The Labor Yard

“About four buckets will do ya good boy.” Those were the words that marked the beginning of the end for me. With a paintbrush as my rifle and buckets of varnish as my ammo, the war between me and the fence began. With the middle of Summer to contend with, mother nature also became a varying obstacle to overcome. My wise old man thought it would be character building to assist others remodel or “shape-up” their backyards. First on the list was to apply varnish onto a newly inserted fence. Oh and how silly of me to forget, the construction of the fence was also a nice little gift to me as well. Still, that was a fun workout when it came to knocking the old fence down. So there I was, having the time of my life painting a fence in what felt like the devil's kitchen. After holding the brush for such a long time, I believe my grip became as strong as a lumberjack's. The smell of varnish became the lasting scent in my nose for weeks. It lingered around like an annoying cat no one wants around. Halfway through on my third day and I thought I would break the new fence out of pure frustration, but then I remembered I helped build this fence. Which happened to be sturdier than the wall 200 miles South of us. (Don't tell Arppaio I said that please.) On the second to last day of varnishing, the sun beat down on me like I was Ricky Hatton and the heat was Manny Paqiou. Also, loads of dust flooded the air, tempting my system to just shut down into hibernate mode. With only a few planks left on my painting voyage, I counted down my few remaining targets. As I came down to number three or four, I told myself “Whatever your career in life turns out to be, make sure you NEVER choose fence building, NEVER be a painter, and NEVER think about touching varnish again.” These three rule of thumbs have become tattooed on to my brain. Once the fence was conquered, it was time for me and a squad to tackle a 60 foot tall, 60 year old pine tree.
Looming only ten feet away from my arch nemesis 'The Fence', an aged tree had become trouble for a man. With little water in the roots, mother nature's product was in double jeopardy of being knocked over onto one of the neighbors' abodes. Or worse, the pad of the man who lived in the house of the tree's yard. I could only hope it would demolish 'The Fence'. Then again, time would only tell.
Early one Saturday morning, we get the cherry picker in place to cut away at the limbs of the towering monster. Our plan was to suspend the chopped limbs with a rope looped over another limb in a way to keep the dead weight of the dropped arms from crashing on the ground or fence. “Get ready, hold tight” warned the man with the chainsaw in the cherry picker. As four of us held onto the other end of the rope that was tied to the limb, we watched with pure intensity waiting for this log to drop. As the “CRACKS!” of the wood splintering, we know it is go time. The limb starts to fall and the rope tightens. We are the victors in the end as we smoothly caress the arm to the ground. Too get to the other big pieces, the cherry picker operator went “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” on the other stuff dangling in the air. Too bad I didn't notice some of these danglers soaring down earlier. “Watch out down below!” were the words that sent me running. More clatter of branches crashing down follow my footsteps. In reality, it lasted for about five seconds, but in my head I thought I was running the 100meter dash. I look behind me too witness at a wrath of bark piled up where I was just standing. Needless to say, it felt good to have my head on straight. Not too long after my “Running Man” incident it was back on the horse. As all crew members got prepared at their stations, everything was “Thundercats are go!” and the cutting resumed. Few limbs were quite difficult while some others were moderately innocent. One tree arm took a nasty fall directly on “The Fence” and I witnessed how powerful this structure was. Even a blow from a dense piece of bark flying to the ground didn't leave as much as a blemish on “The Fence”. I slightly shuddered at that fact on the inside. Once again, the sun was at full force from it's throne in the sky, and no mercy was shown from up above. Neither from the Sun nor the tree as well. I felt that every chance the scheming tower had, it would take a shot at me. I only prayed I could walk away with all of my limbs.
To answer my prayers, the stout man in the crane preached. “It's getting hot and I'm exhausted, lets call it a day fellas.” The amount of joy inside me became too much to handle. I silently pranced around out of sheer happiness. Only to have the feeling tugged away from under my feet ten seconds later. “On second thought, lets knock out this one limb and pack it in.” I think I was capable of climbing the tree and ripping that limb out with my bare hands. I had grown a deep resentment for this devilish figure that resided within this labor yard. After coming to ends meets, I figured, “I'm ready to destroy this limb!” The chainsaw was primed, and the sun was at high noon. This simple chore of cutting a tree had turned into a Saturday showdown. We all lined up on the rope and let the cutting man do his thang. Unsuspectingly, I didn't know one of the guys had decided to “sit this one out” and let us hold onto the rope. Of course I was unaware of this for I was at the front of the rope. As soon the chainsaw started running, my greased and sweaty hand tightened on the intertwined rope. Staring at the targeted limb, I realized this momma was thicker than her cousins. Not long after, the branch snapped and down went the limb. The only problem was as the log dropped down, I flew up. My feet lifted up as if I was on the moon and I was in no control of where I was going. As the branch hit the ground I flew off the rope and stated “Done!” and headed off to the kitchen for Jack In the Box tacos. I have never stared a tree in the eyes the same way again.





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