Zalaznick: Crowded in Eagle County |

Zalaznick: Crowded in Eagle County

Matt ZalaznickVail CO, Colorado

Im not talking about Northwoods on the day after Christmas or the line at Chair 5 on a powder day. Im talking about my Ski Country closets. And Im not asking for the county to help pay mortgage on a single-family home either but you try to get a screwdriver out of my storage shed. I bet some of you out there in housing-crisis-land, in order to retrieve a simple Phillips head, also have to wrench two mountain bikes out of a tangle of cross-country skis, old ice coolers, barbecue covers and pottery wheels to clear a path to the tool box. Then you have to chop through vines of coaxial cable which every spring cleaning you promise your wife you absolutely have to keep just in case to get to that screwdriver to change the batteries in the kids little light-up school bus. Woman dont understand coaxial cable, right? Its not like its cheap. And you probably need 800 feet of to run your TV over to the park across the street. So you didnt miss any of the New Hampshire primary punditry.Oh yeah you have to go to the park because once you made your way through the compacted yard sale you keep in the shed, the screwdriver wasnt there. And you couldnt put new batteries in the bus. So the kid is bored and wants to get out of the house.But why dont you keep the tools in one of the closets? No room amongst the tents, CD cases, worn-out hiking boots with forgotten sentimental attachments, fried laptops, unidentified computer accessories you might want if you ever get around to building that killer android youve been telling the guys about, cause you downloaded instructions from the Internet and … never mind. This kind of insurmountable clutter is the seedy underbelly to the countys housing crunch that politicians and activists are not willing to talk about. Its easy to buy some land, find a contractor and put up some affordable townhomes and get lots of good publicity. The hard part is dealing with ones wife when you bring home yet another beer-keg-sized stereo component and because she cant possibly understand why you need your trebles richer explaining to her that, sure theres room for it, we just have to get rid of the kitchen table. And also the babys high chair. And maybe the dog. Affordable homes may keep people in the valley, but what is their quality of life like when just to get a Tupperware from the pantry they have to unstack a seven-foot tower of baby bottles, travel mugs, half-empty bags of Cheetos, dog bowls, ice-cream makers, dinosaur fossils and Kerry-Edwards bumper stickers, and ski passes from the last 12 seasons still rain down on their heads. Plus, Im an American and I have a right to enjoy the hourly gonging of a grandfather clock, even if it means gouging a hole in the ceiling and intruding into my upstairs neighbors living room. Which, due to space problems, hes probably using as a …. The county doesnt seem to be working on any plans for this kind of very real, very middle-class dilemma. The least a county commissioner could do would be to come over some Sunday afternoon and help me decide which of my 11 blue down vests I dont need. I explain to my wife that one says Telluride, one says I Got Sloshed at the Okeefenokee Brews & Ballooning Festival and one says Van Halen World Tour 1997. How could I possibly throw any of those out? This is where we need guidance from our experienced and forward-thinking elected officials thats if theyre as willing as they say they are to fight to keep the middle class in Ski Country. Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or

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