A Plumber’s Pipes Never Work

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plumberIn 2010 close to five feet of snow accumulated from December to March. For Alexandria VA, while snow is expected and even considered profitable by us snow plowing nuts, the onslaught of large quantities of snow and the resulting tree work was overwhelming, at times perplexing, and ironic in its own special way.

Due to the heavy precipitation accumulation, trees were dropping like flies everywhere. Just as we finished plowing from the first snow, our crews moseyed directly into removing trees from off of buildings, homes, vehicles, and roadways. All of us were either on the roads, up trees, or slogging through many feet of snow just to get to the front door. Unless of course, you’re me; then you’re sitting in your warm kitchen, interchangeably listening to classical music from the radio and the sitcom, “Hot in Cleveland”, from the family room, and waiting for the next phone call from one of the guys on the road. During snow storms, the office gals take turns working from home logging times, weather details, responding to urgent tree or plowing calls, and dispatching appropriate crews. That particular December evening, I was making coffee in preparation of the long night ahead. Our area had just finished the first snowfall at about 2 feet of accumulation and was gearing up for the next storm to come in. Aspect Tree Service had ten plow trucks and six track loaders out on properties trying to close out jobs before the next wave hit. I sat at my kitchen table, the laptop screen lit up in front of me, and looked out the window. My four cats and three dogs got themselves situated around me, either lying in heaps on top of one another or sprawled out across the carpet. At the moment, I was enjoying the break in action and the peace of the evening. The night was silent outside and completely white. The instantaneous sound explosion of crack, slam, and crunch outside was jarring. My mother-in-law, who lived next door, called me the next second. Her flood lights were on and she could see a large Oak tree had broken in half and fallen across our shed and onto our home. Part of the limbs had severed the shingles on our shed roof. While our roof on the house wasn’t punctured, the tree’s limb reach was so long that they extended well under our porch and straight to our front door. I knew Steven would be checking in sometime in the next few hours so I didn’t call in. When I did finally tell him about the tree, he said he’d bring home a chainsaw and take it off the next day. The next day turned into next week, then into next month. Before long, April had arrived.

A quick side note for you: We live in a fairly urban area, but Steven grew up in the house next door. He has lived the last 46 years in this area (barring a couple of Florida jaunts here and there). Our friends and family are many and most still live in the same houses they grew up in, or close by.

One good friend, a roofer, stopped in to see if we wanted him to go ahead and remove it for us. Steve was concerned about the weight of the tree and which direction it might roll, so he wanted to be the one to do it. On a different occasion, Brian (who owned his own plumbing company) called Steven up and mentioned to him about this great tree company he knew about and how they operated very closely to where we live. Around May, some our men stopped by because they heard from the street that we had a tree down. They were just cutting into it when Steven called them and asked them not to worry about it. He’d do it when his time freed up.

That tree did not disappear from off our house until the end of May. And even then, I had just about lost my mind after climbing through those brittle branches for the past five months. I have come to understand that lovely phrase I’ve heard so often the last couple of years, a plumber’s pipes never work, better than ever.

Last modified: July 13, 2013
Nikki Hall
Nikki is the co-owner of Aspect Tree Service in Alexandria, VA. Learn about her business at www.aspecttreeservice.com

This story is part of our Small Business Corner, a peek into the life and trials of small business owners.

Category: Insider's perspective, MPR Authored, Small Business, Small Business Corner, small business owners