An Update From Tennessee

For those of you who I have not personally emailed, I apologize. The days have been packed with things to do, and my computer time is very limited.

We left in nothing less than a blur. It all happened so quickly that it took quite a while for my emotions to get up to speed. One day we were between tours, like so many times before, with Mike looking for work each day, then we were moving when Mike was promised work in Nashville. The timetable was abruptly shortened when we were informed that the value of our home had fallen dramatically, leaving us in the same situation that thousands of Californians are currently in. This is a challenging time for everyone. I know we’re far from alone in the current economic crisis. So, with our options before us, we knew that we had to move quickly, before the finances to do so were no longer there. And in what felt like a moment’s notice, we packed our entire house up, and drove away.

The drive was quite an adventure, with 2 dogs and 4 birds in the car! The birds, which we were very concerned would not survive the trip, hit the road and burst into song (!) that didn’t stop, pretty much, until the trip was over…well, actually, they’re still singing. Who knew, that birds love road trips? Michael had the most comical time trying to discuss various business on his phone while we were driving the road with a chorus of our little friends with feathers and beaks singing “rhapsody to morning” in the background. It was America’s Funniest Video’s stuff! So that lightened the mood considerably. We snuck them into each hotel, incognito (under a blanket), figuring that the pet fee for 2 dogs was plenty to pay. I always wondered about housekeeping’s reaction to bird seed shells and feathers on the floor!

It was a real windy trip. I’m talking REAL windy. There were RV’s crashed on the side of the road, windy. Bad wind all the way from Arizona through Arkansas. It just stopped dead in Arkansas. That’s when we heard about the tornados that had ripped through the towns! We were a day behind them. We wondered if that had anything to do with all the wind. Mike’s sisters’ town was quite literally flattened (Mena, Arkansas), as well as Murfreesboro, which is about 25 miles from where I am right now. Actually Murfreesboro lost 40 – 50 homes if I remember right. But Mena was flattened.

On day 5 we arrived and immediately went to look at the house that we had arranged a lease/option with online. What we didn’t expect was this amazing neighborhood that it’s in. When we pulled in, we were sure we were in the wrong place, as there were water fountains, lakes (much like a fancy golf course kind of place), and palatial homes to the left and right. But as we kept driving, we found that this little mini-city was laid out, much like Disneyland; with the various ‘lands’ at different points like spokes on a wheel, sort of. Each little area has it’s own name, and features homes by a different builder. The homes range from those in the nearly $1,0000,000 range, to the little humble ones like we live in, which are barely $200,000. Our little area is the one in which the houses aren’t brick, but siding. They’re cute. But they are definitely not Moncado Springs. First of all, I still don’t see how on earth they are figuring their square footage, every room is smaller than our Vista house, yet they are saying the square footage is 1900… dunno, that’s still a mystery to me. The floors are carpet and linoleum. The cabinets pine with paint. The countertops formica… sigh… the walls don’t even have any texture on them, I’ve never seen that before. Everything is fairly humble and low budget. But, to stay on the positive side, our humble little place of residence features a fenced yard (a commodity in Tennessee), a babbling brook running right behind the fence, and I DO mean right behind the fence, complete with all the little critters that live in babbling brooks and near babbling brooks. We have already found a water lizard in the kitchen, and various other critters around the house. Poor poor little Zion! Last month, I only had one application of Frontline left to keep the fleas off of them, and I split it between the two of them. BAD IDEA. I (thankfully) was anxious to get them to the groomer after the long trip, and went in a little earlier than normal. Zion was covered in ticks!! AAACCKK! Grossness!! OMG OMG. There was one that was real bad, and he still has a real sore spot from it. I felt horrible. Anyway, welcome to Tennessee, Yvonne! There’s ticks around here! My little sheltered California skin is still crawling at the thought and horror of it all. Yech!

Our home is furnished with an air mattress. Period. That in itself is an interesting experience. I can’t cook yet without my pots and pans (thank God for tv dinners), and we’re using paper plates and plasticware. Kind of like camping.  There is NO TRADER JOES FOR MILES! <:oO This is fairly traumatic. As I am now reading ingredients on every single thing I buy, watching for all the preservatives and additives that we are accustomed to trusting Trader Joes to screen out. There is one about 15 miles away though, and I’m thinking about getting organized enough to just make the trip once a week.

There is weather here. The real kind. Where the sky looks different every day, and even sometimes changes all in one day. That’s actually kind of fascinating, and I like it so far.

I found an excellent nail girl, which made me happy yesterday. Although they are more expensive here, since Tennessee, as a rule, pays its’ laborers better. But that’s not a bad thing to pay for, so it’s alright with me.

We have a colorful little neighbor from Scotland, who talks a mile a minute. Quite entertaining as he’s 75 and has a bucketload of stories. He’s very helpful and knows the whole neighborhood’s business, so he’s been somewhat of a tour guide. To us. He’s a “democrat and an atheist!!” He announced this on day one. And he announced it in a manner that anticipated opposition. Lol. We gave him none of course.

Mike has been gone, pretty much from the minute we arrived, making contacts. Everybody knows everybody here, so he’s been moving like crazy from one contact to another, hoping to stir up work. The one job that he had been promised, that brought us here, sort of fizzled out since the guy didn’t get the expected contracts this spring that he was planning to put Mike on. So, back to the drawing board. I’m busily handing out business cards, but I can’t do anything until my equipment arrives. I’m thinking of posting an ad on Craigslist, to try to drum up some work for myself.

The heartbreak over my beautiful house in Vista is only starting to set in. And I miss my neighborhood more than I can put into words.

Well, today is the day that I plan to finally paint the bedroom. It’s blue, and my bedroom stuff is all that rusty red and gold…so that won’t work. I better get at it.

The video I’m posting is just a little slide show of pics I took throughout the house we’re in and the surrounding woods. The video footage from the trip has yet to be downloaded, since I neglected to pack the patch chord from the video camera (bright move).

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