A Year in Transition: Music City Nomads

The following is the first post in a series of out-of-sync recollections about my family’s move from Shelby Township, Michigan — a suburb one hour north of Detroit — to Spring Hill, Tennessee — a suburb 45 minutes south of Nashville. Our family has been blessed with an opportunity to live in a diverse, ever-growing metropolitan area; surrounded by a near-perfect blend of suburban conveniences, Appalachian foothills, green farm spaces, music, entertainment, restaurants, people, art, culture and history.

One year ago, today, our journey to the ‘burbs of Music City began. It was our last day living in Michigan. The immediate days that followed were a nomadic, whirlwind of exploring Nashville and Middle Tennessee, registering our children for school, closing on the home we purchased, meeting new friends at our neighborhood pool, comparing grocery stores and organizing our household. Today, we are still in transition and still make discoveries about our new community. I compare ourselves to tourists because there are times we experience things for the first time; just like those visiting Nashville and the historic southern towns that make Middle Tennessee so charming. We truly are tourists in our own backyard.

This was it. Good-bye Michigan.

So, our story begins the morning we exited Michigan. This was it. Our home in Shelby Twp. was now owned by someone else and proceeds were in the bank. Check. All of our belongings (with the exception of valuables and what fit into suitcases) were packed into a moving truck and were taken to a storage unit. Check. My car was on a trailer somewhere between Michigan and Tennessee; and would be delivered to me a couple days later in Franklin, Tennessee. Check. Mail forwarding instructions had been processed. Check. Meetings scheduled with school principals. Check. Reservations for the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center and for rental house in historic Franklin were confirmed. Check.

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Our exit from Michigan was in sight. My husband’s Pontiac Grand Prix crossed the line. A box of cookies from Tringali’s Bakery on my lap, wide-eyed kids in the back seat, and a rear-view glimpse was all that was left.

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Welcome to … Music City

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Downtown Nashville viewed from John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge at Nissan Stadium.

Music City is a mere 45 minutes north of Spring Hill, TN, the suburb, we now call home. When we arrived on July 28, we lived as nomads for three weeks to accommodate closing dates on our old and new homes; and school start dates. We stayed at the Baymont Inn and Suites in Franklin, TN, the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, and a rental house in historic Franklin.

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Inside the Opryland Hotel is like entering another universe.

Our introduction to Music City included the Adventure Science Center, The Dog of Nashville for hotdogs, Cumberland Park, an Old Town Trolley Tour, and Savannah’s Candy Kitchen.

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View of Nashville from top of the Adventure Tower at Adventure Science Center in Nashville. The Subway restaurant inside the museum, offers stunning views of the city, too. Also, in the Human Body section on Level 2, there is an addictive laser gun game where up to 12 players combat each other to either cure or inflict disease on body organ systems. Finally, the Music City Solar Eclipse Festival and Viewing Party is August 19, 20, and 21.

 

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Delicious hotdogs and burgers in the Vanderbilt University neighborhood.

 

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Bicentennial Park captured from Trolley Tour. Our tour guide was originally from Grand Rapids.

 

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One of many trolley tour stops. Trolley tours are the best way to get a snapshot-view of the entire city; especially if you’re travelling with kids or experiencing southern summer heat for the first time. Trolleys stop and pick you up at must-see places on Broadway as well as in the Gulch, Music Row, Vanderbilt and Germantown.

 

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Savannah’s Candy Kitchen. Dessert heaven on Broadway between 3rd and 4th Avenues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Transition

My family and I moved!! We live 45 minutes south of Nashville — Music City — and are busy fixing up our home, enjoying our new neighborhood and school communities, and exploring our new city. Revitalization plans for my blog are in the research and design phase. Check out my photos for a sampling of what I have discovered during my research. I look forward to sharing more new life scenes, thoughts and stories, soon.

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George Jones Entertainment, Nashville

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Homestead Manor, Thompson Station, TN

 

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Public Square, Columbia, TN

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View of downtown Franklin, TN from Winstead Hill.

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Harvey Park, Spring Hill, TN

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Wetland Walking Trail, Discovery Center, Murfreesboro, TN

I Witnessed Something at the Polls That Made Me Sick

Excellent post about the voice people with special needs should have a right to have in any election. After all, those elected are representing their interests as well as ours.

Dreaming With Your Feet

I’m about to do something I’ve never done before on my little blog. I’m going to rant. Big time. About politics and voting. May not even proofread. Will probably use a lot of expletives so now might be the time to click off this page if you don’t want to read a profanity-laced diatribe about what happened when I went to the polls today.

Also, this post is very long.

As I approached the precinct where I vote, I noticed a young adult woman with Down syndrome and her mother entering the building. Standing outside the building was an old man, dressed in denim overalls next to a woman who I presume is a member of some fundamentalist cult because she was wearing a long denim skirt and had that hair…you know the kind. The hairdo that Warren Jeff’s wives wear. As the young woman with Down syndrome walked through…

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Resolutions

IMG_2541I watched from my window. Snowflakes flurried outside — mixing and mingling — with a carefree attitude. They encouraged me to let go of my worries. In my nightstand, I found an old journal I received from a forever friend nearly two decades ago.

I watched from my window. Snowflakes fell with a lightness; beckoning me to feel the peace and harmony my soul was seeking. I flipped through the journal reading entries from years gone by.

