Today I fixed the garage door opener. Well, I actually fixed the keypad on the outside of the garage door, but that involved a ladder, a Phillips screw driver, several calls to … India??? … and a lot of agitation. You see, after you climb up the ladder and push the “learn” button on the main motor, you have 30 seconds to get back down the ladder and make it to the key pad by the door to complete the sequence. Not easy. I have a big black boot on my right foot.
The garage door event was somewhat stressful because Bo couldn’t grasp the idea of WHY I needed to fix it. He’s never used the key pad so he didn’t miss it. But that Saturday night when my friends dropped me off from the Boston train at 2:30, the house lights were off , the doors locked and I had no key. I told myself it was time to take action. Opening the garage door and rolling in my suitcase would have been so much simpler than climbing around in the bushes looking for my hidden key, especially since August brings out the most atrocious spiders.
“But why wouldn’t you just have the key with you?” Bo insisted. He didn’t understand that I had been locked out. Even if I had awakened him, he wouldn’t have remembered later that I was locked out.
“I don’t understand what you accomplished,” he said several times after the key code was working again. He couldn’t figure out what the key code does.
I finally said, “I replaced the burned out light bulbs,” and he accepted it.
I’ve never been the fixer at our house; Boris has been the one who repaired and replaced. I’ve always envied my friend Anna Fay because she could do anything, it seemed. She said it was out of necessity; now I understand. I’ve repaired the garden hose, turned our gas fireplace off for the summer, fixed the weed whacker, reprogrammed the thermostat … and so on.
Since he was first diagnosed, Bo has turned all decisions – major and minor – over to me. I’ve gotten bids and had a sprinkler system installed, the side yard landscaped, the front yard replanted, trees trimmed, the roof repaired, new storm doors and a new fireplace insert installed. Sometimes I’ve felt really bad because he didn’t even seem to be a part of things that were happening around him. Should I have insisted that he take a bigger role? I didn’t know.
I’m very fortunate because we have a long-term relationship with Robert, our contractor-carpenter-painter-helper. Robert is always there to answer my questions and to come by for a day to do the tasks that have accumulated – large and small: fix the water stain in the ceiling, call in the roofer, hang the new chandelier, install a new outlet, whatever.
I also take the cars for their maintenance and repairs now. Bo sometimes worries about when the next oil change is due or when we need a state inspection. He asks often. It’s so hard for him to remember even though it’s written down.
We have a wonderful auto repair shop where they’ve known Bo for many years and keep records on both of the cars. They know our situation and have been wonderful to me. The last time (a month ago) I was there, Bill, the service manager, sat down with me to explain that I needed new front struts and what it involved. “Boris always wanted to know everything,”he said sadly. “He had so much knowledge and he never missed a detail.” How well I know.
So now I’m learning about asking for help, about keeping detailed records of every kind, and reading directions.