Monday, July 19, 2010

Anderson County Elections on August 5th: Race for the office of trustee

Let me start off this post by saying that I'm 95% certain that I will never again use this blog as a political platform, so readers, all 2 of you, please bear with me through this one rant and I promise to stop beating this particular dead horse.

I don't know much about politics, especially small town politics, and if I'm being completely honest, I've really never cared. I don't research the issues like I should before voting, and I have left a few ballot boxes blank when I don't know anything about any of the candidates running for a particular position. Granted, this is probably just as bad as blindly choosing one, but at least then I can continue to do my civic duty and complain when the city/county starts going to crap and say that it wasn't me who elected that particular idiot to office.

I am probably not setting myself up to be a very credible person to take on this topic, but I really don't see how that makes me any different from most of the ignorant people who get on a soap box when election time comes around, so in that case I plan on plunging full throttle ahead.

I've known Rodney Archer, I mean really known him, for approximately a year, maybe a little more. Not long at all. But in the time I've gotten to know him, I can speak to the fact that his character and personality are more than substantial to hold a public office. In fact, growing up in Clinton, it seems to me that most of the small town leaders in our county possess a lot less true character than even my little pinky. Some of the leaders in Anderson County (and please note, I'm not saying all, I'm saying some, and I'm most certainly not naming any names) are career politicians who have found a comfortable seat where they can sit back and do the bare minimum, if not be flat out lazy and still earn an income well above the median in our county, and far, far above the poverty line. Rodney is not one of those people. Rodney works for his salary, and he puts tax payer dollars to good use. Rodney is solely responsible for taking the way our property taxes are available to us into the 21st century by making them available online 24/7. He's been known to hand-deliver and pick up bills and payments to citizens who can't make it out of their homes or don't have access to the Internet.

His opponent, Jeneva Moseley, might be the most unqualified political candidate to ever run for an elected office. Wait, let me take that back. It seems that many campaigns are built around mudslinging and making false accusations, so qualified I guess she most certainly is. But deserving and competent she is definitely not.

Ok, ok, let's just call a spade a spade here and get this out of the way right off the bat: Tyson and I are friends with Rodney. My whole family is. So admittedly, I might be a little biased. But here's the deal. Whether I knew Rodney personally or not, in this particular election, you couldn't pay me to vote against him.

Moseley's entire campaign has been juvenile from Day One. She has accused Rodney and his staffers of stalking her, she herself has been accused (allegedly) of destroying Rodney's campaign signs, and she has made it common practice to twist words and scenarios in order to publicize completely fabricated rumors. Exhibit 1-A: Moseley released a statement to the press that Rodney used his position of power in the community to strong-arm a local bank into approving him for a mortgage of 128% of the value of his home, emphasizing that in today's economy, many county residents are hard-pressed to get approved for 80%. In reality, when talking about Rodney's home's value, Moseley was actually referring to it's purchase price ($265k), which WAS low because he bought it out of foreclosure. The truth of the matter is that mortgages are given based on a home's APPRAISED value, not its purchase price. Rodney's mortgage was obtained at $339,997. The home's appraised value is $400,000. Do the math, and you find that the home was, in fact, financed at 85%.

You know what the really sad thing is in this particular example? Jeneva Moseley is a former college-level math instructor AND real estate agent. So the real question here is this: is she seriously that ignorant, or did she knowingly manipulate the situation to make Rodney look crooked in the hopes that most voters wouldn't know the real rules of home lending, or even care enough to find out the facts? And if she WASN'T playing dirty, would you really want someone who is that misinformed in charge of county assets and collecting YOUR property taxes?

This is just the most recent of many examples of her childish guerrilla campaigning tactics. Whether you know Jeneva or Rodney personally, I think this speaks volumes about Jeneva's moral character (or lack thereof).

Early voting is going on now through July 31st, and Election Day is August 5th. I'm not here to tell anyone who to vote for, but I do feel it's important to get the word out when you find a candidate worthy of support. If you want to make sure Anderson County's Trustee's Office stays in capable hands, do us all a favor and re-elect Rodney Archer on August 5th.

