Only Good Guys

*long day, long post

#goodproblem

Tuesday, June 28th we commenced the kick-off of our building project! Our goal is to build a custom home on our 2.5 acres. In the next 10-18 months complete a barn and guesthouse, but in ~5 years build the main house. We had a full day planned…very un-Teton Time, but totally 650. Superman and I geek out at the prospect of “handling business” as we start the process, but as we continue to learn – nothing ever feels like business here. The full day of meeting our architect and 3 contractors served as evidence that humanity (still) exists…in the 208 it’s not (a building) business, but all parties care about the community and bettering people who want live in it.

We (finally) met our architect – she specializes in sustainable design and architecture, which we know nothing about. We initially fell in love with her aesthetic (no logs, no gaudy craftsmen, no knotty pine)…it’s just cool. From February to now, we have exchanged several emails and this was our first face-to-face meeting. I’ll call her – The Wind Whisperer. When we went to our lot to discuss the project she commented on the wind direction (who knew) and how that would impact our building placements. She is incredibly knowledgeable about her field and craft, we just ignorantly smile and nod at her acronyms, terminology, insights, and recommendations – all of which reiterate that we are in GREAT hands. The Wind Whisperer arranged our itinerary: check-in with her about our project, meet 3 contractors (back-to-back) and see their work, and plan next steps.

We first met with contractor 1, who I will call – Mr. Mellow. Our architect and Mr. Mellow have done several projects together and they ride on the same wavelength. The ~2,000sf home we viewed had some elements we could really see us incorporating – concrete floors with radiant heating, cement counter-tops, masculine metal accents, barn-doors, and open floor plan with great flow. Immediately you can see The Wind Whisperer’s stamp on the project. It is unique, eclectic, but always thoughtful in the use of each facet. Mr. Mellow earned his alias as an honest, chill, and open person to work with. He entertained our naive questions and gave us great insight to the step-by-step process of our project coming together. Just a nice guy, not a sales guy – something so refreshing for us jaded 650 customers.

Before meeting the next site, The Wind Whisperer took us to see the exterior of one of her recent finished projects – a very modern home with flat roofs, a wrap-around wall of glass windows, rusted metal exterior walls, and the rest was reclaimed wood. The kind of style I dream about when I let myself out of my box and I’m glad we’re working with someone who can push their client to that place. Considering this client originally wanted a log cabin, I am excited to see where The Wind Whisperer takes our vision when we finish.

We traveled to the job site of contractor 2, a ~5,000sf home under construction. The ironic thing about this home was that it had the exact flow and layout of the idea I have in my head for the main house. Very different from the first house, this was much more traditional feel, but with many high-end details. Contractor 2, who I will call – Mr. Nice. He has been working in the valley for years, seeing the bottom in 2008 to the craziness of the building-boom happening now! He is a family-guy who talked schools and soccer shop with Superman. Equally knowledgeable about the building phases and process interjecting his own experiences in build large spec homes in upscale developments in the valley. Mr. Nice earned his alias as just a stand-up, family man, who was so welcoming and kind. Upon leaving his job site, we asked The Wind Whisperer if she could throw a few jerks into the decision making process…so far, these guys were going to make our selection process difficult!

Our final destination was The Wind Whisperer’s 378sf brand-new custom tiny house (built by Contractor 3). Traveling there Superman and I realized we weren’t making any decisions about our project…we were just meeting people and looking at other projects. We were having such a great time meeting good people that we didn’t even notice we hadn’t moved any items on our “to-do” list (for the record, I don’t think anyone on Teton Time has a “to-do” list). While we weren’t sure whether or not this progression was moving us forward, it didn’t matter because we trusted The Wind Whisperer to lead us in the direction we needed to go. If this is the first step, we already trust that she was going to guide us through this first phase. Here in lies the first lesson in building a custom home – TRUST.

Contractor 3 met us at the tiny house, who I will call – Mr. Busy because in addition to co-running his construction company he has several other businesses in the valley. Mr. Busy and The Wind Whisperer have also done several projects together. They are two visionaries who are perfectly matched in their fields. She has the design aesthetic and vision and he has the same passion for new cutting-edge construction with the equal emphasis on sustainability and affordability. Mr. Busy has a young family and is also closes tied to the development of the community – using his talent to better the valley’s development. He has a hustle and professionalism about him (he’s the only contractor to give us a folder filled with resources), but balances it with realness and an eager-energy to help.

