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June 12, 2003

The Lumberjack

The battle for Lord Stanley's cup has been settled! Yep, I was rooting for New Jersey, and not just because I used to live there. I'm still mad as hell that the Ducks beat Dallas so easily. Sigh... But now it's time to get back to turn my attention to the more mundane affairs of living...

I had planned on a nice, quiet evening reading something enriching. Perhaps Wealth of Nations, or maybe The Gulag Archipelago. Something, anything to clear my mind from the numbing effect of work.

We don't do anything half-assed down here in Texas, and last night's storm was a good case in point. Driving rain to the left followed by driving rain to the right. Potted plants swimming in the pool. Trees leaning over, threatening to snap in two. Electricity out for hours. And what a light show! I'm surprised that the house didn't wind up in the Land of Oz.

Alas, not all of the trees survived intact - I found part of one casually leaning up against my house this morning. No real damage to the house, but the rest of the tree probably won't survive. So rather than that quiet evening, well, as quiet as is possible with two Shelties (who I swear spend their days drinking espresso, storing up nervous energy while awaiting my return) manically pacing the floor and one cockatiel reciting every word in his vocabulary, over and over and over again -- I got to put on my manly clothes and fire up the chain saw.

Ah, the wind in my hair! The smell of the fresh air, still damp with moisture! Laughing as I bounded up to the heights to cut wood! The only thing missing was a plaid shirt and a knit cap on my head -- but I did have the correct boots on...

Of course reality is never really that far out of reach. Why is it that a ladder placed on wet ground only sinks on one side? Ever had that "Oh Shit!" feeling when one starts leaning to one side while you're on it? Fresh air? Ha! More like blue smoke from the chain saw everywhere. And that moisture in the air? It's called humidity, and it felt like it was about 80%.

The good news is that I talked a neighbor into helping, which was a good thing. When a branch is leaning that hard against the house, it binds the chain pretty good if the cutting technique isn't correct. Mine wasn't. Actually reading Wealth of Nations was looking pretty appealing when I was up there wrestling with that branch, trying to get the chain unstuck. Then I successfully cut through the one of the larger branches...

It's been a long time since I've had a science lesson, so I can't recall the correct term. Is it potential energy? Kinetic? All that I know is that the branch unloaded pretty quick when it was cut, and I was left holding the saw in one hand while trying to keep the severed branch from sliding down and hitting Jim, all while trying to balance on a ladder that insisted on leaning to the left. The kind of stuff that you laugh about afterwards while drinking a cold beer, 'cept it wasn't very funny at the time...

The mission was accomplished, however, and I managed to not cut through the roof while cutting the branches. Everything has been cut down to size, and piled in neat, orderly piles. Personally, I'd rather let the smaller stuff dry a bit then shred it for the mulch -- it's the environmentally responsible thing to do. The mulch would cut down on my water bill, and when it decayed it would improve the soil. Also, I wouldn't have to mess with it for at least another four weeks! Alas, the missus would rather I take it out to the curb and let the trash man deal with it. Pretty narrow minded, if you ask me...

Posted by mjwoods at June 12, 2003 09:13 PM

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