My dad won't let me use a chainsaw, he won't let me on a roof with a pitch any steeper than an Iowa prairie, and he won't let me drive the big tractor in its highest gear. He will, however, tell me to stand on a 6 inch wide wall, 8 feet in the air, and fly 300 pound, 30 foot wide trusses at me with a forklift, with the shouted admonition, "CATCH!".
The day we began putting up the trusses on the house was one of the most nerve wracking of my life. It seemed, beforehand, like it would be the most important day since pouring the foundation, the day the house went from being a squatty little set of single story walls to being a towering giant with a distinctly house-shape. I could hardly sleep the night before. Once the trusses were delivered and in lovely neat stacks around the job site I was ready to see them float gently into place and be nailed and braced calmly and serenely by dad and I.
The reality, as it turned out, was not nearly such a smooth, delightful step in our journey.
We had rented a forklift that could fly something roughly the size of a C-130 to roughly the height of the Sears Tower. Or...that's how it seemed to me on the ground when it was extended all the way up with one of my beautiful trusses swaying precariously from the forks high above me among my stand of lanky pine trees. I have never had a fear of heights when I am the object above the earth. Watching things hover overhead from a great height is a different story. I spent that first day envisioning myself squashed like Wile E. Coyote beneath the Acme anvil of Roadrunner's wrath.
What we imagined would take us 3 or 4 days took us nearly 2 and a half weeks and repeated calls to the rental store begging an additional day or two with the forklift. I began to suspect that dad was just becoming attached to such great heavy machinery and was stalling so he could keep it. Ultimately, that was a rather expensive little love affair but one that saved us from having to call the Amish community in north Mississippi to beg for help in raising the rafters. Just as well. I think my tattoos and divorcee status combined with dad's proclivity toward salty language and my brother's tendency to be shirtless and sporting a plumber's butt may have thrown a few Amishpeople into a crisis of faith. Who would want to be responsible for that? Not I.
Willing helpers did drift in and out of those weeks and made my survival and the preservation of dad's mental health possible, not to mention the fact that, after all was said and done, I had a house-shaped structure on a hill, ready for roofing.
If I had to do over, I would hire a crew and hide under my bed until the trusses were in place. Hopefully...HOPEFULLY...I won't ever have to place another truss as long as I live. To borrow one of my mom's favorite expressions: "Lord willing and the creek don't rise..."
Here's a few pics of before, during and after: