Monday, August 31, 2009

My Boy is Pick

So I am at work today working a lunch shift when I get a buzz in my back pocket from my cell phone. I snuck off to the restroom as soon as I could, just KNOWING it would be my daughter.

Low and behold, it was my younger son texting me from school (the ONE thing I constantly tell them NOT to do.)

One of his prized possessions is a Ramones jacket that my brother bought him for Christmas last year and he had left it at school on Friday. My bet was that it was gone for good.

The text I received was as follows:

"I found My jacket but i think Im pick." immediately another text came through:

"I found My jacket but i tnink Im sick."

I text'd back: "I am @work. Call your Dad."

Next text came through five minutes later when it really started to get busy:

"Na i can stay At school i have a bad cough and i can barley stay awake."

I decided not to answer him (That will show him I MEAN it about not texting me.)

Exactly twenty seven minutes went by before my pocket buzzed again For Pete's Sake! My husband who is unfortunately still out of work is at home on the computer sending off resumes, but the kids still call me every time they need something!

This one read: "Will you call Dad and ask him if he can check me out"

My text back (I shouldn't have written back, but my kids getting the swine flu has been coming to me in my nightmares) : 'I AM BUSY!"

Two minutes later..."BUZZZ" in my pocket.

"I cant Call him"

I wanted to text back a long lesson about the fact that he seemed to have no problem WHATSOEVER contacting me while I was waiting on tables at high noon and his Dad was at the house pecking away on the Internet and was more available to pick him up than I was, but by this point I was so distracted and getting busier by the minute so I quickly wrote back for the LAST and FINAL time; "Then go 2 the clinic. I am Very busy"

No more buzzing. When 4:00 hit, my phone buzzed again, but since they get off the bus at 4 I knew that at least they were at home with Tim and I called home when I got a free minute.

This time it was Massey, calling me to tell me that Zach was home sick, Dad had checked him out early and he was on the sofa sleeping.

THANKS FOR THE UPDATE!

Dang, how many of these tiny steps could we have avoided if he had just simply gone to the nurse and said "I don't feel well, can you call my parents?"

Sometimes cell phones just seem to make kids so lazy they forget to think. I'm not knocking cell phones, I love to have a line I can reach them on and one they can get me on just as quickly ...BUT USE YOUR NOGGIN!

My daughter will text me from upstairs in the house to ask what is for dinner.

I need to start thinking like them and text her from my bedroom to tell her to clean HER bedroom or tell her to turn her stereo down.

How about a text... "coud u cum rub my feet, they hurt...omg"

Or how about..."can ur BFF give u a ride home from practis i so tyrd'

Or let's shoot one off to my oldest son trying to sneak back home "R U SIRIUS?"

Raising kids has not only changed since my mom raised us, but since my oldest hit middle school.

Cell phones, i pods, i phones, digital cameras...it ALL started with the Walkman if you ask me!

When I was a kid you were hip if you had a Panasonic 'take and tape' 'clackers' or 'bare foot sandals'...anybody remember the bare foot sandals? They were at the height of the "Bead" stage...bracelets, necklaces all strung on fishing line or stretchy string with beads so small you had to use a needle to get them thread onto the string.

The 'clackers' were two glass balls suspended by string. You started by bopping them back and forth slowly and building to the crescendo of moving your hand up and down to make them bounce from top to bottom "Click clacking" up and down in a furious fashion. Were we cool or WHAT?

Skating rinks , ball fields and swimming pools have been replaced by malls, texting and facebook.

Seems like kids are getting lazier... Geez I wish I was one of my kids instead of one of my kid's parents!

Just my own observations, just my own thoughts and views....ya'll should be used to them by now!

Til next time, COTTON

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Good Luck (That's a New one)

Just got home from work. It began pouring buckets about 1 PM today and rained for several hours straight. When I got to work at three, it was a ghost town...the rain had killed the lunch business.

The rain slacked off for a while and the people trickled in.

Kudos for me, I didn't have ONE wacky table and only had one tip under 15%. They cut the floor early, only leaving us closing servers on and a few of my regulars came in and asked for me.

Sometimes I wonder if they ask for me because of my serving skills or just so they can hear my comedy routine. I always have some story about my kids or something that has happened since I last saw them. These are the tables I really enjoy, where I can be myself and joke around without the fear of being fired. These customers that ask for me every time they come in are what usually put me over the top on a shift.

I know what they want to drink before they sit down, some of them I can put the order into the computer before I ever even go to the table and some of them will sit in the lobby for up to thirty minutes if I don't have an open table.

Some people like my sense of humor...some people don't.

I have to be really careful who I joke with...especially if I have never waited on them before.

I remember one time I waited on a family of six that I had never seen before and they ended up being "Secret Shoppers." The father had ordered a cup of chili and when I went back to the table after bringing it to him he told me the chili wasn't hot. I replied smartly "That's why we call it chilly." Of course after my quick witted joke I took it back and brought him a piping hot cup and he was happy. But when the shopper's report came in and the manager asked me if I remembered waiting on them I said of course I did and told him about my snappy comeback.
The manager rolled his eyes and didn't know whether to write me up or give me a service pin for "Superb Recovery."

I know that this is just my job, but to me it is a different thing altogether. It is an ongoing experiment with society. To know which people I can joke around with, which people I can fool into thinking I really DON'T think are idiots but kindred spirits and people that I let abuse me while I put on a fake smile and mentally DARE them to find fault with my service.

It may not be brain surgery, but in my case it seems to be a honed perfection and something that I seem to be quite good at.

I heard so many of my co workers that worked the lunch AND dinner shift today saying that they didn't make squat...and I have been in their shoes a lot of the time.

But tonight the "Server Gods" smiled on me and I walked out the door with almost $200.00 in my pocket after one single shift.

I really enjoy my job...rarely despise it and thankfully only infrequently have the whole shift blow up in my face.

I really needed tonight, financially and mentally.


Gotta be back to open in the morning. I already have my "Rainy days and Mondays always Get Me Down" routine worked up for the regulars... with the rest of them I'll have to 'wing ' it .

Hope my good luck holds out!

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dog Tired

Woke up with the smell of funnel cakes still in my nostril hairs. Had to be at work for an all store meeting early this morning...even earlier my manager called to see if I could run by the Newnan store to pick up some food product he needed. Knock up another favor he owes me!

Went to the meeting...BORING, except the free food they rolled out for us to try ... new menu items coming out with our next promotion. Came back home, watched a lame movie with Massey on cable and snuggled down for a late morning nap. My favorite time to nap is from 10 to 12 in the late morning hours. Woke refreshed and jumped on my John"Dear" and cut the front and back yard, weed eat ed, raked and swept and I felt GREAT!

Massey looked through all of my cookbooks to find a new recipe for dinner. My oldest son came down this afternoon just to remind us that he was still sneaking back into the nest so we decided to try something new.

Had talapia over fried rice with black beans, red peppers, broccoli and corn salsa, a salad and rolls with rosemary. Cooked some sugar snaps with sun dried tomatoes and it was all delicious.

I cleaned one of three bathrooms, caught up some laundry, read half a book (you HAVE to pick up a Nick Hornby novel) and tossed back a few cold ones.

It is amazing what makes you happy when you are an old woman.

So only one of my three bathrooms is clean...that means I only have two to go.

Dinner dishes are done, my yards look great and I am fixing to run a hot bubble bath to wash my grime away.

A day in the yard, a night with my kids and I feel satisfied.

I feel like the picture of my sister's dog in this photo..worn out but relaxed.

Wake up tomorrow and start all over again.

Til next time...COTTON



Friday, August 28, 2009

Massey's First Football Game

It's 11:30 PM. Went into work this morning at 10:30, worked til almost 4, came home changed clothes and headed to the football field at 5:00. it was Massey's debut in a half time show and my debut as a funnel cake maker. I'll let you guess which was more enjoyable. I am covered in batter and still smell like powdered sugar and funnel cake mix.

It was kinda a bummer, I didn't get to see her perform in the halftime show...I had thirty people waiting in line for a funnel cake as the halftime show started and the line didn't quit until they went into overtime at 10:30.

