Fun with Home Repairs

I try to take care of things around my house one project at a time, but lately they’ve been piling up and overlapping, mostly little stuff, a couple of big jobs that need research, some that just need work.

About ten days ago, my garage door opener stopped working.  Well, it didn’t stop completely, but it only moves about a foot and then reverses.  Not an emergency.  I disconnected the door, a light aluminum affair that goes up and down manually with a minimum of fuss (and no handles, because apparently no one opens and closes their garage door by hand any more).  Some years ago, my fifty-year-old wooden garage door broke a cable, on the Friday evening of Labor Day Weekend, nearly squashing me and trapping my car inside the garage.  That was an emergency.

I called the company that installed my opener and door, and all I got was a recorded message from the phone company offering to find me another business in the same line of work, since the one I was calling didn’t exist.  The next two companies on my list, chosen because they appeared to be local, didn’t answer their phones on Memorial Day.  I left a message for one of them on voice mail, and got a return call the next day:  a five-minute rant about how the police in my neighborhood “harassed and extorted” him  (translation: he blew past a fire station, two 20 mph speed limit signs, and the cop shop and, surprise, got a speeding ticket) and he won’t work on my street.  The next company on my list still wasn’t answering the phone, and didn’t even have voice mail.  One of these days I’ll try one advertising 24/7 service, local or not.

This morning my doorbell rang at 8 o’clock.  I thought it might be Phil, the man trimming my trees this week, although I wasn’t expecting him to come by so early.  There was no one at the door.  Bell rang again, no one there.  When I went back through the hall where the bell is located, I heard an electric hum, until the bell rang again, and the hum stopped.  The bell didn’t ring again, or so I thought.

When I got home this evening about 7, Nutmeg the cat looked about as frazzled as a cat can–and the doorbell was ringing.  And ringing, every couple of minutes.  From the way poor Nutmeg was behaving, I suspect it had been disturbing her nap time all day.  I went out to the front door and took a good look at the ancient bell, which was clearly worn away to the point of not working at all.  Back in the hallway, however, the bell was chiming away.  I dragged my ladder in from the garage, climbed up with screwdriver in hand, and managed to remove the box from the wall and disconnect the bell.  Maybe next time I’m at Lowe’s I’ll look at doorbells.  Meanwhile, visitors can knock.

On the bright side, the tree trimmer is doing a good job.  Yesterday he pruned the branches close to my roof and the tree threatening the power line.  When I got home this evening, the dead pine tree in the front yard was gone, no longer a threat to either my house or passing cars.  Lots of clean up left, and when Phil stopped by (and knocked on my front door) to discuss the day’s work, I asked him about the gallon milk jug stuffed with leaves I’d noticed hanging from one of my whirligig poles.  An emergency nest, he explained, in case he’d found any baby birds in the pine tree he cut down.  He didn’t find a nest in the dead pine, but what a nice thought.

Whirly Birds

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