Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Great Bracket Caper

This coming Labor Day will mark the end of my seventh summer at the marina.  Yes, the final holiday weekend of the season is at hand.  This always gives me pause to reflect and to try and gauge my successes and failures.  Fortunately I’ve had few failures this summer and many successes.  Not a bad way to close out a season.

Thinking back about all that has passed this summer I am struck by the size and scope of even small projects around a marina facility such as this one.    Take, for instance, the brackets that had to be changed out at the beginning of this month.

These brackets are L shaped and are about 36” long on each side of the L.  They are bolted through the docks at intersections to hold the dock together as one piece.  We had two brackets on one intersection break in storm winds this past spring.  In high wave action the docks could possibly sway enough for this failure to allow chafing of electric and water lines.

Part of the challenge is to get the company that services our docks out to our location for a job this small.  With hurricane season upon us, we persevered and they finally arrived to change these brackets.  What a major production this turned out to be.

Here is a wide shot showing the barge and crane that was part of the required equipment.

This next pic is of the intersection that needed reinforcing.

The shot above is of the brackets that broke and need to be replaced.  The foul looking stuff in the water is called marsh grass and comes into the marina on what is called spring tides.  A spring tide us an unusually high tide periodthat happens once a quarter and occurs on an average over a four day time span. 

Guess whose job it is to pull the marsh grass out of the marina after the spring tides are over.  Yep!  You guessed it, mine!  I use a device I fashioned myself that I pull behind a work boat to tow it out of the marina And I release it on an outgoing tide to drift out to the ocean.

These are the threaded rods that have to go all the way through the dock to the other side to bolt this whole bracket assembly together.

This next shot is one of the old, broken brackets being removed.

Here is a wide shot from the opposite angle.  Quite an operation, I’d say.  It took about a half day’s work for this crew to bring the barge and crane in, do the work and leave again with the barge and crane.

My new assistant is working out just fine and is a real help.  Everyone likes him and I cannot tell you what a relief this is to me.  This has been a good week and a great way to close out another season.  If I don’t post before the holiday weekend, please take care and stay safe.

See Ya on the docks!

Monday, August 21, 2006

It's Been Awhile!

Hello to all again!  I’ve taken a bit of a break from this journal during the summer as the demands on my time and energy in the real world left me drained at the end of each day.  In addition, there was a lot going on emotionally that took a toll.  Don’t worry; Paulette, Sandy, and I are okay as well as the kitty, Emmie, and our newest addition, Emmie’s new kitty pal, Gracie.  I'll write more about the new addition at a later time.

Right now I’d like to take a moment to thank all who wrote comments and Emails expressing concern over my absence.  Thank you, my friends, for your concern and the support you give to me and all of our J-Land community. 

This brings me to a big: HAPPY ANNIVERSARY J-LAND!  Yes, we celebrated J-Land’s third anniversary this weekend.  There were numerous celebration events including a huge J-Land chat session last night that I was lucky enough to take part in.  It’s always a good time when all the journalists get together!

The graphics that you see here and on the sidebar were provided by Donna over at D’s Designs.  She really did a great job this year providing celebration graphics for all of us to use and enjoy.  Thanks, Donna!

Journals Editor Joe provided the Three Year Graphic on the side bar.  If you've not found your way to Magic Smoke, you owe it to yourself to pay him a visit. 

Many of you wrote to me asking if we had heard from Trenton and his parents.  There is not much good news to share.  Trace and Danielle have split up and moved to different states.  Danielle is back in Reno, Nevada and Trace is working in Arizona. 

Trenton is with Danielle and she refuses to let Trenton come and live with us until she gets back on her feet.  She is filing for divorce and welfare at the same time.

Trace is doing well for his company in Arizona and is trying to live a drug free lifestyle.  He sounds good and we have great hopes for his future.

We talk to Trenton on the phone twice a week now and he sounds as good as a youngster can considering his parents are not living together.  He has been promised by his mom that he can come visit us for a few weeks next summer.  We hope she does not change her mind.

As for Paulette and I, it’s out of our hands now.  We just want to be loving grandparents and be kept out of the back and forth accusations and blame game that seems to always play out in these situations.  The kids finally seem to realize what we are saying and we are now being spared the day to day drama.

As for me, life goes on.  I’m still at the marina and taking care of things.  It’s been particularly challenging this summer because I’ve gone the entire season without an assistant.  I’ve had high school and college kids helping me, but I’ve had to do so much more than normal due to the lack of another adult on the staff.

We finally hired an assistant for me and he started a week ago.  He’s a fast learner, thank goodness, and is going to work out very well.  Things will settle back into a routine I’m more comfortable with now and I can devote more time and energy into keeping up with my J-Land friends and writing in this journal.

Lest I forget, let me wish my sister, Jan, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SIS!  Jan is a Colonel in the Army Reserves and is on active duty at Ft. Polk, Louisiana.  We love you and are thinking about you and all of our troops on active duty!

I’ve still been taking pictures from time to time, so I’ve got some things from this summer to write about and share in future posts.  I hope you have all been well and in good spirits. 

I’ll be going around to all my favorite journals in the coming days and weeks to catch up again on the news and share a little gossip.  Save me a seat on the back porch and we’ll share a cup of coffee or a spot of tea, as well.