Mud. It’s not here in full bloom yet, but it’s coming, and it’s always nasty for us builder-types.
Many folks – my mom included – are surprised we build for four seasons. I’m not sure what they would think we would do, but I guess there is a general feeling that it’s just too cold to be working outside. Unfortunately for professionals dealing with the construction of unheated new homes, the winter is just another season (albeit with frozen pneumatic air gun hoses, generators that won’t run, boards that are frozen together, and fingers that don’t work right).
But believe it or not, it’s not old man winter that challenges us most forthrightly; it’s spring. The snow melts, the driveways muck up, and the walkways to the house froth with ankle-high mud. Sentries need to be posted at every near-completion house so someone – anyone– does not enter the home with mud-caked shoes on.
Winter’s ice and snow is a predictable challenge – you need to plow, you need to sand and salt. Spring’s mud serves up a more varied sort of exercise, with management wondering which truck will attempt the unthinkable; which $15,000 appliance truck will not only get stuck in the mud, but then attempt to roll their dolly with the viking range through the mud to the front porch and through the length of the home to the kitchen.
With ice and snow, you know what you are up against. With the spring snow melt and frost thaw, a building site’s typically cantankerous personality evolves into a scary bridezilla-like temperamental, impossible to manage, schizophrenic-like, monster of muck mud money and mayhem.
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