For more information on Rodney's campaign, visit the Archer for Trustee website or become a fan of his Facebook page at

*Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Rodney's re-election campaign. Neither Rodney nor his campaign staff endorse this post in any way, shape, or form. Any and all comments related to this post should be directed to me and not Rodney or his campaign staff. If I have offended anyone......too bad.

The Week Before Wedding Week

We're officially in pre-Wedding Week. The next two weeks will be eventful, to say the least. I gotta be upfront, this blog is as much for me as any of you, because somehow I gotta keep all this crap I have to do straight!

This weekend we spent most of our time working on mom and dad's house, continuing the neverending tasks of home improvements to my parents' house that my mom insists needs to be done before the wedding. I love my parents' house. I think it's beautiful the way it is, but my mom's perfectionist nature (and many hard man hours of labor) have really made all the difference in the world. Saturday morning, Mom and I went to Erin's Meadow Herb Farm to pick up some new stuff for the flowerbeds and planters. If you've never been there, you should really check it out. They have an awesome variety of very well cared-for plants and they are SUPER cheap! I can't wait to have a house so we can add some unique stuff from their nursery to our own yard, and maybe even start a garden! (Ambitious for me, I know...)

As of the 13th of this month, my parents have been married 25 years. Yesterday they renewed their vows at church with my whole family there (much to my mom's surprise!). I have to hand it to my dad. He's a very busy man, and definitely not the most sentimental or smoothest guy in history, but he really pulled this together at the last minute in the midst of all the wedding chaos, and my mom was genuinely touched. As I said, my whole family came to the service and then we went out and celebrated afterwards. Of course, in my Italian Catholic family, celebrated means we went out to eat a huge meal. Then my mom and Erin and I went shopping with my aunts at the mall. I'm not sure we had enough time to justify taking the time to do this, but I got my dress for the bachelorette party, so I was satisfied!

Later on, I finally got some time to finish a pretty cool project I had taken on that was initially meant for tailgating season, but in light of the fact that we're having a huge party at my house for my out of town family the day after the wedding, I was really hoping to get them done in time for that. Last year, my dad and I built some regulation cornhole boards and I painted them, using my Vol spirit as inspiration. Well, they were a huge hit at all of our tailgates, and were used so often that they required sanding and repainting before the new season starts. And then I got to thinking, wouldn't it be fun to have two sets and be able to have side-by-side competitions going on? Tyson didn't want two sets with the same design, so I got the idea to paint the new set as Tennessee state flags. I'm pretty crafty, or at least I like to think I am, but somebody please slap me if I ever get the bright idea to do such a difficult design again! Do you know how hard it is to cut painter's tape into perfect circles and proportional stars? Needless to say, this project took FOREVER, but I'm glad to say the boards turned out great! Here's a not-so-great pic because I took it with my not-so-great phone:

Tonight, Tyson and I have ballroom dance lessons to help prepare us for our first dance! I'm really excited about this. I have absolutely no rhythm whatsoever and I need all the instruction I can get. Also I have no balance, so attempting this in 3-inch heels and a heavy dress should be rather entertaining for my guests.
Tomorrow, Tyson is moving out of his apartment and officially moving into mine. This shouldn't take too long, considering I've taken inventory of his stuff and come to the conclusion that we can live without the majority of it.
Wednesday I have NOTHING wedding related to do (praise God), and I have an easy work day. My whole office is going to this "Get Motivated" seminar in downtown Knoxville that lasts the whole day. Speakers include Rudy Giuliani, Zig Ziglar, Colin Powell, Lou Holtz, and local favorites Bruce Pearl and Pat Summitt. Honestly, I'm pretty excited. A day out of the office, and lunch at Calhoun's on the River, compliments of my awesome boss? Yes, please!
Nothing scheduled for Thursday yet, keeping my fingers crossed it stays that way!
Friday is Wing Night at Sequoyah, and the unofficial start of the bachelor/bachelorette parties. Saturday is when it really begins, starting with my Bridesmaid's Luncheon, which is really not a luncheon, at Bath Junkie in Turkey Creek. This is another place you've GOT to go to if you've never been. You can create your own scents for tons of bath products, like sugar scrubs, lotions, bath salts, and so much more. It's one of the coolest places I've ever been to!
After our mini-party, it's off to Bonefish for a fancy dinner with the girls, and then into the city for a night on the down and a naughty last-night-as-a-single-girl checklist that can't have a single item unchecked! Ok, it's not that naughty, but for conservative me, it pushes my boundaries just enough! I'm so excited for a last hoorah with my girls before the big day!
Well that finishes off this busy week, then it's on to the next: Wedding Week, in all it's glory. Chances of me having time for another post before then? Worse than the chances of me NOT falling during tonight's dance practice.

