Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's a woman to do?

Ok, I think it's time for me to learn Spanish.The problem is, although that would be the obvious language choice for living and working in Hispanic heavy California, in San Francisco, the Asian population is way bigger. And how does one pick just one of the many languages in the Asian community in order to succeed.

No, the truth is I plan on learning no new languages in my last few months pregnant with my 4th child nor after, while caring for 4 children. I am just frustrated. The lovely monsoon we had here in San Francisco yesterday left me with my neighbor's tree in my yard. Well a third of it. But it was a big third. Fence crushed, and basically a whole tree sitting in my yard. Was quite a sight. So I called up the dude who mows my lawn and has trimmed my trees and asked if he had a chainsaw to cut up a tree. I'm pretty sure this man understands me because he hasn't usually done things against my wishes to date. So when I told him to just come over and take a look and give me a price, since this was not my tree and the neighbor had to agree before money was spent, I thought I made myself clear.

Problem number 1: the woman who assists me with my mother's paperwork is familiar with this man and has seen him tending to my yard before, so when he arrived and I was upstairs she let him in no problem. Problem number 2: language barrier? Or seemingly nice man taking advantage of woman? I still am not sure. All I know is I came downstairs and the tree was gone already. He'd been here 20 min, my neighbor just happened to call as I looked out the window and shrieked "oh my god he's already done it!" (Let me qualify 'shriek.' While I am a girl, I do not shriek like one, but I did yell loudly in shock and surprise. Who would have preferred I write it that way?)

Good lord. How can a man chop up a tree in 20 min? What made him think he could just show up and do the job when there are two people involved and he doesn't know one of them? And I never agreed on the price I'd pay him so who does he think is going to pay? What just happened here?

So then he told me how much it would cost. And it's a lot. Not crazy, but twice what I pay him to spend 2 hours cleaning up my yard and he just did this job in a quarter that time. So, now, stuck between a rock and hard place (neighbor and yard guy) what do I do? He can't undo the work he's done. If I push back about the price I risk the relationship I have with him, and so far I've felt him to be trustworthy.

So for the first time that I can remember in my long and independent life I went to my husband and told him that I thought I might need a man to back me up. I'm not sure if I'm being taken advantage of. Does this man think I'm stupid? Is it because I'm a woman? Will he act different if I have back up? All he does when I talk to him is shrug. What is that about? Is this language? Or is this just how he is?

Naturally my husband was in the shower.

So, after a quick check in with him, I went back down the scene of the crime. I would have to take care of it myself. My neighbor showed up, I asked the right questions and found out that the per pound disposal fee of 'pine' is higher than your average tree disposal fee. We worked it all out for a lesser fee and I let him finish the job and everything seems to be fine but I'm still unsure what happened. Am I an easy mark? I do trust people. I was raised in Illinois at a time when kids could come home after school without parents home to care for them. I could count on one hand the number of times I feel like someone has taken advantage of me in a business transaction. But it's possible I have no idea how gullible I am. Wouldn't that be the very definition of gullible?

Sometimes I do wonder what would happen differently if I were a man. I'm not asking for the opportunity to be one, but I'd love to do the whole costume thing and see if the world seemed different in the way people reacted to me. Because if I'm getting shafted for being a woman? There's some ass kicking to do.


  1. Yikes! At least you got the tree dealt with quickly! :)

    BTW, the play area I mentioned is at the Serramonte Mall near where the old Mervyns was. It's a super tiny play area, but my kids seem to enjoy it. We've been a couple of times and I am sure we'll be back. The only problem is that there is no "gate" (it is all enclosed, but has a small opening), so I kept having to chase the kids back in. But, like I said, it's a pretty small space, so I just stand in the entrance area and make sure no one escapes. :)

  2. I don't think you were gullible; I think the gardener/tree remover was confused and didn't understand what you wanted in the first place. I'm glad it worked out though and the tree got removed without jeopardizing relationship with the neighbor