Quarantined Due to Coronavirus

As of March 14th, I started working from home as my employer wanted as many of us as possible to work remotely. I am grateful that my employer provided us this option as so many people are getting laid off and might not have a job to return to once this pandemic is over.

As most people know, back in December, we started hearing about the Coronavirus (aka COVID-19) happening in China. Since them the virus has moved to many countries. So many in fact, it would take several pages to list them all. Time magazine posted the following table with data as of March 19, 8PM EST. I am only showing the Countries with more than 800 cases.

Resource: https://time.com/5800901/coronavirus-map/

Here’s another map showing 160 countries and territories that have now reported at least one case of the novel coronavirus.

Now that testing has amped up, there are more and more positive cases. All 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been affected. West Virginia was the last state to have a positive case.

LOCKDOWN

California was the first state to be put their residents on lockdown effective Thursday, March 19th. They have over 40 million residents who were told to stay at home except for essential activities. New York has ordered all workers to stay home. All these measures were done due to the number of U.S. cases doubling in the last two days.

In my state of Tennessee, we have a confirmed 192 cases with 110 of them being in Davidson County, which is the county I work in. I live one county over in Wilson County which only has 1 case. As of this morning, Davidson county had closed all gyms and no dining in at restaurants.

PERSONAL CHANGES

We are pretty much homebodies since we quit traveling full-time in our RV so being quarantined is not much different than the way we were living before all of this started. However, we did enjoy going out to dinner at least once a week, which has now been taken away from us.

Trying to find food at the grocery store has been our biggest challenge. By the time we went shopping last weekend there was no toilet paper to find and food was pretty scarce. It took 3 stores before I could find enough stuff for us to make it through the week. Now we are at the end of another week and our trip this morning didn’t amount to much of anything as the one store we went to only had one package of meat. We were only able to find chicken. This new life does not bode well with my healthy lifestyle I have been living the past four and a half months.

It was hard to believe that things like hand sanitizer, paper towels, cleaning supplies, bleach and so much more were completely gone from the shelves as people scrambled to buy so much at once in fear of what might happen in the next few days. As the week has progressed people are still hoarding items and now stores are having to set limits to allow everyone to get just one of something.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

I’m not sure I agree with all this social distancing, but if it helps to keep this virus from spreading then it will be worth it in the end. I just hope it ends sooner than later. We have seen and heard so many different reports about how long this might go on for that it makes it scary to know what the next day may bring.

My biggest surprise through all of this is the number of big businesses that have closed. Everything from Disney to shopping malls and bars and honky tonks are all closing their doors. So many people are without jobs. Many having no idea if their business will reopen when all of this is over or not.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I pray that this epidemic will end soon and that the economy will be able to recover. I pray for those that are being affected by this much more so than I am, and I pray that everyone will be able to get the food and help that they need to make it through this storm.

Hold the people you love close and have a little extra patience with your children as you maneuver through this as this too shall past.

Life After a Tornado

I’ve been trying to write about what happened in Middle Tennessee last Monday night for the past week but couldn’t bring myself to write about it as it still seems so unreal. When we went to bed on Monday night (March 2nd) we had no idea that the weather was supposed to get as bad as it did. The last thing we saw on the news was that Kentucky was going to get some bad stuff.

Where we live, we have tornado sirens that go off when a tornado is approaching and that is what woke me up as my phone was on silent, so I never heard the alarms on it. I remember the clock saying 12:57 am right before we lost power. The sirens were really load and kept going off constantly, so I knew something was wrong. I woke my husband up as he would have probably slept through it all.

Once I woke him up, we could hear the wind whipping and the RV started shaking as the winds picked up more and more. I’m sure it was only seconds that passed, but it seemed like several minutes as time seemed to stop. We could hear the winds getting louder and heavier and then we heard that sound that sounded like a train. There was nowhere for us to go as we do not have a storm shelter and at this point it would have been too late to try to get anywhere and living in the RV there was no place that was safe to hunker down, so we laid in our bed holding our pups to wait out what could have been our final moments in life.

