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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Last night was worth bragging about for a long time. Dan and I went to the Dixie Chicks concert last night. I have been whining to Dan for months about how badly I wanted to go, but the tickets started at $50 a piece. Not exactly in the budget.

So our good friend Kris comes through at the last minute, with a skybox compliments of his employer Ernst & Young.

I am such an obnoxious concert-goer. I can't help myself I have to sing along at the risk of annoying other concert-goers. I was so psyched. I loved their performance, their jokes and their songs. They marched on to the stage to the song "All Hail the Chief." Very appropriate.

Security was frisking attendees, so I don't have any pictures of me having an incredible time! I'm sorry that you don't get to see it.

I would give you a full report, but I'm still so excited about it, that I might need some more time to process. Come visit Music City and you can come to amazing shows, too!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

I have really fallen down on my blogging. I am trying to catch up. Although this picture looks very boring, it is actually quite an accomplishment for us. We are very proud of the fact that we uncovered the remnants of an old garage under our yard, and build a shed on it. It took us almost two days, but we finally finished. Before, we had no outdoor storage at all, but now we have a place to store things so people can actually stay in our bedrooms without sleeping next to our bicycles. We cleared off enough of the slab and lined it with bricks so that we have enough room for a little patio when the weather gets nice again.

At first Dan and I thought we would have a Halloween party to show off the house to our friends, but now we're thinking Christmas...I don't know if we'll ever feel like we're done with it.

If you ever get a Home Depot or Lowe's coupon in the mail that you're not using, send it on to us. We can put it to use!

I'll try to keep up with the blogging better. Thanks for your patience!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006: Go Oilers, I mean, Titans!

Dan and I got to go to our first NFL game last Sunday. It was an interesting experience. Half of the fun was being around folks that we never would have been around on a regular basis.
The Titans lost, and it started to rain a little, but it was still fun. Mostly it was fun because we rode our bikes downtown and bypassed all traffic and parking issues. We earned the right to be smug by riding our bikes.

We were literally in the next to last row...of the entire stadium. But, that's fine with us. My boss rewarded me with the tickets. She seems to like me...
Monday, September 11, 2006: Discovery of the Patio...

Since we have decided to start inviting people to visit this winter, we need to reclaim our bedrooms from the piles of stuff that are stored in them currently.

So we bought a shed. We started by clearing away some dirt to level out the ground. Thud, we dig. Turns out, there's already a huge concrete slab under about a quarter of our yard where a garage once stood. How convenient! We kept digging, and it's large enough for the shed to sit on, and for a little patio on the side. We were excited until we couldn't figure out how we would anchor it to the concrete. We're taking suggestions.

This picture shows Dan digging out the slab, and Maddie eating dirt. She loves to chase anything that moves, including dirt that's being thrown onto a pile. She had so much fun chasing and eating dirt.

She did get tired after a bit, and just wanted to guard the pile of dirt. I'm glad somebody was having fun while Dan and I were shoveling and assembling metal pieces...

We're not finished. It will be a couple of weeks since Dan has to travel to Missouri next weekend to visit his ailing grandmother.

Keep Dan and his travels in your thoughts and prayers. He will only be there Friday night through Sunday afternoon, so it will be a crazy trip.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wednesday, August 9, 2006:

We're singing at the Ryman! We're real Nashvillians now.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tuesday, August 8, 2006:

Dan's week is improving after the lawnmower debacle. In fact, I learned this week that having your lawmower stolen in East Nashville is really a rite of passage. Check out this story by my NewsChannel5 reporter colleague about East Nashville's sense of humor regarding or quirky neighborhood:

His week didn't just get better because of the news story. I have been making friends with Dan's fellow Vanderbilt sociology grad students. One, Emily, used to work with the Center for Biomedical Ethics in Society at Vanderbilt. After I told her about Dan's research interests, she dropped his name to the director, who contacted him. He will be able to work with her on research within his interest, get paid and get published. And since many professors at Vandy don't expect their TA's to do a lot of work, he will have time to pursue these other opportunities.

Things are going well--we are still piecing together the house and getting settled in.

Don't forget to start planning your visit to Music City!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thursday, August 3, 2006:

Nashvillians are serious about their music. I knew this in theory before arriving, but now I have undisputed proof.

Dan and I attended our first Music City concert at the most iconic venue in America--the Ryman. The Mother Church they call it here claims to have the best acoustics in the world second only to the Mormon Tabernacle. So, when folks pay for a show there, they expect to get one. We got one from Ryan Adams, my favorite musician. As a member of the former band Whiskeytown, he was a pioneer of the Alternative Country movement in American music.

