After much hard work, reading, researching, lugging, building, swearing, screwing, drilling, bruising, cutting, sneezing, tripping, fingernail chipping, and dancing, here is the AFTER:
Looks just a little bit different, huh?
I still need to stain and sand the deck, and the gate hardware is on it's way... so there will be a few more photos. But still-- you get the idea. Siiigh! So relaxing. :)