An extremely hard decision

An extremely hard decision

The life as we know it in Kingsport was shaken pretty hard on Wednesday, which resulted in a quick action plan. An action plan that left us both in tears as the discussions began.

After dropping Jason off at work on Wednesday, I came back home and began writing one of the many articles I had to turn in to meet deadlines.

As I was working, my cell phone rang a little after 11 a.m. as Jason’s face filled my screen. After saying hello, he said I have to call you right back. My phone rang again a few seconds later only to hear, I’m walking home, come pick me up.

I threw on my shoes, grabbed my purse and was out the door. I’ve had phone calls like this in the past.

Within minutes Jason came into view on the side of the road walking. I stopped in the middle of the road, knowing the cars behind me were far enough away. Jason got in the car. I asked him if everything was okay. He replied “No. I don’t want to talk about it.”

The ride home was pretty quiet, as my thoughts shot in every direction of what could have happened. When we got home, we both got out of the car. Jason came around to my side and said “I know you mean well, just give me some time.”

I respected his wishes, knowing he would share once he settled down.

Well, that all changed when he walked into my office and asked how much we still owe on his car. After I looked it up for him, I asked, what’s going on?

That’s when the events of the morning unfolded and I learned that Jason’s boss told him to leave for reasons I think are absurd.

My response of course was if he can unravel and get that nasty that quickly, I don’t want you working for him anymore. You’re done babe.

I worked for his boss for a little while creating labels for him for cheese and bread. The beginning of our working relationship was nice. Towards the end, I started to not care for him anymore. So, I finished all the work he had given me, provided him with the files and wiped my hands of the whole situation.

After Jason contacted a few people he knows in the area asking if they had work or if they know of anyone looking for help, we decided it was time for a major change.

That change, like I said, shook us pretty good.

That change . . . well, we knew deep down, was in the cards.

That change we both knew would allow us to breathe a little more. That decision would take an incredible amount of weight off our shoulders.

That change, like I said had the tears flowing quite frequently.

That change . . . another move.

It’s time to leave Kingsport and head back to an economy that is striving . . . Fort Myers where our family and friends are.

On May 1, it would have marked two years since we moved to Tennessee from Fort Myers. Almost two years of trying to make it work in an economy that does not offer any assistance to stay afloat with the little wages provided.

I am so proud of us for giving this new home of ours more than 100 percent. We gave this place a lot of blood, sweat and tears trying to stay afloat, trying to make a living.

Sometimes you just have to know when it’s time . . . when it’s time to cut your losses and start again somewhere new. When it’s time to come up for air and breathe a little easier.

We found a new kind of beauty. We found a new sense of peace. We found a passion we enjoy together . . . hiking and enjoying the outdoors for all it has to offer.

All of those findings happened here in Kingsport and surrounding areas. This move has made us stronger as individuals and as a couple. The amount of love I have for this man grew leaps and bounds since we made this move together to NE Tennessee.

This is only part of the reason I was a ball of emotions.

Yes, although financially we have struggled for way too long, I am going to miss the mountains, the pure beauty of this state. I am going to miss the seasons.

I am going to miss the beauty of this area.

So, our decision was made. We were saying goodbye to Tennessee, which meant a new plan was in place.

Jason was offered two jobs on Sanibel at two restaurants he worked at before we left Florida. Two jobs that are available to him just as soon as he could make his way back to Florida.

Yep, bring on another round of tears . . .

After long, hard discussions and weighing all of our options, the plan that’s in place has my emotions at an all time high. Has Jason’s at an all time high.

I’ll be completely honest. Every time I think of Monday morning the tears begin to form. Anxiety I have not felt since we first moved here is in full swing. With that said, today’s been the first day I have had an easier time breathing.

Monday morning Jason’s hitting the road to head to Florida and start working at the jobs he was offered. Monday morning I will be saying “see you soon” to the love of my life as I stay here in Kingsport and he travels hundreds of miles south.

