A strategy

Writing about politics suggests reciting acts of government incompetence and malice, slandering personalities and generally arguing for the beheadings of those currently inflicting (mostly financial) misery on our lives.

And so, let’s say we did and move on.

The reason for that on-the-surface tolerance is simple: those who already hate the Conservative Party as much as I do, already know of their collective absurdity from climate denial to election-fixing, from cut-backs in essential services to bigotry instead of justice. We know of their wanton spending on submarines that don’t work, helicopters that don’t fly and fighter jets that come without engines.  Their sense of entitlement and elitism is also well-known as is their complete disregard of citizens and their accelerated descent into ignorance rather than science.   And then there is the constant but simple-minded propaganda and the equally as constant assault on our freedoms and wallets….just to name a few.

There are way too many more.

So, none of that really needs repeating for us, the enlightened know-it-alls.  We already know it all.

One might write all that stuff to convince the swing-voters, tho, the ones who voted Conservative a time or two but are now having doubts.  This is the audience for political writing but, let’s face it – not for me.  No one of the Conservative Party persuasion would be reading me and, if they were, it would not be for my political acumen.  Maybe ravens. Not politics.  Those people who might read me and also might possibly vote Conservative can be counted on one hand without using the thumb.

“So, what’s the point, then?”

There are two points: I have to do what I can.  And I may have a point that you can use to sway a swinger or two.

“Do you?”

Only one, really.  And it is a simple one.  It works.  It resonates even with card-carrying Conservatives.  Please try it.  Here goes:  Conservative is a brand name, not their philosophy.  CONSERVATIVE is a name.  A N-A-M-E.  It means nothing.  It is no different than Mighty Ducks or Moose or Oddfellows.  It is just marketing – pure and simple.  Those voters who consider themselves conservative people are NOT necessarily CONSERVATIVE PARTY think-alikes.  In fact, most small-c conservative people wouldn’t act like Stephen Harper, Mike Duffy or Pamela Wallin even once in their lifetime.

We have to tell people that the name is just a name.  ALL names are just names – just branding – just marketing – just image.  We have to make them understand that Conservative Party has no relationship whatsoever to being a conservative-minded person.  That is the only message someone who votes differently from you can accept. That news-flash has a chance of changing some votes.  Even better: it is not too offensive.

If you get on a roll, you can include the Liberals but don’t push your luck.  

 

 

Apologies, again….

I have to write a bit politically from now on.  Til October 19th, anyway.  I know it is irritating. Sorry.  But, here’s the dilemma – for evil to be done good men only have to do nothing.  I have to do what I can to get rid of Stephen Harper and the mindset he represents.  I humbly request that you consider the points raised in this blog and, if you can’t vote Green, please make a point of voting to get rid of Harper.  I am not asking you to vote my way, just don’t vote the old way.  It is time we all united to rid ourselves of this bigoted fool who is an embarassment to our country.

If the economy is important to you, vote Green. If waste, destruction and debt are more to your liking, vote Conservative or Liberal. It may seem counter-intuitive to you and it is absolutely contradicting the myth spread by the old-time parties but the facts are clear; the new economy is going Green and the old economics of the established parties are elitist and have created nothing but decay and indebtedness for the average citizen. In fact, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have managed the worst economic growth since the depression era at a record setting low of 1.77%.

Canada is hugely in debt. We owe 1.2 trillion dollars or 66% of our gross domestic output. And that does not include the provincial debt which raises the figures considerably. It is generally regarded that 80% is the point-of-no-return. We are too close to national bankruptcy. Given that we are one of the richest, most resource-full nations on the planet and, outrageously, with the fewest people, how is it possible that even a mediocre or slightly corrupt manager could run the country so deeply into the red?

But they did.  Sorta like they did in Alberta.

The Canadian Establishment got rich, the Canadian population became indebted and our economy is mired in a 19th century robber-baron mindset with our ill-informed economic hopes pinned on the almost non-existent jobs of the expiring Sunset industries. We grow wheat, sell trees, coal and oil. We even sell water but only for a pittance. We used to sell fish but we killed them all. We even sold our national railroad to Bill Gates. Face it: our old way of doing business does not work.