When the band marched into the stadium one of the other funnel cake moms and I went to see them march in while the oil heated up in our two fryers. They looked SO good and Massey was grinning from ear to ear! In the above pic she is next to last ...looking right at my camera.

When I walked into the stadium a huge guy said "Hey, Massey's mom!" I enthusiastically said hey right back as he passed and asked my new found funnel cake partner who he was
..she didn't have a clue.

I told her I should have said "We heard you were going to be on the clean up crew for the funnel cake stand and I was so excited to see your name... We'll be sure to save ya one, big boy!"

Having just met me thankfully she laughed and said I should have.

They did a great job with the National Anthem and it almost brought tears to my eyes as I stood with my hand over my heart.

Back to the funnel cake stand we went. I told the other ladies "Now let's don't do TOO good of a job or they will never move us away from these fryers."

Lots of practice was done before we figured out how to do it right. Believe it or not, my husband helped us out the whole time! His job was to take tickets for the funnel cakes and chat with the people while they waited five minutes for us to produce their paper plate of crap junk food. He chatted them up and kept it from growing into an angry mob scene.

I hate that I missed her performance , but there will be away games that I can sit in the stands and enjoy the show.

The reason this band program is so successful is that parents like me volunteer and make the whole thing go smoothly. It is a tremendous money maker for the band.

The football team gets all the proceeds from the gates $7 for adults, $6 for kids. There were easily over 4,000 people there...probably more.

The band gets all the concession money. There was face and body painting in school colors, tee shirts, hats, pizza, Chic Fil A... they had a huge grill pit with hot dogs, hamburgers, brats, french fries and popcorn.

They even had homemade ice cream.

I was impressed .

I even picked me up an " East Coweta Band" tee shirt for $2 ( I am now official!)

After going through three, five gallon buckets of funnel cake mix...we decided we had had enough.

One of my newly founded friends and I went to watch the overtime.

We stood by the section of the stands where the band was and the woman with me said "Look how much fun these kids are having."

You know what? THEY WERE.

They have a tremendous band director that genuinely loves our kids and they love him right back. They are part of a great group and the camaraderie is obvious.

This is what high school is all about.

If I had to stand over two fryers @ 400 degrees for four hours for my child to enjoy this experience...it was well worth it.

They were tied 21-21.

Went into overtime...the other team scored but missed the field goal. We came back and scored. MADE OUR FIELD GOAL and won the game by one point.

It brought back memories of my own high school football games and how much fun they were for me.

Massey came in the door at the house still singing the fight song.

It was a wonderful night.

I HATE funnel cakes.

I LOVE my daughter.

I am glad that she goes to such a great school and that I am a small part of making it JUST that.

Going to wash the batter off of my face, drink a cold one and pray to God that I get assigned to wrapping hot dogs in foil at the next home game (I'm not counting on it...just wishing.)

GO ECHS !!!









Thursday, August 27, 2009

Update on Einstein

This picture is back when Zach had his day job. The nine to five grind got to him and he decided to continue on with his studies. I am happy to report that he is doing homework EVERY day (with my constant prodding ) and has no grade lower than an 80. He's already had to correct his history teacher...she even got on the Internet to prove she was right only to find that Zach was the one exactly right. He likes a couple of teachers (BIG change for him) and Massey says he seems happy enough when she sees him in the halls at school. Some kids just do their work without any pushing. My older son graduated with a 3.85 without ever bringing home a book. Massey has to work for her grades but she does it willingly and on her own.

Zach has always been the different one. Not in a bad way...just different. He can argue a point until you simply give up and usually he has pretty valid arguments.

He just has a different take on life and his mind works in mysterious ways.

I remember the first time I realized how different his thinking was.

He was in kindergarten...we were riding to my sister's house for Easter dinner. We passed a small church that is on the way and they had the three crosses of Calvary out front. I thought I would squeeze in a quick Sunday school lesson so I said "You know , Zach they nailed Jesus to that cross with nails going through his hands and nails in his feet."
Zach almost immediately replied "I thought they hung him with a rope." Then I had to explain that they still called it hanging but Jesus was nailed to the cross. My mother turned in her grave that day, having had all of us in church every Sunday morning and night. I got slack with my kids...working six days a week and never taking the time to find a church that I liked, "Home schooled" my kids in religion.

On the way back home I got another glimpse into his intricate mind when we passed the church on the way back. He asked why there were three crosses. I told him that there were robbers on either side of Jesus. Throwing in another Sunday school lesson I told him "You know what Jesus said to all of the people that had done all of that to him before he died? He said 'I forgive you.'

Zach cocked his head to one side and said quite calmly...I would have said "I will GET you."

I was glad he was in the back of the van and couldn't see me trying not to laugh, but told him "That is why his name is Jesus and your name is Zach."

His mind never ceases to amaze me.

We have had many ups and downs along the road, but he seems to falling into sane reasoning and realizing that he needs to work the system instead of rebelling every step of the way.

He seems much happier these days and tells me often that he loves me. That means a lot coming from a seventeen year old young man.

I will have to remain diligent and on him every step of the way, but I will.

At least we are off to a good start this school year...that's a first.

I have faith in him and his tremendous ability, he just needs a little shove and baby CAN I SHOVE!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Yard work

This is my handy work at the front of the subdivision. It's not like pulling into Callaway Gardens, but it is a lot of work. I trim around all the trees, pick up trash and weed eat a fifty foot long ditch on either side. I should have taken a "Before" picture but I rarely wait for it to grow too long before cutting it.

After these few pics I included a video of my tour of yards. I cut my yard and then go to my older neighbors' to do theirs as well. Then we end up with a shot of the three stooges lined up in the gap in the gate that Charlie has chewed. He is whining the whole time (you will hear him.) He sounds like a new born left by a dumpster, just wanting someone to notice him. We had a torrential rainstorm tonight so I will be back on my John "Dear" tomorrow doing it all again. My neighbor two doors down has bought and moved to a house in Grantville and her yard is starting to bother me so I guess I will add that one to my list as well. Enjoy my mutts peeking through the gate (THEY CRACK ME UP)














video

I Guess I'm Just "Country"