This was such a hard decision. A decision we both were not too keen on making. A decision we still are not too keen on making. A decision, unfortunately we both know is in our best interest.

My wish is that the time frame we have predicted will be much shorter than we anticipate. A time frame that will bring Jason back to me quicker, so we can pack up our house and get on the road and make our home in Fort Myers once again.

I know Monday is going to be incredibly hard. But, I know our relationship is so strong that we will give each other the strength we need to make this all work. The strength we need to get through us being  a part.

I have so much respect for this man. So much love. He is my dream guy. He is the guy that will move mountains to make things work. He is such a hard working person, such a determined person. I know I will always be okay because I have him by my side.

I cannot wait to join him in Fort Myers and be surrounded by my family once again. I cannot wait to give Dorene a hug and have my best friend within 30 minutes from me.

I know this is the right thing for us to do.

I just hope what the immediate future has to hold will be easier than my brain is telling me.

Board looks at plans for Boones Creek school

Board looks at plans for Boones Creek school, top county building sites

Published in Herald & Tribune Feb. 4, 2015 issue

Beeson, Lusk & Street was selected as the architect to build a new pre-K-8 Boones Creek school with a 2017 projected completion date during a called Washington County Board of Education meeting last week.

“I have been very fortunate to work with the board since the early ‘80s. This by far is certainly the greatest opportunity that I have had and my office has had to serve Washington County,” said Tony Street of Beeson, Lusk & Street at the Jan. 28 meeting.

The new pre-K-8 school will have 1,100 students and will be between 138,000 to 145,000 square feet. Street said the overall square footage shifts depending on how many square feet is allowed for students or how much is allowed for square-foot cost.

Street said he used $150 per square foot and about 130 square feet per student, which may go up or down.

“You can’t hit that number exactly,” he said. “I think we are in pretty good shape at $20,625,000.”

The site preparation, which is based on a 50-acre site at $60,000 an acre, is estimated to cost $3 million. The kitchen equipment is estimated to cost $500,000; furnishings $600,000; contingency $1 million; and fees $1.2 million.

The athletic facilities are estimated to cost $2 million, and the land acquisition is estimated to cost $1,650,000.

The school-board-approved budget for the new Boones Creek school is projected for $30,575,000.

The amount does not include Smart Boards, computers, library materials and books. All of the wiring, infrastructure, power and electric, classroom furniture, media center furniture, administration furniture, cabinets and counters are all included in the price, according to Street.

A timeline, which is not set in stone, was presented to the board to give them an idea of when the school is projected to be completed.

“This is a very tight timeline,” Street said. “We are here in January 2015. We would hope that by the end of March we would have a programming session. We do need to get together with teachers, with department heads and talk about all the components that we are going to put into this new school.”

He said they are allowing a month for the preliminary design in April, which would be brought before the board for their comments, review and hopeful approval.

“At that point we would start our final drawings, contract document specifications for the final project,” Street said, which he is hoping to conclude by the end of August.

During that same time, he said, they would like to start a contractor qualification/selection process.

“The bidding and contract award is tentatively set to take place in September and October 2015.

The 20-month construction period has tentatively been set from November 2015 through June 2017. It would be followed by a one-month move in during July 2017.

“It’s not a good idea to get in a school over Christmas break, particularly a school this big. It does not work. We have got to hit this date or we are going to be (20)18. We are shoe horned in there right now.”

Board Member Todd Ganger pointed out that the good thing about it is the students are waiting for a school; they will be in a school if it did carry on.

Street said depending on what happens, the opening could go into 2018.

The board also discussed four different site selections for the new Boones Creek school.

The first site, which is owned by Carl Young, is 77 acres and is located on Boones Creek Road by the railroad tracks.

“This is in conversation with the mayor. There are plans to extend Knob Creek. There is potential that Knob Creek might be extended through that area, and if that happens, it would give the opportunity for access off of that into the site. Otherwise we would access off of Boones Creek Road,” Street said.

