The trees, they’re a-growin’

26

We’ve been trying to upgrade our satellite service. Living out in the woods, as we do, there’s no such thing as broadband internet or cable TV, so we depend entirely on satellite
to get information into and out of our house.

It’s either that or holler real loud, and it’s hard for folks to hear me all the way in town. So, satellite it is. Three weeks ago, a technician arrived in a short-bed pickup with a six-foot ladder, ostensibly ready to install a new TV satellite onto our roof. He got out of his truck shaking his head. As Tom came outside to call the dogs off, this particular technician was already muttering something about “insurance” and “you can’t pay me enough to climb onto that roof.” (Our house is tall. Three stories plus an attic, tall. Fortunately, because my husband is a carpenter by trade, our house is also not finished, and there is always a scaffolding around somewhere, all set and ready to be climbed.)

The technician gestured to the ladder in his pickup. “Ain’t no way I can get up there,” he said. “Sure you can,” Tom said. “Just use the scaffolding.” Well, that guy noped the heck out of there, telling Tom he’d arrange for someone with a bigger ladder and a stronger
stomach to come back next Saturday and install the new dish.

The next week, the new guy was supposed to arrive between noon and four. At four-thirty, I got a call from the satellite company informing me that the technician had a family
emergency, and could we reschedule for next week?

Sure, I said, staring longingly into the distance. Whatever.

So, last weekend another guy showed up in a short-bed pickup with no ladder.

Tom went outside to call the dogs off. “Where’s your ladder, man?” he asked.
“No one told me to bring me one.” Unbelievable. Alright, Tom said. How do you feel about scaffolding? I tried to encourage the new guy, as he ascended the scaffolding, walked across the walk board and hoisted himself onto the roof. “I could tell by your voice on the telephone you aren’t scared of heights,” I told him, flirting just a little bit.

Well, homeboy said he had no problem with scaffolding, he’d hung drywall after all, he said, but his primary concern was the height of the trees surrounding the house. A little while later, he came inside to check the signal. Something was wrong.

My teenage daughter, who had just gotten a new TV for her birthday, stared at me significantly. A couple minutes later, the technician took his short-bed pickup truck and headed down the driveway. My daughter began to weep. I reached over to hug her, and
she shrugged me off.

“I don’t want to be comforted,” she told me. “What happened?” I demanded of Tom, suppressing a wail of my own.
“See that tree?” he asked.
“Which one?”
“That one. The tall one.”

Ah, the Tall One, I thought, staring into the woods. Tom settled my vision on a particularly
big tree growing on the edge of the yard. Apparently, that particular tree has grown quite a bit over the last 10 years, and it’s now blocking the new TV company’s new satellite.
“Well how do we fi x it?” I asked.
“We have to cut it down,” he said.
“Well, where’s your chainsaw?” I asked. He laughed. Apparently, dear reader, one doesn’t simply cut down a 100-foot tree on a whim. Apparently, in fact, one has to hire a professional.
“How much will that cost?” I asked Tom, thinking that, quite frankly, anything over fifty bucks is outside my budget.
“About five grand.”
Oh.
I have all these town friends who are “cutting the cord,” getting rid of their cable and subscribing to Netflix and doing things with firesticks and Rokus. They even, get this,
use their Amazon Prime accounts to watch movies and TV shows.
Weird.
All this stuff is completely foreign to me. All I do is let the satellite TV company take $140 out of my account on the fourteenth day of every month, and the satellite internet
company take $160 out of my account on the twenty-first day of every month, and I grit my teeth and watch network television and HBO, just like I did in the ‘80s.
And I pray that my teenage daughter doesn’t use up the internet data too quick.

Bless her heart.

So anyway, if anyone knows of a good tree guy, or has any ideas how to lay some cable and broadband out to Friars Hill, my daughter sure would appreciate it.

Just give us a holler. If we’re on the porch, we’ll hear you.