Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The day I thought I was going to DIE!!

Well, most contractors, when we mentioned to them our plans of doing a lot of the building ourselves, just kind of laughed at us and didn't take us to seriously…and all of them pretty much refused to work with us if we were wanting that sort of arrangement…all that is, but one fellow. I will call him D. D. was in the process of finishing building a house for a family, and he said he would pop in now and then or when we needed him to give us some tips and pointers and to help us with our concrete pours. For the summer we were on our own save it for a few days here and there when we needed him, but otherwise, he was happy to lend us his forms for the footings and be a bit of a sounding board for us. so…like a hero, he showed up at our site and dropped of his forms so we could lay our footings. He even helped us and was a speed demon with laying them all out. leaving us to finish the rest, I suddenly started getting overwhelmed by the task we were embarking on. "How firm a foundation", and the "wise man built his house upon a rock", and many other lessons on how important a firm, sound foundation is for the rest of the house, played over and over in our minds. Wow, if we mess this up…the rest of our whole house could be a big mess. Ultimately, with the "bottom-line" ever looming over our heads, we had no other choice. We finished setting up the forms and were finally ready for our very first concrete pour. It just so happened to be one of the hottest days so far, around 28-29 degrees C. We called in the help of a young man from our ward…and so our crew consisted of Jeremy, myself, and a young man named Levi. I don't think anything could have prepared me for that day. It was beyond brutal. Probably one of the hardest working days of my life, and truthfully, I don't even know how Levi managed, he was a powerhouse. Well, with us being rookies and all, we had no idea that the concrete could be wetter and it would pour and spread better…Instead, we were having to really work it to get the top of the footings nice and smooth…and we were having to move fast so it didn't dry up on us. When we were almost 2/3 done, we realized we needed help. A quick panicked call to D. who was busy working on his other house, and they (a crew of 3 more) were at our site in 15 minutes. True angels. We were moments away from loosing a whole concrete truck of concrete…it was about to set up and turn to rock right inside the barrel. Those guys moved… It was also discovered at this point that we had not placed our rebar in our footings along the way as we were supposed to, so C. (one of the guys on the crew) to the rescue, started cutting lengths of rebar and pounding them into our quickly setting concrete. After the mayhem died down D. went to get mad at the concrete driver for letting it get so dry in there and not doing something about it sooner (they should know to)…but our concrete driver was actually a bit of a rookie as well…oops. (I think my dad would have called that "the blind leading the blind") In the end, though a near complete catastrophe…it all worked out…a complete answer to prayers and definitely a miracle. During all of this, our Chaim, Oscar and Walden were onsite, with stern warning to remain sequestered to the tent trailer we had set up. It was chaos…But thankfully we all survived…at points I thought I was going to pass out due to physical exertion and extreme heat exhaustion. Jeremy, remained calm and led our misfit crew like a champ, encouraging us along until help arrived... and in the end we got it done, however traumatic it seemed at the time, I will forever be grateful to D. and his crew for coming and saving us when we were just minutes away from major disaster. In the end, the footings were poured…One step closer to having a house.
(Memory: I just remembered how we were not quite done tying the rebar in the footing forms that morning before the concrete trucks arrived. It felt like crazy pressure, like when you watch those Masterchef shows and the clock is ticking down…they have 10, 9, 8, 7…etc seconds to plate the food or feed an army of hungry people..6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…time!…Times up! the cement trucks are here. Put down your rebar ties. Luckily…another miracle, we finished prepping the forms and the rebar just as the first cement truck rolled in…it was truly a crazy day.)

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