Check column: Timber trouble turns up great lake view

9:17 AM, Aug. 21, 2013  |  Comments
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In an earlier column about tree cutting, I'd mentioned how this dead one had stupidly fallen the wrong way and barely missed our deck.

Yeah, and afterward, Ruthie had said that from now on she'd call in a professional tree service, instead of my doing it. But then, as you might recall, I had vowed - Oh yeah? Well someday when she's not looking, I'll sneak out back and take down that other dead one by our boatshed!

And so, a few weeks ago, Ruthie and I were clearing away fallen branches in back where the yard slopes down to the lake and the boat shed. Using my chainsaw, I just happened to be near that old dead tree.

I said, "Sweetie, this thing's been bugging me all year! Let's cut it down!"

Ruthie frowned, "OK dear, but please don't hit our boatshed. I know it's dilapidated, but we still use it!"

I had her! Rushing over to the tree before she changed her mind, I put her nervousness to rest. "Long as I wedge-cut in the other direction, it'll be fine!"

I was chain-sawing, and she was behind me ready to help. Suddenly the tree went Crack! and started to lean.

I yelled, "There she goes! Stand back!"

And then the dumb thing twisted to our right as it fell.

Ruthie cried, "Oh my God, the shed!"

Crash! It was completely smashed! Worse, that idiotic tree had torn off a branch from another one and moronically dropped it on our overturned rowboat.


Ruthie groaned, "Nuts, I bet the boat hull's all dented!"

Needing to turn this disaster around and fast, I patted her shoulder. "Good thing it's aluminum! I'll just kick it back out!"

Soon we had the fallen tree trunk cut into shorter sections and stacked. I had brought down some tools so we could take apart the wreckage and drag it away. After handing Ruthie a screwdriver and pliers, I started with my own on one side of this crunched-up mess and her on the other.

Twenty minutes later I still hadn't accomplished squat with the old rusted screws and bolts. Meantime, Ruthie had set aside her own tools and was bashing away with a sledgehammer. Plus, she looked like she was enjoying it.

Facing me, her eyes wildly a-gleam, she grinned, "See? I'm nearly finished! Sometimes, my violent side pays off!"

Soon we stood on the bare wooden platform. Still trying to stay positive, I gave it a kick. "This wood is still good, anyway."

The platform was a few feet above the edge of the lake and she was looking out at it. "You know dear, this old shed did look pretty crappy and it was full of spiders - yuk! But look at this great view! Instead of blocking it with a new shed, let's put on a large chest! We could even use it for a lakeside picnic table!"

And yep, only last week, our very first picnic had us on lawn chairs behind the big plastic chest. Delighted by the view and happily munching corn on the cob, we got to talking about our recent visit to France. Having loved their outside cafes, we decided then and there to name our own pretty spot Le Café du Lac.

So, it all goes to show that even when disaster strikes, one can make the best of things. And as we do, it helps to have a sense of humor about it. I just wish that Ruthie would quit losing hers when I so much as look at the chainsaw.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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