Nashville Strong

There is strength in numbers.

As many of you are aware, a tornado ripped through Middle Tennessee just last week. Its reign of terror was 50 miles wide and remained on the ground for 60 minutes, hitting in the dark of the night while many residents were asleep.

Strength in numbers.

I had gone to a Nashville Predators game the prior evening and upon returning to the Mini Manse, realized I left my phone in Mama CBXB’s car. I texted her via my iWatch to let her know.

Ignorance is bliss.

Mama CBXB came by around 6am on Tuesday morning to return my phone and told me there’d been a tornado and to turn on the TV. The images being shown were inconceivable.

I sat in silence. I sat in shock. I sat in sadness. I started freaking the fuck out when I saw the areas where the tornado reportedly touched down because I know people from every area. I checked my email. The CEO of our company sent a message at 6am to stay home until further notice. Our office building had survived the attack from Mother Nature but this is the view of damage from our parking lot, across the street at Tennessee State University.

The magnitude of damage was hard to comprehend via the television screen. The scariness of unknown lurked within every thought. My phone started dinging with messages, DMs, and calls that were concerned peeps checking on me, my friends and family.

None of the local stations broke for the national morning news programs and fresh information kept flooding in. Missing persons lists started circulating, the mayors of areas affected were conducting press conferences, advising residents of what to do. By 10am, the city of Nashville declared a state of emergency. Twenty-two people were confirmed dead and 50,000 people were without power.

The feeling of helplessness subsided when by finding out those loved ones in the areas hit the hardest, historic East Nashville, Germantown and North Nashville were alive. My girlfriend and her family lost their house but they were able to take cover with seconds to spare at 1:45am.

After seeing the above photos of her house, we spoke on the phone. You know what she said? “It could have been so much worse.”

She’s right. It could have been worse. And for some of our residents, it was as the death toll from the storm grew to 25 lives lost. The city went to bed Tuesday night with an uncertainty of what to do and how to help our neighbors while staying out of the way of first responders and city maintenance crews.

Strength in numbers.

The next day, local news showed the droves of volunteers answering calls from organiztions.

My office was able to open and operate off of a generator. We were the only business able to open in about an eight-block radius.

Friends, acquaintances and loved ones kept checking on me and all things Nashville that I love and adore.

Open for business, baby.

I poured over the news while at work, seeking ways we could help. That is the damndest feeling – knowing people need help, but having to stay away because you’d create more havoc. While I was scrolling through Huffington Post, I notice a familiar stature.

No big deal first day.

The Silent Indian’s first day at Edley’s BBQ in East Nashville ended up being a training in tornado clean-up instead of how to be a General Manager of the restaurant.

Before and after images started circulating on social media, creating awareness of the damage done to the heart of the affected areas.

Then, the names of victims started to trickle out. Mike and Albree were leaving an East Nashville speakeasy, Attaboy, headed to their car when they were struck by debris. Albree died on the scene, Mike later at the hospital.

Putnam County saw the most lives lost to the tornado.

With all of the devastating emotions reeling around, the communities stepped the fuck up, showing the world why Tennessee is known as The Volunteer State.

Tide rolled into East Nashville with their Loads of Hope program, helping first responders and those displaced by the tornado wash their clothes.

Animals were displaced from their families and heartbreakingly wondering the streets. The Nashville Human Association, along with numerous other animal rescues and organizations were on hand collecting donations, taking in stranded animals and spearheading social media sharing to get fur babies back to their loved ones.

Local companies started donating 100% of proceeds from merchandise to the tornado relief efforts. In four hours, an Instagram account, @nashvilletn, raised $50k. In a little over a week, they’ve raised $450,000 and counting. They hope to break $1 million by the end of March.

Anything on their website is 100% donated to the relief efforts. CLICK HERE to visit their online store.

Project 615 is a local business that only does good and creates awareness through their tee shirts. All of the profits from the shirt below go toward the Middle Tennessee tornado fund. CLICK HERE to visit their online store.

There are numerous colors and variations of the shirt below from local Nashvillian, Love and Lion. Again 100% of proceeds from sales are headed to relief efforts. CLICK HERE to visit the online store.

The couple, Albree and Mike, were both service industry workers in East Nashville. The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club, where Albree worked, is selling pins in honor of the couple.  All proceeds will benefit service industry workers without employment due to the tornados.

