See, we had bodacious winds last weekend, and our primordial forest out in the back suffered casualties.
One tree had been dead a long time and was already listing, but after the windstorm it was really listing and threatening to squash the GM Finance when she is gardening.
So I kitted out in jungle gear, as had my Native American relatives before me, with several family hand saws and a mighty sledge hammer.
Surely, I figured, this dead tree, which was now at about 70 degrees list, would be easy peasy to fell.
I’d just Paul Bunyan it with the saws and sledge, then casually push it over with my index finger for dramatic effect, while saying:
“Timmmberrrrr, Kiwi people. Run for your lives!”
But, alas, it was not easy peasy at all. It was:
Saw, saw, saw.
Hit, hit, hit.
Sweat, sweat, sweat.
Pant, pant, pant.
Until my 56-year-old heart and head were about to explode.
Eventually, I managed to cut through that sucker, but the bloody thing did not go “timber” because it was still supported by surrounding trees.
What my hard work had achieved was to make the tree even more dangerous than before.
A fine manly morning’s work, huh?
Making this even more enjoyable was the GM Finance coming outside to yell helpful things like, “What are you doing?”
This did not sit well with me because a) sweaty men with saws and a sledge hammer should not be yelled at b) I had been cutting down the friggin tree that she had been complaining about, and c) which meant I had almost certainly saved her life.
With that pained expression long suffering wives get on her face, she pointed out that this was not the tree she had complained about. That tree “was way over there”, disguised, I quickly surmised, as a tall shrub that I could have cut down with scissors.
Now, one would never want one’s spouse to be whacked in the head by, say, a huge falling tree that you had lovingly spent hours trying to cut down, in order to save her life. But a slight grazing might be justified at times, don’t you think?
Thankfully, about this time, the professional, super-fit tree cutting men showed up with several heavy bags of serious gear.
I had called them earlier in the day, being a Take-Charge Studly Lifesaving Kind of Guy, because, in addition to sort of felling the wrong tree to sort of save my wife’s life, there was also the issue of a 90-foot-tall tree at the back of our property.
It had snapped like a twig about 10 feet off the ground (see photo at left). The rest of the tree had fallen towards our neighbor’s yard but, thankfully, it had wedged high up against another huge tree.
Still, I knew it was only a matter of time before the tree fell, squashing the neighbor’s fence and his shed, which would have been a major drama in New Zealand.
Kiwi blokes tend to be pretty laid back. You could bad mouth their rugby team or even their “Mum”, and they’d probably let it slide.
But you do not mess with a Kiwi’s shed. Not ever, never. Because that is where they keep their testicles. Where they go to do manly things like invent the electric fence or split the atom.
So dropping a 90-foot-tall tree on my neighbor’s shed would have “really got up his nose,” as they say here.
Another weather front was blowing in, so bold action was called for. Rather than wait weeks for a quote, I hijacked a tree-cutting crew that was already in our neighborhood.
Within 10 minutes of stepping onto our property, one bloke had chucked a lead weight on a string way, way high in a huge Kauri tree, clean through a strong fork.
He used the string to pull up a small rope, and then a larger one. They secured some tackle and then the other guy went ape, climbing 70 feet straight up in about four seconds.
He and the bloke on the ground then rigged more ropes. Some secured the dead tree, so it would safely fall after being cut. Some supported the bloke as he effortlessly flew from tree to tree.
Just like a spider monkey.
With a loud chainsaw.
In the middle of this, I decided to continue being Studly Take Charge Man and called my insurance company.
I explained that I was saving them a huge claim, potentially my neighbor’s life and, more importantly, his shed, by having the tree men on site right now.
It was pretty awesome to be explaining this to the insurance lady while two chainsaws were roaring just a few yards away.
It was not as awesome when the insurance lady said, while they would have paid if my tree had squashed the neighbor’s head and his shed, since it did not, they would not.
I considered grabbing a chainsaw and paying a visit to my insurance company. But instead I decided to take photos of the incredible spider monkey men doing the wild thing way up in the air because it was awesome.
Less than an hour later, the huge fallen tree was on the ground in three pieces. Two other dead trees, including the (wrong) one that I had (sort of) cut down (to save my wife’s life), had been cut and stacked as firewood.
Job done. Easy peasy.
I used to be a spider monkey man, just like the guy at right — can you spot his tiny orange jacket wayyyyyy up high?
I was once able enough, and crazy enough, to climb huge trees, armed with a chain saw and without a safety net below. In fact, that was big manly fun.
About three decades ago.
Today, I am fat and unfit and a victim of spider monkey envy.
I also await a large invoice from the tree men, which will not be paid by my stupid insurance company.
But that is not the end of this story.
I convinced my neighbor to pay half, because one tree was just barely on his property.
And I will sell the very valuable wood from the big tree.
As a result, I will actually come out a couple of hundred dollars ahead.
And that’s not monkey business!
- Cirque du Soleil could make big money by adding Spider Monkey Men with Chainsaws to their salute to the Beatles.
- Cirque du Soleil could be HUGE if Mike Nesbitt were still alive — they could perform SPIDER MONKEES WITH CHAINSAWS!!!