HELLO THERE our faithful readers, family, friends, and those just stopping by!! Thanks again for being patient as life happens and I find the time to sit down and catch up with you all. At the end of the last post it was time for us to start thinking about our next move with the TH and Mutt was working on finding someone to help teach him the skills he needed to finish the inside of the house. Fast forward through a wild and crazy two months and I’m coming at you LIVE from Ridgway, CO!
Most of you know that we spent a good chunk of time in the beginning of this project collecting materials. Our goal was to complete the house using mostly recycled materials. We succeeded at that better than we ever could have hoped. We have ended up with some REALLY NICE materials to use including cedar siding, big cedar beams inside for the roof and outside as supports in the front for the loft. We also scored the beautiful bay window, not to mention the hook up on the roofing and the sweet hunk of 1970 International that the whole thing sits on! We spent lots of time and energy and the outside of the house turned out nicer than we ever could have dreamed. During the process we also have inherited a variety of beautiful hardwoods. In order to do the whole thing justice, Mutt thought it best to have some help finishing the inside. He is always looking for opportunities to learn and grow as a craftsman and thought there must be someone out there who has the tools, space, and time to teach him. He was offering a work trade kind of deal in his add on Craigslist. Mutt got a few responses from some gentlemen in the Denver area. He met with each of them, grateful for them reaching out, and started talking plans for the TH and working out their agreements.
At the same time, my pub was looking to hire a new manager and I was excited about pursuing the new position. It looked like we were going to continue living in the Denver area, while we continued looking for a place to park our Tiny House. If the TH was finished before we found a place, we thought ‘we can just live in it in the driveway for a little while!’. Our idea was to stay in the Denver area at least through the summer and into the fall, but to have a more permanent spot lined up by the end of the fall. Our plan from the beginning was to get to the mountains even if just for a little while. We always said if nothing happened before our deadline, we would just bounce around the National Forest camping near a resort town, Winter Park exactly since Mutt had spent some time there before and has friends there, then we both could work and enjoy life in the mountains for a while. We were ready for a change, ready to slow things down and bring it back to the important things in life. Not a bad back up plan, though it was just that, a back up plan.
We really wanted our next move to be to a place where we could park for a long-ish period of time. Always staying open to all options, we moved forward with life. Work became slow with the TH build, but Mutt stayed busy drawing plans, always collecting materials and working odd contracting jobs while I moved forward with my potential promotion at work. And then, just like that, the Universe threw us a GAME CHANGER!!!!! I kid you not, it was a Sunday night when I checked my phone during my break at work and had a text from Mutt saying to call him ASAP, he had some exciting news. My heart went to my stomach, I knew it was something about the TH. I called right away, and he told me about the offer he had just received from a gentleman in Ridgway, CO. I had never heard of Ridgway, but I had heard of Telluride and Ridgway is located about 30 miles outside of Telluride. I liked what I was hearing already.
So, Scott the furniture builder from Ridgway, CO called with a life changing opportunity. He had been searching on Craigslist to purchase a planer when he stumbled upon Mutt’s post searching for a mentor, their posts were a match and planer was the magic word. Scott, read the post and by some strike of Universal magic, decided to call Mutt and see what the deal was. The two of them had a nice hour long chat and by the end of it, it seemed they were thinking some kind of deal could be met where we would; bring the Tiny House to Ridgway to finish it and in exchange Mutt would be trading him hours in his shop and around the property helping with projects. It was a dream come true! Not only could we finish the Tiny House with access to Scott who has the knowledge, skills, tools and, space, but this was also our chance to make it to the mountains!
