I Am the Lorbitch and I Speak for the Trees

Gather ’round, children, and I’ll tell you a story. It’s a story of a great environmental injustice, and how I made two hapless planet destroyers be my bitch, just to prove a point.

I was minding my own business one day when the doorbell rang. A man in a hard hat handed me an orange piece of paper and said the electric company had sent him to cut down one of my trees and to trim off all the branches of another tree. The trees in question were apparently in danger of getting close to the power lines.

Point A: the trees were NOT near the power lines, but this happened to be the day, month, and year that the power company was sending a truck around, so even though they were not close to the lines, someday in the future they could be, so the work had to be done now. This point will be very, very important for keeping you from thinking I’m just an asshole.

Much haggling, arguing, and demanding of names of supervisors ensued, during which I calmly repeated, “No, that’s not what you’re doing.”

I finally called upon the training I’d received during my years as a hostage negotiator (re: parent of toddler-sized children) and magnanimously acquiesced to the removal of one tree, and one tree only. But I had a list of demands that included:

  • No driving on my grass with your ten-ton truck; do it by hand or don’t do it at all.
  • No poisonous chemicals sprayed on my property to keep the tree trunk from resprouting.
  • You will haul off every scrap of the object so that it will look as though it had never appeared.
  • You’re not touching the giant oak tree. The Bradford Pear I’m willing to part with, but the limbs you want to cut back on the oak are not going anywhere.

As we’d been negotiating for longer than it would have taken them to remove the trees, clean up the aftermath, and go get a beer, they finally agreed. I set up a lawn chair and a glass of wine to watch the proceedings unfold, something that made them very nervous. I was also holding the garden hose and this is February; I made sure they understood that I might not be legally allowed to cause them physical harm, but I’m allowed to water my tree and my yard any time I like. One wrong move with a chain saw or failure to put the lotion in the basket would result in getting the hose again.

Point B: Yes, for the record, I actually said the words, “or it gets the hose again.”

So it’s two o’clock in the afternoon and I’m having a glass of wine in my front yard just to prove that I’m the kind of person who will drink at that time of day while babysitting a tree massacre. The fact that it was a follow-up to my lunch glass of wine is not important. As the unnerved gentlemen got to work, a car made a u-turn in the road and pulled up in front of my house. An old man jumped out and asked what was going to happen to the limbs that were being sawed off.

“I’m doing some landscaping, and if they’re going to put those limbs through their wood chipper, I’d like to have the chips.”

I’ve never felt more generous in my life. I walked over to the men who were removing a tree with a chain saw and axe instead of the giant blade attached to the arm on their oversized truck and said, “The man would like you to take the wood chips to his house when you’re done.”

“Uh, ma’am, we don’t do that. We just haul them off,” the poor, poor fellow said.

“Those are my wood chips. And I want them to go to his house. I’m giving them to him. He lives just over there, and I’m going to get him a chair so he can sit down and wait for my wood chips.”

So now the future wood chip owner and I were watching the workmen remove my tree. He declined my offer of a glass of wine, but was kind enough to hold the garden hose in a threatening manner while I got another glass for myself.

After the limbs were all chipped and the old man was hiding in the safety of his car, it was time to remove the large trunk. They resorted to the chain saw again while one of the workmen shot me nasty looks for not letting him just use the giant truck lopper. When the mighty trunk had fallen, he retrieved the poison to keep it from growing back.

“Uh, no. Remember our bargain?” I said, twirling the garden hose ominously between my fingers and taking a sip.

“How about if I get a rag, and spray it on the rag and wipe just the stump?” the other workman offered kindly. I am ruthless with my land holdings but not unkind, and I agreed to allow him to lovingly rub the tree stump with a chemical. The first workman was nonplussed.

Point C: I had already looked up the name and chemical composition of the poison while they were cutting. It’s halfway harmless. This was really just about being a bitch because they were taking my tree and I learned from a movie once that you can’t let the terrorists think they have the upper hand.

Afterward, the two men worked together to drag the trunk over to their truck, but instead of heading around back to the trailer with the wood chipper on it, I noticed the strangest thing: they tried to hoist it onto the platform of the truck, presumably to carry away.

“Excuse me, what are you doing with the trunk?” I asked sweetly.

“Well, there’s no sense chipping this bad boy. This here’s good firewood,” the first workman said somewhat condescendingly. As if I didn’t know that firewood was made from… wood.

“Yes, it is,” I replied in a Disney princess voice before morphing into a Disney villain. “It’s my fire wood. I’d like it in pieces about this big.” I showed them how large with my hands, then sat back in my chair.

The two workmen exchanged glances, and then the smarter of the two dropped his end of the trunk and reached for his axe.

“What are you doing?” the first workman asked in what he thought was a whisper, but it turns out you have to shout when you’ve got a wood chipper going.

“The lady said to chop it into firewood.”

“So what? We don’t give people firewood! We’re a removal service! We remove it!”

“Yeah. I’ll wait right here and guard the sharp stuff while you go tell her that.”

