A Dead Tree and an Upgrade

"We're all diamonds in the rough We'll all shine soon enough Struggles in this life can make you strong We waste the good times and the bad But keep in mind that when you're sad Those tears of joy and sorrow lead you home Every drop of water shapes the stone"---Allen Shamblin/Steve Seskin

It’s over, 2020 is gone. 2020 has been rough on us all. I’m not liking 2021 so far. (I hate when Grammerly tries to correct my sentences.)

I have a story that starts in 2020, and ends in 2021……hopefully. A week or so ago, Elaine and I were waiting for Ivy to return to the house from work. Ivy takes her time getting anywhere she goes, so waiting and sometimes worrying is something I’m quite used to.

It started to be the middle of the night and Ivy hadn’t called or arrived. Some would not call 7:00 PM the middle of the night, but I had already put on my sleeping gym shorts and slippers. Ok, I don’t have slippers, I had put on my nighttime frocs.

I was ready to crawl into bed, turn on the television, and watch the current rerun of “Storage Wars”. Sadly, this particular night we had not even had dinner, yet. This was really messing with my grumpy old man schedule.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to drive these country road looking for all of the kids, if I think their drive is taking too long. That usually happens after a period of “where the (construction language) are they?”

I had just completed the getting angry stage when the phone rang.

Ivy: Monner, the roads blocked, can you come help me. Me: Why is the road blocked? Ivy: A dead tree blew down, it is lying across the road.

This would normally be about the time; I would yell, “Do you know what time it is?” Of course, the kids always know what time it is. I shouldn’t even ask.

It was extremely windy while this particular evening. We had just recorded an eighty mile an hour gust at our house. (Even though an eighty-mile an hour wind would qualify as “hurricane-force” wind, FEMA[e1] nor the Weather Channel never show up.)

Despite the hunger and late hour, I dressed for the conditions and headed out to help Ivy. I didn’t really ask where she was stranded, I assumed I could drive until I found a tree across the road.

As I found the tree, another car pulled up stranded behind Ivy. I could hear Ivy and the other driver talk about calling for more help with a chainsaw. While they were chatting, I tied the tree to my truck and pulled the tree off the road. Ivy threw some of the broken branches into the truck, to be cut up for firewood, later. The other driver introduced himself, fist-bumped Ivy, got in his car, and followed me to the house. I was watching “Storage Wars” by 8:15 PM.

That’s the 2020 part. The 2021 part is not as happy. I mentioned I had left the dead tree on the side of the road. The tree was out of the way for traffic, but I had left it on someone’s property, actually across the road from where the tree once stood.

The tree has been lying there since that fateful night. Yesterday, I suggested to Ivy, we cut up the tree for firewood before it blows back onto the road. We loaded up the chainsaw and started to remove the tree.

This is where 2021 gets a little unhappy. Ivy and I had removed about half of the tree and stacked it on the truck. I heard someone yelling. The property owner had heard the commotion and started yelling at Ivy and me.

Owner: Hey, what the (construction language) are you doing? Me: Cutting up this tree, why?

After a few more, “What the (construction language) are you doing?”, Ivy and I returned to cutting up the tree.

After a few minutes, I noticed the property owner had a friend. I waved and the friend started walking towards Ivy and me. He walked with his hands in his pocket. In a situation like this, you can think of some pretty strange things. I thought I might have brought a chainsaw to a gunfight. Ivy thought the same.

Man: What are you doing? Me: It looks like I’m cutting up this tree. Man: You are on my property. Me: I put this tree on our property. It came from across the road. I am getting it off your property. Man: Oh, OK then.

He turned around and went home. If this is 2021, it's going to be a long year.

Another 2021 tidbit.

Girl Twin: I’ve checked! I’m eligible for a phone upgrade. My phone doesn’t work, can we get a new one? Me: Ask Grandma. Girl Twin: Boy Twin needs a new phone also. Me: (construction language)

My grumpy old man comes from having to get phone upgrades for the twins before. We agree to meet at the phone store. Boy Twin is working. He agrees Girl Twin can negotiate on his behalf.

At the store.