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May 11, 2012

"And here we go, there's nothing left to choose
And here we go, there's nothing left to lose
So I packed my car and I headed east"
-Mat Kearney "Nothing Left To Lose"

The clock is ticking down -- by Monday I'll be moved out for good from the suburbs of Nashville and back in Huntington, WV once again. I lived there from 1999-2001, during my attempt to climb the ladder in the TV news world as quickly as I could. After less than a year and a half I was off to Tampa, where I spent five incredible years in my mid-20s filled with amazing highs and lows that would seem like exaggerations on either end if I was to tell you all about it.

When I left Huntington, I did it the right way, executing an exit clause that I had negotiated in my contract but also giving the 30 days notice required in my deal. My new employer in Tampa was anxious to get me there, but I wanted to live up to my word -- and I did. So I finished up at WSAZ literally on a Friday, left town that night, then drove an insane non-stop trip all the way down to Ybor City in Tampa, with me behind the wheel of a giant moving van with my Dodge Neon riding behind on a cart.

That next Monday morning, less than 72 hours after finishing my final shift at WSAZ, I began work at WTSP. The whirlwind move was crazy and rather reckless, but somehow I made it work. I was 23 and bullet-proof, or something like that.

My time in Huntington was limited, but I made some great friendships during my time there that I will forever cherish. And now, with circumstances in Nashville leaving me looking for a fresh start, it's back to Huntington I go, at least for the short-term. My dear friend Velvet has a guest room at her house, and at least for a little while she will let me stay there while I get my bearings and hopefully find something that will work for me from both a career and a personal standpoint.

Make no mistake: I'm still reeling from the blindside from the Tuesday before last, though Stacy and I have gotten along as well as you could hope for a freshly broken-up long-term couple to co-exist under the same roof. I'll always want the best for her and her family, not to mention her dog Clyde, who I have tried my best to emotionally distance myself from over the past 10 or so days. That's easier said than done, though.

One thing that has stuck with me from when I moved to Tampa was something one of the movers who I hired to pack up my truck said to me. It was abrupt, out of the blue, like he had temporarily transformed into some sort of oracle. "Leave now and don't ever come back. Ever. Go to Tampa and never come back." I was struck by the harsh nature of it, which seemed to come and go in a moment. From mover to soothsayer to mover. I didn't even know what to say in response.

Ignoring the mover's supposedly sage advice, I returned to Huntington less than a year later to visit friends. And I've been back several times since then and enjoyed each visit. So now I'm moving back there, at least on a temporary basis, until I figure out career-wise what my next move will be. Ideally I'll be able to get back on with my former employer there, where many close friends of mine still work. The fact that so many people from my 1999-2001 era are still there speaks volumes about the quality of the station and that people enjoy working there.

So we'll see what happens. I've been consolidating like crazy, everything must go style. I've designated a ton of stuff for Stacy's family's huge yard sale tentatively slated for April 2013. I've thrown out a bunch of stuff that I've carried from city to city that I've found that I really don't need, not to mention rubbish/trash that in reality was nothing but worthless junk. The trash bin was filled to the brim for Wednesday's pickup, and the rest of my throwaway stuff will be going out this upcoming Wednesday. It's starting over in a lot of ways for me.

Of course, if I end up doing a double-jump (moving to Huntington, not finding work there, but then having a job opportunity elsewhere in the country) I'll end up in an apartment as sparsely filled as McNulty's on The Wire. But that's a risk I'm willing to take.

Stacy and I have decided to save the sadness for Sunday, after we celebrate Mother's Day with our respective moms. When we both make it back home, we will watch Clippers vs. Grizzlies game 7 on ABC, the Survivor season finale on CBS, and then we'll live the very real series finale of Stacy and Lou. And then that will be it, and on Monday morning I'll leave Nashville with only what I can fit into my Honda Accord. I'm not sure when I'll be back or what the future holds, but I'm hoping for the best. Wish me luck.

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