Boy were the wack jobs out tonight! I got to work at 3:30 so I could polish and roll my silverware. At 4:00 I clocked in and got my first table. Before I got their drink order , they seated me again...then came right back with four more people. By 4:15 I had six different tables and here came two more. Just to give you an idea...at one point I had table 10, 11, 12, 13, 30, 31 ,33, 14, 24 and a table over in the bar area.
Dang, I like being busy but I was beginning to feel like I was in a Looney Tunes cartoon. Then as it always happens...two nut jobs sit down. The first comment the man made was "You sure are Kuntry."
I wasn't sure how to respond so simply said "Yes, I did grow up in the south."
Then the wife plows ahead saying she needed to order while she could still remember what her husband wanted. She ordered shrimp and lobster dip for him and a bowl of shrimp and lobster chowder. She specifically said "That is what he is having as his meal." Then she ordered a chicken salad for herself that has pepperochinni peppers, feta cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing (very similar to a Greek type salad.) So per her instructions I ordered his chowder and dip to come out with her salad.
When I brought the food to the table, he said "I don't want'em both NOW."
Before I could say anything she said "Just keep'em, you'll be fine."
I came back by the table to check on them and the man complained that there wasn't enough shrimp in his chowder...the woman said she was fine with her food. I went and had more shrimp cooked to take for his chowder and when I cruised by again he said that "Now this is PERFECT."
As I was spinning circles through the dining room a manager happened to be walking by and asked if everything was okay for them. the man raved about his chowder with more free shrimp in it and the woman said her salad was terrible. Having overheard her comment, I walked over and asked what was wrong with the salad (the same one she had said was fine two minutes ago.)
She jerked her head up towards me and said "I don't have to explain to you why I don't like it."
You don't have to tell me when to leave a table.
I left the manager to kiss her butt (they are so good at it)
I stepped to the table next to them that had just been seated and greeted it. I was not two feet away from the ole bat complaining about her salad. When the manager walked away she looked at her husband and said quite loudly "I just don't like her, she's too brusk(is that a word?) and "I don't care for her attitude one bit." She went on and on while I stepped back enough that she could see I was still standing there, but her tirade about me went on and on.
The manager brought her another salad and I bit the bullet and stopped by to see if it was better. Her husband said "It's all your fault, ya know." I said (looking only at him)" Well then I sincerely apologize." He retorted that he was only kiddin and it was good now.
Out comes a different manager to cruise the dining room. he stops by their table and the man has the balls to say that his chowder was cold and it needed to be taken off the bill.
Excuse me..is this the same bowl that had free shrimp added to it that he stopped me to say how PERFECT it was now?!
The woman said since she had to wait for another salad, that should be taken off too.
Then they had the audacity to say I shot them a "look" when I walked by.
Obviously they misunderstood. I wanted to "Shoot THEM."
They went on and on with the second manager and he voided their entire meal and they walked out without leaving one thin dime. The manager said he just wanted to get them out of there.
Where is MY champion?
I'll tell you where...sitting right across from them by herself waiting for her son to join her for dinner. I had seen her looking at the entire episode out of the corner of her eye and as soon as they left called me over to her table. She asked if they had just walked out without having to pay.
She said she had listened and watched the entire time and was appalled that these two people got away with walking out full and not paying any type of bill at all. I told her I would have a few beers after work and it would be okay. She said I had a delightful personality and gave excellent service.
Lucky for me when the manager strolled back through the dining room she called him to her table and took up for me and praised my skills for not strangling idiots. (or something like that.)
She and her son left me a $16.00 tip on a fifty dollar tab.
I saved the "grifters' receipt just to have for this post. $39.54 was the bill . They both got full, didn't have to pay or tip and walked out to the tune of forty dollars plus tip.
I am so extremely grateful for the woman that came to my defense, tipped me grandly and made me remember that I really AM a good server.
This picture of me is the year I went to work on Halloween dressed as a Waffle House waitress...complete in a Waffle House uniform and black tooth. Only I could talk a Waffle House waitress into letting me borrow a uniform...the black tooth was my idea.
You know how much more crap THEY have to probably put up with on an hourly basis?
The next Halloween the store banned us from wearing costumes...but for that one day I greeted every table with "Good Morning" and called out my orders to the kitchen standing on the line I had invisibly marked on the floor.
Take the good with the bad. Shake off a bad table and proceed to make the next one happy.
Such is the life of ANY waitress.
Til next time....COTTON

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Have to Keep THIS Face in My Mind...


So Massey gets ready to leave for school this morning and I ask her what time her guard practice is. She says 5:30 but she is going to stay at the school until then. I told her by the time she got home at 8:30 she would be starving. She said she would be okay and went to bounce out the door as the clunking bus rolled down the street to announce its arrival.
Before she left she said that most of the girls that stayed after school had their moms bring them something to eat before practice started. Great!
Lucky for me I was working the day shift so I told her I would drop something off on my way home.
My general manager was the MOD (manager on duty) and computing the labor cost in his head, cut down to two servers about 1:oo. He wanted to do it at 12:30 I am sure, but not liking to actually wait on tables himself... gave it another half hour before the labor "Axe" fell.
It was me and one other server, a girl that is as good a server as there is. We just had the weirdest customers, ones that run you to death for no reason or sit at your table like they are moving in.
In comes a nightmare table...in MY section. The woman is disgusting (trust me I am NOT being judgemental) she used to come in with her 'beau' who was old enough to be her Gran pa..they would suck down margaritas and steal the silverware when they left. Sometimes they would actually ask to be seated near the rest rooms because she was "feeling poorly" or as she said it "Pourly."
Well the ole gal has a new beau that looks like he could have been Charles Manson's room mate. He never once looked up at me. She ordered sweet tea and when I asked him what he would like he muttered "Yeah."
Of course I forced the issue and said sweetly (he didn't know I was being a wise guy) "Excuse me, I didn't quite hear your order."
I asked him what he wanted with his steak, how he wanted it cooked and what side dish he wanted ...to which he curtly replied "Damn, how many questions are ya gonna ask me?"
I felt like saying, "Well if you would happen to LOOK at the menu you may see these questions coming in advance." But I gave them a bright smile and just made the best of it.
When the woman asked for more bleu cheese dressing for her salad with a HUGE glob dripping down her chin I felt like saying "Just stick your tongue out and lick up those two ounces running down your face." Of course I didn't, of course I can't...but "Baby, did I WANT to!"
I got their food out as quickly as possible because I had 'real' customers on either side of their booth and in my current position I have to make the best of every table. I already knew this one was a wash so I concentrated on getting them fed and out the door.
I went to the back to check something out for a manager... when I came back, ole gal said she was sorry but she had just "Done throwed all up in my napkin, I couldn't make it to the rest room and can you just bring a check and a 'go' box?"
Yeah! Makes you wanna be a server "Don't it?"
Needless to say I wore gloves when I cleaned their table, threw away the dishes, napkins and plates.
Once gone, things picked up.
At least nobody else got sick and my other customers were nice enough not to point out that I had complete idiots at the table right next to them.
The insanity continued til 4;00 when I should have been off work , but was still stuck there with tables.
Massey sent me a text telling me that I had to have her dinner there soon.
I left in time to take her a meal from my restaurant to eat before practice started. I called her on her cell, which she answered in the band room...with horns, percussion and winds sounding like they were serenading me. I told her I was almost out of gas (what else is new) and she needed to meet me outside the building.
She was standing there waiting like a good girl, but before I had even pulled out of the parking lot she sent me a text asking if I could bring her back a pair of "Soffee" shorts for practice. I told her I would and she text'd back that she needed them in fifteen minutes.
I got home and searched her wreck of a room high and low for "Soffee" shorts and couldn't find them. She had asked for black ones but I could only find purple.
I called her back (five minutes to spare) and she said happily that "Dallas is going to loan me a pair."
Could she have not called me to tell me that?
After the day I had just had... "Soffee" shorts were the last straw.
Thank the Lord she was at practice and Thank the Lord I came across this picture of her when she demanded nothing more than a hot dog (no bun) for dinner and a glass of milk before bed.
Kids...they can kill you without trying and wonder what happened to you after they do.
I love my girl, love all my kids...I just can't wait til they ALL have three kids doing the same things to them that they are doing to me NOW!
And I thought the ole crazy woman was a challenge.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

BATH TIME !


