I’m starting to think that I could make a regular feature here just out of complaints that I’ve gotten from my HOA.

They’re all completely valid, mind you! I’m certainly under no assumption that my lawn is above the law or any wild stretch of the imagination, that’s for sure…

…but lately it’s just been one thing after another – one minute it’s because the driveway looks too dirty, as if I keep it outside all of the time or something, the next it’s that the house’s flux capacitor is doing too much capacitating during the neighborhood quiet hours. Their latest complaint was with regards to the gigantic oak tree in our front yard because apparently it’s become so gigantic that it’s sort of blocking part of the sidewalk or something … at least for anyone who’s taller than three and a half feet, anyways! I don’t think that they did an actual survey or anything, but chances are that probably covers more of my neighbors than not, so I guess they want me to trim the gigantic beast back a bit.

Now normally I’d apply the same tactic for this scenario that I use for pretty much all of my outdoor work – a little something I like to call the pay a guy-tactic, in which I call somebody else who’s vastly more qualified than me … which doesn’t take much once we go “outside” … and then write him a check to do properly whatever chances are I would’ve somehow managed to screw up anyways. It’s a good tactic that’s served me well over the years, through busted sprinkler heads that refused to sprinkle and broken garage door openers that weren’t exceptionally efficient at their given job, either.

And yet only one minute thing stands in my way of simply writing the gigantic tree cutting guy a check and then promptly whisking said concerns out of my head – technically I do own a saw. I have no idea why I own this saw, nor do I honestly have any recollection of ever having acquired said cutting implement, but for one reason or another there’s a saw capable of cutting through trees and stuff sitting out in my garage, and thus somehow that makes me feel responsible for being a man and doing it myself instead of merely purchasing manliness via proxy as has worked so successfully for me in the past!

The thing is, I’m honestly not even sure how I’m supposed to do this. I mean sure, “cut the branch that makes the sidewalk impassable” seems like a given … but do you even know how trees work?! If I cut a branch from one side of the tree, do I likewise need to cut a branch from the opposite side of the tree??? And I’m not even talking about aesthetically speaking, but more so from the angle of not wanting this gigantic oak tree to topple over onto my house! Do I have to worry about disturbing its delicate tree balance by not taking into account some sort of feng shui or magical forestry voodoo before I make my first cut?

The worst part is … I don’t even like this tree in the first place! I think it’s ugly, and it’s out of place in my yard, and I’d love nothing more than to just keep cutting until there’s nothing left to cut … but apparently you have to get permission from the HOA for that, too! That’s how they get ya – you can cut some of the tree, but you can’t cut all of the tree, despite the fact that it would result in so much more space on that sidewalk that they seem to be super concerned about!

I think I’m allowed to have the tree removed if I file HOA Authorization Form 361A in triplicate at least three months in advance, pay a modest Tree Removal Approval Processing Fee, and replace it with a similar hardwood or shrubbery of equal size from the Authorized Foliage Replacement Addendum … but don’t forget, I’m also really lazy…

Hence the complaint in the first place, so I think for the time being we’ll just get to sawing and see what happens and worst case scenario, I’m sure that later I can still use my pay a guy tactic to come and fix my pruning catastrophe afterwards, right?!

If I end up cutting off too much, I’ll keep the branches and the tree guy can just nail whichever ones back up that he thinks would work best.

See – I understand how trees work more than you’d think!