About This Weather: The Sequel

mantis 1118Neither Lynn nor I took into account the New Gunnison Winter. I know everyone mis-remembers the weather, but back in my youth it snowed, then got cold, and the snow stayed put. I also remember the snow coming up to my knees more often, but perhaps that’s because my knees used to be closer to the ground.

But the last few years there seems to be a new pattern: snow, freeze, melt, freeze, melt. It makes the streets far more treacherous, and the ground cover does more evaporating and disappearing into the ground than it used to, so even when we have a healthy snowpack, it might not result in the spring runoff that everyone in the entire Colorado River Basin needs.

What this means on a micro level is that while it snowed yesterday morning, the temperature hit the high 30s by midday, and our stem walls got poured.

Through the Miracle of the Internet, my lunch companions yesterday were Fred in Greeley and Matt near Chicago, and they wanted to know what “stem walls” are.  When pressed for a definition, it turns out I didn’t know either. In my extensive, five-minute search, I haven’t found an authoritative voice like I did for cement; in fact, I found a building code forum where participants were arguing over the definition. I’m just going to go with what popped up first on Google, without attribution:

“Stem walls are supporting structures that are utilized as a means of joining the foundation of a building with the vertical walls constructed on the foundation. The wall is often constructed with the use of concrete and steel, and works with the foundational slab to create a solid basis for the building.”

So, as I imagine will happen multiple times in this process, in the span of 24 hours Lynn and I went from despair that the weather would never allow construction to move forward to, Oh, here are our stem walls, whatever their definition is.

I can also report some progress on my quixotic quest to pin down our new address. As I imagined would happen, my first call, to Road and Bridge, came up mostly empty. The guy at the other end of the phone laughed (sympathetically, it seemed) when I told him him of our progression from 142 to 60 to 42, and then told me to call the GIS department. (From Google: geographic information system — I have to confess, this goes much faster than if I needed our old set of Encyclopedia Brittanica. Especially the amount of time I’m saving from being sidetracked by other interesting entries.)

Now, this is what the road guy also said: “They’ll probably tell you to call community development. But GIS is who we deal with on issues like this.” Fearing he was probably right, and that each department would direct me back to the other, I didn’t rush to make any of these calls.

But yesterday Oz and I drove to work (in an attempt to be timely for my Skype lunch date), and we parked our Nissan at the same time Vicki Hildreth was parking hers.

Now, let me just sidetrack (you didn’t even know you were in the Encyclopedia Brittanica, did you?) and say, before I bought my Nissan a little over a year ago, I owned my Geo Tracker for 24-ish years and my truck for probably a decade longer than that. But for that entire time, and possibly longer, Vicki had a powder-blue Buick that she drove everywhere. So there we both are, making giant leaps to 21st century cars. Look at us both go!

Vicki, among many other things, is the deputy county assessor. She is also one of the nicest people you are ever likely to meet. Since we were both there in the parking lot, I explained my numbers dilemma, and she said she’d look into it. Within an hour, she called me at work.

She didn’t solve all the mysteries, and every time the county says something, it comes with a different timeline, but what she learned from GIS was that our address got set in October, based on the location of the driveway. She said the county had it as 42 prior to our driveway application. I guess they thought the most direct driveway would plow through all the trees?

She did also walk me through how to use the county’s GIS interactive map pages, which will show addresses, but I haven’t had a chance to see if I can follow her directions correctly. (Because she is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, she told me to call back and ask for more help if I have trouble.)

I’m not sure I buy all the various explanations coming out of GIS, and none of this explains why the new addresses on Kokanee are odd when they should be even and vice versa, and none of this answers why we were told “142” from August 2017 when we first picked up a real estate sheet through closing through well permit applications through sewer bills, but it’s feeling more like it might be safe to tell people that our address is 60 Riverwalk Drive. Maybe.

So we have stem walls, tucked in under their blankies against the snow (CBS Denver is calling for 5-10″; Wunderground says there may be a few flakes 9-11 a.m.), and I have once again not reported on my trip to the new senior care center. I also may be changing the photo on this post, because when Lynn showed me the pictures she took yesterday on her way home from Almont, she had one I really liked, but she didn’t send it to me, and so far hasn’t responded to my “blog emergency” text. It’s like she’s working or something. I’ll use one she sent, but if she sends the one I liked better, I’ll update my post.

Update: Photo acquired and posted. I put the original down here, just for posterity. I also forgot, in my original post, to mention that Vicki told me she and her husband Kelly started construction of their house in November, and that they managed to get through it successfully. Did I mention she’s nice?

stem walls 1118

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