Week 16 – A really bad one!

WEEK 16 – When we started building the house, Josh and I decided that I was “allowed” to use the phrase “This is why I never wanted to build a house…” 12 times. I used one this week!

After waiting for our lift to arrive through last week and the weekend, it showed up Tuesday afternoon and we anxiously waited to get started first thing Wednesday. Then…it rained two inches on Tuesday night. Surprise, surprise. We showed up Wednesday and quickly discovered the lift was two small to navigate into position while carrying any kind of weight. The garage trusses weigh almost 400lbs a piece…so that’s some weight! Immediately the lift got stuck and had to be pulled out of the mud with the truck. Fortunately, we were able to schedule delivery for a bigger, and stationary, lift the next morning. So, progress stalled until Thursday.

After another inch of rain Wednesday night, the mud and sand around the house and in the garage was fully saturated, and upon delivery, the new lift got bogged down pretty quickly in the mud as well. Fortunately, we didn’t have to take it very far, and once it was situated, it didn’t have to go anywhere. Josh and his cousin Mike got the first couple trusses into position against the house side and made plans to set as many as possible the next day.

Though Thursday night stayed dry, the humidity and heat didn’t help anything dry out, and Friday’s heat index hit 108 degrees. Nevertheless, Josh and Mike raised most of the garage trusses over the course of the day, and ‘The Other Josh’ and I came out in the afternoon to help start putting in the 100s of nails that hold them into place. It was hot, but progress was finally being made and quickly!

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However, progress, it seems, can be fleeting. When we first started putting the trusses up, I asked how they stayed standing if something like a big wind gust occurred. Mike and Josh showed me how they got braced so that they had a little flex in the wind, but also remained attached to the frame and upright. It made good sense, especially Friday evening as I helped put in brace piece after brace piece before leaving the site.

But Saturday morning, this rolled into town…

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And with it, 60 mph sustained winds. We got two huge storm fronts in four hours, and shortly after the second one blew through, a neighbor up the road called to say the trusses were coming down.

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Admittedly, this was not my most optimistic moment in the building process. While Josh assembled some tools, bracing, and a rain coat to go and see what could be salvaged, I had a bit of a breakdown. Truth be told, building a house this summer has felt a lot like building a sand castle. It’s always soaking wet. We’re always a little worried about too much water destroying what we’ve built. And now, it was literally starting to crumble! Two steps forward, three steps back. Josh rallied the troops and set out in the rain, and I wallowed a little bit that twelve hours in the sweltering heat came undone in a morning. And then it came out, “This is why I never wanted to build a house!”

The long and short of the recovery effort is that all but one truss was retrieved damage free. The one on the inside that took the brunt of the weight when they tipped over, has a cracked support upright, but because all the metal bracing points are undamaged, we should be able to reinforce that piece with bracing on both sides, and the overall structure will not be compromised. By Saturday evening, everything was back in place, with double the support running all the way across the span of the garage.

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Next week looks to bring sunshine and cooler temps, and with it, hopefully a lot of framing that will anchor all these trusses in place permanently! The floor, sheathing, and beams that will be run through to support the dormer will all add structure and support, and about 10000 more nails should keep things from going anywhere come rain, wind, or whatever else this summer is going to throw our way.

I could do without 108 degrees again…but I’d take it if it meant no more water!

Published by Kate

A former Wisconsinite, Kate now resides in southeast Minnesota with her husband where she teaches high school English and theater. She recently completed her master's degree in learning design and technology, and continues to study and advocate for arts integration in the classroom. A recipient of the RISE America grant for high school theater, Kate is working to innovate and expand theater opportunities for the students at PIHS. An avid distance runner, concert pianist, and want-to-be wine aficionado, Kate's blog "ink." is a passion project, embodying all the best parts of life: friends, food, wine, thoughtful conversation, style, and sass!

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