Thursday, December 17, 2009

The dead tree

Before and during the time I was waiting for my gas fireplace to be installed I also had a few other things on the go. One of them, and the most pressing at the time, was getting the dead tree down beside my house. I called a few companies to find out about getting a quote. Most of the places I called forced me to leave a message and surprisingly, I never received a return call or when I did get a hold of someone they said they would come out to take a look at the tree and never showed up. This also included “Dan the Tree Man”. The name my neighbors gave me. Finally, after calling about five companies I hit the jackpot! I actually found someone to bless me with they’re presence and come out to quote hacking the tall dead pine tree to the ground. They tucked the quote into my mailbox while I was at work. The quote I got was $550.00 to take it down. The brush taken off and the trunk cut in chunks. If I wanted it all hauled away it was another $300.00. I thought the quote was pretty fair but decided I’d get a few more quotes for good measure. Again, I did my best to inconvenience someone to come and look at my tree. In the mean time we had some crazy windstorms. The first of four was the scariest for me. All I could think about was this dead tree crushing my daughter while she slept. It was beside her room. I knew I had to find a brawny lumberjack quick! Well, I tried a few more companies, but try as I may it was getting harder to find someone just to get their ass here. I finally ended up calling the guy back who quoted me. About two weeks had gone by but he remembered me. I told him I would like him to take the tree down and then suddenly the phone went dead. I had assumed our call was disconnected by accident so I called him right back. I got his message machine and asked him to return my call so we could set up a date.
I didn’t hear back!
Was I cursed?
I was back to square one. We had some more windstorms, my fireplace was installed and I still had no Paul Bunyan. Finally, one morning I saw an ad on my doorstep. It was actually a coupon for a tree cutter. $50.00 off $500.00 or more. I called. He answered. He came out the next day. Wow, I thought. My luck has finally turned.
When I arrived home from work he was already there. It looked as though he was talking to my neighbor to whom the tree sat next to. I went inside and waited for him to come over. Finally, there was a knock on my door. I asked him how much and was absolutely flabbergasted with his response. $850.00 just to get it to the ground. This did not include taking the tree away. I outright told him that was too much. He said it was a tough job because of the distance between the neighbor and my house, the tiny space he had to work in and the fact that the tree was dead. I quickly told him I was quoted $550.00 for the same job. His response was that the quote I received wasn’t from an insured tree cutter. I assured him it was. He stepped away from my door and I actually thought I had insulted him and he was leaving. He walked to the middle of my front yard to gaze at the tree again. He cocked his head from side to side hesitated and told me he would do it for $750.00. I told him I’d call him back if I decided to go with him.
I never intended to.

Next morning there was a message on my cell phone. I guess he had called me that evening but I didn’t hear it. Basically the message was that he doesn’t usually do this (ya, right) but he would match the price of the other tree cutter because he didn’t want me to be unsafe by having someone who wasn’t insured cutting the tree down. I listened to the message again, smiled to myself and called him back. He said he would be out the following Monday.
Monday came and Monday went. Typical, I thought. He probably changed his mind.
I ended up calling him on Tuesday and asked him what day he would be doing it. He informed me that now Friday would be the day he would come. I asked if I had to be there. He said no. I thought that was odd because I assumed he would want payment right away. That alone made me suspect he would not show and I quickly imagined myself flipping through the yellow pages and searching the internet once again.

Friday came and it just happened to be the day I was picking up my significant someone from the airport. Interestingly enough, his brother actually cuts trees for a living so I had been telling both of them the story of the fly-by-night tree cutters I had come into contact with. I had actually forgot about the tree trimmer coming that day and when we arrived to my post and beam from the airport I took him around the back of the house to take a look at my backyard. He asked me where this “dead tree” was.
I looked up as I started to say…
“It’s right”…but I was dumbfounded…"holy crap", I said. We walked around to the side of the house and low and behold there lie the chunks of trunk. I can't even begin to tell you how elated I was. Weird thing was though, there was no bill in my mailbox and Mr. Tree Cutter didn’t call me. Here it is now Thursday. Almost a week later and I still haven’t heard hide nor hair from this guy. I’m hoping it’s a Christmas present from him.

I must add here that the first guy who quoted me called me back yesterday. He apologized for not returning my call sooner and cheerfully wanted to know when he could come to take down my tree.
As he was talking I was thinking, really buddy. Are you &*@#*% kidding me?
I felt like vocalizing my mind but all I calmly said was, "It’s down".
I could hear the defeat in his voice as he said, “Oh, okay bye”.

Another note to self: Never completely count on a guy with an axe to grind.

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