Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Jen's Week from Hell, Part Two and Friday Frights Recap

Playing in the background: The ceiling fan

Let's see here: When last we left this sordid saga, I was arguing with my neighbor and Caesar the Cat was sick. Right. Caesar was sneezing a lot so I took him to the vet's. (Cats don't normally sneeze. When they do, it's way cute. They sort of make a "choo" sound.) Seez has an upper respiratory infection of the kind that they always call simple. Not serious but there's medicine involved and once again, I'm kind of short on cash these days. But anyway, we gave it to him and he started getting better. Then Sparrow started sneezing. Sigh.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, after quite a few phone calls I was able to find somebody to haul away the big pile of junk left in my yard after my neighbor decided to play Joe Chainsaw. (See last post.) These were some guys who had worked for me before and were willing to cut me a deal (see above re, short on cash these days.) They showed up at 7:30 in the morning on Thursday. Four guys, a wood chipper and a big flatbed truck. I came out and asked which one was the boss. One guy introduced himself as the crew leader and said the actual boss would be along in about ten minutes. Great, I said. Send him over when he gets here. Meantime, should the guy next door come out and start yelling at you, send him over to me and don't listen to a thing he says.

Sure enough, once they got to work my neighbor came out of his house and started yelling at them. He wanted them to go up the tree and cut down a lot more branches. The crew leader pointed him to me, and so he came over to my place and started yelling at me about hiring an expensive place to haul the branches away when I didn't want to pay for one to do the cutting to begin with. (Side note, this place was not expensive. What they charged me was actually pretty cheap when you consider the four guys, the wood chipper, the truck, etc etc) He also said I had to send them up the tree to cut some other branches. I said, "So you're offering to pay for it then?" He said no. "I done enough for you already." Er, what? At this point I unfortunately lost my temper and yelled at him to get out of my yard. (I'm a nice person. I don't yell at people. Plus, how pathetic is that. "You rotten kids! Get outta my yard!") He stormed back into his house, yelling that I had to cut the rest of the branches and he wasn't going to pay for another thing and blah blah blah and slammed the door. Then all was quiet, except for the chainsaw.

The tree service boss, who'd been hiding in his truck, came up to the house. I told him if he really wanted to climb up the tree and cut down the branches my neighbor wanted cut, he was free to make a deal with the guy, but I was having none of it. "No thanks," said the tree guy. "I think I'll stay out of this one." Smart man. I paid him, they drove off, and instead of a big pile of leaves and branches there was just a lot of trampled-down grass. Thank God and Lindsey's Tree Service.

Joan and I had a long talk after she got to work and decided that we were mainly upset because we felt threatened. So, I wrote an email to my boss telling him what happened and asking him if we had any legal obligation to pay this idiot any more money. Short answer: Not in Texas. Long answer: But if a branch falls on him, we're probably liable for damages unless said damages are an act of God arising from an unusual weather event, a lightning strike, etc., and providing the tree in question is maintained in a healthy condition by the owner of the tree, which is determined by the land upon which the majority of the tree's trunk is situated, except as regulated by certain homeowner associations and municipalities and special district ordinances. (pant pant pant)

So here's what we're doing. We have a video camera right by the door. If Mr. Chainsaw comes over again, the whole conversation gets videotaped. If he doesn't like that, he can leave. This should be the end of the story if it's not over already. The only way we're paying him anything for anything is if the judge says we have to and Joan is pretty sure the guy won't take us to court because that would be admitting he's lost. She seems to be right, because (knock on wood) it's been all quiet on the Western Front since then. Friday night I was out there with some friends who came over to mow the lawn with a power mower. (I just have this little hand-powered reel mower, and we're talking about grass that hadn't been cut in quite a while because, uh, there were branches all over it.) Today I was out there again trimming bushes and Mr. Chainsaw walked right past me half a dozen times without saying a word. So I'd say the storm is over. And Caesar is getting better. And Sparrow is still a curled lump of misery in the middle of the sofa but the antibiotics should kick in soon.

So that was my week. Yay. I did, however, get to see two great movies. The first one was Red Victoria, a comedy of horrific proportions. If you're even a casual fan of horror films, you gotta see Red Victoria. I even made Joan sit through it (mainly for the "who gets killed first" riff about ten minutes in) and I never make her watch my horror films. This flick won the Texas Frightmare Weekend Audience Award as well as the Best Feature Film from the 2008 World Horror Convention. Enjoy!

The second movie was Watchmen. Unfortunately I am not a graphic novel fan and I had no idea what was going on through about 3/4 of the movie, but it was really, really well done. Does that mean I liked it? No clue. It was well done though. After I went home and asked Joan, "Okay, who was this, and what was he doing, and what did that have to do with this, and when did so and so do such and such," and she filled me in on the entire back story, it started making some sense. And then I kind of liked it. I think. But anyway, it was well done. Did I say that already?

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