Want the good part of the story? Skip to the beam placement.
Last weekend we took Brynne and Doyle up on their wedding gift to us: a day working with us on the house. We were very excited about their help, as we both enjoy their company, and, admittedly, had a lot
of house work to do.
Tom Sawyer, here we come!
Doyle showed up at noon, expecting Brynne to not show up at all: turns out, she had previous plans for lunch, hair cut and visit with a friend. Kris was off walking the dogs, so Doyle and I dashed off to pick up a truck load of free dirt I had dibs on from Freecycle
Between two truckloads (the final two of five or six that we managed to pick up), Mark called, asking Doyle if he could help him with placing a beam.
"A what? A bean? Like Jack and the Beanstalk?"
"No, a beam. Like a beam of light."
Mark needed help placing a support beam for the first floor in his house. He had removed the basement wall that faced downhill from his house, and was replacing the first floor support beams, one by one. He had replaced the small cross beams, and now needed help replacing the big ones on the ends.
He offered to help us with the yard in exchange for our help placing the beam. We agreed, but asked him to help us first. Our work was finite, his sounded ongoing.
So, with Mark, Kris, Doyle, me and eventually Brynne, we managed to finally
clean the weeds out from the front yard, and till the yard. Brynne was a little hestitant with the tiller, though Mark took to it.
Neighbors, you can shut up now. And stop with the cursing.
Off to Mark's the four of us went (Brynne skipped out).
Our goal at Mark's was to place a structural beam. The beam needed to slide into a space 8 feet up, along top some beams along a wall. To place the beam, however, meant lifting the 250 pound 24 foot piece of wood up and guiding it into place. I was to guide the beam, the guys were going to lift it.
"Are you afraid of heights?"
I'm not quite sure why I didn't clue in when Mark asked me that question.
To get the best angle for guiding, Mark suggested I climb up, on top of the current beam, and guide the new beam into place. Eh, okay, I climbed up. I stood where Mark is here, eight feet up (10 if I missed the floor and jumped down through the hole in the floor next to me).
1... 2... 3... Heave! Up goes the beam, and forward, the three guys lift the beam up and start moving it into place. I push, pull, adjust, shove and angle the beam as best I can, until I look down, and realize I'm straddling this beam, it's not going into the space and, crap, if they drop that beam, I'm dead.
"Uh, guys, I'm a little uncomfortable here."
Still holding this beam up at chest height, balancing on a railing, straining not to drop it, they wait a few moments for me to hop over the beam, drop back down to the ground, and let my heart rate lower a bit.
One more shove and the beam is in far enough that the guys no longer needed to support it.
We joked about the moment for a bit. Doyle mentioned he wasn't sure why Mark wanted me above the beam, seemed a little dangerous. Kris laughed and said, yeah, if they had dropped the beam, it would have been trebuchet-kitt, or trebu-kitt, with the new beam pivoting around a perpendicular old beam, launching me down the hill, possibly to my death. He also said we'd see how much of a rush adrenaline could be as he'd do everything in his power to keep that beam up. I vocally wondered if I would have recognized the beam was moving up, and jumped over and out of the way of the beam. I'm not convinced I would have been aware enough of the situation to trade living for two broken ankles. Doyle then wondered how well I could get out of the way if both he and Mark had suddenly pulled down on the beam, Kris' adrenaline be damned.
He then laughed at my, "Uh, guys, I'm a bit uncomfortable here."
We then spent the next 3 hours trying to wedge the beam into place. Mark figured it would take 2 hours, assuming 2 snags. We hit 4 snags, which included a beam in the way (it was chain-saw'd off), too narrow of a space (we moved the wall to increase the space), plumbing in the way (we sawed a larger space), and yet another beam in the way, this one in the front of the house (we jacked the house up even more).
Because of the close space for the beam to go into, Chris and Kris used a sledge hammer to pound the beam into place. Each hit moved the 24 foot beam all of 1/2". Needless to say, it took each of them trading turns a long
The reward at the end? A delicious protein full dinner of yummy sushi, and an entertaining trebu-kitt story.