Adventures in Imperfection · Life is a Highway

Misadventures in Tennessee (Not all who wander are lost)

My work week may have started like yours, like many of ours do. Mine was a random Monday full of meetings and phone calls, fires to put out, and issues to manage. After a quick pack-job, I was out the door by 5 so I could reach Omaha before dark.

Little did I know that when I left the safe, home-base perimeter, that all heck would break loose. Although, I should have. The Blue Moon arrives Friday and travel in the midwest is tricky even without lunar forces messing with us.

The Tuesday Omaha visit went smooth and I left the appointment precisely at 10:00 a.m. to make a 2:20 flight in Kansas City. TSA Pre-Check is the bomb diggity (heh, heh), so I wasn’t worried about arriving an hour before scheduled take-off.

Did it make me nervous that Terminal B parking was full? Nope! I parked in terminal C and hitchhiked the red bus to terminal B.

At least, that was the plan.

Midway through the route, the drivers needed to switch. We had to scour the circle lots before going back to B and NOBODY was in a hurry.


Just as we were entering the drive, a police officer stopped the bus. I had overheard on the radio that they were looking for a man with a “suspicious bag” and to keep eyes open.

Guess where they found the dude with the bag? Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Was I nervous?

Nope! I had all day to get to Nashville and still had forty minutes to make it through security. That said, I was starting to fidget–I don’t like cutting it that close.

After some minor shuffling and United Nations approved interrogation, the man was escorted off (with his suspicious bag) and I breezed through security arriving 10 minutes before boarding time.

Not that it mattered. The flight was delayed an hour. Everyone boarded the plane and then we sat on the tarmac another hour. We made it to Nashville and circled the airport for, you guessed it, another hour.

This cute little thunderstorm kept us airborne.

The pilots flew until the fuel light came on (they told us that later) and we finally landed only to find out that the storm had knocked out power to the airport. You wanna know how long we sat on the tarmac? Yep! An hour. Are you keeping track?


I should also mention that I started the week with a little (self-diagnosed) kidney stone problem. How do you prepare the complete stranger sitting next to you that he may need to perform emergency surgery? I was working on my medical waiver papers when we received the good news.

After some pleading from the crew (and other passengers with full bladders), TSA granted permission for us to climb down a makeshift jet bridge and enter the airport through the ground level. Of course the stairs were wet and slippery, I fell, and there was blood.


Was I rattled? No way. Tennessee is gorgeous, and the people here are so nice. There was even a kind attendant in the dark bathrooms with a flashlight so we could see to pee. But, who knew that toilets need electricity to flush? D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G.

The lower level of the airport did have power and I was able to grab my bag and a rental car. After a dead-to-the-world night of sleep, I got up early and headed out to Knoxville, TN–another three-hour drive.

It was a beautiful day!


I cranked the radio and penned a post in my head titled “Tennessee Moonlight.” It was going to be funny and poignant and insightful and full of pretty words and photos. Oh, my friends, you were going be to be wowed! I couldn’t wait to find a laptop. I was even going to make a Spotify play list that captured all of the favorite songs I heard during the drive.

Good luck reading the handwriting.

By the time I arrived in Knoxville, I was in full work mode (as I should have been) and my brain went to population health,  care pathways, and health literacy.  I surfaced from the appointments famished, and the only thing I could think about was eating. Oh, and running.


Downtown Knoxville is fabulous.  Even though I’m not an artsy person, I love looking at urban art, industrial buildings, and train stations. The Market District had it all.




Unfortunately, Knoxville is also very humid and the heat index stalled a planned 4-mile run at a measly 2. But, I wasn’t cheated on the work-out because it took another mile (or so) of walking in circles to find my hotel again.

I spend more time lost than found, but the pictures above were all taken during my “lost” period. Don’t you think the best adventures happen while you’re looking for your destination? It seems like these wandering themes repeat themselves on the pages of MamaMick – being lost, making mistakes, finding your way, getting back to the basics. Laughing so you don’t cry. Over and over again, the lessons I keep relearning.