Boy, do I NEED a bath! I took a rare Sunday off because number one: I needed a "mental health" day, number two: a co worker called and begged me for the shift and number three: I had yard work to do!
Now that I am getting paid to keep the front entrance to the subdivision neat and trim, I intend to do just that.
I had yesterday off, but it turned out to be a wash. First off, I slept til noon. After nine straight days working I needed the rest. Then my husband reminded me that we had to go to a wedding in Athens for a good friend of his' daughter . I tried to get out of going, but after really ticking my husband off decided that I couldn't back out .
Massey went with us (of course) and the wedding was held at the Botanical Garden in Athens. It was beautiful. A chapel nestled in the woods full of nothing but windows and skylights...all you could see from the inside of the chapel was nature at every turn. After the ceremony, we all took the path from the chapel to the conservatory for the reception. The path was full of every flower, plant and herb you can imagine. The conservatory was magnificent and a perfect place for a reception. We had originally planned to leave right after the ceremony to go eat at the Varsity, but once the chafing dishes were uncovered, quickly decided to stay. Quail, roast beef, turkey, crab cakes, mashed potatoes, grits, tomato and mozzarella salad, lobster dip, fresh vegetables, fruit, yeast rolls and free wine screamed "PLEASE STAY!"
I had four plates of food and a glass of chardonnay. Massey and I both slept on the way home and enjoyed the trip back home immensely.
We left home at 4 and got back after 10...after sleeping til noon I had shot the entire day. That is why I decided I needed to take Sunday off as well.
One day to please the hubby, one day to please myself.
I got up this morning and gassed up my John "Dear" and headed to the front of our subdivision. There's really not much to cut on the mower because a lot of it is down in a ditch on both sides of the entrance. It is more weed eating than anything...but that is the exercise I enjoy the most. My stinkin' weed eater's 'fender' fell off (the thing that keeps grass and tiny rocks from flying into your face.) I went to Walmart to discover they don't sell spare guards, went to Lowes to find the same. Finally went to Home Depot to find ANY kind of part that might work.
I went to garden... got sent to hardware and back to electrical to finally find a guy nice enough to at least 'try' to rig my weed eater. We decided on some clamps that hold electrical wiring conduits and I took them home to try and fix my baby.
Two hours later, my son came into the garage and asked if I needed the duct tape. He's so funny that I forgot to laugh, but I think the look on my face and the grease on my hands told him it was a good time for him to go back inside the house.
I went to my older (really older) neighbors house to borrow his weed eater but his is an electric and unless I had enough drop cords to wire a Pink Floyd concert...I was out of luck.
I called my 'next door husband' but he was obviously screening his calls in case I needed him AGAIN. I have abused this man so much I expect to wake up any morning to the sound of him putting up the "Great Wall" between his house and mine.
But he called me back and told me that he wasn't home but I could use his weed eater that was in his shed.
So on my fourth trip back to the front of the subdivision, I finally got the job done. I am so proud that I may go up there tomorrow and take a couple of pictures to post just so you can see how great it looks!
When I came back home, my husband said "I thought you said you needed a day off for yourself."
You know, it may sound crazy...but it WAS for me.
To drive into my subdivision and see it looking trim and neat makes my day!
Tomorrow ...my own yard !
Tonight...my own bubble bath.
Til next time....COTTON
PS this pic is another one of my faves...Zach in a bubble bath at his Aunt Cin's house when he was six

Why Ya Scared?

First off, you HAVE to click on each individual picture to see them larger so you can see the look on all three kids faces. In picture one to the left , TJ is probably five or six, I don't think the other kids were born yet, but if they were it was only Zach and he was probably asleep in a play pen inside the condo. I wanted to have a pic of me and TJ sitting on the balcony ... you would have thought I was trying forcefully to push him off. It took several tries before Cin and I quit laughing and this was the best shot we got. The look on his face is one of complete TERROR. Let's move on to the photo of Zach and TJ with the basketball. Zach looks as if he is just WAITING for TJ to smash the ball into his face, which had probably already crossed TJ's mind (from the smirk TJ is wearing.) Last is a picture of Massey on TJ's shoulders in St. Augustine when we visited my mother in law one year. Massey was trying so hard to look cool in her blue shades she had begged me to buy, but they didn't hide that look of fear while she sat on her older brother's shoulders.
You just never know with older sibs at young ages (or moms in TJ's case.) They talk you into something that they make sound like so much fun but only turns out to be fun for THEM. I can remember times when my brother and sister would say "Come on, Kelly...it will be FUN!"

And it always was...for THEM! How many times did I have to get my ankle stuck in the spokes of their bike while they peddled me flying down "Mad Dog" hill with dogs snapping at us the whole way as I clung to their back sitting on the seat while my older sibs stood up and peddled (obviously NOT fast enough?) I still have the scar on my right ankle. Or "Go ahead and take the bone away from the dog, he won't mind." Brothers and sisters just seem to thrive on inflicting pain and discomfort on younger sibs when growing up. Unfortunately I was the youngest and had to wait for TJ to come along to retaliate. He was so scared that day on the balcony of the condo. For Pete's sake, we were on the second floor, it wasn't like I asked him to sit on the ledge of the Chrysler building...but to him it was the same thing.

When you are a kid, the world seems so big and scary...when you grow up you realize that in fact it is BIGGER and SCARIER. Maybe my older brother and sister were just trying to give me a reality check and prepare me for the future.

NAW!! They were just amusing themselves, but unknowingly they were IN FACT preparing me for the future. Maybe they should have been a touch meaner!




Friday, August 21, 2009

My 'Pity" Party Woke Me Up

































My "Pity" party began this morning. Just me and my head were invited and luckily no one else showed up. I got to work and the weight of my problems hit me like a brick in the face. Then I took it upon myself to take everything as slap against me or as if no one cared that I was drowning on the inside or wanted to help me. I just wanted Ed McMahon to walk in with a big check with my name on it and a handful of balloons
...then I remembered he had just died. Well, CRAP...there goes that chance. My day got better when a few friends came in and made my day, I got lucky with a few big parties and I began to feel better.

Then I came home from work, still pouting but going to my sister's for a birthday party for my daughter. We had a great time and when I got home I did what I do when I feel down and out...go through my many, many photo albums.

The first one I came across was a picture of me and Tim when we got married. DAMN, did "I" pick out that dress? TJ looked cute though and I always like looking at a picture of my Diddy.
I came next to a few pictures of the kids when they were small. Do all kids think they look "Ultra" cool in their Halloween costumes? When I was a kid, it was a hard plastic "Caspar" mask from A&P with two nostril holes and eye holes that dug into your face all night and a cheap tie on outfit that could go up into flames at any given minute(if you read the warning label.)
Then came vacation pictures. The kids and cousins had such a good time and they always managed to break at least two or three things in each house we rented. Super glue was always first on the packing list ...followed by Vodka. Dang, six kids don't make a week at the beach easy without the Vodka.
Then the pictures of TJ growing up, all the kids all growing up.
Then I come across a picture of our last family reunion.
Look what a great family I come from...look how many people that are my blood , love me!!
Sometimes you have to take a step back from reality slapping you relentlessly in the face and look at the whole picture...ALL of the picture(s).
Granted I seem to be going over a mighty wide speed bump...but that's what shock absorbers are for.
I have come a long way from the young girl Tim married. We have three great kids and a host of family that loves us.
"Count your blessings, name them one by one."
PS If you double click on any picture it will show in its original size.






























The "PAR-TAY" for "MASSEY"

Here is the birthday girl on the front porch of her favorite place to be... Aunt Cin's farm house. We went there tonight to have a party since it was the first night I've had off since her birthday. My sister and brother in law bought a 107 year old farm house on six acres. It includes a barn with a hay loft, smoke house, coy pond...huge vegetable garden and tons and tons of flowers and any plant you could possibly imagine. She has peach trees and grape vines, pecan trees and blueberries. It truly is a paradise and my girl LOVES going there. As you can see, I went ahead and knocked out the photo of someone with a lampshade on their head (Thanks for the idea, Harvey.) Next is a picture that Massey took of me peeking through a bouquet of flowers from Cindy's yard (Massey thought it was lame and Cin and I thought it was hilarious.) Next is a picture that will soon be the new screen saver on my computer. How did my girl get so grown up? For Pete's sake, we look like two friends out to lunch somewhere (with me being the MUCH older friend.) The last pic was taken when Cin and I were loading the dishwasher. My husband is standing up and my two sons are hamming it up. My brother in law has his eyes shut, probably praying we would all leave soon! We had a fabulous meal that my sis cooked; pork loin, black beans with rice, white corn on the Cobb, spinach salad and rolls. There is nothing better to me than being with my sister for any celebration or reason. My husband and kids are just as crazy about her and her husband is one lucky man. TJ read the blog I wrote about him with his "Potty" picture while we were there and took it pretty well...especially after he read the 'welcome back home' part! He'll probably show up tomorrow morning with a truck and all his meager worldly possessions waiting to squeeze back into the nest...AGAIN. My nest may become a little more crowded. Guess I need to start gathering more twigs to make it a little bigger.

