Thursday, April 28, 2016

Maple Tree Removal and a Surprise Visit from Mosquito Control Office

My 30-year old maple tree in the front yard.

Two events happened in our household this week.

1. The first event was a surprise visit from the Mosquito Control Office. Yesterday morning at about 11AM, I heard a loud knock in our front door. Without opening the door, I asked what does he wants and identify himself. ( Never open your front door without investigating, because it could be an intruder).

Knocker: Open your door!! ( Voice with Authority). We have a complaint about your swimming pool.
Me: Who are you?
Knocker: I am from the County Health Office. I am an Inspector.
Me: Show me your credential. Through the peephole I saw he was not lying.
Me: Ok, if you want to inspect the pool, go by the side of the house. I will open the door to the pool.

The past three weeks, we did have problems with the pool. The filter and vacuum was not working so the water was cloudy and greenish. Luckily my son has started cleaning the pool a couple of days ago. We have ordered a new filter and vacuum for the pool(on line). The pool was still not clear blue, and last week it was inhabited by algae, so the water was turbid and greenish. My son had already shocked the pool with algaecide and chlorine, but the water was still not crystal blue, but there were no mosquitoes.

I asked the inspector if a neighbor did the complaint. He said he is not allowed to tell me who complained but said he is checking for mosquitoes because of the Nile Virus. He took a sample of the pool water and murmured that it probably need more chlorine. He walked out satisfied that our pool was not a breeding place for mosquitoes, although we have a few mosquitoes in our back yard.

I was thinking that if the neighbor did not complained how did the county know of our swimming pool problem? Did the helicopter viewed through Goggle map and observed our pool water was not crystal blue? Was our ordering of filters and vacuum cleaner on line triggered the visit? I will never know the answer to the two questions above. One thing for sure: Big Brother-the Government is always watching you.

2. The second event this week is the removal of our 30 year-old maple tree in our front yard.
Last month we heard a big crashing sound in front of the house while we were eating lunch. My son immediately went to investigate. Come here, Dad! He shouted.

One of the three main branches of the tree(see photo) broke and hit our front lamp and damaged it. The next day my son bought a chain saw, cut the fallen branch into 24 inches firewood sizes and changed our lamp. I immediately call two tree companies for estimates to remove the maple tree.

The first estimate from Stumpman ( I have hired the company before for tree trimming on my side yard) : Removal of TREE- $525, Grinding the stump-$110, Hauling of Wood-$75 and Disposal fee-$ 26 with a total of $736. He gave me a $36 senior discount quoting $700 as the total cost.

The second estimate was from Andersen Tree Company. Doing the same job above, removing, grinding and hauling, I got a quote for $750. While we were discussing the quotations, Scott Andersen, the estimator and owner( blond white guy in his 50's-must be Swedish) asked me where was I born. I said in the Philippines. His face lightened up and informed me he is married to a Filipina. He immediately showed me a picture of his wife. She is very pretty and her name is Portia Cortes originally from Mindanao. Scott said he liked Filipinos so he will give me a $100 discount. My net cost will be only $650.

I told him to allow me to consult my wife on the price. I went inside the house and told my wife of the price and if she has no objections if I invite Scott for some Pancit Canton, I just finished cooking. Scott came in and eat the Pancit with gusto. While we were eating, he informed us that he had been to the Philippines twice and has been in the tree business for over 20 years. He has been married to his Filipina wife for 4 years and they had no children.

Scott wrote the work order. I asked him when he can do the work. He said in two weeks. I pleaded that I will be very happy if he can do the job next week, since I am planning on hiring my landscaper to remove the grass and replaced it with a drought resistant ground cover next week (after the tree is removed). Scott promised he will try his best to accommodate my request.

Note: This is the first time, I have invited a complete stranger for dinner. In this case, Scott was very friendly and that he is married to a Filipina -so I did not hesitate in inviting him for dinner-Pancit Canton with Prawns and Chicken

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