The Great Tree Limb Debacle

It started with a red-headed woodpecker, drilling lines of holes in a tall tree limb of my coastal oak down in Monterey County. My brother-in-law said the limb was dead.
I asked my handy woman to saw it down. She brought her electric chain saw and a pole. After the better part of an hour, she sawed through the limb, which finally crashed down through a fifteen foot tall purple hop bush (on its way to becoming a tree), and broke off several branches.
After lunch my handywoman went back outside to work on the second dead limb, bigger in girth and taller, too.
“This time I won’t use the pole,” she said.
Keeping watch over her nine year old and my dogs, I followed her progress from the kitchen window. It was slow going, and she was cutting the limb at chest level as she stood on my heavy-duty ladder.
Suddenly I imagined the limb snapping off and hitting her in the chest. Of course, in this scene she died, and I was left calling an ambulance while her now-orphaned child had a meltdown. Oh, the joys of OCD, but sometimes it is a good thing. It stops a person from doing stupid stuff. Or hiring someone to do stupid stuff.
This handy woman claimed to know what she was doing. But the smaller limb had fallen and taken out half of a young tree. I realized she had no idea where or how the limb was going to fall. Yes, she had safety straps tied to the rest of the tree, but I knew they would fail if she needed them to hold back the weight of the second limb.
“Stop!” I yelled as I stepped outside, careful to lock in the dogs.
She had the saw going and couldn’t hear me.
“Stop!” I yelled, getting closer and closer to her ladder, waving my arms.
“What?” she said, turning off the noisy thing.
“Stop!” I said. “ I am getting nervous. I want you to stop.”
“You’re the boss,” she said, looking relieved.
The tree limb now looks like a beaver has chewed on it. It is still up there, with the straps still attached. If this were winter time, it might have blown down by now.
I called three tree guys. They all showed up, but only one gave me a price on the spot, and it is high.
“That’s what we call a widow maker,” he said, looking at the half-cut limb. “Where did she think that was going to fall?”
“I am sure she didn’t know,” I said. “She’s not a tree person.”
“We are booking about three weeks out,” he said. “In the meantime, I’d stay clear of that tree.”
“Not to worry,” I said.
Now I have to come up with a few thousand to get my trees trimmed by a licensed professional.
Maybe I should’ve let my handy woman finish.
Wait, no.
Maybe so far I’ve been really lucky.

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