While I was living in Maryland, maybe sixteen years ago, we had a couple really nasty ice storms one year. As in, a long overnight session of freezing rain that coated anything it landed on with a two-inch layer of ice, followed by several inches of snow, the another half-inch ice crust on top. I was still working at the Post Office at that point, and of course this couldn’t happen on a day I had off. That’s when I decided that a garage was a really good idea.

It took me this long to get it, but now I have one. And it’s awesome — in the winter I don’t have to remove ice and snow from the vehicle before I go anywhere, and in other seasons I have a place that’s out of the weather to unload groceries or do maintenance work on it. (Checking your oil or tire pressure in an open driveway in mid-winter is not a fun task, even when the weather is clear.)

I knew about the danger of creeping clutteritis — how if you don’t regularly store a car in the garage, clutter will slowly take it over and you’ll never be able to get it in there. That had happened in the two houses my family had lived in during my childhood that had garages, despite one of them being a two-car garage. So I make sure to store it there often, nearly every night at least. And since the winter storms began, I’ve been putting it there practically every time I come home.

Unfortunately there was something I hadn’t considered: how irritating it would be to have to jump out of the car to open and close a garage door, then back into it to drive in or out. GoddessJ has been doing it when she’s in the car with me, so it wasn’t as onerous as it could have been, but both of us were heartily tired of it. We planned to get an automatic garage door opener as soon as we could afford it, but finances were such that it would be a while before that happened.

Or so I thought. Maybe I underestimated GoddessJ’s ingenuity (or perhaps how much she disliked door duty 😉 ); she decided to get several of our family members to pool their gift-giving money and got one for me for Christmas. Due to circumstances, she told me about it early, and took me along to pick it out.

(After a little research I chose a Genie screw-drive model. Quieter than a chain drive, which was important. Not as quiet as a belt drive, but more reliable, according to reports.)

It had been sitting in the garage for the past couple weeks while I studied the instructions. Earlier this week, I decided to set aside a day from my programming work to install it. Wednesday, i.e. yesterday.

It’s a good thing I gave it that long, too. The instructions said that it would take three to four hours, but between the extra bracing I had to do on the door and “header” area above it, and taking extra time to make sure I was understanding the instructions right, it took me about eight, with at least another half-hour to go for the final adjustments and to install and connect the outside keypad. The extra diligence paid off though; I only made one mistake, putting a part in too soon, which was easily rectified.

I was kind of surprised that I was able to do it at all, let alone as well as it turned out, considering the circumstances and my lack of experience with such things, but it’s pretty much finished. We tried it out last night… beautiful. Simply beautiful.

I hope we don’t have to wait until next Christmas to get a dishwasher. 😉