Gone, baby, gone

photo My tree couldn’t be saved, unfortunately. Apparently the root system was too shallow (this despite the tree’s great height) for it to be restaked and thrive. The guys who came today to take it down told me they could restake it, but because of that underdeveloped root system, it would never be terribly stable and would probably come down again.

I didn’t like what I was hearing, but I understood and let them get on with their business. In fifteen minutes, the tree was chopped and chipped, with only a stump left in the ground. A stump which, by the way, these guys were NOT authorized to remove. It seems that there is different machinery to take a stump out of the ground and even a different wood chipper. I was incredulous to hear this: “You mean to tell me that the strata manager only sent you out to do half a job?!? You weren’t told to take the stump out of the ground too?!?” I sputtered.

The guys were apologetic and advised me to contact the strata manager tomorrow and tell him that I also want the stump removed. How ridiculous, I thought. You can call someone to take down a two-storey tree but you don’t consider taking out its 15-centimetre diameter stump – the one with the shallow root system – part of the job?

Well, this isn’t over yet! I have some emails and phone calls to make this week – and I can’t guarantee that I will be polite.

And I also have a couple of new trees to purchase and plant next spring.

Tree’s company

We had a very powerful windstorm here two nights ago. We do get them in November or early December in this part of the world (I think it’s a trade-off for having such mild temperatures year-round and so little snow), but this one was by far the strongest one I’ve ever experienced.

I don’t like big winds at the best of times, and this was not the best of times. Many, many areas of Metro Vancouver lost their electricity for hours that night and into the morning, and I considered myself lucky that although my lights flickered a lot, my power didn’t go out. Before I went to bed, I stood at the window and nervously watched my two cedar trees swaying alarmingly with every gust of wind. I knew I wouldn’t sleep well that night.

In the morning, before I got out of bed, I listened. All was relatively quiet. I peeked between the slats of the blinds at my bedroom window. There was a tree pretty much in my face, a tree that is not supposed to be there:photo1

That wind had uprooted my tallest, healthiest cedar tree. It hadn’t quite hit my house when it was knocked over, so fortunately, there didn’t seem to be any damage … other than to the tree, I suppose.

It was still dark out, so when I went outside to investigate further, I couldn’t really see a whole lot, nor could I take photos at that time. I went back inside and fired off an email to my strata manager pleading for him to send out an arborist a.s.a.p. to replant and save that tree. At work later that morning, I called him to make sure he’d received my email and that he was on top of it. He assured me that he was, that he’d already contacted a couple of the members of the strata council, as they would have to authorize it before he could contact anybody to perform any work.

That was yesterday morning. I’m still waiting – and worrying about that poor tree. How long can a tree have its root ball exposed before real damage is done and the tree dies? I don’t want to lose it, as it’s the nicest looking tree I have and it shields my yard from the street and allows me some privacy.

Also, it looks lame leaning into the house like that. And it looks like I’m the dork who doesn’t care that there’s a cedar tree propped up on her house! photo2

Full steam ahead

Let’s go over this again: I bought those two Ektorp loveseats from Ikea two weeks ago and because I’m not at all ready to even begin my living room redecoration, they are sitting in their huge boxes in my tv room. Since then, all I’ve really done is take the slipcovers out so I could see the actual colour of them – and yes, white comes in many colours.

The slipcovers were, as expected, pretty creased from being folded in their boxes for who-knows-how-many-months, so I decided that even if I’m not actually planning to put together the loveseats for who-knows-how-many-months (I see a theme developing here …), I would give them a good ironing. I wasn’t sure what I would do with them after that, but I thought that I could at least get the ironing out of the way so I wouldn’t have to do it later.

Now, I recently purchased a new iron. My previous one was a hand-me-down from my mom, and I’d had it for something like 20 years. I have no idea how long my mom had had it before that, but let’s just say that it really wasn’t much of surprise when the thing ceased to heat up at some point. I don’t iron very much at all – maybe once every three months or so – so it took me quite a while to remember to get a new one. Like a year or two. But I did get one last summer and I hadn’t used it yet. The slipcovers could be my new iron’s maiden flight!

I carefully followed the instructions and filled the water reservoir and turned all the dials to where they should be to iron a cotton blend fabric. I spread out the first cushion cover and started to iron.

First of all, it’s bloody HARD to iron slipcovers! There are curvy bits and corners and very wide pieces of fabric that don’t fit nicely on the ironing board! I really do know how to iron properly, even if I do it only rarely, but this was most emphatically NOT FUN!

And second of all, I had to go over everything two or three or four times to get the creases and wrinkles out. It took me TWO HOURS to iron the entire slipcover and cushion covers for only one loveseat! My arm was tired, and I was frustrated. I had the iron up to full heat, but this fabric just didn’t seem to be very amenable to being all smooth. I did eventually make it look presentable, but it was a long, tedious, and tiring job. This didn’t bode well. At this rate, I didn’t think I would EVER wash and iron those slipcovers if I spilled anything at all on them – I would just live with the stains rather than go through all this enormous effort again. Needless to say, after I laid out the newly-pressed pieces on DD’s old bed, I unplugged the iron and gave up for the time being.

Last week, I made attempt number two. I decided to iron one cushion cover. I mean, I was really in no hurry to get all the pieces done, so maybe by doing only one item at a time, it would be more palatable, both time-wise and effort-wise.

Again, I carefully read through the instructions on how to use my new iron, because this was only going to be the second time I’d used it. I paid particular attention to the part about adjusting the steam. I couldn’t see the steam icons on the iron itself very well, as the light in the room isn’t fabulous for reading and I also have over-fifty-years-old eyes. I got a flashlight and shone it on the steam icons. Ah – there were three of them. One had an X on it – obviously, that meant the steam was off. One had a big cloud – lots of steam, I figured. The third one had a half-cloud – not that much steam, I suppose. I checked the instructions. Yep. I was right.

And to which icon had I adjusted the iron? To the icon with the X on it. Which meant no steam. Which meant that I had done those previous two hours of discouraging ironing with no steam, just heat. Which, in turn, accounted for the rather long and difficult time I’d experienced in ironing the slipcovers for that first loveseat.


I flipped the dial to the full steam icon, and started ironing. I got two cushion covers done in under ten minutes. They looked great.