Keeping Ahead

Catching Up by Leunig,This just about sums up how I’m feeling right now. If I could catch up with my head, I’d be grateful. My head is full of the stuff of my life. Jam-packed with multitasking projects, concern for my friends and family and too many dates and times. The last two include numbers; numbers of which I am allergic to. I hate numbers, but that will have to be another blog.

I’ve committed to chairing two events with my Red Cross Chapter that I want to be successful. Successful isn’t easy. Wrangling people isn’t easy. Multitasking – not too easy for me. Lots of lists, times, dates, numbers and expectations. The weight I’ve put on my head is holding me down instead of lifting me up which is what I need. A helium balloon with a pretty ribbon wrapped around my head would help. Off with the weight – but not off with my head.

My Nana/Nanny position was put to the test yesterday when my fifteen month old Lil’ Doo, was stung by a red wasp as I was trying to keep Blind Dog from going down the steps of the deck. Oh, the weight on my head from that won’t be lifted for another day or fifty. All 6 dogs were on the large deck and Lil’ Doo was splashing in the kiddy/dog pool when I heard him howl. I grabbed him, saw the demon red wasp and ran into the kitchen. New dog followed me in. My brand new smartphone and I hadn’t really made phone calls, so figuring out how to call Doo’s mom took an extra 30 seconds which felt like three hours. While making the call, New Dog, who loves to walk on his very long hind legs, got my lunch from the kitchen table, devoured it and then tried to chew up the plastic container where it had once been secure. The poor sobbing baby boy took the mom prescribed ibuprofen easily and I made an ice pack from a dishcloth and held it on his poor little swelling, red fingers as we read his favorite Truck book. I felt as though I should have had my head in a guillotine because that sweet baby was so hurt. As time went by, the swelling and redness eased up and he didn’t have any other ill effects from that damn wasp. I’ve allowed my head to remain with me.

On Thursday I sat in a local hospital with friends while one of our gang had complicated lung cancer surgery.  I was there six or seven hours while others were there double that. My friend got through it. We all got through it together. We laughed. We almost cried. We talked. Some of us prayed. We remembered and we planned our futures together. My head stayed where it belonged. I believed that he’d be okay because we four friends all had good heads on our shoulders that instinctively brought us together. We kept bolstering each other up with talk, laughter and silent prayers.

Bossman, my mate, left for a 12 day Father & Son trip out to Oregon on that same crazy day of the surgery followed by the day with the dogs, the wasp and the baby. I am grateful he and our son are having this special time together and that I have a new smartphone that keeps me in touch with the adventure. My head has figured out voice texting, picture capturing and keeping the battery charged. I’m not putting down my net, yet, though. My head is here but part of my heart is in Oregon.



Cartoon by Leunig

Four In a Can

Picture it.

January 29th, Williamson County, Tennessee, weather-folk warning us of possible severe weather that might contain tornadoes. Of course, they won’t show up until the middle of the night when we’re all sleeping with one ear open.

And so it begins…

Before we head to bed, the three of us, Bossman (hubs), The Queen of English (daughter) and Me (me),  get our medications together, our cell phones with power cords, ID’s and our USB sticks for the computers. Two sticks contain portions of novels being written by The Queen and Me and Bossman’s  twelve sticks have all the less important stuff-like passwords for banking and that sorta crap.

We put all these things into a canvas bag, set it on the table we have to pass on the way to the garage and head to bed, knowing that we are probably going to be startled from sleep when The Man starts squawking at us  from the top of our dresser. The Man lives in the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration box which is also known as the: NOAA Weather Radio that saves life and limb if you turn it on and have it programmed correctly.

Tick-tock – tick-tock – tock- tick (just wanted to see if you were paying attention) Squawk!!! 3:10AM – Tornado Warning for Williamson County and blah-blah-blah counties, which were all south and west of us. Screwed.

Stumbling, falling into my bathrobe, looking for slippers, stuffing underwear and a bra into my pocket, Bossman does the Zombie click to the remote to see Lisa on Channel 4 with red boxes all around our house. That’s what you see when there are sirens going off, a terror-terrier dog barking out in the dining room and a mobility-challenged daughter breaking records for getting out to The Can in the garage.

Bossman, who had taken Ambien about four hours prior to the sirens, was struggling to put his Red Cross raincoat on, grab the canvas bag with all the meds and sticks and find his way to the tornado shelter which looks very similar to the one in the picture upper right. He had cleared a path through the garage earlier in the day when the weather was looking pretty dicey. Saws, wood, clamps and other bookcase building stuff was blocking the way to the steel bunker.

All four inside, door bolted, tv on to watch the storm head right for us, little chairs for not-so-little butts, maniac barking dog, zombie husband, Queen who needed the fan blowing, Me who continued my week-long bout of coughing and freezing, dog being fed stinky, dead-duck treats, Queen hiding face in sweater, giving me a death stare saying, “Do you have to be touching me?” “Hello, we’re in a giant tuna can, Yes, I need to be touching you.” I thought it, but I was too sick to say it out loud.

Four days later – okay, it only felt like four days – thirty minutes later, we were allowed to get back to our beds and finish sleeping. In the morning straight line winds and an EF1 tornado had passed through our area. Red Cross friends were called out at four AM and then again at nine to find shelter for people who had massive damage from fallen trees. We were very lucky, once again.

