"He's either very brave or very stupid," I said to my husband, who was taking tons of pictures of the people removing dead trees before Hurricane Sandy's arrival.
"Nah. He's a professional." The awe in his voice—or was that jealousy—made me worried he might make a trip to the climbing store and try to take a few trees down on his own.
Please, God, no!
Limb after limb fell to the ground with earth-rattling thuds, and thousands of red and yellow leaves drifted through the air like snowflakes in winter.
The scene captivated me, rooted me in place, and I watched with sweaty palms and a cup of coffee. After about a half-hour of cutting and tying off and dropping the branches, the crew climbed down and then cut down the massive trunk.
My family clapped and cheered, and Kid #3 cried, "Pick it up, Daddy. Pick up that tree!"
She was serious, too! I've never seen her look so upset.
And me, well, I wanted in on the action. I wanted to watch them remove more trees. I wanted to hold a chainsaw and understand the expression hot knife through butterwhen people referred to the power of the logger's best friend.
I wanted to cut down a tree.
Good thing we had a few more that needed removing—ones that were small enough for us to handle and too expensive to have the tree guys remove.
So, we loaded up our family and drove to Lowes. A small investment in rope later, and we were back at home, putting Kid #3 down for a much needed nap, pulling out our gloves, the 4-wheeler, the chainsaw, and all that other stuff.
Once the baby was sleeping peacefully, I rode the 4-wheeler through the woods—yes, I totally love living in the "sticks." I helped my hubs tie the rope around one tree and the winch of the 4-wheeler, then we tied the 4-wheeler to another tree.
We decided it would be best for me to stay with the 4-wheeler while he used the chainsaw—yeah, he's smarter than me; I would have killed myself—and we even worked out hand signals.
"While I'm cutting, you press the 'in' button to keep tension on the line. Got it?"
I nodded, held my breath, and waited.
He started the chainsaw and the cutting.
Wait? Which way's in? What if I hit the wrong button? What if the tree crashes into the house? What if we didn't tie the 4-wheeler down properly?
I probably shouldn't sit on it.
Checking the buttons repeatedly, I pressed 'in', then watched the weight of the tree slowly pull the line back out.
Shit! What if it's too big for the winch?
My hubs moved away from the tree and put his thumbs up in the air.
Gulp. I pressed the 'in' button, and the effing 4-wheeler lifted off the ground!
It liftedoff the ground! "The 4-wheeler's moving!!"
He restarted the chainsaw and returned to cutting, and I returned to freaking out, keeping as much tension as I possibly could while he was beside something that could easily take his life.
What were we thinking?
Hubby moved away from the tree and stuck his thumbs in the air again, and next thing I knew, all the tension went away and a crack echoed through our woods.
Crack, crack, crack.
Oh. My. God. That tree is coming right toward me!
I knew I was far enough away, but what would you do if a fifty-foot tree fell in your direction? Run. That's what you would do; don't say you wouldn't!
The ground vibrated, and I laughed my ass off.
"That was awesome!" I shouted, running toward my husband and jumping over dead branches.
He smiled at me, all proud and probably in shock that his wife didn't eff things up.
We spent the next few hours removing tiny trees and clearing the felled ones from the path, and then I took Kid #2 and #1 on 4-wheeler rides.
Overall, it was a pretty spectacular day . . . and no one got hurt!