My husband Wayne and I recently had a problem with our automatic garage door. Out of the blue it started going crazy, going down, only to reopen, and finally screeching to a halt. I feel like our garage door is a reflection of our performing career in the past few years. Now, instead of opening and closing a show, we were concerned about how to fix the garage door so it opens and closes.
Wayne climbed a ladder, took a look and upon examination it was clear, the white vinyl gear had been chewed to smithereens. Now what? Our particular model was over 20 years old but, good news, the local dealer still carried the parts for our model and it was repairable. The bad news, the cost for a repair person to come out and fix it would be well over $300, and installing a new one could be $800. Not to mention the risk of having a possible contaminated person enter our house when I’m immuno-compromised.
Then I asked how much the replacement parts cost and how difficult it was for a non expert to fix it. He answered, “$60 for the parts and… it’s been done… but I don’t know your husband’s skill set.” I said, “What do you mean my husband?” He started peddling backward and said, “Well… Uh… I’ve never heard of a woman fixing one before… so what do you want to do?” “I will talk to my husband and call you back.” He laughed. I said, “Wait a minute! We are going to do this together… and I bet it will be the first time a married comedy tap dance duo will do such a repair!” We both laughed, the parts arrived a few days later.
We pulled out the instructions, read them several times, then dove in. It was one problem after the other. We quickly realized that taking this electric motor apart to change a gear was a lot more complicated than we thought. Two days into the repair, a miracle was needed to get this thing back together. Luckily, one quality we have carried over from showbiz is that we don’t give up.
Day three – it was back together until we realized we had one extra part. We undid and redid. Finally, the moment of truth, we plugged it in and pressed the button. The complex but simple mechanics were in motion. We’d done it! How satisfying it was to accomplish something we thought was impossible, and it had nothing to do with performing. My “deep” inner dialogue: “Actually… the best applause of all is silent, and comes from applauding ourselves.” Just as I was about to share this with Wayne, he says: “Now all we have to do is figure out how to incorporate an applause button so every time we open and close the door, we get thunderous applause!” You can always check out our latest videos on our Showbiz Quebec YouTube channel.
Andrea Conway, a grateful transplant surviving tap dancing clown