Today we went into Salem about 1:30 PM with the goal of picking up some minor gifts, but also to buy a tree. Lisa likes having small living potted-plant Christmas trees, and it usually is not a problem finding one. This year was an exception. We went all over town looking for them, and couldn't find them. Poinsettias were a dime a dozen, but little potted-plant trees were impossible to find.
After the first couple of errands we went to the Golden Tent Mongolian BBQ for lunch. As we were eating, the manager came and told us that they were going to close early and send the staff home because of the snow and freezing rain, so we'd better get our last pass through the line done. After eating, we could see that freezing rain had accumulated over all of the trees and other surfaces, and Lisa set me to scraping frost while she warmed up the van as much as it would warm.
We kept looking for trees. You can't go anywhere quickly in this weather of course, not if you want to stay alive. We finally found a few at a Fred Meyer in South Salem, but they were bigger than what she actually wanted, so we kept going, plodding up to the north end of town. Lisa got the idea going on to Woodburn, but when we got on I-5 northbound, the slow pace of traffic (and the increasing freezing rain/snow) made her change her mind. After several more stops where we didn't get much useful, she decided to go back to the first Fred Meyer and settle for the slightly-too-large tree. As we neared the store, we realized that everything around us was dark. There had been a power failure. But the lights were on at Fred Meyer, where they have a backup generator and were still open, so we got the tree Lisa wanted.
Then, finally, it was time to go home, where we arrived about 8:30 having driven all over Salem and bought a number of small things, some groceries, and a Christmas tree. Lisa then took me over to her father's house so we could make sure the computer still worked on his network (obviously it does) and I set to answering e-mail. I'm not planning on staying long, though, because I haven't had dinner, I'm cold from knocking around town in the slush all day, and I have to work tomorrow.