When you’re a writer, people always ask when you began writing. The answer is often, “Oh, when I was eight,” or “I’ve been writing all my life.” I didn’t write until I was 35. When I was eight, I was drawing floor plans for log cabins in the wilderness, and trying to listen carefully when my parents read that part in the Little House books where Pa hangs a door, so I could remember how to do it when I grew up. (Eight-year-olds mostly don’t have a concept of reference material use on construction jobs.)
My floor plans always had a wood stove or a fireplace, room for a rocking chair, a table with at least six chairs—since there were six people in my family—and various beds somewhere in the back or upstairs, like my grandparents’ house in Vermont. Little did I know that wood stoves might one day become electric, or that people could safely sleep outdoors on something like this great deck sofa.
So when my friend Sally said she was remodeling two cabins up at Tahoe, and did anyone want to stay there while they were still kind of under construction, I jumped