All Quiet on the House Front

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Paint samples on a wall that probably won’t ultimately host any bright color. But one of the blues will likely end up in our Good Room; and the green is definitely going in the laundry room.

Last night, Lynn and I watched The Orville, a television show created by and starring Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad — that Seth MacFarlane). It’s either a total rip-off of, or homage to, Star Trek in its first couple incarnations. But it entertains us; that’s all we ask.

Last night, to escape the relentless, Borg-like bad guys, the good guys (crew of the Orville — what kind of inspiring name is that?) took their ship into the event horizon of a black hole. (Let’s leave behind all the technical, scientific questions that came immediately to mind and just go with it.) From their hiding spot inside the black hole, our heroes could watch speeded-up versions of the bad-guy ships hovering about, searching for them before finally giving up and leaving.

Someone on board the good ship explained to all of us that time shifts inside a black hole, so what seems like minutes inside the hole takes hours outside. When the good ship emerged, what seemed to them to have been a couple of black-hole hours turned out to have been two days in space time.

Well, Lynn and I are living on the bad-guy side of that equation with respect to our Some Day Ranch, where we have been seeking any sign of activity for days.

Last week Dusty was on vacation, and before he left, there were promises (sometimes I read them as threats) that all kinds of work would begin in earnest this past Monday, upon his return.

Priming would start; roofing would start; ceiling insulation could happen . . . all kinds of things, big and small.

And what happened instead? Nothing. You’d think we’d be used to this by now, but we still aren’t.

Dusty’s crew is in flux: Bret(t) left; Zach, a graduate student, needs to work his schedule around end-of-the-semester demands; and I met Sam yesterday on his first day of work.  (Jayme is always there, so we don’t worry about him.) So I think Dusty was putting them to work on touch-up projects for a different house.

He did, early this week, turn off first the heater portion and then, finally, the fan portion of a giant machine set by the drywaller, ratcheting down the temperature inside the house to a tolerable degree. And yesterday Sam installed the lower portions of two solar tubes and the tubing for our HRV.

A heat-recovery ventilator is a nifty piece of equipment that isn’t by one whit appeasing Lynn’s need to see progress in her house, but Some Day she’ll be glad it’s there.

Dusty builds very “tight” houses. They’re heavily insulated, with tight-fitting doors and windows. From a heating-bill perspective, that’s great news. But those owners of drafty medieval castles were also onto something, which is that fresh air coming into a residence keeps its occupants healthier. (Because everyone was so healthy in the Middle Ages.) Otherwise, you’re breathing recycled air that becomes more and more moisture-laden, setting up the possibility of mold and bacteria — people discovered the hard way that tight houses come with their own drawbacks (not drawbridges; those belong to the castles).

Enter a heat-recovery ventilator. Because to ventilate even the tightest house, all you have to do is open a door or window. But that’s not necessarily advised in Gunnison in the winter. And it defeats the purpose of a tight house, which is to cut down on heating bills. So this ventilator collects the warm but stale air to push it outside while drawing fresh air inside. But there’s a “heat core exchange” (that sounds spacelike, right?) where the heat from the stale air is extracted and infused into the cold fresh air, saving perhaps 85 percent of the heat that would otherwise be lost.

Heat recovered, air ventilated. All is right with the world. And your new, super-tight house. But all Lynn cares about — right now — is that “some tubes sticking into the laundry room” is about all we have to show for a week of “progress.”

She probably won’t be greatly excited by today’s activity, either, which is to blow cellulose into the attic.

The “visible” (good) progress all happens next week, a mere time dilation away from when it was supposed to have started. Maybe priming begins Monday. Maybe the metal roof installation begins mid-week. Maybe doors that were supposed to take two to three weeks will arrive in Week Three. You just never know when your elusive target remains poised on the event horizon.

But that’s where the “threat” nature of this schedule takes over. In order to prime walls in the most efficient (cost-effective) manner, Dusty and his guys are going to want to know where our accent walls are going.

We don’t have to know a color yet, although I think we’re reasonably happy with several choices, but we do need to know which walls they’re going on. I don’t recall this about paints I’ve used in the past, but any of these paints with bright colors are on the thin side.

Of course we’re using bright colors. I don’t know why you expected anything else. Last year I had a young fellow paint my current bathroom. Knowing we would be moving, I went to the hardware store and asked for a basic white. My painter, whose mother once worked at Pat’s, where we are all about our color, was beside himself: “You’re not going to paint this a color? You should put some color in here.” In spirit, I was with him, but we already need buyers to get past the blue and purple on the outside of the house.

He would be much happier with us if he could see the drywalls of our new house, each now with an assortment of test colors on them — almost every one of them a vivid hue. “What color are you going to paint?” my mother asked. “Pick one,” I said.

One bedroom will be shades of purple; another (yours if you come to visit) a burnt orange. The Good Room is going to have some yellow and some blue. Bright green in the laundry room; a magenta or maroon in the final bedroom. Bathrooms are still being decided on.

But we also recognize that a little color can go a long way, so don’t you worry: your guest accommodations will not be all orange. Some of it will likely be a light gray. Without being aware of it, we’re really quite trendy. Diana of the Ace paint department told us gray and orange together are the hot new thing. Look at us go!

We just have to figure which pieces of which rooms will be which color, because Diana advised us to prime gray under those bold colors. So unless we want to pay Zack, Sam and Jayme to prime everything white and then go back over with gray (ka-ching!), we need to be ready — maybe Monday, maybe not — to tell them where to go gray and where to stay white.

So we hover, anxiously searching for signs of life to emerge from our dark black hole. (Does this really make us the bad guys?) Surely something will happen Some Day. In the meantime, there’s nothing for it but to wait.

Here, in a pre-drywall exposure, are the guts for our HRV system. They could be part of the props for The Orville.

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