But here’s the real shock: only 4% of the population is employed in those sectors. That means that the rich are getting rich off our nation’s resources and hiring only a few citizens to help them do it. And there is no trickle down.  You are simply being robbed.

Most Canadians already know that we have been largely mismanaged in so many ways for far too long a time. What they want to know is what to do about it.  And they may not know that the newly emerging Green economy looms promising on our horizon if we make changes to our thinking and vote differently. We can and we will – if we keep the old Duffy/duffers away from the controls – be prospering in a land of abundance.

Sounds like a hippy, eh?

But Elon Musk is no hippy and he is prospering. He got his start in the cauldron of capitalism with the innovation of PayPal.  And he is now as Green as Kermit. See Solar City. See Tesla Motors.

Capitalism is NOT the problem. Capitalism motivates, initiates, energizes and promotes our ideas. It feeds off the natural inventiveness of the human animal. But, like a dog, it can be used for good or trained and directed towards aggression and doing harm. Our old leaders bred for Dobermans and Rotweilers and more than a few emerged as Pitt Bulls. Their dogs protected the elite and did harm to passersby. And they still are.

Green Natural Capitalism, on the other hand, works with nature, cooperates with others and, like Google says, ‘does no evil.’ Think Standard Poodle. Or Portugese Water Dog. Natural Capitalism is harnessing the positive and limiting the negative. Natural Capitalism is a good dog.

Natural Capitalism is also a book authored by Amory Lovins and Paul Hawken. Read it.

Synopsis: Ray Anderson saw the Green difference. He was a manufacturer of carpets. Then he took some trash to the dump and saw that his product was occupying a large part of it.  Ray re-worked his company to one that leases carpet and recycles all of the old carpet into new. In the process, Interface Corporation grew ten-fold. And the dump stopped seeing carpet.

“But we are just ordinary people with huge mortgages. We can’t do that!”

Yes, you can. Alan Hammond took the concept of local farmers selling direct to customers and gave us Granville Island Public market. Regular Canadians are doing it all the time.

Granville Island Brewery. Interior wineries. Small, boutique hotels. Virtually all your local service and hospitality industries. Builders, teachers, millwrights. Healthcare. They are all (95%) local. That is economy.  That is community. And that is sustainable.

In other words, your dentist keeps your teeth in order, your local grocer increasingly tries to go local, your neighbor replaces roofs and the kid next door did your lawn last week. What did Kinder Morgan do for you lately? Enbridge? Exxon?

The truth is that all of them (even Exxon) have contributed to the modern marketplace but some do more for you than others. Some are doing better for the planet and your children’s future than others, as well. Put your support where it counts.

Reject the global corporate mindset. It is not hard to do. Do we need a natural gas plant that sells our resources to a Malaysian petro-giant? Do you think your price of natural gas will be lower? Are you going to work at the plant? Do you think the shareholders of the company reaping the profits are your neighbours?

Vote differently and be part of a local, sustainable and green business. That’s where the future is.

Not much…(cough, cough)

…same ‘ol…..

Guests in groups, pairs, droves, flocks and clumps.  Working in spastic intervals between interrupting dollops of pick-up, drop-off, hospitality and first aid.  Lots of dish-washing. Beer.  Wine.  Finger-food….all the live-long-day.

Whoopee.

Some local cesspool-on-two legs at the school recently gifted me with the head-cold from Hell. They must have touched me when I wasn’t looking.  I swear, the main advantage I can see with the school system is strengthening your own kids immune system.  And, of course, eliminating old people who no longer have small children from using the food system. It’s a jungle.

The Inuit were kinder sending their old folks out on ice floes. Now we slyly invite geriatrics into the ‘lab’ to talk to the kids and later put a little check by their name: David Cox, soon-to-be-leaving-us.

You want a plot?  I’ll give you plot – death by infectious classroom.

I actually like kids but I am starting to feel that I need perspex when we meet.  A large cube for me.  A larger cube with disinfectant spray for them.   It would be fine.  The pope likes it.

