Time for a mundane thread...

Roberteaux

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Further hurricane prep:

The county decided to contract a local tree surgeon to travel along county roads, trimming various branches (and in some cases, entire trees) that are almost certainly going to be felled if we get into serious winds. Lots and lots of water oaks around here, and it doesn't take a genius to learn how to spot trouble areas... or entire trees that are likely to prove troublesome should a major blow come along.

So, he was flat-rated by the county. I've watched as he and his crew worked roadways adjacent to the one my house is located on, to see if he was phoning the shit in or doing the right kind of job. It didn't take long to see that this outfit is a really good one... the county is undoubtedly getting its money worth out of these guys.

The company owner is a surprisingly young man-- probably 27 or 28 years old, and his crew of four appear to be personal friends of his. But I've noted their expertise, especially when it comes to trimming palms, which isn't difficult, exactly, but it's tedious and if it's not done right you end up with one ugly, scraggly lookin' palm tree...

Cool beans. I'm happy. Then I found that this same crew's contract with the county allows them to perform privately contracted services that might crop up, so long as the work is on the same street the crew is tasked with clearing out, and they don't perform the work on county time.

So, they showed up in my neighbor's front yard yesterday, and were doing their thing. In his case, they took down two entire trees that the county marked for removal. I was waiting to see if my neighbor would flip out, but found that he was instead relieved... he was about to contract somebody to remove those two anyway.

And then there's me: for about the last month I've been planning to have an enormous camphor tree removed, along with a cruddy water oak that has been in the process of falling apart for about the last five years. Neither tree would have been a threat to my house had it been felled by hurricane winds, but that camphor tree was about to send some roots into my septic tank, which would put a serious hurtin' on the system, along with my wallet.

No thanks. It's a pretty tree, but it ain't *that* pretty.

And then the cruddy water oak needed to go. It just looks like shit, and I've been having it trimmed every couple or three years (over the last ten) just to keep the shit from threatening my house.

So, I kinda went out there and just sort of hung out, observing. I was being one of those friendly-acting, but snoopy, residential geezers who eyeballs everything in my general environment or locality. The world bears watchin'... :squint:

So then I got talkin' to the guys doing the work, while they were taking a break. The young ramrod wasn't on-site, but I just kinda shot the shit with those boys for a while, friendly-like. Really nice guys, redneck to the bone, plain and honest as table salt.

The ramrod kid showed up after a while, so I got gabbing with him. I contracted him to remove the camphor tree, and got a really good price on it. He's able to adjust his rates lower because he's got all his heavy equipment on site, including some machines he leases only when he's got a major job at hand.

I didn't say shit about that oak tree, though... I kinda wanted to see if he'd make me an offer. But last time I talked to anybody about the camphor tree, they were talking $800 to take it down, grind the stump, and haul the rest of it away.

But this kid told me he'd do the job for $500... and he'd trim my palms so long as he'd be hanging out anyway, gratis.

He took the camphor down a few moments ago. I was out there watching them loading the major chunks of the tree onto a flatbed semi, when the ramrod kid walked up and observed that the water oak sure is one ugly tree. It just looked like crap, like sombody detonated a few sticks of dynamite up top in the higher branches or something. It looked like a gigantic weed.

The kid told me he'd take that one for another $500. I told him that I'd be calling him in about a week or so to talk about it. I suddenly became a bowed, wizened, very old man as I croaked, "I'm on fixed income, son... gotta make every penny count."

Meanwhile, he's looking at my Harley, parked in the driveway, my pickup truck-- which is less than a year old-- and right at that moment my latest squeeze, Fluffy, came waltzing out the door on her way back to her medical tech job looking all cute in her scrubs.

I looked back at that kid, noticed the narrow eyes, and the way the skin of his nose was crinkled at the top, and I just started laughing.

He couldn't help but to join me. Hey, I was busted and I knew it-- what could I say.

So, while eyeballing Fluffy, this kid said that he sure did feel sorry for me, seeing as I was so feeble and everything, and he lowered his price by $150 bucks. I agreed immediately and told him that he'd be getting a one hundred buck tip anyway, so he was only down 50 bucks.

That surprised him. He was standing there shaking his head while attempting to suss out why in the world I suddenly reversed myself as I did. The truth was: I was just about to capitulate when he lowered his price. I think Fluffy might have had something to do with that... she has a noticeable effect on men, always did.

So, a moment ago the kid's beating on my door. I noticed that the water oak is history already, and can't get over how fast these guys make a tree disappear. They're sort of a cross between arborists and a very effective hit team or something.

The kid tells me he doesn't like the look of one of my palms, and come to think of, neither do I. He offers to take it down for free, and of course I accepted his kindly offer. Never noticed how raggedy that thing looked, but now that the camphor isn't there to hide it from view I see that it looks like an electron micrscope's view of one of my least favorite fungi types, aspergillus.

So I told the kid that if he did the job for free, I'd give him another hundred buck tip. He just gawked at me, once again attempting to fathom whatever form of thought it was that passes for logic in me. Confused, he said, "Why?"

I grunted, "People who work for me get paid. And when they refuse pay, they get tipped. It's just how I do business, kid, but it's also a really good way to secure a bit of preferential treatment from the local service guys around here..."

Which sounded pretty good, don't you think? Too bad it's mostly bullshit...

See, the reality is that I priced all this work except for that raggedy-ass palm tree, and already knew I'd pay a little more than double for the same services, had I decided to contract a company that didn't just so happen to be already working on my street, with heavy equipment and all right there.

And if I needed the same shit cleared out after a hurricane? Man, we'd be looking at triple the price-- in cash-- and that's if I were lucky!

So, everyone's happy, and now I have a reliable tree surgeon to use when I need one... and right in time: my last guy moved to North Carolina a couple of months ago, which is what got me collecting estimates from other companies before this kid and his crack squad showed up ready to go.

Sometimes, shit just works out perfectly. :)

--R :thumb:
 
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pnuggett

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We'll have rain today and tomorrow with temps 25-30 degrees below normal and then below average temps for at least a week. We'll take it. Last year was a NONsoon season with no rain and record breaking heat.


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ehb

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Well, I survived I-75, even through the Fluh Zone (Gainesville) even with my BAMA tag on front.... Made it to Lido Key ok...

Got everything unloaded and in, and now it looks like the world is coming to an end outside with a lot of black, artillery barrage, and light show.... Was sitting out having a nice Ultra Prickly Pear and Lime infused beer (hell, I don't know, it looked cool in Publix) and a smoke.....until Ma Nature's drunk ass convinced my I should get my narrow ass inside..... Oh well, I got a 12 pack and eleven is an unlucky number....

:cheers:
 

Roberteaux

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Well, I survived I-75, even through the Fluh Zone (Gainesville) even with my BAMA tag on front.... Made it to Lido Key ok...

Got everything unloaded and in, and now it looks like the world is coming to an end outside with a lot of black, artillery barrage, and light show.... Was sitting out having a nice Ultra Prickly Pear and Lime infused beer (hell, I don't know, it looked cool in Publix) and a smoke.....until Ma Nature's drunk ass convinced my I should get my narrow ass inside..... Oh well, I got a 12 pack and eleven is an unlucky number....

:cheers:
Wekkom back ta Flowida, cuz!

--R :cheers:
 
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ehb

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Before y'all folks up Nawth say nuttin, I got a kitchen pass to travel down in FL since they is SHUT too... Got kin, been through the training where you are tossed in an empty pool with a big rattlinsnake, barlow knife, a pallet, bottle of 'Basco, and a firestarter....

Pretty tasty...
 


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