“You know what?” the guy who was installing our next garage-door opener said. “You need to replace your garage door. I wouldn’t have put a new opener on it, since it’s in such bad shape, but I figured it was a security issue.”
Well, he figured right about that. About the security issue, I mean. I’d gotten a little tired of leaving the garage door permanently up and all but spreading out the welcome mat for prospective burglars.
But, when it comes to a new garage door, he had no idea about the can of worms he’d just opened.
A new garage door — well, that decision would be simple. No big deal. The trouble is, our garage — which I refer to as our Weight-Watcher special, since my husband and I can’t possibly gain an ounce and still cram our two cars into it — is falling down, too. So we need a new garage door and a new garage. But, if we get a new garage, then we have to face the terrible and expensive question of what to do about the adjacent room. That room can charitably be called a pool room, since there’s a pool table cemented in the middle of it; anybody less charitable would call it a dumping ground.
The truth is, we need to bring that room up a couple of feet, so most of the first story will be on the same level, and add a bath. Since we’d be taking off the roof, that means it would be the perfect and obvious time to add a master bath and closet space on the second floor. We have a pathetically small supply of closet space in our aging house; every time I go into a new house, I immediately develop closet envy, along with hysterical fantasies that I, too, could be organized and well-dressed and glamorous, if only I had sufficient closet space in my life.
Anyway, to realize that particular housing self-improvement dream, we would be spending at least $200,000, we have been told. Unless some miracle has been visited on our checking account, we don’t have that kind of money lying around. And, at our age and in this merciless economy, we’re trying to purge ourselves of all debt.
So I look at our garage door after the guy leaves. Oh, sure, it’s got some holes in it, where the sunlight streams in. But it’s not so bad. Not really.
Our house was built in 1941, and I have no idea what that computes to in house-years. But I think it’s reached the same point where I am: We’re both at the age that we no longer dream of self-improvement. We’re content with constant maintenance and slowing down the inevitable deterioration.
Until the garage door completely falls apart, we’ll be keeping it for a while.
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)