Steamboat Springs Grief drove Andrea Hayden into the arms of her new town. Her husband died three weeks before they were to move onto land they purchased near Hayden, and the only way she could think of dealing was to fill her time with work and meetings.
She didn't know many people in town yet.
A little vulnerable and a little lonely, she started attending Lions Club and Town Board meetings searching for a niche and maybe some human connection, she said.
"I'm a firm believer that what you give out, you will get back," Hayden said.
During the day, she was working three jobs at Steamboat Premier Properties, The Haven and at the Hayden Mercantile.
Taking that last job changed her life. Andrea Hayden then Andrea Du Bois sat at a small desk tucked away from customers doing the books for the Mercantile. Her boss, storeowner Bill Hayden, was on similar emotional ground as Andrea. His wife died three months after Andrea's Marty passed away.
Bill Hayden invited her to dinner, "no strings attached," he said, and it became a Sunday ritual. Four months later, they were holding hands at the Cow Palace exchanging vows.
"We tried to invite everyone in town," she said. "It was a huge wedding."
Andrea started working at the mercantile full time. Now, her life is as intertwined with Bill's as if they have always been together.
"I've always been ambitious," she said. Hayden sees herself as a puzzle solver. Though her career has always been in business, she majored in psychology and philosophy.
She is an analyzer and a big fan of Ayn Rand. Rand is the author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead." The ultimate capitalist, she believed in reason and productivity as a way to happiness.
Hayden has read most of her books and used to receive the Ayn Rand newsletter.
She studies Rand and other philosophers as ways to solve problems and answer questions.
"They help me figure out how to live," she said.
A day in the life of Andrea Hayden:
5:20 a.m. "My husband sets a cup of coffee on the nightstand." Andrea Hayden is a diabetic and has to take a shot of insulin at set times. She sips the coffee and lies back down for another 20 minutes.
6 a.m. Andrea Hayden turns on the news and drinks a couple cups of coffee. "I think about what I have to do during the day while I get ready," she said.
She walks her two dogs Nikolai and Molly.
Before work, she calls her mother.
"I talk to my mom at least once a day," she said. "I have two sisters and a brother and I talk to them at least once a week. My sister lives in Chile and I talk to her at least once a month."
10 a.m. Andrea goes to work at the Hayden Mercantile.
"I talk to my employees and deal with any immediate problems," she said. Then she walks back to her desk to pay accounts and do the billing. Of the couple, Bill is the people person. While Andrea does the books, Bill learns customer names and habits.
7 p.m. Andrea and Bill head home.
Andrea is on the Hayden Planning Commission and just resigned from the Hayden Recreation Board. She ran unsuccessfully for the School Board and Town Board but plans to run again.
Her day rarely ends before midnight.
"I have a snack with my husband and a cup of hot tea," she said. "I watch something brainless like 'West Wing' or 'Frasier.'"
Bill goes to sleep about 9 p.m., but Andrea stays awake.
She writes letters, does Internet research or reads.
"I come alive in the evening."