Being new in Bristol & the Tri-Cities


It’s my 4th day in Bristol. I start work tomorrow. Very exciting times!

It’s making up for the drive up, which was very unpleasant. First, we waited for the movers to arrive in Miami. They did their job, but a move never really goes smoothly. I thought I would stay in Riverwood forever.

My father supervised the last few hours, so Garry and I could leave — along with Casey and Yeti, of course! It was a long, long drive. We knew that going in.

Unfortunately, it took an hour longer than expected.

Once in Georgia, it started getting dark. In South Carolina, we were at a standstill because of construction. In North Carolina, it started raining and even though the temperature was over 50, Garry heard pieces of sleet.

entering Tennessee, weather-weary & tired

He was driving and didn’t even realize we had entered Tennessee because as soon as we did, the only thing we could see was the thickest fog I had ever seen! Luckily, everything turned out alright. We got in at 1:30 in the morning and then took everything inside, keeping the kids separate even though they’d been sitting next to each other in the car for 14 hours.

The motel was pretty lousy but the price matched, and it did its job. We had to find a place that allowed pets, so we ended up at the American Inn, just west of town, and it was about three steps below a Days Inn! Poor Casey had to stay in a tiny, cold bathroom for two nights. We are all glad that’s over!

Luckily, we got a place to live later that first day. Garry would’ve preferred a house with a fenced-in yard, but that wasn’t feasible so quickly. Several people from the station had lived in the Shelby Heights Apartments before, and there was an immediate opening. The place is two-bedroom, two-bath. Very nice.

Casey gets the master bedroom, bathroom, and closet, while Yeti gets the rest of the place. Casey does get to come out while Garry walks Yeti, and even saw a fireplace for the first time! He has adjusted very well to the weather and the apartment even with no furniture. It’s definitely an improvement after that tiny, cold motel bathroom, even if it doesn’t feel like home yet. (I’m guessing.)

Unfortunately, we moved in without any of the stuff we moved! That means there is no furniture. Nothing to sit on or sit at. I bought an air mattress to sleep. Cable TV arrived right away, but we don’t have any TV sets! Garry has been watching CNN, HLN, and ABC Family because that’s what he can pick up from his old Comcast account. I only watch live streaming of WCYB‘s news when it’s on. I’ve also been reading the employee handbook, my predecessor’s notes, lots of travel brochures, and trying to find all online news sources in the area to help come up with story ideas.

at the Tennessee Welcome Center on I-81

There is also no way to cook. That makes getting my morning cups of coffee difficult. I don’t mind going out to eat, checking what’s in the area, and supporting the local economy which really seems to need it.

Yesterday, we went to Food City, which is one of the two major grocery store chains here, and also a WCYB sponsor. It was nicer than I expected. There wasn’t so much kosher stuff as I also expected, but it was almost twice as expensive as in Florida which I didn’t expect. Garry made me proud by finding all the stuff! It will be nice when the movers come, so we can actually cook what we bought!

Casey & Yeti should get special treatment

You need to turn on Kmart Drive to get to Shelby Heights. We knew something was up with the name as soon as we heard it. Sure enough, coming from the motel, we saw a Kmart and the entrance to the parking lot was Kmart Drive! It was convenient to have that store around for the first few days. I’m now getting discounts as a frequent shopper. For the record, there are two Walmarts: one in the northern part of Bristol, Virginia, and the other in the southern part of Bristol, Tennessee.

can be seen from the newsroom window

The station is very nice and I felt energized after I left. It’s located a half-block into Virginia, in the east end of downtown Bristol. I got to meet the boss in person on Friday. He gave me a tour of the station and introduced me to everyone there. Very friendly and hardworking people! I’m pleased and looking forward to jumping in tomorrow!

Today, we will explore Kroger to compare and pick up a few things we didn’t get. Please comment if you can tell Garry the best place in the area to get firewood. Apparently, you need to take it from the entrance of Food City, put it in your shopping cart, and keep it with you while you shop, in order to pay. You can’t just tell the cashier, pay for it, and take it right to your car!

Another Tri-Cities grocery note: The chains have their own gas stations. Unusual for me. And Kmart has been giving me coupons for discounts at BP stations, but apparently both BP stations in town have changed brands and didn’t alert Google!

Anyway, I have a long to-do list before work tomorrow. Going to get started.

Thanks for reading and all your support.

P.S. This morning, I got to Skype with my one-year-old nephew Betzalel! Had never done that on the phone before. And happy 14th birthday to my nephew Preston!

About the author

The journalism “business” has changed — from standards to platforms to layoffs — along with the American public, and I’ve managed to survive somewhat on my own terms.

I started in 1994, becoming an award-winning and respected TV newscast producer.

Even better was creatively producing websites and social media, and serving as a station's digital media manager — writing news, creating graphics and getting evidence of growing my audience here in the nation's fourth largest market, Philadelphia.

I also taught first grade for eight years. My principal saw my class website and made me electronic gradebook manager to assist co-workers when we stopped using paper gradebooks.

In 2018, I took courses and earned the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.

In 2019, I was a freelance newspaper reporter, but enjoyed copy editing and reviving the publication’s social media even more.

That got me striking out on my own with a local news website to join the blog I created, designed and write.

Ask me about all the details.

I did drive Uber to make ends meet until I started as a customer service representative at one of the world’s largest web-hosting companies, with more than 8 million customer contracts and hosting more than 12 million domains.

With classroom and newsroom experience, I know how to prioritize, analyze and take the best course of action. Getting results means attention to detail, following through and following up.


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