Sunday, September 24, 2017

Three Hundred Sixty Five Days Later

On this day, last year, us Clampetts "Loaded up our truck and moved to Orlan-dee. Sand that is. Hot sun and leezards galore."

Amazingly enough, it's worked out for the best...although I had my doubts at first. The first punch came when the airport didn't immediately hire me. It was a hard blow to take, especially when I thought I would be back to work in a day or two. It took almost a month, and was a pretty agonizing
time for me mentally. Depression is a brutal adversary.

The second punch came before ever getting over the first one. After four days, Zach turned tail and went back to Georgia, homesick. It broke my heart. Seems ironic considering since he and I butted heads more than I ever have with my other two kids. I guess my relationship with Zach just proves that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and has made us both pretty strong(willed). It actually has made us closer. He and I talk more now than we did when he lived with us in our house in Newnan, and both end every single phone call with "I love you".

We've finally just come to terms with butting heads from four hundred miles away. In hindsight, seems like a good buffer. Bonus points, he tells me he loves me a lot more often now.

At least my sister is there to keep an eye on him too if he ever needs anything.

TJ has moved on and up as well.

Our oldest has moved from Orlando to North Carolina, which saddens me but has done great with his life and is a wonderful young man who is providing for his own family and pretty much knocking life out of the park.

Then there's my ride or die.

Massey and I have (luckily) always been close but this past year has made me realize exactly how much I truly depend on her love, wisdom, support and yes, even occasional criticism. Growing up, especially after mama died when I had just turned seventeen, I had Cindy...

Growing old, I have Massey.

Life doesn't get much better than that...or this.

After twenty nine years, we're still together. It's been the ride of a lifetime, with more than a couple of bumps along the way but nobody said it'd be easy.

 I can say with (pretty much) complete conviction that I have lived rather than just exist. What you put into life is what you get out of it.

I've done my best to reach out to stay in contact with friends and relatives back home. There's nothing I like better than writing, and by that  mean putting pen to paper. There is something wonderful about going to your mailbox and seeing a hand written letter or card waiting for you. I have written well over a hundred letters, probably more and have heard back from so many about how much it meant to them.

You know what?

It means a lot to me as well.

Right after my battle with depression when arriving here to find myself unemployed, and Massey kind of feeling lonely too...this happened.

My manager from my old job came to visit us.

Then several of Massey's friends came to visit as well. I love when company visits, you always clean house better.

Then I made friends here.

I can't tell you how much I love these three or how happy it makes me to call them my friends . We are all totally so different it's a wonder we ever bonded. Then again, opposites attract. Always have, always will...take my marriage, please. (huge Rodney Dangerfield pun).

So here we are, one year later.

Older and hopefully wiser.

Looking forward to what our future will bring.

Till next time...


Friday, September 22, 2017

Flawda Peach

Pretty much.

Yesterday made it one year to the day since I left my job at the world's busiest airport.

It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It was an exciting adventure and job which literally threw more money my way than I'd ever made before.

 Over one hundred million people travel through this airport in less than a years' time. I met people from all walks of life and from all over the globe.

I also made a lot of friends.

Not too many of them have kept in touch, which is kind of sad but all these guys have.

I've kept in close touch with my managers and pretty sure I always will. He's visited us here and we've visited him there, and talxt (text and talk) to each other about once a week. He's awesome.

So I've almost survived my first year here as a Flawda Peach. No easy feat and had lots of twists and turns before happiness finally set in, but it did. The beach being thirty minutes away has been the best therapy of all.

After a shaky start, landed in a pretty great restaurant here as well. Excellent management and have made some really close friends. I felt totally out of place for the first four or five months but have found my groove and think I am a pretty good asset to them as well.

Once a week we have live entertainment. Last night was my favorite so far. Just a guy and his guitar, singing all the songs I love. In other words, he was old me. At the end of my shift I was going to clock out and was getting my lunch box from my locker in the kitchen. Two other servers were rolling silverware. We were all talking about how much we liked the musician. I commented that he sang one of my favorite songs, "Creep". The female server (one of my besties) said "Yeah, you are a weirdo" to which I replied,  "I'm so effin special!" The male server rolling silverware with her cracked up.

The dude definitely has a set of pipes! This version is from 1994. I'd say it's one of my top three songs.

I've done a lot of thinking about life since moving from my home state of fifty six years.

Guess I simply decided to follow the sun I love so much. Sounds crazy since hot flashes are my nemesis but spent every summer back in Georgia out in my yards for hours on end. I'll always miss you Georgia, but tomorrow may rain so, I followed the sun.

