Humphrey the dog who got sprayed by a skunk Saturday night. Maybe not a full hit… but certainly his head smells.
    so it was late night baths for him with the Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mix. Carefully wiped around his face. And he’s back in the house some, but… whoo eee, does he still smell some. Might need daily baths for a while… and I’m really afraid he isn’t making any connection between the skunk and the baths.

    I might be off the trail a bit the rest of this week. Tomorrow I’m Driving to St. Louis for USITT. (It’s a technical Theater convention).

    When I get back we can talk about spring time and straw bale gardens again if anyone is interested.

    Liked by 6 people

  11. I have enjoyed the posts today. Daughter got the official offer for her “dream job”| in Tacoma today. She moves out West in early May, after her college graduation. The vicarious excitement continues to exhaust me. I have a guest post written in my head, and will submit it tomorrow.

    I am stymied by several things in our house, including the paucity of electrical circuits in the kitchen, the woodwork that needs to be replaced or redone, and the pump for our water well. I need to have the bladder in the pump/tank replaced so that the tank can build up pressure and force the water out of the outdoor faucet. It has only been busted for 30 years.

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    1. congrats to daughter. the barista that took violin lessons in a blizzard every week as a child is now moving to gods country? my sons looking at that part of the world too. reno was a blip it appears

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  12. we had a fake thunderstorm
    I sat in the hot tub under the lid and enjoyed the storm but it was puny and short lived. still really warm and thck out.
    march in Minnesota
    we used to say wait until the high school tournaments were over before you called it spring. a blizzard or two was almost guaranteed back when I was a youngster. this year people will be wearing shorts

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