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A very poor week

This week lunged off the rails early and continued plummeting down the canyon walls until it splashed into the river below at the end of the week.

The first warning sign was last Thursday as I turned into the neighbourhood, all of the warning lights and buzzer on my truck dash suddenly came on.  I started investigating on Sunday and at first thought it was a relay but then a web search suggested I look at the alternator connections. Sure enough, the main neutral had corroded right off and with it the top half of the terminal bolt on the alternator.  It is a good thing I did not ignore the problem and continue driving as the vehicle was basically running off the battery.  If I had continued, the vehicle would have just died at one point and with my luck, that would have been halfway across one of the local bridges or something similar.  I spent a good part of Sunday removing the alternator (it is below AC condenser) and also prepping the wiring harness for a repair (the corroded neutral was now too short to reach and needed to be spliced or replaced).  I also wanted to take the opportunity to change out the main grounding strap to the engine as it had a nick in the plastic casing and I could see corrosion on the conductors inside.

I borrowed my wife’s car and dropped off the alternator for rebuilding when Edmonds Starters and Alternators opened Monday AM and was reassembling by 11 AM. They have great service and a total rebuild was only $175.  By 1:30 I was up and running and more importantly charging!  I finished the last few hours of the day in the pit and got all of the North wall ICF modules in place. Very late Monday the wind picked up and at 11:30 PM I had to go and re-secure one of the ropes attached to the stump tree as the force of the wind had ripped a metal anchor out of the tree and had the rope slumped over my power line.  Little did I know that this late night run was a forerunner for later in the week.

My plan for Tuesday was to deal with some mud flow into the pit, that started developing late last week.  There has been quite a bit of subgrade water movement out of the bottom half of the pit ramp.  And when the temps warmed up at the end of last week, all this released moisture wanted a place to go and ended up puking mud about three ft into the pit across my recently prepared footing zones.

Ramp is puking mud all over my footing zone
Ramp is puking mud all over my footing zone.

I will need to move the muck out of the way  of the footings and figure out a way to keep this from flowing back in till I am ready for back-fill. Ideas anyone?

Well that was the plan anyway, but a widely circulating flu virus had other major plans for me.  I woke up in the middle of the night with a bad cough and by Tuesday AM my personal temp gauge was reading triple digits and climbing.  I continued to boil over for the rest of the week.  The fever finally broke Friday morning and I thought I was in the clear, but a few hours later and I was back to 101.5 F and back to the aching and headaches that accompany such a state.  I was so over this!  Fortunately, by Sunday morning the storm had lifted and I was starting to feel human again.  Due to allergies, I am very susceptible for developing chest infections at the tail end of colds or flues,  so I will be taking it a bit easy Monday until I see that this is truly behind me.  I am also quite frankly still quite weak, so will not have a choice anyway.

However, the crowning glory of my week was the total annihilation of the tarp during Thursday night’s wind storm.  I had to drag myself out of bed at 11:30 Thursday night to lower the shredded tarp into the pit and try and secure all the pieces so they did not blow away and cause damage to others properties.  I just missed seeing the initial rip that went across the whole tarp but was on hand to see the rest of the destruction.  In the end, the tarp ended up in three large pieces, but each of those pieces is generally shredded with rips as well.

Devastation after the storm
Devastation after the storm.  You can see the bent over weather station pole at lop left of photo.  Even the cutting table was flipped sending the chop saw flying about 6ft away. I will now need to build a covered work area to protect the tools and hardware.
snapped wood shows some of the forces.  I believe from looking at some of the webcam snapshots, damage was to tarp was caused by very strong uplift.  This could have been avoided if I had upgraded the rope matrix to also capture the top surface of the tarp, but the rope was out of stock ironically until this last Monday.
snapped wood shows some of the winds forces. I believe from looking at some of the webcam snapshots, damage to tarp was caused by very strong series of uplifts. This could have been avoided if I had upgraded the rope matrix to also capture the top surface of the tarp, but the rope was out of stock ironically until this last Monday.

So the B.A.T. is finished and will not fly again!

The only good part was I was too sick at that point to really care or absorb what had transpired and was just grateful I had not passed out while going up and down the various ladders and more grateful that it had not cause too much damage to others properties.  I do owe Ron a repair to his front gutter as a piece latched on and ripped part of it off the house.

On my side of the fence, the damage was more pronounced.  Because the tarp pieces were blowing around wildly, one of the cables at the SW corner crossed paths with the weather station pole and brought the whole assembly down to the ground. When it did this, it also severed the network cable to the Shed cam.  So both will be off line for a while.  I should be able to get the shed cam up in a few days, but the weather station is going to take more effort as it bent off at grade and will therefor require a new hole and to be cemented in.  This is far from a priority right now, so I will probably leave it down for the foreseeable future.  All of the ropes and the tarp itself were also draped over various ICF modules after the failure but when the wind was still blowing and it appears that some may have shifted.  SO I will need to resurvey all of their positions next week before proceeding.

So, all in all, a poor week.  I am not going to worry about the tarp until I am ready to start framing and have the foundations complete.  I will then make a decision based on the weather on whether to invest in a new tarp or not.  I still will not build a ‘wet’ house, especially as I realize it will take me at least a couple of months to frame up to the roof.  And I really do not want to delay this build any further waiting for good weather.  So the extra $1800 investment on top of what I already have in place is probably worth it.

Analyzing the pieces, the initial rip across the entire middle of the tarp was along the edges of attachment wood strips that held the north tension cable (picture of snapped wood above).  The strain was caused when the tarp billowed up like a hot air balloon.  This would be prevented if the tarp was restrained from billowing upward with an over the top rope grid added to the structure.  This had been a planned upgrade but I had been waiting on the vendor to restock.  Ironically, they emailed on Monday advising it was finally in.

So there you have it.  Any chance of getting my footings finished, inspected, and poured before the end of the year was shattered by this weeks performance.  I am going to get what I can done over the next couple of weeks and regroup to hit the ground running in the new year as I am so over this below grade stage of this build!

Thanks for visiting.

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