Til next time...COTTON
















Thursday, August 20, 2009

Okay, NOW Maybe I Owe Him

Okay, now maybe I "DO" owe him. I mean what kid hasn't had a picture like this taken? This was one year on vacation when one of my nephews snuck into the bathroom of the rental house and busted him going #2. I remember as a kid when the "Swinger" Polaroid was all the rage. My sis and bro took the same type of picture of me on the throne. Don't ya just HATE older sibs when you are too young to fight back ? I mean you can try to fight back but they just laugh at you and put their hand onto your forehead to hold you just far enough away that you can't reach them with the swinging strikes you are viciously trying to land. TJ was the oldest in OUR house, but unfortunately he had two cousins that were both older and held their ages over his young head as if they were holding a "WWF" championship belt. As they have grown older they have gotten close, but back then, TJ was "The Baby" and they made the most of their situation. Now TJ wants to come back home...AGAIN. I was firmly against it at first.."Hold Your Ground, Kelly." But as the time gets closer to the end of his lease on his house and he comes by more and more often with that sad "Puppy Dog" face...What's a Mom gonna do? I mean, his dog has already been here for over a month...he thought he would attack me from the point of me being a total "Dog Lover" and sneak on back in after the dog got settled. Dang! I sometimes wish I wasn't such a pushover where my kids are concerned. But after posting this picture, I guess I can let him come on back ONE more time. As my sister often reminds me, "It is what Diddy would have done." My father was always called Diddy...maybe Sean"Puffy" Combs owes us some type of royalty for the use of our father's nickname (I'll have to check into that.) So after much soul searching and feeling bad...at least I got him back with this pic. Maybe I will tell him that if it isn't a short stint back home, I will post more of his pictures on my blog...or begin to photo shop a few of my own. God, I love my boy...I just want to love him from a different house. If he needs me though, I will be there. If he needs to feel the love of our house...come feel it. There will be ground rules, there will be stipulations and there will be a time limit. He is a handsome, smart and capable kid...the problem is, he is "MY" kid and I can't ...or won't ...turn my back on one of my children when they need me. Hopefully I won't have to snap another shot of him on the john to get him to move on once again. We'll see!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MASSEY




Thirty two years ago today, my mother collapsed on the floor of the store she , my sister and I were shopping in for school clothes. It was less than a week before my senior year in high school started. She was dead before the ambulance could get there. No warning, no illness that we knew of. She looked at me one last time before she hit the floor and even as a seventeen year old school girl...I knew she was gone.


It haunted me for years. I was such a brat at the time. All I was ever concerned about was ME, ME, ME. It left a huge hole in our family and we all struggled through the best we could.


August 19th rolled around year after year and all I could ever think about was "This is the day Mama died."


Flash forward eighteen years.


I am married to a wonderful man, have two young sons and found out I was pregnant and having a girl. My due date was Oct.5th...my own mother's birthday! I had already decided to name my baby Massey Ann. My mother's maiden name was Ann Massey and I though it would be a nice tribute. Little did I know how much of a tribute I had coming!


I had a very difficult pregnancy , had to stop working and was put on complete bed rest starting at the end of May.


Late in the night of August 18, I woke to searing back pain and a pool of blood. After calling 911 I went and sat on a towel at the end of our driveway waiting for the ambulance to arrive.


Once at the hospital, the last thing I remember was hearing that my Ob/Gyn had just pulled into the parking lot and the mask was put over my face to knock me out.


When I woke up, I had lost almost five pints of blood and had just undergone an emergency C section. The nurse asked if I wanted to see my baby (Thank God, those were the words I was hoping to hear ) and I was wheeled in to see a tiny 4 pound angel hooked up to wires, leads and monitors. Her head was as small as the palm of my hand, but she looked perfect in every other way. She spent two weeks in the NICU and then came home .
Isn't it ironic ... the day I hated for 18 years because it was the day that God took my mother away, suddenly became the day that God sent me my daughter?
She turns 14 today.
She is my best friend and a joy to everyone who has ever met her. She has a heart as big as the ocean and has so many "BBF's" that I have simply lost count. Every thing is an adventure or a mission to her. She takes up for kids that are made fun of and quickly becomes their friend and ally. She joins every stinkin' group and activity she can in school and has a passion for each of them that I deeply admire.
Oh , we have our bad days but without them I would obviously not be doing my job as a parent.
She wears me out, she inspires me daily and she has replaced the empty hole that was left in my heart when I saw my mother sink to the floor thirty two years ago.
I still miss my mother terribly, but now realize that she sent me an angel to help with the loss I felt when she went home to the Lord unexpectedly.
We had a great day, the whole family came to see me
at work, joined by Frances and her niece. My manager (another angel) cut the $115.00 tab to $50.00 and we had a great visit...it was incredibly slow at work so I got to sit with them and chat .
We are having a rough patch in our lives right now, but today made me realize how very fortunate I am and how much I have to be grateful for.
Happy Birthday, my sweet girl and THANK YOU for coming into my life and making it so much brighter. I know your grandma is smiling down on all of us, knowing she left us in good hands when she sent us "Massey."


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

There's No Place like Home, There's No Place Like Home...

Zachary and I went to visit Frances today...and didn't even have to use a code to get in to see her!

This was my first visit to her "real" home. It is just as tidy, compact and cute as Frances is herself!

Zach went right in and sprawled out on her couch.

It is hard to believe that this amazing woman (APPROACHING) eighty has had triple bypass surgery, another surgery to replace her pacemaker and an open wound in her thigh from a botched catheter, not to mention she has a lens implant and is almost deaf...but has bounced back like a teen.

Her niece came down today from Tennessee to spend a couple of days with her and we were there when she arrived. It was like meeting myself in a few years (if I am lucky.)

She bounces into the house and takes over the floor, room and house. Her sister, Elizabeth who is also very close to Frances...is more like MY sister. Isn't it crazy that Frances has two sets of sisters that are so different yet so alike, all loving her at the same time?

If we don't kill her with our"UP, Down, Quiet, Loud, Bursting, Thinking" differences it will be a true testament that God is for looking out for her, while we all run over her with our different approaches and personalities!

It has been such fun getting to know this whole new part of my family tree.

Who would ever think that I would be grateful for a triple bypass, pacemaker surgery, goof up by a doctor and rehab to make me realize how blessed I am with a whole new family and new friends for life?

Life.

Ya gotta make the best of it and when you do, it usually works out to your advantage.
Frances and Barbara are coming to eat with me at the restaurant tomorrow and I can't wait for everyone to meet her...they have certainly HEARD enough about her and now get to see why I have come to love her soooo much!

Just wait til THAT blog!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Night Before "Graduation"

Went to rehab today to visit Frances one last time in her current digs. Took me a while to remember the combination to the bicycle chain that chained the toolbox to the bed which also had a pad lock on it with the lap top locked inside.(Could you follow that "chain" of events?)

She goes home in the morning. When I got there today, she and her room mate had three male strippers entertaining them and the keg was still half full! Thank God I had brought my own pewter mug. Her room mate kept hogging the funnel and we had a hard time getting the bong away from Frances. Wait a minute...maybe that was ME on MY last night in college...those days were pretty wild and still seem hazy to me.

TOTALLY KIDDING! But you gotta admit you laughed, didn't ya?

Her room mate is a woman who is 94. She came for rehab because of a gall bladder problem that was inoperable mainly because of her age. When I first met her, she was totally incoherent and seemed to me completely in demise and just waiting for her time to come.

She has bounced back just like Frances (they are both obviously in a 'blessed' room.)

She goes to the dining room now and feeds herself. She is completely in touch and aware of her circumstances. Her two daughters are with her 24/7. Donna takes the day shift and spends the entire day with her mother. At night the other daughter, Faye comes in to relieve her sister and spends the entire night with their mom, sleeping in a recliner squeezed into the corner.

What a gift to have daughters that love you that much! They never act like it is a burden, but a privilege to be able to keep their mother company and be there for her every hour of every day. There are so many patients in the center that never have any visitors or company, but are simply living out their years the best way they can. Many are pretty upbeat about it and some are begging you to take them with you when you leave.

We have been so blessed not only with Frances' amazing recovery...but with being able to meet these two daughters that are even more committed than I have been with my cousin. They style her hair, they never talk down to her but lift her and her spirit every day. It is working for them AND for their mother. Hopefully their mother will be going home next week.

Room 308 will NEVER be the same!

It has been an awesome experience getting to know all of these people and I will truly miss going to the "Rehab."

