Saturday, June 28, 2008

Newspaper column

There are a few things every woman should do in her lifetime:

  • Splurge on a timeless piece of clothing that makes her feel beautiful.
  • Live alone.
  • Find that perfect go-to recipe.
  • Keep a diary.
  • Wield a chainsaw.

Sure, that last one might sound a little strange. I mean, if everyone in the world were to actually write down the things they hope to eventually accomplish, I'm sure there would be a whole lot of "skydiving" notes and very few about operating heavy machinery.

But after recently having the opportunity to rev the engine of that power tool myself, I can tell you the adrenaline rush is probably just as thrilling as jumping out of a plane -- only without all of that unwanted potential-to-plummet-to-your-death waiver stuff.

Like it probably does for most homeowners, every spring brings a new opportunity for me and my husband to give our property a critical eye. We stand in our yard and discuss all of the things we'd like to accomplish if time, finances and manpower were no object. Then we get realistic and try to tackle the projects we're able to.

The list is long, and some of the tasks inevitably get pushed to the following spring. One in particular has topped the list ever since we've owned our home, but we just didn't know how to go about it.

Kill the tree-bush.

The tree-bush is the black eye of our otherwise lovely back yard. Without exaggeration, it's probably 20-feet high and nearly just as wide. One of our neighbors, who is much more knowledgeable than we are in the greenery department, has explained to us that it's a type of tree that can be trained into a hedge.

Only no one took the time to train it.

The result? A plant with an identity crisis. It has all of the qualities of a bush, but underneath hides the thick limbs of a tree.

And because we've been unable to do anything about it, the monstrosity gets bigger and more unsightly every year. Come to thing about it, we should just call it "Audry II," the name of the man-eating plant in "Little Shop of Horrors."

This year we finally had enough. We were sick of looking at the tree-bush and enlisted the help of some friends who just happen to own a pickup truck, branch loppers, a digging spade, shovels and a chainsaw. (Forget friends in high places; seek friends with tools.)

It turned into an all-day event with at least three flatbeds full of detached branches, four tries at chaining the stump to the truck hitch before the roots were freed, and countless glasses of water.

Now we have a crater deep enough for our dog to get lost in, but I'm thrilled. Even the carnage looks more attractive than what used to be there.

But, by far, the highlight of the entire day -- the memory that will stick with me forever -- is not the overwhelming feeling of relief when that stump finally gave way. Or reclaiming a huge chunk of real estate. Or having the freedom to plant whatever I want.

It's the rush I got from powering through solid wood with rotating metal.

The guys looked a little surprised when I asked if I could have a go at it, but I'm glad I did. It was loud and powerful and messy and vindicating and maybe even a little therapeutic.

So, ladies, it may seem like a strange thing to put on your lifetime to-do list, but take it from me: Don't let the guys have all the fun.


Ray said...

I'll have to put that on my list of things to do. ;o) And with a tree so MONSTROUS I wish there was a video to go with this post. But I realize that 1) You're life is NOT a reality television show. And 2) Everyone was working so who could have been recording? Although you could have put Alli & Toby to the job. Hehe.

Well, take care.

Kristin said...

You're such a good writer.
I'm really jealous.
Have you always wanted to be a journalist?