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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 4/3/2010

Today Colleen and I ran up to check on the site, download the week's weather data, and to remove some of the snow/ice that remains inside the house. It was an interesting way to spend the afternoon.

Work has continued at a nice pace since my posting of the 1st, with more flooring in the tower getting done and more roofing getting completed all around. My impression is that since Thursday's pics there's also slightly less construction trash lying around; whether that's because they did a general cleanup on Friday, or it can be credited to them taking some materials they no longer need back to their warehouse I'm not sure, but it's a goodly change nonetheless.

The main purpose of our trip, however, was to remove some of the ice from inside the house. Once we began closing in the first floor with the installation of the LiteDeck, any rain or snow that had gotten into the first floor (or which melted into there before the floor was sealed) has been trapped in what is essentially a big, insulated, partly-underground tank. With no radiant heat yet in place to heat up any kind of ground slab, and the  heavy ICF walls and ceiling providing insulation, this snow and ice barely melt even with the recent spate of 50- and 60-degree days we've had. As a result, there are large "ice lakes" inside the house wherever the lowest areas are--mostly in the apartment, but along the footers in a couple of spots as well. Add to this the fact that absolutely anything that's been dropped (nails, screws, brackets) or blown (paper, wrapping, cardboard) into these lakes becomes frozen into it if there is any melting at all, and you've got yourself a bit of a mess.

Colleen and I were hoping to tackle these icy patches today and cheerfully hefted picks and pickaxes we made our way into the house, but we quickly were stopped by the sheer magnitude of the job. The ice was far thicker than we thought it would be in the lower ruts where it had collected, and after a few whacks with the pickaxe we realized that we weren't going to get very far. We threw some of the larger ice chunks out, but knew we weren't really making much progress, so we decided on a new tack--Colleen would come back up next week with the kerosene heater (free and new in the box at a neighbor's garage sale--nice!), throw some tarps over the garage doors, and begin to warm the interior up a bit. This would melt the ice and allow us to shovel/pump the mess out--overall a chillier and messier solution, but one that doesn't involve us beating iron-hard mud and ice with our axes! She's hoping to go up on Tuesday or Wednesday.

So after some regrouping we decided to make the best with the day we had. We spent a quality hour or so picking up trash, putting away construction tools, and tidying up the overall area--these guys tend to drop their stuff right where they're standing at the end of the day. (Most crews would actually put up their tools, but I guess these guys figure they're so far up in the mountains that there's no risk of anything 'walking away', and that's probably right.) After this, we stripped down the pile of debris that had been accumulating in the front room to uncover the legendary Living Room Iceberg, which was originally born during the late winter shoveling we did back in February but which has survived due to a combination of the insulating ICFs and protection under sheets of plywood and bits of lumber. The crew had originally asked that we leave the Iceberg as an aid in their getting the trusses up onto the roof, but now that that's all done, we figure that a few days of exposure to warmer air will do wonders in making it get gone. We'll see.

Not much else after that. I downloaded my weather data and we snapped some updated shots of everything which you can see below. It's astonishing to be in the house now--it really feels like you "are somewhere" now!

Steven in Colorado Springs


I didn't realize I had the camera set to take black and white shots, but I liked the way this looked. Looking at the main windows in my tower.
Ssssh... she doesn't know I took this picture...
The deck! It's become a useful storage area for the construction crew.
Looking off the computer-room deck across to the ridge past the living room.
I'm wondering how they're going to get that truss out...
The crew clearly feel that walking AROUND the stairwell is too much... okay...
They're still working on tying together the library roof and the living room roof.
Looking up the road towards the solar panels, from my computer-room deck.
The view out of my computer-room picture window.
Looking down from the computer-room deck at the mud pit (center) and miscellaneous construction debris.
Not quite sure what happened here! Curious how they plan to fix this.
Long shot of the house... looking goodly!

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