A couple months ago I started having trouble with the remote control on my garage door opener. Sometimes I'd hit the button and the door would immediately go up (or down, as the case may be), but sometimes I'd have to play this little game. Shake it. Hit the button. Groan. Smack it against my hand. Hit the button. Mutter. Rap it on the steering wheel. Hit the button. Curse. Repeat cycle while debating at what point I was going to give up, leave the car in the driveway, and enter the house via the front door.
I mentioned this problem to my beloved spouse who decided the remote needed a new battery. We have a spare remote but no battery for it. Since the remotes use a very funky little battery, he took the spare to the store to get one installed. But when he brought it home, the spare remote wouldn't talk to the door opener.
"I know," he told me. "After putting in a new battery, the remote has to be programmed to the same frequency as the opener. You need to pull out the manual to see how to do that."
I went to the file drawer where we keep the forty two thousand manuals for all of the forty two thousand electronic devices we have ever owned and went through them, one by one. I found the manual for the boom box we bought our now 39 year old son when he was 16. I found the manuals for for three different microwave ovens (we only own one). I even found the manual for the eight-track player we had in our old car (how many of you even know what an eight track is?). I did not find a manual for the garage door opener.
The search for the missing manual fell by the wayside while the shake, hit, smack, and curse dance became more and more frequent. Our electric garage door opener, unfortunately, does not have an external entry key pad. It works one of two ways - by the remote or by the button mounted next to the internal door leading into the kitchen. So if you're outside, coming in, you're pretty much limited to entering the house via the front door, going through the kitchen and hitting the wall button on your way through the garage to bring in the car. If you're leaving and need to close the garage door behind you, you can do the same thing in reverse or, if you're very quick and very agile, you might be able to hit the button, race to the front of the garage and leap over the safety sensors before the door comes down on your head. I am neither very quick nor very agile.
Thus has gone the last couple weeks. The remote in my car had given up the ghost. The remote with the new battery was waiting to be programmed. The manual was still missing. And I was going in and out by racing through the house to open and close the garage door.
Now you may be asking yourself why I didn't just leave the car outside. The answer is I drive a ten year old Saab convertable that has yet to see her first scratch or ding. She is my baby and I am very protective of her. You might also ask why I didn't simply move the new funky little battery from one remote to the other. The answer to this is because I assumed that since my beloved spouse took the remote to the store with him to get the new battery, it must require some sort of special installation (see title of post).
Jump to this weekend. While looking for something else entirely I found the missing manual (please don't ask where). Instructions for programming a new remote involved opening the big box thing hooked to the big track thing on the ceiling in the garage. I moved my car outside - after opening the door using the button on the wall - got on a step ladder and managed to open the box. Aha! There was the little button that would send the signal to the new remote so they could start playing together. I followed the instructions step by step. Press the signal button in the box. Red light begins flashing. Check. Press button on remote. Red light should stay lit but stop flashing. Nope. Still blinking. Cancel procedure and try again. Several times. Spare remote will not answer signal from big box.
Okay, at this point I'm getting pretty frustrated. Back in the kitchen, I start examining the stubborn remote and end up opening the battery door. Yes, it's a funky little battery but there is nothing, if you'll excuse the expression, remotely difficult about the installation. A simple 'slip in between two contact points'. I go outside, retrieve the dead remote from the car, and open the battery compartment door. One of the contact points is bent, not touching the base of the battery. I give it a little push, gently bending it back in place. Then I aim it toward the garage and hit the button.
Epilog - The first remote is working fine. Both the funky batteries are good so I've stashed one away as a spare. The extra remote is still useless. And I'm an idiot.
Groaner of the Day: A thief broke into the local police station and stole all the toilets and urinals, leaving no clues. A spokesperson was quoted as saying, "We have absolutely nothing to go on."