The extra mileage carried me to The Tupelo Honey restaurant where I ate  the best banana pudding ever and a cute, young waiter carded me (YESSSSS!!) when  I asked for sweet tea with a kick. Come to find out, EVERYONE gets carded in Tennessee and I’m still as old as my driver’s license says.

Now it’s ~9:00 on Thursday night and I’m still in Knoxville. My flight was scheduled to leave at 3:16 p.m. and route through Philly back to KC. The ticketing agent must have been drinking spiked tea, too because who gets to Kansas from Tennessee through Philadelphia? Christopher Columbus?

After watching the board show a  delay of one hour, two hours, three hours and finally cancelled, I needed a plan B. How does a sleep deprived, directionally challenged woman get from Knoxville to Wichita by 2 p.m. tomorrow?

Not by calling the airlines.

While I was on hold with US Air, I found an online booking tool and scheduled a 5:19 a.m. flight out of Knoxville. I retrieved my bags, and walked to the hotel inside the airport. The partner I’m meeting tomorrow is going to chauffeur me around Wichita and usher me back to the KC airport to retrieve my car so I can drive back home (another hour).


Hubby said that he has home base covered, that Dane has been fishing all day, and Tanna is gearing up for a move into a new apartment. I’m not even sure anyone knew I was gone.

This travel craziness has become the norm and it’s not worth getting upset about anymore. Life is too short, right?

These speed bumps teach us to be flexible and accepting of circumstances out of our control. Kindness goes further than frustration, and there are a lot of good people in this world.

My attitude is also enhanced because I’m on stay-cation next week. The only place I’m going to wander and get lost is in my back yard. You may not see me for days. No need to send a search party either. Unless they bring banana pudding.image


Disclaimer #1: Edit, schmedit! Please excuse the grammar, gratuitous use of adverbs, accidental alliteration, and poor spelling. I haven’t had my sugar today.

Disclaimer #2: Sorry that I haven’t been over to visit blogs of my friends and readers. Part of stay-cation next week will be reading. As soon as I finish “Go Set a Watchman.” Scout’s honor 😉

Disclaimer #3: Please don’t report my unsourced images. The photos are mine, but the cartoons are from Pinterest and I have no idea how to work the hot links on an iPad. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the iPad has jacked up this entire post, so don’t judge.

Note #1: Please cheer on the Royals while I’m gone. Y’all, I can’t find a frickin’ baseball game to watch anywhere.

Note #2: Can somebody help me find my room?

Final note: For your listening pleasure

53 thoughts on “Misadventures in Tennessee (Not all who wander are lost)

  1. oh, i am so happy you wrote this because…laughing my ass off here!
    I am certain it wasn’t all that funny in real life, and if your attitude was that good the whole way then kudos, my sister! But I believe you totally made the best of the mess and i’m so glad you wrote about it. resiliency, not panicking in the face of whatever, great photos while lost, banana pudding!.

    and, synchronicity time….I laughed at the Holy Grail clip because tomorrow I am going to see Spamalot here at the Hollywood Bowl (their summer musical this year)…and so it goes with little coincidences, yes?

    This really was great! Loved having you pop up i my inbox, as always, and have a great time next week…sounds like you really need a rest!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JEALOUS! Spamalot? Sign me up! Nothing is more healing and cathartic than laughter, right?! I could talk about African and European swallows till the coconuts come home 😉
      Speaking of coincidence, I love it when you pop up in my inbox, too. Thank you for totally making my night. Xo


  2. It was nice to open my email and find a post from you. It sound like you have had an adventure. Good thing you can keep a calm head and sweet spirit with all those things going on around you. I try not to freak out when things do not go as planned. I can role with the flow a LOT easier than the hubby. He tends to over react a tad and get all discombobulated when things don’t happen just the way he plans. BUT I will say this, he can adapt and find a better/different plan when they don’t go right faster than I can. I don’t panic…usually. But I also know how to utilize resources. Glad your home next week! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve gotten better with the “roll with the flow” over the years…but I’m still a work in progress. Sounds like you and the hubs are great partners in crime. Thank you for popping over to say hey!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep… but the whole traveling thing is harder than it used to be. I don’t like to go far for long. I miss my house, my dogs, my bed, my pillow, my….. LOL!


