A Potpourri of Updates

Mesa Rim Trail 13

It has been almost three weeks since my last blog post. So much has happened that I’ve barely had a chance to come up for air. But for the next 13 days or so, I’ll have a respite from the usual craziness, and even a chance at my first solo vacation since My (Not Quite) Coast-to-Coast Trip Report of 2014.

Meanwhile, I thought you might appreciate a CliffsNotes-style update on my life, and on things that are of interest to me.  I am still alive and well, Loyal Reader. I promise not to be offline for so long before my next post.

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Tennessee-Born?

Tennessee continues to fascinate me. On the surface, the state appears to be very well run. Its Republican Governor, Bill Haslam, was instrumental in quick disaster response and aid to families affected by The Great Tennessee Snowpocalypse of 2015. Additionally, its roads are in impeccable shape, despite their high traffic content. Take I-40, for example. This east-west interstate highway is the third-longest in the country and passes through eight states. The 455-mile Tennessee stretch of highway receives more vehicle traffic per mile than any of the other seven states, including California. Yet Tennessee’s I-40 is in outstanding shape, its rest stops spotlessly clean.

Look deeper, though, and you find cracks in the veneer. Meth addiction spiraled following the financial crisis of 2008, and it’s not uncommon to encounter one or more toothless, recovering addicts on a daily basis. And while the state’s Appalachian Mountain culture is fabled as a place of folk music and simple living, the reality is closer to the movie Winter’s Bone than one might want to believe. Additionally, the state’s job growth rate is one of the lowest in the nation. Tennessee is a place of $10/hour factory and warehouse jobs; “white collar” jobs are especially hard to find once you leave the “Big Three” of Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville.

Still, a diverse number of companies have chosen Tennessee for their corporate or manufacturing headquarters. Let’s take a look at some of them!

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Confessions of a Former English Teacher

As my current tax season job winds to a close, I am reminded of the fact that just one year ago, I was waking up at 4:30 every morning to begin the arduous commute to my rewarding, but short-lived, job as an English teacher in Mexico City.

I have mentioned that job before in passing, but wanted to share some humorous anecdotes with you, Loyal Reader – albeit in a more structured manner than the few bullet points I shared here about my current gig as a tax company waver and marketer.

Today’s entry will be longer, as I taught English in Mexico for 18 months and simply have more stories to tell.

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Reflections from the Street Corner (It’s Not What You Think)

I have a job! I decided to join the ranks of the employed, and found part-time work as a marketer for the local franchise of a national income tax firm (think H&R Block). While on the job, I occasionally canvas local neighborhoods and business with pamphlets and other leave-behinds, but mostly I am a costumed “waver” who stands at the street corner, holding signs and waving at passersby whilst dancing a jig or shaking my booty. The goal is to get people to smile, honk, or wave back (and maybe visit our shop to have their taxes done). Here is a pic of Yours Truly in company colors. How do I look?

Liberty Tax 1

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