The pad was done and rock-solid, and half the house had been delivered. We scrambled out early the next morning for the installation. By this time, it was August, the peak of our scorching, humid summer.
We got there and put our chairs under a tree, and it wasn’t long before the setup crew arrived.
It wasn't long before they had driven the back half of the house up onto the pad. The truck would hold the house level until it was blocked.
One of the crew rolls a wheel he just removed down the side of the pad.
ILoveBunnies' hat held some sort of amazing attraction for the love bugs. Love bugs are the scourge of the earth. Okay, maybe not, but they are excessively annoying.
A couple of the crew started distributing the blocks that would be used for the pillars.
The front half of the house arrived! The crew left it on the gravel road in front of our property. Above the trees, you can see the storm clouds gathering. Uh oh.
One of the crew takes blocks up underneath, to set them under one of the two main I-beams. The plastic he is on is 6-mil vapor barrier stuff. Nice and thick.
This man works to level the house with an ancient tool, the water level. In front of the pillar he is building is a pier cap, or a termite cap. These will help protect the house from termites, by removing the pillars as points of access. Naturally, there are other points of access, but this takes care of some of them.
The pieces of wood holding the protective wrap over the middle of the house start to come off.
....... And then, it suddenly stormed. Mom and the kids took refuge at a neighbor's house, while I put things away and was going to move the car out from under the trees. I never got that far, because it turned out that my mom had my keys. So I just stayed in the car.
Rainwater pools in the tire tracks behind the house, and begins washing some of the fine clay particles from the pad.
Work resumes as soon as it stops raining, but you can see that the smooth, hard surface of the pad has softened, and has begun looking like a well-walked beach. After this, it was so much harder on the crew. It was wet, the clay was soft and stuck to their shoes, and the sun came out and just drilled them into the ground.
The crew decided they'd better get the other half up onto the property, before it rained again and they couldn't get it past the end of the driveway.
They unhitched the truck and began moving the house with a small piece of equipment with the heart of a riding lawnmower. Amazing that it could pull all that weight. As he maneuvered and finished turning the house, the sun broke through the clouds.
They used this odd machine to slowly walk the house the rest of the way up the driveway, and onto the pad with the other part of the house. As you can see, the property had drained pretty well by this point, but that didn't mean things weren't still soggy. More storm clouds brewed in the distance. The guys had noticed this, and had stopped removing the protective barrier from the half that was already set.
Moments later, the rains returned. Once they let up, the crew decided to let the land drain while they went for lunch at a truck stop down the street. We climbed into the van, and told them we’d see them there.
It didn't happen. We had a slight delay, and the crew was up the highway a couple of miles by the time we headed out. We made it to the end of the driveway. I could see that getting out might be difficult, and I navigated it the best I could. It was no use; the end of the driveway was already too soupy. We tried all sorts of things, even shoving sticks under the tires for traction, but they were buried too deep. So there we sat, wondering how long it would take for the guys to start wondering where we were.
When we saw them turn down our road, we could see them start laughing and waving. They had realized at some point that we had told them we’d meet them there, and we hadn’t arrived. “I wonder if they’re stuck in the driveway,” one thought out loud. Yep, we were stuck in the driveway.
Thankfully, their handy-dandy whatchamacallit machine was up to the task! They pulled the van backward as I steered, and then I drove out by cutting through the shallow ditch on our neighbor's property, only a few feet from the driveway. The other side of the driveway was in worse shape, so I couldn't go that way.
Having rescued us, it was time for them to return to work. ... Assuming they could get back up the driveway, which was quickly turning into a swamp. The powered rear of the truck slid off to the side and almost got stuck, as they tried to make it all the way in.
When we returned from lunch, we found them working to bring the two halves together, in a procedure called "marriage". The "marriage wall" is the doubly-thick wall that runs down the middle of the house. Even where you walk from room to room, you have the marriage wall at the ceiling and floor.
More storms approach, as the men fight to bring the house together and finish the center ridge of the roof before it rains again. In the end, they had to tarp the rest of the roof until the next day.
They work to finish leveling so they can tie the two halves together and do the ridge of the roof. As I said, it wouldn't all happen that day.
I had thought we were supposed to do a walk-through for our loan once it was blocked and leveled, which it was. We waited for Shay to arrive, and then we tied bags over our mucky feet, so we could walk through. We had to cut the barrier between the two halves and step through to pass between some rooms. I found out later that the walk-through was to be done once all of the tie-downs were completed. Oh, well. At least we got to see it, and it was so exciting to walk through it!
Exhausted, we headed home, knowing we’d be right back early in the morning.