Mr. Busy was the only contractor we met who we didn’t see a custom home. The Wind Whisperer’s custom tiny-house is his work, but that doesn’t fully give us the vision of his work as it relates to our project. He made a call to another client friend whom he built his office/garage, just down the road. We followed him to that site for a better idea of his work. On our lot we plan to build a “barn”…who are we kidding, no animals will ever be part of the gig, but it sounds better. We need a two-car garage, with another room for both storage and Superman’s (CrossFit) equipment/home-gym. Ideally, lofted above these would be Superman’s home-office for him to work remotely. Mr. Busy thought this finished product would give us an idea of a high-end version of what he could do. The office belongs to an amazing photographer who owns and operates his own creative business from the valley. The finishes were amazing and every detail was superb, nothing like what Superman will get…but, it was clear that Mr. Busy loves his work and can deliver at both ends of the spectrum – tiny house and tricked out offices!

Driving back to our summer rental house, Superman and I were fried. It was a long day and a lot to process. The Wind Whisperer wants us to select ONE of these great guys to work with on our project! She believes in design-build relationships with the contractors through the drawing phase…rather than complete the design phase and have it bid on by contractors. We will need to find something to differentiate between these guys, other than cost. Of course, the next day I emailed them all to thank them and they all emailed me back…no tipping point there. And, they were all so gracious to offer to call with any further questions. We will continue to lean on The Wind Whisperer to help us determine which contractor we can partner with to help carry out of vision, but there’s no doubt that all of them would do a great job! No matter what happens, we’d love to have a beer with all of them…when we live here.

Our lot, future views…

...if you build it, they will come
…if you build it, they will come.
Keep Calm, Teton On!

Keep Calm, Teton On!

#Week1Recs

Many of these are repeats, but a few new finds. These are NOT sponsored posts. Just true love!

Click on the name of the business or activity to get more info 🙂

IMG_4922
Eat, Drink…

FOOD

 

…and DRINK

 

…Be Still

IMG_4923

FUN

  • Teton River (SUP) – drop in at the Bates Bridge, paddle to the Rainey Bridge and get picked up
  • String Lake (SUP) – inside Grand Teton National Park, past Jenny Lake. Park, walk, and relax
  • Grand Targhee (play Disc-Golf) – play 18 holes, then eat (nachos) & drink at the Trap Bar!

 

FASHION

  • Victor’s Emporium (also home to the Huckleberry Shake) – Facebook page.
    • Art4All – hats sold at Emporium
  • MADE – great local finds: jewelry, stationery, clothing/apparel, home-goods.

 

Some pics of the above atwww.instagram.com/tetontime

Summer 2016

#week1

Aaahhh…it feels good to be back!!!

feet_bighole

Since our first trip 3 years ago, we’ve made a commitment to month-long summer vacation in the Teton Valley. Being a teacher, I’m fortunate to be able to have that time and Superman can work remotely (a perk I will never comprehend). Our biggest hurdle is finding 3-4 weeks where soccer subsides for Tall & Small. This year, we thought we had it down – until a unique opportunity came for them to attend a training in Orlando. Being the awesome parents we are, we chose to not derail our vacation and punted the offer to chaperone to my mom…thankfully she accepted! We took off June 18th, leaving Tall & Small with my mom. Together they flew to Orlando the following Monday and will join us in the Teton Valley this Tuesday!

Idaho sign

We left 650 (at 3:15am – PST) on Saturday morning and arrived to 208 (at 7pm – MST) that night. These drives are brutal for this reluctant road-tripper. Superman relishes in planning, packing, and caravanning 2 cars with 2 dogs (and usually our 2 kids). No matter how much I complain, approximately 15 hours later, when you see the Teton mountain range and it’s all worth it! You never tire of that view…and you never take it for granted.

