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Some of our ten-foot wall panels being lifted by Frank's crane
On March 4, our first (and should have been only) day of house delivery, we ended up completely demoralized. We were cold, wet, and exhausted; and our house currently resided in five different places. If you had asked us our outlook for the following day, it could not have been less positive.
As we got our weary bodies up bright and early (again) on March 5, Gail and Russell brainstormed what to do. Getting the lumber up to our building site by the end of the day would be impossible. We did not want to risk getting another truck stuck in the mud on the road up to our property. However, we had to get the material out of the abandoned store's parking lot. And we had to get all of that lumber out of the mud. The best solution would be to use our neighbor Scott's property as the temporary staging area. We could transport all of the materials to his front yard (thankfully at the bottom of the mountain) and store it there until the weather got better. Then, we would either crane or forklift it the rest of the way up to our building site.
Frank and his crane, who had not counted on doing two days' worth of work, would not be available until almost noon. So after a quick breakfast of instant oatmeal in our room, Gail and Russell checked out of the motel and drove up the hill to our property to assess the situation.
We were absolutely amazed. First, the weather today was clear and sunny. Second, we discovered that our neighbors Scott and Todd were already at work -- and had been for several hours. They had both cleared their schedules to make themselves available all day today. They had already used Scott's backhoe to unload Todd's truck and the rest of Scott's truck, and transport the materials from the lower knoll to our building site.
Our neighbors Scott and Todd (standing on top of the wall panels)
At Russell's request and with his help, they also brought the backhoe back down to "Ryan's Curve." There, they went through the laborious and tedious process of picking each stack out of the mud (difficult because we had not put down sticks yesterday) and tractoring them the rest of the way up the hill to the building site.
By the time all of us drove down to the abandoned store, Frank and Ryan were already at work. They had been loading materials from the side of the road onto Ryan's truck. We estimated that with Ryan's, Scott's, and Todd's trucks all contributing, we could transport everything from the parking lot to our property in two or three trips.
The abandoned store parking lot: our house on the side of the road
Scott was inspiringly optimistic. He was convinced that we could get everything all the way up to our building site. Scott (who has lived here for years) believed that, with clear weather and more caution, we could bring the trucks all the way to the top of the hill.
Everyone worked incredibly hard that day. We didn't have any additional crew, but we had an additional audience. Today, as we found out, was Frank's birthday. Lee Ann's original intention had been to cook an extravagant family meal. With our unexpected situation, and Frank consenting to help us for the day, Lee Ann adjusted that to dinner out at a restaurant somewhere. Regardless, all of Frank's extended family had come into town to celebrate. With nowhere else to go, they all decided to come and see what Frank does for amusement. As a result, we got to meet Frank's other daughter Brianne and her boyfriend Colin, as well as Lee Ann's parents.
In the abandoned parking lot, Russell straps floor panels for the crane
It took all afternoon, but we successfully vacated the parking lot of the abandoned store. The most difficult decisions included which vehicle should carry the huge, heavy crate marked "glass." Scott's truck got that honor. An additional decision was which vehicle should carry the two very to-heavy packages of ten-foot walls. Ryan's truck got that honor. We took extra care in bringing the vehicles up the dirt (now mud) road to our mountain. Thankfully, there were no repeat spinouts.
By the end of the day, we had all of the trucks and Frank's crane up on the building site. It was a dance of logistics to fit all of the trucks and crane up there, and still have room to maneuver and park all of the materials. It is a tribute to Frank's amazing crane expertise that he was able to get everything in its proper place.
Ryan and Frank maneuver one of the larger crates
By the end of the day, we had achieved the impossible. Starting from five different locations, our entire house shipment was now stored up at the building site.
Lee Ann graciously invited us to join them for Frank's birthday dinner. We graciously declined. Not only did we think that we had overstayed our welcome, but we still had work to do.
After everybody left, Gail and Russell set about inventorying all of the pieces. We would have to reconcile every single plank, nut, and bolt. We finally had to quit when it got too dark to continue. We will have to make another trip back up to complete the inventory, as well as ensure that the center pole gets delivered properly.
Gail braces a stack of upper floor wall panels, sitting on top of black plastic
It was late in the evening by the time we drove back down to our "real" home in the Bay Area, but we were immensely proud of what everyone had accomplished. Joanne had taken Cameron and Joss back to our house so that they could sleep in their own beds, and everyone was happy to see each other.
Our family is all back together in one place again. Our house (or at least the pieces) is all back together in one place again. At least for the moment, all is right with the world.
The impossible achieved: our house on the building pad
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