Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mi familia, the arborists.

Last Saturday my sister's family and I joined the "Tree People" (")in Los Angeles for a tree planting extravaganza. We got up at the crack of dawn and headed out for down town Los Angeles. The kids have driven through LA before but they've never really been IN Los Angeles so we took this opportunity to show them some of the down town Los Angeles flavor.

I have no idea what this store was selling but Jake guessed that they had a lot of pirates as customers.

We were lucky enough to drive through the "Locals Only" art section of town:

Even though we got there 30 minutes late we were the first volunteers to arrive. We had to wait almost an hour before they got down to business and Jake was tired of sitting in his stroller 2 seconds after we got there so I took him for a walk. We investigated the old building across the street from where we were going to plant the trees. It used to be a muffin factory and was being turned in to a million dollar per loft apartment building. I have no idea who in the world would pay 1 million dollars to live in a neighborhood( with the aforementioned art work adorning the walls. Additionally during our walk Jake and I encountered at least 4 places on the sidewalk that reeked of human urine. Jake asked me about the smell and I didn't want to tell him that some people pee on the sidewalk lest he get any ideas about alternate urinating options.

After our walk around the block as we headed back toward the home base Jake spotted little Jake size shovels. "I WANT A SHOVEL!" I had no idea if those were actually kid size shovels or if they were considered spades for adult use only. I didn't want to get his hopes up so I tried to steer him away from the bucket of little shovels. We walked up to Tori and he said, "I WANT A SHOVEL!" Tori didn't know what he was talking about so she told him that she didn't think he'd get to have a shovel because they were too big. "NO! I WANT A JAKEY SIZE SHOVEL!", he told her. And with that he insisted on taking her over to show her the little shovels. I'm sure the angels sang when Tori told Jake that if he was a good boy maybe they'd let him use the little shovel.

They announced that it was time to start the tree planting lesson. "Lesson"? Dig hole, insert tree, fill remaining hole with dirt, add water and you're finished, no? No. There are 17 separate steps to the proper planting of a tree. So we attended the "Tree Planting For Dummies" seminar and then we were good to go. We were divided in to groups according to the color on our name tags. Most of our team was made up of representatives from CBS. I think Tori and I were the oldest people on our team, (that seems to be happening more and more these days...)

First things first. GET THIS MAN HIS OWN SHOVEL!!!

The first (real) step in planting a tree is digging the hole. Most of the hole digging was done by the big guys but Team Pendell jumped in and brandished a shovel full of dirt or two.

Next we took the sides off of the box and loosened the dirt around the roots, Hannah was a pro at this as they had asked her to help during the demonstration earlier. Then we placed plastic barriers between the roots and the direction of the street. This way the tree roots will not grow out toward the street and cause the street to buckle. The following step is one I never really gave much thought. We had to install the wooden stakes and then tie the young tree to the stake so that it wouldn't break in case it bent too far in the wind. They make a contraption exclusively for pounding tree stakes in to the ground. This thing weighs over 30 pounds and fits over the top of the stake. You have to lift if up and then slam it down over the top of the stake..driving the stake in to the ground. All I know is that I couldn't even lift this thing up and I'm certain that if there was a gun pointed to my head urging me to lift it up over my head...the gun wouldn't have made any difference because with my upper body strength, (read: NONE WHAT SO EVER), this very heavy tool would have landed right on top of my head resulting in much bleeding and loss of IQ points. Here is a picture of our very own Mr. Muscles, otherwise known as Paul Pendell. He has a lot of upper body strength for someone who's idea of exercise is reaching up to what ever high spot he put the remote control when he was hiding it from Jake.

After the hole was the correct depth and the dirt was stomped down the big guys in our crew got the tree in to the hole. Tori got to do the honors of clipping the metal band that goes around the box that the tree was in.

We had to take many steps to make certain that the tree was planted at the exact depth recommended by the tree people. We had to put some of the dirt back in the hole and after we did that the dirt had to be stomped down. We told all of the little ones to climb down in to the hole and start jumping. At first they all looked at us like we were nuts. When they realized we were serious they went nutty coo coo! There is not a doubt in my mind that the dirt holding our tree was stomped down to perfection.

We put more dirt in the hole and then stomped it down again and then we had to add fungus. Yes. Fungus. Each tree got 3 little bags of fungus that had to be added to the soil. They explained the purpose of the fungus but at the mention of the word "fungus" I quit listening.

While we were working on these tree planting steps the weather had gone from cold and gloomy to really warm and sunny. Tori was working very hard so being the kind hearted sister that I am...I was quite worried about her getting over heated... so I tapped in to my inner ninja and cooled her right down.

Lest anyone think that I acted alone in this coup...there was someone on the grassy knoll. (I told Hannah to take her mom's camera and say that she wanted to take a picture of me and her mom and then count "1..2..3..", and on 3 I was going to pour the water on her mom's head. She thought it was a wonderful idea and jumped right in there as a perfect accomplice. Thank you, Ninja Little Butt!*) (*that's what I used to call her when she was a toddler and she thought it was funny.*) (*she's going to kill me for this.)
I hesitate to admit that this plan backfired on me. I was too wrapped up in my own cleverness that I failed to notice that Tori had her own bottle of water in her hand and before I knew it she got me back.

Oh ha ha...hee hee. Such fun we were having. We were soaked to the skin and had water dripping out of our hair. This was a good idea for less than 2 minutes because that's about how long it took for the sun to take sanctuary behind a black cloud. (Notice the difference in the color of the sky in the pictures taken before and after the dousing.) Before I knew it I was freezing to the point of shivering. Just when I was reflecting upon my obvious stupidity the sun came back out and we were too hot all over again.

There was still work to do on our tree so most of us grabbed a shovel and pitched in.

Some of us didn't...

After the tree is planted and everything is cleaned up the "Tree People" insist that a tree naming ceremony take place. Through out the planting of our tree we all discussed a name for our tree. Paul was rather insistent that we name the tree "Chuck" however the rest of us decided that since our team was from CBS we wanted to give our tree a name that reflected that relationship. I found it to be odd that with 15 adults who all work for or have close ties to CBS the only name we (I) could come up with was "Horatio Caine" and I can't stand that buffoon. (David Caruso's character on CSI...a show that I don't even watch.) Thankfully Tori came up with "Survivor". Paul tried to get us to compromise and combine the name and make it "Survivor Chuck", but he was out voted. Once the name was chosen we all had to hold hands, (how much fun can a germ-phobe have? Fungus and holding hands with a sweaty stranger!), and form a circle and then recite, "People need trees and trees need people. WELCOME "SURVIVOR"!!"
(Rounds of "Kumbayah"..optional.)

This post is quite long enough and I'm surprised that you are still reading at this point. BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE....

Kidding. I'll make a new post so you can give your eyes a rest for the day.



Anonymous Mother said...

So happy to hear that you guys enjoy anything you do together! Sorry I missed the fun but I truly think it's better reading it here...Too bad Beck didn't seem to be having the fun that you had....I'm sure it was much too early in the morning for her. I'm surprised she was even awake! I think Jeff Probst owes you guys a debt of gratitude at least, if not a picture of you with him in front of the "Survivor" tree!!

6:15 PM  
Blogger Hazel Peepers said...

DARN RIGHT!!!!!!!!!

8:35 PM  
Blogger Hazel Peepers said...

dont you just love the motion shot of mom throwing the water on you?!!!
i took that one!Ü♥

9:00 PM  
Blogger Sher said...

Cell phones for the dead. That's what that place is selling.


6:33 PM  

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