A Weekend in Nashville

This has been a heartwarming and fun visit to my home. A visit that will be all too short but I am taking it all in and taking those memories home with me.

My first stop in Nashville was all about hitting Green Hills Mall, while I can’t afford a lot of stuff in there, it is a great place to visit. I needed a haircut since I was looking worse than a ragamuffin. My long hair, that I have taken great pains to grow out, well, it wasn’t behaving at all. I am sure that my new coworkers think I must not take any effort in getting ready to come to work because it is always out of control.

Gone is about four inches of hair, I should have gone with three max, but I was in a mood. I went to the spa in Macy’s for a new ‘do and left with a lot less hair and I fear some major issues in getting it to listen to me. But it will grow back out sooner than later, so I will work with it until it does get a bit longer. And I will remind myself not to go so drastic next time.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out with Marti and the furbabies I am here to keep company while my BFF Stacey and her husband enjoy some time with her family up north. Friday was that one crazy, hectic day spent with my old coworkers and a meeting with my wonderful, too good to be true former boss.

It was also announced that my current office had donated $650 from a bake sale I coordinated for my three former coworkers that had been hit the hardest from the flood. I spoke with one of them, a lady that has never really cared for me. I had been genuinely concerned for her since she has had a run of bad luck in the past couple of years. She had tears in her eyes and thanked me for the money, thoughts and prayers. We discussed tearing down drywall partially vs. completely as well as remodeling work that I have helped with in the past. While we may never be friends, I think she finally sees that while I am, yes, a control freak, that I do care about everyone. It was a nice feeling to have. While I haven’t been able to donate a lot of money to the cause, I have been able to spearhead a bake sale and pass word around about the devastation in Nashville.

I also got to see what happens when a thunderstorm comes up quickly and the rain pours down so hard that no umbrella will help shield you from the rain. That rain came just as I was leaving the office to head back to check on the animals before an afternoon with the ladies from my old office and watching a movie with friends. The standing water came on so quickly, much quicker than it ever did when I lived here. I guess Nashville still hasn’t quite dried out yet from the Flood of 2010.

Today I took Shadow, my stinky boyfriend (aka my BFF’s dog) on a R-I-D-E, oh wait, I can say ride here since he doesn’t read! He was beyond excited to hop in the car and go. With windows down, the sunroof opened, we headed to Bellevue, my neck of the woods to survey the damage. Pictures and coverage on the news does not even begin to really show the devastation that has hit my fair city. Windows blown out, debris in the ditches, dirt covering once full parking areas in a condo development, while my jaw hung low, I just couldn’t get the right words in my head. A quick prayer and a shake of my head was the only thing I could muster. Some business have been able to ramp back up and open again, with signs announcing, “We’re Open” every so often.

Belle Meade Plaza, where the Kroger and several other businesses were damaged is back to a new type of normal. The liquor store that was once located in a lower section is now open in a main level area that once housed Crystal Gail’s store. I hope the yellow lab is still there, hanging out to greet customers. My favorite, quick trip Mexican place for lunch had only reopened just a few days before I got there. While they did not flood, there were electrical issues that took a while to be fixed. I hope the employees are doing well and were not hurt too bad by the restaurant being closed for over two weeks.

This evening my friend Amy and I took a trip down Charlotte with me, thankfully in the passenger seat so I could take it all in. We stopped and ate at Bobbie’s Dairy Dip, a must go to stop for great burgers, fries and malts (my favorite!). It is so weird to see places boarded up, shut down or running at half speed. Then Amy took me down into West Nashville where entire streets are dead, no signs of life, just belongings ruined from the flood, cars sitting their, more blown out windows, awnings hanging just barely along with porches that used to have neighbors gathered on while visiting, all of it dilapidated. Amy said that parts of these neighborhoods will be condemned and those who lived there will not be able to come back to rebuild.

She also spoke of Jim N Nicks and Wendall Smiths, while dealing with the flood, preparing food and delivering it to those hit so hard in West Nashville. This area has families who barely have enough to get by on a good day. The flood came and what little they had was destroyed. Some might have the means to rebuild their lives but others are struggling.

