Posted by: evesmarketing | June 18, 2013

Help My House is on Fire cont: Modular vs Mother Nature

Modular vs Mother Nature

Ever hear these old sayings… a bad beginning makes a good ending… or… any crash you walk away from is good crash?  Well, that was the way we felt… when late Friday afternoon, a long enclosed box trailer was discovered parked at the edge of our fire site lot!  How or who parked it there was a mystery to us, because we never saw or heard a thing!  Could this mean the modular was coming next week?  Was someone teasing us and just temporarily parked this trailer on our side of the road?  A quick phone call to Chuck at Riley’s Mfg.Homes in Urbana, Ill. brought us the much awaited news… OUR MODULAR WAS COMING… the Modular was coming…next Thursday… oh joy…oh rapture… OH NUTS!!  Did I happen to mention Mother Nature’s plans for next week?  She was planning storms for Wednesday and all thru the week end.  And, to add even more good news to this dismal picture, Thursday was to have a high risk for strong winds, heavy rains, thunder storms… and even more good news… JUST A SLIGHT RISK OF TORNADOES!  All we could visualize was our new modular spinning up and away, even before we got to see it!!!… Auntie Em… Auntie Em… hang on to To To!

truck, trailer and supplies

Truck with trailer and supplies

Monday through Wednesday saw nothing happening next door on the fire site lot. Meanwhile at our house, we were holding our breaths and praying for good weather!  All we could do was wonder if the bad weather would delay the modular from being delivered!  We would have to wait and see what would happen on Thursday!  Finely, Thursday arrived… the wind was gusty and blowing, but the sky had just scattered clouds… and… YEP, sunshine was coming through those scattered clouds!  We kept going to the window… hoping for some type of action, or some one to appear on site… but no action… nothing… all was quiet on the Midwestern front!  I guess 6:00 am is just a little early, maybe a little too early for construction work!  Finely, around 9:00am, we heard the clatter of ladders banging against each other!  They were here… the crew has returned!  We heard the noise of laborers at work! We ran outside and discovered… JUST two workers!  Are we or are we not going to get our modular home today?  So, I went out to talk to one of the men, and he told me those  words every woman wants to hear… YES, IT WILL BE HERE TODAY!!!  Then he explained it would be delivered about 11:00am.  Also, there would be a special team coming to help set up the modular!  This is all the team does … just set up modular homes.  I expressed my concern about the weather, especially the wind! But he assured me there would be no problem with the wind.

preparing rails for modular

Preparing the rails for the modular

By 10am, the men had arrived and set to work, building an aluminum RAILROAD TRACK SYSTEM on which each half of the modular home would ride on. These tracks will allow the men to PUSH the first half of the modular in an East or West direction! They then started constructing another set of rails which will allow them to push-pull the halves in a North or South direction. These rails had to be built, and be in place, before the modular house arrived!  You might be wondering how the house could be put onto the rails. The answer to this question is really simple… they JACK UP the halves and put heavy duty TROLLEYS under them. Then, they let each half of the modular home down on to trolleys! 11am came and went … no modular… not even a sign of it coming!   About 11:30 am, one of the kids watching the crew working, yelled out there was a modular at the end of our road!

backing modular down the street

Backing the modular up two blocks

Then, the boss of the special set up crew, Mr. Howe, came on site to look at the rail systems to make sure everything was in order. Finding everything in order, he left to bring the first half of the modular onto the lot. The modular was taken down the street… Sure enough… there was our house… at last it had arrived!  Then, one of the men said there was a PROBLEM… why not, Mother Nature got our message and held back the storms… I guess SOMEONE didn’t pass the message to THE FATE GROUP!  As luck would have it… GET READY… this half of the modular was FACING THE WRONG DIRECTION!  Some how it had to be turned around so that, the correct side would be facing the right direction!  After what seemed to be a very long time, I saw the BACK OF OUR NEW HOME… COMING TOWARDS US… GOOD GRAVY… THEY WERE BACKING THAT HALF OF THE modular… two whole blocks to get to the lot… AND THEN… they had to swing it into the lot.  Also, they had to get this half as close to the foundation as possible!  Imagine this… the modular is 66 ft. long, with a 2-4 ft. over lap for the truck’s bed!  And then you have to add on another 6-8 ft. for the cab of the truck!! NOW, imagine having to back this 70+ ft. long monstrosity two blocks, and then… swinging it into its parking spot… You all know how difficult it is to back a car up to get into a small parking space; now you can see why, Mr. Howe asked every one to park their cars and trucks on only one side of the street.

