I’ve been feeling stressed and distressed lately. Very. Last night ended quite poorly, and I sat downstairs by myself for a couple hours, watching fury road and giving myself a stick ‘n poke of a little spiral. I know a lot about sterilization and I know it won’t be permanent, because of the type of ink, so I don’t feel too bad about it. It’s a type of self destruction I suppose, but it also feels like an act of creation, and doesn’t make me feel guilty. It’s an ugly color, and already fading, and I adore it. I’m quite proud of how smooth the lines came out I’ve never tried a curved line before. But I digress… regress, and occasionally transgress. I’m here to write about today. My parents have had this basically dead tree in their front yard for ages. Pretty big thing, taller than the house. They recently decided they wanted to remove it, and were going to pay this company $350 to do it for them. My brother and I kept saying that we could do it and they kept saying “No, no. It’s too hard. It’s too much. We don’t want you to hurt yourselves.” So today we were over there and they finally consented to at least let us see what we could do. While they were inside doing computer style business, we got to work. Brought out a ladder and invented a moderately safe and effective method for taking off the large branches. We called it the “tree leash method”. Basically, we would put rope around the branch, and I would pull on the rope in the direction we wanted it to fall. He would saw the branch with a handsaw, and when it came off I would quickly yank it away do it didn’t fall on his head or anything. It worked great, we had all the branches off in like a half hour. Our parents couldn’t believe it when they saw it. Next, we set to work on the trunk, taking turns with a bow saw. Our parents watched. It was slow going and hard work, but eventually we could feel it getting looser, starting to creak and jiggle. We set up the tree leash, and two people pulled while the other two sawed. All laughing and joking about how funny our tools and methodology were. With some leverage and the sacrifice of a wooden handled axe, we finally got it. It cracked loudly and feel and I pulled the rope and it landed just where we wanted. It felt good, a victory. I was tired and sweaty and happy. After that we went to the hardware store to get a new axe, and some other stuff. Then we went to dinner at the pub, and we were all so hungry. I got a ruben sandwich and a side salad and it was amazing. Then we went back to the house, started cutting up all the branches for firewood, and attacking the stump with the new axe. My brother and I took turns once more, passing the axe and safety goggles back and forth. Chipping away at it, chopping away at it, until it was too dark to see. I was true tired and feeling good. It was not at all how I expected the day to go, but it was fun and nice. There’s definitely something to say for manual labor.