God bless Donna, Faye and Muriel.

Frances makes her escape tomorrow (check out is by 11.)

Of course I will keep you all posted on her return home, and plan on keeping in touch with Donna, Faye and their mother, Muriel (what a beautiful name.)

This entire experience has been a real highlight in my life and made me realize not only how truly lucky some people really are , but how so many others are suffering in silence and solitude.

Congratulations Frances!

The therapist has already told her that she was the "Star Student."

I hope that Ms. Muriel is the next one!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Clocking Out Feels SOOO Good!


There is a computer screen we go to at work to clock out. It asks "Are You sure you want to clock out?"
I always look for a "Hell YES" button but only seem to be able to find simply "yes."

Had a great but tiring weekend. Lucky for me two servers quit (I'll have to remember to send Erin and Chris a thank you note) and got to absorb some of their tables into my own section. Last night I ran five and six tables all night long. BINGO!

Tonight several of the servers left really early and I got to take their tables as well...JACKPOT!

I had four or five tables that asked for me specifically and that added about $50 to my pocket. We finally had a hard rain today and thankfully ruined every one's plans for a cookout.

I've even won over the 'Cheap' family that tromps in every Sunday night with their three kids to eat dinner at 9:30. Who takes a family with kids aged one month , four years old and eight years old out to eat at 9:30 on a school night? I have worked my way up from a two dollar tip to them tipping me 15% every Sunday night when they drag the kids out of their PJ's... get them re-dressed and stuff them into the car to go eat dinner at almost 10:00. Then they let the kids have cokes and sweet tea to drink, and finish their meal with a chocolate brownie with ice cream, hot fudge and whip cream AND order the little girl a peanut butter chocolate smoothie to take home with her. It's not my call, but it just seems strange to me to raise young kids this way.
Maybe they are vampires and are just waking up when they trudge into the store every Sunday. But when I see them being seated at my table I go ahead and make the cokes and tea, go get a bowl of peanuts from the bar and a basket of bread and have it on the table by the time they can settle the baby carrier into the booth.

It's like when I go to Walmart after work and it's after midnight but there are little kids EVERYWHERE with their parents shopping leisurely like it is four in the afternoon instead of the time when the kids should be on their fifth hour of a good night's sleep.

My kids always got at LEAST ten hours of sleep when they were young. I can remember when they were really young and daylight savings changed in the fall. As an exhausted working mother I was thrilled when 6:30 rolled around and it got dark... I would say "Put your PJ's on and brush your teeth and Mama will read you ONE more story if you're REALLY good!"

It almost ticked me off when they learned to tell time. DAMN those teachers!

Like when my kids were little on Christmas Eve. They would be so excited about Santa coming. I always had to put out "Santa's" presents in the living room for them to wake up and find, all put together and assembled and splayed out on their 'designated' chairs and sofas.

I would tell them they sounded like they might be coming down with a cold and since I didn't want them to be sick on Christmas morning... would give them a little Benadryl to knock them safely out. A working mom has to do what a working mom has to do!

Needless to say, none of my kids ever woke with a runny nose on Christmas morning and it probably bought me one more hour of sleep. A win win situation if there ever was one!

I hope that doesn't sound like child abuse. I hope it just sounds like I am a "thinker" because that is the way I rationalized it. They are 14, 17 and 23 now and I haven't managed to kill them yet!

I recently told my 23 year old that my mind was like a steel trap. He quipped back "Yeah, nothing gets in and nothing gets out."

Maybe he is right...but at least after raising three kids I still HAVE a mind!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Three, Two, ONE!

I am sure that Frances is counting down her days left in rehab.

She only has three more days before she can return to her own house, bath , kitchen and bedroom. I know she will be glad to be home, but what is really strange is that she told me and Massey the other day that she had gotten so used to being around "A crowd" that it was going to take some getting used to being at home alone again.

Only Frances would enjoy the company at rehab!

She is by FAR the most capable person I have met while I have been visiting. She is sharper that some of the people that WORK there.

Pretty much most of the people there are in a "Nursing Home." they scoot along in their wheelchairs propelling themselves with their feet...wandering the halls for hours at a time. Many of the people I have come to recognize on my visits never have anyone visiting them.

Frances is known by EVERYONE. She is mostly called "The Computer Lady." When Massey and I sit with her in the lobby while she surfs the net, they gather around us in their walkers or wheel their chairs close enough to us so that they can hear our conversations and gawk in wonder as Frances logs on and begins to type.

I sometimes wonder how many of these people are staring at a lap top for the very first time, or have been in there so long that lap tops weren't even invented when they were out in the world on their own.

Some speak to us, ask us to sit by them or just seem to be fascinated by our "New fangled contraption." It breaks my heart to think of these many, many people that family and friends have forgotten about or choose not to spend a few hours a week with.

Some are totally unaware of their surroundings (which may or may NOT be a good thing) some are obviously there to never leave and some look pretty close to dying at any given moment.

I would have NEVER written this post when Frances first checked in, not knowing if it would be a couple of months she was spending there or a prolonged period of time (she reads my blog).

I have noticed that some of the "lifers" seem to have a certain hallway they like to sit in, or a window they stare out of for hours or a particular sweater that they seem to favor every day of the week. I have come to know several patients on speaking terms and often wonder what their 'story' is.

Do they miss people coming to see them, do they wish they could leave or are they sorry they have been put in this place at all?

I have NEVER witnessed any patient abuse...and if I did, I would be the first person to speak up (loudly) in their defense and report it immediately. The abuse comes from family that dumps off their relatives and never even thinks of them again, much less visits or calls.

I remember one time at Walmart when a man smacked his little boy in the face for not brushing his teeth that morning (was it a delayed reaction?) and I stepped right up to him...as my own kids said to each other "UH OH...Here she goes!" I told this man that the boy was too young to even realize how important brushing his teeth was and if he hits his child out in public, no telling how he treats him when he is alone with him. I told him how would he like for me to smack him ? Trust me , I wasn't scared to do it and actually wanted to anyway. The little boy looked ALMOST as surprised as "Daddy Dearest" and the man just mumbled something under his breath as he walked away. I asked loudly "What did you say, I couldn't hear you?"

By this point my own kids were begging me to let it go (I am such an embarrassment to them when I do these type of things) and giving in to my own kid's mortified faces I let him off with a hard stare that meant to tell him that he was a sorry excuse for a parent to smack a kid that hard for something that he obviously hadn't taught or instilled in this small boy.


My kids still talk about that, especially if we are out and I see someone treating a child or even another person without respect or kindness. I just can't help it! I will not stand by and watch a human treat another human as if they were not an equal or not even a human being.
It can be a child, an animal or an elderly person...don't mistreat them in front of me or you will quickly realize how LOUD and MUCH I can talk !

Frances was fine in rehab...she would be the FIRST person to complain of ill treatment or any type of negligence. Not to mention that she had many friends and relatives visiting and checking up on her often and the staff noticed right off the bat that she had many people looking out for her best interests.

All in all though, I am glad she is getting her parole papers.

What bothers me is the hundreds we are leaving behind. The ones not as savvy and sharp as Frances. The ones no one comes to visit. The ones that roam the halls 24/7 scooting on walkers or shuffling along with their feet in wheelchairs just looking for someone to listen to them. The ones who are parked in beds lining the halls with limbs contorted and asking as you walk by if you can help them get out of there.

It breaks my heart.

My Dad's cousin is one of the lucky ones...but what about the ones that didn't draw that lucky card?

There are many that seem pretty "with it" and I have grown fond of. I really truly think that I may continue to visit this place and spend some time getting to know the ones that seem to be craving only friendship or a person to talk to or to listen. I know that the staff will be "under-thrilled" at the prospect of seeing me again...but that's tough!

I guarantee that Frances will go back with me to visit if I asked her.

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Dear God, Why Ya Gotta Ask So Much of Me?! Love, Kelly"

Talk about being pushed to my limit.


It started with a nice enough table and quickly spiraled to the depths of a really BAD table.


