Paying a debt never levied

Rarely is debt repayment fun but, in a special circumstance, it can be. And it recently was just that — fun. But, before I tell you about that, let me just say that there never was an official debt to repay. My friend, J, doesn’t charge. My friend is just a generous and good hearted guy. He never expects anything. And so, of course, I just took. He gave. I took. It is a great relationship!

To be fair, I gave back a bit. You know, a beer. A bit of assistance here and there. Sal made artichoke dip and sometimes chocolate cookies (not at the same time). We are good neighbours but not as good as he is. J is the best. “Why?” Because he is always up and cheerful and you can count on him for anything at anytime. He is always ready to help.

J owns the dock we use. The one we have used for 17 years. Ergo: the debt never levied. Our waterfront is not suitable for a dock but his is and so he gives. I take. Did I mention how great this relationship is?

Anyway, his dock is not a professionally made concrete float anchored by piers or dolphins or even a single pile. It is a ‘raft’ of docks, four separate lengths cobbled together and lashed to shore, anchored to the bottom and tied to each other. Generally speaking, more than a smidge ‘patchwork’. Baling wire, gum, string and duct tape do not work on docks but it is all held together by the marine equivalent. Every conceivable kind of rope, cable, chain and fitting is employed, every part moves differently from the other parts which, of course, works the lines a lot but also gives a lot of flexibility. It is an ‘organic dock’. And it is the kind of dock I am used to and most comfortable with.

Concrete docks or floats sometimes feel like roadways. The old partly-sinking boards-on-logs style of floats are pretty much gone, replaced now with either professionally constructed docks or cobbled-together-with-blue barrels kind of floats. We are of the ‘cobbled’ kind.

J has been busy these past few years and has not had much of a chance to improve his docking facilities — the ones I use. I was gonna complain. But, when one of his floats basically broke up this winter and he was not there to address the problem, it made more sense for me to just fix it. And so I looked at doing that . . .

With S’s professional consulting advice I concluded the float was just too far gone. No amount of cobbling was gonna keep that puppy functional. J needed a new dock.

To make this long story a bit shorter, we built him one. It is 12′ x 12′. All cedar. Well, all cedar with a bunch of heavy galvanized steel fittings and fastenings with, of course, the ubiquitous blue barrels keeping it afloat. What a fun project!

Still, I was somewhat dreading the undertaking because it had to be built on our nearest beach — in the lagoon. That meant that we had about a four hour window each day in which to work because the tide insisted on visiting and filling our workspace. Hard to work wading knee deep. Lumber has gone through the roof (is that some kind of pun?) and so buying and shipping it from town was ruled out. Instead, another friend sold me a beautiful pile of cedar for the old price. And another couple volunteered to help S., Sal and I do the work.

“Great! Piece of cake! We’ll cut the pieces to length, fabricate the fittings, get the materials and tools and beers and we’ll whip this puppy up in no time.”

S estimated it would take the five of us a day. I figured maybe two since we are all so old and slow and don’t know what we’re doing. M and C had two days available (up for the Easter weekend) and Sal and I had time in advance to set it up (materials, getting power down to the beach) and let S design it.

The first workday was scheduled to start around 1:00 when the tide went out. But, of course, the tide did NOT go out until two so we all (wearing gumboots) got started with a foot of water in the lagoon. Yes, a few folks got wet. One fell in! By the time we were all so exhausted we had to quit (five hours later) the tide was coming in and we needed to get all the stuff not used in the build back up to high ground. When the tide came in the float did what it was supposed to – it floated. But, it was not done . . .

One of our helpers had just undergone a tough operation and one day was enough. Day two saw four of us going at it. And that went on for six hours, too. Same cleanup recipe — getting remaining materials and tools to high ground. And the float floated but it floated a bit lower now that most of the decking was on.

Day three it was just Sal and me. And we finished it. And then we cleaned up, mostly. Day four was the BIG day!

Back on day one, Sal and C had removed the old float from it’s position in the giant raft. It was a wreck and not easy to deal with, tow, or do much with but they did it. And day four was — with the tide now high (we are fickle with the tide) and just right — we towed the new float into position. And lashed it in place. Of course there were bits and pieces of odd-jobs to finish up properly and so day 5 and day 6 saw us doing just that.

“Piece of cake! Whipped this puppy up in a bit more than no time but it is there and I like it!”

Surprise, J!! Hope you like it.

11 thoughts on “Paying a debt never levied

  1. Nice work and very neighbourly.
    Life should be so.
    “Won’t you be my neigjbour?”πŸ€”
    But then we have very fine neighbours as well, already, tho there is ALWAYS room for more good folk.
    Well done Sally & David!!!πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ™πŸ˜Ž


  2. Wow! Nice job and professionally done. And the old float really was gone by the looks of it! You seem to have the same problem as me, jobs always seem to take longer then foreseen in the “planning phase”. What is the life expectancy of such a dock?


    • Thanks, Wim. It was a success.
      If all goes well, Murphy stays away and all the floats remain together, it will last 20 years. So, we are hoping for ten or 15. Yeah, I have learned that jobs take longer in life than in the planning phase and so I have pretty much abandoned the damn planning stage. We just fly by the seat of our pants instead. Planning sucks, doing it is where it is at.


  3. Just the kind of job I could stand off to the side and direct the construction workers as I am want to do. Nice job even without my directions.


  4. We are impressed!!! A good deed for a VERY deserving person. Congratulations to all involved.
    Nothing like a communal project to lift spirits.


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