Friday, July 16, 2010

15 Days to Go!

Today is Friday, July 16th, 2010. The end of an exhausting week, my mom’s 45th birthday, and above all, 15 days until our wedding. I am FREAKING OUT.

It’s been a week of wedding what-have-you’s as usual. I don’t even know if I remember a time in my life where I went one day without talking about that subject.

This past Monday, I scheduled the hair and makeup appointments for me and all of my bridesmaids for the day of the wedding at the Tennessee School of Beauty. As I wrapped up that phone call, I thought, wow, the preparations are pretty much done now. That’s the last call I have to make to a vendor to schedule an appointment or service.

On Tuesday, I went to Men’s Wearhouse and did the final check of Tyson and the groomsmens’ tuxes and shirts/ties to make sure the color matched the exact shade of my dress. Walking out the door, I found myself wondering how Tyson will look in the tux, and then thinking that in barely a few weeks, it would be the last time I would ever have to wonder that.

On Wednesday, we met with the caterers, Robyn and Mike Wilson of Cox Catering, and our florist, Walta Patt of Powell Florist, and Nancy Furmaniak, the owner/event planner for our reception site, The Pavilion at Hunter Valley Farm. We went over last minute details like final head count, table set up and linens, buffet location, flower arrangements, and so many other things I’m too overwhelmed to remember. I realized as we were leaving that it was the last time I would be at Hunter Valley until I came for the wedding reception.

On Thursday, we met with my priest, Father Chris, who will be marrying us at our church in Powell, St. Albert the Great. We discussed our readings, participants in the ceremony, how we would enter, where we would stand, and the specifics of the marriage license. As we left there, it hit me again, this is the last time we will meet personally with Father Chris until we are rehearsing for the wedding in two weeks.

After that meeting, I headed to my parents’ house to meet with my good friend and seamstress, Fran Dalton. She finished up the rest of the hand-sewing, put the last touches on my dress, and pressed it. As I stood looking in the mirror at me in my dress for my last fitting, I thought to myself, I will not be putting this dress on again until the day I will marry Tyson.

And that’s when it really hit me. Two weeks. TWO WEEKS! Tyson and I are getting married in two weeks! I can’t wait! This past year has flown by. It has been exciting, stressful, full of happiness and anxiety, and now the time is finally here. It’s so hard to believe I will finally have the Last Name Patrick in such a short time.

And during this time of very emotional and chaotic epiphany, the best thing I have come to realize is that experiencing all these lasts means opening myself to a whole lifetime of brand new firsts! Like the first time Tyson sees me in my dress, all made up with perfect hair, and I see him in his tux, handsome as ever, as I know he’ll be. Or the first time Father Chris announces us as husband and wife. Or the first time we walk into that reception hall a married couple. I won’t be thinking about all those linens and table placements and the hours of thought and indecision that preceded them. I’ll be thinking about my new life. My life of firsts.

15 days is such a short period of time, but to me, right now, it seems like 15 years. I just want it to get here. I can’t wait for the excitement and hustle and bustle of that day. I can’t wait to see my family and friends. And most of all, I can’t wait to marry my soulmate and best friend.


23: The New 40

When did I get so OLD?

I may be the youngest of just about all of my friends, but it seems to me that 23 is pretty much the oldest age you could possibly be. Or at least, the oldest age you'd ever actually want to be.

Last weekend I tried to organize a small get together at my place with some of our friends. I had had a rough week, and just wanted to enjoy some good company and a few drinks down by our apartment complex's pool (aka, the Salty Mushroom, for those of you in the loop).

I should have known when my brother showed up that my plans would be foiled.

