Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November 17 and the big windstorm...

Today we had a windstorm. We knew it was coming but of course, no one can predict how much damage, if any, will happen. We had a big storm in August that uprooted trees and left people without power for days.

Today's storm also knocked out power, blew trees down on major highways and cars, and carried a good amount of rain with it.

I really hate windstorms. Mainly because there is this REALLY tall tree right in my back yard. You see, my neighborhood was constructed 15 years ago by basically razing all the trees and leaving this patch of trees right in the middle which were not meant to be strong and firm. These trees were once protected by much stronger, bigger and more wind firm trees. These trees are spindly - long, skinny, with few branches at the bottom but top-heavy with foliage. Perfect for snapping off in bad weather. In fact, I've actually watched two trees fall right outside my window and it's a stunning sight. And also frightening when they hit neighbors' houses and fences.

So, most every time the wind picks up, I spend a fair amount of time checking on "the butter knife" as I've affectionately named my tall tree. I feel like one day, it's going to slice through my house like a knife through butter. We're right in the way, after all. It would make a clean cut through my bedroom, coming to rest in my kitchen and family room. I've actually seen first-hand what it looks like when a large tree cuts through a house and it's quite terrifying. So, this tree and I, we've had a long relationship.

Now, chances are, if the tree actually does fall, it will fall away from the house due to the direction of the wind. But I'm not taking any chances. I have leapt from my bed more than once when I've heard, in the wee hours of the night, the howl of the wind, the shake of the house, and the unmistakable snap, crackle and pop of a tree falling in the woods. I've run to the door to escape, only to be thwarted by a false alarm again and again. Still, I'm not taking any chances. I've even made all the kids sleep on the living room floor in what I deem to be the safest distance from any tree damage on particularly harsh weather nights.

Today, when I left work, I was startled by a loud sound - a tree branch had come down on top of my minivan as I exited the parking lot. Too stunned to even get out and check, I drove off, my mission to get home to my safe haven on the top of my mind. But what safe haven? The Butter Knife was waiting for me. Damn him.

I've read disconcerting accounts of accidents involving trees. Just today, another fatality was caused by a falling tree on the very road Mountain Man and I drove on just two weeks ago during a Sunday afternoon exploring adventure. What a terrible way to go! I'm so paranoid of a tree falling on me, I actually spend my time driving looking up more than at the road, thereby putting myself in even more danger. This is why I should stay home during windstorms.

Lucky for us, our power stayed on, despite flickering here and there. We had a warm dinner prepared on the gas stove, so even if the power had gone out, we could still have prepared food. It's a bit blustery out, still, but likely by morning the winds will have fizzled out and power will be restored to all. Crossing our fingers.

Still, this is our November in the Pacific Northwest. Windstorm after windstorm and rain upon rain. November is a drizzly, cold, miserable month in a lot of ways. But I'm not complaining. My evening obligations were canceled because of the storm, and I made a pot of homemade chili and a pan of cornbread. My son lit the candles, and my husband and I caught up on the tv show we missed last week when we were traveling. My daughter, thoughtful in her preparations, had gathered flashlights and candles in the event of a power outage. I had time to hang out with my college kid, listen to music (and to her singing, always a bonus!) and watch videos. And, as the house grew quiet, time for blogging.

So, as much as I hate windstorms, I appreciate an unexpectedly free evening, even if I do have to keep a sideways eye on the Butter Knife. One of these days..........

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