Onset of Fall

(9/15) I woke up this morning for work and discovered via my iPad it was 38°F outside.  38!  Ai yi yi.  It may be Summer by the calendar but that’s not a typical Summer temperature for sure.

With the change in the weather, more things come to mind that needs to be done to get ready for that other bug-a-boo, old Man Winter.  The garage needs to be rearranged to make room for the car, hopefully, earlier than I usually do it, which tends to be before the first or second snowfall of the year.  At that point, I take just about everything that’s crowded on the main part of the garage, shove it into the corners and sides, and make a car-sized space in the middle, just big enough for the vehicle to reside.  Then uncover the snowblower, make certain it starts and everything stays put for the most part until Spring.  And the cycle starts anew.  As soon as it’s warm enough, the car comes out, the garage is repopulated somewhat by junk and the car stays outside for the warm weather.

Like most years, about this time I think I’m going to change that narrative.  Since June, I’ve been meaning to get out to the garage, pull out just about everything in it and start sorting, rearranging, and seeing if I can make it neater, even have considered buying some storage solutions and either attaching them to the walls or building upwards from the floor with adjustable wire shelving similar to the ones that I purchased for our pantry in the past twelve months.

This seemed to be a better solution than my other idea, which involved woodworking.  Building a shelving unit from hardware (2×4’s, screws, and plywood) might end up being the cheaper route, but my woodworking skills are basic at best, and I’m not terribly confident that what I built would hold up under load for a long period of time.  So more than likely it would be cost-prohibitive in the long run if I went with something made of steel.

As is normally the case with my posts, they start at one point and end up being finished at another. It’s now Wed Sep 23 and Autumn has arrived.  We’ve already had 2 nights when the mercury dipped below the 32°F threshold and it was required that we either bring in potted plants or cover ones that we wished to save.  The garage has been populated with the pots and both the old blue sheet and ratty canvas dropcloth have been pressed into service to salvage the marigolds and the backyard flowers that cannot be moved.marigolds-2020.jpg

Suffice it to say we can’t keep that up forever.  At some point we’ll determine it’s time to let the annuals be frost-killed and remove them from the planter and backyard beds, preparing them for the winter slumber.  Soon enough I’ll be giving the lawns one good last mow and put away the mower for the year.  Raking leaves and putting them to the curb for the village to collect.  I’ve already started looking for a lawn service to clear out the brush pile behind the garage.  That needs to go as well.  I’m sure our neighbors behind us would agree.  They actually put up a fence to obscure it.

Three months to go until Winter.

Home Repair

Living in an older house, things have a tendency to break, usually at the least opportune times.  Though I suppose that could be said for any home or apartment, usually when something breaks or needs repair, it’s not necessarily the most convenient thing.

On my return from work last evening, I lifted the garage door as I normally do, pulled the car in, and then exited to lower the door.  The door used to have a mechanical garage door opener when we first purchased the house, but over a few months it started to have issues, so I disconnected it and screwed in a handle on the outside and went to physically opening and closing the door when I needed to get the car in and out.  Several years ago I replaced almost all of the hinges on the door, and several of the glass panes in the door have been replaced over the years as well, but there have been no major repairs to the door since we bought the house.

Upon lowering the door, I heard a loud bang from inside the garage.  When I went to lift the door again, it wouldn’t budge.  It seemed to be stuck, or perhaps locked?  But that didn’t make sense as to how would the locking mechanism just suddenly trip and what was the noise that was made come from?  I went inside the garage to inspect and discovered that the cable on the right side leading to the spring had snapped.  Ah, broken spring.  That explained it.

Of course, the next problem was getting the now unbalanced and heavy door back up so I could get the car back out since Wednesday is a day of appointments.  Instead of dealing with it right then and there, I went inside to investigate if there was a local garage door repair-person since it was nearing 5 pm and usually businesses aren’t open past that point.  Since we live sort of off the beaten path, it’s not always easy finding someone to repair things of that nature and repair people can be a little finicky about coming out to places that they’re not overly familiar with.  And some charge for mileage.

Even so, I did manage to find someone that’s nearby, has mostly good reviews on both Google and Yelp so I will be calling to see what they can do, and hopefully not charge an arm and a leg for it, or try to upsell me on replacing the door entirely.  While the door is pretty old, so is the garage, so having a brand new door on an old rickety garage doesn’t make much sense to me.  Better to fix what’s borked, and continue on.

I called this morning, and they can come out, but none of the times they suggested meet with my ability to be here to supervise.  Friday is out as we have two other appointments, next week is pretty booked up, but Friday 2/7 seems to be available for now.  My wife doesn’t want workmen here when I’m not around, so we have to work on a very limited schedule in that regard.  So it seems the car will have to sit outside of the garage for about a week while this gets remedied in a time frame that meshes with our requirements.  At least it shouldn’t cost more than $200-300 for a repair like this.  I hope.

In for the Winter

Every winter that comes I have the same issue; when will it be that I get the garage situated so that the car doesn’t get snowed on?  This year the answer was December 1.  Like in many other years, with climate change occurring, the leaves seem to be coming off certain trees later and later in the season, so the ability to get them raked and off to the curb to be collected becomes both a challenge and a waiting game.  Wait too long, and we’re stuck with them for the winter and then finding a place to put them come the following spring.

Last year, the neighbor’s oak tree as well as one of the trees in the front yard waited until nearly December to both change and drop their leaves and with the prevailing winds, the leaves ended up piled not only next to the easterly side of my house, they also were piled in my driveway, impeding snow removal.  This year, pretty much the same thing happened, so I was forced to wait and hope that there was going to be time for one more lawn mowing to mulch up the majority and get the lawns around the house better prepared for the winter slumber.  Long story short, it didn’t happen.

Consequently, I had both the lawnmower and the roto-tiller parked in the garage at odd angles blocking my parking of the car.  Too, there are items in the garage that haven’t been moved since the day we moved into the house nearly 20 years ago.  In years past, since it’s only a 1-car garage, I’ve piled items in the corners, as well as on top of old furniture and whatever other debris just happened to be in the building, for the sake of getting the car in for the winter.  With the new Murano, it’s just a teensy bit longer than the Ford Edge was.  So getting it into the garage proved to be a little more of a chore.  Add in the fact it has multiple cameras, sensors, and sonar so it warns you (incessantly) if you get too close to one thing or another.

This past summer I was a little more interested in getting things situated, but of course, something occurred to keep me from getting it accomplished.  Knee pain!  Turned out to be arthritis, advanced according to the multiple doctors I saw, and I was on the shelf for a while and that impeded my progress.  Consequently, come late November, I had to contend with shoveling off the car of snow at least once before I got it back into its little house.

Where it is now and will stay for the next several months.  Then comes Spring.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  My plan for 2020 is to hoe out the garage completely and only put back what needs to be there.  Wish me luck, right?