Weather Window

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Because I made it seem like so much fun, Lynn was planning her own trip to Denver last week. Then the forecast for last Wednesday (her departure date) came in, and I told her she couldn’t go.

To be clear, no one tells Lynn what to do. Let’s just say I strongly suggested she postpone her trip, which she did. But Wednesday morning there was no snow, and she was a tad put out with me — until a few hours later, when I sent her a screenshot of the road camera from Fairplay illustrating a complete whiteout.

Cotrip.org, offered by the Colorado Department of Transportation, is probably the best website ever put together by our state government, which should never be known for user-friendly websites. (Trust me: you do not want to get me started on the sites I use monthly to file business taxes — and especially not on the redundancies their year-end wage withholding inanely demands.)

But the CDOT map is a veritable goldmine of information, even if I have yet to locate the key. Without a readily available key, you have to infer which color means what on the roads (you wouldn’t want a state-run website to be perfect: the universe would likely come to a standstill), but by the time you get to light blue, it means snow on the road. Last Wednesday, I encountered a color I’d never seen before on the map: black, all the way from Sargents to Poncha Springs, and just about the time Lynn would have been driving over Monarch Pass. Black meant wind, and snow, and ice, and poor visibility — general extreme unpleasantness.

At that same time, my sister Terri and her husband Michael were trying to make their way out of a wintery downtown Denver. They spent one hour on roads downtown, and another hour on I-70.

Thursday morning, when Lynn would have been headed to an appointment downtown, the Channel 4 TV crew was driving around that area, noting they were seeing cars slide everywhere, and that they couldn’t see any lines on the roads.

Sometimes it pays to listen to me, even if Lynn is a skeptic.

So she postponed her appointment, to this week. And then I started looking at the forecast again. Her appointment this week is on Wednesday morning, which may mean she can catch the one open window in an entire week of a call for snow, and lots of it.

It does mean she will likely have to forego the Colorado Home and Garden Show, taking place all week at the Colorado Convention Center. But she’s not as sad about that as she initially was: you can’t park at the convention center (what sort of convention hall offers no parking? That seems like a major, major flaw), and wherever you can park, it’s $17; admission to the show is $12; many of the vendors seem to be high-end (“that’s expensive”), and some, like the doughnut-and-fudge purveyor, don’t seem to fit the theme (they’re an exhibitor, not part of the food court).

But I can hear all of you: Well, that’s enough about Lynn. How does this impact you, TL? That’s very kind of you to ask.

Today it’s windows that are on my mind.

I have to say, this had never occurred to me, but on Friday we at Pat’s Screen Printing took our monthly field trip out to Riverwalk to check progress on our house (and potential Pat’s holiday party venue), and Gilly asked: “How many windows are there?”

That seems like a reasonable question, now, doesn’t it? But it hadn’t even crossed my mind. So Gilly started counting, and she got to 18 — but she counted the windows on the south by vertical strip, rather than as one big window with a small one above it. And she probably missed the one that’s not yet framed in the bathroom. So the answer is: a lot. There are a lot of windows in our Some Day house.

Lars the window guy and Dusty the contractor were out there precisely two Mondays ago to measure and order all the windows, and Dusty said it would take 10 days to two weeks for the windows to arrive. So today is two weeks.

Last week, on the day it was scheduled to snow (and didn’t in Gunnison, but as discussed above, was a mess everywhere else in the state), Dusty said he was not scheduling workers due to the impending weather. (Turns out, it would have been a better day to work than the two cold ones that came after it.)

But I did some math last night, and at a minimum, we have paid $791 so far to have construction workers shovel snow out of our partial house. (My advice to you: don’t undertake a winter build — it’s expensive.)

We have a roof and walls, but as Gilly pointed out, there are a lot of openings in those walls. Snow can come in through openings. And if construction people don’t work during snowstorms, we may have issues this week. And by issues I mean: we have to pay for yet more snow removal.

I don’t have any idea how long it takes to install a lot of windows, but I’ll bet they don’t all go in instantly. Looking at the forecast, they might have today, tomorrow, and most of Wednesday to shut out the impending storm(s). And with our luck, if they install windows on the west and south, this will be a boomerang storm that blows in from the northeast.

Or “two weeks” really means “a month and a half,” because someone somewhere in the chain is on vacation. I have to confess to impatience on this aspect of the house. It’s usually Lynn (and my mother) wanting to know why something isn’t moving faster. But I want windows now.

When the Pat’s crew was out there on Friday afternoon and temperatures were in the single digits, it was quite warm at the south end of the house, with sun billowing through the uncounted openings. But yesterday’s evening tour with the Gauss, post-sun, was cold. And I don’t want to keep paying construction rates for snow removal. But mostly, I think, there has been no visible progress on the house (a few plumbing holes in the floor, and perhaps all kinds of stuff unseen in the crawl space), and I want to see that something is happening.

So I am hoping the word comes today that window installation is starting, and that our house will be keeping the weather at bay — and that Lynn will have made it safely to Denver and back — before the storm blows in.

Above: Weather Underground’s (wunderground.com) 10-day forecast for Gunnison, as of this morning. I think you can thank Lynn and I for all the snow: if we’re not building a house, Lynn is traveling. Below: however you count them, that’s a lot of holes for snow to blow in.

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