Summer Is Here

Just a warning, this could be long….you have been warned

I guess before I start off with some pictures I should give a life update. After 3 years of being a Transportation Planner at Kroger I decided that it was time to move on. I had been looking for a replacement job for probably a year but never very seriously. Over the past few months I was starting to get very frustrated at work. Due to the schedule I had almost no life outside of my job. It was impossible for me to plan anything. I was working holidays, most weekends with long hours, and I couldn’t attend church on Sundays except every few weeks. This was a problem since I have been trying to get more involved. Hard to truly get to know people if you can only be there every 3 weeks or more.

So I was unhappy and it was starting to show in my life. After weeks/months of praying for a change it finally happened. Enter March when I started the stressful search. With some help I was told about an open position with OHL as a Transportation Analyst. For quite awhile I had wanted to have a job like that. I applied since it was starting to look like Kroger was not going to lead to any opportunities like this. After a few interviews and an Excel test I found out on May 23rd that I got the job. I can’t even explain how happy I was when I turned in my two weeks notice. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate everything the people did for me at Kroger. They were the ones that gave me a shot first. I had some great memories, but I wanted something more. I always wanted to be happy.

So on June 9th I started working for OHL (Ozburn Hessey Logistics), which is a 3rd party logistics company. We specialize in managing the transportation, warehousing, etc for many companies. Some of our core customers are Red Bull, Apple, and Starbucks. I have been there almost a month and each day I realize how blessed I am to work with/for a company like this. It amazes me each day how great of a culture this company has, along with how helpful/educated the people are that I work with. As an analyst I will be responsible for optimization studies, looking at on-time %, reviewing the key performance indicators, etc. It has been challenging so far, but I have already seen a large improvement in my Microsoft Excel/Access knowledge. (which is where we spend 90% of our time) Moving to a job in Brentwood has brought on some other challenges, but nothing I can’t overcome. I started the process of looking for places in the area, so I hope one day I will be updating everyone about that.

Just a few pics from our employee cook-out last week. It was employee appreciation week, and OHL knows how to make someone feel valued. Even if they have only been there a few weeks.
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We also finally had Alex’s graduation party awhile ago. Everybody from my dad’s side of the family drove down from Kentucky and we met at a cool pub in the Gulch.
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Over the past month I have moved in with my Uncle/Aunt. Their house is just about 2 miles from my office, which is a much shorter commute than 29 miles. I have been dog sitting for them some since they have had to go up to Burlington/Boston to help out the Davenports. Their daughter was given birth to twins and Hudson the boy had some heart issues so he had some surgery after birth. I have definitely enjoyed getting to spend time with Barkley again.

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My Uncle has a garden in the backyard which some gigantic sunflowers. They are probably around 7 feet tall, if not more.

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Friday was July 4th, and it was great having a holiday off. This is probably one of my favorite holidays, mainly because I love freedom. And I also love fireworks. Back when I worked at Bike Pedlar we would always have a large group rides downtown to the show. So I have tried my hardest to continue the tradition. It is difficult though since many of the people I did it with have moved away and I don’t know as many that ride anymore. That being said, Alex and I headed downtown to watch the show. Not going to lie, but it was a tad sketchy since it was just the two of us. The previous years it seemed like I would always see tons of other cyclist doing the same thing. But this year we didn’t pass anyone on Shelby Bottoms. It was just us and the night skies. Glad I had two bright lights to show us the way.

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The show was amazing as usual. Evidently Nashville was rated as the #2 show in the country behind NYC. I don’t have anything to compare it to, but it certainly was a good show. It started around 9:55 and ended at about 10:25. So once it ended Alex and I rode back to Two Rivers park. It was great getting to ride by all the cars stuck in traffic.

Saturday was a great day for the family because we were able to meet Harper and Hudson. The Davenports are moving back south, so they are in town for a few days. Hudson has had a tough few weeks, but he was such a calm baby. I think all he did while we were there is just sleep. Harper evidently was jealous that Hudson got so much attention at the beginning, because she loves to have the attention now haha. I will admit that I am not comfortable holding a kid. I have a fear that whenever I hold them they will cry and I always assume it was my fault. However, I do enjoy just seeing how small their toes and fingers are. So everyone say hi to Harper and Hudson.

