Stick figures of Chloe, Andrew and Henderson with their camper parked in front of Blue Mountain beside the Susquehanna River. Playful Curiosity.

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Lowering the House

Again the house moving company didn't want to commit to a date. And they were so worried about their precious cribbing. It says right in my contract that any cribbing that gets buried costs me $8 each. But these guys were all about not getting ripped off.

Anyway they wouldn't commit to a date and they wanted me to have the excavators there to dig out their cribbing. Finally I said "Fine. I'll get them there but you have to tell me when." Wouldn't you know when it benefited them they could commit to a date right then. Amazing.

We set the date for Thursday June 7th. They said, "We'll be there the same time as last time about 9:30am." (although it was actually 8:30am the first time.)

I set it up with the excavators to come at 8 am because Beam 3 - the one on the support post needed to come out about 4" - my fault. I figured that would give us time to set the beam and be done before they needed the space.

The house movers didn't get there until 10:45am (rounded down in their favor). Over an hour after they said and more than two hours after "last time". The excavators had already placed the beam, done any and all busy work they could find, called in a truck of fill and placed it and still had time for a lunch break.

Finally, the angry mennonite house moving crew rolled on. Angry, pushy and hostile. Too much time cooped up in the truck I guess because they mellowed out and almost acted friendly after they had been moving and working for a while. Heck, later in the afternoon the crew boss actually offered me some helpful advice. A pretty far turn around from the wary, suspicious and disapproving treatment I got first.


The shims were to big to fit down the holes so they needed to be cut.

How would you like to hang out on an I beam using a chainsaw?

Set the jacks.

Lower the house a little bit. Tap Beam 3 into place.

Look at that uneven gap.

This is where the real drama begins. Up until now it was all expensive demands and attitude. They lowered the house and got three corners to touch but the third had a two inch gap.

"Do you want to shim it or just lower it down?" How should I know. How about a pros/cons list buddy.

Now don't get me wrong. I expected a little of this. It was an old house by the river. It sank and settled. When you pour concrete walls they can't make them wavy to match the sinking and settling. They are level.

The end result was going to be push the house back to straight a little. The concern was it would crack drywall. Not a biggie for me - the vast majority of my drywall was laying flat on the floor waiting to be put up.

It's also possible to crack some framing timbers, misalign doors and windows and possibly even crack windows. Again in small bits - not a big deal. We are replacing the windows and the framing around them will need to be redone. We are replacing the siding and as I said we don't have much drywall up so we should be able to spot and repair any damaged framing.

My concern was too much "straightening" would bulge the roof and possibly even crack something structural - like a key beam.

Any way. I said jam it straight.

They got all four corners down and there was a gap in the back that was an 1.5" high at it's highest. Again they ask if I want to shim it. Again I say jam it straight.

It creaked and complained but it looked alright.

The next bit of drama was that the middle of the house sagged - just enough to pin their shims so they couldn't pull the rest of the their beams.

I ran off to Lowe's. I'll spare you an indepth accounting of being sent for a 6x6x10 beam, dropping it and deciding it wouldn't fit in the jeep only to find they didn't need it.

Back on site we rigged a temporary solution to get their shims and beams loose.

This will all have to go and key beams supported and shimmed before I can pour the floor.

Finally they could load the beams.

Moving the 50 footers.

Swinging it around the corner.

Digging out the cribbing.

All told having the excavators onsite the whole day probably cost me $1500 unnecessarily. It would have been cheaper to pay for the buried cribbing. Thanks House Movers. Your greed, inconsideration and inability to do what you said, cost me but at least you didn't lose any of your precious cribbing.

A happy moment. The backs of the house movers.

House down. Looking a little ragged but a major milestone.

Apparently the addition wasn't built all that square. The concrete wall is.
This little bit hangs over but the rest of the house is fine.