When we started looking for our new home, we had a certain price range in mind. We were lucky enough to stumble across an incredible deal in a beautiful neighborhood, but we are definitely one of the “lower end” homes. Our house sits on almost a full acre at the end of a heavily wooded cul de sac; everyone on the street has automatic iron gates.
I found this incredibly amusing when we first moved in. I mean, I’m just a little redneck girl from the country, and now I have this fancy-schmancy gate with a remote control. Not like the gate at the front of the neighborhood, oh no…. my OWN fancy gate. So when I described the amenities of my new house to anyone who would listen, I made sure to jest about the gate that would “keep the riff raff out.”
The gate runs on solar power, with two small photo cells that recharge the main battery. What I didn’t realize is that the photo cells only get sunlight during PART of the day, because the cul de sac is heavily wooded, casting the panels in deep shade. That’s fine, most of the time. Unless it rains.
So, the first time it rained, we were not prepared.
The alarm went off at 6:00am, as usual, and it was still pitch black outside. We got ready for work, I loaded Alex into the truck, and hit the button, ready to start the day.
Why is it that when a remote control doesn’t work, we still feel the need to hit the button repeatedly, as if it will magically start to work for no rational reason?
“Open, damn it,” I cursed the tiny grey box. The red light flashed in response, but the gate ignored my plea. D came out, ready to go.
“Open the gate,” he said. I narrowed my eyes.
“I’m trying. It’s not working.”
“Press the button.” I narrowed my eyes further.
“I TRIED THAT.”
Now here’s the thing about me & D; we have an awesome relationship. He truly is my best friend in many ways. But when it comes to matters of home improvement, there are moments I’d like to drive a long screw through his head with a power drill, and I’m sure the feeling is mutual. For whatever reason, our incredible patience for one another’s shenanigans quickly poofs into smoke at the slightest home challenge. So add the stress of the new commute, plus getting Alex on the bus that will be rounding the corner in less than three minutes, not to mention it was cold, wet & rainy (a deadly combination for me), I bit my tongue until I tasted blood to keep from chunking the remote at his head. After all, he was going to get wet and be late to work, too.
I quickly ran through the options in my head.
1) Call Out: “Yeah, I’m not coming in today because my gate won’t open.” I figured I wouldn’t get much sympathy for that one.
2) Ram the gate. No, that can’t be a viable option. Yet.
3) Go figure out why the damn gate won’t open, despite the fact that I have absolutely no prior knowledge about solar cells or iron gates. Sure, that sounds awesome. I’m sure I could come up with the solution in under three minutes.
D grabbed the flashlight and handed me an umbrella, and we walked down the driveway to the solar panel.
“What do you think is wrong with it?” he mused, moving the flashlight around the large metal case.
“It won’t open,” I replied. He shot me a dark look. “Try opening the box.”
As soon as he touched the back panel, it fell off onto the ground, making a small splash in the puddle that was forming beneath it.
“Well, that might have something to do with it,” D mumbled. He started to reach his hands into the box to mess with the clamps on the battery.
“What are you doing?? Don’t do that!” I snapped.
“How am I supposed to fix it?”
“You’re standing in a puddle!!”
“Do you have a better idea?”
I leaned forward, trying to see, but the umbrella tilted, sending a small river of cold water straight on top of his head. “I can’t see,” I mumbled when he dropped the flashlight to protect his head from the stream of water.
And this is how divorce happens.
After a few moments, the tension started to skyrocket, so we decided to just unbolt the whole freaking control arm on the gate, manually push the damn thing open, and wait for a sunny day to fix it.
And that’s when I realized God was putting me back in my place, because it became obvious that the fancy-schmancy gate not only keeps riff-raff out….
…. but it also keeps it in.
(But the damn deer can still get in somehow.)