Maybe we could just boil them first?

We so rarely get ill nowadays, it is a shock when it happens.  Really.  “What the hell!?  Is my head melting or something?  What is all this goo?  And why am I shaking and sweating for no reason?”  

Trauma, collateral damage from tools, old-fashioned, ordinary damage, fluke-accident damage, and lots and lots of blood-letting and pain to be sure. They are common, even daily occurrences for me.  But ‘sick’?  Hardly ever.

One needs a kid to inflict that kind of misery.  We had eleven the other day.  The class is usually 13 but two kids were home ill.  Duh!

When meeting a group of kids, I now feel like an Aztec/Mayan meeting the new Spaniards…you just know it isn’t going to end well…. “Why don’t you kids just stand there…you know…downwind…? Hold this perspex in front of you when speaking. “

Oh, don’t worry.  I’ll be fine.  Worry about Sal.  She has to live with me while I am drooling and coughing and whinging and demanding more tea.  I’d hate to be her.  Bad enough being me.  I’ll get back on that funicular project when my mucous isn’t obliterating the welding and clogging up the drill press.   

 

OTG habits

Town day yesterday.  About 450 pounds schlepped back to the house.  Haven’t been to town for a month or so due to small supplementary infusions of goods from guests who visited just as some things ran out.  Guests with good larder-timing are especially appreciated.  But we were overdue for a lot of things.  So, it was hard to complain about the day.  But I did anyway.  Whinged and groused all day like some old geek.

One of the parcels was a small crane.  It weighed 100 pounds.  One hundred pounds has never been light but neither has it ever been too heavy.  But getting that puppy off the boat, up the beach and onto the deck was an age-determining experience.  I guess I measure my age now by what I can carry up hill.  And I am definitely getting older. It is not only annoying and limiting but it can cause aches and pains.  Worse, there is all that whinging and grousing.

But it is interesting…the timing of the lower funicular is getting more pressing.  We can both feel it.  We are going to need the assistance.  If we had to, we could do the basic schlep for five more years and likely ten if we developed some kind of now-and-then delivery system in addition to the big barge.  But the lower funicular will make that ten years a piece of cake. I can feel the urgency in my lower back and see it in Sal’s growing reluctance to choose the heavy boxes.  We are going slower, packing smaller boxes and have developed unconscious and conscious habits that minimize extra or unnecessary effort but we have to do more. The writing is on the wall.

When we were younger and had a two story house, Sal would put things on the stairs. Puzzled, I’d ask, “How come there are books and sweaters and stuff on the stairs?”

“They are there for when I was going to go upstairs anyway.  No sense in making an extra trip.”

Well, we have taken that ‘be-efficient’ mentality to sophisticated levels.  We shop with that in mind, we leave things at half-way points, we eat up all the leftovers and even buy with ‘leftovers’ in mind.  It is amazing how efficient one can become with supplies, not out of sacrifice or skimping, but simply from doing the most with the least amount of town effort.

I was reminded of that this shopping trip, of course, because every trip is an exercise in efficiency.  But also from a note from the newbies to the area; “We took a small load over to the property and then went home and stopped for a bite to eat.  We were exhausted. You’re right — everything gets handled at least six times!  And then you ache the next day!”

When we do a town day, I buy half a rotisserie chicken and some deli salads with the groceries for dinner later on.  Every time.  Why?  Because we don’t have the energy to do any kind of from-scratch cooking and even heating leftovers is a pain, BBQ chicken is our fast and convenient go-to, last second dinner.

Over time our town trips have become more efficient–our packing more efficient, our movements more efficient–and we have developed systems to increase those efficiencies.  The shopping itself becomes more efficient as our menus result in less garbage, our bulk-buying becomes second nature, re-packing in the parking lot to get rid of non required packaging becomes a habit. Even things such as Sal’s growing reluctance to buy anything liquid because we should be able to find the same product dehydrated and not have to carry water starts to show up.

Strange – but this is a different meaning to the old saw, less is more.  In our case, we get more so as to carry it less often.

 

Next step: Low Fun Cart

Low Fun Cart (LFC) = lower funicular cart.

