My Maserati does 185.

Name that tune!

My Pontiac might, but I don't want to lose my license because I need to drive.

I feel like I have already failed as a blogger because I go months without blogging. I spend a lot of time by myself, mostly in the car but sometimes at home too. I often think of things I want to write about, history of country music, Nashville's, and my own. When I'm home and I could be writing, I lie in the loveseat recliner and play "Word Wipe" and eat sugar-free popsicles until I find myself running to the bathroom.

I'm really not a total waste of protoplasm. Most weeks, I work three to five days at a major medical center about 35 miles from home. I'm a PRN, or "as needed" employee. Since I have a lot of roles within the medical center and specifically the heart institute, I'm needed a lot. Officially, I'm a nuclear medicine/PET technologist. I've never worked in "PET", though I have worked on a nuclear camera capable of scanning PET isotopes. I "float," filling in at all their offices that perform nuclear stress tests. There's one at the main campus, and satellite offices 15, 33, and 50 miles from there (on the other side of town from home, so add 35 to those numbers). I help in other roles in the Heart Institute: I schedule diagnostic procedures and assist in the trans-esophageal echo suite. Occasionally I help in cardiac MRI, which inspired me to get registered in that area. More frequently, I work in research MRI in the Institute of Imaging Science. They have a PET scanner but don't really have the volume to use me much at this point in there. Besides all those, I teach CPR, so occasionally I'm in the Resuscitation Center, and in that role I also teach for the Heart Institute and even on my own from time to time... and occasionally for another hospital in the area. So I'm pretty diversified, and I love the medical center like a second home, but I spend a lot of time in the car by myself.  I like one of the local radio stations a lot, and I listen to books on Audible. I rent a room that's 15, 20, and 58 miles from those offices previously mentioned so I cut my commuting time a little when I'm working there. Of course, that means I'm not here at home at all! Most of the time, I work on the main campus or at the resuscitation center down the road or I teach at the satellite campus at a former mall, where Granny worked for about 10 years of my childhood, back when they had a Woolworth's.

Obviously, there's not a lot of time for blogging. When I'm home, I tend to waste all my time. When I'm not working or driving, I don't want to work. For years I let that keep me from cleaning house, maintaining my finances, and taking care of myself. Bills piled up, dust piled up, pounds piled up... it was easy to lie around and do nothing but it was hard to put things back together. I've made a lot of progress. It's easier to keep the house clean once it gets clean, now that my kids don't live here anymore (because they're grown and living on their own... I didn't get them taken away!). I'm not making a resolution here, but in the future, I want to do more writing AND keep my house cleaner. There are a couple of other things that are going to change.  For one, I'm getting healthier already, although today I've been laid up by a stomach bug, on top of the sinus issues I've been fighting for a week. I'd rather put those changes out here after I've made solid habits.

Deep down, I am a small-town girl. I liked growing up close to a pretty good-sized city, the state capitol, where all the TV channels were located. I didn't realize then that people all over the world came to our city to see the radio show that my grandmother listened to every Saturday night. I guess I knew that a lot of the music people listened to was recorded there, but we also listened to music from Detroit, New York and L.A., so I didn't think it was that special.  I loved living in the quiet community where my grandparents lived. A good percentage, maybe 20 percent, of the town was related to us in some way. You can't get by with just anything when everybody in town knows each other. That didn't keep me from having a good time. If you're not trying to do anything too controversial, or you don't care what people say if you do, a small town like Ridgetop is a great place to live. My aunt had a big farm right at the city limit and I got to experience a lot of rural life. In those days it wasn't too bad to work in Nashville because the traffic, while horrible sometimes, wasn't anything like the gridlock we have on a regular basis now. I liked being part of the community. I liked walking to the post office and grocery store. I liked going to church there too, though my mother didn't, always preferring to drive five or more miles to worship with friends in other communities. And that's okay too... but as an adult, I do go to one of the two churches closest to my home now.  Another one will be built between my house and there eventually, but I'm planning to stay put.

After I started working at the drug store, I wanted to be a pharmacist and part of me wanted to run a hometown drug store. I'm kind of glad I didn't for several reasons, but, I do wish I'd done something that I could do in a small town, where I know everybody. There are nuc med and MRI jobs in towns not too far away, but not in Ridgetop or here on the Circle. The jobs here pay a lot less, for the most part. At the moment, there aren't any full-time openings for any of those within 30 miles of here. In the past I've worked at some of the hospitals that are within that radius, but for one reason or another, I ended up downtown again.

In the last couple of months, I've written a lot in my personal journal... mostly about something that happened a few years before I was born.  My mom was still a teenager when I was born but managed to have a few years of fun living in a small town, going to school, and dating a young man who was evidently highly sought after by the other girls in town.
The boyfriend's mother was a homemaker, his dad worked at the grocery stores in town as a butcher, and he himself worked at a gas station there in town. Sadly, this young man's life ended after a horrible car crash just before Christmas, around the time she turned 15. She never forgot that, and sometimes I wonder how much it still affected her when she died nearly 50 years later. I know his brother, who has had other devastating losses since then that deserve their own post sometime, and I wonder how his life would've been different if the accident had never happened. I wonder if the boyfriend would've eventually run the station, or maybe opened another of his own, or possibly become a mechanic. I wonder how Mom's life might've been different. I wonder if I would have even lived at all. I wonder if my very existence reminds the brother of his loss. Many years later, Dad's mother told me that the boyfriend had come by that night and invited Dad to ride along. I thought, she's told herself this story so often, she probably has it all confused, but Dad told this same tale to his current wife, so I have to believe it. That would explain why, 20 years later, when I had an accident just yards down the road from the fatality scene, Dad was visibly shaken.