Full moon

In the months before we leave, we all gather our thoughts on what we want to do when we arrive. Between repeating adventures, must-eat stops, wagering new memories, and a strong desire to do nothing…there’s a lot of admiration and anticipation. We quickly acclimate to Teton Time, rising to the bright sun that coats the valley in the early hours and rolling out to the front porch with coffee in hand – you’re sucked into hours of silent serenity. This morning ritual can ruin productivity on any level – working out, reading, writing, and…leaving. This first week it took 3 days until we left the house during the day for an activity, other than eating.

Wynn TetonsAlta Tetons

 

 

 

#RuffLife

 

 

 

 

 

We feel a little guilt-ridden that we aren’t diving head into all the things we love about the valley, but its beauty is all around us. Renting this particular home provides us everything we love about the valley, without leaving the porch! Sticking to our vow for month vacation, allows us to slow down…to a STOP. The stress of being in the 650 requires a screeching halt to embrace the appreciation to just BE. Without Tall & Small here, we can really enjoy peace and quiet…every parents dream!

 

We are very fortunate to have the time and resources to take 1 month vacation, but in our dreams – we want to be here as often as we can – thus, the purchase of our piece of land and our plans to build. More on that to come while we are here…Tuesday we have a BIG day planned with our architect and meeting contractors, yes! Of course, a designated post about that will follow…

 

Until then, check out recommendations here with links to places we love!

Teton selfie

Don’t drink where you poop

#squadgoals

March – April [repeat approx. 2x/week]

Me, “did you call???”

Superman, “no, I forgot”.

*insert nagging here, followed by yelling.


April – May [repeat approx. 1x/week]

Me, “did they call you back???”

Superman, “no.”

*insert recitation of who was called, when, and what messages were left.


May – present [repeat approx. 1x/week]

Me, “so…did we get a quote???”

Superman, “no.”

*insert self-doubt and anxiety about being off schedule.


 

All I want is a starter SQUAD: architect, excavator/septic-guy, and well-guy. In my dream squad, we would have a contractor – but that’s like wanting to be engaged when you don’t even have a boyfriend. To date, my “squad” includes only 1 person – our wonderful and patient architect (who will get their own post soon!). If it wasn’t for them, I think I’d given up on this project ever taking off the ground in 2016-17.

 

So, for now, I only have #squadgoals.  This website’s title started as an assumption, that people who live and work in the Teton Valley blissfully live on Teton Time. It was a motto of jealously and aspiration. However, living in the 650 makes doing generating business with people in 208 incredibly challenging.  People use their phones – not email. Word of mouth – not websites. This is not conducive to my comfort level, patience, or availability.  Thankfully, Superman has taken on the tireless and thick-skinned role of trying to make contact with our squad candidates. After many, many, many disconnected numbers, voicemails, and persistence – he was able to reach 1 excavator and 1 well driller. Thankfully, guys are also very patient and educational as we try to get this project underway!

 

You know the saying, “don’t sh*t where you eat“…well, this applies to learning about septic tanks and wells. After desperately working to get a live-person on the phone, you have to admit that you know nothing about poop or water tanks.  Again, Superman gets the pleasure of humbling himself to learn about what this process entails. The first rule in determining your well and septic system is location. We will have to wait for these men to survey our lot, our building footprint, and the scope of our project to determine – where, how big, and how deep. We’ve Superman has done all he can to make contact and learn the very basics of this process and the rest will have to play out when we are in the valley for a month.

 

On the dream timeline, we are behind – but we’re still within the scope of having these key components off the ground (not under it, which we had hoped). We want to have the septic and well drilled before the snow falls this fall/winter…fingers crossed!

…this is HARD!

#wannabe

not Blogging

I started this website/blog in mid-March, but haven’t written since its inception! Pretty disappointed in myself for not meeting the early goals I’ve set for this project. Which will allow me to wag my finger at the person who started this project with lofty dreams and state for the record…this is *HARD!

 

Since creating the site, the busiest time of year hit – SPRING! If you a) have kids, b) are a teacher, c) work full-time, or d) all of the above you know how insane the spring season can be!  Working as a full-time teacher and being a mom to 5th & 7th grade girls does not leave much time for anything else.  I’m not sure what I was thinking giving myself a personal, reflective, and public forum on the side of that full plate.

