Another tree made it onto my hit list this week. It must come down. It has attacked and offended me.
The tree is perfectly healthy. For years it has grown near the corner of our house, sneakily growing taller and reaching smidge by smidge over the driveway toward my car. And then, just as my car approaches its first birthday, the tree begins splotching sap. First, a curious clear sticky blob appears on the driver’s side door handle. Then another streaks down the window. Blip and blop, sticky patches bloom everywhere. Where is the source of this oozy mess? I look up and see just one possible source…the red maple that now arches all the way across the parking pad. Last summer, when I bought the car, the tree did not reach this far. It did not drip sap on the car last summer. Last summer, it did not offend.
This summer, the tree has crossed the line. Encroaching on the house is bad enough–it encourages the squirrels to find new access points to the attic. But messing with my car? See, Tree, now you have made an Enemy.
Mr. Handyman Husband already has tree-whacking on his To-Do List. He even has Son-in-Law salivating at the prospect of felling some trees. However, there is a waiting list of trees that must come down.
First in line are the two dead oaks out front that suffered a direct lightning hit a few years back. These are the trees causing Son-in-Law to salivate, for standing dead trees mean instant firewood. Standing dead trees also pose the greatest risk of becoming falling dead trees, often in the middle of winter when a tree crashing through the roof is most inconvenient.
Next in line is the perfectly healthy hickory tree on the other side of the driveway. This tree does not drip. It drops hickory nut bombs. Then they roll across the driveway like grenades, ready to pop under the weight of car tires. The car parked beneath the hickory tree belongs to IBM, so Handyman Husband does not care so much if the hickory nuts leave dents all over it. His lovely Ford F-250, however, is an altogether different story. The truck can get muddy, but dents? No tree will ping nut bombs at the truck. So, the hickory tree is next after the dead oaks.
There are easily five or six more trees on The List, but the sap-attack tree takes precedence and immediately earns placement as Tree #4.
“How many trees can you take down at one time?” I ask Handyman Husband.
“We could take several trees down, but then we would have to deal with what is on the ground,” he replies.
He knows what I want. I want all the trees to come down and he can deal with the mess in stages for the rest of his life. I know it is impractical and unsafe and probably beyond human strength. But he’s been doing things for years that have been impractical, unsafe, and beyond human strength. His eye roll lets me know to back off. He can only do what he can do.
In the meantime, I have to deal with tree sap stubborn enough to withstand a high-pressure car wash. A little bit of research provides a quick and easy solution: hand sanitizer! I squirt a bit onto my finger, rub it into the sap to break it up, then wipe with a clean towel. Repeat forty thousand times to hit every single sap drip and voila! Sap is gone. Well, maybe there were twenty drips, not counting the ones on the roof that I can’t see and can’t reach anyway. It didn’t take long at all to remove a week’s worth of tree droppings.
The tree still must die. And I still must wait. But armed with hand sanitizer, I at least do not have to drive around town with tree boogies stuck to my car.