This house is made up of hundreds or thousands of those small-to-medium sized projects. They all needed to get done, and now most of them are done, and we have a home.
We really gave ourselves no alternative. We took the equity we gained from the California housing boom of the early oughts (we owned a home in Oceanside from 2003-2005) and the equity from the oil boom in Edmonton (2005-2009, although we sold a little bit late) and we bought a little camper trailer and moved our four school-aged children out here and started to build. We were gifted a larger camper during our first fall, and we had to rent a cabin that first winter when the cold got too intense. We moved back into our trailer in the spring of 2009 and into the basement of the house in December of that year. Construction on the upper floors of the house continued for the next two winters, and we moved into the bedrooms and kitchen upstairs even before we got the stairs installed (which was around February 2012).
I believe that the reason we now have a house is because we gave ourselves no option. We had no backup plan, our money was dropped into a construction project that is would have been very difficult to sell, we sold our home in the city before we moved into the basement of our log home, and on top of all of that, I quit my job at the end of June 2008, so we were living on our savings and my wife’s part-time job as a nurse.
My career had been in neutral for a couple of years at that point, but I remember being told (as I left my consulting gig with EDS) that I’d be back in the comfortable world of large consulting contractors - lots of people try to set up a company on their own, only to give up and go back to the steady paycheck. Well, I’m still firstname.lastname@example.org
, still available for data integration projects for clients around the world. I haven’t gone ‘back’ yet.
Not everything works out as planned - my father-in-law was killed in a construction accident 10 years ago this month, and so we lost a lot of wisdom, experience, knowledge and love from Papa. (The accident didn’t happen here, but he was planning to come back here to help me install the plumbing and heating systems the next week).
But despite the risks, the challenges, the high ladders and near-vertical learning curve, we’re here, while our neighbour, who built his log cabin as an escape, a hobby, a diversion - he didn’t have to finish it, and he didn’t finish it.
It’s been a busy few weeks for me, and I apologize for the long silence. I think that maybe I’m getting back to where I have enough energy and control over my schedule to commit to this newsletter again, so thanks for hanging in and waiting.
We are certainly feeling blessed and thankful this year. We had May with all the kids home, and we got a chance to go to the mountains together.