I have to make one of those.  I am going to use some of the HUGE angle track that I have left over from previous projects.   It is heavy stuff.  I will make the base of the cart from that.  I estimate the lower half of the cart will weigh about 500 pounds when it is done.   The top larger half will weigh around 150 – 200 pounds because it is made of lighter gauge, smaller dimensional steel.

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Drilling and bolting the funicular base together

I will use the heavy stuff for the lower half of the cart where the weight will help keep the centre of gravity lower.  I have to do that because the ‘deck’ of the upper cart-body will be ‘lifted’ off the tracks to the level of the deck and that lift at the front is about 3 feet high and it is about 6 feet high at the back because the tracks are at an angle and the arrival deck is, as you have seen in the recent previous blogs, level.

Everything I am carrying up the tracks will be placed on the top deck of that cart so it can and will be top heavy at times.

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Adding diagonal piece to stabilize base

Can’t imagine it?  Imagine a big wedge 5 feet wide, 12 feet long, pointy at the front and and 6 feet high at the back end.  The sharp front of the wedge is then ‘nipped off’ four feet back so that the front is now ‘blunt’ and the remainder of the wedge is now only 8 feet long. The blunt front ‘nose’ is 3 feet high compared to the blunt back end which is still 6 feet high.   The wedge is NOT solid.  It is a ‘cage’ made up of steel bars with the top side (deck) made of a heavy gauge wire.  The struts or legs or posts are heavy gauge 1×1 steel tube as are any cross support struts.

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Partially completed base – three sets of wheels are hidden beneath the sides

Sorta like an exaggerated boat trailer with a higher, more complex structure.

The heaviest lift will be easy for the steel structure and the winch….the BIGGEST lift would be Sally’s little boat loaded with supplies….totaling maybe 1000 pounds…tops 1500 pounds (that would be huge!).  Fifteen hundred pounds would pose no problem pulling and lifting and carrying. BUT….that load is on the top of the wedge – on the ‘deck’ of it.  There could be as much as 1500 pounds on the top, elevated at 3 to 6 feet off the tracks.  If that tipped over, we’d have a problem.

But the cart is almost square.  In fact, by some wizardry of physics it may just be.  The cart is five feet wide and the wedge goes from three to six feet high suggesting that 5 feet back (and four feet down) might be the middle of the whole cage-mass.  So, the cart would have the same physical dynamics as a cube 5×5.  And a cube won’t tip.

Or would it?

I don’t know.  I ‘wing’ stuff like this.  Gut-feel mechanical engineering.  I DO know that so long as the load is centered and stable, I am good to go.  It is NOT unlike a big power boat on top of a skinny, bony trailer. Probably better.

I also know that 90% of the time, the load will be light (300 pounds or so) as a result of an out-on-the-town-shopping day and so ‘no worries’.  The only time I will be a bit concerned is when we use Sal’s little boat like a small barge to carry something really heavy (say, another large winch?) and I will have the boat, the load and the other stuff all on top of what I am hoping is a cart-acting-like-a-cube.

When (if) I lift my own boat, I am dealing with a ton.  Maybe a smidge more.  That will be 2000 pounds on top of something that weights 750.  Even if the cart is square and the load centered and balanced that is still top-heavy in the extreme.  That is when ‘winging it’ gets tested.

And you wonder what I do all day?

There will be blood…I hope it is NOT mine

I wrote a book.  NOT a great one.  But it was fun to do and, at times, it is amusing to read in a self-destruction kind of way. It was one of the things on my bucket list (well, the list had it that I would try to improve my writing and the book was a natural consequence of that effort).

I tend to preach and rant and cajole and be obnoxious as a person and as an author.  It is my style.  In life and in writing.  And that likely showed up in the book, too. Sal tried to edit me down to polite society but character flaws show up between the lines. I know that. I am NOT pretty.  Nor attractive.  I really didn’t expect to influence anyone sane nor did I attempt to teach or inform as I am still at the sophomore stage of this new lifestyle myself.

