It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….regardless, it has been one hell of a time. In our barn rebuilding efforts, we keep hitting roadblocks.
We went with the same builder we used for the arena. We submitted our plans and got a quote. We redid our plans and got a new quote. We lost our place in line with the construction crews in the meantime. I was thinking we could be in the new barn by Thanksgiving in mid-October. I was wrong.
The new barn got started in late November. It was going to start the week of Thanksgiving. I was super excited about that since I have the end of the week off and would be around for the start. Winter was holding off so this seemed hopeful. Turned out they were dropping materials off, not actually starting to build. That would be the week after Thankgiving. The site work was done and we were ready. The snow held off, but the rain came (and boy did it – we went from drought to flood in a couple days).
The shell of the barn went up pretty quickly. The person doing the concrete (and had also done the original barn) had been ready to come as soon as the exterior was done. However, so did winter. I had been telling myself that maybe we could move into the new barn over Christmas (uhh….no). Concrete doesn’t like being cold either evidently.
I thought I had ordered the stalls in the beginning of November. The builder had not ordered the stalls then. No problem – they thought it would be a week to ten days to get the stalls in. The reality was that the stalls would actually take 4-6 weeks and would now be arriving mid-January. My husband was willing to take a truck and trailer all the way to Texas to pick up stalls but since they had not been made yet (and evidently no one stocks stalls on this side of the ROCKIES), so we would have to wait. Turns out that wasn’t going to be the final sticking point anyway. We ended up finding someone who could get us the stalls in four weeks and for a better price since they were a dealer. Both the builder and the dealer were going to sell us the stalls at their respective costs – so both deserve some props. No one was making money on this deal in our area.
I was checking my weather app like a middle schooler with social media and a smart phone. I got excited because the required number of warm days was being forecasted over the break. However, the concrete plant closes for ten days over the holidays.
On the bright side, thanks to another friend, we able to score access to an industrial heater that could heat the new barn enough to be able to pour concrete regardless of the cold. We just had to be able to afford the propane to fuel it. At this point, I was willing to waitress nights (I used to joke that I would dance nights but as the decades pass, I think its more realistic to plan on waiting tables at nights. I think at this point, people would pay to have me put more layers on). Explaining to the propane company what we were up to was Mr. BBD’s problem (bless his sainted heart).
So the concrete went in. The person pouring the concrete is an old friend, and I was not above calling in tears (or calling his wife or daughter in tears) if I thought it would be necessary. I am guessing that is a man who may be wishing that nearly 20 years ago he had held firm to his daughter getting ballet lessons and not riding lessons but that ship has sailed and he has two horses living in his backyard currently.
The stalls arrived last week. This was an adventure on a number of levels. First off, the dealer is Amish (Raber’s Emporium as we now call it). And he just so happens to be the brother of our farrier (also Amish and the proprietor of Raber’s Emporium North). So we hooked up the trailer, load up the farm employee (who showed up when he was in middle school because he likes horses and is now a full time farm employee as an adult), the Amish farrier and off we went to the back of beyond to pick up the stalls (which came in early). I was texting with someone that I thought we would be back in two hours. The farrier asked why I thought we would be home by then (I assumed that was a bad sign). We found the place and of course the weather conditions could be described as thick-rain-falling-onto-ice. So four hours and a lot of lifting later, we were home with stalls. I do have to say it was a pretty fascinating trip and we scored some fabulous fig cookies as well. (If anyone local is reading this, either Raber shop – Dewittville or Conewango is pretty great. The one in Conewango is practically a mall for horse shoes).
The following weekend I got up early and my mother and I made a run for stain to do the stall boards. Mr. BBD had used a forklift to get all the packages of stall boards over to his uncle’s heated shop and I had a volunteer workforce lined up for a weekend of staining. We dragged out all sorts of saw horses and set up to get to work. We cut open the first set and realized they had already been treated with polyurethane. Hours of work saved but I really wish we had read the label prior to moving all of the plastic wrapped boards and the forklift. The boards are a little lighter in color than I would have picked but they look very nice and my other half wanted them lighter anyway.
The stall boards were moved home and the rubber mats were installed. The posts had been installed in the wrong spots but that was surmountable. Mr. BBD and his sidekick (the employee) got the stalls walls ready to install. Only to discover that the wrong brackets had been included with the stalls and no stall walls would be installed on that day (they look lovely leaned up in place). A phone call to Texas got the new brackets shipped with an expected arrival of “next week”. I got home from work to make an immediate follow up call to explain that a week was too long and that the shipping needed to be expedited to overnight. The person I talked to promised to call me right back. In their lovely efficiency and feeling bad about the mistake, they had already shipped them out and could not change them to an overnight shipment.
The next day, my husband called them back to double check that Preifert was not just sending the same wrong parts that they had just sent (and charged!!) him for. They were. They changed the bracket system from the previous models and no longer sell hardware to attach it to a non Preifert wall(or at least that is what the sales rep was telling us). Mr. BBD performed his usual magic and made a bracket system that would fix the Preifert stall divider to the kick walls.
Now as an aside to that – we were out to dinner (at a tavern-just setting the scene) as a friend’s daughter was explaining that her (handy) father “overly defines himself by his masculinity” and was polling my husband and father as to whether or not they agreed with this assessment (the implication being that they both fell into the same category – evidently it is better to be an unskilled male who looks down on others rather than one that can jump in and help). I interrupted with announcing my belief that my eyes had now rolled so hard that I thought my parents were right from my teenage years and my face was now stuck like that.
– Beer Budget Dressage, y’all.