I remember the day we took title of our cabin in the Tetons. It was a frigid January morning in 2012. It had snowed the night before which added to the magical look of the place, as I tried my best to hurriedly clear a pathway to get to the garage. It had been purchased as a short sale, so there had been no keys to exchange, nor had there really been much opportunity to view the cabin prior to purchasing it, so I was busting at the seams to get inside and see what I had gotten myself into.
Entering the cabin reminded me of the scene from the movie “Doctor Zhivago”, when Omar Sharif returns to his home in the midst of the Siberian winter. Everything inside the cabin was crystalline, covered by a thin layer of ice that glistened as sun light entered. Heat, water, and electricity had long ago been shut off, and the inside temperature seemed even colder than the negative temperatures outside.
If you were to only consider the endless “to do list” that the place seemed to present, I would certainly have said, “Oh Crap, what a mess I have gotten myself into”. Everything leaked! I am sure that the leaks leaked. The plumbing, electric, heating, water tank, roof, skylights, all needed to go. And that was really just scratching the surface. But I can remember standing there thinking, this place really has it. The bones of the cabin were magnificent. It had been built by a skilled, yet slightly eccentric, logger from the Teton Valley. He was a bit of a local legend in and of himself. I would later learn that he had personally transported the huge Lodge Pole timbers over the Teton pass that he used for supports throughout the cabin. The cabin was one of the first homes to be constructed up on the hillside, and he had pretty much done all the work by himself, solo.
I envy those types of skills. I really do. I have plenty of ideas, but would require a team of hired guns to put those ideas into action. In this case those guns would come in the form of a group of amazing local craftsmen, who would help to perform miracles on that little cabin, and try to bring our ideas to life. One of those miracle men was a guy named “Andrew”, our soft spoken, yet extremely skilled GC who truly was our saving grace. Nothing about our project was easy, and where most would have become helplessly lost, Andrew always pushed through. At one point we took delivery of an overly large picture window for our upstairs bedroom that I had ordered, without putting a lot of consideration into how it would be installed. The delivery from the glass guy would only take this monstrously large window to the property. Hoisting it up to the second floor, well that was my problem. I was debating the cost of hiring a special crane to lift the window, and the logistics of getting the hoist to our remote hillside location, when Andrew chimed in. “Don’t worry” he said “I will get my guys on it after work tonight”. Not at all sure what that meant, nor how that was going to levitate a 350 pound window, I just knew that Andrew would come through, as he always did. Sure enough, at about 5:30 that evening a caravan of pick-up trucks started arriving at our cabin, off-loading about 12 guys ready to lend a hand. With few words spoken by Andrew, they formed a human hoist, with four men standing against the outside wall facing outwards, 3 guys standing on their shoulders, ready to pass the window to a group standing on the second floor balcony, who would in turn place the window into the opening. Andrew, with screw gun in hand, secured the window in place. Cirque du Soleil would have signed this as an act in a heart-beat. As I stood there slack jawed in amazement at what had just transpired, Andrew climbed down and simply said “I’ll be back in the morning to add the trim work”.