I almost got up to get another glass of wine while they chopped the wood, but decided this was an opportunity to demonstrate Christian temperance. Plus I had to go pick up my kids in an hour. They chopped and stacked the firewood, then loaded up in their truck (without saying goodbye, I must add) and followed the old man to his property to shovel the chippings out of the back of their truck.

Point D: I hated the tree they’d cut down. I even wrote a blog post once about how this very tree was planted by Satan and that it was trying to kill me. I’d actually looked into having it removed but it was going to cost $300. I now don’t have a plague tree in my yard, and I do have a stack of unholy firewood.

Now, I know there will be internet trolls who think I abused my power and made life miserable for two men who were just trying to do their job… oh, you thought there was more? No. That’s it. I did, I made life miserable for two men who were just trying to do their job. There was no “but” coming after those words. The end. My tree is gone, life is good, and I don’t suspect they’ll be back any time soon to attack my oak tree.


Lest you think this is another wine-induced hallucination on my part, here’s a picture of my poor evil tree coming down.


I’m Not Supposed to Be Here

I speak Italian. There, I said it. With a name like Lorca Damon there was a really good chance that I spoke something, but I cleared that up in case you couldn’t pinpoint exactly which variety of mutt I identify with.

I also have a kick ass job that sends me to New York from time to time, and after a brief period when I didn’t realize I didn’t have to stay in a hotel that was technically located in New Jersey, I came to enjoy my trips. They’re one of the few times when I’m guaranteed both a dose of culture and an armadillo-free few days.

This most recent trip was last week, and a strange phenomenon occurred. I went to New York, did the whole “I’m really supposed to live here and not in a place that still accepts live chickens in exchange for medical care” (totally not kidding on that one, look it up) thing, and even ordered food in a restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen in Italian (see note above about speaking a foreign language). But then I started to identify with “my people,” and not necessarily in a good way.

First, the restaurant went something like this:

HIM: Buona sera, signora. (Good evening, madam)

ME: Buona sera. Di dove sei? (Good evening. Where are you from?) (Incidentally, isn’t this whole thing reading like your high school Spanish book?)

HIM: D’una citta’ vicino di Venezia. (From a city near Venice.)

ME: Da’vero! Anchio! (Really? Me too!)

HIM: Si? Di dov’e’? (Yes? Where are you from?)

ME: Da’un villagio si chiama Caldogno. E’ vicino di Vicenza. (From a village called Caldogno. It’s near Vicenza.)

HIM: Bene. La mia e’ piu di nordest. (Mine’s from farther northeast.)

ME: Ah, vicino Iugoslavia, se era’ ancora la’. (Oh, near Yugoslavia, well, if it was still there.)

HIM: Si’. (Figure it out)

Then the rest of the dinner started. Only it went like this (I shall henceforth drop the Italian because I got all nostalgic about Italy while typing that part and started drinking. No, the Italian still works just fine under the influence of wine, it’s the English translation that’s kind of throwing me off.)

HIM: Would you like to see the wine list?

ME: Oh no, I’ll just have a glass of merlot.

HIM: You don’t want merlot! I bring you something special.

(Later, after a glass of non-merlot…)

HIM: Have you decided on a first course?

ME: Oh, the bread is fine.

HIM: You can’t live on bread! I bring you something special. (“Something special” turned out to be cold tomato soup with a basil reduction. Oddly tasty, but it wasn’t actually bread.)


HIM: And for your second course?

ME: I’d like the grilled lamb with the insalata caprese. (Incidentally, if you’d paid attention during high school Spanish, you could at least be kind enough to insert the Spanish translation here for me. After all, I’ve been drinking. And I’m now weepy.)

HIM: Very nice. How do you want that prepared?

ME: Well done, please.

HIM: No! You don’t want it well done! I bring it medium rare.

Fortunately, the special wine took the edge off the fact that I was eating a plate of raw meat swimming in its own blood, served on a bed of NOT insalata caprese (sliced tomatoes with mozzarella) but on a bed of goose livers instead. The entire affair was very elegant and very home-like, but all I could think was, “I could be eating a fully cooked cheeseburger from a drive-thru, washing it down with a slushie.”

I’m back among my other people and I’m thankful, even though there is no wine list because they’re Baptist. And grape-intolerant. Luckily, they also don’t speak standard English so I still get to use my mad Berlitz skills. English-Redneck subtitles to follow.

The Lazy Post

It’s been a heck of a week already, and it’s only Tuesday. And Tuesday is gonna act like a complete and total Monday. The 8:00am kind. So here is something funny to ponder while I get my ducks back in their damn line.

I bet if I had one of those bad boys, I’d be comfy all the time. And nobody would bother me. Do you seriously see yourself walking up to a woman wearing a sleeping bag in Walmart and telling her that she has too many items for the express checkout lane? I don’t think so. And nobody would jump in front of me and get in my face to ask me who I was voting for if I was wearing a sleeping bag with pants, because he would be kind of afraid that I would answer with his candidate’s name.