 

Writing for this site I’ve created, requires a key-component: something to write about!  My high-hopes of updating complete strangers to the process of building a custom home needs progress on that front for content.  As you’ll read on…I don’t have much to say about that.  BUT, I am going to try and be positive and not too hard on myself.  All of the reasons this is hard, is what will make this process worth sharing and learning from along the way.

 

not Building

This brings me to the more pressing reality of gearing up to build a house (from a 2.5 acre patch of dirt to something we can live in) from 920 miles away!  The name of this website rang true as we barely scratch the surface of making contacts to kick-off the building process.  Our goal between purchasing our lot in February and the snow melting was to find: an architect, a excavator (for a septic tank), and a well drilling contractor. As of today, we’re 1 for 3. The details about that cat-mouse game on Teton Time, is documented (in all it’s educational glory here).

 

We’re learning that our jobs, lifestyle, and expectations make it harder on ourselves than it needs to be.  Teaching is the most inflexible job for making human-contact outside of the school campus. Want to speak to me about anything not-school-related? Well…that can happen before 7:45am, once in a blue moon – during my 30 minute lunch, and after 4pm. If I really can’t avoid it – you must have something VERY important to discuss with me, because I will take your call during class time.  This begin an awkward exchange, I whisper to my students “I have to take this call” and to the other person on the line “I am teaching right now, so I apologize for being distracted“…all of which give the false mystique that I am a big deal.  The point of all of this is that my husband, Superman, has to make all these calls…during his workday.  Let’s just say nagging someone to nag someone is a soulless undertaking – with little success.

 

Summer

So, after 2.5 months…our 2.5 acres (and this blog) are happily awaiting some TLC. We depart for the Teton Valley this Saturday for our month-long stint!  Escaping the insanity of the 650 and soaking up the sun, stress-free, soul-satisfying pace of 208 comes and the perfect time…Teton Time.

 

*Eye rolling, pompous laughter, and general mockery are completely acceptable responses to my not-so-shocking reality check.  To any veteran bloggers out there (shall you ever stumble upon this), I have the utmost respect and apologize for ever goffing at your lack of new content. 

Why don’t we just move?!

#parenthood

Superman (aka, my husband) asks me “Why don’t we just move (to the Teton Valley)?!”, several times a week. I get it, the 650 is getting to him. It’s expensive, busy, and demanding…I feel it too. The hard part is, once you know there’s another way you’d prefer to live, you become less tolerant than you were before. I think since his recovery, he just has less patience (not that he had a lot to begin with) and wants to live his life without feeling confined anymore.

 

After Superman’s accident, our “village” rallied hard and lifted us up…through all the years we dealt with his health. When we told them we were vacationing in the Teton Valley, they said “where?!”, but when we told them we wanted to live there…”why?!”. Surviving and being successful in the Bay Area is hard, but if you’re doing it, it’s something to be proud of. So, to articulate you’d prefer to leave catches people off guard. The desire to live in the Teton Valley now, sooner, later, or forever is the same feeling you have when you meet your spouse…you just know. They are meant to be a part of your life and you can’t imagine your life without them. Once you know you want to spend your life somewhere, you can wait to start!

 

This brings me back to Superman’s desire to move…now.  There are two reasons we wait – Tall & Small. Tall is our #IndifferentTween daughter who is twelve and in 7th grade. Small is our #Crazy daughter who is about to be eleven and in 5th grade. They’re born and raised here and have lived in our current home (were able to purchase as renters) for 7 years. They both attend the great public schools we are fortunate to have. Tall and Small play competitive club soccer and have big goals to play in college and maybe beyond. The girls love the Teton Valley as much as we do, but we need to let them complete their journeys.

...our baby Bears
My 3 Bears…

Would the girls be ok if we left? Sure. Can Superman survive waiting? Yes. For now, we will continue to vacation to the Teton Valley. As a family, we will tackle the process of building a house. Our future is 208. After all, it is only 7 more years until Small graduates…

For now, we do what all parents do…sacrifice.  This is parenthood.

How did we get here?!