A mother with her two grown kids, their spouses and her two grand kids. It was 11AM and two of the adults ordered a beer...by the time they left, Glenn Beck would have felt like ordering one too. They were really nice but made Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" look like a dream come true for a server.



This is the way it began.

(Oldest grown daughter ordering for herself) : "I want a 'kid's' chicken salad but instead of grilled chicken I want steak with a seven pepper seasoning cooked medium rare. Instead of being on a mixed green salad, I want it on a wedge with extra bacon and instead of the crumbled bleu cheese I want mixed cheese and add extra onions with some bleu cheese dressing on the side." The rest of the orders were even more complicated with tons of special instructions and modifications. I told the last one ordering that it was a good thing I had learned a lot of Spanish while working there. Only one of them got the joke.



The food came out perfectly (Thanks Amigos) and then came THE table...the one God sent to REALLY try my patience.



Five "Joe Schmoes." Not businessmen; They more looked like they were waiting for a lane to come open at the bowling alley and had stopped by to see how far they could push a waitress.



Not iced tea or cokes...but blackberry tea, strawberry limeade and raspberry tea. All drinks that I have to make individually in pint glasses that I have to get from the bar and make one at a time (every time they get empty.)



Then came the order...



"I want the sirloin with the stuffed shrimp except I want the fillet instead. I want the fillet blackened and want to substitute the salad for a cup of soup and want to add a Caesar salad with no croutons with extra Parmesan with the dressing on the side. I want to add some mushrooms to mine and I want extra crackers with my soup." And that was just the first guy.

After finally taking the entire order, I went to type it into the computer and felt like I was sending an encrypted message to the kitchen that may be intercepted by the FBI.



Their order came out flawlessly as well (Thanks AGAIN, Amigos.) I ran my butt of just keeping their "special" drinks refilled...but filled they were!



By this point I had five other 'normal ' tables needing my attention and was so far behind it wasn't even funny if it had been in a "Lucy" episode.



My co workers helped me out tremendously (Thanks, Gringos) and by the time the 'bowlers' wanted their checks I was almost caught up.



My bowlers had a $170.00 tab and two of the men disputed their tabs. I told them truthfully that their order was quite confusing and that I had mis interpreted some of their instructions.



I went and had all the tabs corrected to their approval and ended up with a $6.00 total tip.



For six bucks I had broken my back to make these guys happy, my other tables suffered...but none of them complained or seemed to notice a lack of service.



It was just in MY mind I knew that I had not given as good as service to my other tables because I was kow towing to a table of five, hoping that they would appreciate the extra mile I was going for them.



NOT GONNA HAPPEN.



DIDN'T HAPPEN.



I mentioned to my general manager that I was grateful this kind of shift didn't happen every day and it was only one "BLIP" in the big picture.



Got home from work with tears in my eyes from the most stressful day I have had in quite a few months.



Vacuumed the house, cooked dinner with a bad attitude and then the treasurer from the Homeowners's Ass. came knocking at the door.



She brought me a check for $80.00 for cutting the front of the subdivision and said that I was hired to keep it looking as great as I have been doing all along for free.



"The Good, The Bad, The Ugly"...YOU decide.



All I know is that at the end of this long trying day..I would have never thought that I would feel compensated for the shift I had just endured.



God gives and God takes...Lucky for me it was my turn to recieve. After the day I had, I bet he felt guilty and gave me a bonus!



"Thanks Be To God."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Growing Up Too Quickly


The picture to the left is my all time favorite picture of my younger son. He was probably eight or nine.


The picture below was taken a year or two before though it seems in my mind it was taken just last year. It was in fact taken the year that my daughter got a life size Barbie for Christmas dressed as a ballerina. My youngest son couldn't wait to undress the Barbie and try the outfit on for size. You know he was really young because he even posed for the picture. He went from a carefree kid diagnosed with ADD at an early age, to a straight A student once on meds, although he went from six in the morning til dinner without much of an appetite because the only meds they had then were all stimulants. He didn't need stimulants, and when they came out with a drug strictly for attention deficit, he was in fifth grade and was coming very strongly into his own mindset. He said that it was HIS body and that he didn't want to put drugs into his body. I told him I would remind him of that if I caught him smoking weed with his buddies in his teens.
He faltered in high school; he pissed away an entire school year, but he was just lazy not under any influence other than boredom and rebelling against the system. It took until he was seventeen, and finally letting him squander in his own despair for a year that he woke up and realized that the only person he was hurting was himself. He has absolutely made an 180. He helps me out more in the house than anyone else. He comes home and does his homework. He is FINALLY a pleasure to be around and has taught me countless things that I never even knew .



Did you know that margarine was only one element away from being rubber? I haven't googled it, but it sounds right to me. He knows more about history and politics at his age than I do at mine. He is still a terrible speller, which bothers me, being an aspiring writer but I attribute that to texting and the general laziness of teens.
He has finally found his place, he has matured and realized that he was only hurting himself and also found that if he applies himself it makes a difference. I have no qualms saying that my kids have gone through trials and tribulations. What is important is that they have come out of it being a better person and a better human being. Better to happen now than when they are married with three kids to support.
I am so proud of my former ballerina...proud of the young man he has become and the grown man he will be. Kids are a HUGE responsibility and the responsibility weighs very heavily on me. My kids are what I make them and I am beginning to feel that I may have done a pretty good job after all.
Love your children and never be afraid to step in and intervene when necessary. That is why we are the parents and why when you DO your job parenting... you generally reap rewards of the seeds you have sewn.
I have found that if your teens don't seem to hate you every once in a while, you aren't doing your job. Dang...I must be up for 'Mother of the Year'!! Having kids has made me grow up more than anything else in my life...thank the Lord I had THREE!
I needed all three to make me realize what kind of person , parent and human being I wanted to become. I hope I have done okay...for THEIR sake as well as my own.

The Three Stooges

Here is a glimpse videoinside our world of pups! We love our stooges and this may give some insight as to why. When I came home from work today my husband (who had another interview today!) was out back playing with our two boxers and the bulldog. The male boxer can jump over six feet high, the bulldog is lucky to get his hefty self off the ground and the female boxer just barks furiously and lets the two males know who is really in charge. They all three get along fine since finally learning the pecking order...Rosie is DEFINITELY the alpha bitch (small pun intended) Ham can whip the tar out of Charlie (the bulldog) without trying and Charlie has finally learned not to provoke Ham. Both the males leave Rosie alone and kow tow to her every whim. She eats first, gets the best spot on the sofa and rules her kingdom with a mighty and furry paw.

When I sit and type on the computer they all three lay in the floor surrounding me on three sides. My husband said last night passing through the room while I was blogging that they all three are just waiting for me to get up and do something. He's right. I can go up and down the steps in the house thirty times and they will all tromp up and back down with me every time. If I go the restroom and shut the door, when I open it they are all three waiting right outside it for me.

When my daughter came home from color guard practice and I showed her the video, she was highly amused until Rosie started humping on Charlie. She made the comment "EWW...totally repulsive" and walked out of the room. That made me and my husband laugh even more at the video.

You know what's funnier? Charlie just lets Rosie...he knows he's low man on the totem pole and just seems happy that she acknowledges him in any way!

My dogs bring me great happiness...they love me totally and unconditionally. They never gripe or complain about the way their life is going and are all three standing RIGHT by the kitchen door waiting for me before I ever even get out of my car in the garage when I come home. My husband says they hear me pull in before he does...actually it's them that let all the family know I am home.

As I am typing this, all three have gathered once again around my feet. Maybe they all know I am writing about them!

DOGS...this woman's best friend (of the four legged variety.)

I think I'll go give each of them a dog biscuit now!!

Til next time, "WOOF WOOF" Cotton

Monday, August 10, 2009

Like Seven Inches From the Noon Day Sun

Boy what a day off! Went to the bank to make a deposit, found out I was rapidly increasing in the black column (much to the surprise of the teller...she probably had a bet going with another employee.) and went back home to work in the yards.

Like an idiot I usually start around 11:30 AM. I guess it's the JAWJA girl in me. I just love to work hard in the hot sunshine and feel the sweat of my labor. Feel it I did.

