Saturday, June 16, 2007

Why I Had to Cut Down Four Trees So My Wife Could See the Sopranos Finale

Our neighbor has lots of mature trees. In fact, that was one of the reasons for us moving here. But once in a while, a tree (or four) has to be sacrificed for a higher purpose. In this case, my wife's Sopranos addiction.

Our satellite TV reception (through DirecTV) had been getting worse and worse for the past month or two. I knew what it was. I called the DirecTV support line just in case, but we both quickly came to the same conclusion - our trees were getting in the way of our satellite minidish's view of the southern sky.

It got worse and worse until our satellite system completely shut down. We were getting no programming whatsoever. In a way, it was nice not having a TV to turn to for entertainment. But I could not foresee an imminent disaster that was about to overtake our little household.

The Series Finale of the Sopranos was coming up on Sunday, and my wife dearly loved the series. I had watched some episodes of previous seasons, but had missed every episode of this current, and known to be final, season.

My wife missed the previous week, but when she found out that the Season Finale was coming up, she demanded that we get our satellite system fixed, come hell or high water.

I ditched whatever weekend plans I had had and set to work on figuring out what to do. We could call a tree service and probably get it all cleaned up, but that would probably cost a few hundred dollars. Besides, I had a handy electric chainsaw (that I enjoyed using), so why not try it myself?

The trees were no more than 6 inches wide at the base, so I cut each one down with the chainsaw. It worked pretty well. The trees were thin but pretty tall - 25-30 feet (which was the whole problem).

I didn't damage anything with trees falling all over the place, and then proceeded to cut them up into small pieces.

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I got the job done in about 4-5 hours, then went into the house and gingerly turned on the TV and satellite receiver. It worked! We had almost flawless reception.

I say "almost" because the Sopranos came in perfectly (imagine our panic when the screen blanked out in the diner as Meadow was walking in!!) but this past week we've had one or two digital "blips" that indicate there's more cuttin' to do.

It will be constant battle now. Hopefully we can just cut the tops off the trees as they get bigger. With the four trees I cut down, they were actually "volunteers" in our neighbor's yard that they wanted to get rid of anyway. But the next time, it might not be so simple.

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