A Ghost in the Garage

The first garage I remember best from my childhood was a single car structure not attached to the house and besides our car it housed my dad’s outdoor tools.  Wheelbarrow, hoe, rake, push mower and so on.  He laid large flat slabs of slate from the local creek along the side and ran a grape trellis from the far side of the slate stepping stones, to the garage roof.  There were no such things as garage door openers back then and it was okay because my father was young and strong.

Our California home garage was converted to a family room of sorts by the owners before us.  The roof was not insulated so it was too cold in winter and too hot in summer to be much more than a storage room for us.  

The Bungalow in Parma also had a single car garage, not attached with a pull handle for me to haul the door up or down. 

So when my son and I moved into the current residence the attached garage felt like a definite move up in the world.  The business of bringing home groceries and not having to battle the weather getting bags from the car to the house was definitely a welcome change. 

The resident policeman and his family across the cul de sac from us own three cars, none of which they keep in their garage, regardless of the weather. When the dad is mowing and leaves the garage door open, all I’ve ever seen there is their grill and other odds and ends, no boat or anything that large.

My friend Marilyn’s husband has a workshop in their garage which occupies so much space that it is difficult to walk from the garage to the door into the house and since she is not allowed to keep more than one bicycle there, she keeps her spare bicycle in my garage.  I am welcome to use the bicycle as I please and she walked me up the street to be sure I could ride it.  I was able to do so but was very nervous about falling off and with the further decline in my mobility, I never have ridden it since.  With the shortage of bicycles in shops during the pandemic I asked her if she wanted to sell it and she asked if I needed the space, which I did not. A good part of the floor of my garage has become a potting shed for me.  The car does fit as well.

One of my cousins uses her garage as a storage bin and the main exit and entrance of the house – so their garage door is frequently opening and closing.  It doesn’t matter for her because she has a brilliant husband who can fix or make anything. ANYTHING.

In our first year here we used a metal trash can for the garbage and my son would open the garage and drag the can down the driveway to the curb. One snowy evening when he came back into the garage and clicked the garage door opener/closer, the door came to the floor for about a half minute and then went back to completely open.  Letting him come in and get warm, I repeated this process a few times I wondered momentarily if the garage was haunted. My family is prone to such thoughts. 

I went back into the house and immediately called Marilyn who, with her husband came over and pulled the handle to disconnect it from the automatic opener.  I don’t remember how we finally resolved the problem but since there is a door from the garage into the house I couldn’t leave the big door open and since it was a two car garage, I could not regularly be manually opening and closing it. 

The next garage door event was a very loud noise that brought me running to see what happened.  The door was closed.  Whew.  There is a very large black spring on either side of the garage door in the inside of the garage and one of them had maxed out its lifetime of ups and downs.  At least the door was closed and at that time I was still taking a bus downtown to work.

Upon the advice of one of my cousins I called the garage door company that does the work for the city and in a few days we had a brand new garage door.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

Some helper put a small dent into the door during a snowstorm, but otherwise the door has been good – until this summer.  I backed out of the garage, pressed the button to close the door and backed out into the street when I noticed that the garage door had gone back up.  Oh no!  It isn’t that old!  I pulled back into the driveway and pressed the button again and then the door came down and stayed down.  

After that I never backed out of the drive until the door came down and stayed closed.  Not every time, but often enough to leave me wary this scenario repeated itself – each time partially closing and then pulling open, flashing lights.  Each time I waited until all the lights stayed off and I would try again.  After about three tries the door would stay closed. 

One day when I returned from some errands the garage door repeated this dance about ten times before it stayed closed.  I could not go into winter with this fiasco going on so I called the company that we got the door from.  They sent a repairman out and hopefully the job is done and the garage ghost is satiated for the time being.

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