Moving a deck

(Note: in all these stories, names are changed. As I only use first names, this might seem unnecessary, but I'd rather do that than upset someone who thinks that they are the only possible Gerald and Linda-May in the country. Other folks might not care even if I attached gifs and a detailed resume, but it's just easier for me to disguise all identities.)

Some people buy a house and stay there forever. Some don't. Sometimes it's divorce that causes a move, sometimes a change in financial circumstances or a new job, sometimes it's children, sometimes it's a desire for a better home or a better neighborhood , and sometimes it's just plain wanderlust. Nudist camp peregrinations are undoubtedly have all these factors as their source, but it's probably the last two that represent the more common reasons.

After all, moving a trailer, or even buying a new trailer, shouldn't be an extremely traumatic undertaking. At Renaissance, people move about constantly. The Ghetto is too noisy? Move to Heaven. Heaven's too quiet? Move back to the Ghetto. Too close to the fire? Move again. I wouldn't say there are trailers on the move every single weekend, but it's common enough that it sure doesn't raise any eyebrows.

At nudist camps, as is true everywhere, the three most important things for a trailer site are location, location, and location. Different people might have different ideas about what constitutes a good location, though. For example, any site in the Ghetto might be seen as undesirable by those folks who don't like the idea of other folks howling at the fire pit in the wee hours of the morning. To those nudists, the Ghetto would be extremely undesirable.

But for others, who enjoy a more lively crowd, or who (like my wife and I) are sound sleepers, being in the thick of the Ghetto is just what they want. It's near the fire, near the Pavillion, near the pool, near the restaurant: for people who don't mind a little night-time rowdiness, it's a perfect location.

Thus, when the site next to our trailer became available, Rob and June wanted to move right over. Their trailer was already in the Ghetto, but not in what they considered the ideal location. Actually, some years previous, their trailer had been just about on that spot, but they had moved, and now regretted it. They wanted to be back where they had started, and the site was now available.

There was a minor obstacle: a 30 foot Holiday Rambler that, although it's owners had moved on, still sat rather solidly in the site of Rob and June's Ideal Spot. The trailer was being offered for sale by the former residents, but the asking price of $18,000 was intimidating most would be buyers.

There was no question that the site would be Rob and June's. They had begged, pleaded and threatened Renaiisance Management to require whoever would buy this trailer to forthwith move it away, to Heaven, or anywhere: just move it, because Rob and June wanted that site and wanted it badly.

But the trailer was not selling. The summer weekends slipped away, and although there were lookers, nobody made an offer. Too much money, and then you'd have to move it, too. The trailer sat there, and Rob and June sat in their trailer on the other side of the Ghetto, and gazed forlornly at their Ideal Location.

There was talk of pushing the darn thing over the edge of the mountain, but Rob felt he might be considered a prime suspect, so he asked me not to. He did seem just a little tempted, though. At one point he even wistfully entertained the idea of buying the trailer himself, but that would have been silly as they already owned a much nicer trailer for which they had actually paid even less money. So the weeks went on.

I think it was June who took the initiative to call the former residents and point out to them that it looked like nobody was biting, if the darn thing stayed there over the winter they'd have to pay another year's membership to keep it there, so why didn't they have a local trailer place come haul it away and sell it from their lot?

Apparently this struck a chord of common sense, because soon enough a big truck appeared, and the obstacle in Rob and June's Ideal Site was on it's way to a dealer's lot. All that remained was to haul their trailer into place, and life would be beautiful.

Well, not quite. There was one final problem in the form of a very large, two section, double planked, pressure treated deck that would have to be moved into place in front of their trailer. That's not an uncommon problem when folks move: decks have to be shifted about from here to there. Usually a gang of neighbors just picks the thing up, walks it over, and puts it down. That was the concept we intended to use here, but this deck was a bit larger and heavier then most. Still, Ghetto folks are nothing if not enthusiastic, so ten of us gathered around to assay the situation.

We all agreed the thing would be heavy. Double planks, closely spaced cross beams: this was a piece of Construction, all right. It was also agreed that Rob would have to make some adjustments to the grade of the land where the deck would go; he'd need to dig a series of graduated depth trenches for the cross beams to sit in. Measurements were made, and Rob started digging the day before we felt we'd move the thing.

The next day the same gang of ten gathered to do the move. There were two sections, and one was sitting considerably down-hill from the other, so we decided to move that one first.

For some idiotic reason, I took the downhill corner. I say idiotic because while I was certainly not the smallest man in the group, I was also far from the largest. But I don't think any of us realized just how incredibly heavy that piece of deck was.

I lift weights pretty regularly. I know what it feels like to lift 300 pounds off the ground, and I even know what 400 lbs feels like. When I straightened my legs, my hands and arms told me that my share of the load was a bit heavier than that, and neither my muscles, my tendons, or my joints were happy about it. Worse, it would not be sufficient merely to pick this thing up; we had to walk with it, and part of that walk was going to be backwards for those of us on this side of the deck.

When you mis-estimate this sort of thing, it's very dangerous to give up. Everybody lifting was probably at or near the limits of their strength, so if one person suddenly gave out, all of us would probably get dragged down. I remember thinking that, and I would have liked to suggest that we put it down and get more help, but it was too heavy: I couldn't talk.

But the worst was yet to come. We didn't have far to walk, a few yards, and once it was leveled out, the load lessened a little bit and I was fairly certain that my fingers were not going to come out of their sockets. But as we started to lower it into place, I realized that I was standing in the deepest part of the deepest trench. I couldn't step up without taking all the weight on one foot, and I was not at all sure I could do that. Worse, the other people, who were in the narrower part, were already starting to let down the load because they were able to step up more easily.

I yelled. Other people say I squealed, and I don't doubt it. I could see this multi-ton monster crushing my feet or even my legs and I didn't see any way to avoid it. I was scared, which might have generated enough adrenalin for me to make the step, or maybe the pure terror in my voice caused the other men to pull up harder. I don't know, but somehow we got that section down without chopping off my toes.

There was still the other section to move. My heart was pounding, my legs were shaking, and my fingers hurt. I took the uphill, outside corner this time.

Rob and June will be probably be our neighbors for years to come. But even if old age someday dims their memories in my mind, I think I will always remember their deck.

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