I was thirty-five when I moved into my dream home.
I had saved for years. First when I lived in an apartment in the city, and then when I started renting a home in the desert. Every dollar in the bank was one step closer to my dream.
Almost any time I cooked I had a new idea about what I wanted in my dream home. The list grew longer and longer the more I worked and saved.
I wanted one big living space with a kitchen, a living room, a desk or two, and a reading nook all together. I wanted an island in the kitchen with a built-in bookcase, so my cookbooks weren’t falling all over the place all the time. I looked sadly at How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and How to Bake Everything, both by Mark Bittman, and wanted to give them a better life. They deserved better than to be covered by old mail and held up by a lonely saltshaker.
“I’ve got another thing to add to the list,” I would tell my partner as soon as he walked into the room. “A pizza oven.”
“Oh yeah,” he agreed. “Definitely a pizza oven. That’s obvious.”
I’ve been working on perfecting my pizza recipe, and I have to tell you, it’s getting pretty good. I have a mock “Big New Yorker” pizza based on one that Pizza Hut used to make in the nineties. I add molasses to the sauce with lots of garlic and let it simmer for a few minutes. But I had reached the limit of what I could do with the tools I had.
You see, pizza places have high-heat ovens. They cook their pies at eight hundred degrees or more to get the crust cooked crispy and good. The oven in the rental home could only get up to five hundred degrees. Sure, the mushroom cream sauce and green onion pie I made was amazing, but I couldn’t help but think that I could have done better.
But a pizza oven in the yard would mean that I could achieve those high temperatures. It also meant that I could do that without making the house uncomfortably hot. The rental house didn’t have air conditioning, so I basically swore off making pizza for four months out of the year. It was torture. Making pizza is one of my favorite things in the whole entire world.
Finally, the day came when I had enough money in my bank account. It was time to start the discussion about moving.
My partner brought out the list we’d been building together over the past few years. We needed a little recording studio in the back. We wanted to have land. We dreamed of having a goat and some ducks. But first, we had to find the house.
We did hours of research every night about the homes available. Should we buy an existing home and modify it? Or should we get a prefab home? Or an A-Frame? Each had their own set of pluses and minuses.
We decided to build an A-Frame. We started looking for land. We drove all over the state, looking at beautiful new places we had never seen before. We loved the long-grassed lonely areas and the properties with trees. We added another dream feature to our list: fruit trees.
After much searching, we finally found it. The perfect spot.
It was fifteen acres up in the hills. There was a wooded area and a field I could plant. There was a beautiful hollow spot at the base of a hill where we could put our home. It was everything I had been dreaming of for years.
“We’ll have to move that tree, though,” I said, pointing to a spooky looking, twisted, dark tree that sat right behind where I wanted my house to sit.
“I don’t know,” my partner said. “I think it looks kind of neat.”
“Well, sure, it looks neat,” I said. “All dead trees look neat. But I don’t want it catching on fire from the pizza oven.”
“Let’s just wait,” he said. “We can ask a professional before we make any decisions.” Click here to find out more about hazard trees.
At the time, there was just too much to do before worrying about the pizza oven and its relationship to the dead tree. We had plans to finalize, a contractor to hire, change-of-address forms to start filling out. It still seemed such a long way away.
Finally, the day arrived. While the contractor was still putting the finishing touches on our home, we got the go ahead to start moving in.
As I carried in my third box of books and set it at the base of the built-in bookcases. I took a look at the property through the large picture window. I knew it was time to start thinking about the tree.
“I’ll just build the pizza oven on the opposite side of the patio,” I said. “That way, we don’t have to get rid of the tree.”
My partner came outside and eyed the tree. “I don’t know,” he said. “I think we should call in an expert.”
“For what?” I said. “You’re the one who didn’t want to remove it in the first place.”
“I thought about it,” he said, “and now I’m not so sure. What if the roots are, you know, stretched out all over the place? It could be easier to catch fire than I thought.”
“How could that be?” I said. “How do you think it would catch fire underground?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “But is it worth risking the house when we could just call someone out here and get it taken care of?”
“When you put it like that,” I said, “Let’s make the call.
Make or Break Time
Normally when it’s time for me to hire someone to complete a service for me, whether it’s cleaning my teeth, watering my lawn when I’m away, or building a new bathroom, my first step is to get on the phone and ask my friends and relatives. There’s nothing as helpful as getting an opinion I know is honest and reliable.
I didn’t have that option in this case; my friends and family were hundreds of miles away. So I did the next best thing: I went on the internet.
There I was able to find a wealth of information. I read company websites from top to bottom to find one that aligned with my values. Then I checked out independent reviews. Sometimes it can take a long time before I can make up my mind.
In the end, I went with Kennett Square PA tree service and I’m glad that I did.
The professional who came out was able to remove the tree quickly at a reasonable rate. Now the eyesore is gone, and we don’t worry at all when I toss a goat cheese pizza in the brand-new pizza oven.