If I still lived here, I would have been fine. I might have lost power or had shoddy cell service but other than that, I would have been fine. I would have been one of the lucky ones. But there is a part of me, that girl who study journalism in college, that is angry. Why some neighborhoods but not others. How did that street escape certain disaster but this street did not?

And where was the national news? Most people think that since the water is gone that life is back to normal. It is not. I have lived through on disaster, the tornado of ’98 (it came downtown only a few short blocks from my office, I heard it, felt it and saw the aftermath). The city began to repair as quickly as possible but it still took time.

Those whose lives were impacted by the floods will still be digging out and trying to figure out what step to take next in the coming months. It will take quite some time for Nashville to get back on it’s feet yet they have only had a few minutes here and there that speaks of the flood.

I want the national media to take a look at the disaster and the way that this community has come together. Hands on Nashville is a first responder, without them, I don’t think some of the relief efforts would have had such a far reaching scope. The mobilized thousands of volunteers, young and old, to help take care of our neighbors. And yet, a non bomb scare in NYC ( a city that I love very much) took center stage.

For those of you still figuring out summer plans, come to Nashville. They are working on rebuilding but this city is open for business. And even though I am a bit bias, it is a great city. One that I hope that I can call home again. Until then I will wear me “We Are Nashville” t-shirt and sell a short, weekend trip to my friends and family so they can see the love and pride that Nashvillians take in their city.

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Cracking My Back

One of the many things they don’t tell you as you get older. . . some of those silly things you used to do, like, umm, hula hooping, is no longer a safe sport. . .in fact, it can end up causing you to recline on your couch for days on end, just wishing someone would take you out in a field and shoot you.

Since I am now11 days past the hula hooping debacle of 2010 my poor little self has still not gotten put back together. Seriously, I could have put Humpty Dumpty back together quicker than my own body. I had several people tell me that I needed to just bite the bullet and go to the chiropractor. But I am kind of stubborn like that and made a deal with myself. It went like this:

If you just give it one more weekend of just sitting on your butt, doing some stretches and taking it easy; all will be better come Monday.

But what if I am still in pain?

Okay, well I doubt you will be but if that is the case, find a chiro and go. Deal?

Deal.

And last night as I was trying to read in bed, all reclined and propped up I could still feel the pain shooting through my back. I finally got to sleep and dreamed of a time when I could out hula hoop everyone and still have normal function in my lower back/hip area. But this morning I felt like Mick Mars after a night of thrashing on his guitar and waved (will minimal pain) the white flag of surrender.

Okay self, you win, I will go see a chiropractor. And here is where I whine about the fact that I had go through the motions of finding a new doctor here. I find one, he confirms some of what I thought but says it is all my lower back, that my hips are out of whack but it is my lower back that is all kinds of jacked up. X-rays, discussions and several adjustments later I am starting to feel more normal. Of course, it still hurts like heck and I am getting more adjustments for the next four weeks but let me just say this, I can now get up and actually put weight on my leg without wincing.

My dreams of entering into the Olympics in the hula hoop category are crushed but it was a nice dream anyway. Now I am off to buy Ben Gay, a walker, a support brace and possible some special shoes that will give me just the right amount of support while I walk around.

Getting old isn’t all that it is cracked up to be, in fact, my back seems to want it’s money back.

When Did Parents Stop Parenting?

I love children, I love seeing what their little minds come up with, fascinated by their smarts and their ability to make me laugh. My friends’ children are great and when they do act up, most of them get reined back in by their parents. The children I used to babysit were generally well behaved and when they disobeyed by I employed tactics inspired by my mother.

But, I have noticed that not all children are reprimanded and generally their parents tend to giggle, sigh and say, “Well, they are just kids being kids.” And this is where I start to wonder when parents stopped doing their job. And do they realize that they are setting them up for failure?

My new apartment complex houses a good number of these children. They run and scream at all times of the night and day–it doesn’t matter what the weather is either. The parents? Well, I am beginning to think this is just like the shows on tv, they are never seen or heard from. In today’s world, not everyone is nice. There are stories all the time about kids being snatched waiting for the bus or playing in their front yard. Yet, these parents let them roam free without a care in the world. I am actually waiting on Nancy Grace to make an appearance here since this is just asking for trouble.