I spent the time praying that God watch over my children and grandchildren and help them to get through whatever aftermath they might face if this was my last few moments on earth. I also prayed that God would let us go peacefully and without pain.

Once the tornado passed, the winds died down and everything seemed so silent. My husband went outside, but couldn’t see much at that time of night, but could tell that all the RV’s and mobile homes right around us were okay. It would only be a matter of minutes before we could hear the sirens of police, fire and rescue sounding through the night.

For what seemed like hours we sat in our bed thanking God we were still alive and wondering just how bad it was outside of our little space and just how many lives had been affected by what we were seeing online already. After what seemed like forever, we laid down to try and rest. It would not be until morning that we would see and hear more about what had happened in the night.

Our power was restored before noon the next day. We were one of the lucky ones. As of the writing of this post there are still people without power. The storm stayed on the ground stretching over 60 miles from the west side of Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee to Cookeville, Putman County, Tennessee. There are 25 deaths including children and many more injured.

The tornado strengths ranged from an EF-2 to EF-4 as it touched down in:

  • Germantown/North Nashville
  • East Nashville/Five Points
  • Donelson
  • Juliet (the town we live in)
  • Cookeville

Although these cities have endured much over the past week, the communities have come together, and people are helping people in so many ways. Volunteers have come from all over the US to help in clean up and restoration of power and so much more.

It’s times like this that make you really think about your life and how you live each day. It will take many months, if not years, for the areas affected to fully recover, but they will recover. I pray for all the families that have lost a loved one, their home, pets and more that they will have the strength to endure the days ahead and know that they are not alone in their journey.

My husband asked me if I wanted to move back into a sticks and bricks house after living through this and the experience we had being in the RV and hearing the winds and feeling the RV shake and not knowing if we would see the light of day again, and I quickly said NO. It wasn’t until later that I started to regret living in the RV, but that was only when I thought about what could have happened if that tornado had moved only ½ mile to the right, which is all it would have taken for us to be part of the devastation. I am so grateful that God looked out for us that night. I have to believe I still have a purpose for being here and that God wasn’t ready to call me home just yet. While I’m here I want to make the most of my life and I want to enjoy every day that I have because times like this show us that things can change in a blink of an eye.

Planning a Summer Trip

Now that we are back living in the RV full-time and life has returned to normal, we are in the process of planning a summer vacation so we can take the RV somewhere and have a little fun. We will be going to both WV and AL over a 10-day span. My in-laws always spend the 4th of July at their camp on the New River just outside Hinton, West Virginia, which is close to where my husband grew up. I made my first trip there in 2014. You can read all about that in a previous blog post. This will be the first time that we are taking our RV with us to WV as in previous times we stayed in a camper on his parents’ property. I prefer having my own stuff, especially my own bed and I want my dogs to be safe and they would not be if we stayed with the in-laws.

Our plan is to pull out on the 3rd of July and drive all the way to our destination. We are staying at Pipestem RV Park & Campgrounds. It’s right off Hwy 20, which is right off the interstate so the drive shouldn’t be too bad.  While there we hope to visit Barnwood Builders place that’s about 1 ½ hours away and visit one of the state parks that has a beautiful gristmill. We’ll stay for five nights before heading down to Alabama.

Back in 2015 when we were full-time traveling, we stayed at Honeycomb Campgrounds right on Lake Guntersville. You can read about that trip HERE.  We’ll only have 4 nights here and by the time the week is over we will probably wish we had a lot more days that we could stay here. I remember our last stay here so vividly. We were in our first few months of traveling full-time and was at an in between stage of trying to figure out what we wanted to do when out the blue one day we decided to go to this place. Our site was right on the water, #68. It was perfect. The sunsets and sunrises each morning and night were just beautiful. We were able to get in and out of our kayaks right at our site, which was great considering we had a new puppy at the time, and he loved going out on the water as much as we did. Unfortunately, we sold our kayaks several years back, but have since bought some paddle boats that hopefully will serve the same purpose. Personally I would rather have my kayak, but considering I don’t have money for that right now, I’ll settle for what the hubster bought and just be glad to be back on the water doing something I love…..fishing!