Some positive points about the property, he said, is it is big enough for a school, it is for sale and it only has one owner.

“There is a lot of developable land around this property and it might be very conducive for development for the county,” Street said.

He said they have done a little footprint on the site, which would include a two-story school, separate drives for bus and car drop off and pick up, athletic fields and probably a development of parks or public space of some kind.

“I have ridden the site and looked at it. There are parts of it that are very buildable and lay very well. There is a lot of potential here I think,” Street said.

The second possible site is also located on Boones Creek Road just north of the first site. It is 86 acres and has mutliple owners with Helen Carter Harrison, Dwight Hunt and David Hodge.

“This is a good piece of property that is well shaped,” Street said.

The third possible site is owned by John Glaze on Carroll Creek Road. The 65-acre site, Street said, sits back behind the existing middle school. He said there is a stream or branch in the corner of the property, as well as a ridge that becomes pretty steep.

The fourth site, which is on the north side of the interstate off of Roseview Drive, is currently farm land with cattle. The 40-acre piece of property is owned by Mary Edith Rose.

“It all slopes into a watering pond,” he said. “In short, I am not greatly impressed with this.”

The board voted in favor of giving Street permission to pursue any land opportunities for the Boones Creek school location within the price range given to them by the county mayor.

Street was also given permission to get soil borings of the site.

 

Chilly and soggy, but gorgeous run

Yesterday Lucy and I were stuck at the house, without our run because of nonstop rain once again. This morning when we both woke, although it was in the 50s, the sun was shinning and there was barely a cloud in the sky.

I definitely wanted to make use of this rare sunshine . . . .

Lucy and I got in the car and headed to the Kingsport Greenbelt for my morning therapy, our outdoor getaway in nature. When we arrived in the parking lot there was only two cars, far less than I have ever seen. That should have been a sign of what was ahead of us, but we were there and I needed to run.

We were left with the option of only going to the left because the path was pretty wet and under water to the right of our entrance way off of the PetSmart parking lot.

Instead of hearing the crunch of leaves as we ran, the only sound was the rushing of water, the slosh of the leaves as we made contact with them and birds chirping.

There were a few areas where Lucy and I ran across small puddles of water. There were other areas where we had to cross deeper puddles that were the length of the path. Lucy was very hesitant at first, due to her not being a fan of the water, but as we kept on going she became a pro, often times leading the way.

With the wind, it was a rather cool run, which kept our pace at a rather decent speed.

On our way back, near the bridge at the start of the path, there was a tree in the middle of the path that wasn’t there when we begun. It was a rather large tree trunk. I sure hope it fell when no one was around. It just goes to show just how much it has rained the past couple of weeks, everything is so saturated.

We ran a total of 2.28 miles today. I wanted to increase our distance every day this week, but as we  neared our usual area the path was really flooded and I didn’t want to run in squishy shoes all the way back to our starting point.

Tomorrow, the goal is to go at least 2.5 miles, that is if there is no rain and the path is a little dryer.

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I love the serenity of the Greenbelt. My mind and soul is always refreshed once we are done with our run.

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I decided to look up some information about the path that Lucy and I have grown to love over the last few months.

When the Riverfront Park and The Boatyard was developed, the linear path became a reality in the 1970s. In 1989, a master plan was created for the path, which includes a trail that extends along the Reedy Creek and the Holston River, connecting the east and west side of Kingsport.

Now the path begins at The Exchange Place on the east end of Kingsport and ends on the west side along the Battle of Kingsport on the banks of the Holston River.

The length of the trail is 8-miles long. Looks like Lucy and I have some exploring to do, some increased distances to achieve.

This tidbit of information I think is pretty neat: the Greenbelt was featured in Southern Living, received recognition from the White House, as well as statewide recreation awards. No wonder it is an active path with all generations of every exercise.

Check out http://www.kingsportgreenbelt.com for more information.

After we returned back home, I had an interview with LaVerne about a bike ride she is putting together from Tucson to Phoenix, more than 85 miles long. As our conversation went on, I connected with this woman who began bike riding when she was 40 years old . . . . 12 years ago.

