OK, the big winter storm we were going to get rolled in this weekend.
(radio guy on Thursday - “5 inches of rain, winds gusting to 60 mph”, etc, so on, and so forth).
As the scene opens, among the features of my house:
One (1) large Modesto ash, probably planted by the original housing developer, which is fortunately close enough to the street that the City of Cupertino has to take care of it, a fact I found out LAST year when my neighbor’s ash wound up in my yard, fortunately only stripping a section of gutter with one of its branches. My ash dropped a couple of enormous limbs during the storm we had over Thanksgiving, and from last year I knew to call up the City Public Works department, who eventually turned up with chain saws, hauled them away, and brought in a cherry picker to prune the tree some more.
One (1) disfigured (but kind of charming, I thought) spruce tree next to the driveway, trimmed so the car fits under it to enter the garage, and trimmed away from the roof. Said spruce tree deformed because of being trimmed in that way, and in the sense that it grew away from the ash (see above), the bottom part of the trunk at a bit of a slant, eventually curving to point straight up. Tree about 50-60 feet tall.
A screened and covered patio area in the back, which is frankly in bad repair - I’ve being meaning to get around to doing something about it. Covered with those crinkly fiberglass panels which are pretty well shot, and which I just KNEW were going to blow off sometime.
OK, storm starts late Friday. Fine. I get home - the wind is rattling the loose fiberglass panels in the patio. It’s a bit annoying, maybe this weekend I’ll just remove the damned things - they’re too far gone and brittle to nail down any better.
Saturday morning, wind blowing like hell (the fiberglass panels are going rattle, rattle) and the rain has arrived - I eventually leave the house, and note that the car no longer fits under the spruce without getting brushed. I look up and … Holy Crap! The top of the damned spruce is leaning over 10-20 degrees in addition to waving around in the wind like some kind of needle covered whip wielded by some demented Zorro God, and the angle at the bottom is something I don’t want to contemplate. I go run the errand I had in mind anyway, wondering what to do about this.
Coming back, I find that the ash has now dropped another huge branch (too bloody big to move) - right smack in my driveway. And I am definitely contemplating the possibility of sharing my living space with a 50-60 foot spruce. Well, I know to call Cupertino City Works about the ash branch, anyway, and somewhat panickedly ask what to do about the spruce. They take a note on the ash branch, and tell me I have to get somebody private for the spruce, which I more or less knew already. At this point I open the yellow pages and note that the tree trimmer services advertise “24 hour emergency service”, and I think I understand why now. The fourth one I try, I get an answer, and get a message to “Leroy”, who says he’ll come and look at it in an hour or so.
Three hours later, after many nervous glances at the damned spruce, Leroy turns up and we stand out in the front yard contemplating the spruce, which he allows IS moving. Somewhat surprisingly, he tells me he can take the thing down Sunday morning at 9:00 AM, and he’s eying the spruce and the ash alternately. I catch on - he’s going to tie the spruce to the ash in the mean time. Yep, that’s what he has in mind - we go next door and tell my neighbor not to leave cars in his driveway because tying up the tree won’t keep it from falling if it goes - it will just swing around away from my house and fall in that direction. OK. He disappears, and turns up early that evening with a very thick rope (12000 pound load, he claims), and his tree climbing gear. Pretty soon I have a spruce that has been relieved of a lot of its branches as he climbed, the final eight feet or so sawed off, and is now tied to the other tree. He thinks it isn’t going anywhere.
Sure enough, next morning, 3 guys, a good sized truck and a tree chipper turn up, and before noon have converted a large tree into a truck full of mulch, short lengths of log, and a stump which has a big decayed hole in the middle of it (“root rot” according to Leroy). They also cut up the ash branch, since City of Cupertino hasn’t showed up yet. My neighbor has requested the logs from both trees for firewood, I reserve the rights to use the ash logs myself - given the knots and sap, I don’t think I’d try to burn the spruce, personally. They’ll have to dry out for a year anyway.
Cupertino turns up that afternoon to finish sawing bits off the ash, which my neighbor and I add to the stack of logs between our properties.
OK, end of the excitement, and I am left with a good opinion of the tree trimming service who took care of the spruce.
Ah, but we have wind again Sunday night. I get to lie in bed listening to the fiberglass panels go “rattle, rattle”, and eventually go “rattle, SCREEECH, WHAM, WACKA WACKA WACKA”. Sure enough, one of the damned things finally busted loose and is half off, so I’m out on my patio in the wind and rain at midnight prying it the rest of the way off and praying it just lands in the yard and doesn’t go sailing off through suburbia. Fortunately, I wind up with it on the yard, with a brick on top of it.
The wind doesn’t blow - it sucks.