Hope all of you are planning some wonderful trips. Let me know where your headed or any good places you’ve already been to that we should add to our list for the future.

Happy Camping!

My Birthday Weekend

Today is my 53rd birthday. Sometimes I feel like I’m seventy, but I’m grateful for another day to explore this beautiful country that I call home. This past Saturday was my day to celebrate since I would have to work on my actual birthday. My husband and I had decided to take a drive out to Land Between the Lakes (LBTW), but before we headed there we stopped off at Red Lobster and had a late lunch. I had the crab legs and lobster, which was delicious, and he had fish and chips. He also gave me my birthday present, which this year amounted to cash. Fabric store here I come.

LBTW is located on the Tennessee/Kentucky line and we chose to go there to see if we could spot any Elk in the Bison and Elk Prairie. We have been several times before and have never once seen any elk, but have seen lots of bison and turkey. All our visits before were always during the middle of the day, but this time we purposely waiting until closer to dusk.

Today was a GREAT DAY as we seen so many elk that I couldn’t keep count. The admission into the prairie is $5.00 per vehicle and then the road is paved all the way around, so you just follow it around. There are a couple of look out spots that you can stop at, but always remember these animals are still wild, so please be careful and not approach too close. They recommend that you stay within 10 feet of your vehicle.

As soon as we drove in, we knew there had to be something up ahead as all the cars before us had stopped. As we got closer, we could see an elk on the left and then another. We stopped and watched for quite some time. One cut across the road to the right, which made it better for me because I could photograph right from the window and not have to venture out from the safety of my seat.

 

We continued around and came to a huge assortment of not just bulls, but cows (females) and a few babies along with some bison as well.  The pic below shows the assortment. We stopped every few feet so I could get some close-up shots; however, with my 600mm lens I could zoom in on just about any of them.

As we traveled on around, we saw a few more along with some turkeys who had taken roost in the trees already as it was getting close to sundown. As we neared the end of the road we were able to swing back through for another look as number 181, that I had gotten when we first came in, had now walked further in and was coming out of the clearing on the other side, but not far enough out in the open to really see him, so we drove around again to give him time to wander on out. I was able to shoot a few more of the bulls along the way and as we came around the last bend, sure enough, number 181 was out in the open field. He was so immaculate and posed several times for me to get some good shots.

All in all, our day could not have been more perfect. I appreciate Greg for entertaining all my ideas and taking time to chauffeur me around to see all the animals as well as the covered bridges, lighthouses, and waterfalls that I enjoy photographing. Our next outing will be to see some waterfalls.

Happy 5th Birthday, Oscar

I can’t believe my little furbaby is 5 years old today. It seems like only yesterday that we brought him home. He is such a comfort to both myself and my husband. In addition to celebrating his birthday today, we made a trip to the vet for his six-month heart worm prevention which turned into a twelve month injection. Proheart recently came out with a twelve month injection so we are trying it and hoping for the best. He didn’t have any issues aft er the shot. 

In addition, I asked the doctor about getting something to calm him down when we’re traveling as he is always off the wall in the vehicle. Our other weenie just chills out and sleeps unless she knows there’s food in the truck. The doctor give us Trazodone. I din’t give him any on the trip to Knoxville as I didn’t want to mix that with his injection he had just got. He ended up doing a lot better on this trip, but at least we will be prepared for the future.

I bought cupcakes for him and his sister as a special treat and although he loved the cake part, he wasn’t too impressed with the icing, which was fine with me as I didn’t really wanting him to eat all that sugar.

Checking out my pupcake, Ocsar!

Sharing with my sister, Harley!

The End of a Decade

First, I want to address the big changes in 2019 as it has been a whirlwind of a year once July creeped around. In July I started a new job, October we sold our house and moved back into the RV and in November I started taking care of me. I’ll expand on all of this in a minute. In the meantime, let’s look back on the last decade.

