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Bring on the Big Machines!

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Mini-excavator at work! Lane Johns got this machine for his high school graduation present. That is some graduation present. He seems to enjoy running it. Who wouldn't? I'm standing inside my bedroom on the lower level, watching from the open sliding door. I can't help but squeal as the huge machine does its work right in front of me. Love to watch excavators at work. The precision their operators achieve blows my mind. 

The concrete pad is transported in pieces in the scoop of the skid steer to a waiting dump truck. At this point Curtis is totally cool with the demolition. He barely turns his head as the machines roar past. You don't find many dogs like Curtis. For my money he's a little too cool. I was backing across the lawn in my Subaru last week and didn't see him out my blind spot where he was lying, flat out, on the grass. I was shocked to see him there, unmoving. After I parked the car, I walked over to him. His tail thumped on the ground. By the tracks, my wheels had passed eight inches from his nose. 

I knew you wouldn't run over me, Ma.

                    Curtis Loew! Don't be so sure! Your Ma is getting old and blinder every day!

The 6" thick concrete pad outside the bedroom proved to be a different beast than the little thin one we had poured off to the side for the Groanhouse. It gave up hard. Real hard. Turns out it had rebar all through it, and that rebar went back into the house foundation. We were trying to find out if that might be the case; I even called the foreman of the job now 24 years ago, and he said he thought the patio rebar shouldn't go back into the house foundation. Well... There were some awful noises as the concrete was torn out, the worst sort of wailing squeal made when my big set of windows bowed outward under the pressure.  That sound brought me running down the stairs. The windows, unbelievably, were tamped back into place with a hammer, and everything works perfectly. I never would have believed that could happen, but it did. I didn't catch that on video, but there was this:

I guess the moral of the story is what an unexpectedly big deal it turned out to be to put a lean-to greenhouse on my home. I was unprepared for all the stuff that had to happen (ripping out existing concrete); for the duration and the intensity of it. I have managed to keep up with the expense of it (another great big eye opener) and ride with it, and I've tried to enjoy the process along the way. 
My least favorite part is the waiting in between spurts of progress.

By the next evening, this was the sight that greeted me out my bedroom window. Disorienting. Very disorienting. Because the bare earth quickly became a morass with the frequent rains and gutter spillover from the plugged downspout, I could no longer use my patio doors. I realized how used I had become to strolling out into the backyard, and how much I loved walking right out of the bedroom into nature.

Stemple Gutters had to come and unplug and then re-route the downspout that used to come down the west wall of the house. I was intrigued by the ingenious curve he had to describe to get it to turn the corner, and decided I loved the way it looked. Kind of like a sausage curl on a lady's temple. A lady with a small black nose and great big teeth.

I was especially grateful that Eric put a temporary extension on the downspout to keep water from pouring
into the construction site. We had about a two-week delay because the mud kept collapsing when they tried to excavate the footers. Ugh! I love a wet summer, but this one kind of got in our way.

Curtis did everything he could to keep morale high. He liked to snoopervise from the high deck or from under the Japanese maple off to the side.

We waited a long time for the ground to dry out enough to be safely excavated for the footers. 

It would all be worth it, I promised myself. Very much worth it!

Finally it was dry enough for Lane and Stone to come back and dig the 2' deep trench for the footers. The walls would no longer collapse. Rebar was laid, and the form was ready for the concrete. 

Now walking out the bedroom doors posed a serious hazard! Glad I'm not a sleepwalker...Bill would have been in big trouble! I'd have had to lock that door.


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