  3. OMg, I’d be insane by now if I had a schedule like yours, and had to deal like the airlines on a regular basis. I admire the fact that you made the best of it, and I love the pictures. Knoxville is a beautiful city with a lot of steep sidewalks. I’ve visited Knoxville several times before my daughter was born. My sister and brother-in-law were living there while he was working on his Masters Then I visited there about 10 years ago while attending a UT game. I was up in the nosebleed section and had vertigo the whole time, lol. Have you been in that stadium before? Crazy steep.

    I’m so glad to read that you will be on vacation next week, and I hope you don’t have a kidney stone. Yikes. I suspect you’ll be going to the shed a lot during your time off. **wink wink** 😀


    1. I have not been in that stadium before–the downtown bleeds orange…as it should!
      How cool is it to know that I just walked the same streets you did not so long ago. One of these days our paths will cross for real and we can go get lost together.
      I hope you’re having a wonderful summer, Victoria! xoxoo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Ruth!
      I just saw your beautiful sunflower pictures last night. Isn’t nature amazing?
      As for having time to blog, I should really spend it doing some real writing 😉
      I hope you’re having a fabulous summer…I love seeing you here. Thank you! xo


  4. Sweet tea with a kick. Lol. Is that what they’re calling Long Island Iced Tea these days?

    Kidney stones? Yikes, I hope not! I had diagnosed myself with some horrible lung disease as I’ve been coughing up icky bits of hard white gunk. Turns out they’re just tonsil stones. Gross. Um, thanks Google?

    Ooooh love that playlist. I know what I’ll be running to this weekend. Zac Brown is from my neck of the woods. That’s a great song.

    Enjoy your staycation!


    1. “Just” tonsil stones? What the what? You’ve been battling the crud really since your last trip, haven’t you? I’ll be flying into your lovely state early this morning and will shower some love (and antibiotics?) over that big star.
      The “spiked” tea was actually some sort of homemade lavender tea and lemon thingy – no LIIT for this chick 😉 OMG – I didn’t tell you about the biscuits with homemade blueberry preserves. It’s the little things, right?
      I’m still working on the playlist and have a few more to add. Love Zac Brown – I’m sure you’ve seen their rendition of Devil Went Down to Georgia? Amazing!
      Have a wonderful day, my friend. I’m eager to get back to RoS and hear the Avett brothers again. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Way cool post Mama. I always learned more lost than I ever did when I knew where I was going. And, as serendipity would have it, what I learned when lost inevitably became useful at some future indeterminate time. I used to schedule time into runs for getting lost – you know you are getting good at it when you can predict how long you will be lost. 😀 I used to travel some by plane when I trucked but it was seldom on a schedule like you. We had some superb paying oilfield customers and we would sometimes wait as long as three weeks for a,load. Without any fuel burn, there were just fixed costs (truck payments, insurance, etc) and lay-over costs. I had a girl friend in Boston and I would park the truck , hop a flight to Boston from Houston or Louisiana or LA,and stay with her for free (just some food and miscellaneous costs) – then fly back to the truck when they had a load for me. It was cheaper than a motel room – and better company. 😀

    It would drive me nuts if I had to rely on planes like you do to make appointments and meetings. I don’t know how you stay so cool. I had to fly to the west coast a while back for an interview and I was wasted by the time I got there. You are an amazing woman Mama.

    Love the photos of the old buildings and street art. Very cool.

