Back somewhere between 287 B.C. and 212 B.C. a fellow named Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.” So let’s start here and see where we end up.

We spent most of last week putting the final touches on our 53rd Lake Tschida spring cabin opening. Each year this begins with a short prayer that the plumbing works before turning on the well. This year we blew/cooked a breaker that spooked us enough to call an electrician. However, this surprise was actually an improvement over last year when a frozen coupling burst and gushed 4 feet of water into our 8-foot-deep well house. ’Twas another one of those “argh” moments that goes along with the myriad of fairy work that comes with life in the wilds of Lake Tschida. Both my loyal readers will tell you that fairy work is work that nobody sees unless it doesn’t get done.

Once the water’s on, depending on the weather, we either tackle the cabin interior or something outside. Outside stuff usually requires willingness to get really dirty, potentially wet, or oily — it’s usually guy stuff. Over the years we’ve managed to become as maintenance-free as possible, but even then there’s all sorts of heavy lifting involved in both closing down and opening up. Cabin ownership isn’t for those who prefer to have someone else do the heavy lifting for them.

Of course, it helps when your kids and grandkids are around, but lately openings have involved me and son Ben, who gets the family fairy award when it comes to all the tough stuff (I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about that because he’s a pretty good-sized fairy). Anyway, last week he had to head to town so I decided to tackle this deck/bench thing we built over 20 years ago.

It’s an 8-foot-by-8-foot deck with a nice bench, built on skids so we can tow it from the beach and up the hill out of the flood plain. This requires some rope and a four-wheel-drive ATV and the level of the lake to be low enough to avoid dipping the ATV into the bay. If the ropes hold, it’s easy to drag it around. Placing it in the appropriate spot requires a modicum of technical ability usually developed after numerous hard learning experiences — trees, mud, electrical poles, etc.

By the grace of God I somehow tugged the deck into place, which left me with the hard part, leveling the deck so folks could sit on it. This requires jacking the deck up and fitting cement blocks under the skids, which requires shoveling out enough sand to get the jack under the deck so you can raise the deck and slide the blocks under each side of the deck, which requires a lot of grunt work along with the ability to get down on your belly and get back up a few times (for the record I’ve found getting down easier than getting up; however, either move seems to drag some sort of groan out of my body).

The leveling required me to find a fulcrum (a rock) and a lever (a metal fence post) and after some incredible contortions I easily levered the deck into place — and the next thing you know Archimedes came to mind and here we are. By the way, Archimedes was an interesting fellow who also left us with this tidbit: “A good deed is never lost, he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

Here’s hoping you can lift the world with your good deeds, or something like that.

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Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.