Saturday, March 24, 2007

man, that really sucks

A surreal few hours just now...sitting in the living room reading, and I hear the 'beep beep beep' of a truck backing up. I grumble a bit [it's nearly midnight, darn it!], but ignore it. A few minutes later, I hear chainsaws. "Waaaahhhh??" I say to myself. I wait, they stop. "Whew."

They start again. "Grumble, grumble, WTF, it's frickin' midnight, grumble." Then I remember hearing a solid "thud" an hour earlier...I had dismissed it, figuring it was a car door slamming, or a car bottoming out on these annoying Palo Alto curbs that are so excellent at scraping up your undercarriage.

My brain connects "thud" with "chainsaws" and comes up with "Oh crap!" Went outside to see a tree blocking the cul-de-sac two houses down. Big eucalyptus tree, stretching all the way across the street...

...and right smack down on top of a shiny yellow VW Beetle. Apparently either termites or mold had gotten into the roots, and there was just nothing to hold it up any more. The frightening part is that the tree looked perfectly strong and healthy...then crack, boom, crash, down it came.

It turned into an impromptu gathering as people came out to gawk, talk, and commiserate. The girl had just parked the car and gone inside, and two minutes later, kaboom. All things considered, it could have been much worse. The tree didn't fall the other way onto the house. It didn't fall while she was in the car. It missed other cars parked right nearby. No power lines or utility lines were hit. Still sucked for her though, especially since it was her mother's car, and she was driving it for the weekend while her mother was in Tahoe.

It was amazing watching the chainsaw guy. He was incredibly skilled, knew exactly where to cut for the maximum effect. He was also incredibly considerate of the girl and her car...he made very careful cuts so parts of the tree didn't thunk down onto the car and do more damage. He was a master...he cut through the major part of the trunk, then slowed the saw down and guided it gently, so that gravity just lightly *bent* the weight of the tree against the remaining strip of wood, making it settle gently to the ground.
He then cut that last bit to leave the tree in two halves, one on either side of the car. And then the wood chipper came into play. Holy *crap*, those things are scary. But cool...

So now it's 1am, and I'm tired but wired. And looking at the trees in my yard with suspicion and distrust...

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