October Surprise

A school of thought I have held onto for most of my adult life is to ask and answer three fundamental questions when considering doing something possibly worthwhile: what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and if I accomplish it, what’s the benefit. If I couldn’t satisfactorily answer any of these questions, I probably shouldn’t be doing it. Concerning the land and cabin, answering these questions was easy. Consequently, I sold my townhome in Arizona and signed the contract to purchase the property in Colorado.

The cabin had a contractual date of October 31, 2017, for completion, that is, a wholly enclosed structure. I had talked a number times with the owner of the property, bypassing the listing agent, and he was keeping me abreast of the cabin’s progress. According to the information he had, the cabin was on schedule. By mid-October, I had finished closing on my townhome, moved my belongings into my cargo trailer, and headed to Colorado.

Naturally, the primary goal was to make the cabin habitable as quickly as possible. Yet, there were no building plans or floor plans. I started to develop a sense of urgency, for it was October, I felt I was operating on borrowed time before winter snows set in and much needed to be done and decided. However, before leaving the Phoenix area, I stopped at Cabela’s. I thought a quality down-filled sleeping bag (Alaskan Guide Modelâ„¢, -40 below), a camp cot, and a two-person mountaineering tent might be useful.

When I arrived, the cabin was not much further along than a month ago. Indeed, something I did not expect based on the information provided to me by the owner. The owner lived in the Houston area and was relying on information supplied by the builder, which, as it turns out, was often inflated and, therefore, inaccurate. When something comes up unexpectedly, I recall the quote by Marcus Aurelius, “Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting” (Meditations, 7.56-57). What will happen will happen, figure it out, and move on.

The owner was concerned about the accuracy of the reports he was receiving from the builder. He asked me if I would agree to send him pictures and comments as to the cabin’s progress. We both desired to have the cabin finished as soon as possible. I told him I would help. I considered the entire situation as a momentary delay, something we couldn’t overcome with a little hard work. Besides, I had other items needing attention, such as the installation of solar and septic systems.

Setting rafters
Rafters almost complete

As the end of October neared, I spent time helping the builder, and he also took me on a tour of the area. I met the owner of the sawmill and most of the employees at Ringos, a locally owned small grocery store located in Segundo, Colorado. Most importantly, work on the cabin continued at a steady pace, which was good to see.

Installing rafter boards.

I spent a couple of nights at the StoneWall Lodge & RV Park in Stonewall, Colorado. The Lodge provides cabins and campgrounds for rent. At the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, it is a beautiful place to stay, offering outstanding accommodations for summer travelers.

However, Stonewall is about 15 miles as the crow flies but around 26 miles driving. I didn’t want the drive each day nor spend $100 a night. So, I decided to set my tent up and call this place home. I had my Coleman stove, sleeping bag, coffee pot and cup, a cooler full of good things to eat, flashlight, a roof over my head, and enough firewood to last, at least, my lifetime. What else does a guy need?

2 Comments on “October Surprise

    • Yes, it was an adventure. I originally thought it would take 3 months to complete, but there were too many variables, i.e., people. The project took nearly 8 months to make the place livable. Two reasons for doing it: (1) it was something I always wanted to do and (2) legacy for my kids.

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