    I hope all goes well and you have a relaxing stay-cation week in your “pot” garden as you so affectionately call it -**nudge, nudge, wink, wink** 😀


    1. Hi Paul!
      I love that you used to schedule ‘lost times’ into runs. I factor that into my driving schedule, but never thought about doing that for a run. I like your notion better. You seem to really treasure those trucking memories (or, maybe it was the girl you flew across the country to see). Have you been writing about those adventures lately? I’d love to see what you’ve been up to!
      As for that poor garden…I’m sure the forest is overgrown with cucubmers and tomatoes right now. My son is in charge of the flowers while I’m gone–you wanna place a bet on whether they are still alive?
      I hope you’ve had a great week, my friend. Drop me a link and let me know where your latest post is living. Thank you for always being such a great reader and supporter. You da best! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a time you’ve had! Our vacation flight got mucked up too, giving us a layover at JFK airport from midnight to 7am, when we finally boarded our flight to Portland, Maine. That banana pudding looks deelish! And the pix in Knoxville are very cool. We were just a few hours from there, Johnson City, TN, a few weeks ago. Sorry to hear about your tumble. Ouch! Glad to hear you’re going to have a staycation for a while. Enjoy yourself!


    1. Oh Susan – overnight in JFK? Yikes!
      I haven’t made it to Johnson City yet, but I haven’t found a spot in TN that I don’t like. It’s all so green and gorgeous and friendly.
      I hope that you and your kiddo (young man!) are having a great summer. I’ll be over to visit very soon. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! Your travel life made me tired. How do you smile after all that? You are truly Wonder Woman. I’m glad you get a stay-cation, but I wish it was longer than a week. You might need the first week just to catch up on all your poor sleep. My good news is that my August that was supposed to be in limbo because of jury duty just became free due to a continuance in the trial. I can now make plans to travel in Aug. with my daughter who’s coming home from Korea one week from today. Squeeeeeeal! I’m a little bit excited.


    1. YAY! I’m so glad you get to see and travel with your daughter. Aren’t limbo situations uncomfortable? Though, sitting on a jury may have given you ideas for your next book!
      Glad you have your August set and that it involves your sweet girl. Enjoy, my friend and talk to you soon!


      1. I know. I had been a little excited to sit on a jury just for a different experience (and it was easier to be excited than bitter that I had been chosen for all of August). So my book that happens in a courtroom will just have to wait.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. You poor darling, you got well and truly tested with this trip Michelle.
    I will ask a question if I may, and I’m not pointing at anything with this… you love your work?
    I only ask as I thought I did like (yes, I said like), my work, and when the day came that I left (ok, they did one of those reshuffle things that kept everyone guessing for 12 months whether they had a job to go to or not), I realised after a while that I was actually very relieved to be out of the mayhem.
    The job itself was great, I had been there for 10years but eventually I realised it did in fact keep me locked into a stressful way of being that I had become so used to I didn’t realise it was there. I was now looking back and seeing it for what it truly was.
    It is a sneaky thing that stress, slowly building itself a little bit at a time until before you know it, your doing all sorts of crazy things and thinking its normal.
    No, your trip isn’t normal 🙂 Where does your heart want to be?
    I, very soon after my ‘let go’, made a decision that I would never ‘have to’ do a job again, and wandered off to begin my Massage Therapy business….and LOVED every bit of it. I enjoyed it so much that going to work was not a chore, I smiled all day and no longer ‘clock watched’ as the day dragged on. Oh, and I made lots of money because my heart was in the right place, and for the first time in my life I wasn’t ‘in it for the money’.
    You probably love your job to bits….just had one of those days…or two 😀
    Sending energy so there isn’t any line ups or delays at airports for miles. And maybe time off when your Royals are playing too 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mark!
      You always say such kind and insightful things. I do like my job and would probably love it if I didn’t have to cover so many states. One of those things that started ‘normal’ and became crazy with our own set of shuffling. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Hubby experienced a reshuffling after 24 years of dedicated service and loyalty. He took a year off, went into a job that he knew wouldn’t be great and just made the decision to do something different and more fun. YES! That’s the ticket, right?
      For now, I’ll plug along with an eye on doing something I truly love (write and photograph). It seems that you have found your calling – part of which seems to be naturally helping others do the same.
      Thank you for always stopping by to read and comment on my ramblings. It means the world to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so glad this was in my inbox this morning because it makes the day ahead of me (taking the kids to the office & actually getting work done, then running errands with them) seem less daunting! I can do this.