So, imagine my surprise…………

…when I was contacted by a reader who asked to meet.  That was a few months ago.  He was from the prairies but had decided to move to the west coast.  He had read the book and was interested in living OTG.  I met X and his wife, Y, in town, we had coffee, I signed the book and we talked OTG for awhile.  It was nice.

Then X&Y wanted to visit the area and explore possibilities and well…………to make a long story short………….they just bought some land in the area and are going to live OTG!

OMG!!!

Now the first thing to remember is what I just wrote above: “I really didn’t expect to influence anyone sane…..”  

So that is worry #1.

But they seem nice enough so let’s set that worry aside and go to: “…..nor did I attempt to teach or inform as I am still at the sophomore stage of this new lifestyle myself.”

But I have already offered advice.  I can’t help myself.  Can you imagine?  The blind and halt leading the blind.  That is worry #2.

“Oh, Dave!  Stop being so dramatic.  They are likely over 21 and had their own dreams and aspirations (bucket-list) to fulfill.  You were and are quite incidental to all that they are doing.  Relax!”  

I know that to be true.  I had trouble influencing my kids when they were toddlers.  And no hope of doing so today.  So, I am pretty much in the clear of being charged as a bad influence.  I know that.  Still, not everyone can survive the self-abuse, accidents, mayhem and catastrophe that comes with the OTG territory.  There will be blood.

If they survive the first two years, they are likely good.  Lame, perhaps.  Scarred, for sure. I just hope they don’t carry a grudge.

Congratulations X & Y.  Welcome to OTG!

loading ramp/deck extension

Well, the deck is largely done.  I have some railing posts (welding) and some railings (wood) still to make but the new addition to the deck is done, for the most part.  Just fiddly crap from now on.

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Deck Extension

The new ‘little’ deck extension was built to adjoin or juxtapose the raised funicular cart that has yet to be built.  That cart is the BIG part of the project and I hope to get on with it this summer.  It will take me awhile.  The cart will rise along the tracks and rest alongside the new deck and thus raise the goods or the boats or whatever we are trying to lift from the water to the deck without strain.

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It’s a plan.

I will add a small crane to the deck for lifting things like kayaks from the beach to the deck and vice versa.  The railings, of course, for safety.  And maybe a few other odds and sods since I am down there and messing about….like the second bathroom which has honestly not gone beyond the empty-promise, dream-on stage so far.  But I’ll get to it.

Soundbite for Humanity!

Update on deck – next blog.

Turns out that living OTG (off the grid) has so many iterations that the term is indistinct and used by so many different lifestyles as to be confusing.  Our book category is a melange of quirky titles and authors describing how to live in your car, your boat, your RV or on a surfing couch, live for free, live in a house built from garbage or live in a cabin in the woods – just to name a few.   One nut lives on a remote island up the BC coast!  And another self published book I saw on Amazon featured a shopping cart on the cover and promised to reveal the secrets of homeless living.  (Presumably, those suggestions work best in the city…I can’t see that shopping cart thing workin’ too good in the forest.)

Fair enough.  OTG is more of a mindset in my opinion, anyway, but I think Amazon is embracing the fringe rather than the real OTG’ers but why squabble over semantics? Basically, all of the folks living unconventionally are making a statement.  They don’t like the ‘burbs, the condos or the lifestyle required to get there.  Or else they can’t get in. Doesn’t matter how you cut it – voluntarily or involuntarily – conventional living simply does not work for everyone.

It doesn’t work perfectly for anyone, in my opinion.  It works for the system to have a ready-to-hand labour pool and taxpayers willing to hemorrhage money on demand in aid of that system but the lifestyle seems to grind everyone up in the end.  No one is happy unless they are on Prozac and have just recently avoided an indictment.   Heart attacks, drug overdoses, destroyed families, tension, neurosis, psychoses, failures to launch, chronic fatigue, addictions, divorce, cancer, bankruptcy, all this collateral damage in aid of sustaining a system that just doesn’t strike me as supportive for enough people to warrant it’s continuance.

But how do you change it?

