November 20-December 3

November 24 - The concrete has had time to set and the weather has taken a turn towards real winter, with a dusting of snow on everything. James and I head up to the site to meet the erectors who will drill in the bolts that hold the trusses. They have to drill 102 3/4" holes in the concrete, then set steel pads (1/2" thick) on the bolts and level the pads. Unfortunately, they didn't come equipped for the rebar in the concrete, even though it shouldn't have been a surprise. They don't come close to finishing when the day is over. We had planned to stay over on Thanksgiving to grout the gaps beneath the plates, but that's pointless since only 2/3 of the holes are even drilled.

November 26 - James and I return to the site to meet the erectors who are supposed to finish today. They still don't, and we pretty much have nothing to do.

November 30 - The weather takes shows what winter will really be like - there's almost a foot of snow to meet James as he drives up to meet the erectors.  The driveway isn't very welcoming, especially since this view is from the house site - at the top!


December 1 - Too bad we don't have video, it would give a Keystone Cops movie a run for the money in terms of slapstick. Of course, when you're trying to get a house built, it isn't that funny. The steel, several tons of it, is being towed by a ratty old 1/2 ton pickup, loaded way below its capacity. It's a 4-wheel drive truck, but the drive shaft to the front axle has been broken for some indeterminate time.  Needless to say, it can't make it up the driveway.  The rough terrain  forklift (with 4-wheel drive) is called into duty, first trying to pull the truck, then trying to push. This is nothing but disaster. (Starting the forklift was a story in itself, involving jumping the battery from two cars at once, a Coleman stove under the engine for heat, and starter fluid in the air-cleaner. Sort of like "Jackass - the Movie".)


December 2 - The owner of the erecting company (Papa bear, according to James) arrives and takes charge. The forklift is used to move the steel up the driveway, which James has cleared the night before with our Gehl skidsteer. Meanwhile, Papa bear has the crew leveling and welding the plates.  The trusses are put in place with the forklift. They stack many trusses on at once, reach in from the end, and drop them off one at a time, welding them in place. The forklift boom can reach to the center of the house from the end - over 35'. Pretty impressive sight.


December 3 - We trust the erectors to work on their own and James enjoys a day of dry and warmth, running errands around Albuquerque.