One day you'll look to see I've gone
For tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the sun
Some day you'll know I was the one
But tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the sun

And now the time has come
And so my love I must go
And though I lose a friend
In the end you will know, oooh

One day you'll find that I have gone
But tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the sun

I'm at peace for the first time in quite a while. The adjustment has been hard being away from my sister but think it will all be okay now. I love my job and my job seems to love me. Tim is knocking his job out of the park and doing incredibly well. Massey graduates from college in a few short weeks and has been my ride or die since moving here, and wouldn't have made it without her.

TJ is doing great with his new job in North Carolina after his recent promotion.My nephew and his wife are renting our home in Newnan and taking great care of it.

Zach calls me at least once a week and always ends every call with "I love you, Mom."

What more could a person hope for?

You can always hope for more, but always be grateful for what you have been given.

I do, and I am.

Till next time, COTTON

Sunday, September 17, 2017

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

Oh for Pete's sake, Irma just left and here comes Maria. It's supposed to be affecting us by Tuesday.



I thought we were prepared for Irma. Seems we really weren't. Hindsight is always 20/20.

The day before Irma was to hit they cautioned everyone to be hunkered down by six PM. Of course I came across a really good recipe on Facebook at five thirty so headed out to purchase the two missing ingredients. Went to five or six stores...all were closed. I was heading back to the house when I saw a little market still open on a corner in a small shopping strip mall.

It's called Lucky's Market. I bet I'd driven by it a hundred times. I always assumed it was an oriental market run by Hop Sing and his wife, who he loved long time. Well Hop Sing was my hero now with that open sign glaring and I swung into the parking lot.

Holy Shitake Mushrooms!

It was like Whole Foods for half the price. All organic and a lot of house made items. The had their own butcher shop, made their own sausages, baked goods, deli items, enormous selection of bulk nuts, trail mix, candies and dried fruits. In the front section was a pseudo Starbucks which also serves beer and wine. You gotta love a shopping buggy with a cup holder for your alcoholic beverage while you shop.

They were closing in ten minutes to had to hurry but after Irma, Massey and I went back shopping and took all these photos. The day we went they even had a three piece band playing. It's the most fun I've ever had grocery shopping. Huge beer and wine selection, you can even create your own six pack. We even found Atlanta's own SweetWater 420.

Anyhoo...back to Irma.

Just when I thought it would be okay, it wasn't. I've never heard such wind and rain, for hours and hours and hours. We could hear pieces of the house flapping and tearing and clanging...all in the middle of the night, with no power and only battery operated visor lights. It was a long night and the storm went well into the morning hours.


We made it. We were all alive and had a roof over our heads. No back yard fence or many roof shingles left and lots of huge branches down, but felt pretty lucky.

The first day after wasn't too bad, it was still extremely breezy and we opened all the windows and sliding glass door.

The second day was like living in a crock pot set on high...a long slow simmering twenty four hours. All the ice melted and so did our frozen food. The refrigerator smelled like a three day old crime scene.

Lesson number one learned about surviving a hurricane...don't stock up a refrigerator or freezer. The ice always runs out and you'll never have enough.

I did come up with a good idea. I sent a text to our sous chef at work and asked if he was planning on going to check on the restaurant? He said he was and I asked if we could meet him there to fill up our cooler with ice?

Bingo! At least we had cold drinks. Our food was already all spoiled but a cold Co Cola sures tastes good, not to mention a cold beer.

By the third day I thought about walking across the intersection to the old folks home with their annoyingly loud generators humming away and committing myself. It was ninety degrees before noon, was only going to get hotter and knew I couldn't last much longer. Tim took a cold shower, I couldn't muster the strength to even sit up. Massey had bought a small spray water bottle with a tiny battery operated fan on the top. I went through four sets of batteries and kept it a foot away from me at all times.

Since I hogged the only fan in the house, Tim and Massey ventured out in search of food. They had been gone about two hours, probably just enjoying riding in an air conditioned vehicle (and couldn't blame them).

Not to mention, through all of this, our three dogs never complained once (not that they could have) but knew it couldn't be too much fun to sit around in an eighty five degree house wearing a fur coat you couldn't take off. With no fence we had to walk three dogs, three or four times a day and steer the blind one away from all the debris he couldn't see.

So I was trying to read a book, with sweat dripping into my eyes like I was outside cutting grass when suddenly I saw the lamp beside me come on. Then the TV came on as the ceiling fan slowly started to spin. I crossed my fingers and waited for it to go out again. It didn't.

