Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mud, Moving, Neighbors, Dodgy Front-Ends & Sick Kitties

No real progress on the cabin yet, although we did pick up the pier blocks for our porches, plywood for our stair treads, lumber for our window sills, and some used railroad ties for the skids/sleepers under the sheds.

Mostly, the name of the game these days is MUD... mud... mud... and more mud. It's messing up everyone's moving and building plans. To our east, K&S are having a rough time getting their building supplies down the East Trail and got their Mountaineer stuck up to the running boards the other day and had to use our Hi-Lift jack to get out of the mire and then as a come-along to winch them out onto solid ground. To our west, R&G got their forklift stuck in their yard up in Fairbanks while loading up the trailers to bring everything down here... since we almost got our truck stuck on the West Trail the other day, they're not even attempting to bring the forklift and their building materials down. And, of course, we can't really get any of our materials down the West Trail either. Everything must be done in small/light loads using the ATV and a sled since a trailer's wheels would get stuck (as previously witnessed).

We rented a small UHaul trailer to bring the last of our stuff out of the storage room in Fairbanks so that D&L, our friends who just moved to the Fairbanks outskirts from Louisiana, could have our storage room since climate controlled storage is hard to come by up here. Well, the trailer we rented was a serious POS -- no brakes and a front tire that decided to go flat made it a real treat to to up and down our windy mountain road. It wasn't great for G driving it down loaded, but seriously sucked for me driving it back empty... thing was bouncing around like a Go-Go dancer for 150 miles, sure couldn't take any downhill curves with any speed. Luckily, when I returned it, they knocked a few days off the rental because I bitched about the state of the equipment.

Of course, this lead us to take the truck in to get the brakes checked. And it turns out that we need some serious work done on the front end (steering and suspension) as well as new brakes all around. The mechanic basically said it as a miracle that we hadn't had an accident yet, especially given all the towing and the road conditions lately. I agree that the steering has been pretty drifty recently, with the steering wheel being more of a request and suggestion than a command. So G-man is up arguing with the mechanic today since he thinks the estimate I was quoted on Monday is way too high. Granted we have a big custom lifted truck, but the costs of labor in the estimate seemed way out of proportion even to me (twice the cost of parts??? come on guys!), and we could get brand new higher-end parts (with shipping!) for the costs they listed for refurbished parts. That's not entirely uncommon up here, especially when a woman brings the truck in, the truck has any mods at all, and the customer lives in the bush. Sad, but true. I'm sure that G will get them sorted, or we'll just order the parts and do the work ourselves after G drives home *slowly* with R&G this weekend when they move down. Always safer to drive a gimpy vehicle in a convoy in case something does happen.

So, I've been up in Fairbanks most of a week, except when I came down here with R&G's 2nd load (riding 4 hours cross-legged in the tiny jump-seat with the cat and G's guitar) and then towing the empty trailer back up. Between moving loading our stuff, helping D&L unload their stuff, helping R&G with their packing as much as I could... I'm seriously exhausted! Now G is up in Fairbanks for a few days, and I'll be trying to finish up sledding back the rest of our stuff and building materials with the ATV... and maybe get some more drywall work done... maybe.

Charlie kitty also had a vet visit to look at her chronic weepy eye, and is now on antibiotic drops to see if the tiny ulcer will clear up... so far, she's doing ok but hates the drops. Doc gave us the fluorescent dye drops to check on the ulcer every few days, and if it clears up we can stop the antibiotic drops and switch to the steroids. I have to say that I *LOVE* our vet, he always makes time for us whenever we come in from the bush and he is more than willing to send us meds by mail and do consults over the phone/email. He even said he'd come out to our place once/twice a year once we get our livestock to do health checks on the whole bunch of them at once. How awesome is that?!

At this point, it looks like we're just going to have to move into the cabin without the walls and floors being finished and work around stuff. It sucks to have to move everything from room to room and use drop clothes and all, but I'm so freakin' tired of living in this tent! Since a lot of the stuff we had in storage was fragile/electronics and is already safely in the cabin, the rest of it might as well be... right?! I mean, we have to work around that stuff now, so we might as well work around all of it. Figure we can load up one floor, fix the other, then move everything to that floor and do the remaining floor. Nifty stuff like trim and porches is last on the list. We might not even get the porches on completely this year, which means that we won't have the roof done completely/properly this year either... but we still have the uber-mega-mother-of-all-tarps that we didn't use last winter that we can use this winter if we have to. Whatever!! As long as we have a weather-tight, insulated cabin with sturdy floors & walls, level surfaces to work with, doors & windows that open & close, and a wood stove that keeps the place warm I'll be good!

I just feel bad for K&S, R&G, and D&L who all think they'll have something livable and warm by winter when they're starting from scratch and don't even have any land cleared yet. I'd love to tell them that they've got plenty of time to make it... but if the weather and trail conditions don't cooperate and they aren't building from a pre-cut kit, I doubt they'll make it. Both K & G have oodles of construction experience, but they can't dedicate full-time to the building process and all that experience doesn't mean diddly if you can't get your materials on-site! I wish everyone the best of luck and will try to help out as best I can while still getting our cabin work done.  JOY!!!  I think my anxiety disorder is going to be triggered for the next few months... will need to get my Rx filled next time I'm in town!!


Dan Lynch said...

I enjoyed hearing about your latest adventures, PC.

The mud season must suck. I mentioned a while back that heaven is a dry woodshed full of seasoned wood, or words to that effect. Add to that, heaven is a gravel driveway that is passable during the muddy season.

Plickety Cat said...

Amen to that, Brother, AMEN!

We're happy with such little things - warm, dry, solid... level :D