in Uncategorized

Up a tree

The doorbell rings. I was deep in a mid-morning dream that I am in a grocery store somewhere in California. The store has just made a surprise announcement that for the next 2 hours, everything in the store is free. Grab it and leave with it. I ponder the possible business motivation behind such a move. Just as I decide the most plausible explanation was likely an attempt to grossly simplify the early year inventory process, I realize I had better start grabbing stuff or I would soon be standing there grabbing my junk because that’s all that would be left. I overhear someone confirm that, “this shit includes alcohol.” I run to the beer section. There is some dust and cardboard scraps where once stood a sizable Sierra Nevada Celebration display. A good bit of assorted beer remained but it was going quickly. Be cool, Tony, but damnit, Tony, think fast. Only grab what you can’t buy back in Georgia. But wait, shit, whatever you grab you either have to bring back on the plane or ship via UPS/FedEx ($$$). Worry about that later. Though, I wonder if they have some crude luggage for sale that no one has grabbed yet. Ooooo, I’ve never seen that one before. I wonder if it’s any good. Shit, I wonder if you can get it in Georgia. Can’t take that chance. Just find something you know you can’t get, grab as much as you can carry, and let’s go. What is this? What is all this? I’VE NEVER HEARD OF ANY OF THESE!! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DECIDE?!?! Was that the doorbell? Where am I?

Oh, I’m in bed.

I was in bed. It was Saturday morning, about 9:00am, and the door bell had just woken me up. I got out of bed, threw on some pants and a T-shirt and went to investigate. There was a wiry little man with a beard standing on the front porch, smoking. I threw open the door looking very much like he had just woken me up and wearing my best you-have-now-jeopardized-my-Saturday-morning-this-better-be-fucking-incredible look. Oh look, he’s wearing knee-high suede Robin Hood boots. Heh.

Background: A couple months ago my next door neighbor Joe and I were standing on our property line talking about our respective castles. At some point, Joe informed me that he had recently had three trees removed from his backyard. I told him I had a very large tree of my own that needed to come down. He told me what he paid for his three-tree dance party (shockingly cheap) and that he had one more tree to remove at a later date. I told him to make sure to call me when that time came and I’d add my tree to the project.

Fast forward to Saturday. This nice gentleman was on my front porch at Joe’s recommendation to look at my tree. “Meet me around back.” He gave about a thirty-second glance and quoted me a price that was about 70% less than what we had mentally braced to absorb. He was coming back on Monday to tackle the neighbor’s tree, so standing there shoeless, in flannel pajama pants, having only been awake for about 6 minutes, I said, “Great. Let’s do it.” He told me since he wasn’t doing Joe’s project until Monday that h’ed just take care of mine right then. I stared at him blankly for a pregnant second while I pondered how quickly I had gone from having an anxious moment of option paralysis during a riot at an unnamed West Coast supermarket in my head to standing on my back porch with a bearded, Robin-Hood-booted hillbilly talking about rope and chainsaws. I was still not 100% sure whether or not I was actually awake, and here I was committing a few hundred dollars (having done zero research) to a messy, dangerous home improvement project that was set to start right. fucking. now. As I turned to head back inside I said, “Yeah, sure. Knock yourself out.”

He had a buddy with him and the two of them set about setting up various ropes and chains and straps. There was a lot of looking up. Some pointing.

We were out of coffee and, since I was the most out-of-bed and assembled, it was decided that I should head out and get us some coffee. My love of all things tree-felling and chainsaws and firewood is well documented on this website and I was looking forward to seeing how these two guys were going to tackle this project. The tree in question is nothing at which to scoff. It’s a gigantic pine tree (80-100 feet high) situated about 20 feet from the back of the house. If it fell toward the house, we would be the proud new owners of two smaller, much draftier houses. I got in the car and headed to the coffee shop.

I pulled back into the driveway about 15 minutes later to see Robin Hood bundling up his main rope. Huh? I got out of the truck, walked to back fence, and saw that It was over. I had missed the whole thing. They dropped the top 40-50 foot section straight back away from the house and then dropped the rest of the trunk in two large 20-30 foot sections also away from the house (duh). His buddy had the chainsaw and was sectioning the trunk into smaller pieces and limbing the top section. And that was it.

We had talked about taking that tree down since we bought the house four years ago. Here it is barely 10:00am, I’m standing there with a cup of coffee, still not sure if I’m awake or not, and it was done. Beard boots motioned that this is the part where I pay him, and I hesitated because the whole thing was so anticlimactic I was trying to decide whether or not we had been scammed.

I knew before we started that we would be faced with a mammoth clean-up job. Part of the reason for the cheap price was that he would cut the tree down, chop it into smaller pieces, and then leave. He offered (for extra $$) to have his crew move it to the street for us when they come back on Monday. Simply writing another check gave me an uneasy, lazy feeling, so I told him we’d give it a shot ourselves. The Geester and I wrestled with the colossally large trunk pieces for a couple hours and managed to get 15 or 16 of them out to the street. We also started a pretty good pile of branches at the street before it started raining. Today, I finished cleaning up the main crash site and piled the rest into a single mountain in the backyard. Tomorrow I will happily engage the hillybilly’s crew to finish the job, at a discount of course.

I know, exciting, right?

  1. When we had our trees cut down, the left the damn stumps in the ground; and now I don’t know what to do with them!

  2. So what are you doing eco-wise to balance out the removal of a life-giving tree, man?

  3. Dang, was it a sick tree or do you just hate God? I’d like to think that you planted a smaller tree where the big one was.

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