Friday, September 25, 2009

Road Show


The new buyer of our doublewide, who is also a contractor, showed up to take a look at the worksite and give us a timeline for the doublewide's removal.

"Jim," I said, "You guys are content to tear stuff apart and use power tools. But this is my nest, and it's all disturbed. I need to know when I need to have absolutely everything in a box and out of here."
He looks around. He thinks. "Tuesday morning." he says.
Cool! I can do that. So I get in my car and take off to do a few errands. When I get back an hour later, Ed says, "Change of plans. The removal crew will be here Monday at noon to start tearing the center shingles off the house and sawing it in half, so everything needs to be done by Monday morning."
Shoot me now.


We both skipped church and I started frantically packing. About noon I ran out of boxes and quickly learned that cardboard boxes are not easy to find in a little town where most of the businesses are closed on Sundays. boxes are a little soggy from last week's rain and smell like pizza dough. Could be worse. Ed was working outside the house tearing the last of the decking apart and clearing the way for the big move. He and his helper, Taylor, muscled the water softener, washer and dryer, and hot water heater into place in the garage. Sunday we went to bed feeling wrung out.


Bright and early..actually not so was still dark. I hear a truck rumble up and stop at the driveway. We jumped up to find an excavator in our yard.
"How did you find us in the dark?" Ed asked.
"Actually" the young man laughed, "I used to live here. You bought this place from my dad."How weird is that?
So Nick started tearing dirt away from the front of the doublewide so it could be moved freely from its site.

Now I'm to the point where I'm just tossing stuff into boxes like a mad woman. My neighbor, Vickie, showed up with a shovel and started to move some plants and flowers that I had intended to move earlier and never gotten to. Then she moved on in to help me pack the kitchen. Thank goodness for good neighbors!
After Vickie left, I emptied the fridge into the new one (in the garage) and started cleaning the old one.

The buyer is taking the spa too (thank goodness) so Nick helped him load it up on a trailer using his excavator, then back to digging.
I heard some salty language and the word "water" ... Nick had accidentally ripped up a water line that wasn't buried deep enough, so Ed turned off the water at the well.

That's when the house movers showed up.

In strides a man with a hammer, pry bar and a sawsall. We'll call him Vladimir because I can't remember his name. He had his shirt unbuttoned, a cigarette dangling from his mouth, and a big gold chain around his neck.
"You can stop cleaning." Vladimir says, "We're gonna make a big mess." And he did. While his buddies were up on top ripping off shingles and taking out bolts. Vladimir began prying up carpet and sawing sheetrock.

Guess I'll stop dusting now.

We still don't have working plumbing inside the apartment, and the doublewide bathroom is off limits, but the guys had it easy. Me...not so much.

By the end of the day, the doublewide was unbolted and sawed in half but still together. The utilities were still hooked up, but was otherwise gutted. Our bed, clothes and what was left of my kitchen was in the garage. We had to shower inside the gutted doublewide then trek out to our new digs in the garage.
Just about the time I was so tired I couldn't blink, the phone (yes, we still had a phone) rang. Vickie-The-Wonder-Neighbor had dinner waiting for us. A thousand blessings on her and her family!
Ed and I fell into bed in our garage and couldn't sleep a wink because we were so darned tired.
At least the toilet and shower were still hooked up inside the doublewide.


