Friday, October 28, 2005


We’ve talked about how much we hate the trees in our backyard ever since we moved here. There are five altogether, all cedars. One is dead and the rest are unfortunately very healthy. They drop a constant barrage of needles and the seeds or nuts, or whatever those rounds things are.

We were told that we weren’t allowed to cut down the dead tree, or any others, without the permission of the forestale people, or the office of the comune di Montagne.

We kept hearing that eventually they’d come to work on the park and THEN we could have the tree cut down. That miraculous day came a few weeks ago, so we were waiting anxiously each day….would TODAY be the day that our trees were cut down?

Armando and Art had talked about this at great length, and Art couldn’t wait to talk to the workers about which trees we wanted to go. The workmen assured Art that it would be taken care of. Done!

Well, not quite that easily. The other day the guy from the forestale office or wherever came and had a big long discussion with Art and Armando. Apparently Armando argued quite forcefully on our behalf, but in the end the guy said we could only cut down the four trees in the back of the yard, and that the large ugly one up by the house was too large to cut down. Apparently these trees are protected once they measure over 35cm in diameter.

They were told that in the morning they’d had to take this letter of permission to the comune to be officially stamped. We figure we might have to buy a bollo (a tax stamp), but we looked at the €15 bollo as a filing fee, and certainly money well spent.

Art took a few pictures showing the damage the trees were doing to the fence and how close they were to the house, as he had been told to do.

This morning the man at the comune said, “no, these pictures aren’t good enough”….apparently the damage to our fence wasn’t serious enough. Art told him that the tree was dead, so then of course the man said, “Fine, bring me a picture showing that it’s dead!”

It’s timess like these when having a digital camera and a printer really comes in handy. Art took the required pictures, printed them out, then went back to the comune. If the guy agreed that the trees presented a problem, he would stamp our letter “approved” and send it to wherever it needed to be sent. The good news is that apparently it won’t cost us anything. Even Armando seemed a little surprised by this fact, but hey! We won’t argue about it!

While Art was home taking the second set of pictures, our mail carrier rang the bell. She had a registered letter for Art….what could it be? The return address didn’t give us much of a clue. It turned out to be our garbage bill from 2004 and part of 2003. The one we tried to pay last October, but they told us we couldn’t. They told us just to wait, so we have been….waiting….and waiting…

When our garbage bill for 2005 arrived in June, we once again asked about the 2003/2004 bill. We were again told that we should just wait. Without a bill we couldn’t pay anything, because the bill gets paid at the post office. They would have no idea about our account information so we had no choice.

Today was the day when the bill finally arrived. The really amazing thing was that there was no accumulated interest as we had feared. We knew that we had never been sent a bill and didn’t feel that paying interest was fair, but of course that would be way too difficult to try to argue about, so we had resigned ourselves to paying some interest charges.

The bill for 2004 was 1¢ more that our bill for 2005 and the bill for 2003 was for the part of that year we had owned the house. Maybe the sale of the house and the closing of the previous owners account just took two years to process…..who knows? The good news is we’re now paid in full and don‘t have to worry about the bill or the interest, and on top of it all, four of our five trees have been approved for removal!

 This morning a large bulldozer drove up into the park and demolished the old stairs. The workers were happy to pose for my pictures, and told me that a new staircase will be built in the same location. This project is going to take a loooonngg time to finish.


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