At the show one front row audience member tossed an open bottle of liquor onto the stage. It bounced around spewing liquor on Ryan Adams, and he was not impressed. He stopped playing, pulled a candy bar out of his pocket, and started eating it. He stood there while his band stopped and said, "I don't need this." Spectators started booing, and screaming "Kick him out!" Security guards found the perpetrators and escorted them down the aisle. As they were walking down the aisle, the girl sitting beside us told us to lean back because she planned to spit her drink through her straw at the disruptors. We leaned back, but she wasn't fast enough. They were whisked out of the building quickly.

As soon as they left, and the audience was still cheering, Ryan and the Cardinals started back up again. Not 15 minutes later, Ryan stopped again. Apparently a drunk fan in the front row was taunting him verbally and physically. He yelled, "You wanna come up here and say that to my face?!"

Again, the audience was pissed that this disruptor was cutting into precious Ryan Adams time. They chanted to kick him out. Again, the Ryan Adams waited until his disruption was removed before he continued.

The concert was amazing, and not just because it was the most anticipated concert of the year for me. He really put on a great show mixing easy sing-alongs with new tunes, danceable beats with slow ones. The entire show (audience and performer) was great until the last song. His last song was reminiscent of a Wilco concert I attended recently. Ryan moved into an experimental ending to his last song that lasted way too long. It was painful at the end, after the novelty wore off.

After his too-long experimental ending, he walked off the stage, the house lights came up, and security came out onto the stage. No encore? No encore. How disappointing....

I have to continue reliving our concert moment for a long time since this was the first and last concert we will be able to attend for a while. We were so hopeful that music options would be so available in Nashville that there would be a lot of free options. There definitely aren't as many as we wish. However, the Derailers are doing a free show this Saturday night that we will definitely attend.

This place is a trip. You gotta come visit!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tuesday, August 1, 2006:

I was so excited for Dan to have a day to enjoy his house a relax a little bit after all of our work. My family had left, most of the house tasks were completed, and I was going to work for my first day.

But, alas, Dan had a horrible day. He stepped outside for a moment only to step on a nail that went through his shoe and into his heel. He went inside, cleaned up, and tried to persevere. He had a tetanus shot right after our honeymoon two years ago when he cut open his hand. He hoped to mow the yard with the mower that we had just fixed. It was donated to us by some friends. We fixed it, and had not even used it yet. It was stolen, along with the gas can.

We may borrow a neighbor's until we can get another one. We filed a police report, but our side of town is known for its illegal activity, so we don't hold high hopes of getting it back.

But, I started my job, and everyone with whom I work is great. They're all very nice, and I think I will really enjoy working with them.

Thanks for all of your well-wishes. Keep them coming!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thursday, July 27:

We are in full "do-it-your-selfer" mode here in Nashville.

Our furniture arrived Monday morning, and we started unloading it all. The weather was perfect. It had just rained and cooled off the air, so unloading didn't take long at all. Well, that's mostly true.

In case you were wondering, be prepared for some surprises when you buy a house where no one has actually lived. Our house was completely renovated just before the sale, so no one has lived in it to figure out the quirks and correct the errors in construction. Take for instance the fact that our bed won't fit upstairs in our bedroom. The door that opens to the stairs was once the door to a small closet. It's still the size of a small closet door...with stairs behind it. Even after much review of my brother's trigonometry and cutting out the door facing, we were still unable to squeeze the box spring through the doorway. So, we are currently sleeping on a mattress until we can find a split box spring for a queen-sized bed. They exist, according to our research.

So, my dad is hammering away right now, trying to piece back together the door frame.

After that, we will finish installing the chain link fence, and hopefully install the hood over the range. We have already installed mini blinds and ceiling fans all around the house. The best addition is the overhead light and ceiling fan in the living room. Who builds a house with no overhead light in the living room? Good question.

The dog is completely weirded out by all of the construction and unpacking. We don't know if it was all of the confusion, or if she simply does not tolerate other dogs well, but the interactions between her and my brother's dog could have been much better.

She loves people, so please come visit, but make sure to kennel your own pooch before making the trek. She hasn't been socialized properly from what we can tell.

Oh, the job: I was offered and accepted a position as Web Producer at NewsChannel 5, the local CBS affiliate. I hope to start next week. They were kind enough to understand my unpredictable circumstances right now, and were willing to delay my start date until after the family left. I have been freelancing with them, so know a lot already about the corporate culture and with whom I would be working. They are all very nice folks, following nicely in suit with the rest of their Nashvillian counterparts.

Dan and I have decided that the only way we will move from here is if the move is sponsored by someone else, i.e. the university that hires Dan for a tenure track position. It will happen eventually....

