September 13, 2018

Captains log: City to Gritty

It’s amazing how people make you feel! So far, I’ve hired to our build team 100% from how I’ve felt during each interview.

Those that understand the magic of this location and look at our build site as an exciting challenge, get to work with us. And I those that scoff at our ideas and tell us to “be realistic”, don’t.

Despite hiring our architect already, I decided to go to another architect interview, just to see what he might bring to the table and compare experiences. This was the same guy that ghosted us for 2.5 weeks. He finally reached back out and asked for an interview and I accepted.

When I arrive, he opens a blank notebook and immediately tells me to be realistic. Noted, the guy we hired spent 3+ hours on designs beforehand to show us his skill and interest level. And here I am looking at a blank page.

He then asks me if I’m sold on an A-Frame and tells me how difficult they are to build. He then proceeds to draw a triangle on his blank paper and stares at it. And informs he no one does A-Frames and he hasn’t built one in 15 years.

I tell him that is definitely our first choice but I’m open to his creativity on our project.

He continues to sketch triangles and eventually opens up a design program for his vision of our layout. He keeps bringing up all the challenges of A-frames how we need to be realistic. And when talking ceiling height, gets super concerned when I mention Todd is 6’6” so, we need high ceilings. It’s like that fact would suddenly change everything.

It was very interesting to watch his process because the architect we hired already solved this problem is a gorgeous way. Of course, I mention NOTHING of the other design. I want to see where his mind is it.

We go back and forth and after almost 2 hours have a floor plan. The entire time I felt I had to justify my ideas, justify our budget and justify what I like. I don’t know about you, but after hours of justifying, you feel emotional and drained. I also had my 20 month old with me running around.

He finally said after all that, that maybe an A-frame could be possible. But he had a better square design he would send me after that I should consider. He gave me his pricing and told me the only negative to working with him was he was very slow (hence the 2.5 weeks of ghosting before our meeting) but he would get the job done within 14 weeks if we hired him. There are 52 weeks in a year. And if plans will take 14 weeks…well then….

Sooooo, yeah. I thanked him for his time and quickly left.

We also learned that the post office can’t assign us a mailbox at the bottom of the hill until we have a build permit.

At first they said all we needed was our land deed and 1 week processing time. And after 2 weeks, they inform us we also need a build permit.

So, PO Box for us! But we can’t open one without a piece of mail that shows we live in Colorado (like a utility bill—but wait-we are living off-grid! And can’t get mail! And I don’t have any envelops from our prior address).

Or a CO drivers license-which because I’ve been military, haven’t changed because you don’t have to change your license when you’re military until it expires. So, it’s off to the DMV soon so I can get a CO license so I can get a PO Box and receive mail.

What I’ve learned so far, is experience is good when choosing a build team. But not too much experience. Too much experience seems to be the place where dreaming and creativity end.

The difference between these interviews was astounding. The 2nd guy was also part of the company we are considering to build our home. Throughout the process, he frequently called over the build leader to look at his A-frame design and it was all heavy sighs and head shaking. And all I replied was, “well, if no one builds A-frames anymore and you haven’t built one is 15 years, then obviously this would be unique! And different from what everyone else is building!”

And they agreed as they suggested square designs. NEXT!!!


  • Nicco Macintyre Absolutely!
    It’s always a balance of concessions and desires but ultimately it’ll only be your dream home if the people in all the important steps support your dream and don’t try to substitute their own, whatever, old ideas.
    A-frames are fine, just different and there’s ALWAYS a way to at least get close to what you want.
    Hell, give me another couple years and I’ll just 3d print it for you.
    • Rachel McCash Cronin Exactly!!! And 3D printing is amazing!! We have a basic one and printed our land! The green is our 35 acres and the blue is our access road
    • Nicco Macintyre Is that a topographical 3d print?
      Lol nice!
  • Cynthia Ossa 1. He seriously said he is “very slow”?!? How is he still in business?
    2. Of all the places I have lived, COS USPS has been the worst. I am sadly not surprised by your experience and can feel your frustration. I’m sending you some positive vibes.
    • Rachel McCash Cronin Thanks momma!! And I know!! I’m just like… WTF? ? I first thought his 14 week timeline was from demand until he mentioned he is slow
  • Mario J McCash High Drama on the Colorado Springs Seas!

    Hey, now that you’re out of the military anyway, might as well get a local DL.…See More
  • Bryan Huddleston “Too much experience seems to be the place where dreaming and creativity end” – so true!

    …and it’s seriously amazing that a woman so young has the level of wisdom, perspective, and judgement you do. Respect.
  • Caroline Antoinette I love these updates! Love!

    Are you blogging this experience?
  • Jared McCash Is that ‘NEXT!!!’ a reference to the church bus lady meme on facebook?
  • Rachel McCash Cronin Lol I’ve never seen that before!