    I hope you have a wonderful staycation! And BTW, I can read your handwriting perfectly. That middle note says: Say you do, say you like Ragu.

    I do too. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww…sounds like a fabulous adventure with those cute kiddos!
      And it’s official! You are the only one who can read my writing. I can barely read it most days.
      Have a wonderful day (and weekend) –talk to you soon! Xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. See-I knew I loved you for a reason!
      Hope you’re having a great summer.
      And, guess who the Royals are playing when I see them in August?
      I’ll probably bring the same luck to the Orioles that you brought to the boys in blue 🙂


  10. That’s a truly beautiful thunderstorm, nonetheless. I shared it on my Pintrest board for clouds, and credited you. I try to only use photos these days because I don’t understand crediting AT ALL and it bugs me.

    I’m glad you got the consummate professional bit done in the end, in spite of all the frustrations it took to make that happen. You achieved. You did. It mattered.

    Now rest and breathe and enjoy your staycation 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey honey! I’ve been thinking a lot about you this week and sending you loving glittery vibes.
      You are always so kind and good to me — you mean the world to me and so many others. Hugs and wishes that the next full moon brings more joy than this one. Xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The pudding TOTALLY made the trip worthwhile.
      You’ll be happy to know that I’m channeling my inner-Diana today.
      Stay-cation started at 5:30 this morning with a list of things to do as soon as I finished running. My husband asked, “Who has a schedule on vacation?”
      I just thought to myself, “I bet Diana does!”
      Hope you and yours have had a great summer! I plan to come over and visit very soon. xo


      1. “channeling my inner-Diana today.”

        You sound a lot more organized than tired Yours Truly. I’m too busy and impatient to transfer the list in my head to paper. =) Don’t worry about visiting. Enjoy the family.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I read every single word of this post and it made my crappy 9 month pregnant misery seem so much lighter. I loved my MamaMick fix! You handled all those delays and setbacks with such grace that I’m determined to do the same.

    Thanks for the boost of goodwill and energy! MUAH.


    1. My dearest Katie,
      Never would I minimize the misery of 9-months pregnant in summertime. UNCLE!!!
      You are so kind and sweet to me – seeing your smiling face come across my site absolutely made my day!
      I’m in your neck of the woods next week–hoping you are knee-deep in diapers and love by then. xoxoxox
      (Thank you!)


  12. After our trip to the Denver area for my dear wife Karen’s Family reunion took us through MInneapolis to and Atlanta from, I had my fill of airports, Michelle. I don’t know how you do it! Thanks for sharing these adventures. I love the urban murals you discovered by your flexible sense of direction, my friend. Good work sharing these. 🙂 Enjoy your staycation this week! Hey, out in Denver, we caught a game in Coors Field. Nice stadium!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. BAHAHAHA! “Flexible sense of direction.”
      I am SO stealing that term.
      I have only seen Coors Field from I-125 – glad you were able to catch a game in that beautiful city. Sounds like you are having a great summer!


  13. Now that I’m able to get up off the floor from laughing so hard, I gotta say this was good medicine this morning !! 🙂 If all your trips are like this you are definitely underpaid no matter how much they pay you!!


  14. Your words and photos are amazing. Just what I expected when I finally got over here to visit, after a couple months away from the blogosphere.

    And wow, your life makes me tired. And energized. How do you do it? (Both your energy, and making ME more energized!)

    And now I have a new playlist to follow. I have a huge increase in work hours for my work-from-home job — full-time, yay! — and a correspondingly huge need for updated music lists. Thank you!

    I hope your stay-cation this week has been quiet, peaceful, and surrounded by family. Hugs and peace to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your words just completely made my day, Cindi. Thank you! I’ve had the best stay cation this week and am starting to feel the energy creep back into those tired spaces. I’m eager to hear more about your work-from-home job and hope that you will still keep some time for yourself as that full-time gig ramps up! Hugs and peace to you, too…I love it when you come to visit!! xo


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