It seems that anytime I book a tradesman of some description, the unexpected happens.
Last week I took delivery of some doors that took SIX MONTHS(!) for a certain company which shall remain nameless to deliver to me, despite many cranky phone calls, only to discover that they had only ordered half the required width of door from the factory.
This kind of misunderstanding is pretty normal for me. I am also cursed when I order food in restaurants too. It’s a family joke that I receive what I actually order only about 50% of the time.
Perhaps I need to work on my communication skills.
Knowing about this curse, I should have been on my guard recently when I saw a sign on the road advertising cheap mulch. We need an enormous amount of mulch to stop the swathes of weeds that keep growing around here like, well, weeds. So $200 for a big truckload of mulch delivered that afternoon sounded pretty good. Book me in.
The truck arrived and the guy asked me where I wanted the mulch. I pointed to the gate to a paddock just off our driveway and asked him to put it just inside the gate. He hemmed and hawed a bit, saying the the truck was just a two wheel drive.
“Is it a problem for the truck?” It didn’t matter to me if it was. There was also a patch of driveway next to our orchard that he could have dumped it in.
“Yeah, it will be alright.”
Of course, it wasn’t alright and the curse reared its highly inconvenient head. First, the rear wheels of the truck got bogged across our driveway after the truck had dumped the mulch. After much spinning of wheels and digging of mulch, its rear wheels slid off a slight slope and wedged the truck up against a tree and the gatepost.
So they called the boss, who said he’d bring the ute around to winch the truck out.
These guys were arborists, so when I walked out of the house 30 minutes later to see a bunch of ropes and pulleys attached to a tree in our top paddock, I didn’t really question it. I mean, if anyone was qualified to know whether a tree would be strong enough to anchor a truck, it would be arborists, right?
I saw the ropes tighten, and then seconds later I heard the roar of tree roots being ripped from the earth as the gum tree came down. Right on top of the fence.
So the truck was still stuck. A tree was now down. And the fence was broken. And with 30 minutes until school pickup time there was a truck still blocking my driveway and no way to get my car out to get the kids.
Finally, the boss’s ute managed to winch out the truck. I put O on alert to pick up the kids. And the very embarrassed arborists came back the next day, fixed the fence and mulched the tree.
Mulch in paddock. Truck gone. Fence fixed. Mission accomplished? It wasn’t until a few days later that I discovered it wasn’t the end of the story.
I needed to move our cattle into the big paddock where the mulch had been dumped. I’d never moved the cows myself before, and after much shouting, mooing and waving of a big stick in what I hoped was a manner that indicated that I meant business, I managed to herd them down into the big paddock. Then I went to close the gate. That’s right, this was the gate where the truck had been stuck the week before. Of course, the chain now seemed too short as the bogged truck had shifted the gatepost after all, and I couldn’t close the gate at all. So I tied it shut with some bailing twine and asked He-Who-Knows-All-About-Knots to check that it would hold when he got home that night.
But even this wasn’t quite the end of the story.
Last Sunday morning Miss 6 wandered into the kitchen and said very calmly that there was a cow in the backyard. And there she was, walking calmly past the roses towards the Hills Hoist. We looked out the window and discovered another cow next to the pool, a steer inspecting the woodshed and his mum very politely chowing down on the long grass in the orchard for us.
So much for bailing twine.
This lead to a bizarre pre-breakfast activity of mustering cattle in my new flannel PJs and gumboots. We followed the trail of cow pats to find they’d gone on an adventure down to the letterbox and tidied up the weeds along the driveway. It’s a wonder they didn’t put the bins out for us too. At least they helped fertilize a few garden beds before we spread the mulch around.