van in yard as modular passes

Van pushed into yard to allow modular to pass

A simple request turned out to be harder than expected… OUR 1989 LARGE VAN would not start! Due to the fire, we had not been able to get away for our Flea Markets.  Because we had not run the van…the battery wasn’t charged up!  No, matter… EVERYONE just pushed it up in the lawn where it wasn’t going to be in any one’s way.

modular next to lot

Modular almost to lot

Everything’s ready… rails are in place, cars are parked on one side of the street and every special crew member is at their station ready for the modular to get onto lot… then onto the foundations!

first half modular backed in

Piece of cake if you know how to drive this BIG one

Mr. Howe made it look …soooo… easy as he backed up the modular. Did I mention, he had to swing the modular between a satellite dish and a power pole? By watching him backing up that 70 plus feet rig, you would have thought those two blocks were more like 2 ft… And with just a few adjustments, he had that monstrosity backed up, swung around and ready to be put onto the trolleys!

preparing rails for modular

Preparing the rails for the modular

As soon as the truck was in place, several men started undoing and removing the fasteners which kept the modular on the transport truck as it made its way to our site. After this was finished, they brought out some very large jack stands which had been modified.

These jack stands had a heavy duty platform welded to the side of them; this then allowed a hydraulic jack to be placed on it and as the jack raised the modular a large safety lock pen was inserted into the holes of the jack stands… every time the jack stand’s holes would line up in went a safety lock pen and this went on until that modular was about 4 ft. in the air. As soon as the modular was raised enough to clear the truck’s bed… away went the truck to bring back the other half of the house! While Mr. Howe was hooking his big rig to the other half of the house… the men were quickly putting together the part of the rail system which had to be done after the house was jacked up and was above the height of the foundation’s walls.

modular being pushed

Modular being pushed by men across foundation.

This crew worked so well together that everything was ready to lower the 1st half of the house down onto the rail system…What I saw happen next was unbelievable…4-5 men, using no motors or winches, pushed the house all the way across the foundation’s right side clear across to the left side… then 2 men pushed the house 4-5 inches to the front part of the foundation… the unbelievable result was … IT FIT PERFECTLY on the foundation’s walls!  Boy-oh-boy, to have everything line up the first time was unbelievable!

1st half in place

1st half in place

The men started to work immediately… removing all the plastic wrappings which kept the modular from getting road dust or wetness into the house as it was transported to our site. Almost-there.-Easy-as-making-a-pie

They really had to hurry because… It started to lightly sprinkle! AND THE OTHER HALF OF THE MODULAR WAS WAITING TO BE SET IN PLACE!

Turning into lot

Making final turn into lot

It was around 2pm when all at once I saw the other half of our modular being backed up just like the first half had been done… again Mr. Howe made this task look so simple! A few minor adjustments and the 2nd half was right along side the foundation wall ready to be jacked up and rolled onto the other half of the foundation’s wall.

ready for the jacks

Backed into place… ready for the jacks.

Once again, the crew went to work repeating the same steps as they had performed in order to get the 1st half in place!

jacking modular from truck

Jacking up modular off truck

The crew also removed the transport wrappings and BINGO… they pushed it up to the 1st half.

getting ready to move modular to foundation

Getting ready to push 2nd half to foundation

The remainder of the day was spent securing the two halves together.Here-is-comes


Three teams of 2 men… one team at the front end; one team underneath in the middle of the house and the other team at the backend…went to work attaching 12” plates on each half of the house.

two halves not together

Pulling the two halves together.

These plates had large rings welded on them for placing a device called a-come-a-long between the two halves. When all teams were ready, they started to ratchet the halves slowly together until each half met.

removing wrap

Removing wrap

All the time this work was going on, black clouds could be seen in the East and seemed to go straight North… missing us once again! Thank you Mother Nature! I wondered what God said to her causing her to leave us alone once again!! And just like before, when the job was finished it POURED… as though Mother Nature was letting out her vengeance! It rained most of the night, but stopped by early morning. The men arrived and started working on some of the outside jobs which still had to be finished.

Removing protective materials

Beginning to look like a home. Removing protective materials.

As they worked, Chuck, from Riley’s arrived to examine everything and to tell us he was going to have men come next week to work on the exterior, the porches and the interior.

Thanks from Gifts & Collectibles Galore for letting us share our excitement and what we learned about setting a modular in place.

Next Blog – The Outside work and Porches

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