For those of you who don't know my brother, Justin is the biggest, most successful peer pressurer in the history of the world. Hyperbole, you say? No, that is no exaggeration. He once talked my un-daring, less-than-intermediate-skill-leveled ass into trying to conquer Diamond Jim at our family's ski resort time share in Massanutten, Virginia. I got off the ski lift at the top of the mountain, blacked out for a minute, and then promptly took off my skis and made him walk with me down the other side of the slope in our ski boots. It took an hour and 45 minutes to reach the bottom.

It's not like he has magical talents or anything. No silver tongue or unusual powers of persuasion. He's just relentless. He badgers and annoys you to a humiliating degree until you finally give in because you just don't want to hear it anymore. I know his methods. When I'm not under his influence I'm perfectly capable of understanding how he works and thinking to myself, "You know, self, next time you should just say no. It'll be easy. No, Justin, I don't want to jump off a 20-foot-high boulder into the lake where I don't know its depth. Easy." You would think I would know better by now.

Anyway, so Justin shows up, with his two roommates/stooges in tow. They've just made a stop by the liquor store. The two roommates have a bottle of champagne each, and Justin has Southern Comfort (you know, I have to hand it to the kid, he does his research and he knows my weak spots). I stay strong for awhile and stick to my cultured glass of wine. But soon after their arrival, the boys start in on Tyson and I about this party they're going to later and how we should come along. It'll be fun, they say. But, remembering my resolve to have a quiet, relaxing gathering at the pool, I repeat over and over that I'm just waiting on my friend Emily to get off work and then we are going to head down to the clubhouse and chill with some friends and do nothing.

"Boring," Justin tells me. "You're so dang old and boring. Why don't you ever DO anything anymore?"

Whatever, I think to myself. Wine by the pool is fun too.

A glass and a half of wine later, Justin finally wears me down with his repeated attempts to convince me that I really do want a shot of SoCo. "It's the Kramer Family drink. You know you love it. It's just one shot. What harm will it do? Are you really going to disgrace the family name by rejecting the one thing we all agree on? It's fitting that your last name is changing in a few weeks; you don't deserve to be a Kramer!"

Damn him, even typing this now I feel stupid for falling for his ruse again.

I don't know at what point I agreed to go to this party, but once I secured Emily's company I at least felt a little better about it. I was even kind of excited. Why not go live it up for awhile? I have years and years ahead of me to be a "boring adult," as Justin calls it.

I found out just before leaving that this so-called party was actually a 21st birthday party for a guy who I'm pretty sure was in middle school when I graduated high school, and whose friends had decided to throw him a black light rave. Note, I found this out BEFORE leaving....and I still went.

I'm not a big drinker. My 1.5 glasses of wine and single SoCo shot were more than enough for me. Still, I was not oblivious enough to not be horrified upon walking in to this apartment. When I say it was a black light rave, what I really mean is that it looked like I what I remember the local skating rink back in Mooresville, NC looking like when you walked in on a "slow skate" for couples. I thought that skating rink was seventh grade.

Every light in this apartment was turned out. Black lights were everywhere. There were glowing signs written in highlighter all over the walls. "$1 for jello shots til 1AM!!" "Ben's 21st Birthday To-Do List: #1...Get Wasted!" "Beer Pong Sign-Ups HERE!!" White shirts and glow sticks galore. Glow-in-the-dark adhesive stars (the kind you put on your ceiling when you're 5) and a mysterious back room cordoned off by a black curtain.

I played flip cup for the first time in probably five or six years. I got yelled at when I couldn't chug the beer fast enough. I saw the freakin' BOUNCER, who was supposed to be sober and collecting money, puke outside the bathroom (couldn't quite make it to the toilet), jump up, and return to the party like nothing had happened. I saw two teenaged girls making out. One of them had a tongue ring. We left at 11:45.

I was mortified. Justin is right, I am old. Emily and Tyson and I had to be the oldest people there by at least the two years that separated us from the birthday boy, but my guess is the majority of the party was even younger than that. Who knew that the barrier between 21 and 23 was not just 2 years, but actually stretched a span of more like 2 decades?

