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  • Writer's pictureWhitney Clarkson

Family Bonding

Updated: Jan 8, 2021

Our kids really didn’t have a say in things when we told them we would be spending every weekend for the better part of two years building a house. Luckily, they are very easy going and rolled with it. At first, it was easy since the brunt of the work was on John’s shoulders. He managed the digging of the hole, framing the house, and putting in the electrical and plumbing. But once the walls were up, the fun part began.

Every Friday after work, we would make the drive from Berthoud, CO, to Leadville. On good days, it would take 2 ½ hours. If the traffic or weather was bad, it could take 5 hours. Once the church bells rang on Saturday morning, we were on it with hammers, drills, and screwdrivers in hand. Thank god John can build a solid house because we did not have heat for two winters. We did have small electrical heaters, and they worked nicely. Another bonus to new construction in Leadville is that most of the homes which were built in the late 1800s would not hold the heat as well, especially from a small portable heater. We also did not have running water for quite some time. Luckily, our gas camping stove set-up worked like a charm. It is incredible how well you can live on so little. We pretended that we were like the old Leadville miners living with the bare minimum necessary.

The kids might not appreciate it now, but someday they might be thankful that they know how to install wood floors, tile bathrooms, and wallpaper walls. The best part was that through all that work, we bonded as a family. We had a common goal, and we could see progress at the end of every Sunday when it was time to pack up and go home. There was a lot of joking around and listening to dad’s country, mom’s disco, Tristan’s hip-hop, and Kenyan’s pop-punk.

Would we do it all over again? Yes, more than likely.

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