IMG_2630Yesterday and overnight we had a snow storm. Not a huge amount, but enough to be annoying. We had an appointment to go pick up our small boat this morning and we weren't going to let snow stop the beginning of our cottage season so off we went to pick up lil Ellie May and put her in the water. I'm getting reasonably good at the boat trailer business, and backing this rig into the water proved to be no problem. Yay.

Since the snow (and by that point, rain) were nearly over, we decided to try and make it to the island to see how it had survived winter. Quite well, as it turned out.

Re-yay.

We ate the lunch we'd brought on the sundeck, because who wants to sit inside when you're at the lake? (And so what if it's only 5 degrees? We're at the lake...) Then into the hip waders we jumped to put the dock back together.

We have a neat dock system, consisting of a shore platform, two ramps, connected to a floating dock that's restrained by two heavy anchors. The ramps get pulled up on the shore for the winter, whereas the floating dock is designed to float on the water/ice throughout the cold season. We tie it in a quiet cove, about 200 feet away from its normal position, and it winters there.

What we need to do in the spring is put the heavy ramps together (lots of digging for posts and attaching bits of metal together with the help of sometimes irate hammering to the sound of near-constant grunting), then we drag the dock (and boat; there's nowhere else to park it) through water that's about 2-3 feet deep and about 3438239 degrees below zero. Then we attach the dock and high-five each other. Finally, the fun part begins: We have to fish the anchor ropes out of the water with the boat hook and attach them via metal clips to the dock. This involves a lot of pulling upwards (them anchors are heavy) and a fair bit of getting your arms and upper body wet attaching the various bits of metal together.

We were at it for almost two and a half hours, in the cold and the wind. At some point John - who's not always Patience Incarnate - went in too far and got water into his hip waders, and not just a little. He got thoroughly soaked. And cold. But we're nothing if not stubborn so he just got out of the things and kept working in very wet cold socks. (He was quite a sight.) We groaned and moaned and almost swore a few times but we got the goldurn dock put together.

YAY!

It's a fun, and almost funny, episode that reminds me just how important it is to be fit and strong. We always comment, at times like these, about how grateful we are to be doing so much martial arts. That without karate, we would never be able to do this job by ourselves. Well, maybe John could do his part. But I would never be strong or tough enough to lift the heavy wooden ramps, hold the dock and boat against the wind, or last that long working in the cold.

I have to write an essay soon as part of the preparations for my third-degree black belt test, about how martial arts affected me. I'm thinking of calling Kicking Dock, Karate Style. That would work, right?