To the Guy in the Garage

This is a picture of the door that leads to the garage.

It pretty much serves as the divide between my domain and my husband’s domain.

It has been slammed many times in my #lessthanstellar moments as a Mom.

For the last 2 years, the knob hasn't worked like a knob should.

My father in law has changed it once: it worked better for a while, then slowly relapsed.  

The past 6 months has been a progressive and steady decline to the equivalent of a comedic routine that teeters quite finely on the edge of torture.

Imagine walking in from your car, having loaded up the last grocery bag on your stellar-lever-of-an-arm, feeling strong and proud as you tell everyone to move out of your way.  You get to the door and turn the knob, with the forward momentum of a small freight train, only to be stopped by your forehead hitting the door where there should be open doorway (in the event that the knob would have served its purpose).  


Imagine getting through one of those meltdowns where all you can think about is how you need to get in the car to be on time to practice, but her soccer socks don’t match her shorts and they are bunching up in her cleats, and you were calm and patient and awesome through it all such that everyone responds gleefully to your pep talk to get in the car except -- the door won’t open.  Not because it’s locked.  But because the knob needs to be turned just right, and past the point where it should need to be turned to open the door, in the way that you never remember that it needs to be turned because no knob should need to be turned like that.  Meltdown #2.  And it may or may not be the mother melting down this time. 

But there was a crack in the door, a longitudinal slit that transected the latch plate, that may have been contributing to the failure of the knob replacement efforts.  So, was it a new knob or a new door that we needed?  

This I left up to the guy who part-time inhabits the garage.  

And when, one day, he too felt the momentum of his body against a door that should have been a doorway, he decided to fix it.

What I haven’t told him yet, is that I think I caused the slit in the door.  Because having to say that out loud would mean I would have to admit that I’ve slammed the door either often enough or hard enough to break it.  And by saying it here it means I still don’t have to say it.  

I’m passed the slamming phase, by the way.  I’m at the point where I can just picture myself slamming the door and I get the release I need (not really, but maybe I should try that). 

So, last weekend, he had to go to Home Depo, like all guys do, who love to live in their garages.  

And when I got home from work that day, the knob was fixed.

And it is like the gift that keeps on giving.

Every time I open that door now, a sigh of relief, a relaxing of the shoulders, and a smile on my face occurs as I enter the ever-welcoming doorway.  It’s like I’m shaking Buddha’s hand each time I turn that knob, and I’m walking through an oh-so-open doorway where a gentle breeze that has a hint of jasmine reminds me that there are no bad days (not really, but maybe I should try that, too).  

I’ve thanked him 20 times but I could thank him more.  It’s an understatement to say that I am grateful every single time I walk through that doorway.  Every single time I turn that knob with ease.  

He told me over dinner one night the thought process behind the screws.  “What screws?” I asked.  He was kind of embarrassed to admit his train of thought but he thought it might prolong the need for a new door, since the screws tightened up the gap where the slit was in the door.

I thought it brilliant.  It will save us some money, buy us some time.  All is good.  No bad days.  

But tonight, it dawned on me in a different way: As I sit and think about all that I am grateful for in my husband, I cannot help but to think he fixed the door I broke in my weaker moments.  Moments where I wasn’t the Mom I wanted to be to his daughters, moments where I wasn’t the Mom that he is proud of his wife being.  And he probably knows it was my fault.  But he never once blamed it on me, never once insinuated that I broke it, that this was kharma at work.  He just fixed it.  

So, to the guy in the garage: Thank you. I think you’re pretty cool.  

 © Houseman 2013