In December 2009 I moved to Nashville to start a new journey. I received my bachelors degree the day before I made the move. My children were all grown and had left home doing their own thing, my husband had passed away 22 months prior and I needed a new start. I moved hoping I could find myself and learn to live on my own terms. This would be my first time ever being on my own with no one to care for but myself. I was scared and thrilled all at the same time. People thought I was crazy to walk away from the only life I had known and start over with so many unknowns.

Bachelor Degree Graduation, 2009

The years following brought 3 new grandbabies, 2 marriages (one of which was my own), 2 new homes (one in 2013 and one in 2018), several jobs and a lot of traveling. My life was turned upside down and right side up many times over through the years that followed and subsequently ending a decade of my life in 2019.

GRANDBABIES

My first granddaughter, Madison Grace, was born in 2013. I wasn’t able to make her birth like I did the first grandchild in 2004, but it didn’t make her arrival any less eventful. Nana arrived about 3 days after she got here and was thrilled to finally have a little girl to shower my love and attention on. I handmade several outfits and have continued to make clothes and purses and other things for her throughout her first six years of life. She likes gymnastics, loves to read and is finally coming out of her shell.

Madison Grace, 2013

In 2014 and 2017 I gained two more grandchildren, a boy, Jackson Brian, and a girl, Ryan Mackenzie (brother and sister). One was born in Nashville and the other in Louisiana. I was fortunate to be there when they were born and love every minute I get to see them. Jackson is the most laid back child I have ever seen. He is very well mannered and loves animals. Ryan is a spitball and full of shit and vinegar (a saying my mother use to use back in the day). Both are loved by many and missed by their Nana more than they will ever know.

Jackson Brian, 2014

Ryan Mackenzie, 2017

MARRIAGES

In 2014 we had two weddings, mine and my daughter, Christine. The timing might not have been the best, as we were married exactly one week apart, but we made the best of it and both had the wedding we wanted. She got married in a church and I got married in a little chapel, both here in Nashville. My mom was able to attend Christine’s wedding which helped make up for those that weren’t here. It was hard to get through the day without her dad. No daughter should have to get married without their daddy walking them down the aisle.

Christine’s Wedding, 2014

My Wedding, 2014

JOBS

I started and ended the decade working at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Unfortunately, I did not work there the entire decade. Instead I had several jobs in between as we traveled the country from 2015 – 2017, which didn’t allow for a steady job. I took jobs to feel in the gaps and provide a little play money along the way. During my many jobs I have made friends with some wonderful people with whom I will always be grateful I have in my life.

MEMORIES

One of my fondest memories is from 2010 when I went to karaoke at the Maxwell Millennium Hotel. It was always a thrill to get up there and sing even when I picked the wrong song and sounded like a doofus. The memories made will last a lifetime.

Going through online studies for my masters degree made a lot of memories that I would rather forget. The late nights studying and the aggravation made me question my sanity sometimes, but in the end it was worth all the headaches when I received that degree.

Masters Degree Graduation, 2012

The one thing about memories is they are always in our memory bank and there is no way I could ever express all the memories I have made in the last 10 years. I am so grateful for all the people with whom I have met and shared this last decade with.

HOUSING

In 2012 my daughter Christine moved to Nashville and for about a year we lived with each other, but then we decided it was time to get our own places, so I decided it was time to buy a house. I was excited because I had never bought a house on my own. I closed on the house in July 2013. It was an older house that needed some renovating, but because I love a good DIY project, I was looking forward to making it a HOME. I would stay in this house until December 2014, when we sold it for the RV life instead.

My First Home, 2013

In the summer of 2018, we started looking to buy a house. I had gone to work full-time and we both thought we wanted something different for a change. We closed on our house in October and put the RV in storage. By October of the next year we were closing on the sale of the house and moving back into the RV.

