Monday, November 13, 2006

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night....

Oregon has been on the receiving end of some nasty weather for about the past week. Rain, rain, and more rain. Which, I know you're thinking, is normal - it's Oregon we're talking about. Land of the perpetual drizzle. Except this was different rain - heavier. More deluge-like. We got something like 7+ inches of rain in 4-5 days, and the people who live closer to the coast got much, much more. Lots of roads were washed out by mudslides, trees came down, streets were flooded and a few homes sited too close to swollen rivers washed away.

We live in an area with lots of trees. 100+ ft tall pines, mostly. I think there are at least 6 on my property alone. And they're lovely to look at. I like the trees (minus the crap they drop ALL.THE.TIME. Husks in the summer, needles and pinecones in the fall, deadwood in the winter - it's always SOMETHING clogging up our gutters and being tracked into the house.) But when you get hit with buttloads of rain for days on end, saturating the ground, and then a giant wind storm sweeps in like the one we got last night, living with the trees can be scary.

Last night was a mother of a wind storm. The weather people had all been giving dire warnings about it all weekend long. With the saturated ground there were lots of fears of falling trees that could crash into houses and/or take out powerlines, etc. All these "experts" were coming on to talk about how thinning big trees (like the ones we have) is good to do, but in winds like what was expected it would only make a nominal difference. Strong winds can topple even the sturdiest tree, blah blah blah. So we were nervous. We got the kids down and put in a movie (M:I:III). Every so often the wind would really start howling and we'd pause the movie and watch the trees sway in the wind, the whole time hoping that all the ones closest to our house were strong enough to stay standing. Those suckers can really move. It was freaky. The house was constantly pelted with falling crap. We'd hear all kinds of thuds and cracks as branches and other debris hit the roof. One hard enough that we felt it.

After the movie we went to check on the kids, as we normally do before going to bed ourselves. Lauren's bed was empty. Wha - ??! Our first thought was that she went to our room, which she has done in the past. But 3 seconds later we found out we were wrong - she wasn't in our room. Instead, she sought comfort from the storm from Nicholas: she was sleeping - on top of the covers - at the foot of his bed. Just her curled up with her blanket, happy with the little space she'd carved out for herself on her brothers bed. He seemed completely unaware of her presence. We didn't have the heart to move her so we covered her up, took a picture (because it was just too damn cute!), and went to bed ourselved. It was trippy and sort of sweet to think that Lauren took refuge in Nicholas's room instead of ours. Or even with us at all because she must have gone into his room while we were watching the movie, and normally if she wakes and hears us she'll come to us.

Not this time. This time it was her brother, not her mother, that she wanted.

And when I went to wake up Nicholas for school this morning, Lauren wasn't on his bed anymore. She'd gone back to her own bed at some point. Not our bed - her own. Which is exactly what we'd want her to do, and yet I couldn't help but feel a little wistful that she didn't come to me/us. I felt a smidge obsolete, suddenly. I guess she felt "any port in the storm".

And the storm? It blew over during the night, leaving a huge mess of debris all over the neighborhood. Everything is covered with wet needles and small branches. It feels icky outside, like nothing is clean. The trees near us are still intact and standing tall, but a neighbor 2 blocks over wasn't so lucky. A big tree in her yard split and part of it came crashing down, taking out a gutter, her fence, and her swing set. I guess she called the local news when it happened and they sent a truck out to her house at 4:30am to get video of the damage. I'm just glad to hear the damage was more significant and no one was hurt. And that it didn't happen to one of our trees.

Yeah... beautiful trees here in the Pacific NW, but damn those things are dangerous!
I don't live in the Pacific NW, but we have some towering pines and towering oaks. Two things we did/do 1) Gutter Helmet!!! Will save those gutters form clogging and save you tons of time! 2) We have a tree service come out every other year to trim up our trees - really makes a huge difference in the amount of debris we find in the yard (and on the roof).
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