One year ago this week Vince and I boarded a flight to Nashville that would change our lives. The flight was the result of months of looking and tons of research, and me falling in love with a crazy house. And it all started with a fluke….Vince asking “what about Tennessee?” as we considered relocating.

As I look back on the year, and everything it took for us to pack ourselves for a move across the country, I am amazed we actually pulled it off. Most people probably thought we were crazy (which we probably are) to pick up and move to a place where we knew no one, but at the time it didn’t seem that crazy. If you’ve met my family, none are wallflowers who have a hard time being noticed.

The feeling of “rightness” that we had as we pulled up to what would become our house for the very first time has never left.

As we near eight months at our new home and experience our first spring in Tennessee, the rightness is still there. I sometimes pinch myself to make sure it hasn’t all been some insane dream.

To be honest, I don’t think Vince and I saw the move as a brave thing, though more than one person has expressed that we were. Past generations made moves far more daunting than us packing up the vehicles and hopping on the interstate. And while we may not have known anyone other than the real estate agent when we got to Tennessee, that was not the case for long.

Our son Sam recently had his first friend over to stay the night during his school break last week. And Vince has found his niche at his job in Jackson. He has been all over western Tennessee and into Mississippi doing glass. He even enjoys the time on the road, especially with the lack of traffic and beautiful vistas he experiences daily.

Plus, he is building a pretty good list of day trips we want to take now that the rain is starting to dry up!

I’m just hoping for a break from the allergies, and the sickness that has seemingly invaded all corners of the United States to be banished from my house! I’m ready to do some digging in the yard!

One of the interesting parts of our new property is catching up on maintenance around the house that didn’t happen while it was on the market. After all the rain last month we lost a tree in our back yard, and last week a big pine in our front yard fell. Thankfully it landed in the grass, and not across the driveway or on the house!

So, a call to the tree guy was in order, and a check of the rest of the trees in the yard to make sure we didn’t have any more surprises during the next strong windstorm.

Not surprising, we have two more trees ready to fall, weakened by wood beetles and birds. Thankfully, I think they were caught before any more trees could be infested.

After living in a subdivision for so long and in a newer home, in a place where the weather is mostly moderate, there are lots of new things to keep watch over, and check. And after the rains we have had, I now understand the need for good working sump pumps!

Fingers crossed that is a home emergency I won’t have to experience.

The plus side of knocking over a few trees is that we have plenty of wood for the fire pit.

The Democrat primary looks to be even more cutthroat than that of Republicans four years ago. Opposition research dumps are coming fast and furious now, with candidates dropping all manner of negative news against anyone looking to upset the current race.

This week’s intended target is Joe Biden, who is enjoying high polling numbers without even officially entering the race for president, although he has hinted at throwing his hat in the ring.

More than the allegations, themselves, I’m surprised that they were actually published in mainstream circles, and how much the Democrat party has changed in the last five years. Joe Biden was the great hope in the days after the 2016 election. He was the man that could beat Trump.

In 2019, he should be banished from public life and public office for his alleged transgressions. My, how quickly the tide of favor within the party ebbs.

His explanations may be enough to stem the receding tide of popularity. But somehow, I doubt that.

The Democrat party has shifted far left of where moderates align, and his voice isn’t necessarily welcome.

Pop the popcorn folks, primary season looks to be shaping up as quite entertaining.

The situation at the border is getting worse day by day and only looks to get even more dire.

Customs and Border Patrol has no room to house detainees, creating outdoor shelters to handle the overflow.

Honest members of both parties should separate this crisis from President Trump and their personal dislike of him, and admit that what is happening at our southern border is in fact an emergency on both national and humanitarian levels.

It is untenable in the short and long terms.

Congress refuses to act in a responsible manner, choosing instead to lob insults and threats, all the while taking no real steps to resolve that crisis.....or many others, to be honest.

Americans will be subjected to another two years of symbolic bills that have no hope of passing. No real work on health care, immigration and jobs. No conferences on how both sides can work together on issues where there is agreement.

Calls for resistance to President Trump cover inaction and constant campaigning, but that smokescreen can last only so long.

At some point Americans must demand more of our political and ruling classes.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at or by calling (209) 862-2222.