Wednesday, July 13, 2005

When Trees Go Bad

Tuesday was quite an eventful day, although totally unplanned. Boy (my cat) and I share our early mornings with a Marlboro and our first cup of coffee....I do need to add that Boy quit smoking so I guess I'm next. We usually stand in the driveway and just look around. There is usually a passing skunk, raccoon or deer that wander through, but normally we hang out together. This particular Tuesday didn't work that way. Instead of the wild creatures, we experienced a fallen tree....or half of one anyway. We noticed that the top of my driveway was not viewable....there was some sort of obstruction at the top. We looked at each other and agreed this had to be explored. When we arrived at the top, Boy said "I don't think you can drive that machine you get in every morning when you disappear for hours." I definitely couldn't disagree with the little fellow. A large portion of a maple tree had decided to part ways with the mothership. Now Boy was quite excited! He thought is was great to be able to "climb a tree" without going vertical.

"When did you decide to grow for me a tree that lays flat on the ground", he asked.

"This is not my doing", I responded in a most sarcastic tone.

"Well whoever did this is a genius and obviously loves cats!"

"Shut-up, Boy", I added in hopes he would do this that. "Don't you understand what has happened here? Is it not obvious that we must have had a storm last night and the winds damaged this tree?"

Boy looked at me with that innocent face of his and muttered, "And you expect me to really know these things? I'm a cat or haven't you realized that? I eat your leftovers, catch lizards and ground squirrels and sleep. That's what I do....nothing more and nothing less. If you want me to become more involved in your life, you have to tell me these things. Otherwise, I will continue to do what I do. So do you have to do something with this lovely new addition to our yard?"

"Well Duh! I will have to cut all this wood up and I might even have to take the remainder of the tree down as well. It looks pretty damaged to me and will probably die quickly if I don't."

He looked at me again, but this time more troubled. "You mean just because a piece of the tree fell off, you are going take it out on the rest of the tree? Is that what you mean? This is kind of dumb, dude. I mean, won't that part just grow back?"

"Damnit, Boy! What if I cut off your tail or maybe one of those legs of yours? Would it grow back?"

"Well, damnit man! Didn't I just tell you I'm a cat? Don't you listen to anything I say?"

"No, not really. All you ever want to talk about is what I'm going to pour in your dish for supper", I replied.

There was a long silence. As I surveyed the destruction, with a flashlight in one hand, coffee cup in the other and Boy at my feet, I noticed this portion of the tree had targeted my prized hot pepper plants and landed on top of each of them. Now I have a lot of pepper plants in the yard....for my salsa making.......but these particular plants were started earlier than the others and had already been quite productive. I knew when the sun came up I would be depressed.

I took a few pictures of the fallen tree and Boy and I made it back into the house. He crashed on "his" sofa and I plotted my next move. First, I would have to call in sick....well, not really sick in the usual sense. I was sick, but it was more of that ol' "sick to my stomach" kind of sick. You know what I mean, don't you?

The sun finally came up and I started my project. I first got out my trimmers to get rid of the smaller branches. They tend to get in the way of a chainsaw, so might was well hit them first. After trimming as much as I could do, I loaded most of those branches onto my truck and went for the chainsaw.

Now I don't use my chainsaw on a daily basis, so it sits idle for most of the year. I added the 2-cycle gas to it and after several pulls it started up. Nothing like the roar of a chain saw at 7AM in a mostly quiet neighborhood. I managed to get 4 or 5 of the longer branches cut into smaller pieces when the saw stopped. It was stuck in the middle of one piece and it was obvious that the chain had been damaged. Luckily, I had a new chain so all was not lost. Yea, right.

You have to understand that I've never changed a chainsaw chain in my life. When the one we had, when I was growing up, would break, Dad was always there to fix it. He knew how and always kept that a secret. Dad's not here now, so it was up to me to figure it out. After about 20 minutes, I finally got the new chain installed and hauled it up the hill. It was time to kick butt!

As I placed the saw on the next wooded victim, I noticed there was little or no sawdust blowing around. "That's odd", I said quietly and turned the saw off.

" damage to the chain", I said, although no one was around. Well I didn't see anyone, anyway.

"You have the chain on the wrong way", I heard someone say behind me.

I turned around and there sat Juniper, yet another smartass feline who takes up space in my home. "You have the chain on backwards, you big, furless dummy!" She was laying on top of the branches I piled up in the yard.

Ever dealt with "better than thou" attitude from a cat? That's Juniper. She is the all-knowing member of our family and can sneak up on you and scare the crap out of you.

"Where did you come from?"

"Oh, I've been out here all forgot to let me in....remember? You probably don't remember, as you think you're in charge around here. I'm telling you the chain is on backwards and it won't cut until you reverse it".

"How do you know this", I asked, fully expecting one of her uppity responses.

"The know you can learn a lot on that thing", she said with that little grin on her face.

"The internet? What do you know about the internet and how did you get on it?"

"Do you think I just sit around here all day just sleeping? Geez! I setup my own Hotmail account a couple of years ago. Nothing to it. Hey, there's a litter of mice on Ebay that I've got a bid on. Only problem is they want a credit card number. I thought you should know I used yours".

"What? Where did you get my credit card number?"

"Trash can. There's some cool stuff in there if you're willing to dig deep."

Juniper headed back into the house. Had to check on her Ebay bid, I guess.

I pondered her suggestion and decided to switch the chain around. Sure enough, she was right. I had the blades going in the wrong direction. "Damn cat", I muttered under my breath.

My project lasted for most of the day. I managed to cut up the wood that was on the ground. The remainder of the tree was cut down by a guy I paid to do so. Juniper found his name on the internet and even got his phone number.

Damn cat!


jon said...

Boy and Juniper have a pretty cooperative pet. Where can I get one?

Hidden Wizard said...

They don't make 'em like me anymore.....and that is probably a blessing in disguise!