Monday, March 10, 2008


One of the most aggravating, soul-sucking, hateful things to do in the entire universe is gardening in the suburbs. Technically, in our neighborhood, you have to file a request with the HOA (each filing has a fee, which I think is anywhere from $25 to $50) whenever you make any "landscaping" changes. That essentially means that anything that isn't in a flower pot will, technically, cost you an extra $50.

"Fuck that", we say. Figuring that we can risk it and not spend the money, or pay the money and run the risk of not getting approved, we figured, better to do and get punished later than get shut down by the Robot Corps of Engineers.

We live on a corner lot, with three (3) officially sanctioned tree species, all native but non-invasive. One (1) of these trees died. By which I mean, it stopped growing. We are in a fairly new development. Our house was built in the 21st century, so the tiny little trees are still relatively small (although relatively less small that our neighbors, being that we bought one of the first houses on the block). Said tree was not growing leaves and looked ugly and gross, so we cut it down. With a chainsaw. After an aborted first try which made us incredibly confused why the chainsaw wasn't working (turns out the geniuses at our local Giant Orange Store Where Nobody Helps You put the chain on, oh, backwards. We did almost start a trunk fire, though. It smelled nice), we got a correctly assembled chainsaw (this time, with gas!) and cut it down.

Here is something that you might not know. Stump removal, even of a smallish tree with a trunk diameter of oh, let's say, 12", is not, well, easy. It is, in fact, incredibly shitty. Especially when that stump is on a hill. It took us sitting on either side, rhythmically kicking the trunk to either side, like an arboreal, stationary version of those oldentimey hand cars.

After much toil and trouble, the stump was removed, and we were ready to quest for a new tree. Yours truly has always had a fantasy to plant a great, gorgeous icon of the South that would shade my lawn and provide a convenient place to fan myself and bemoan the state of things over a mint julep. Off to the nursery we went. Fortune befell us - sometimes, kids, procrastination works in your favor. Since it was, for my climate, far past optimal tree-planting time, there was a half-off sale on trees. Hooray. And so, after searching, I found a lush, 10' tall tree with one seed-pod thingy on it, evidence of a blooming-age tree (this is a good thing, as these trees apparently take forever to bloom when they're small).

After purchasing the tree, we attempted to cram it into our midsize Sport SUV. This actually turned out to require dropping the passenger-side seat all the way down, shoving the tub part (you know, the root part, the container that the tree lives in) way up to the front windshield, the back door open, and my devoted husband leaning out and hefting up the top part of the tree to prevent it from dragging on the ground.

Only when the tree was already loaded in the car (look, it took a lot of work) I noticed, in pink chalk, was scrawled "Sold: Floyd".

Whoops. Well, I thought, it's not really my fault that I didn't see it and the store sold it to me, right? And it wasn't like I was about to take that fucking tree OUT again and put another one in. Fuck Floyd, we thought, and took the tree home, and planted it.

After a couple of weeks of uncertainty, our tree (obviously, named Floyd) is now doing very well and is slowly growing new lovely leaves and I am hoping will bloom in a couple of weeks. I still feel bad for old Person Floyd, but I would like to believe that this tree in particular would have died in whatever horrible location he would have put it in. More likely though, the person got totally screamed at. Sorry, nursery employee. Sorry, Floyd. The tree is good, though. We might be able to arrange visitation rights.

1 comment:

Meg said...

Hey, I found your site through Jezebel. (I'm the Meg that doesn't know when to mind her own business!)

Anyway, I'm glad I read this, as I was thinking of renting a chainsaw from that store. We have a ton of trees we want to remove. Some are just too big, but we could manage a few (and save thousands of dollars). Now I'll know to ask if they put the chain on correctly.