Dock Worker

The big rains triggered my biannual fix-up the dock project. The entry way to the dock is a parquet like surface using cutoff 2”x rough cut lumber from the original dock construction. The 16” rainfall did a nice job of undercutting the blocks and left it pretty much in a mess. I’ve had to redo the entry way twice now and it’s a pain in the butt so I decided on something a bit more permanent this time. So I got 80# bags of concrete that are designed to be used as is – just put the bags down and soak. 80# bags are much heavier now than they were a few years ago so rather than do the entire area I did the higher wear areas and the places that washed out several times over the past 5 years. That took 9 bags. Over top the bags I put a layer of sand and then the parquet blocks. It’s finished off with a bag of builder’s sand to fill in the gaps. It took two days to complete since I just took my time and tried to do it without killing myself. I’m happy with the end item – looks ok and much more stable.

And since we had a 3 day dry stretch forecast and I had a gallon and a half of deck stain left over from the last stain job a couple of years ago, I decided it was time to put on another coat or two. First step – power wash. I hadn’t run the water pump or the power washer in quite a while so had fingers crossed that it would all work the first time. It did after resolving a couple of cockpit problems. The last two times I stained the dock I brushed it on. That was really tough on the back so I decided to roll it this time. Much, much easier and it looks every bit as good. Turns out I had enough stain for two coats on the sunny outer dock but I needed another gallon to do the section under roof. That’s when the run of good luck ran out. I use a really good Cabot stain. The first time I found it in a specialty paint store in Longwood. When I decided to do it the second time, that store was closed but we found it now at Lowes – Val Par, the Lowes brand paint, bought out Cabot somewhere along the line. Nancy dropped by Lowes to get another gallon and found out that the stain base from which our color is derived is “heavy” as compared to medium and clear and that Lowes no longer carries the heavy base. Luckily a Lowes store in another city does carry it and we were eventually able to pick up another gallon to finish the job. Alas, by the time the logistics hurdles were cleared, so was the dry weather and part of the deck remains uncoated until we get another few dry days in a row – tricky in Florida during the summer. So I satisfied my urge to paint by putting water sealer on the wooden dock furniture.

Finally I give the path through the woods to the dock a new layer of palmetto mulch. I do that a couple times a year. This go round used 2 large piles of palmetto fronds on the order of 100 CF each. I get that much or more just going along the path and around the driveway cutting out dead or yellowing fronds and ones obstructing the path. That much chopped mulch loads up the 75′ pathway about 6” deep. If I didn’t clear out the palmetto’s along the path, within a year there’d be no visible path. I like the symmetry of using the overgrowth to cushion the pathway.

And the rains brought another problem that I found out after the fact. I haven’t used my main boat in a couple of years but had it well covered with a tarp, the drain plug open, and a bow up attitude so it would drain. The wind and rain apparently ripped the tarp and the boat loaded up so quickly that the support holding up the bow sunk into the sand such that it wouldn’t drain. This boat is a dual hull boat so both the inner and outer hulls filled with water, leaves, branches and problem squirrel droppings. No way I could easily lift it to drain so I had to employ jacks and boards to progressively get it up and draining. And I’m guessing there were 1000 pounds of mosquitoes living there too. The mosquitoes have never been so bad here. Bad enough that I have to drink a gin and tonic every now and then to fight off malaria. Seems to be working. That was just the beginning of it. Anybody who lives in Fla knows that if you let something sit in the same place for more than 6 months, it will start growing. In this case it was turning furry. And the nice woodsy spot where I had it parked had it’s eye on the boat too. It took an hour to cut away the vines and bushes that had wrapped around it. So what looked like a simple tarp replacement turned into a full day of cutting, chipping, and power washing.

I had some trouble making this post because somebody hacked into my blog and screwed it up. Why the hell would somebody want to do that? Anyway, Tom fixed it and moved me up to the latest and greatest release level. If it happens again, I think my blogging career will be short lived.
I don’t get what the big deal is on moving the prisoners out of Gitmo. Seems logical to me that they should go to a prison in Illinois. I think Joliet is a Fed penitentiary already housing some really bad guys.

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