She told me it’s the “Freedom of cycling . . . It’s something about the quiteness and the freedom . . . You feel alive.” LaVerne said the connection with nature also draws her in while riding her bike.

I can completely relate. I feel rejuvanated when Lucy and I are done running. I know that sounds strange, but it’s so true. That connection with nature is also another big draw for me. As I run, I breathe in that fresh air, while hearing the sounds of nature. I start to feel part of nature as we are passing through on that wonderful path.

I am thankful I found a passion, a healthy passion at that.

Until next time. . .

 

Morning run

This morning when I woke, I had that itch, that itch to head to the Greenbelt for a run.

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Lucy and I haven’t been to the Greenbelt in a few days, due to her being sick on Friday, and well yesterday turned into a lazy day.

Last time we were at the pet store, Jason and I found some protein bars for dogs. Since they were only 99 cents, I decided to buy a few because according to the package it was perfect for dogs before they exercise. The bar is Purina Pro Plan.

Lucy’s eating habits have changed now that she’s getting older and sometimes she doesn’t eat breakfast until lunch time. With us running more than 2 miles at a time I want to make sure she is getting the right nutrition before we hit the path. So this morning I gave her less than a third of the bar about 30 minutes before we ran. She absolutely loved the taste of the bar and seemed to perform pretty well once we started running.

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We ran about 1.15 miles before we stopped. Lucy sniffed around a little before she wanted to sit on the bench. It wasn’t before too long that she was crying to get going again.

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The path is starting to become covered in an array of leaves, all a variety of different colors.

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It’s cute to watch Lucy trying to maneuver around the leaves that cover the path.

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We ran 2.34 miles this morning. It was a hot and sticky run, but it felt great as always.

The path was quite busy with bikers, walkers, runners and of course dogs.

Now for a short rant: I wish those who bring their dogs to the path had the well-being of other dogs in mind. It baffles me how some pet owners bring their dogs, who obviously don’t do well with others, to a highly populated area.

The other day as Lucy and I were running, a woman walking a boxer had to stop and step off to the grass while standing in front of her dog. A pair of poodles the day before also were not friendly. Lucy let out a high pitch bark as we ran past them. They were not on a short leash at all. Lucy, of course is on a short leash, so if I have to take control I can.

All I have to say is know your pet and what they are capable of or not doing to other animals. Don’t subject them to the possibility . . .

Lucy, once we start running could care less about other dogs, or people. She usually runs right next to my legs. Sometimes she’ll venture a little further from my side while still running to get closer to those passing, but still at a good distance from them. Squirrels, on the other hand, get her attention more than anything. We sprinted a short distance as she darted towards a squirrel running along the edge of the path towards another tree today.

There is nothing better than getting outdoors and exercising with my best little buddy.

Fresh coat of white

Yep, I got snuggled up again and went outside for round two of photographs, since it stopped snowing. This time I put on an extra layer, as well as gloves.

As soon as I walked off our deck, my foot sunk in the snow. I’m not going to lie, it made me smile.

IMG_0974The first time it snowed after we moved to Tennessee was Nov. 27, 2013. I remember Jason making fun of me every time I looked out the window and saw snowflakes and got excited. Well, that’s what happens after living in Florida for more than 20 years, you get excited.

When Jason and I went to visit his sister in Illinois a few years ago for Christmas, it snowed on Christmas Eve, the first time I saw snow since we moved from Illinois when I was 8-years-old. So, it was quite exciting when Jason told me it was snowing . . . we put on our coats and headed out of the hotel to stand in it.

Here are some more snow pictures . . .

Jason’s car has accumulated a little more snow since earlier today. That flat tire may just have to wait a little longer. Good thing I work from home and I don’t have anything scheduled to cover for next week yet . . .

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My favorite part about looking outside is seeing where the snow has piled . . .