I simply moved away from it.  I moved away like a person who objects to an industrial odour or heavy traffic or local drug houses or drive-by shootings.  I moved away from what I saw as bad rather than to what I knew was good.  That it turned out to BE GOOD surprised me as much as anything ever has.  But I lucked into this paradise.  I was really just getting out of the kitchen ’cause I couldn’t take the heat anymore.  No genius, here.  More like a rat leaving a sinking ship.

And, what’s it to me, anyway?  If folks wanna meth-amphetamine themselves to death in a highrise condo while avoiding their creditors and lying and cheating those they know, why would I care?  Even if they are NOT doing that but just being ground down to a tiny nub like so many others, why do I care?  Hell, even if they are living the high-life with only burnout as the price they pay, why would I care?

And, do I care?

I honestly don’t know the answer to that question.  I know I care a bit.  I care a bit that 7,000 Nepalese were killed in their recent earthquake.  I care that hundreds are dying trying to smuggle themselves into better lives from where-ever they came from. I care that ordinary Canadians are being made to feel like failures because of overwhelming debt.  I care a bit that people would incite radical Muslims to die defending the imaging of Muhammad at a cartoon contest.  I even care a bit that senator Duffy is being tried (rightly so) for simply being the wrong pig in the wrong pigsty at the wrong time.  Nasty pigstys offend me at all levels. I am a sensitive guy.

But how do you change it?

Seriously.

I’ve been asked to write an article on a milder version of that question (I haven’t agreed to do so).  How can a political party actually make positive changes?  I have some ideas, of course.  You don’t get to be 67 and having written a few thousand blogs by lacking opinions. I got opinions!  But what is the basic one? What is the pure message?  What cuts to the chase in 750 words?  How do you change the world in a soundbite?

Wanna job?  Wanna real job?  One that continues?  Then vote Green and change the world so that it can be all that it can be!

Old parties think the economy runs by selling our natural resources in bulk to other countries.  And the rich guys get richer.  The Greens believe the economy starts at the local level and we are awash in the resources we need to do that and do it sustainably.

Real jobs begin at home!

Or should I just go to my old standby?:  Get out!  Get out NOW!

I believe all that but is it game-changing?  I don’t think so.

Having said that, Elon Musk’s pretty conventional battery  – nothing simpler, really – will shift the big picture a little.  A battery will change the energy grid.  Our collective perspective WILL change.

OMG!  Maybe there is hope, after all.

 

Bliss-grind continued

The 45 degree steel beam is 90″+ high-off the rocky beach sitting on the concrete-based pedestal as described in the previous blog.  The second beam is there to ‘triangulate’ the structure and make it strong.  The steel beams are angle-steel, almost 1/2″ thick and double-hot-dipped galvanized.  They are BC Hydro-salvage fallen power line tower parts. They ARE strong.

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Salvaged steel beams

The long beam is 21 feet long and weighs 220pounds.  The shorter one is almost 12′ long and weighs a mere 130 or so.  The joists are 2×12’s ‘sistered’ in to the pre-existing deck structure.   When that is up, we deck over but currently don’t have any 2×6’s for the decking.  Sal hinted that we might use a mixture of 2×8’s and 2×4′ to deck…….hmmmmm…..?

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More Hydro salvage (pillar for deck extension and funicular rails behind) plus ramp salvaged from fish farm in foreground

So, did you rig up a lift or something to place those beams or did you just work Sal extra hard?” asked my neighbour when he dropped by to see it.  He’s read the book.

Killer Drill

Drilling through beam using the Badger portable drill press

Drilling through beam using the Badger portable drill press

His visit cut into the work-day which is remarkably short as a rule and thus made shorter yesterday but we still put up two joists before the Malbec called.  We may finish the remaining sisters and be ready to deck today.  Tomorrow for sure.  I say ‘may’ because I am likely to run out of the 2x12s but I would run out of the short lengths and Sal is insistent that we can ‘make em’ from 2×8’s and 2×4’s so that we don’t have to stop.

Cobbling is SOOoooooooooo out-of-character for the work-site partner who usually brings a little OCD to the equation.

