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  • Betty Girardeau

Tuckered Out


In the summer of 2014 I traveled to California to spend time with my daughter and her family. I thought it would be fun for us, and especially young Riley, then three years old, to go on a train trip up into the northern part of the state in the area around Mendocino. We did a week-end get-away to that area which was wonderful. That is such a pretty part of the state of California and an area I would like to revisit at some point. But I digress. We had a wonderful day on the train. But on the return, not surprisingly, Riley just couldn't stay awake and "crashed" on one of the train seats across from me, which is how I got this picture. I selected this image for today's blog because yesterday was my first full time day back in the work force, and, to add more to that, as an employee of the Commerce Department 2020 Census. I am tuckered out, too. It was a long day. I drove ninety-five miles, though at any given point, I was probably no further than 20 miles from my own home. I saw areas of the county in which I live that I never knew existed. I had a given assignment list of places to visit to try to achieve a head count for the census, but getting to each of them, despite the help of Google maps, and sometimes my Waze app, became a challenge. Not all addresses have mailboxes, and when they do, they are not always numbered, and most often on these rural roads, all of the mailboxes are on one side of the road, so you have to determine what house to which you are supposed to go is on the right or the left. Then there are the other drivers who may be behind you who don't appreciate why you are driving so slowly and breaking so often just so you can read the numbers you hope will be on the mailboxes. And then there are the addresses where there are heavily gated entrances with lots of "NO TRESPASSING", "PRIVATE PROPERTY," signs not to mention the ones with, thankfully, fenced in barking dogs with signs on the fence that say "Beware of dogs. They will bite." There are also the addresses with the friendly dogs who want to know everything about you, especially up your butt. I was able to close out two cases, out of a little more than twenty today, which I was told by my supervisor, was really "good work." So far I am finding this interesting work and a little less intimidating than I had expected it to be. I live in a beautiful part of East Tennessee, and I am seeing locally some especially lovely parts that I should come back to at some point with my camera. I am getting an even better understanding of my county neighbors. Trailers, double and single wide, are more the norm in some places than actual houses. But even these can be adorned with lovely flowers and, now, fall decor. I am glad thus far that I put my name in to become a Census 2020 enumerator. Hopefully, I will still feel that way when I have finished. I didn't get to eat dinner until nearly 9:00 PM. After my first day, I was as"tuckered out" as much as Riley was when we went on the train trip.

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