Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'll get right on that.

    The other day I attended a seaside wedding. It was at a beautiful bed and breakfast in our country's oldest continually occupied city (St Augustine, Fl). The bride was radiant, the groom was handsome and the entire wedding party looked impeccable and performed their parts flawlessly. The Minister performing the ceremony was appropriately solemn and light which was proper for such a joyous yet serious ceremony celebrating the union of a young couple. The vows were said, the blessings were given and the prayers were bestowed. And then....The bar was opened.
      A good time was being had by all on beautiful oceanfront grounds swept by a gentle seabreeze on a sunny September weekend. There was a DJ to keep music going and maintain the mood. There were servers circulating with platters of  hors d'oeurves. And the bar was doing a brisk business while guests relaxed and enjoyed the company and the surroundings while celebrating the special day of a special couple. And then...then it appeared. At first I ignored it and hoped it would go away. But it was not to be denied. How could it show up here on this day at this time and worm its way ceaselessly into my consciousness. I knew it was there and I was the only one who recognized it for what it truly was. It was an old nemesis. Older than I and far more destructive. A true enemy against whom I had fought many battles but realized I could never win the war. An enemy deceptive in its progression yet relentless in its destruction.
      I am talking of course about rusty fasteners used in the construction/upkeep of a dwelling being constantly assaulted by some of the harshest conditions Mother nature can serve up. When you build on the ocean's front stoop there is no such thing as stainless steel. But you have to try. It was a gorgeous day with a gentle breeze but even that gentle breeze was carrying the salt to attack unprotected surfaces. During Winter North Easters that salt is combined with sand and driven sideways into the building. These conditions are a fact of life for coastal dwellers and the repair and/or replacement of such damage is a neverending task. Sometimes people take it in stride and fix it themselves. These people know the value of paying for good quality fasteners and properly treating new materials. It is not uncommon for the cost of the fasteners in a repair job to exceed the cost of the wood. I have seen $5.00 worth of stainless holding up a $2.00 board. But don't cheap out on the hardware or in a couple months it will look like crap and in a couple more it will need to be done again. The same goes for prep and paint. Get the best and use them right. If you hire the job out then make sure the workman does it right. It's more expensive but that is part of what you signed up for when you moved oceanfront. I haven't even started in about hurricanes yet.