Tag Archive for home repair

Garage Repair: I Am All That Is Man

I’m a big believer of do-it-yourself home repair. Whether we’re talking plumbing, electrical, flooring, or HVAC, most of the costs are tied up in labor: paying someone to come out and do the work. With the right tools and a good YouTube search, however, you should be able to handle most household repairs and many automotive repairs.

After that it’s just a matter of weighing the cost of your own time against the cost of paying someone else to do it.

A little over a week ago, this happened:

That’s an extension spring for a garage door. It snapped in half, which meant the garage door opener couldn’t open the garage. Fortunately whomever installed it had the foresight to run a safety cable through the spring, so I found it hanging in place rather than punched through a wall or window.

Most garages have a single torsion spring above the center of the door; the rest have a pair of extension springs. Torsion springs are not easy to replace, and they can hurt you if you don’t know what you’re doing or don’t have the right parts.

Extension springs, on the other hand, are easy to replace with nothing more than a socket wrench. Disconnect one pulley wheel, thread the cables, reconnect the pulley wheel, and you’re back in business.

Assuming you can locate the damned things. I hit three of the big box hardware stores and a Farm & Fleet looking for the right size springs, but they only stock springs for up to 160-pound doors. My door, apparently, is closer to 200 pounds. I ended up calling an overhead door company instead, and they were able to find me a new pair. The bigger springs cost almost three times as much as the 160s due to their size, but at least I still wouldn’t have to pay for installation.

I finally had enough time today to get to work. Half an hour later, this happened:

Score. Saved me a couple hundred bucks in labor, I’m sure. It works better than before, too; the newer springs pull the door open a few inches higher, even with the top of the doorway.

And because I was able to get the garage door open, I was able to make this happen at last:

It’s good to be the king.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

How Insanity Happens

Now I know how Charles Manson went bat-shit crazy: do-it-yourself home projects.

See, no matter how easy you feel a job will be, the half-assed job some pinhead who owned your home before you will guarantee a ten-minute job turns into an all-day, life-sucking affair that will leave you wanting to stab someone in the eye.

My plan today was to put up a new pair of clothesline posts, then have plenty of time to do some writing. Instead, I spent the afternoon wandering around three major hardware stores in search of clothesline posts. Apparently nobody carries them anymore. At least, nothing like what we’re looking for. After weighing various options for building our own, we finally said to hell with it and bought this umbrella-style deal that mounted on a single steel pole.

When we got home, I still figured on an hour — tops — to yank out the old poles and install the new one. I borrowed a jack and chain from my father-in-law, which should have yanked the posts right out of the ground, especially since they didn’t appear to be buried in concrete. Note the word “appear” in that last sentence. After the jack kept burying itself and the chain finally crushed the rusted part of the pole, I grabbed a shovel and started digging.

When a normal human being needs to install a pole, they get a post hole digger, make a hole, drop in the pole, and pour in a little concrete. Apparently hundreds of years of tried-and-true construction wasn’t good enough for a cretin who at one point owned my home, and my project has stalled right here:

The Legacy of Dipshits

A 6-inch hole for a 2.5-inch post wasn’t good enough for this brainiac, no sir. He dug a hole about a foot and a half in diameter. I imagine he called cousin Bubba and they cracked open a few beers before fetching the shovels.

Not that such a large hole stopped them from using concrete. The hole in that pic is nearly a foot deep, and the concrete is just under the layer of dirt at the bottom. The edge of the concrete is a the edge of the hole, and I’m afraid to find out how deep it goes. (I also have no idea how I’m going to find out how deep it goes, short of renting a jackhammer.) So rather than trying to pull a pole straight out of the ground, the jack was attempting to rip out the pole, a chunk of concrete, and about two cubic feet of earth — while it was directly above the concrete.

I’m trying to think of a home project that didn’t go sideways like this, and the porch is the only one that comes to mind. I’m thinking I’ve got patience enough for two more projects like this before I carve a swastika into my forehead.

Assuming I make it through the rest of this project, that is…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.