I watched from my window. Snowflakes danced outside; pushing me out of my warm, cozy house. On the inside journal cover, my forever friend wrote the following:

Every day is the beginning of the rest of your life.  Thus, if you screw something up today, you will get another chance tomorrow.

I stepped out of my comfort zone. Snowflakes tickled my nose and the cold air swirled around me; bringing me to a state of wakefulness. My wanderlust pushed me to keep stepping forward into a maze of questions for 2016.

I stepped out of my comfort zone. Snowflakes stuck to my lashes making me see. There are opportunities to consider, knowledge to gain, and adventures to experience. My resolutions for 2016 are be brave in stepping into each day, navigate the unexpected; and embrace this journey that is mine.

 

 

Scenes from Life: Being a Mom (Parent)

Go with the flow. Be flexible, agile, patient and open to experience the unexpected. Live on minimal sleep. Drink plenty of caffeine. And, some wine after the kiddos go to bed. Eat standing up while making breakfasts, packing lunches and taking inventory of backpacks. Exercise to keep stress away.  Stay organized. Two planners — traditional and smart — are what it takes; for me. Support systems of family, friends, teachers, neighbors and virtual connections for stability; and comic relief. Listening to music does wonders, too. The Killers, When You Were Young, is pumping me up.

It takes a human with a balance of love, stamina, strength, intelligence, fortitude, compassion, calm, resolve, persistence, resourcefulness, creativity and many other attributes to be a mom (parent). Prior to being a mom (parent), I spent most of my time helping Syntel, a global information technology solution provider, generate new business leads and land multi-million-dollar contracts. It was a pretty intense, fast-paced, always-changing, not-for-sissies life.

So, 12 years ago, I sat at my desk in a cubicle at the 525 office building on 16 Mile in Troy, Mich. I was prepping for the next leg in life. 22 more days. The calendar did not lie. My temporary replacement baulked at the project list he would inherit and support. Could he keep up in this needed-it-yesterday environment? That was the least of my worries.

My plan was to work from home until Issa — my eldest child — made her début. Then, maternity leave. But, my first lesson in being a mom (parent) was about being ready for and managing the unexpected. Issa arrived early. Work-from-home projects had to be delegated. Maternity leave began earlier.

What to do? Give Issa all the love and attention she needed to thrive.

The second lesson was about adaptions; survival of the fittest. Before Issa, I easily slept until 9 am. Unfortunately, Issa gravitated toward her dad’s wake-time of 6:30 am; even on weekends. In the beginning, I unleashed a few snarls of discontent at my husband; especially when he claimed not to hear her crying for some attention.

What to do? Wake up! Drink coffee. Play.

Now, early wake-times no longer phase me. In fact, I accomplish more. I stay on track with work, school schedules, volunteerism, socializing, and wine time.

A third lesson, which I am still in the midst of learning, is about resilience and resourcefulness. As Issa entered preschool, we (my husband and I) discovered she had ADD (attention deficit disorder) as well as global development delays. Riff (my youngest) also has learning challenges and development delays.

What to do? Learn. Make friends with school district decision-makers, teachers, therapists, education consultants, pediatric non-profits, and peer parents. Advocate for whatever Issa and Riff need to be on a path for current and future success. Actively support them through participation in their activities, tough love and understanding.

Finally, the most important lesson is the one of patience. Before Issa, patience was not a natural virtue. It still isn’t. It’s just not in my DNA.

What to do? Self-imposed time-outs, calming strategies, and positive self-talk.

Home life is peaceful. Well, maybe I went a little too far there. My home is not synonymous with church. There are daily moments when I snap into a being I do not recognize. I swear, yell and use not-so-nice sign language. Imperfection at its finest; beautiful chaos.

So, now what?

Go with the flow. Be patient. Experiencing the unexpected is one of the greatest gifts of being a mom (parent); and it is not for sissies.

 

Winter Brings Vengeance

I can feel the cold. It surrounds my house; seeping in through the crappy windows installed when we built knew more than a decade ago. Isn’t it amazing how a window company stays in business for decades when they manufacture crap windows, have crap retail service and send out crap installers to put in their windows? I don’t know how they pull it off. Anyway, my rant today isn’t about crap windows; or maybe it is. My rant is about winter showing up with all of its vengeance in southeastern Michigan. The blustery bitterness makes me long for the amiable tranquility summer offers.

Blustery bitterness comes to my corner of the world.

Blustery bitterness in my corner of the world. Photo credit: kateschannel

Amiable tranquility during Summer 2014 at Myrtle Beach, SC. Photo credit: kateschannel

Amiable tranquility during Summer 2014 at Myrtle Beach, SC. Photo credit: kateschannel

Random Thoughts: According to Plan

It’s that time of year. Plans keep me on track for completing projects, meeting deadlines, and keeping my sanity. I consult desk and smart phone calendars multiple times each day. That’s right. Two calendars. It’s a memory thing.

But, as nature intends, plans rarely progress as expected. Uncontrollable variables sneak themselves into the picture; disrupting the schedule; causing delay or even forfeit. Weather, defiant children, moody spouses, illness, family emergencies, transportation issues, DVR dysfunction, and funked-up quarterbacks are just eight on an infinite list.

So, to make it the finish each day — with a sense of accomplishment and a glass of much-deserved wine in hand — flexibility, adaptability and a sense of humor are a must.