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Cutting steel beam to length using our neighbour John’s fabulous machine

“That’s not like you.  Usually you want everything perfect.  The same.  Appearances have to be right.  That’s your schtick.  It’s me who says ‘oh, it’s good enough.  No one will see it.  It’s strong – that is all that counts.  Wazzup?”

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Overview of work site adjacent to Boat House

“Shut up and keep working.  I am not that rigid.  And, anyway….I want this all done before our guests arrive.  Now, focus!”

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Deck Frame in Place (strong enough for ANY load the barge delivers)

So I may be ‘making’ the remaining two joists out of parts.  I may be decking like a quilter.

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All Work and No Play

Slave-driver Sal is back on the job!

 

Back to the bliss/grind partnership that is our love story

Sal and I are building again.  This time it is a deck extension for the boat house receiver deck, the first place we load to from the boat and the beach, the first level spot on the property.  That deck was ‘build #1′ and done ten or eleven years ago – the one that, in the book, took us two weeks but would have taken my contractor friend two days.  We like to think we are so much better now.

Yep.  Now, it will take forever.

Basically an extension is a modification, a renovation, a tie-in to an existing structure. Renos are harder than building from new although, for us, it is all Everest, the Matterhorn, K2…who cares?  It’s all an uphill battle.  Our real problem is that even as we get better at doing things, we also get older.  So, as the skill level goes up, the physical ability goes down and thus visible progress on the deck is the same as if we were first-day amateurs. Glacial.

To tie in joist extensions means ‘sistering’ new-length joists onto old ones.  And, for that to happen, decking has to be pulled back to expose the old joists.  That would not be too hard if I hadn’t attempted to re-think every process at the time of building.  And, when doing the deck the first time, Genius-Dave decided to spring for stainless screws.  “Then they won’t rust and look bad, they’ll last forever and I honestly don’t see why others don’t do this!”

Now I do.  Stainless is a more brittle metal than other metal screws or (better yet) galvanized nails.  When the ‘driver’ is driving them in, the torque can rip off the heads. And so I had more than a few boards held down by headless screws.  That was not that much of a problem at the time.  It is a much bigger problem when trying to take the old deck off.

So, Sal got that job.

I took on the pedestal/support leg build.  I was employing a 160 pound six-foot, six-inch heavy galvanized pedestal (one of six I salvaged from the BC Hydro yard fifteen years ago).  It had to be bolted to a poured concrete base and then extended up by way of a smaller pedestal to the right height to support the joist extensions.  In theory, simple enough….except that that height is about 90 inches – seven feet six inches – 22 inches over my head.

Still, people build (literally and figuratively) over their heads all the time but my challenge was and is that my footing on the beach is over irregular rock.  And there was no place to secure a higher working platform without building something almost as elaborate as the deck extension itself.  I eventually do what I always do in such a circumstance – ‘wing it’ with something cobbled together and try to be ‘careful’ which is the rationale one uses when NOT being careful.

I took an aluminum ladder with folding ends and tippily stood it horizontally against the pillar. Then I climbed up and balanced precariously on it holding a HUGE drill (3/4 inch) so as to be able to drill the fastening holes between the pillar and the extension.  Sal-the slim-and-slight came to hold the ladder from tipping.  Shrek-like Dave relying on her strength to keep stable.  I really should have lashed it to the post in retrospect.  One spin of the high-torque drill and it was clear that it was going to tear itself from my hands, tip over the edge of the pillar and crash down on Sally’s head.  If it fell drill-bit first, it would impale itself in her brain. Otherwise, she would simply be killed by blunt trauma.

I considered giving it a second try but love triumphed and we abandoned the attempt.

Like everything we do around here, I found another way to secure the extension.  No one was hurt.  It was a miracle.

The deck extension is joists stretched out into thin air but supported on their ends by a steel beam.  The steel beam goes from the old deck to the pedestal.  The steel beam weighs 220 pounds and it has to be lifted to the 7’6″ height of the pedestal-with-extension. The footing, as mentioned, is irregular in the extreme.

That is today’s job.

You’ll understand if there is no continuance on this topic….?  Donations in lieu of flowers.