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These two bricks definitely caught my attention.  IMG_0937

The trees are my favorite. I love seeing snow in the middle of the tree or along the tree branches.

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IMG_0979Or the grass on the ground, with twigs sticking out of the snow.

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While I was taking pictures I heard our neighbor trying to get up our little hill of our driveway. So, I headed over to the other side to take some pictures.

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IMG_0965This area always grabs my attention, I love the vines that come down.

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Would you like to have a seat?

IMG_0976After taking more than 40 pictures, I decided to come back inside since my hands were becoming numb, making the rest of my body cold.

White blanket

IMG_0923Repeatedly over the last few weeks, the meteorologist have said we would get snow. Yes, we would get a flurry here and there, but not enough to stick to the ground. It’s weird you kind of build up this excitement when you hear you may get an inch of snow, just for the pure beauty of that white blanket.

It also justifies the extremely cold weather. Right now it’s 24 degrees, with a forecasted low of 9 degrees tonight. Who would have thought NE Tennessee would get this cold? I sure didn’t.

The temperatures have been absolutely freezing lately, yes freezing for me. When you are used to the chilly Florida winter’s, 30, 20 and even the teens are way too cold. So, again, when you look out the window and see the snow falling, actually collecting, it makes the cold weather bearable if you will.

When I woke up I looked out the window and the snow was coming down, almost like a white rain. Every once in a while the snow falls sideways as the wind grabs a hold of the flakes.  So I put on Jason’s huge jacket, my hat and slippers with camera in hand to take a few pictures.

IMG_0924Since Jason’s car has a flat tire, his remains in the driveway today, instead of mine. He had to take my car because he is doing  a double at the restaurant today.

I walked out onto the fresh snow and left a few foot prints. So what did I do after I saw that initial footprint, walk in a circle, haha. It’s the simple things in life. Yes, this simple act left a smile on my face.IMG_0927 I had my little moment in the snow.

I hope we get that predicted amount of snow, so maybe we can build a small snowman. Or, just have a pretty blanket of white covering the ground. There is something magical about the snow, a pure beauty when falling, especially when there is enough to stick to the ground.

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I know it’s not a lot of snow . . . especially when seeing some of the snow in the northern states. But it’s enough to make me smile and of course admire from inside my warm, cozy townhouse.

I’m sure I will go out in the snow again as the day goes on to take more pictures as the snow collects on the trees, branches and the ground.

What a journey . . .

What a journey . . .

These last few months have been a rollercoaster of emotions as Jason and I plan our move to NE Tennessee at the end of April. His non-stop working, my endless hours researching and our few hours of seeing each other at the end of the day are finally paying off.

At the beginning of the week I started to make phone calls to all the apartment complexes that fell within our budget and looked appealing. Slowly I crossed places off the list as prices they advertised were more than we were willing to spend. Fortunately one of the complexes steered me in the direction of their sister properties located within the same city.

An email, which appeared in my inbox from the complex assistant manager of the sister property, was promising and the more we exchanged information the more appealing it became.

Today I made a phone call to talk with the assistant manager. That conversation enhanced the excitement I was already feeling for the complex and the apartments floor plan, which includes a fireplace! (Oh the little things that excite me!) This apartment is below our budgeted price and half of the fees that were required at the other complexes were either eliminated or slashed in half. The more we talked the more information she shared about the community and what it had to offer Jason and me in terms of the outdoors. Once again I dealt with someone who was incredibly helpful and willing to track down more information if we wanted.

Now, all we have to do is pay a minimal application fee and complete the form online to secure a place for us to live once May rolls around.

What an invigorating feeling … I am helping pave the path to our new destination. I have accomplished a task I set out to do, providing one less thing for Jason to have to worry about.

With the acceptance of our application and background, we will go from an apartment in SW Florida to an apartment in NE Tennessee.

I am beyond thrilled for our move, for our new adventures, experiences and future this new destination provides us.

It’s a blast to plan our future and slowly cross another thing off of our checklist to make this move become a reality.