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August 1, 2007
A gathering of friends

Gail cleans picnic tables in preparation for our dinner party (yes, that is yet another gazebo)

On Wednesday August 1, in the middle of our week-long stay up on the mountain, we took a day off. Back in the Bay Area when we originally planned this trip, Gail thought it would be a good idea to host a barbecue. We would invite all of the contractors who had contributed to the house building so far, and let them see the progress we’ve made so far. Invitations went out and the dinner party was planned.

By Wednesday we were ready for a break. We spent the morning putting a roof on our latest gazebo (acquired gratis from freecycle.org). After lunch we went into town to the grocery store. Gail spent the afternoon cooking while Russell cleaned and set up.

Gail barbecues amid perfect weather and scenery
A mouth-watering food line

We had a terrific turnout. Some people, like Rick Dietrich (the foundation guy) and Frank Gilbeau (the crane guy) hadn’t seen the house since it was a skeleton. Rick – who is actually a full-service contractor – complimented us on our work to date (“You’re building walls better than some professional contractors”) and assured us that Topsider’s quality is no worse than any other maker of kit homes.

Rick Dietrich, who installed our foundation in December 2004 (Rick said that in 20 years of house building, we were only the third customer who had ever invited him back to see their house)

Frank Gilbeau, his wife LeeAnn, daughter Jessica and son-in-law Ryan. Frank's crane has touched just about every piece of wood and metal that is currently built into the house. LeeAnn remembered our stairway from two years ago, and is still terrified of it.

Others, who had only seen the site recently, enjoyed a retrospective slide show that Russell put together of our various steps so far.

Gail cooked a delicious meal of barbecued chicken sandwiches with fruit and pasta salads. She even picked up chocolate and carrot cakes for dessert. Our guests entertained us and each other with stories of building successes and failures, power tool accidents, wild animal encounters, and general updates on the goings-on in the area.

Vicky and Scott Bur. Scott – who is now the owner of Stark Realty in Mountain Ranch – has participated in every step of our dream, from first showing – and selling – us the property, to pounding nails with us during construction

From left to right: Scott Zellers (excavating, hauling and trenching, who installed our water line and has bailed us out of more predicaments than we care to remember), Walt Perreira (electrician, who got power from PG&E's transformer to our house), Tracy and Daryl Zellers (Daryl, a plumber and Scott's brother, installed the step-up pumps that enable us to turn on our faucets)

We knew that the party was a success because it didn’t break up until well after dark. As a final gesture, we asked each of our guests to sign their name and write a message on the center post. All in all, it was a terrific evening and a celebration of the many people who have contributed to our mountain house.

Walt Perreira and Scott Zellers – who first met during our project and have now become good friends – sign the center post of the house


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