The children also don’t mind trying to get you to play with them, in an effort, one can only assume, to entertain them since their parents are nowhere to be found. And they get irritated when you say that you cannot entertain them.

My old place had some kids around but you never heard from them. There were incidences at the pool where the parents sat and drank, assuming if that sweet little darling started to drown, someone else would deal with it. Umm, no; I keep one eye out for any issues but I thought that if I were at the pool reading, that it was quite clear that I was trying to relax. Plus, why should I parent your kid (whose name I do not know) while you are having “me” time.

One of my friend’s children mentioned that while I was fun to hang out with, I sure did have a lot of rules. LOL, yes my dear sweet boy, that I love like crazy, I will not let you wander off when I am supposed to be taking you to the zoo! I kind of have this rule, I leave with two kids, two kids come back. It’s not like there is a store that replaces smart, cute kids that I can run through and pick up replacements!

The kicker to all of this is that I grew up in a much different time and yet my parents were stricter with me then than these parents are with their kids. And the world is not as nice as it used to be. A perfect example of a child raised with no guidance or rules, Lindsay Lohan. . .and to be quite honest, I don’t want to be around children like that. And I especially don’t want to hear the parents blaming the teachers and giving looks as if they are confused why no one cares for their precious little child who currently is tearing a tree down.

I Wish. . .

There are so many things that I wish for, sometimes it silly things, sometimes its me being selfish and other times those wishes seem bigger than me. I seem to mix my wishes into my prayers, knowing that He sees the big picture and little ole me cannot, so I get frustrated. But that is okay because He knows me, knows that while I wish I could be patient to see life unfold that in time I will get it and I will smile, thanking Him for answered prayers.

I wish I was better at dealing with my money and that I made more. Of course, that takes time and seeing as how I am learning, the hard way; it will all come together in the end. No debt to deal with, money in savings and gifts to my family and friends will be the reward.

I wish that I could stop chowing down on sweets! I need to get healthy and I am working towards that goal. Of course, this goes hand in hand with my lack of grace. I somehow managed to mess up my alignment in my lower back which is making my left hip scream in pain. I have done lots of things to hurt myself before but I can safely say that this has to be the worst. I yelp when I get up or sit down. Walking is okay to a certain extent, laying down is great and reclining on the couch, even better. I know that it is working on healing but being out of shape puts a crimp in it. And how did I injure myself? Oh, you know, I was at field day for my department and am guessing that my stint in hula hooping got the best of me. And yes, I still trip over my feet when walking! I would do great in a sitcom!

I wish that I was in Nashville right now to help out those affected by the flood. I am hoping that I will have a chance to volunteer when I am up there to visit soon. I wish I had the money to send there but that is not in the budget. So for now, I am praying for Nashville, hoping that those who lost everything are being taken care of and that soon, they will be able to go back to their homes. I would love to be able to just do laundry for those that need clean clothes. I would even separate them like you are supposed to!

I wish I had the courage to put myself out there to meet people, to open my heart up to a man. I am getting there, it just takes me a bit longer to get to that starting line. I have been back and forth about things that have happened in the past, made apologies to one that I did hurt and forgiven the one that broke my heart. For now, I am concentrating on the love I have for friends, family and my crazy cat.

I have been inspired by a book I have been reading, “I Will Carry You,” by Angie Smith. The story touches me deeply because the loss of Audry has helped me see what my friends have been going through after they lost Liam. I have prayed hard while reading the book and plan on going back to the references she has made to the Bible so I can study them. Reading her story has made me see that while I may think I have had hard times, they are so minor compared to hers, to my friends and to others who have had to endure a loss of a child. Pray with me that God will continue to bless them, to give them peace and to know that their children made a mark on this world.

I wish for my friends to be blessed soon with a healthy baby brother or sister for Liam. I actually make a point of going out on my deck nightly to find a star and wish. Then I say a prayer.

I wish I was neater instead of a messy child. I have the hardest time setting time aside to clean and the sad fact is I have a vacuum cleaner that is the bomb! A Dyson that my parents very sweetly gave me for Christmas. I love that thing but it takes a lot of talking to myself to get it out and let it do its job. I took it out this weekend and marveled at how nice my place looked, even with a brief once over. I should do it weekly but. . .