I gave the A/C a fifteen minute head start, then started shutting all the windows and closing all the blinds.

The house (it's tiny) cooled off to seventy nine degrees in about an hour. It was like living in an igloo!

I had to go back to work that night, and thankfully could take a warm shower and wash a uniform. We were balls to the wall busy. People had cabin fever. The kitchen ran with a skeleton crew, some people were flooded in, some were out of power for over five days. Lots of orders got doubled in all the confusion and we ended up with a buffet of food coming back to the expo window.

One of my favorite servers was working with me that night. His power was still out. He and I met in the dish room every spare second we had, sharing and scarfing down Cape Canaveral shrimp with a chipoltle aioli and crab spring rolls with a ponzu reduction. Neither one of us had eaten warm food in days and it was wonderful to eat even luke warm leftover food.

The one good thing about Irma is she hit while we were still renting. The landlord sent a crew out yesterday, they put up a new fence and nailed tarp over the entire roof.

Work has been a double blessing. I'm eating good and the tipping gods have smiled on me. I'm making pretty good money and getting closer to 'airport' money each and every week.

And now...

We got Maria coming?

At least I'll be smarter this time. Nothing but canned fruit, peanut butter, chips and crackers. The only thing I'm icing down is drinks.

Once the power came back on and I saw the devastaion others went through, and continue to go through, know once again we are truly blessed and lucky people.

I was out back reading with the pups yesterday before work. It's a Richard Russo book, "Nobody's Fool". It's about a lot of things but also about a down and out guy (Sully)who was a football star in high school but a failure in his later life.

"Sully, it seemed, scarcely got interested in the contest until someone on the other team landed a good shot or offered an insult, after which something changed in Sully's eyes. If Sully couldn't win the game, he'd start a fight and win that. If he couldn't win the fight he'd started, he'd continue to hurl himself at whatever he couldn't beat with increased fury, as if the knowledge that the battle was unwinable heightened its importance. What Sully did better than anybody else was pick himself up off the ground, and when he returned to the huddle, bruised, nose bloodied, limping, he'd still be hurling insults over his shoulder at whoever had put him on the ground."

Sometimes you have to take off your skirt and get in the game. Ironically enough, I haven't worn a skirt in years.

We're stepping out here in Orlando, and stepping into our future. You gotta keep stepping.

 Til next time...COTTON

Friday, September 15, 2017

We're Old School

We are night and day.

 He's tall and heavy, I'm short and skinny. I talk a mile a minute, he rarely talks at all. I want it done immediately, he tends to get around to it (after I hound him).

It's a seemingly match made in heaven which has been hell on earth for the past decade, but just as suddenly is back on track.

Glad we both stuck it out.

Tim's a private person.

Me, I'm a put it all out there kind of gal.

Lately, I've been asking (dragging) Tim to get involved in my blogging. He'll be on the bed behind me two feet away, doing work on his lap top. I'll finish a blog, tell him what it's about and ask him what song would tie the story together. He has been spot on...every time.

So today is our twenty seventh wedding anniversary.

He was once again working on his lap top this afternoon (after getting home from work) as I pecked away on the keys of my PC. I asked him to come up with a song for my (our) anniversary post.

He'd pick one song, then change his mind and pick another. He went through about eight or nine songs, then suddenly said to me "Pull up Peter Frampton."

This is the song and version he chose...Peter is now our age in this video as well but still has it going on, just like us.

Loved it!

Tim asked me to move in with him after about our third date.

I did, a couple of months later.

He asked me to marry him after three months of dating.

I did, two years later.

Then we popped out two kids to add to our mix.

For twenty years it was nothing but above, beyond...and on to infinity!

Then the bottom dropped of our life. We were both suddenly out of work but the bills kept coming.

People close to us and from far away and even people we didn't know came to our rescue.

At times I felt like running away and am sure he did too...but we didn't. We were in it to win it.

We've survived...and thrived.

I left Tim a letter last night on the kitchen counter for our anniversary before going to bed. Part of it read "I know the thrill is gone, but is still simmering and will boil again."

If you say "I do"  to a person, you better mean it.

I did and I do.

Happy Anniversary to my co pilot in this ride called life.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Our life together has been all over the charts. Life is a journey, and ours has taken many detours.

If you never have bad times, how do you know when times are good?

It took ten years but we've turned the corner...together.

That's what you do, when you say "I do."

Till next time...COTTON