Our New House, 2018

TRAVEL

Other than trips back and forth from Tennessee to Florida, there wasn’t much traveling until 2014 when FSU went to Pasadena, California to play in the National Championship against Auburn, which FSU won. I had only known Greg (now my husband) for about a month when he sprang this trip on me. Since he’s a Tennessee fan I was quite surprised when he wanted to go watch my team play. This was the first time I had ever been to California and one of the best trips I have ever had. Everything from the hotel to the stadium to the beach and boardwalk, it was just magical. I felt like a princess with her prince. It was truly a remarkable adventure and one that I will never forget.

On the beach at Santa Monica Pier

Rose Bowl Stadium

A view from the stands!

Santa Monica Pier

Our next couple of trips would be to West Virginia and Gatlinburg. We didn’t go on a honeymoon other than to the Grand Ole Opry, so in May of 2014 we decided to join his family at their fishing camp in Hinton, West Virginia. Being on the river and seeing the beautiful scenery was great. We went back in July of the same year and ventured out to see the coal mines and back country roads. After a few days in WV, we headed to Gatlinburg to a cabin we had rented. The cabin was gorgeous along with the view and the hot tub and everything in the city. It was perfect in every way.

West Virginia, 2014

Gatlinburg, 2014

In March of 2015 we would embark on our RV journey that would take us through many states over the next three years. All of that is documented on the blog and can be found by doing a search of RV Life. I believe we visited a total of 20 states throughout the 3 years that we traveled in the RV. One day we will continue our journey and see many more.

In the summer of 2015, we took our grandson, Colby to Tennessee to visit Ripley’s Aquarium and Cades Cove. He got to see his first black bear in the wild. We joined him and his parents the following week at St. George Island, Florida for a week on the beach.

Ripley’s Aquarium, 2015

Black Bear in Cades Cove, 2015

RV LIFE

In August of 2014 we decided we wanted to start RVing full-time, which would require a lot of preparation. We had a house and lots of possessions to sell as we didn’t want to put everything in storage. It took several months to get this accomplished, but once the house went up for sale, we had a cash offer in a matter of two weeks and closed in December. We traded an RV that Greg had when we got married for a Heartland Gateway and took our first weekend trip in October. That weekend ended with the RV falling on the truck. By Thanksgiving we had both repaired and we were headed to Florida to see my parents. When we came back, we decided to stay in the RV since the closing on the house was only a couple weeks away. As they say, “the rest is history.” All of our adventures and mishaps can be read on the blog by searching for RV Life.

Heartland Gateway, “Homer”

In September 2016 we traded the Gateway for a Keystone Montana 3791RD with lots more storage and a couple extra feet in length. In 2018 I started remodeling it by painting the inside and changing out some of the furniture. At the end of the decade it is still a work in progress.

Keystone Montana

WEINER DOGS, aka Dachshunds

Starting a life traveling in the RV, just the two of us, wasn’t enough. We added a couple of companions on the way. Both are chocolate dachshunds and we wouldn’t trade either of them for anything. Oscar was born in January 2015 and we brought him home in March. Harley was born in May of 2015 and we brought her home in July. They are our constant companions. They have been in more states than most people and have really become accustomed to life on the road.

Bringing Home Oscar

Harley’s First Day in Her New Home

Oscar and Harley, 2019

WHAT A DECADE

The last decade has had many fun times, some sad times and times that will remain in my heart and mind forever. I have found love and laughter. I have discovered things about myself that I never knew and never would have found out if I had not been on this journey. I started a self-care program for myself in November of 2019 and I plan to continue that journey into 2020 taking myself to new heights, new adventures and new life.

For 2020 I hope my readership will grow as I strive to stay on task with my blog. Documenting the important things in life to share, not only with my readers, but my family is important to me as I want my children and grandchildren to see what my life was like and the adventures and endeavors I undertook.

My Top 3 goals for 2020:

Complete my weight loss program.

Stay on top with blogging.

Travel to new destinations.

Some of my favorites of us!

They became fast friends!

One of My Favorites of the Furbabies!