So, between that and my dad failing his Army physical 13 or 14 months before I was conceived, I know that my life was no accident, even though I was born nine months and seven days after my parents married and I know they weren't planning to have children that soon. God must have wanted to keep me alive, between surviving that accident, the aspirin overdose at age four, the post-partum hemorrhage at age 25, and choking on a piece of steak at age 37.

Writing was one of the first skills I ever used. I should be writing more. It's hard to write while I'm driving. I think of a lot of stories when I'm in the car but when I try to write, by dictation into my phone, I end up with a bunch of nonsense. It's insane to try to edit while driving. Randy gave me some better headphones with a mic, maybe they will work better. I don't particularly like wearing headphones while driving, and I'm not sure it's even legal. Of course if I'm dictating, I'm only hearing my own voice through them. I also just bought a Bluetooth receiver, so I can listen to audiobooks while my phone is charging. Reading and listening to books has a positive effect on my writing.

I miss the community I felt so much a part of in my earlier days. I don't know that I want to move back to Ridgetop, but if I had the chance to do just that without any inconvenience to Randy or the rest of my family, I'd enjoy it. I know it's possible to feel the same community in other places, because I have seen people do it. It's not impossible that I could feel it here, though it is somewhat improbable. I have a few neighbors I would let in my house, but in general I don't have a lot of friends in this area. I have lots of acquaintances here but I don't know all the people in the subdivision anymore. It seems impossible to have that sense of community while spending 32 to 96 hours every week somewhere else. Social media allows me to have some amount of connection to not only my church family here, but also my friends and family from Ridgetop and literally all over the world, but it's not the same.

A few years ago I reconnected with my friend Mary, whose family was one of those that weren't related to me. I didn't know them all my life, I only came to know her when we were young teenagers. My grandparents became good friends with her parents, and it seemed like they were at her house all the time, along with half the neighborhood.  Some of the neighbors were David, was a country music star of somewhat modest fame (who really deserves his own entry sometime) and his family, which included his wife, son and several daughters, only one of which lived at home with them. They still come to the semi-annual gatherings Mary's family has now. Sammy was a neighbor whom I had known all my life, his having been one of my dad's friends from high school. I knew him when he had two arms, but when I was a small child we went to see him in the hospital after one of the arms had been torn off in an accident.  Despite efforts to save it, eventually it had to be amputated, but he could do almost anything a two-armed man could do. As a teen, I was impressed by his ability to open a child-proof bottle. I occasionally utilized his services as a mechanic. He was grossly overweight and smoked like a chimney, and those habits probably led to his early demise when I was a young adult.  For awhile, a trailer sat at the end of their driveway. I think the first ones to live there were Wanda and her husband and her three children (I think the youngest might have been her husband's son, but she had a lot of bad luck in marriage).  They were often at the house, as were the next tenant and his family: a trucker named Bill, with children who sometimes lived there with him and sometimes lived in Arkansas with their mother. I think one of the sons ended up being a professional rodeo rider. Wilma and her husband were frequent guests. Her daughter was married to my cousin. Granddaddy's best buddy Maxie, a cousin of ours, and his wife Joanne were there sometimes too. Granddaddy worked at DuPont, about 15 miles away, until he retired when I was 18, and he and Granny farmed and sold vegetables and later, strawberries. Mary's parents ran a carpet store and a tire business in town. It was a close-knit and fun group.

I would like that kind of life, with my home being open to anyone who wanted to drop in. It just isn't happening for me.  I don't mind working, and I'd like to work as long as I'm able, but I do hope I live long enough to enjoy being retired too. I feel like at this point in my life I have worked a long time, but I know this is the time for me to be working and saving as much as I can toward the future. And if I don't get to live long enough to use it, my kids can. My mother-in-law's home is almost that open. I don't think she gets a lot of visits from neighborhood friends, but, she has a weekly family dinner and often her kids, grandkids, and greats come to her house between those too. It's hard for me to make it to those dinners, because I work 45 miles from there and often I don't get off in time for it. But maybe I can try a little harder to work that in. I have considered trying to ride the bus on the days I work a schedule that will allow me to, like when I'm scheduling or in TEE. I might still listen to the same stuff but I hope I won't be as exhausted as I am now.

Today I had a moment. I had the worst headache I've ever had in my life. It was debilitating. I literally could not think of anything except, God, please relieve me from this pain. Even if this is how I go. I don't know what it was, but it did go away, and I prayed a simple thank you. I have just the slightest beginnings of one now, but that one this afternoon scared me a little. It kind of reminded me that I need to make that sense of community, whatever it will take to do that. I have a lot of catching up to do. Hopefully, I have a lot of time to do it. It is what it is. We'll see how it goes.

I also want to be sure to link this blog to my old blog, the Cheatham County Rock Star's Wife. That's where you'll find my previous musings... some are pretty stupid. Don't say you weren't warned.


Comments

  1. This is really quite the post. It blows away anything I've written lately. Thank you for sharing all this. I'm glad to see you bogging again!

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