Aspen Princess: Thoughts from the to-be-upgraded A-frame |

Aspen Princess: Thoughts from the to-be-upgraded A-frame

Alison Berkley Margo
Aspen Princess

We are all sick in my house, coughing and sneezing and trying to extract the phlegm from our bodies in various loud and unpleasant ways. Then it snowed at the Margo A-Frame this morning, wet, heavy flakes that soaked our down jackets in the short jaunt from the house to the car.

In other news, that creep is on the Supreme Court, the Lake Christine Fire is finally out, my skin is finally glowing after last week’s chemical peel and five days of looking like someone dumped battery acid on my face (I will say that all that scaly, peeling skin was worth it in the end), and we have officially started the design process on the Margo A-frame remodel.

The newspapers reported Wednesday that the couple who started the Lake Christine Fire want to enter a plea bargain and not go to trial, though it’s entirely unclear on whether that will happen. The only thing that was decided was to move the next court date up to the end of November, and so this thing drags on the way legal matters do. I made my peace with it a long time ago, looking at the bigger picture and deciding it was the conditions — namely, climate change — that set the stage for the dozens of other wildfires burning all over Colorado and the American West. That’s not to say I don’t think these people should be held accountable; I do think our community needs that, especially considering the long-term damage, the vandalizing of our landscape from lush green mountainsides into a charred and barren wasteland.

Another thing I forgot to mention was I had my butt handed to me last week in my relatively new role as mother to a rambunctious little boy. It had become abundantly clear that this kid does not take me seriously. The more I try to show him I mean business, throwing his middle name in and using my sternest possible voice, the funnier he thinks it is. Whether he takes off running in the grocery store or kicks and flails wildly as I’m trying to change his diaper, threatening to bust my nose, he thinks my anger and frustration is hysterical. The one thing I do salvage from this scenario (if I am looking at it in a glass-half-full way), is this one rollicking happy child. He’s not throwing himself on the ground in a fit of tears. He’s in a full sprint with his white-blonde hair flying around his head in a halo of mischief.

That said, I had the distinct feeling that I had somehow lost control over my wild little animal, a feeling that reminded me of my first dog Sebastian, aka “Psycho Paws,” a chow-lab mix who did enough damage in his short life to warrant a Prozac prescription for both of us.

This was not a good feeling.

It took me a few days to figure out I had to start setting consistent rules and establishing boundaries, something my son is surprisingly responsive to. Like the other day, when we were kicking the soccer ball around in the house and I ran for it and he said, “No running, Mom. We have guests.”

This is a refrain I’ve used a thousand times when I’m sure our days as Airbnb Superhosts are numbered. I’ve been downstairs when he’s upstairs running around, and it sounds like 1,000 horses trampling back and forth, not a tiny human.

At any rate, things improved quickly once I figured out how it all works, at least for now.

What I haven’t figured out is how our government is going backward, to an era before I was born. What’s next, taking away a woman’s right to vote? I honestly don’t get it. What baffles my mind is the divisiveness seems to be bordering on fanaticism. There is no debate or dialogue or discourse. It’s my way or the highway, and a government can’t function like that and neither can a society. I have to wonder, how far can this go? Are we headed for another civil war, only this time over politics instead of geography? We can’t live like that.

On a more positive note, at long last we have found an architect humble enough to tackle the constraints of the Margo A-Frame. I can’t even tell you how many professionals I invited to the house only to have them tell me to tear it down. Then finally, Steve Novy of Green Line Architects in Carbondale put it this way. “We want to make good design more accessible.”


I mean, how hard is it to create a beautiful design when you have buckets of cash? It takes real skill and vision to be able to do it on a budget and within an existing footprint. From the moment I set foot in this house, I knew it was perfect for us. “There’s not a single square in this entire house!” I exclaimed triumphantly. This was what I’d dreamed of all my life — literally living outside the box.

“The roof is also the walls,” was how Isaac put it. He had to remind me of this a few times when we were looking over the blueprints and trying to figure out what could go where. He’s the other architect who’s working with us. He’s young and cute and wears funky eyewear.

I watched as these two geniuses went back and forth from the computer screen to the blueprint to the tracing paper where they sketched ways to modify our space for family use. I always thought architects were a rare breed of ambidextrous intellect because they have to be simultaneously logical and creative. I could never do what they do, and I am so grateful they are working with us.

A-frames seem to be having a moment, and so am I. Now seems like the perfect time to step outside the box.

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