EDITED TO ADD:
Well, maybe the seventh time was the charm. I just started randomly calling people whose names I had as tree-workers, and finally reached one. He offered to come out this afternoon to give me an estimate. He brought two coworkers, they looked at it and went, "Yeah, maybe a half day at most" and he said "I could do it either Saturday or Monday, depending on our other jobs, and with hauling off, it would be $400."
That's less than I had actually budgeted (and less than I was thinking of desperation-paying). This guy seems trustworthy AND he was someone I had talked to a couple years ago about tree work (and then never had it done; if he does well with this I'll get him out in the fall to trim my pecan and elm). He knows me a little - he used to work with the plumbers I use before branching out on his own (he has a plumbing and tree trimming business AND he is the plumber my church uses, so that reassures me)
He's aware of my time concerns and he said he'd call me, they'd probably be out around 8 am whatever morning it is. I'm just going to trust that this time it will work.
I had to call ALLLLLL the other people (or I felt I had to) and tell them I didn't need them. Most were easy, it was just an answering machine. But guess who I got in person? Yup, the first guy who had never called me back. I was kind of apologetic (heh, full on Fluttershy) about "firing" him but then HE apologized for not getting an estimate to me, so I guess it really was on him.
But, grah. I will be glad to be done with this and next year I'm calling someone in the EARLY summer to cut back the brush for me.
And now I kind of want to re-write a couple verses of Weird Al's "Tacky" to be about calling up a workman, not waiting very long for him to call back before you call someone else, and then calling the first guy to tell him you don't need him. Because I suppose in some people's books that kind of behavior is tacky. But whatever. Maybe I'm tacky too....
Well, maybe not quite. But I went as Rarity as I ever went this afternoon.
I had three tasks. (I am never one of those people of which it can be said "YOU HAD ONE JOB" because I never have just one):
1. Call my health insurer to make sure that the $2000 and change for bloodwork wasn't a mistake
2. Go talk to the city in the hopes that maybe there was some misunderstanding and to let them know that I am really working on this, really, and I don't want to be tardy with my letter to the Princess and get sent back to Magical Kindergarten (to mix a pony metaphor)
3. Go and get a prescription refilled (the doctor involved still uses paper script forms, which complicates things).
Item 1 was easy enough, once I got past BC/BS's weird phone tree, the lady I talked to was very nice and very helpful and thanked me for wanting to check up on it (But yes, it does cost $2000, according to the local hospital, to have a CBC, a CMP, and a fasting lipids done. Hm. I wonder if there are other facilities that would do it more reasonably)
Item 3 worked out okay with some waiting, and I was able to pick up another refill I had waiting at the same time. (What a drag it is getting old. In the past three years, I have gone from taking one pill and one supplement daily to taking four pills (one twice a day) and one supplement. Three of those pills are prescription)
Item 2....well, I wound up doing the Ugly Cry in my car after it was over. Yes, I am responsible, although no, I do not own the alleyway property. I have "a little time" to get it taken care of but I was given to understand that it needed to be done by the end of the month (coincidentally when I leave for break). I told the woman, calmly but firmly, that I called one of their "recommended" guys and he never got back to me after saying "Yeah, yeah, I'll do an estimate and get back to you."
And rarely does anyone here work on Saturdays or Sundays, so that means I have effectively three days to try to line someone up.
She also said, "Well, consider yourself lucky you just got the door hanger. If you had gotten a letter, you'd have to appear before our Board."
I realize she doesn't know me, and she doesn't know my reaction to being told stuff like that, but now I'm going to have Kafkaesque nightmares until the brush has been cleared. I actually said, sitting in my car: "Well, okay. I'll write up a note saying if I'm found dead of a heart attack in my alley*, that it was because I was struggling to remove the brush when the city told me to and I couldn't even HIRE someone to come do it, and then pin it to my shirt and go out there and start cutting."
(*It's like 106 with the heat index right now. I get winded walking out to my car from the humidity)
I really really really really really really don't want to have to go before a jury of my peers or whatever the hell it is. I just want this taken care of. I got another name from my secretary but of course everyone is busy right now.
I'm serious - I would pay $1000 right now, nearly 1/3 of my take home pay in a month, for this just to be fixed. That's how helpless I feel. That's how desperate I am. I hate calling people on the phone, I hate having to harass people who supposedly agreed to do something and then never call me back to say they will, I hate the fear that I'm a scofflaw because I'm not strong enough or gifted enough with a saw to take care of it myself.
Dangit. I should have just cut the dang brush this weekend when it was tolerably cool and then worried about how to get it hauled off later on.
This can't be as big a problem as I'm making it out to be but then again, I have had such bad luck getting help with stuff in the past. I don't know why. I don't know if it's me or if I expect too much or what. But I'm terrified that this won't get done in good time and then I'll have to go up and defend myself and then....I don't know? Can they take my house from me? Can they cut off my water? Throw me in jail? What? I'm fundamentally such a rule-follower that I freak out when someone tells me I'm breaking a rule and I think it means the WORST POSSIBLE THING is going to happen to me. (And with the way things go for the rule followers vs. the rule breakers, it probably WILL.)
I think the worst of this for me is that I feel so utterly ALONE in this. The city doesn't give a flip that I'm trying, they just want it DONE. I hate calling people up and nagging them but I have to. I don't even really have a sympathetic shoulder to cry on; everyone is either incredulous that the city is insisting on this (What? I wouldn't make this up) or they tell me that I'll manage, and from here, right now, I don't see how that's going to happen short of me going out with a saw and somehow loading all the brush in my car and staging a late-night raid to dump it out at one of my field sites (which would be SO illegal, but.....) Part of it is I feel like no one locally is taking my worries seriously.