Thanks to a VERY generous contribution by my in-laws Mr. and Mrs. Schubert (thanks Bo and Blythe!), I was able to get my deck built. After much hemming and hawing, I went for Trex planks (made of recycled plastic and sawdust). They may be more expensive, but they are more durable than regular wood (25-year guarantee) and don't produce toxic splinters like pressure-treated wood. I took the precaution of finishing a temporary railing all around the deck.
Installing it was an ordeal. The packaging recommended screwing it directly into place with special screws. After stripping four screws, I started pre drilling the holes with two bits (a long one for the shaft and a short one for the countersink). I then proceded to drop the chuck key into the leaves under the deck. After two trips to the hardware store (the first time the chuck key I bought was too small), I was back on the deck. The only other mishap was when I slipped on a piece of temporary deck flooring and started to fall through! Fortunately I grabbed the temporary railing and stayed aboard! Anyway, here are some pix of the deck.