#noquit

January 4th, 2013 my husband (Superman) was in a horrible ski accident and he emerged with only a broken right ankle and a totaled left knee. The worst part was after his surgery he developed an infection in his knee and became septic. This took our family through a nightmare I never thought would happen to us. My 38 year old Superman was down and sense of invincibility was brought back to reality. For nearly two years, our family was forced to be house-bound and re-evaluate our life. Suddenly, the hamster wheel of work and raising children in the never-ending grind of the California, Bay Area came to a screeching halt. Thankfully, my Superman has recovered through countless surgeries and hard work #noquit attitude. While painful, this experience opened our eyes to consider possibilities that we never would have, especially as a young family. Over the three years we opened ourselves up to think about what’s next?

...Now & Then…Now & Then

Once Superman was healthy enough for us to take a summer vacation, I declared I wanted to go somewhere and see something we’d never experienced before! Even though my world has been small (since college we’ve been raising two young girls and working), we’d stuck to the same beach vacations I always wanted and loved. Now, things were different…we were different. After everything we’d been through, there was a sense to do something. I began to research the Northern Rockies and envisioned us experiencing breath-taking views of a different kind. Then as fate usually goes, we needed a tipping point. We were out to dinner with our college friend from Texas who is a fly fishing guide in the summer. He and his family live in Idaho during the season and encouraged us to consider the Teton Valley as an option. The irony here is Superman was born and raised in Nampa, ID. (outside of Boise). He left for the Navy at age 18 and always prided himself on NEVER going back!

 

The summer of 2014, our family of four packed up the car with our two dogs and drove from Menlo Park, CA to Driggs, Idaho. When we drove along the Snake River and gazed at the endless green fields (…remember CA has been in a drought!), we knew we had made the right decision to take this kind of trip. However, it was love a first site as the view of the Tetons slowly revealed themselves as we drove into the Teton Valley for the first time. We rented a house for two weeks in neighboring Victor and something FELT different. We were a different family here. Yes, we were on vacation…but, there was an element of HOME.

This is where we are supposed to be…

We want to live here!

#someday

Since our first visit in July 2014, we romantically discuss moving to the Teton Valley. But, last summer, we decided to get serious about exploring buying land in the Teton Valley for our future. And by serious I mean asking the owner of Yöstmark if he had any realtor recommendations while we purchased two used stand-up paddle boards (SUPs), life vests, and paddles…this is how we do our research in the Teton Valley.  He recommended Dave Dery to us, who’s office is conveniently caddy-corner to Yöstmark.

 

Being from the 650, of course, we emailed Dave first as a feeler. We learned quickly, this is not how the Teton Valley does business…face-to-face and phone calls are best. We took time out from our vacation-life and took a meeting with Dave & his wife Amy. Much of this time was spent helping us get out of our Bay Area real estate mind-set and learn about the Teton Valley. We gave Dave our criteria and budget and he emailed us MLS listings. Of course, Dave offers to drive us around to the lots in the listing, but we arrogantly decline that we will check them out and get back to him.

 

After Superman and I had two bust trips driving down dirt roads and looking for signage (which doesn’t exist), we realized…we need Dave. We set up a day with Dave to drive around and see the different lots he selected for us. There was one criteria: TETON VIEWS. As a Bay Area resident for 27 years, I can’t describe how surreal it is to look at LAND (…that I can afford to buy!).  The downside is we have no frame of reference for space…like “So, how big is an acre?”, when you’re standing in a field of 20 acres!  Dave was extremely patient and informative.

 

We fell in love with the price, size, and views of a lot in Tetonia (a stone’s throw past Driggs, ID) as part of a foreclosed development site with no builds. We left in mid-July with our fingers crossed it would still be available when we returned in the winter ready to purchase.

 

My favorite takeaway from last summer: I kept telling Dave that I didn’t want to have any neighbors (see or talk to anyone)…oh, and my dislike for log cabins and knotty-pine (this will be addressed in BUILD IT).  Dave gently reminded us that the reason why we were attracted to the Teton Valley was to get away from the lifestyle of the Bay Area that was getting to us. We need to let the lifestyle of the Teton Valley in and not try to bring the stress with us. This thematically will ring true. If we want to live here, embrace a way of life outside our 650 bubble.

 

...mother-daughter style!

SUP, mother-daughter style

If we’re going to live here, we need to get on…Teton Time!