Please come visit! We would love to see our friends from anywhere and everywhere. I learned from my friend Alex Esmon that he drove from Columbia, Mo to Nashville in under eight hours. We made it from Charlottesville in less that nine. My parents made it from Houston in about 13. We're right in the middle of everyone we want to see!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Monday, July 10:

I have begun settling into the house by painting the walls and other improvements that don't require tools or more than two hands. I have also kept busy with our new friend Maddie. She is a three-year-old Jack Russell Terrier who I have learned hates cats. They are the enemy. Even if they aren't doing anything to her. She can smell them from a distance and freaks out.

Other than that, she's a great house dog. She's the calmest terrier you've ever seen. She likes to lay in her bed with her chewies, and go on walks. You will enjoy meeting her when you come visit :-).

The job search is going well. I am freelancing with the CBS affiliate here as a Web Producer, writing stories, and posting them online. I am interviewing to do it full time, and am also waiting to hear from Belmont, where I had my most promising job lead. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Monday, July 3:

It finally happened! Dan and I own a home! And we hit our two-year anniversary! And we got a dog! We've experienced a lot of changes in the last few days, but we will continue to keep all of our friends and family posted of other changes.

Details to follow.....

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thursday, June 29, 2006:

It's official, we will finally close tomorrow at 11 am. Keep your fingers crossed that it won't be delayed any more....

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006:

Our mortgage broker finally called. He's been rather illusive, and hasn't been making contact with us on as regular a basis as I would prefer. But finally, he called. Too bad he didn't have an exact closing time yet. We will close either Thursday afternoon or Friday morning. Either way, Dan has headed back to Charlottesville and I will sign for the both of us.

Dan will return in the middle of July with the furniture, but until then I will be camping out. I bought a dorm fridge to keep me until we get the real thing. It will be rustic in the house until then. I will be really embarassed when Dan and my folks show up to find the state of the house, I'm sure.

Keep sending on the good vibes for the job search. It's going well. I might be able to do some freelancing with a news station here for the meantime until the permanent offer comes through. I wish I had the connections here to be doing that all along. Next move, that will be the plan. Freelance first, job second. Anyone got any tips for me on that one?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tuesday, June 27:

Dan came down to Nashville this weekend to bring me some essentials for living in an empty house by myself. We were hoping that he could also close while he's down here, but that may not happen. We are awaiting new information every day, and we think that we may be closing Wednesday evening, after Dan has to leave. So, we plan to sign some paperwork today so that I can close for the both of us.

So, we'll let you know as soon as there's something more definite about the house.

As for the job, the person with whom I interviewed at Belmont University plans to offer me a position in Branding and Public Relations. She has to do so after some administrative red tape is cut through and she gets back from vacation. It's a great opportunity, but a cut in pay for me, so I am still looking. If I don't find anything different, I will go with Belmont. If I find something with better pay, then I will have to weigh my options.

Dan and I have also been doing something really fun--shopping for a dog. We were planning to get a pet eventually anyway, but our situation in the next couple of months might lend itself to a desire for company and security before Dan is down permanently.

That's all I got today...not much I know, but welcome to our lives right now...every day comes with a new bit of information.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Let's recap...

I didn't do a very good job of filling in the beginning details of the move for those who may not be hearing the play by play in person.

Dan has been accepted to Vanderbilt University to do his PhD in sociology. He completed his Master's in May (yeah, Dan!) at the University of Virginia. So many factors went into our decision for Dan to apply to other institutions. Several faculty members left his department this year, leading to a mass exodus by fellow graduate students. We could never afford to accomplish our other life goals in Charlottesville due to the cost of living there. Primarily, I didn't like it. I love my friends and co-workers at UVa, but the city was just not for me. I wanted something bigger, with an actual job market. Nashville presents all of those things, while bringing us closer to family at the same time. So Dan applied to a lot of schools in mutually-agreed upon locations. We got into our first choice!

So, since an income is generally necessary for survival, Dan is working in Charlottesville fulfilling that necessity until I find a job here in town. I am busy closing on our house and finding a job until he joins me full time.

Keep the good vibes coming while I'm on the job hunt!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Jan and Don (agent) entering our house.

Things are going well down here. I am continuing to line up interviews, but heard back from my best lead at Belmont University. I am the preferred candidate for the position in national branding and public relations directly under the director. We really got along. She already planned several interviews for this week and next that she plans to honor. We're hoping to get together again next week for a second interview. I'm also interviewing at News Channel 5 here for a producer position, mostly web, and talking to the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing about my work with the UVa nursing program.

We are definitely closing on the house on Monday. Dan is coming down this weekend to close, and will bring me a few essentials that are required for living in a house by yourself for a while. We're very excited, and a little overwhelmed all at the same time.

We're also considering getting a pet for company and security while I am living in the house alone.

