House Update # 10: The Doomed Operation

*I meant to post this a week ago, but it took me a while to get all the pictures organized.*

This was a rough week for the building process. We had a well-organized plan, but unfortunately almost nothing that happened resembled that plan.

The Plan

Sunday: Buy the railroad ties and bring them up to the site, have a mini-backhoe delivered

Tuesday: Have the gravel delivered, and spread it over the driveway with the mini-backhoe.

Wednesday: Have the forklift and crane delivered to help get the logs off the semi-truck. Have the semi back into the driveway and unload the logs, or, if the driver isn’t comfortable backing into the driveway, unload them onto the road and use the forklift to move them onto the driveway.

The Actuality

Sunday: The backhoe doesn’t show up during the scheduled time window. The company representative we call states that they don’t deliver on Sunday, even though we have an email confirmation of the scheduled delivery. Big Man and I leave the site to get the railroad ties, and half an hour later get a call from the delivery driver wondering why we aren’t there to accept the backhoe. (Seriously?)Fortunately, he listens when we tell him why we left and agrees to leave the backhoe on our site anyway. We were able to get the ties in place on the edges of the driveway.

Railroad Ties lining the Driveway
Railroad ties lining the driveway

Tuesday: Yet again, the delivery driver does not show up within the promised window. A call to the gravel company yields a lame excuse about how they “can’t read the order and aren’t sure what size gravel was requested.” Riiiight. And you weren’t going to call and verify the order with us? Big Man handles everything over the phone and gets a gravel truck on its way promptly, though we are now running over 2 hours later than planned, which is rough on Big Man and my parents who are there to help. Eventually the truck does arrive with the load of gravel and the driveway is made ready for the log delivery on Wednesday.

Wednesday: The day dawns cloudy and rainy and by late morning there are significant lightning storms in the area. The crane cannot work in such conditions, so Big Man reschedules the semi for early the next morning, even though that means he will have to work at the site all morning and then go straight to work for a full swing shift.

Thursday: Big Man heads up to the site early and meet up with the forklift delivery and the Crane Guy.

The crane on the driveway, ready to unload the logs
The crane on the driveway, ready to unload the logs

Semi Driver Dude shows up relatively on time and Big Man shows him the road and the driveway,  and offers him two options: 1) Back into the driveway so everything can be unloaded right onto the driveway pullout, or 2) If the back-in option seems too risky, park straight on the road and let everything be unloaded there. Semi Dude assures Big Man he is a competent driver (wrong) and it will be no problem to back in to the driveway (really wrong). Once Crane Guy and the forklift are in position Semi Dude drives up the road and starts going in reverse.

The beginning of a doomed operation
The beginning of a doomed operation

Big Man notices one of the back tires is flat, stops Semi Dude to point this out, and asks again if parking on the road would be the best option. Semi Dude insists the tire is fine (wrong) and he is capable of backing in (yet again, wrong). Really, the plan is doomed from the start because Semi Dude is a complete failure at his job. He starts backing into the drive and his angle is way off, so Big Man stops him again to suggest the easier option of the road. But no, Semi Dude is secure in his delusions of grandeur. He starts backing again and the flat back tire is not handling it well. Then a different back tire goes flat, and the operation is completely sunk. Semi Dude tries to pull forward and straighten out but it is too late. The truck is entirely stuck, blocking the road and the driveway, and is crooked enough that there is no way we can unload the logs without risk of damaging them.

And...the stuck truck
And…the stuck truck


Really, really stuck
Really, really stuck

In the end, a giant tow truck/wrecker is called to remove the semi (which has also run out of gas because Semi Dude didn’t think it was important to have more than a quarter-tank). Crane Guy has left for other jobs, so even when the truck gets unstuck, there is no way to unload the logs.

The tow truck
The tow truck

Fortunately, the owner of the trucking company is a great guy. He drives up to survey the damage and takes responsibility for Semi Dude’s many mistakes, meaning he covers the cost of the truck removal and the overage charges for the crane and forklift. He also has a plan to manage the log delivery. He will unload the logs at his trucking yard and then bring them up on a flatbed so we can unload them with a forklift and don’t need to hire the crane again. So it looks like we’ll be getting the logs delivered in a few weeks once the foundation is poured.

In the end, there isn’t much permanent damage to our building timeline. The biggest issue is that the front part of the driveway is damaged and needs to be patched up. And we don’t have the logs yet, but we have a plan to get them when we need them.  This endeavor could have ended much worse, with the logs being damaged or the trucking company not taking financial responsibility. It was an enormous amount of stress, especially for Big Man who was dealing first hand with everything, and we are disappointed that we don’t have the logs yet. But we’re trying to keep a positive attitude and focus on the the next step of the project.

Once the excavator repairs the driveway and finishes leveling the foundation area, the concrete company will come up to pour the foundation. Hopefully that will happen sometime in the next month. Thanks again for following along with our building adventure!

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