Saturday, February 13, 2010

The need for a crane...

[ I completely forgot to post this when it actually happened around February 12th. ]

(go here to see the set)

I have been in and around a lot of new houses in my life time. I moved a lot with my parents, who built 2 homes and remodeled the rest. We always ended up in growing neighborhoods where the open land quickly turned in to tidy angles of wood and cement. I would explore the empty wooden frames guessing at each room and then climb the mountains of dirt that accompanied each new structure. Even with all this experience I had never considered the need for a crane. I knew the need for hammers and crow bars, nail guns and power drills, ladders and dollies but not cranes. Not for a house. Certainly not to lift a house but there I was in windy 10 degree weather as giddy as my kids watching a crane clamor down my road to eventually stretch up above the tree line searching the horizon for our ever approaching home.

Really, think about that for a minute. Waiting for my home to arrive. In my mind a home comes together in a robotic step by step fashion (like this). But no. Our house arrived on two flatbed trucks in 60 x 15 foot bubble wrapped pieces. They were to arrive on Thursday afternoon making the pilgrimage from snow pummeled Pennsylvania. The snow slowed progress as did 4 flat tires. In the end my house was pulled over for driving on the road after 3 pm. How many of you can say your house was pulled over for driving after curfew? Add to that the fact that the police officer graciously forgave their imprudence but put the two pieces of my home in "time out" on the side of the road until morning. At least they avoided incarceration.
"Okay buddy, which one is yours?"
"The two big ones over there wrapped in bubble wrap."
"Driving after 3pm eh?"
"Well, that'll teach 'em not to do it again! Won't it!"
"One can only hope!"
So there we were Janice, the kids, my in-laws and I blowing around in below freezing wind waiting for our wayward home. Then on the horizon, two trucks with the two halves of our home wrapped in slick white plastic. They rolled to a quiet stop in front of the turn for our narrow dirt road. The 90 degree turn brought a brief pause but then came the "road widener". A large yellow excavator rumbled down, reached over and cleared some trees, a couple mail boxes and a proud little "children at play" sign. Then it was time to attempt the turn. I mean "attempt" in the same way you and your friends forced that over sized couch up the fire escape in your college apartment because it would not fit through the front door. Consider this: a giant excavator yanking and pulling and dragging your newly purchased and built home on a couple steel beams through a 90 degree angle and then down a dirt road. The excavator breaks. So the same guy who drove the excavator to it's untimely death leaves the scene and returns with a considerably smaller yellow bulldozer. Moments later the chain breaks and the trailer thumps the ground like a large boulder but it's not a large boulder it's one half of my new home. The chain breaks again. So..... I walked down to my property and let the crazy men do their work before the series of small strokes I was experiencing left me unable to watch the next scene: watching a crane lift half of my new house (34,000 lbs) up 20 feet in the air on a thin single strand of steel. This stuff is not for the faint of heart.

In the end the crane "married" both sides of our home on top of the basement with our whole family as witnesses. It was a joyous occasion. The GC then took us through our home. Our driven, delivered, carpeted, painted, plumbed, wired, kitchen cabinetted and craned in to place new home.