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Bailey has also been at the house the past week or so. I am much more comfortable being around two dogs than kids.
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Outside of all this I have “tried” to ride my bike. But it has been one of the worst summers in years when it comes to cycling. Without going into much detail, I will just say that I have had some issues with my right leg. It kept me off my bike for about a month. Physical therapy helped, but it still is not the same. Hopefully over time though everything will be back to normal and I will get to enjoy riding. It is something I have a passion for, and it is my escape. That being said, it hasn’t stop me from spending money on my bikes. I have a fancy new gold chain for my single speed conversion. I was a tad skeptical at first, but it has grown on me. I also had some wheels built up for my road bike, so I put the old ones on the SS.

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Home Away from Home

Some days seem to take forever to end. There are days/weeks I spend at work wondering if they ever will. But time sure adds up when you start looking back. I can’t believe that four years ago my little sister was going off to college. Yet I sit hear now realizing that she has graduated and is moving back home. On stressful college days I remember how I would mutter complaints wondering if college would ever end. At the time a week could feel like a year, but looking back the 4 years felt like just a day.

I have become that old person that spends all of my time in Knoxville reminiscing about how things were. I walk around campus talking about how things were when I attended. Admiring the changes, cherishing my memories, and imagining what things will be like in the future. I am probably the most obnoxious person to deal with when I step foot on campus. All I ever want to do is walk around, I am a tour guide to my family. The biggest mistake anybody could ever make around me is ask if I could show them around campus.

I get so excited because things change so fast. If the business world has taught me one thing, it is to embrace change. Two years ago we were moving Alex into a new sorority house. Just two years ago I was looking at empty lots and construction. Today you see a  sorority village that anybody would want to live in.

Click on the photos to make them larger.

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Like the Nashville skyline, I can look at the same thing an never get tired of it. I guess since I don’t see them every day I don’t grow accustomed to them. Each moment spent on campus is a moment I will cherish forever. I will always remember losing my voice after UT football games. The drunk fraternity guys yelling “Fire Fulmer”, or how great it felt to drink some Strawberry Kiwi Lemonade after cheering on the orange and white.

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Watching Alex graduate was boring, but it also was amazing. I not only was able to be on UT’s campus again, but I was getting to watch my baby sister walk across the stage. It makes the daily stresses, the long days of studying, and everything else worth it. Nobody would feel accomplished or excited if it was easy.

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I was able to see so many people walk onto stage excited and nervous about what the future will bring. I was watching their smiles/hugs to friends and family when the ceremony was over. Nobody had the same experience at school, but they all had the same happiness and love for what they had just accomplished. Sure things are going to get tougher, but for now it was a time of celebration.

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I probably sound like a parent, but it is hard to look at your baby sister in a cap and gown. She is supposed to be the annoying, whiny, yet adorable child. It is too soon to see my baby sis become a beautiful and independent women. I am going to be a wreck when I see my older sis in a wedding dress.

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UT truly is my second home. I didn’t like so many things about it, but I am sure the same can be said about any family/home. Sure I didn’t walk, but the graduation celebration was not something I had ANY desire in attending. I didn’t want to spend my last day as a student stuck inside with 1,000s of people I didn’t know. I wanted to spend it on my bike riding around the campus I spent 4 years of my life on.

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I attended the University of Tennessee. I went there as a Kentucky Wildcat fan because of family, but I left bleeding orange. Not just because of sports, but because of what the University represents. It is about the 1000s of students that graduate each year representing the power T.

ImageAs a student singing “Rocky Top you will always be, home sweet home to me” was just something we did a football games. I would mindlessly yell it at the top of my lungs during games. But looking back I can really understand what it means. UT’s campus will never just be a college campus to me, it is my home away from home.

Rocky Top will always be home sweet home to me.