I told my husband I was going to cut the entrance to the trailer park. (Ha Ha) We have a really nice subdivision but somehow I am the only one driving in every day that notices when it needs to be cut. I've been working a lot and haven't had the time to go cut it . You would think that the homeowners assoc. president would have someone come do it, but his wife probably said "That crazy looking woman with the hair has GOT to have a a day off coming up soon...let's just wait her out, I know the two foot tall grass is KILLING her!"

BINGO!

I had to cut it. This is the entrance to my own home and surrounding ones that hurt or help the impression of the entire subdivision.

So I cut, weed eat and pick up trash tossed carelessly out of passing cars. Today almost got me ...heat index of 94 degrees and me being totally worn out from a thirteen day work week.

But guess who got it done? ME !

Guess who enjoys driving in and out of the subdivision now? ME!

Guess who is calling the pres of the Homeowners Ass. tomorrow asking politely for some compensation for the two years of work that I have done for free? ME!!

As I sit and type this, I can actually smell how rank I smell...but it is a satisfying "RANK."

Going upstairs for a hot bubble bath, ironing my work shirt for tomorrow , waking up early to make blueberry muffins for the kids before school and taking a few of them to Frances before I go to work.

Another day, without another dollar..but I am going to work on THAT one!

Til next time...Stinky Cotton

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lucky Thirteen

This is a pic from the Sheperd Center when I went to visit my friend from work two days before they released her. I looked happy in this photo so I thought I would use it to make me feel better. Day thirteen working ...I have had one day off in the past 21 and it was wearing on me tonight. On Sundays I go in at 3 and work til close. I thought LAST night was rough! When I came home last night I fell into bed and stayed there until two this afternoon. The only reason I got up that soon was that I had to be at work by three. Luckily it was slow the first hour or so and one of my favorite cooks fed me pasta, veggies and I went to the back and got a whole plate of fresh strawberries and grapes. After feeling somewhat fortified, the masses began trickling in the doors. Then it was non stop until around nine thirty ...we close at ten. Then I have to help clean up, close the store down and pray that someone doesn't cruise in the door five minutes before we close. (My prayers were answered.) I usually feel so good but tonight I could have taken a nap in the kitchen floor without hesitation. Sometimes it is hard for me to remember that I am almost 50 working with kids in their early twenties. Tonight it was easy to remember that. I can still work circles around them, but didn't feel compelled to tonight. My back hurt, my head hurt and my feet hurt...I JUST HURT. Granted I made it through, made really good money, but this ole dog was ready for the dog house. I don't like to work this many days in a row, but it helped us out tremendously and all I need is one day to myself. I can work in the yard, clean the house and go grocery shopping. When did I turn so old that these things make me happy? At least I seem to be pretty low maintenance. I didn't go see Frances today and hated that I didn't, but it was stay in bed til I had to work or go to work riding a "Rascal." At least I made it through tonight and that is all that matters. At one point in the evening when it was busy, I ran some food to a table that wasn't mine and the husband looked at me like I was crazy for bringing their dinner out so soon. I looked and the wife was pretty much through with her salad, but the husband was poking along with his. I asked if they wanted me to have their dinner cooked over again and the husband grumpily said "NO." I told him I didn't want for them to feel rushed...and said "How about if we buy you a dessert...I can be back with it in 30 seconds." At least the wife laughed and at least it wasn't my table. At least I made it through the night...BARELY. Came home and filled out the forty forms it obviously takes for you to have your child attend a second day of school, gave the dogs some fresh water, read part of my book...tossed back a cold one and now I am ready for bed again. I only have 24 hours before my vacation is up and I have to return to the grind. I want to get up early and do what I enjoy most...yard work, cooking and getting my house clean. Actually I hate cleaning house, but when it is done it is a MAJOR good feeling and is nice to be surrounded by "Clean." Maybe I can squeeze in a visit to Frances, that ALWAYS makes me feel better. Headed back to bed now, just wanted to gripe on the Internet...Now I feel a little better. Blogging always does that for me...I must be HOOKED!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dang! That Was a Hard Few Hours


Just got home from work. Business has been so slow that none of us were prepared to work as hard as we had to tonight.

I walked in the door at 4:45 and we were already in a huge wait
God bless the eaters!

My section of tables were two six top booths and two four top booths. The hostess in charge was a woman that has been with us since opening fourteen years ago. I call her "Put'em down Patsy." She will load you up with as many tables at once as she has to to get people sitting at a table rather than staring at her wondering how much longer they have to wait. All four of my tables were open, so all four of them got seated...BAM BAM BAM BAM! Eighteen people all at once were looking at me all wanting to order first.

The thing about being seated all at once is that they are pretty much all going to finish around the same time , leave at the same time and be replaced by eighteen others at the same time.

Pretty much that was the theme for the entire night. Thank God my section was in the bar area...alcohol always buys you a couple of extra minutes.

The cooks were pumping out the food like mad men. The regional manager was there visiting and helped us out as well. Not only do I have to wait on my own tables but have to help out the entire process by running other servers food and doing side work. My side work was keeping the ice bins full..not an easy task even on a slow night. Thankfully I had a partner on side work. A healthy young athletic buck that I abused for at least a couple of hours. I began to think he might think I had forgotten where the ice machine was! It was chaos, it was bedlam...it was slap CRAZY.

After two crazy hours we seemed to slip into a groove. All my customers were really nice (maybe one or two ---holes thrown in to keep me on my toes.)

The manager that was in the window expediting the food is our manager that drinks a pot of coffee per hour. I told the regional that we didn't even make him cups of coffee anymore, just scooped out the coffee grinds from the filter used to make the last pot and let him eat it with a spoon.

My regional (a super nice guy) said I should just give him a couple of coffee beans that haven't been ground up yet and let him keep them in his cheek to "Chaw" on.

Welcome to MY world.

It is a crazy insane five hour shift that makes you feel like you have been dragged through the mud on a gravel road with briers and thorns thrown in just for fun.

My restaurant is the best I have worked for in my thirty one plus year career. We bitch at each other and gripe and moan when it is slow, but when the bombs start dropping...we all work together. From the dishwasher that barely speaks English to the cooks that are grilling in a kitchen that is over 105 degrees to the seventeen of us servers all clustered together in a fifteen foot long alley way trying to get salads, appetizers, deserts and hot food out as fast as the cooks pass it through the window to the managers having to cruise through the dining room looking calm and composed while talking to guests...even though they are thinking how in the hell can we dig out of this hole we have found ourselves in and make a superb recovery?

But you know what? We always persevere. We always manage to pull it off, we all get through it and get a paycheck and laugh about it after the storm.

Working in a busy restaurant is insane to say the least...that is probably why I love it so much. The adrenaline just pumps you up...the pressure makes you work even harder and in the end everybody wins.

I was bringing out side plates tonight after the rush and dropped a stack of them on the kitchen floor. No dishwasher likes to see you break CLEAN dishes...the dirty ones "Hey that is fewer for me to wash!"
I was apologizing to him when the manager walked into the kitchen. This is my general manager who is a managing partner, meaning he has vested money into the restaurant and therefore owns a portion of the store. He said I was apologizing to the wrong person.

I remember one time when I told Massey that he owned part of the store, she asked me what part he owned? When I told my manager that, he said to tell her he probably owned the restrooms!

All kidding aside I know he hated hearing those plates breaking and I hated doing it. Thank the Lord I think I do a pretty good job for them and they can somehow overlook an old woman dropping some plates as long as I work as hard as I do the minute I walk through the doors.

We are a team at our store. Granted we have back biting and sniping, but when push comes to shove...WE MAKE IT HAPPEN.

We did just that tonight and I walked out with a fat paycheck, sore feet and the knowledge that I can come back tomorrow and do it all again.

LOVE MY JOB...Am I crazy or WHAT?
The picture is a few of the gals at work. I will take a pic of the cooks and dishwashers tomorrow to post, since they are the ones that REALLY make it all happen.
Til next time...COTTON