CLICK HERE to purchase a “Pancho” pin, named after their cat.

Witnessing the outpouring of love, support and efforts made by friends and complete strangers alike have been beyond heartwarming. Those who have reached out questioning how to help, please invest in a product above as Nashville is now in the rebuilding stage.

The response for calls of supplies, volunteers, organizing, recovery efforts, etc. has been enormous.

After four full days of volunteers, many organizations pressed pause over the weekend. More than 30,000 people volunteered in Middle Tennessee during that time span.

Strength in numbers.

The cleanup efforts are ongoing, the rebuilding will take months and years but one thing I know is true about the city I love so madly…we’re always open.

See you all on Broadway soon.

There is strength in numbers.

CBXB

CBXB!

For the Love of a Snow Day

Living in Nashville, winter has brought on a whole new experience when it comes to weather.

The city is currently almost completely shut down (the mayor has asked everyone stay off the roadways for the past three days) due to inches of ice on roads and temperatures below freezing, topped with new fallen snow.

Lacking appropriate snow accessories.

The snowcessories most Tennesseans use to clear their cars (maybe minus the Captain).

While this seems piddly compared to what other Americans are experiencing to our north, this slight winter weather halts an entire city, as there is a lack of city equipment to care for the roads, citizens can hardly handle driving in the rain, let alone freezing precipitation and quite frankly, current weather conditions happen about once every 15 years.

90 minute workout

It was a 90 minute workout and half a tank of gas to get my car de-iced yesterday.

And while businesses, schools and folks everywhere are turning into Jack Nicholson from The Shining due to cabin fever, I find myself feeling sorry that the city is shut down due to ice, not snow. Because snow days are fun. Snow days are for play.

Being from the Midwest, it was a very rare treat to get your ass out and actually play in the snow when you were supposed to be sitting in a social studies class.

I'm a lotta help. But I look cute.

Helping Dad shovel the sidewalk. The broom was a big help.

Growing up in rural Iowa, no one batted an eye when several inches (or feet) of snow, high winds and freezing temperatures were included in the forecast for the next day. No one rushed home early from work clogging up the streets, made a mad dash to the grocery stores buying all of the milk and bread in sight and no one abandoned their vehicles on the side of the road due to the frozen flakes falling from the sky (as people tend to do in my current state of Tennessee).

Anytime winter weather is in the forecast, the South freaks the fuck out.

No shit.

Bread and milk aisles in Nashville when snow is in the forecast.

Where I grew up, school was never, ever cancelled the night before predicted winter weather – which often included blizzards, sleet, hail, ice accompanied by subzero temperatures and wind chills (in Tennessee, entire counties and districts will call off school if any meteorologist utters the word “snow” during the weather segment).

Getting a snow day in Iowa was about as possible as Martians landing in the community park.

I DON'T WANT SNOWFLAKES IN MY EYES.

I wish I may, I wish I might, please let the snowfall cancel school for my delight.

So it was a rare treat when the phone (that was connected to the kitchen wall – oh the good ‘ol days) would ring in the wee hours of the morning announcing that school was cancelled (mostly because the buses couldn’t make the trip to get kids in the country).  Instead of sleeping one moment more, my sister and I got our asses out of bed like it was Christmas morning, adorned ourselves in all kinds of snow gear and headed out to play in the wonderland of white (usually with our cousins, who lived right across the street).

It takes this kind of snow to shut down schools in Iowa.

This kind of snow won’t merit a school snow day in Iowa.

Documented below is one of the funnest snow days in history (well, my history).

First we got to sled in the road, which felt like we were breaking all kind of societal rules.

The dog.

How ’bout my mom’s shit kickers? So warm in subzero temperatures.

Second, my sister and I built snowmen complete with cute, cozy accessories (mine came off of my body).

Sacrificing my warmth for a fashionable snow man...or maybe snow gal with the pink stocking hat.

Sacrificing my warmth for a fashionable snowman, naturally.

Then my cousins, the Morris boys, thought it would be a good idea to dig through the snow to Timbuktu.  I would rather have made snow angels and bedazzle my handmade snow creatures but of course I agreed to help excavate (as I had a cute shovel I wanted to put to use – and by I, I mean my cousin Derek. Let’s remember my fingernails are jewels, not tools).

