May 2006 Archives

Sun May 7 04:31:50 CDT 2006

An Arthur Dentian Moment

The evening of Thursday, May the 4th, Austin had some pretty heavy thunderstorms. (We also had some lighter ones the next two nights.) I think happens in late Spring or early Summer because warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico pushes up Northwards suddenly (often towards the end of the day, after the Sun has been heating it for 8-12 hours). If the warm air gets under some cooler air, then we get thunderstorms, hail, and sometimes even a tornado or two.

Thursday night was about two to three hours of 40-60 mph wind gusts, pouring rain, thunder, lightening, but no hail at my house that i'm aware of. It was a bad enough storm that it made me a tad bit nervous when the power flickered a few times. I was pretty sure i could hear power pole transformers exploding in the distance.

I went to bed kind of late (like 4am) after waiting for courses.utexas.edu to calm down so i could do some work on it when the system was relatively idle, and i got up kind of late the next morning. I'd had a couple of beers to celebrate my successful maintenance, and then maybe i had a couple more to reward myself for being such a good State minion.

So about 8am Friday i groggily looked out the window to see if the City of Austin had already picked up the recycling. If they hadn't, i was going to put the paper and cardboard out. (I didn't want to put it out the night before when it was raining.) I seem to remember having some trouble getting an uncorrected-vision eyeball lined up through the miniblinds with my bright blue recycling bucket, but i vaguely recall finally ascertaining that someone else's recycling container on my street was upside down. I might have noticed a lot of green, but you know, the world is kind of a bright green place the day after a torrential downpour, and then there's also the fact that i'm not often awake and looking out of my windows Eastwards at 8am. So i probably just chalked it up to an unusual perspective.

Back to bed.

About fours hours later, Noonish on Friday, i'm heading out the door to go to work. I'm mostly conscious. However, when i open the door, and get ready to roll my bike out, there's something different. The view out of my open front door:


I pause for a moment while my brain tries to get a handle on the situation. Had i planted a bunch of bushes in my front yard recently, and somehow forgotten? Hmm no... it's, well, it's very much like a tree is lying in my front yard.

And that's because a small-tree-sized limb has fallen off of one of the two cedar elm trees in my front yard. It seems to have fallen away from the house, into the yard, not on the roof, which is probably a Very Good Thing, unless i was hoping to get Allstate to buy me a new roof (minus my $1,770 deductible), of course.

But i've got stuff to do at work, so after a quick looksee around and some picture takin' it's off to work i go.

Friday night, i dig out the (ancient -- "Made in West Germany") Stihl 038 AV Super Chainsaw my grandfather handed down to me last December, and i ponder the usage of it. I find a PDF version of the manual, and on about page 20 of the copious safety regulations, i come across this cute image, in the section about "Kickback":


It's about this time that i decide that perhaps i won't be using the chainsaw the next day. Or maybe it was the article i read that said there are 40,000 serious chainsaw injuries a year in the U.S. (some of which are fatal).

One day i'll take the chainsaw in for a checkup and maybe buy the full body suit of protective "chain saw resistant" clothing (they even make anti-chainsaw chaps in camo), but not now.

So Saturday about Noon, i head out into the yard with the various carpentry saws i have and, well, start sawing. Luckily, the City's brush collection is on the 15th, and they'll take anything that's placed on the curb, had the forks trimmed, and is less than 8" in diameter.

My neighbor Bill, noticed me hacking the tree up with a miter box saw, and came out with his Bow Saw. We worked for about two hours, and it was all done. Good neighbors are great. Last Summer, i lugged over an old window A/C unit when his HVAC died, not at all anticipating any recompense -- it was just sitting in my garage, and he and his wife were sitting in their house sweating in the middle of the Texas summer. It was just the right thing to do.

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Posted by johan | Permanent link