the text: idk if i’ll be able to mow the lawn today…

I’ll get in the tree guy’s way

me:  Tree guy is there?

15 yr old son: Many tree guys

me:  How many tree guys?

15 yr old son: They’re in the backyard too, which is where I would be mowing.  Like 3 or 4

me: Gotcha

Bobby the tree guy had returned.  It was Friday, not Monday, but nonetheless true to his word he was back. Lucky for my son, he also provided the perfect reason to get out of mowing the lawn.

The surface of my driveway was barely visible under the tangled mass of branches and leaves.

As I approached, the ground crew of two shouted out in unison, “Customer! …… Customer!”.

“Is that a warning so everyone knows not to talk bad about the customer?” I asked.

“No ma’am, it’s so we know there’s a lady present.” was the reply.

I had to smile at that.

“Where’s Bobby?” I asked.

My eyes followed as they tilted their heads back.

Higher, higher, and higher…. He was more than 30 feet in the sky, framed by the two limbs he straddled, his dark grey t-shirt blended into the backdrop of darkening clouds.

I watched through a window of two fingers as he planted one foot into the branch and stretched his body along the length of it.  Bobby swung the rope around the branch again and again in order to secure his next anchor for climbing.  I didn’t need to be in his shoes to realize that this job was much harder than he thought it would be.

As one of the dirt covered young men on the ground bowed against the base of the tree, his face buried against his arm, I knew I had received my silent cue to exit stage right.

Thunder cracked and the sky exploded, announcing the end of the day but not the end of the job.

Operation Tree Removal (aka Bobby the Tree Guy):

Part one:  I didn’t realize you thought I meant ‘this’ week…   Read post

Part two: Oh Me of Little Faith…. Read post

Serpentine, Shel! Serpentine!

I was sad to read today that one of my all time favorite actors passed away.  Peter Falk, best known for his rumpled raincoat, stinky cigar, and that famous question, “just one more thing…”.

“Just one more thing…” meant he was hot on the trail and would soon solve the latest whodunit.

I can picture his bushy eyebrows, messy hair and the signature hand to the forehead as he pondered a situation.  His fans and ardent followers always knew that the question meant the end was near for the unsuspecting and not so clever criminal.

While perusing a few bios about Peter today, I was surprised that while they all refered to the hit television series and several movies, I didn’t see any mention of two of my favorites.

For all of the Princess Bride fans, myself included, I loved him as the grandfather in the movie where ‘as you wish’ means ‘i love you’.  His patience with the young Fred Savage as his grandson is touching.

His character guides his grandson from bored about the thought of a book to clutching his covers as he hears the tale of fencing, escapes, true love, and miracles.  Not unlike his character Columbo, he duped his unsuspecting grandson, into a confession when he admitted to enjoying the book.

I’ve seen the movie at least a hundred times, and every time, I  get a lump in my throat when he responds to the request to read the book again with the three words “as you wish”.

My favorite of all time though has to be his role as Vince Ricardo, a CIA agent in the hysterical comedy “The In-Laws”.  The version from 1979, the funny one in my opinion.

I can’t even begin to bring justice to the description of the zany characters, bumbling mishaps, or its brilliant comedic pace.  I think it’s best summed up with my favorite quote from the movie.

Serpentine, Shel! Serpentine!

Ok, so a question for everyone…

“If my fiancé used the words honeymoon and R.V. in the same sentence, should I be concerned?”

This could quite possibly be one of the funniest questions I’ve ever heard someone ask a group of co-workers. The answer from the group was a resounding, Yes!

Not that vacationing in a Recreational Vehicle in and of itself is a bad thing, clearly it’s not. There are lots of people who tour the country and enjoy life through the window of said transportation.

But for this woman, whose home is in the suburbs of Philadelphia, the answer seemed clear to all in the room.

The Ritz maybe, an R.V., definitely not.

Oddly enough the conversation took me back in time, to when I was in 6th grade and my best friend’s family had an R.V. Her dad owned a John Deere dealership and judging by the size of their house he did quite well. His name was Harley and her mom’s name was Adele.

“Harley….Harley…HARLEY….

“Oh there you are,” she’d say, once she finally found him.

Her voice was shrill and I always wondered if he hid just far enough away, that he wouldn’t hear how her voice rose to a pitch as it approached the R and slid back down to normal on the Y.  But I digress.

The R.V. was visible to all who drove by their house, another sign of wealth based on my limited exposure to the world.

I’ll never forget going ‘camping’ with them. Camping is a word I’d have to use loosely as it related to camping with the Taylors. The Recreational Vehicle was a home on wheels, equipped with every convenience conceivable all packed within something that from the outside looked like a very large toaster.

It was luxury in the wilderness at its finest. We had running water, electricity, a shower, a toilet that flushed and sheets that smelled like hot summer air.

Lynn’s mom could prepare a feast inside or her dad could grill and we’d go ‘out’ to eat, either way the food and the company was a treat.

Lynn and I teased her older sisters mercilessly about their boyfriends, all the while curious and maybe a bit jealous, wondering if we’d ever have one of our own. Harley and Adele sat side by side in a comfortable silence watching and smiling as we all shrieked and giggled.

After a trip down memory lane, I circle back around to the original question.

“If my fiancé used the words ‘honeymoon’ and ‘R.V.’ in the same sentence, should I be concerned?”

I have no idea, the only thing I know, is that we all had a good laugh today

Oh Me of Little Faith….

Believe it or not, today I actually met Bobby, the tree guy.  Not only did I meet him, he made significant progress!

It looks like I owe Bobby an apology for doubting his sincerity and work ethic.

It turns out that he has been climbing trees and cutting them down for a living for 19 years.  He started when he was 14 and climbed his first tree when he turned 17.

Nineteen years of physical labor and working outdoors has chiseled not only his muscles, but also the features of his face.

He arrived around eleven am.

He wore faded jeans and a grey muscle man t-shirt, and the slight swagger in his stance contradicted the modesty in his eyes.

“Hi, I’m Bobby, the tree guy,”  he said.

The large truck and green chipper in front of my house were a pretty good clue to his identity, but I appreciated knowing that he wasn’t some random guy with a chainsaw standing on my front porch.

“Sorry I didn’t get here until now, Bobby apologized. “Between the rain and my messed up chipper this is the first day that worked out.  I’m a tree guy, without a chipper there’s not much I can do. It was horrible when I was here last time, it kept overheating and smoke was coming out everywhere.

“I told the guys at the shop I thought it was the thermostat.

“Turns out it was a belt. It was so worn out there wasn’t enough tension so the pump wasn’t pissn’ out enough water to cool off the motor.Of   course instead of doing what mechanics should do, which is to figure out what’s wrong before they fix it.  They just went ahead and took my word for it, so now I have a new thermostat as well.

“What were they thinking?  I’m a tree guy, they’re the mechanics. Sheesh!”

I had to laugh about that.  I told him he should have sent it into the shop with a woman, because the mechanics never would have taken her word for it.

I found the process fascinating.  Who knew how complicated it was to take down a tree.

I held my breath as I watched him maneuver through the tree.  30 feet above ground, held by nothing but a rope, he sawed through one branch after another and artfully worked with his crew of two to drop each one to the ground.

It was like Paul Bunyan meets Cirque Du Soleil and it all happened right in my  front yard.

The job isn’t complete yet.  He said he’ll be back on Monday.

We’ll see if Monday actually happens.  If not, I feel fairly certain that, there will be a valid reason and in the end, he may not have meant ‘this week’, but I’m pretty sure it will be ‘this year’.

Operation tree removal continues.

Paul Bunyan meets Cirque Du Soleil