Saturday, April 25, 2009

New Replaces the Funk, With Sorrow

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Anais Nin

Several of my posts have included pictures of the dock out at a cottage we bought several years ago. Those pictures might make one think our cabin is rather grand. This picture has a little more reality to it-- our old dock. If you click up close on it, you will be able to see why the neighbors coined it the USS POS. The previous owner put the dock together from pieces of wood and sections of docks that floated along the lake after storms. He would go out in his boat, haul in the debris and nail it on. Hence, all the different levels.

We hang out on our dock, especially at night, under the stars. Before the new dock, if a refill or bathroom break were required, walking down the walkway became a mind game of remembering exactly where the boards stuck up two to three inches. The Long Walk, we labeled it. Especially after a couple glasses of wine.

This old dock matches the character of our cabin. A hodge podge of sorts, rooms and doors added here and there. Compared to all the McMansions going up around us, we are the hillbillies. And we like it.

Over 175 different people have spent the night in the past three years. We have two bedrooms and a bunk room, lots of floor space for air mattresses, and tents are often staked in the yard. (Did I say how the McMansion people love us?) Anyway, the dock held quite a concern for my husband and me. The rules of the house for new arrivals always began with an announcement upon entering the walkway, "If you hear something crack or snap, jump the hell off."

Every time we put the boat up or down or a kid swung off the rope swing, my husband and I would watch the beams of wood and the cables holding it all together as it screeched and creaked. We studied each beam to see if our eyes measured any larger seams.

With the numbers from friends, the baseball team, scout troop, Texas A&M fraternity, work, writing, book, bible, and bunco increasing, we felt the safety of our guests required our attention. The old dock had to go, and a new loan secured. This was difficult for me, as I am a creature of habit. I love things that have a bit of funk and their own character. It was hard to see it go.

When the LCRA lowered the lake as it does every few years (our lake was created from a series of dams on the Colorado River during the LBJ years) we took the opportunity to go after the dock.

Poof! The old dock disappeared.

Then began the arduous task of dealing with a contractor. Progress began. The seawall extended. Posts pounded into the the granite below.

In the Hill Country of Texas, life is slow. Workers die young due to their eating and drinking habits, not from working too hard. I will save the gut-wrenching details of how the project slated to take six weeks turned into a nightmare, and bring you to today, one year and four months later, as the project will be complete tomorrow.

See that section of new sea wall where it was filled in with dirt? That is the final project for this weekend. To lay the sod that extended the yard by a fifteen feet and took out the angled section that used to collect every log, floating beer can, tom, dick, and harry whenever the wind changed.

My husband, the youngest son and one of his friends are out there right now putting that sod down. I am lolling about on my bed, writing to you. (Oh, I am on my fifth load of laundry, have shopped for my youngest's 17th birthday on Tuesday, planted four flats of flowers, and dusted off four weeks of dust so I can remember what color my furniture is. I'm not a complete zug.) I figure if I time it just right, I can arrive at the lake today just in time to walk across that new grass and sit on the dock with a glass of wine. Come join me.

We don't plan on changing the cabin to fit the new dock. That would make everything just a tad too neat for my taste. As to that blank white wall out there (the shed my husband had to have) I'm thinking a neon Blue Moon Beer sign, complete with orange slice. As for the old dock, I keep the picture of it as my wallpaper on my cell phone. Every time I open it to make or receive a call, I'm reminded of that old POS which held a character I loved so well.


  1. Beautiful pics. Will have to come back later to actually read. Just wanted to let you know I left you a little something over at my site. Congrats.

  2. I like mes some hillbillies! And the old dock looked pretty darned fine to me. The new one is nice though, too.

  3. Great pics. Looks like a great place to hang out. And as far as hillbillies, well, less is more. :)

  4. The pier at the beach where I grew up came down in a storm. Not exactly the same, but this story reminded me of that.

    I love both your old and new docks.

  5. "Every time I open it to make or receive a call, I'm reminded of that old POS which held a character I loved so well."

    Nice! It is the character of places we loved so well that is missed!

  6. The view is awesome! But the gangplank (is that the right word?) still looks too narrow for my comfort! And my full sympathies to you for having to deal with recalcitrant contractors. We're bearing the brunt of a basement finishing project right now.

  7. I love the same style. The POS looked perfect to me, being made from lots of other well-loved places' parts.

    Really wish I COULD join you. Have a ball, and I think it's awesome that you share your blessings with others so they can escape now and then too.

  8. Wow, I've never seen those pictures of the lake being so low and the old dock just gone. Looks like a desert till the water. ;) Wish I COULD join you today too. Taking Miss America to the Weinerdog Races. Oh, yes. I am. Enjoy your afternoon. Have a sip for me.

  9. What a lovely tale of the death of the old dock and birth of the new one. But, sniff, sniff ... I've had some mighty fine starry nights floating on that old dock. May it rest in peace.

  10. I so understand, as giving up character for soundness and safety has never come naturally to me.

    At least you still have the cabin's "flavor." Maybe you and your guests can muck up the dock with painted hand and footprints...

  11. What a transformation, great pictures too. Sorry I havent been around for a few weeks. A bit busy but now I am back and had to check how you are doing. Paula

  12. OK, I'm back. I love the old POS and the new dock too. I'm like you and have a hard time giving up the old when I feel it has character. And all old things have character. Enjoy your new dock. You're going to make a lot of new memories and build its character too.

  13. I would love to come sit and sip wine with you and relax.. pretty pics!

  14. I loved the old dock . . . but the new one is good too. I like it that it has a roof. Very nice. When is the dockwarming?

  15. Nice post. The water is very calming :-) I always need chilled....

    Anyway... if you have a community college, check it out for a job! They pay great up to $50 an hour.

  16. Hit 40 - Yes the community college. I've been perusing their openings. I'm hoping my publications might suffice for a Masters. Thanks for the encouragement.

  17. Elaine: Dockwarming - now that would make it official. Could be time for a party. Thanks for visiting.

    Jill: You can come sit and sip anytime.

    SMB: Yes, I think the new character will build into its own. I spilled red wine on it last week. That's a start.

    Paula,yes. I"ve been following you. Life sounds pretty interesting.

    Jocelyn: Mmm Hand and foot prints. Interesting.

    Michelle, yes I know. And the challenge of staying on the sucker. Oh well. Life is supposed to get easier.

    Liar: Weiner dog races. I can't believe how popular that is every year. You're like the 10th person I in attendence. Have fun.

    Angie: Yes, we share it as it is something we never thought we would have.

    Sujatha: Yes, gangplank was the perfect word for the late night walks. Still a challenge at 4 feet wide, but flatter surface. And contractors - oh my. Good luck with yours.

    TTTC: Yes, missed, and carried in the heart.

    PHST: Thanks - they both have their advantages.

    Scobberlotcher - Hillbillies have more fun!

    WITW - Hillbillies rock.

    SMB: Oh my - she given me an award. I'm humbled.


Let me know what you think. Every word you write, I appreciate.


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