Well, here's the post you've all been waiting for. (Drum roll, please ....)
Did we buy a real tree or an artificial tree?
The answer is: Neither.
Our nice neighbor across the street GAVE us her artificial tree - can you believe that?
I had ordered one online at a store 50 miles away, just as the storm hit 1-1/2 weeks ago. Then the storm, the damage, the roads closed, all kept us from going to pick it up. Our neighbor across the street is a recent widow and we called to check on her a few times during the week. When I mentioned that we were going to go pick up our tree soon, she said she had a tree she bought 2 years ago and wasn't going to use it anymore (I think it reminds her of her late husband). She really wanted us to have it. So, my husband went over and brought it home. Now, it's not the kind of tree we would have bought. But a free tree is a free tree. It's in good shape, over 7 feet tall. So we saved a good deal of money there. God is good. And now that we've decorated it, it looks really nice. I think everyone is pleased, with the exception of our moody oldest son, but he'll get over it.
Another gift from God came in the form of a free turkey. Two weeks ago, we got a flyer on our porch from a local group of full-time moms, asking for food donations for a family they were sponsoring for the holidays. They also had a raffle for a free turkey. I planned to give and enter the raffle but on the day they were to collect the donations, the storm had begun. "You're not seriously going out in this today, are you?" is what I said when I called the lady in charge. Yes, she was going out anyway. Brave soul! So, they picked up the small bag and last week, during the blackout, I got a thank you note saying I had won the turkey! What's even cooler about this is that with the blackout, we had to thaw and eat our Christmas turkey a few days ago. And the Lord replaced it with a free one!
Today was my toy shopping day. I got to head out to my favorite toy story 25 miles south of here, on beautiful Cannon Beach. But this time, I got to see all the damage the storm had done, all the way down. Nearly every house I saw had at least a few shingles blown off, several had a lot of roof damage. I saw what looked like a small mobile home, blown clean off it's base, the toilet sitting there, lonely, with the bathtub still clinging to the wall hanging in the air. Trees down everywhere. Some leaning precariously. There won't be a shortage of aged firewood next year. The people here aren't afraid of chain saws and I saw a lot of new firewood stacked to cure.
I've talked about the view from my kitchen window. It's a tall stand of trees, way up on the top of the hill. There are fewer trees up there now, as some of them fell on the property just on the other side. One fell right on the middle of a home. Ouch! We can see in to the forest at the end of our street. But it's just trees. They can be replanted. The buildings can be rebuilt. It's just so sad to see so much destruction. Everywhere I've gone, that's all that is talked about. "What kind of damage did you have?" has been asked of me, over and over. I heard a lot today, as I talked with people I knew and strangers as well. It is what people do when they all share in a similar experience. Suddenly, we all have this thing in common which makes us temporary acquaintances. I took photos of my in-laws indoor damage and showed them around a bit today. No one can believe what they are looking at (I still can't!) I think everyone needs to talk about it, share their story. A part of me wants to keep talking and another part of me wants to put it behind us. But it will be with us a long time, especially as we assist my in-laws with their rebuilding. My husband put the shed back together - he found nearly all the pieces! Another blessing.
The road we took to Portland last week is now covered in 6 feet of mud in an area about 40 miles from us. A landslide happened yesterday. Praise the Lord we didn't get caught in that, as it could have happened anytime and I'm also thankful the road crews closed the road about 2 hours prior to the slide - they knew it was going to happen. There is no word on when it will reopen.
Thanks for the tree input. I'm glad that is done and now I feel like I can enjoy the Christmas spirit. The tree made all the difference!