That “Can” has given us many hours of security during tornado seasons in Tennessee. We keep heavy soled shoes, water, First Aide, toiletries, important papers in a safe box, $$, dog food, dog bed, leash… the dang dog has more stuff than we do.

AJGA Golf Tourney & Williamson County Red Cross

Westhaven Golf Course recently held an AJGA, American Junior Golf Association tournament. They asked the community of Franklin and Williamson County to volunteer to help run this event that was sponsored by Reliant Bank. The Williamson County Chapter of the Red Cross was asked to provide first aid emergency care throughout the three day tournament and my chapter agreed to do that. There was a qualifying day, which was about 6 hours long, the second day our volunteer was there 10 hours and treated a small cut and the third day, which was plagued with storm delays, tornado watches and rain was the day my friend and I had chosen to work. We arrived at 6:30AM, got our gear into the golf cart we were provided with, set up our two-way radio and drove the course to familiarize ourselves with the 18 winding holes and locations. The young people in the tourney were young pros. There was no goofing around as this was all very serious golf. College scholarships were at risk and scouts would be wandering the next day. They were also very careful about getting hurt. My fellow Red Cross volunteer and I toured the course, delivered lunches, checked on moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas who were following the hills and valleys on the stormy Wednesday. During one loop of the course we heard “Medic” come from the radio. We looked at each other and said, “I didn’t know they had medics here.” “Medic.” It came again. “Who the heck is here?” my friend asked. Then over the radio, “Red Cross. Susie and Michelle. You in there?” I said, “Oh crap! We’re the medics!” Never having been called a medic before it was a light bulb moment for us. We took the call, and attended the young man on the 12th hole. He was happy to see us and use the bottle of Visine that Michelle had in her car for his contact . We left 12 hours after we got there, happy we only needed eye drops.

we gave him bread…

ter and i went out into our area and did DA today. that’s official Red Cross jargon for Disaster Assessment. we were sent to an area where homes had a beautiful view of the river. now they have a view of a mess. most of the homes had damage that was limited to their crawl spaces and garages. of course those crawl spaces held their HVAC systems and garages held furniture, computers, bikes, holiday decorations, appliances, cars, storage for personal items… the list was endless. backyard pools contained the Harpeth River. other homes had damage to their first floors with up to four feet of water. imagine the loss.

one family lost four cars, a family room, a large freshly planted garden, fencing, appliances, cabinetry…. he wasn’t upset. an employee of his had sent him a text on sunday morning asking if he had a boat. her son had been washed away the night before on I-24 when the highway flash-flooded. they couldn’t find him in the raging river that took over the busy road. when the rage stopped – so did their search. he was 21 years old and left two small children. no, the man i was talking to wasn’t upset about his four cars that were totaled. he was thrilled that we’d brought him a bag of donated Panera bread products and bottles of water. he thanked us for listening, for bread, for checking on his home and his family. we gave him a second bag of bread and more water plus a second broom to wash the muck and mud out of his garage. we gave him bread. he gave us more.

donate to the Williamson County Red Cross.    click on the Online Donations link at the bottom of the page for Williamson County. thank you

tennessee flood

it’s been a busy day. i was going to stay home to visit with our son chris who is visiting, but got called back into the red cross chapter. worked lots of hours to get food donated for shelters and talked to many professional food peeps who were anxious to help out.

chris goes home tomorrow with a bum knee from working in our flooded crawl space and memories of a flooded franklin. ter and i will be off to fairview, tn and hickman county. we’ll be checking in at shelters to find out what these folks need from our williamson county chapter. the only communication we have with them is from HAM operators and spotty cell service. don’t know what to expect… more on that tomorrow.

pray for all the flood victims. you can’t imagine what this is like and i’ve only seen a miniscule piece. the nashville area is devastated. LP field, Country Music Hall of Fame, the Symphony hall, our hockey arena… it is a disaster.

the downtown area of franklin… the pictures i’ve seen are devastating. this is such a sad, sad day as i’ve realized how many businesses, jobs and lives are going to be affected by this flood. it will take years to recover.

my family and neighbors were blessed as the Harpeth did not climb all the way into our homes. it teased us plenty, though. scared us lots and taught us a lesson on Mother Nature and her wrath. don’t take Mother Nature for granted. prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

please donate to the American Red Cross, Williamson County Chapter, 129 W. Fowlkes St., Franklin, TN 37064; 615-790-5785.

thank you.

oz at the ren

Bossman and i were helping man the Red Cross booth at the Tennessee Renaissance Festival this past weekend. while there i noticed a similarity between Dorothy’s companions and the colorful ensemble at the Renaissance Festival.  the sun had come out for just a few seconds on saturday and the glint off of this person’s apparel was eye-catching. [singlepic=8,320,240,,right]”Why is that guy dressed like a tin can?” i asked my co-volunteer, Savantha. “That’s armor,” she said. “Well, he looks like the Tin Man to me.” (on closer inspection of this photo, i’m not sure if it’s a Tin Man or a Tin Woman) Then Savantha pointed across the field, “There goes the Scarecrow.” a definite fellow was wearing overalls with one jaunty strap attached. Bossman and I later saw the Cowardly Lion dining with a group of fairies in the woods.


yes, Oz was at the Ren.