I’m not sure how I feel about this growing up business. There’s really no denying I’m an old soul at heart. Even my freshman year of college wasn’t enough to make me wild and crazy for the expected first semester of rebellion. I’ve never been a big drinker or partier, and I’m kind of a homebody. So maybe it’s fitting that I’m reaching an age where it’s justifiable for me to spend my Friday nights watching DVDs with my soon-to-be hubby or going to herb gardens on Saturday mornings with my mom. But on the other hand, maybe I’m starting to realize how quickly youth really passes before the “real world” really takes over…

One thing is for sure, if staying young means I spend my time at parties with guys walking around in the dark in cut off t-shirts and “I ♥ BJ’s” written on their biceps, then I’m ok with being over-the-hill.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dum, Dum, Da-Dum...

Oh look, lucky you. Two posts in one day even after I told you there was no telling when the next one would be. Call me ambitious. Not really, I just figured while blogging and I were still in our honeymoon phase, I'd go ahead tell you some more about our life.

Speaking of  honeymoons, Tyson and I are a mere 33 days from embarking on ours. That's right, we have a countdown to the honeymoon, not the wedding. We're excited to get married and all, but this wedding planning stuff is for the birds. Flower arrangements and song selections and shoes and jewelry and menu choices.... it's way too much to think about. I see now why wedding planners charge such an ungodly fee for their services.

Anyhow, the BIG DAY is only 25 days away, and needless to say, it's freak out time for me (and my poor mom). It's not even that we have a whole lot left to do, it's the finalization of things, like the playlist for the DJ, the table set up at the reception hall, the final count for the caterer...things like that need to be perfected to make sure the day goes off without a hitch. (Sidenote, speaking of getting a final count for the caterer, why don't people RSVP anymore? It's not difficult, there is a pre-addressed stamped envelope included in your invitation. What do people have against checking a box and dropping an envelope in the mail?)

But all stressing and complaining aside, things really are coming along rather smoothly. Tyson and I were lucky enough to attend my cousin's wedding in Chicago over the 4th of July holiday weekend, and we (read: I) used their wedding to guage our progress and how much we have left to do. Thankfully, it seems like we have all of our bases covered, and even more importantly, their beautiful ceremony made me even more excited to exchange my own vows with my hubby to be in just a few short weeks!


Ok, it seems like everyone is doing it, so we're finally jumping on the blogging bandwagon. There's no telling if this is actually going to last, so if you're still reading this welcome post in September or even in 2015, don't say we didn't warn you.

There are a few disclaimers that need to be made at this time:

First and foremost, we have no idea what we're doing. Short of being able to type a literate sentence, we have no knowledge of the blogging world, be it the lingo, the formatting/design, HTML codes, or even the first inkling of acceptable topics to blog about.

Second, those of you who know me should already be aware, and those of you who are not so familiar with me yet will come to learn, I have a tendency toward sarcasm and a dry sense of humor. Since I will be the one writing the majority of these entries (in fact, if I had to wager a guess, I'd probably be willing to stake my last dollar on the bet that Tyson will never even so much as log in to this blog), please allow me to take this opportunity to say that nothing I will write in these posts will be intended to hurt or offend anyone, so if I do so inadvertently, I apologize in advance.

And finally, our lives are not interesting. Not in the least. Don't get me wrong, we both love our lives. But neither of us are astronauts, or movie stars, or world travelers, or even someone who knows someone who is one of those things. This blog will be for the sole purpose of relaying the events of our not-so-action-packed lives to our family and friends in an attempt to stay connected and as a way of documenting mine and Tyson's memories and experiences for our own future reference.

A little background. The name of the blog, Last Name Patrick, may seem a strange choice to some, but you would probably be surprised how many people are confused by the idea that 'Patrick' can actually be a last name. Tyson has spent his whole life correcting teachers and the like that his name is, in fact, Tyson Patrick, and not Patrick Tyson. Even I, though still four weeks shy of sharing the name, have already had to gently correct some people who refer to my fiance as Patrick, or ask me if I will enjoy my new last name of Tyson. I don't understand why this is such a hard concept for people. We accept crazy first names like Apple (inanimate object) and Pilot Inspektor (seriously, Jason Lee?), but we can't grasp a normal name like Patrick as a surname. Honestly people, there are stranger things in life, weird celebrity baby names notwithstanding.

Enough of my rambling, you've had your welcome post. No telling when the next entry will be, but stay tuned for my account of some totally awesome and utterly inspiring eventlessness! Ciao.