I wish that all of you who read my blog take the time to be grateful for what you have been blessed with, that you know that you are loved and that through Him, everything is going to be okay.

We Are Nashville

A hockey blogger titled a post with this and I think it is quite fitting. The flood that hit Nashville just last week has brought out the kindness of my former community. Everyone is pitching in and doing what they can to offer relief to those who lost their homes, cars and belongings.

While I would love to see more coverage on the national news about the devastation that Nashville and the surrounding communities have dealt with and will continue to deal with; I also know that my friends and friends of friends are out in force to help. This says so much about my city.

I have read comical posts on Facebook, sad news as well but the next couple of comments are what made me fall in love with this city:

I am going to junk punch the next person I see watering their lawn or washing their car.

I heard a rumor they are going to tear Opry Mills down. Does anyone know if this is true?

The responses to the latter comment can be summed up best: Bring back Opryland Themepark!

The Nashville Scene has an annual summer issue dedicated to this: “You are so Nashville if. . .” and I think it goes without saying to terribly much, You are so Nashville if you wish Opry Mills would disappear and the theme park would come back. Truer words have never been spoken! And I can now say, I am so Nashville. . .

Three of my former coworkers have had major destruction done to their homes. If I had mounds of money sitting in the bank, I would offer up some to each of them. Since I do not, I managed to pull together a bake sale on Friday at my new office. Since I still work for the same company, it was easy to pull at the heart strings of my new coworkers, talk to them about what had happened to those in my old office and was able to raise over $600 that will go to my former coworkers. It isn’t much but every little bit helps.

I may not live there now but I am still a Nashvillian and proudly say, We Are Nashville. We will come together to help out neighbors. My fair city may have been knocked down but we are not out, not by a long shot.

If anyone needs to have a weekend getaway, come to Nashville this summer. Take in the parks, museums and downtown area. It is a great place to visit and they are open for business. And if you can’t make it there; please consider donating a little and keep them in your prayers.

A Fish Out of Water

Kind of ironic that I feel so out of sorts lately, driving the point home was me sitting on my deck, watching WSMV online this weekend to see just what kind of damage was done to my city, Nashville.

The flood has destroyed my beloved city, thankfully, my friends are all okay. Yet, I felt so far away from them, so helpless. I wanted to be there to offer support, comfort and a safe, dry place to tuck into at night. Of course, my old neighborhood Bellevue was hit hard by the flood. I am still unaware of any damage to my apartment complex but hope to find out soon.

While all this technology is great I still felt so disconnected from them. They could all share with me what they saw, I could watch the live coverage online (umm, yeah, what’s up with the lack of coverage on the national news???????) and read/look at stories/photos as the scene unfolded but I am not at home. I am in a city that while only a couple hours away could be in a far off country.

I miss home, I miss the comfort in knowing that I could hop in my car and in five minutes be at my best friend’s house. I miss walking into my old office, hearing the drama, the giggles and sighs that happened daily.

My father’s first words to me when I called Saturday evening to tell him what I learned so far from my friends was, “I am so glad that you are here and not there.” I get that being a parent, he is thankful that I am not dealing with a flooded apartment or a car that is completely underwater, I get that. BUT, I want to go home.

In high school, as we were all preparing for the ACT, there were questions about which one is not like the other. I feel like I am the living, breathing example of that question. I feel out of place here, in my new/old city. I work with nice people but they don’t give me that warm/fuzzy feeling that I had the moment I walked into my old office for an interview.

I know that it all takes time but the adjustment is rough and I have a hard time hiding the I would rather be somewhere else. It isn’t fair to everyone here and I do try hard not to talk about life back home but still.

I cried this weekend several times for the first time in quite awhile. I am homesick. Who knew that my love for Nashville would grow so strong, so deep in the ten years that I lived there.

This is one fish that needs to find water soon and I am praying that will happen.

**For those that are interested, please go to the Red Cross website and donate whatever you can for Nashville as they rally the troops to rebuild. There are families who lost everything. The latest news I had was the Cumberland River was expected to crest this evening. It was up to 2nd Avenue this afternoon. And, please pray for everyone there. This is something that is widespread and not an easy fix.