Monday, March 3, 2008

dr. n's shed

the owl can't believe what he is seeing

dr. n's shed is no more. amazingly, it wasn't destroyed (as rich and i thought it likely would be) but rather was moved by some seriously creative and adept electricians. they were armed with two house jacks (although one didn't work), a 24 by 8 foot mobile home base that had been semi-converted to a trailer, a toyota land cruiser that was about as old as i am, a winch on said cruiser (of the same vintage as the truck itself), lots of boards of wood and a couple of long steel pipes. there were three guys--J.W., who is pushing retirement age and weighs almost nothing, jeff who is my age and also weighs almost nothing, and rob who weighs a bit more but who has MS and is a physician of oriental medicine in addition to his electrician skills. it was a motley crew with a remarkably odd assortment of implements.

so, these three necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention masters decided they were going to put our one ton shed up on this homemade trailer. several problems presented themselves: first, we couldn't get a crane in the backyard because the power lines were too low. and we couldn't get a crane in the front because the driveway was too narrow for the stabilizing arms. our neighbors, who have both a very wide driveway and a sand backyard said absolutely not when asked if we could put it there, so that was out. and, the shed was built in situ so it couldn't be disassembled without turning it into a pile of rubbish. so it had to be lifted but it had to be lifted another way--house jacks.

second, we couldn't get the trailer that the shed was to go on actually in the backyard because J.W. drives a converted 1970 tom's peanut truck/snack wagon for his transportation and the length of it combined with the length of the trailer meant that he would most certainly end up in the ditch that runs behind our house. so he cut the fence down and spent about an hour slowly angling it into place. although then we had no fence. and, after the trailer was in place he realized it was about 6 feet too far over from where it needed to be to get the shed on it.

thus problem #3--how to move the shed? solution--they jacked up one short side of the one ton shed (i might be exaggerating the weight, but that sucker was heavy and solid!) as far as they could then pushed it over--BAM!--so it fell on a slight diagonal from its original position. then they went to the other short side and did it again. they walked the shed the whole distance by doing this over and over, one side then the other, about 5 or 6 feet. and that thing totally held together! there was one slight crack between two adjoining pieces of wood, but it held. impressive.

after they got the shed moved to position they jacked it up one last time, as far as they could, backed the trailer up as far as it could go and realized there was about a 6 inch gap because of the trailer bumper. couldn't get the bumper off, so they got behind the shed and these guys PUSHED as hard as they could. it cleared the gap and caught on the trailer. amazingly, the trailer didn't flip over (it was being weighed down by the toyota).

now, how to get it on the trailer? they wrapped the shed with an extra-long piece of nylon mesh rope, which promptly snapped the first time they tried to winch the shed and thankfully didn't hurt anyone. so, they tied random bits of rope and what was left of the mesh together and tried to winch again. ultimately, it all worked.

gus takes a break from foremanning

when we first moved into the house, we had a lot of electrical work done and J.W. (who did all the work) told me that if we ever wanted to get rid of the shed he wanted it for his property in the mountains. he is a committed activist and has been pushing for light rail in albuquerque for years; he will certainly be in this shed/cabin writing his rails manifesto for years to come. rich and i have wanted a basketball court back there where the shed was, and the neighbors (the ones who wouldn't let us use their yard...) were complaining that squirrels were living under it and infesting their ductwork, so we figured it was time to let it go. we are getting one half that size and placing it in a totally different place--dr. n (the previous owner) liked to keep lots of handy things in the shed, but we are not so resourceful. thus dr. n's shed is no more. (and, FYI, there wasn't a single squirrel or squirrel dropping or anything anywhere--perhaps they just like my neighbor's ductwork?) look for pictures of the basketball court to come!

i'm putting two movies up of some of the action--enjoy!

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