Saturday, March 3, 2012

Electric Eyes

By Julie Rahm

Months before hurricane Irene arrived in Pamlico County, our electric garage door opener flat out quit. The plastic gear a top the motor was worn beyond replacement. It was a Sears Craftsman. I confess. I took this wonderful machine for granted. I paid it no compliments or mind. It gave years of faithful service until the plastic gear had nothing left to give. So my husband, John, replaced it with the exact same Sears model. This made the removal and replacement very easy. John replaced the unit so quickly, I didn’t even miss it. But, unbeknownst to me, John did not replace the sensor eyes. These electric eyes guard against inadvertent closings on objects in the path of the door. The sensor eyes are a safety feature located at the bottom of the door tracks. The door will not close if the invisible light beam between the sensors is broken. The old sensors were working just fine. So, John kept the new sensors as spares and stored them high and dry above the garage.

Along comes hurricane Irene. We had three feet of water in our garage. The garage door sensors were completely trashed. No sensor beam connectivity required us (me because John usually drives) to override the safety feature by physically holding the button down to close the garage door. My “doorman” role annoyed me. But, I kept remembering how fortunate we are to still have a house and garage after hurricane Irene. Others in the county are not so blessed. So, I persevered as the button pusher/holder down. I didn’t whine. This was a minor inconvenience.

Forward now six months after hurricane Irene. The Daytona 500 is postponed and John has the afternoon off. I discover him in the garage wiring in the newly revealed sensors. It took John twenty minutes to remove the old sensors and install the new ones. I asked, “Did you order these on line?” John, replied, “No, these are the new ones I never installed. I left the old ones in and kept these as spares.” I tried not to get angry. But, I couldn’t help myself and replied, “You mean I’ve been holding down this button for six months when you could have fixed this in twenty minutes!” Needless to say, John took up residence in the doghouse for a small amount of time. But, then I thought – “There it is.” Often in life we live with minor annoyances that could be resolved quickly. It could be a misunderstanding during a conversation. Or, a misperception that was never intended.

So, my message this week is to fix some small things in your life that cause you annoyance. Invest some time in yourself. Identify three small things in your life that need fixing. Then go after them one by one. By the time you read my column next week, you’ll have a happier mindset. Thank you, John, for fixing the garage door opener. Visit me at and

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