Monday, June 11, 2007

Before you cut...

We have decided to put in a new fence. More to the point, we have decided to hire somebody to put in our new fence. I know what you are thinking. “Why? you know how to build things…how to layout/design a fence. Why not just do it yourself. For goodness sake, you have a degree in carpentry and another degree in design. How hard can it be?”

Well – you have valid thoughts. But guess what – your thoughts don’t mean shit to me. My job is to design and build things. That means when I get home and have to do it, it is not a “relaxing way to escape from work.” Rather it is just like work – except that Amy is not one of my employees – so we don’t really work well together. We do all right – but I generally get cranky because that’s what I do.

Anyhoo, Blair came to our house today to remove our old fence. Great – get rid of the old rotten red thing. The removal of said fence meant that I could now get the chainsaw out and remove the GIGANTIC bush in the back corner…as well as the little pine tree in the corner that is clearly on its last leg. When I say it – it sounds like a very easy after dinner type of job. I can repeat it a hundred times…it just seems like it shouldn’t take more than an hour. After all, I’m not using an ax, or a hand saw.

Well, as with any other “little” project we have attacked in this house, this one ending up sucking too. No matter how much planning we do, nothing seems to work well (now do you understand why I hired somebody to put in the fence?). OK – so the GIGANTIC bush was not so bad…if you ignore the poison ivy. The tree…well…the tree was not so good.

Some years ago our neighbor with the “shit for yard” (see RIP Rocky for more explanation) built a fence right next to the tree. Literally right next to it – as in one of the pickets was not even screwed in; rather it was just wedged between the tree and the 2x4 support. Anyway, the screws were on “my” side of the fence, so it seemed like a good idea to remove a few pickets in order to have better cutting access and to prevent breaking any pickets on their fence. I have ZERO desire to upset these people, let alone talk to them. So, if removing a bit of fence – just to put it back up – means that they will never know I was there, it is totally worth it.

In case you can’t see it coming, this is where things start going wrong. I was able to pull out five pickets around the tree. With the pickets removed I was “graced” with a few of all the crap in their yard. Little did I know that soon I would be in their yard…holding up a HUGE FUCKING PINE TREE and their fence. But let us not get ahead of ourselves.

At this point Amy’s dad is using the chain saw and I am pulling on a rope that I have attached to the tree in hopes of pulling the tree towards my yard and away from the power lines…and their fence. As you know, the rope trick did not work. It might have started to work – but one man and a rope only has so much control over 2 tons of falling pine. In a matter of seconds the tree was neatly captured on their fence…and pushing it over quickly. I am paying to get my fence replaced, not theirs. And – their fence is oddly close to their pool – and I had no desire to explain that…let alone clean out their pool (who knows what is even in it – sulfuric acid?).

In a flash I was through the hole in the fence, using every bit of strength I had to support the tree/fence. Amy’s father is desperately trying to get the chain saw “unstuck” from the tree that is no resting on the blade. Did I mention that is dark? The sun set roughly 45 minutes ago. Amy and her mother have no decided that we need more help. They went running to the neighbors in hopes of finding another saw, more hands – maybe a time machine? Any would have helped at this point.

Roughly an eternity later Amy returned with our neighbor and a chain saw. I was able to cut some of the precarious branches that were catching on the fence. Eventually we were able to de-lodge the tree and roll it safely into our yard. We did also manage to find spare pickets hidden amongst the crap in the neighbor’s yard. I casually grabbed a few and quickly repaired their fence.

My hands are still covered in sap. My leg has a mysterious (and bloody) gouge in it, but the tree is down. The fence is still up – and there is no reason the neighbor should notice anything wrong with it. All in all, things worked out (as they always seem to do) – sadly they did not work out until MANY hours after we started. I assume we will get some complaints from other neighbors about the hours in which we had a chainsaw going. Oh well. At least nobody had to go to the emergency room.

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