We are in the process of collecting any donations offered from friends and family. We already have a fridge and a lawn mower that have been donated to the cause! Thanks guys!

Meanwhile, I am still staying with Harmony and David Edwards, my connections through Vandy sociology. They are great, and have allowed me to stay in their basement until the house is ready. I will post more pictures soon, and you will have lots more of the exterior and interior of the house.
Originally written June 14, 2006:

As promised, I am updating you on our adventures and progress as it relates to our move to Nashville. Things are moving along, and every day comes with more news bits and updates.

After having an inspection conducted on the house that we are hoping to buy, we presented a list of demands to the seller. There were several issues that would have broken the deal had they not agreed to the changes or repairs. We have been very lucky—the seller has accepted almost all of the changes. The only changes not accepted were fairly small, and mostly cosmetic. We are thrilled that the house purchase has been progressing so nicely. The seller is also open to closing earlier than our originally anticipated close date of June 30. Right now, we are aiming for June 26. The folks who I am staying with have been so kind. They had a change in their plans, and are allowing me to stay with them until the closing, so that I won't have to move again.

The job search is going well. I have connected with so many people here who have helped me and given me contacts and ideas for the search. I am doing everything possible on my end, and trying to be patient until I hear from the employers with whom I have interviewed. I have a full day of interviews today, and hope to set up more for the rest of this week and next week.

Although the house buying process is progressing so smoothly, Dan will probably have to wait to join me until I have secured employment. He is doing a great job in Charlottesville of supporting us, and packing up our apartment for the impending move. Don't be surprised if he calls you shortly for some assistance in loading up our things.

As soon as the house transaction has been finalized, we will send out our contact information. I will also keep you updated about the job search. Keep racking your brains for any contacts that you may have in Nashville. I appreciate the contacts that I have received so far, and have followed up on all of them.

Thank you so much for your concern and interest in our lives.

Apartment Woes, homelessness insues

Originally written June 8, 2006:

I drove from Charlottesville Sunday, June 4, 2006 and arrived in Nashville Sunday night. I had planned on staying in an apartment that I had paid to sublease for the month of June. I stayed there one night and realized that the situation would not work. I was the only human in the apartment, but not the only living thing. I was accompanied by millions of roaches, more than I have ever seen in one location in my life, including the trailer in which I spent my youth. It was bad. The mold had taken over various parts of the apartment as well. I couldn't bring myself to go into the shower, and therefore chose to suffer the consequences until I found someone else to stay with on Tuesday night.

The Vanderbilt grad students that Dan and I met a couple of weeks ago came to the rescue. One named Lyndi offered me her floor, which was a wonderful alternative to the pests. She is a great person, and after recently having a baby, her mom skills kicked in and she mobilized. She contacted all of the other grad students in the sociology department to come to my aid. Lyndi offered me her floor as long as I needed it, but found someone with an actual bed and room for me. So, I am currently staying with another graduate student and her husband in their basement. Unfortunately, they have family coming in Tuesday, but I lined up a place today for the rest of the month if I need it.

My good friends the Deaton's hooked me up with their uncle who produces music under his own label. I met with him today, and his assistant's girlfriend has an extra room in her condo. She had a roommate, but she moved out, and now it's just vacant. She has kindly offered me the space for as long as I need. The residents of Nashville have hearts of gold, and are the kindest people I have ever met. In a way, having a horrible apartment has been a great experience--I have met the kindest people in this city, and now have a greater understanding for how much it means to help friends or strangers in need.

As for the house, it was inspected Tuesday, with mixed results. It is livable, of course, but has some state building code violations, as well as some elements of inconvenience. We submitted the requested changes to the seller's agency today, and expect to hear a response tomorrow sometime. One of three things could happen--they accept all changes (which our agent says is unlikely), they reject all changes (which he also says is unlikely), or they accept some, and reject some. I also requested to have the closing date moved up if possible, so I won't be homeless for longer than necessary. However, the closing will greatly depend on the repairs they agree to make and the time they need to make them. As for the job hunt, it continues. I have had several interviews. Some for existing positions, and some for informational purposes. All of the information interviews have netted in many more contacts to follow up on. My last interview for the week is tomorrow afternoon at Belmont University. Afterwards, I hope to visit my friend Rachel for her last weekend in Athens, Ga. I can't place many calls or go on any interviews over the weekend, right?

As soon as Dan and I get settled, we will invite everyone to come visit and stay to experience the warm southern welcome that we have received.

Continue to send on any contacts that you have in the area. We have met so many people that were referred to us by friends elsewhere, and have had great success meeting them. Even if it's not for a place to sleep, or a job, we would love to contact them. Thanks so much for your concern. We will keep you posted on all of your adventures.