Very fascinating to see this step by step, with all of the other side projects and distractions. I'd love to see a see an episode of This Old House modeled after real life like this - "Today, we're going to build a deck, but first, there's a flood in the basement...after the break, we're going to do a little tiling and then build a column. Oops - we have to take the deck down." That would be a good show.
There were a couple things that I saw that made me very curious.
The first was - what happened to the support pole you took down - I mean how did you brace the joists that it was supporting?
Next - when you cut holes in the other support pole to fill with sand - did you weld the holes back closed to make sure they could still support the weight of the house?