Sunday, 22 January 2012

Bald Tree with Sticky-Out Limbs

A man rang our doorbell the other day, offering to trim the large tree in our front garden, one of many men who do.  Bill, for a change, recommended we take his very reasonably priced offer.  About 25 feet got whacked off the top, all picked up nice and tidy.  As they - looked like a husband and wife team - began wrapping up the job, the man told Bill they'd knock another £25 off the price if we paid in cash, so I walked into the village to the cash point doing the math in my head: 

a 20 minute walk round trip, to save £25 would equate to an hourly wage of £75, plus 20% tax not paid, so for the equivalent savings of a £90/hour paycheck I thought it well worth my time. 



Granted, nobody was offering me a job at £90 per hour, but I figure this calculation makes as good if not better sense than spending money just because something is 30% or whatever off (it was probably over-priced to start with).  The man told me having cash it would save him the trouble of going to his bank on the way home; I remarked that there were 'tax advantages' to being paid in cash as well...I'm ornery that way.

I came home from the dentist the next day and found my neighbour, George, trimming the plants in his front garden.  He said he'd noticed we'd had the tree trimmed, it looked nice.  I said I thought the tree looked embarrassed, but it will come around again in the spring.



We agreed we are looking forward to spring...

12 comments:

ilegirl said...

We had good fortune with tree trimmers a couple of months ago. They saw a tree for which we didn't contract services, and asked if we'd like them to add this to their to-do list - at no additional cost. Needless to say, this has been great advert for them as we've enthusiastically recommended the firm's services to friends and neighbors.

I love the comment about the tree being a bit ashamed of its nakedness!

Beryl said...

The economics of daily life. It's the old Ben Franklin thing, "a penny saved is a penny earned" which is good to see practiced. You are really earning that money.
All those years living in Seattle, Spring meant very little change. But in Tulsa, it's amazing! One day you're driving down a road with no plants at all, and next month everywhere you look it's green. I can see why people want to live someplace with seasons.
I love your term, "sticky-out". It's how we described our newborn babies' hair.

Suburban Princess said...

Oh dear. When someone offers one a discount one shouldn't try to make them sound nefarious, one accepts the lower price in exchange for turning a blind eye. One could insist he accept a cheque and issue a receipt if paying his taxes is that important.

I do like your math tho...it's how I weigh my efforts...I often tell my husband I saved 100.00 on a coat! Which took 15 minutes to buy...so really I saved him $400 an hour!

Terri said...

The price sounds reasonable to me. It has been a few years since we've had our tremendous old elms trimmed--but it has cost us hundreds of dollars. Plus, there's a benefit to getting the exercise!

Shelley said...

@ilegirl - sounds like you're on to a winner with that tree surgeon (Do they call them that elsewhere? I never heard the term before coming to Britain; then again, I never realised trees needed manicures.)

@Beryl - Yes, sticky-out seems to have special qualities as a descriptor, doesn't it? So pleased you can find kind words for Oklahoma. So many cannot.

@SP - Artistic license has caused my writing to not reveal the true sequence of events (does that mean I didn't lie?). I didn't know he was giving us a discount on my way to the village. I was deep in the midst of some complicated stuff on the computer and Bill was busy painting the front hall when the man came knocking. We discussed the job and the price and he agreed to accept a check, as we didn't have £225 cash in hand. Two more bell rings later, Bill said he only wanted cash, would I go fetch some? I was annoyed that he was wrapping up before deciding this and given that I'd had to interrupt my plans to suit his, it caused me to make the smart remark. It was only when I returned with the cash that Bill let on that there was a £25 discount on offer and I did the math. Had we solicited his services and had we discussed one price for a check and a discount for cash at the beginning, I would have been more sunny about the transaction. Still, the tree is trimmed and the man is paid and we all lived happily ever after...

@Terri - Elms! There are two enormous elm trees along side my Mom's house in Sheffield. The only time anyone talks about trimming them is when the roof is being damaged or after a big storm. One is the neighbours and the other is ours, but I'm sure the neighbour has never tended their tree - I've no idea who they are eve. Might be something to discuss with the rental manager, proper tree arrangements. Yes, the fresh air probably did me good.

Carolyn said...

Hehe, those cash-in-hand jobs always give me pause too :) I'm sure your tree will come back looking beautiful in the springtime!

Rick Stone said...

Shelley, Shelley, Shelley! There are great things to say about Oklahoma, especially our Capitol City. The last ten years have brought such a reversal of fortunes to our fair state.

As for elm trees, I'm surprised there are still elm trees at your mother's house. Dutch Elm Disease killed out most of them some years ago in Oklahoma City area.

Shelley said...

@Rick, Rick, Rick! I know there are many things to appreciate about Oklahoma and some of those I know from living away from there and having a basis for comparison. However, there are some who do not feel that the cultural (if shopping is cultural) amenities are up to their expected standards. It is not the 'garden spot' as they say. I live in a similar spot now, where people pass through Newcastle just because it happens to be between London and Edinburgh. Their loss. Yes, I remember Mom worrying about Dutch Elm disease. Also loads of little green and yellow catapillers we had for a while. I worry about those trees, they are absolutely massive.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I know what you mean. Even though I enjoy winter with a passion, I find flowers are budding in my head and I'm planning gardens in the bathtub.

Shelley said...

Carolyn, the main criteria Bill has always used is for a person to have a land line phone number and not just a mobile. In this case the couple also had their business name painted on the truck. I snapped a photo of it just before they pulled away, as I think we might actually want to do business with these people again - a very happy ending for a change!

Sadly, the tree is going to have a limited lifespan anyhow, as the girth increases and it threatens the brick wall that surrounds the perimeter of our property. At some point it will have to be 'put down' in recognition of our very small garden. I will be sad then, but I expect I'll turn around and plant another one!

Shelley said...

Dear Pamela Terry & Edward, (yes, I realise Edward is a dog, but he is such a beauty!), I had to check where you live that you could love winter so. The American south will get so hot and humid that I can see winter would have it's attractions. I can't say I am a fabulous gardener myself, but spring in England is truly beautiful (if still chilly and wet) with all the bulbs in bloom. Still, January is almost over (yikes! where has the time gone?) and February is a short month - even in leap year...roll on March!

Tabitha said...

I had an arborist round all last week trimming and pruning, we have to apply 8 weeks in advance to get permission before the saw can start whirring. I can't wait to see leaves again, it looks so barren outside.