In which I try not to wax rhapsodic about a garage door

Greetings from the rainy north. I’m sorry, Californian friends, but I have yet to figure out how to send any of this rain your direction. I know you need it, but the mechanism to make that happen continues to elude me.

How much rain, you ask? Well…

That’s from Thursday morning and you can do the math on all those millimetres of rain at the bottom. I found the mention of possible snow amusing, but it later disappeared. To make life easier for those still living with archaic units of measurement, there are 25.4mm in an inch. A good estimate is therefore 100mm is 4" of rainfall, and I see much more than 100mm over the next week in that forecast.

Sadly (?) the most recent forecast has less rain in it than that. But this is Vancouver, and any forecast for something more than 30 minutes off is highly inaccurate. For all I can tell we could have a sandstorm and temperatures above 35° C on Monday.

I joke, but only so much. Weather forecasts here are basically useless for any point more than 48 hours out in the future, and not even particularly accurate for the next day. I don’t understand that, but it’s true.

Last week saw a few shareable things happen. I promise to get to that all-important garage door, but let’s start with other items of some (vague) interest.

As I mentioned last week, we needed more paint to paint the guest room after applying three coats of primer to cover the awful grey it had previously been soaked in. I went to the local Benjamin Moore dealer to pick it up and they couldn’t help me. They were out of the paint base for the colour we wanted. I was assured, though, that they would have more on Tuesday. The paint was “quarantined” at the border and would arrive soon.

So I called on Tuesday and was told they still had none of the paint we need. The new estimated arrival date was “early next week.” In desperation I called the other Benjamin Moore dealer in the area, and they had what we needed in stock, so I paid them a visit. They told me they are the only store in the area to have it because they made a special order a while back. It’s nothing special: eggshell sheen, acrylic, latex indoor paint, without going all the way to the high-end self levelling product they sell. Perhaps the fact that so many stores are out is fallout from the pandemic, with the paint factories having been down or running at reduced capacity during lock down.

In any case, I managed to paint the walls and ceiling of the guest room, leaving only the trim to be painted before we start to make that room usable for our first guest. Someday. When the pandemic allows it. In the meantime, though, Anne can use it as her hobby room.

No photos here because it isn’t done yet. It’s still a mess of drop cloths and painting supplies.

I made more repairs on the neighbour’s retaining wall. A while back I fixed a section to keep fence boards from coming loose. This week I raised the height of the retaining wall itself to keep dirt from washing under the fence and over the wall into our yard. I also shortened some the old fence posts (from the fence I removed a couple of weeks ago) to a reasonable height and treated one area of the wall (which wants to grow a white fungus) with a copper naphthenate solution. That stuff stinks, even days after it was applied. It’s nasty, but with luck it will kill the fungus and let the retaining wall last longer. I will know more a few days after the current round of rain finishes up and the fungus has a chance to grow back. No photos here because it’s boring and non-obvious.

My main computer is updated to the latest long term support version of Ubuntu Linux. I recently mentioned that was needed, and it got done. Turns out it took an hour or so to fully update the system. And everything seems to work after the fact. And now I can run a much more recent version of the video editing software I struggled with a while ago.

No photos here just because.

Last time this came up I’d caused the machine cut two simple tests but had no photos. Since then I have been researching software choices in more depth and have installed a particular product (called Maker) on my laptop to do something a bit more complicated.

Oh look. A photo:

That’s my laptop running Maker and displaying a dumb little thing I want to cut out. Should I manage to make it work successfully, I will cut out several of them (they are designed to interlock) and I have ideas for a couple of other simple patterns to cut out as well. I have a bunch of junk 3/4" plywood I got from a cabinet the previous owner left in the garage, and some of it is ideal for this use. It’s basically play time as I figure this software out so I can explain it to Xwalacktun when I give him back his CNC. It’s also art, of a sort. Or at least that is how I am justifying it in my head.

One reader requested a video of the CNC machine doing its thing, and I hope to make that happen, but not for this week (obviously) and only next week if I am lucky. We’ll see.

On Thursday morning, this arrived in our driveway:

That’s two single garage doors on the left and one double on the right. Two guys were going to install all three of those doors in various places on Thursday. We were their first stop, and our door is the one on the left in the photo.

Before I go on, a brief reminder of what we had:

The door was wood, the opener didn’t like to function properly, the tracks the door opens on were in the way and blocked valuable wall space on either side of the opening, and so on. Even worse, the track wasn’t exactly stable on one side and the previous owners had wedged a piece of wood between it and the wall to keep it from moving. Getting this thing replaced was pretty high on my list of desires.

Well, it’s done. In just 90 minutes the two guys removed the old door and installed the new one. Now we have this:

Some things to note:

  • Other than the colour change and the window slits, the exterior looks almost exactly the same. And the colour change is actually a big plus.
  • The new door opens more completely than the old one did. There is no obstruction at the top of the opening. Note the old door hanging down a few inches below the opening in the photos above.
  • On the inside, there are no tracks that go back parallel to the ceiling and block the walls. That makes more space usable.
  • The rolled up door doesn’t take up much space in the garage. It also doesn’t block the lights mounted on the ceiling when it is open.
  • It’s light weight, easy to open, and easy to lock. We didn’t even get a motor for it because there is no plan to park a car in here. This is my art studio/shop and a manual door is just fine.
  • The new door has a much better weather seal than the old one did.
  • The new door is also insulated. That silver backing you see on the inside is heat reflective, so heat in the garage (created by humans, tools, the boiler, and the water heater) all tends to stay in the garage.

This is a big win, but I almost didn’t do it. I expected a roll-up door to be very expensive, and I only looked into it on a whim. But it didn’t cost that much more than a traditional door, and the resulting space is much more usable thanks to this change. Should we ever buy another house with a garage, you can bet I will consider this kind of change again. It is definitely worth it if you have the space above the door opening for it.

That’s the end of this missive. It was a good, productive week, and no flies landed on my head that I am aware of.

Please stay safe and healthy!