Can we live here?

Can we live here?

I thought it was nothing short of a winter miracle when my dad and Uncle Lewis came out to play with us, constructing a snow fort out of a drift in my backyard, complete with a tunnel – diverting the dig to faraway lands (thank GOD – I was getting tired of being the project manager).

All these years later, I long for a true snow day to build (well, rather sit on my ample derriere and watch my cousins, dad and uncle construct) a fort.

But then again, I live in a state that has snow days with no snow.

Anyone want to road trip it to Iowa?

C’mon!

CBXB

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How to Make the Rain Suck It

Rain rain go away, I’ll look good with your presence anyway (well, here’s hoping)!

Today is full of dismal, dreary showers here in Nashville, with gray skies.  I often feel like a drowned rat when out and about – probably because my choice of shoes is limited – but I’m always prepared with a little leopard (of course).

Rainy days make the leopard boots come out and play!

Rainy days make the leopard boots come out and play!

On stormy days, I try to coax the sun to come out by wearing my sunglasses anyway (looking like a complete and total jackass).  Accompanied by my high “I didn’t do my hair today” bun, I look like I’m trying to be somebody. Anybody.

Who needs an umbrella when armed with sunnies and a bun? Not this nobody.

Today I tried kicking rain’s ass with a little faux fur action, accompanied by a sequined sweater, black skinnies and of course my fabulous galoshes (please forgive the ugliness in the background below – restroom under construction…).

blah

Vest, Skaist Taylor for Target, $14.98. Sweater, J. Crew, $19.99. Black skinnies, Target, $24.99. Boots, Target, $19.99. See a theme here?!

But the best part about my day? The pop of hot pink inside my jacket.

Oh snap!

Oh snap!

It’s my way wet day version of the sun.

Suck it, rain!

CBXB

CBXB!

Snow Day!

Growing up in rural Iowa, no one batted an eye when inches (or feet) of snow were included in the forecast for the next day. No one rushed home early from work clogging up the streets, made a mad dash to the grocery stores buying all of the milk and bread in sight and no one abandoned their cars on the side of the road due to the frozen flakes falling from the sky (as people tend to do in Tennessee).

Snow days, the early years…

I'm a lotta help. But I look cute.

Helping Dad shovel the sidewalk. The broom was a big help.

I DON'T WANT SNOWFLAKES IN MY EYES.

I DON’T WANT SNOWFLAKES IN MY EYES.

School was never cancelled the night before an Iowa snowfall (in Tennessee, entire counties and districts will call off school if any meteorologist utters the word “snow” during the weather segment). Getting a snow day was about as possible as Martians landing in the community park.

So it was a rare treat when the phone (that was connected to the kitchen wall – oh the good ‘ol days) would ring in the wee hours of the morning announcing that school was cancelled (mostly because the buses couldn’t make the trip to get kids in the country).  Instead of sleeping in (like the lazy older kids – boring!), my sister and I would hurriedly jump up, put our snow gear on and head out to play in the wonderland of white (usually with our cousins, the Morris boys, who lived right across the street).

Documented below is one of the funnest snow days in history (well, my history).

First we got to sled in the road, which felt like we were breaking all kind of societal rules.

The dog.

My beloved dog Rocky – who always played side-by-side with us. And what about my mom’s kick ass cowboy boots for winter attire? So warm.

Second, my sister and I built snowmen, complete with cute accessories (mine came off of my body).

Sacrificing my warmth for a fashionable snow man...or maybe snow gal with the pink stocking hat.

Sacrificing my warmth for a fashionable snow man…or maybe snow gal with the pink stocking hat.  And Rocky, blending into the snow.

Then, the Morris boys thought it would be a good idea to dig a fort (such a dude suggestion) to Timbuktu.  I would rather have made snow angels and bedazzle snowmen but of course I agreed to help dig (as I had a cute shovel I wanted to use – and by I, I meant my cousin Derek. My nails have always been ‘jewels, not tools’ apparently).

Can we live here?

Can we live here?

I thought it was a miracle when my dad and Uncle Lewis came out to play with us, constructing a snow fort complete with a tunnel – diverting the dig to faraway lands (thank GOD).

All these years later, I want a snow day to build a fort with my cousins.  But then again, I live in a state that has snow days with no snow.

C’mon!

CBXB

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