Carl always gets bitter when I complain about the sky high property tax rates here in Wisconsin. He always says "at least you get services", which is a true statement when comparing Wisconsin to Chicago. Everything is relative. I am thinking all Carl gets is riot control.
I had an excellent example of these services on Sunday.
The wife had gone upstairs to take a nap and the kids were contentedly watching TV. I was doing some work on the computer. All of a sudden I heard my wife yelling my first name. DAN! DAN!!!
Now my wife never calls me by my first name unless there is big trouble afoot so I ran upstairs to see what was the matter. I thought a mirror fell or something. She told me that there was a tree in the street. Indeed, a dead tree (how did me miss it and not take care of it sooner?) had cracked, fallen over and was halfway in the street. It knocked down the stop sign on our corner and bent the bike sign as well. My wife said she heard the loud crack and bang. I probably did too but more than likely attributed it to our next door neighbors - they are loud all the time.
So the street was about 3/4 blocked. I went out there and cleared the major stuff from the street so cars could get past. My wife called the cops since the stop sign was knocked down. Here is what we had out there (click any photo for larger).
As you can see, the tree had broken off and was now being held up by another tree. The situation was a little precarious. We were glad nobody got hurt as our street is very popular for walkers, runners and bikers. We called the cops, and they called the city streets department who showed up in 45 minutes (this is on a SUNDAY at 4.30pm), along with a private contractor to haul away the downed stuff. I was informed that anything in the streets was the street department problem, but that anything in my lawn was my problem. These street guys were efficient as hell, and the streets guys and contractor worked very well together. It was sort of a tree removing ballet. They didn't really talk, just knew what each other needed to do. I am sure that they had worked together before.
It was determined that the tree was a hazard and that it threatened the street - again, the street dept. responsibility. They went to get the "clam". While they did that, two other guys roped the tree to a couple of others so it wouldn't fall. The clam showed up in 20 minutes. If you enlarge this photo you can see the clam opened up to grab the tree.
Below is a video of the clam pulling the tree away from the others it was tangled up with. After he laid it in the street, they chopped it into smaller pieces and put it on my lawn.
The private contractor came back on Monday to chop up and clear away the tree and repair other trees that got damaged when this one fell. From the time that the tree fell to the time that everyone left on Sunday, the total elapsed time was under 90 minutes.
Although I will be saddled with a bill from the private contractor, I guess I can't complain that hard next time I pay my tax bill.