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Saturday, January 17, 2009

-10 Degrees and No Electricity

It has been a tough 6 weeks of weather, topped off this past week with temperatures below zero - in fact, quite a bit below zero. The week started out cold, and by Friday night we saw temps at -15 below zero. Making it all the more interesting was the fact that Thursday night (Friday morning) around 3 am the extreme cold caused some sort of malfunction with the local electrical grid and 1800 people lost power.

Now at -10 below, it doesn't take long for temps to start dropping inside the house and 3 or 4 hours into it, even a newly built house starts to cool off rapidly. Of course any time something like this happens I'm worried because at the moment we have 6 houses in various states of construction (ie, vulnerability), plus my home, plus my office, plus the homes of our 45 homeowners.

My family had to evacuate ar0und 5am, since it was getting cold, and NYSEG had missed a few timetables they set for themselves.
Here's me - I'm not dressed like this because I was just outside - it was cold inside!

Luckily my sister in law Julie had given lil' Lucas a pretty snazzy cold weather outfit that came in real handy. Note the faux fur lining around the hood (and his favorite stuffed monkey, courtesy of Cottage 15 owner Gayle).

And our only source of light besides the flash of the camera. This was another one of those moments where Lisa stated that 'not every emergency is a potential blog post." How wrong she is.

Another shot of eskimo Luke. He's got a real crusty eye half the time.

Dad looking out for his family. It's about 5am in this pic, and I had been up since 3 or so, driving around checking on the houses (found cottage 14 homeowners sitting in their car - first night in their house - I snuck up and made my best 'bear noises', to their irritation.)

Now, Albert's barn was what really had me worried because we have radiant heat in there, so the concrete floor is filled with loop after loop of water lines, which create the heat - well, since we just fired her up last week, we hadn't mixed the water with anti-freeze yet, so the whole building was vulnerable. Let me just say, a freezeup in the one of those tubes - some sort of break in the concrete, is an unmitigated disaster. So I hussle up there and to check it out and listen to this - 4 hours after the heat went off, that building did not lose one degree of heat. I guess our attention to greening and efficiency on this building really worked - super hi-tech insulation, radiant heat. When I checked it again at 9am, the painters were in there with short sleeves and bermuda shorts on -the temp still parked at 70. Amazing.
Here's the barn.
And the barn/music studio with the chimney stoned, the wood stained.

Looking up into the sound room.

And then the perfect cottage 13, Dean's house, rounding that last bend to the finish line. We have all our energies focuses here, and should be bringing her home for a closing in less than a month.

Floors just finished. Next week the trim, counters, heat, plumbing, and electric.

And then we were supposed to get a few flurries and ended up with 8"-10" of snow on Sunday. It was the perfect snow - when darkness lifted it's curtain, it was snowing heavily - those big, furry, soft, fluffy flakes.
Pretty perfect Sunday in the Catskills. This wild extremes of weather definitely tests our abilities, since everything we try to do is a bit more complicated.

Kicking it and cooling it in the Catskills. Next week James and I go to Vegas for the International Builder's Show.