It's about an hours drive from our place, but we think it's worth it. We support a small business, and we get to choose and cut our own tree.
It was snowing that day (Dec 13th), and by the time we reached the farm the snow was really starting to accumulate. It was so beautiful to be out in the country in the snow.
We paid for the tree and put it into our tree bag, and it just fit into the car with the seats down. We were ready to go, but then db realized that he couldn't find the car key. So the search began.
Everyone there (the family working that day and a couple of friends) began to search. The snow was piling up quickly. Someone brought a bucket of hot water our and poured water around the car, and then around the spot where we had cut the tree. We took everything out of the car, and searched every inch of it. The tree came out of the bag, but nothing. No car key.
I took a rake and tried to retrace our steps through the farm, but realized the impossibility of finding anything in the snow.
Plan B. Get a key cut. One of the men told us that there is a place in Mission (or Abbotsford - I can't remember which) that will cut keys for you.
db goes inside and starts calling, but we need to initiate this through the dealership, and it's Sunday and dealerships are closed.
db tries to reach a co-worker who doesn't live too far away. She always has her cell phone with her and on. He could get the work keys from her (it's a company car), and then drive to work to get the spare set in Vancouver (about an hour and a half from where we are). He can't reach her.
db calls the company's roadside assistance while I wait outside standing around the fire with the family and friends getting acquainted. I also take another look out in the field, because it can't hurt.
Roadside assistance is no help. There's nothing else to do, but get the spare set of keys. Someone wisely suggests that we rent a car to go get the other keys. Furthermore, one of the family members is heading back into Vancouver and could drop us at the rental place.
We book a car at the Abbotsford airport since it's the closest open location. The roads are looking quite bad because of the snow. The woman who drives us to the airport is super nice. It turns out she owns a place on the Sunshine Coast she rents out to friends, but gives us her card because she would be willing to rent to us as well. She drops us at the airport. db and I are the only people at the airport who don't work there.
We get the rental car. We drive home to get db's work keys (an hour?). We drive to his work (another 45?). Then we drive from Vancouver back to Mission (over an hour). We pick up the car with the tree in it. db follows me out. I'm in the rental. It's now around 7:30pm. It's snowy, dark, and it's Sunday so there's very little traffic. The highway does seem to have been salted so it's a bit clearer, but it's by no means completely clear. It's slow going.
We're driving from Mission to the Abbotsford airport to drop off the car, and I see an airplane sign, and turn off the collector route, thinking it's a short cut. It turns out to be an airstrip and not the airport. We really have never been to Abbotsford so we don't really know where we are. We turn around. On our way back to the highway, there's a tow truck in the middle of the road in the process of pulling a mini-van out of a seriously deep ditch. We have to wait about 15-20 minutes in what seems the middle of nowhere while this accident is cleared.
Finally we get back to the highway and find the airport (it's around 8:45 or so by now), drop the car, and head home (another hour).
Our $30 tree cost about $110 in the end. At least we were fine after driving what seemed every road from here to Mission and Vancouver and back in poor conditions.
The plan had been to grocery shop, pick up the tree, come home and bake Christmas cookies. The cookies got made, but later that week so I was a little late sending them out to family.
The cats were very happy to see us after being alone all day and night. We were happy to see them too, an of course we were exhausted from the very stressful day.
Tonight we decorate our tree. I hope it looks even more beautiful than I could hope because it is a very unique tree for us this year.
Oh yes, I forgot about db's company having to get a new key made because it has a chip in it, so a completely new one had to be made for the car.
Also this past Thursday, someone from the tree farm called us to say they found the key (it had rained all week) about 10' from the where we cut the tree. We drove out on Sunday to pick up the now useless key, but the remote to unlock the car still works. db also decided to wear his jacket with the zippered pockets just to be safe.