Sunday, May 20, 2007

The New Tree

The new tree is finally here.

(Sorry Cheesy, I didn’t get any “before” shots. Just picture three enormous "cedar" trees (OK, so they're not really cedar trees, but everybody calls them that here) instead of this one little tree. )

The new tree was installed yesterday and is everything we had hoped it would be, i.e. alive. I’d like to say that it was installed without incident, but that wouldn’t be the real world, would it? No, there were plenty of incidents.

The tree was originally scheduled to be installed on Friday. We made the appointment two weeks in advance and made sure to have all the old trees removed before Friday. We paid the extra $200 for the air hammer that would be needed to dig a hole big enough to plant the new tree. We paid the $50 delivery surcharge for fuel. We told them repeatedly that there was stump in the exact spot where we wanted the tree planted. They repeatedly said “No problem, we’ll have an air hammer.” We did everything we were supposed to do, but that wasn’t enough. It never is, is it?

The tree people called on Thursday afternoon to tell us that the air hammer was broken and could we reschedule the planting? After some negotiating (i.e. Slag telling them to take our $200 and go rent a freaking air hammer and them calling back on Friday morning to say that the delivery truck was now broken down as well and there was no way they could bring the tree that day), they agreed to install the tree on Saturday morning.

They actually did show up on Saturday morning. I was stunned. The doorbell rang about 10am and Slag went out to supervise the installation. I stayed in the house and piddled around with this and that, not paying much attention to what was going on outside. I was enjoying that giddy feeling brought on by someone, ANYONE actually showing up when promised and doing what they said they would do. We haven’t seen much of that around here lately and I wanted to savor it. I heard some chopping sounds now and then, but, strangely, nothing that sounded like an air hammer.

So when I finally mustered the interest to actually look out the window, what did I see? I saw my husband. You know, the one with the bulging disk in his back? The one who is two injections into a series of three steroid injections into his SPINE? That one? Why, I saw him whacking at the stump with his axe, the stump which was supposed to be removed with an air hammer. Then I saw him use his small electric chainsaw to cut at the roots of the stump. Then he showed one of the guys who came to plant the tree how to use the 75 pound digging bar that he pulled out of his shop.

Instead of the tree company sending the power equipment we paid extra for, my husband had raided his tool shed for anything that might be useful and was helping them remove the stump and miscellaneous boulders from the spot where the tree was going to go. Yes, I watched my husband equip and assist the people who work for the company which had charged us $625 to deliver and plant one tree. And that’s not including the cost of the tree itself.

I found out later that the tree company, the one that specializes in selling and planting trees here in central Texas where there is frequently less than a foot of rocky soil on top of solid limestone bedrock, the one that we gave an extra $200 for the use of the rumored air hammer, the one that called and cancelled earlier because that same air hammer was broken, THAT company sent two guys to our house to plant a 16ft. tall tree with the following tools: two shovels. TWO. SHOVELS. One for each of them. At least they didn’t have to share. That would have been REALLY inefficient.

So I checked back periodically, getting little mental snapshots of the saga. There was progress, but it was slow. After about an hour and a half, the stump had been extracted from the ground, but the hole was still way too small for the tree’s root ball. Another half hour of digging and the hole was bigger and the tree was lying on the ground next to the hole. There were several rocks bigger than my head littering the ground around the hole. Another 20 minutes and the tree was upright in the hole and they were wheel barrowing in loads of dirt to spread in the hole around the tree. Fifteen more minutes and the tree was mulched and staked and watered.

Amazingly, the tree was eventually planted right where we wanted it, with the whole process only taking about three times longer than expected. I just knew Slag was going to be in a pissy mood after whole ordeal, but that afternoon he was in the best mood I’ve seen in weeks. He said it felt really good to actually do some physical work instead of taking it easy because of his back. He also got to practice his Spanish, because neither of the tree guys spoke much English. And they taught him some new words in Spanish, like the words for “stump” and “trunk” and “root.” Apparently these are very useful words to have in your repertoire.

Plus, after all that, he claims his back is fine. Color me surprised. If removing a cedar stump with hand tools while learning some Spanish gardening words is all it takes to make my man happy, who am I to stand in the way? Maybe next weekend I’ll drive him into orgasmic fits of ecstasy by demanding that he dig the trenches for that sprinkler system we’ve been talking about with a butter knife and a spatula. I don’t speak Spanish, but I don’t mind reading to him from a Spanish/English dictionary while he digs. See? Nobody can accuse me of not being a team player.


Blogger Stucco said...

Do I spy TWO air conditioning units? Dear lord... I hope you reminded the tree guys that the green side with all the leaves goes on top.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

Oh so pretty!

Smack Slag up side the head IE: axe... brat.... Glad he survived it.
Thanks for the pics... nice peaceful yard!

9:17 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

You can take the money that company needs to be returning to you and buy yourselves celebratory steaks. And then gorge yourself on them. I'm always full of good advice, you know.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Jazz said...

Um, they are going to return that 200 bucks aren't they? And pay Slag for his time?

6:56 AM  
Blogger Schmoopie said...

I love that little tree! The image of you reading from a Spanish/English dictionary while Slag digs in the yard with a spatula or butter knife is hilarious.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Whippersnapper said...

Oh, your yard looks so tidy and nice. I'm starting to read between the lines, Constant Whiner, and have come to the conclusion that you may be a neat freak. Now I'm scared that my tales of squalid misery may have disgusted you.

Before my dad's hip operation, he was doing crazy things too, which he claimed made him feel better. DoctorMama says that if your knees hurt you should run through the pain. I guess there must be something to be said for that theory.

Heh heh, to post this, they're making me type in the letters "eatadk." Oh, I'm so immature.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

stucco, Yes, those are two air conditioning units. It's the only way to keep the second story of the house cool enough for human habitation without keeping the first story cold enough to hang meat.

cheesy, Yep, he survived it. The yard looks sort of desolate to me. But that tree is supposed to get really big.

kara, Mmmm, steak....

jazz, You would think they would refund the air hammer fee, but apparently they're balking. Seems there's a $200 fee for stump removal too. I'm letting Slag fight that battle. I don't want to think about it anymore.

schmoopie, I never get away with just reading to him. He would find another butter knife so I could help with the digging.

whippersnapper, Not to worry! The yard in the photograph had just been cleared of debris by professionals. Plus I took the picture from an angle that left out a lot of the crap. The yard is currently in dire need of a mowing and the beds are full of weeds too. I am not a neat freak. Just ask my mother.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Evil Spock said...

I'm so glad my gf does all the yard work. My hands are too pretty!

I did try to help once, and I got poison ivy from head-to-toe. I haven't had to do yardwork ever since!

3:04 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

evil spock, you are a genius.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

Yes, there is something manly and fun about standing in a hole with a couple of Mexican guys, learning how to say "root" and "stump" and "slamma jamma" in Spanish.

Glad to hear Slag is alright. His blog seemed a bit uprooted and leafless...

2:19 PM  

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