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February, 2007

Windows without Vista
(without apology to Microsoft)

24 Feb 2007
Vista without Windows
Looking SSE from the Entry "stage" the morning after a blizzard.
Compare to three weeks ago

Windows arrived in two packages this month. We took delivery of the windows to be installed in the Main House on the 26th. Since the roof is not finished, we still "enjoy" the vista without windows. The carpenters can start to install windows at the East end, where the roof is close to complete.

We also replaced our aging computer system before Vista becomes the default operating system. Perhaps we will upgrade to Vista in one or two years, when it is (more) stable. Meanwhile, we will "enjoy" Windows without Vista. Gary spent about a week transferring files, installing applications and downloading cygwin to get the advantages of UNIX style command line and utilities. He also installed Firefox and Thunderbird so we can avoid using their Microsoft equivalents (which are often the target of hackers).

Early February: The month got off to a slow start with cold temperatures and fluffy powder snow. Skiing was still not good; wet, heavy snow was needed to lay down a base over the rocks. The weather cost us 2 days of work. Then temperatures went up, it rained and the snow rapidly melted; this was a bad combination – the ground was still frozen a few inches below the surface and water could not drain into the soil below. The soil above the ice turned to soup and was easily stripped away by runoff. We spent some time digging snow and ice out of the ditches next to the driveway to channel water off the drive back where it is supposed to go. Of course, the rain and high temperatures did not improve the skiing situation.

Mid February: We finally got lots of wet snow. Bridger Bowl claimed 18" over 3 days. It was pretty decent skiing! "Ski Season Saved" proclaimed the headline in the Bozeman Chronicle. Three weeks ago, Bridger Bowl had offered $10 ski tickets (usually $39). Only 100 people showed up. The weekend after the big snowfall the parking lot filled and people were turned away. Pauline had a women's club meeting, but Gary was free to lay down a lot of fresh tracks on the Friday before those crowds showed up. We stay away from the area on weekends.

That storm dropped about 8" at the Main House. At right, Gary uses crampons and squeegee to get the last of the snow off the South roof. It was cold but the work is hard enough that one does not need a coat to stay warm unless there is wind! There was enough shelter from the plywood on the roof that the carpenters were able continue working and trim out window and door openings. As much as we would like to see the roof complete, we were happy they were able to do work necessary to "dry in" (install windows) once the roof is on. Meanwhile, the HVAC guys were able to start putting in the ducts for the heating, cooling and air exchange systems.

It snowed twice more after the above picture was taken; we continued to clear the roof to keep it from icing up. Unfortunately, this took so much time and energy that we did not do as much skiing as we would like. We only need a week or so of good weather to get plywood on all of the South roof, and we definitely want the metal roof on by March, when precipitation will start to increase and turn to wet snow and rain.

Late February: It snowed yet again the evening of Sunday the 18th. The snow started warm and wet, then froze as the temperature dropped. Monday the 19th was sunny and windy, so we took to the roof again and were able to scrape enough ice off to let the sun and wind finish the job of drying the roof out. Then the roofers could start putting on the underlayment (see photo at left) at the East end. The extreme West end of the roof was ready, but there was still framing needed to create a cricket at the Chimney. The cricket is complicated by the fact that the Chimney is at the base of two converging roofs.

The roofers were able to finish the East end of the roof on the 20th. It snowed that night, putting a stop to roof work. The rest of the roofing has to wait for the carpenters to finish the cricket and soffits to the West. Work was again curtailed when snow turned to blizzard conditions on Friday the 23rd, prompting everyone to leave at lunch time. The weekend was beautiful (see photo at top), but it's difficult to get anyone to work weekends in Bozeman. Our Silicon Valley work ethic meant that we spent the weekend cleaning snow and ice out of the house and off the roof in hopes that Monday would be nice.

Monday the 26th was a very busy day. We had 4 carpenters, 2 sheet metal (HVAC) workers, 3 plumbers, the contractor, the project coordinator, and 3 laborers. Add to that the driver for the windows delivery truck and a couple of subcontractors who came to consult on work they will be doing. And, Gary and Pauline tried to stay out of the the way while enjoying all the things that were happening. Even though there were some snow flurries, the carpenters managed to finish the plywood for the Main Roof. The laborers did cleanup work until the windows arrived. Then they unloaded windows and placed each near where it was to be installed. There are a lot of windows, most of which are large, so it took several hours to unload and place them. At right are 3 of the 8 windows for the Great Room.

Finally, the last day of the month and it snowed last night. But the roof was ready and the roofers showed up! We let them deal with the snow and celebrated by skiing some fresh powder. We returned from skiing to find more metal on the roof; if the weather cooperates, the roof should be finished in a couple of days. There were also a number of windows installed at the East end of the house.

Comparisons with previous progress are difficult to make now. The roof was not finished until late August of 2005 due to issues with the Entry piers, and installation of windows did not begin until that time. Other aspects of construction, such as plumbing and HVAC, were further along at that time. Still, things look good for completion in late Summer or early Fall. Roof and windows are the critical path items; once they are out of the way, many things can proceed in parallel.

Be sure to check out the Main House Progress

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