Tuesday morning we had a brief respite, which means nobody showed up to start work while it was still dark. At 0900.Vladimir and crew rolled up and began the final work for the Big Move. In real life that means, the water, sewer and all connections are undone, and the thing is pulled apart about two feet. When they finished what they could, they waited...and waited.. for the excavator to show up to tug the front part of the first section out so the semi tractor could hook up to it. No excavator. By now our phone was out of service and cell phones don't work up here, so they couldn't call their boss. At about 2:00 they packed up and left.
Ed temped in the toilet (oops wrong waterline connector) and the hot water heater running so we could at least take a bath. Did I mention this bathroom is upstairs in the new apartment, and I use the term "upstairs" loosely because technically...there are no stairs..only a ladder. So here's how it goes.. you wake up at 0200, find your clothes in the dark, socks, shoes,
and go outside. Around the corner, checking for raccoons and other night visitors, and up the aluminum ladder...the cold, wet, slippery aluminum ladder. Inside the new apartment, take off your shoes so as not to spoil the ungrouted tile, get down to business, put some water from the tub faucet in a bucket and "flush" the toilet. Shoes back on, and down the ladder. It could be worse. It could be cold and raining.
Someday we'll look back on all this and laugh.
At 4:00 in the morning, the water softener began it's regularly scheduled recharge cycle. The one we forgot about. All those of you that know how many gallons of water it takes to flush a water softener, raise your hand. No? Well I can tell takes about 40 gallons. Using a five gallon bucket and a plastic kitchen garbage can, that's about 15 trips outside. We got about three hours of sleep.


Wednesday Vladimir showed up by himself, with his boss right behind driving the semi tractor. Jim, the truck driver, points to my far corner landscaping and says "Is it ok if I drive over that stuff?"
I just stared at him, stunned. "I guess so, but I may cry."
"Ok." he said, and climbed in his truck.
They hooked up the tractor to the trailer tongue and start jockeying the first half of the doublewide around. Vladimir is jumping under the moving trailer like a chipmunk in a national park. I would have been glad to dial 911 in the event of his demise, but we had no phone.

I could drag out this narrative to each heart-stopping step,..smashing every plant I own, missing the corner of the new construction by about a half an inch, almost taking out the wellhead about six times, but words wouldn't describe it.

Finally after an eternity, the first half of the doublewide went down the road, and the show was over. Nothing to see here, folks, go back to your homes. Oh wait....we don't have one! Eventually we climbed our ladder, took a bath in our tub, went downstairs and slept in our garage.


Thursday morning I had an appointment in Portland and was gone all day. After I finished the first appointment I decided to hit the tile outlets and other tile stores in town, in the northwest area of Portland. What a waste of time. The warehouse outlet had NO granite tiles, and the other showrooms were apparently too high end for someone showing up in a three year old Jeep because I couldn't gain the attention of a single salesperson in any of the showrooms. Oh well. I'll find what I want elsewhere. By the time I cleared the grocery store and Lowe's (more grout), and got home it was late afternoon. The second half of the doublewide had magically disappeared while I was gone! Ed took a few shots of the last half leaving.

Ed and Taylor have been working like donkeys all week. Taylor took the broken cinderblocks from around the doublewide, and broke them up as baserock for the barn road. It's amazing what youth and energy will do! We'll fill in with smaller gravel later.

Through all of this Ed has had the patience of a saint. Every time I get frazzled he makes sure he does whatever it takes to get me through. We stood outside and looked up at the west side of the apartment and new garage for the first time, and we were pretty happy with what we saw.

Tomorrow they'll start the stairs. Yea!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ed Gets A Wedgie or Working Without A Net

Saturday we drove to Portland to visit family, and on the way home we stopped at Lumber Liquidators to pick up our flooring. That in itself is a story, which includes but is not limited to, a very tired Dodge Intrepid with a trailer, an entire forklift full of flooring that fell (nobody was hurt), and a very nice young couple from Sandy, Oregon with whom we chatted for the better part of an hour. Finally we were home with a very full pick-up truck. Who knew you could fit an entire apartment floor into a truck?

While the weather has been beautiful, cool evenings and warm days, Ed wanted to get that chimney finished before the rains start in ernest. Last winter he wrapped the plywood with roofing paper to keep the bulk of the water off. But to shingle it, he wanted to take off the roofing paper, wrap it in Tyvek and then put the shingles on. This is a very tall, very steep roof, and the chimney is way up above all that. Needless to say, it's a little scary. Ed came up with a great idea to take some of that very heavy vinyl lining that was used to line the pan under the balcony and wrap a wood wedge with it. The vinyl made it much less likely to slip on the shingles.Then he put two huge eyebolts on the end of the wedge, looped a rope through the eyebolts and around the chimney. Now he had a level place to stand and work, and was (some) less likely to slip off the roof. Not exactly OSHA standards but, hey, this isn't a union jobsite. I'd be happier if he had a net.

