Thursday, December 10, 2009

Who Needs TV and Risky Business

Talk about real man's work, we had an guy come over and cut down the two big trees behind the barn. It was kind of exciting and worth at least ten minutes of viewing time for the kids, though I thought it was pretty fascinating in a dangerous kind of way. Those guys really earn their pay, which is not chopped liver, though it's amazingly dangerous work. When you don't work with trees, you don't give much thought to how heavy those things are. Even an 18 inch block of tree stump weighs enough to break your foot if it rolled onto it. I know, I've been there.

Either way, the guy finally came and did the job, and now one more thing had been dealt with in our lives. It wasn't exactly a simple process, turned out to be a bit of a rigmarole largely due to my neurosis, indecision, and inability to take action, but it finally got done. It helped that the guy who cut the tree was a doer who in a way didn't give me much choice in the matter... sort of.

And in an example that would make my mentor shake his head and wonder out loud how I survived puberty, the progression of events was not ideal. In my defense, I got a little ambushed on this one, but not before checking out my options. Of course, there's a story to it.

My Mentor had brought his biker/logger friend over and they gave us a quote on cutting down a bunch of trees, seven of them I believe. His logic sounded reasonable, but I had a couple of issues. First off, I didn't really want to cut down that many trees, and second, I didn't want to litter the woods with all that timber. I know it's standard practice to leave the trees to feed the soil, but seven massive trees would be a mess. In typical fashion, I sat on it and hoped it would go away.

No such luck. Finally, at the prompting of my Mentor, I sought out more opinions, and of course I started with some free advice. Free estimates are included in this equation. I contacted our neighbor who lives right down the road and happens to be a forester. Great guy, we met him when first moved here skiing on the trail and I've bought rough cut wood off him. Anyway, he came over and looked over the situation and said he didn't think we needed to cut all seven trees, and that he'd be happy to come and drag the trees away. He even said he'd give us cut boards. Wow, how cool was that?

Though he indicated that he could not cut the trees (he preferred to stay on the ground), he gave me the name of guy who he worked with, SD, and I called him. I also learned the difference between a logger, a forester, and an arborist. SD was local, too, which I liked. So I called him, he came over, he gave me a verbal quote, and said it would be no problem.

Riding this wave of euphoric enlightenment, I contacted another arborist, who gladly came over and gave me a quote which came out to be the same as SD, but much lower than the biker/logger. So I had a sense we were in the right price range. I was ready to call a fourth guy but decided it would be wasting his time.

Anyway, this is where things got a little more dicey. I hadn't heard from SD in awhile but had decided to go with him because he had a good working relationship with our friend and neighbor, GC, and he seemed professional and on the up and up. In other words, he showed up in a truck with his business painted on the door, which I equate with being a professional. The logger/biker had his girlfriend bring him over because he had lost his license. Not a good first impression.

Well, SD called and said he'd be over sometime during the week to cut the tree, but he hadn't given me a written quote or a proof of insurance. So I called him and told him I needed these things. Before I knew it, he shows up at our door and says he'll be over the next day to cut the trees. Wow, was he for real? I told him I needed something in writing and insurance papers, which he said was perfectly reasonable and that he would give to me. I couldn't help but think, "Fat chance," in light of the fact that he was coming over the next day.

I was a little stressed about it, and contemplated telling him "No way, Jose," even though his name wasn't Jose. There are liability and professional issues involved here, not to mention proper protocol. Either way, it looked like it was going to be done. One thing on our side was that he didn't ask for any money up front, and would give me an invoice upon completion, after which he would expect payment.

So I went with it. I could have been hard-nosed and told him not to do any work until he gave me the proper paperwork, but I didn't, so what's done is done. He came over in the AM, cut the trees, blocked up my firewood, left the board logs for GC to pick up, and chipped the branches into the woods. It snowed during the cutting, and right after we got hit with a major blizzard, so the evidence has been covered, but here is it, anyway. That's a tree stump.

I'm happy with it, no disasters occurred, and the trees are gone.

I'll take it. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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