Scott and his beautiful wife, Jill, also have a Yurt on their property that they said we were more than welcome to stay in while we completed our project. It seemed like one hell of a deal and though my essay to apply for the management position was due, Monday, the very next day, I decided we would be silly if we didn’t at least go down to Ridgway and check it out in person. Monday at work I had the tough job of telling my boss that I may have a sudden change of plans. I was a little torn up about it, moving up and joining the management team was something I had been looking forward to for about a year and a half at that point. I can remember calling my Pops, as I often do when faced with big life decisions. He had great advice as always, he told me that you can’t always know how things are going to work out and sometimes you just have to have your partners back and go all in. So, the Universe was giving us this chance, I had Mutt’s back, this would be a great opportunity for him to learn and grow his skills, so, I was all in…at least to check it out…. 🙂 Luckily, I had one kick ass boss lady who totally understood, she encouraged me to check it out and told me to get back to her after our visit. It just so happened that I had the next two days off, we packed some quick bags and headed south west for a few days.
We visited Ridgway in January, everything was covered in snow, and fell in love immediately! Scott and his family are wonderful! Their house and property are perfectly situated in the San Juan Mountain Range surrounded by ranches and hot springs, seriously, pinch me! As we joined them for dinner and got to know them, we quickly realized that we had a lot in common and many reasons to use the phrase, ‘What a small world!’ It turns out that both Scott and Jill are from the east coast. Not only that but Jill is actually from the same town as Mutt! It was so much fun to chat about the people and places that they both knew, we all quickly bonded over that. The chemistry was there and now it was up to all of us to make the decision whether or not we wanted to give it a try. By the end of the visit we were all convinced that this could be a good thing, so we set the wheels in motion, next stop Ridgway. Mutt and I headed back to Denver excited and overwhelmed!
It was now time to switch gears, we had a plan and it was time to get moving. I came home and let my GM know that instead of applying for the management position I was actually going to be leaving at the end of March 😦 February is always a CRAZY month for the Mountain Sun Pubs. During the entire month they celebrate something called Stout Month, a must DO if you’re in Denver during February. Between that, and an already planed vacation with Mutt’s family, we decided that we would shoot for April 1st as our moving day. With the long hours at Vine Street and getting things in order for the move the time flew by! Mutt halted all work on the interior of the TH and got into downsizing mode. We spent the next almost 2 months selling and donating all extra materials. It was game time, and we were ready!! We started checking things off of our Denver Bucket List and making sure we spent time with the people we love. Mutt also bounced back and forth a few times between Arvada and Ridgway to start getting the Yurt set up for us. The last time we were there it was in the middle of some renovations. A neighboring Tree House was to become an addition to the Yurt, the vision was for it to be a kitchen. I could see the vision but I could also see the outside through a hole in the wall 😡 it was COLD to say the least. Mutt had a blast helping with that project and he was able to help them get the walls finished, insulated, and the roof done. It wasn’t finished when he left the last time, but he had a make shift kitchen set up for us and we were ready to rough it a little bit until we could help get the Tree House part finished. Mutt also wanted to put hours in working with Scott, making sure we held up our end of the deal. We are so grateful for this opportunity and we want to make sure everyone remains happy to be making this deal.
The days ticked by and we got closer to moving to Ridgway. It’s been an exciting time but life will teach you that you can’t have the ups without the downs and we have had a few bumps along the way. We’re currently in a spot where we are pretty reliant on the sale of Mutt’s VW custom camper van so we can buy a trailer for everything that wont fit in the TH, i.e. tools, camping gear, a motorcycle, and a few other valuable items that we feel we should keep. We also need a truck to tow it. The day Mutt put the Van online for sale, it broke down 😦 luckily, with a lot of diligence and hard work, Mutt was able to remedy the issue and life was able to move on. The Van is not sold yet but we continue to move forward while we stay positive and wait for the cards to fall into place. It’s also been hard for me to relocate, again. It’s always hard to leave family and friends and I find myself again, in a new place having to make new friends and find another job. I’ve done a bunch of moving around in the past 6 years or so and every time it’s hard to move into the unknown from a place of comfort. However, I’ve learned time and time again that the hardest and scariest things are the ones that are usually the most beautiful and worth it in the end. We will use some of our fear to make sure we stay on top of the things we can control, constantly moving forward in a positive direction, our fear eventually becomes our courage!