Once he could work in relative safety, he tore off the roofing paper, put up the Tyvek and started shingling. Since the chimney is tapered, almost every shingle had to be cut to fit. Did I mention the warm days? Yeah, it was way past warm.

See that ladder? No..the yellow one against the chimney. Yeah, that one. Well the shingles go all the way to the top.

After the chimney was shingled, Ed went after the rest of the west side. He wanted to get it all done and get the staging down and out of the way before the doublewide gets moved. And check out that finished chimney!

Then yesterday, the fateful phone call. We got word that the doublewide will probably go this Monday or Tuesday. That's like...four days! OK I knew it would be soon, and I knew I had lots of stuff to do to finish getting ready. I had already scheduled a garage sale for this Friday and Saturday, and I'm now frantically and randomly throwing stuff into boxes and taping them shut.

Ed kicked into high gear and finished shingling the west side yesterday, and will be taking the scaffolding down today.
By Sunday we will probably be living a much more primitive lifestyle, although better than many in the world, and ours will only be temporary. But the computer will be in one of those haphazardly packed boxes I mentioned and we will be off-line for several weeks. Wish us luck. I'll take lots of pictures of them sawing the doublewide in half..or however they do that.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Moose and Squirrel

I've never been a fan of getting up early in the morning. Having said that, I must admit that once I'm up and awake, early morning is a special part of the day, not to be missed. If only I enjoyed coffee.... Somehow sipping on a diet Coke and watching the sunrise just doesn't have the same warm fuzzy literary sound.

Nonetheless, it was a gorgeous beginning to a busy week. After just a few magical minutes, the mist cleared and we were left with a fine fall day.

Ed finished putting in all the lights, switches, outlets and inlets. Along the way there were a few alternative words thrown about as Ed fought with cheap Chinese-made screws that bent over and wouldn't thread. Then there was the light fixture that had been the victim of someone's five-finger discount and was missing some crucial parts. Keep in mind that the store is an hour each way! The grout I picked out was way too light for the tile. We had to get a different color only to find out we didn't get enough and had to put off grouting the shower.

Finally all the electrical is complete, all the switchplates are on and we have power upstairs.

We put a fan in the living area and one in the bedroom. I like the one in the bedroom. I picked it out. I especially like those little shades. What I didn't notice was the forest scene around the motor complete with moose and bear. I have since learned that there is a little known Washington building code section 412.1006.2687WBC that says all new construction and any remodel construction more than 500 sq ft, must include or depict wildlife, either living or dead, to maintain the builder's green status, to include but not limited to antler furniture, taxidermied fish or metal cutout artwork. Lucky for me our moose fan with antler pulls has it covered.
Ed and I spent one afternoon driving to Longview running from store to store with a list as long as my arm. Then to Portland to Lumber Liquidators to pick out hardwood flooring. That'll take three weeks to get here. We're also waiting for the rest of the tile to come in so that we can finish that up. We spent a day driving to Seaside to talk woodstoves with someone too new to the job to be of any assistance, but it was a lovely drive. So our time on the actual jobsite has been a little limited. Sunday afternoon we spent some time ripping down spruce boards for baseboards and window trim.
There are just a million things at once, and it's making me a bit squirrelly. We still don't have a firm date on moving out the doublewide and I'm still packing up stuff to move..some to the barn, some to the garage for the apartment. Garage sale pile or garbage pile? I haven't used some stuff for the last three years, but will I need it in the next two? Paper or plastic? This next week, Ed will be working to finish shingling the chimney and I will be trying to finish packing the house.