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December 31, 2006
Giving thanks

Cameron (16) and Joss (13) on Christmas Day, 2006

It is now almost four years since we bought our mountain property, and almost two years since we began constructing our dream house. Last year at this time, Russell told people that we were a year behind schedule. This year, he’s telling people that we’re two years behind schedule.

We’ve endured semi-truck deliveries in the pouring rain, house parts that didn’t fit together (requiring nothing less than an acetylene torch to fix), short shipments, wrong shipments, warped floors, leaky roofs, mold, rats, and countless delays. When we originally planned our house, we designed a bedroom for each of the boys. At this point, we don’t even know if we’ll finish before the boys have grown up and moved out.

And yet, we feel very lucky to be in our situation. We are fortunate to have the ability and the means to pursue our dream. In addition, one advantage to keeping a Website and blog is that we have met a number of people online who have pursued a similar dream of building their own home... and had even worse luck than we've had.

We’ve heard horror stories about other people’s contractors, from contractors who won’t return calls after months to contractors who have been arrested for fraud. We’ve heard from people who started their projects years before we did, but who are currently nowhere near as far as we are.

We are often asked, “Would you do it again?” Our answer is always, “Absolutely.” Despite the problems and delays, we have learned so much. Russell is now an expert at installing decks, roofs, and windows. Gail has challenged many of her limits, including her fear of heights and edges. We have watched our sons Cameron and Joss grow from children on tree swings to strong teenagers who can help us haul heavy materials up and down stairs.

We have fond memories of sleeping under the stars, pitching tents, and building campfires. As we progress farther along, these older experiences give way to new memories of assembling a kitchen, getting water and electricity for the first time, and building a home.

We have seen incredible wonders of nature, from snow-covered mountains to families of wild turkeys to hawks so numerous that they fill the sky. We bought our property almost on impulse, based on a sunset “to die for.” We continue to see killer sunsets every time we come up here… and we hope to see many more.

Another sunset to die for


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