The only problem I have with this outfit is the lack of arms. If someone went to the trouble to put legs in it so you wouldn’t look like a douche HOPPING in a sleeping bag, why didn’t he also put arms in it? How am I going to lift a wine glass? More importantly, how am I going to defend myself from the hordes of people who realize I’m now defenseless because my arms are pinned inside the sleeping bag I’m wearing in the mall food court? Because you are kind of asking for a beat down just for wearing a sleeping bag, but then the inventor had to go and put a “I can’t hit you back” sign right in the middle of the whole thing. Way to think it through, asswipe.

They’re Coming for My Kneecaps

If you remember, several months ago (probably while drinking) I pledged my birthday to charity. Basically, instead of getting presents from anyone, I was to request that those sweet people give the amount of money they would have spent on me (probably on bottles of wine) and give it to a worthy cause. The charity was this really nice group of people who brings clean drinking water to places where you can probably still catch the plague.

And that charity has come to collect. I just got a really politely worded death threat telling me that if I don’t pay up, they will stop giving people clean water. Or maybe they’re going to force me to drink some of the water that they remove from these villages. I wasn’t really clear on how this works.

Anyway, jokes on them, I simply don’t know that many people who would buy me a present in the first place, so there’s only like three people’s worth of money to send them. Instead of having to do math, I’m just going to donate this month’s book sales to charity:water. That’s really their name, and no, I don’t know why they are boycotting capitalization. That’s gonna cost them one dollar, right there.

So happy birthday to me, villagers get water, somebody get me some wine.

What? I’ve Been Busy…

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been horribly busy with things like cleaning out closets and planning a trip out of town. You know, that kind of all-about-me stuff that I like to do. It’s exhausting. So this will catch you up to speed.

It’s summer. That means it’s hot. It also means I’m boycotting the whole internet because all I see are blog posts, tweets, and Pinteresty things about how hot it is. Seriously? Where the hell have you been every other summer of your whole entire life? How in the world did this one summer get so hot and all the other ones were mere balmy memories? Do you not remember running through the sprinkler as a kid because it was HOT? Or standing in front of the open fridge until your mom screamed at you to shut the door because it was HOT in the house? You don’t remember turning a box fan around and putting it in the window trying to suck some of the heat out of your house because it was HOT? Hmmm. Must be just me.

In other news, I rigged an electric fence on my property to keep my dog inside the fence. It involves a lot of wire wrapped around our fence posts and several car batteries. It totally works. I think the dog can actually smell the electric current because she hasn’t left the porch since I put it up. I completely saw this idea on Pinterest.*

(*No, I didn’t. There are some things even Pinterest can’t help me do.)

I also figured out how to break wine bottles in strategic locations so they become vases, because nothing says, “I’m a classy gal,” like vases scattered around your home made out of discarded Boone’s Farm bottles. Again, saw it on Pinterest.*

(*Again, no I didn’t.)

I also found a website willing to rent me a boat for five hours as long as I sign a waiver that says I won’t use the boat to bring drugs or Cubans into the country. Since making sweeping claims about political refugees is wrong on so many levels, I assume they meant I promise not to bring Cuban CIGARS into the country, which I would never do anyway because smoking is bad for you. I rented a boat and plan to use it when I go to the beach. They didn’t specify WHEN the five hours starts, so I plan to make it start after I get to Florida.

Finally, today is my anniversary. Screw crystal or silver, because apparently fifteen years is the “two tickets to see the midnight showing of the last Batman movie and a whole bunch of wine” anniversary. My husband and I are celebrating fifteen years of not killing each other by going zip lining and rappelling this weekend, so if all goes according to plan I’ll be filling out my eHarmony profile on Saturday night. That was a joke that I saw on Pinterest*. (*see above)

I Can’t Believe It’s Over

This totally beats Janet Hardy's second place spelling bee trophy from third grade. Suck it, Janet.

It’s over. I did it. Book number five, my NaNo novel, is finished. The T-shirt has been ordered, the winner’s certificate printed out and hung in my office. It’s some of the worst angst-ridden crap I’ve ever written, but at least it 50,000 words of angst-ridden crap so that makes me an official 2011 winner.

And let me tell you, November this year was a bitch. All novels and their deadlines aside, work was tough, the kids were tough, the holidays with family were even tough (I seem to recall my mom waking me up on Thanksgiving by saying, “Don’t be a diva just because you’re a published author now,”…as I slept on her couch. I think all published authors have to sleep on their parents couches at some point or another, but divas we are not.)

The sad thing is now that NaNo is over, there’s nothing to do but start another one, hopefully one with a smaller body count. (I told you November was a bitch…at one point, an entire town is slaughtered. All of them. Even the pets.)

Maybe this time I’ll write a nice, pleasant, Austen-esque novel about men with noble titles and love gone wrong and snobby British aristocracy who couldn’t possible lower themselves by marrying badly, even if it was to save the entire from being slaughtered by ruffian outlaws who lined everyone up for a mass execution as a warning to the other towns not to mess with them. Oh wait, that was so last November.