On March 31st, we loaded up our cars and made the move to Ridgway. On our first trip we brought necessities; clothes, kitchen wares, bedding, things like that. When we got here we were MAJORLY surprised to see that Jill and Scott and finished the Tree House Kitchen!!
It’s complete with vintage counter top, sink and stove as well as an awesome little breakfast nook! Not to mention the beautiful Cherry hardwood floors oh, and THE JUNIPER TREE THAT RUNS THROUGH IT!!!
Jill didn’t like the idea of us having to live in a construction zone, I told you Jill and Scott are the BOMB! WHAT A SURPRISE! Mutt didn’t know if he should be pumped or bummed that he missed out on getting to finish it 😉 It’s been a ton of fun spending the last 10 days settling in and figuring out life in Ridgway. It’s a huge change but, one we both welcome and are doing our best to get used to. Trey, our black lab/hound, is probably doing the best at adjusting 😉
Now, I said our first trip because the Tiny House stayed in Arvada. We decided for safety, to have it towed. Driving over the mountain passes to get to Ridgway is no joke. We thought the job might be best left to the professionals. We know that the International drives well and that the house is sturdy, we just thought for the safety of Mutt, who would have driven it otherwise, and everyone else on the roads, its maiden voyage shouldn’t be 300 miles of Rocky Mountain Roads…. As I type, Mutt is in Arvada putting the final touches on the truck. He’s spent the last 4 days making sure Bertha and the TH are ready for the trip. Tomorrow, Monday, April 10, the Tiny House will start its journey to join us in Ridgway and I’m going to be a HOT MESS! I’m sure I’ll just be a ball of nerves. This is everything riding on this move and we can not afford for anything to go wrong. I will hold on to the fact that we did as much as possible to make sure everything goes smoothly and safely, the rest I will leave up to faith and the Universe to take care of. (Although, if you’ve got some extra time for prayers or good vibes or whatever, could you send them our way?) Mutt and I are ready to be reunited, ready to have our TH here with us and REALLY ready to get back to work on it!!
It was sad to say good bye to our friends in Denver, I hope they all know how much we love them and are going to miss them! Denver became a home for us and we will forever hold it in our hearts. It is the place where we fell in love, where we started our life together. Denver, you will always be a special to us, thank you for your hospitality!!! At the same time, we are extremely grateful for this opportunity to live out our mountain dreams and could not have imagined a more perfect place to finish our TH. We are forever grateful to Scott, Jill, and their family for helping us along our way. Thank you times a MILLION for taking us into your home and giving us a safe place to be while we finish our home . When we started this project, I would have never believed it if someone told me that this is where it would have lead. It’s becoming hard for me to find the words for just how amazing of an adventure this has all been and for the gratitude that spills from my heart for all of the people who have helped us! I have said it before and I’ll say it again, without our family, friends, and now people who have started as strangers and turned into friends helping us along the way, this would not be possible. Wow, people can be just amazing if you only open yourself up to the possibilities. Though this ride has not always been smooth for Mutt and I as we sometimes struggle to stay on the same page and take our stress out on each other, I would not trade it for anything. I feel we are learning more about ourselves and each other than we ever would if we continued to live life in a place of comfort and complacency. I’m so proud of us for stepping out and not being afraid to do things differently to make ourselves happy. I love ya Mutt, thanks for taking this crazy ride with me! And thanks to all of you for coming along with us! If you happen to be on 285 in Colorado tomorrow, keep an eye out for the TH! If you’re not in the area and you think of it, send us some love and good luck, we could use it!
I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on the trip and let you know as soon as the TH lands!! And, make sure you stay tuned for more exciting news in the adventures of Mutt and Mapes, it’s pretty much never ending 😉 Sending much love, and until the next time; WE LOVE YOU ALL! Thanks for reading!