Saturday, May 29, 2010

What The "HEY" ???



OH...you GOTTA stop and click on the top picture first, go ahead...do it now.


The second picture (the one of Tim) can wait...just wanted you to see what came in the mail today...my "death sentence."


How dare they? How COULD they? What the 'HEY' ?


I'm not turning fifty for eight LONG weeks, yet they couldn't wait to send me my 'membership' card early, probably snickering "Tee-Hee-Hee" as they dropped it in the mail box.


I was telling the owner's son at work that I received my "card" today and he said with that dry humor that I NOW hate " Membership comes with benefits." I quickly came back with "What? Half price Depends and discounts on Estrogen?" A lot he knows...he is only 32 and acts 19.


I refuse to open the envelope. I refuse to believe that I am turning fifty 2 days and one sixth of a year from now. Doesn't that seem like a LONG time ? It sure does to me!


I've always thought of myself as being young at heart, a little older looking in the face (all that yard work in the sun) but still weigh what I did in high school and have a hair cut that makes me feel "Spunky."
It's bad enough I have Capitol One and Chase breathing down my neck, now I have the AARP nipping at my heels. Yeah, my feet look old but that's just from 32 years of waiting tables and they only look bad if you look at the bottom of them...calluses and bunions on the bottom but always freshly painted toe nails on the top side that show in a cute pair of sandals ... I was lucky and inherited my Mom's cute feet...My Dad's (not so cute.)
What's up with these AARP folks? Are they rushing me like a sorority or losing members more quickly than they would like?
Whatever the reason...it ain't helping my ego!
I try not to think about turning half a century old, but am grateful to have made it this far. I don't FEEL fifty...except maybe after working a double shift at work with kids half my age who get off and party til the wee hours of the morning and get up and do it again (a Jackson Browne song comes to mind) ..."And when the morning light comes streaming in...I'll get up and do it again...Amen." (Don't sue me Jackson...I probably got it a little wrong but you get the gist.)
Most...no probably all the kids I work with don't even know who Jackson Browne is. When I was in my teens he was HOT...along with Dan Fogelberg , The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. Hotel California...Rumors...what a GREAT time for music, what a great time to be young!
Now thirty years later I'm NOT so young...so says my biological clock. Who am I to believe a stinkin' fake clock?
I have teens that will still hang out with me..I even know who Ke$ha is...raised my oldest son knowing who Ludicris was and can still "Shake it like a polaroid picture." My kids keep me young..my ticking biological time bomb of a clock makes me scramble to get out of bed and put the radio on Q100 while I take the kids to school. I come home and put the radio in the kitchen on NPR while I clean up after breakfast and re connect with the real world but can switch back to Lady Ga Ga as soon as it is time to pick them up."Ooh La...Ooh la la la .."
Age is a state of mind. Age is what you feel. You either feel old as dirt or feel like you can live forever. I'll go with the "Live forever" route.
Next time I get a letter from the AARP, I may stamp it "Return to sender...address unknown" Yeah I remember Elvis too, but I was "Really young" then!
Til next time...hangin' on to my youth for dear life...COTTON









Thursday, May 27, 2010

SCHOOL'S OUT (Almost)

How has an entire gone by this quickly?
This past year has been like a roller coaster ride... fast , furious and very often a "Scream Machine."

Tomorrow is the last day of school for my kids. The next day is the first day of their summer.

To be quite honest I am surprised it has gone by so quickly and even more surprised that I made it through the ride.

By the grace of God and the love of friends and family...I finally heard the words at the end of the ride... "Watch your knees and exit to your left."

The ride is over...of course we are still shaking from the ride and our stomachs still feel kind of funny but we "Survived the ride" and have lived to tell the story!

Massey just ended her freshman year of high school...Zach made it through another year of battling the (in his mind) corrupt world of teachers and administrators who surprisingly I didn't have to meet with even ONE time this year (my baby boy is growing up...or getting smarter about working the system instead of bucking it) either way it was a relief.

Massey loves school. Zach seems to think it is a plot.

Different strokes for different folks.

All three of my kids are totally different from each other...it leaves me to wonder how many baby swaps can happen to one woman?

The school year started out crappy for me and quickly took a downhill turn. I didn't know a hill could be so long and steep and about halfway down I tripped, stumbled and fell the rest of the way.

I wound up in a heap, bruised battered and ready to give up.

Life is an amazing thing when you are loved. Life is a constant surprise but if you have faith in God...you always survive the ride and one day look back and say "That was pretty scary, but it's over now and I'm okay."

My kids were oblivious through the first part of my ride...by the time I was going up that last steep hill, knowing this was 'the big one' I had my Mom arms instinctively flung across my kid's chests preparing them for the worst part.

We made it down that hill, with my arms holding them securely and many, many helping arms reaching out to do the same.

When we made it safely down THAT hill, my old employer informed me that the ride had just added one more hill and "This one's a doozy."

The "Doozy" almost did me in. That's when I felt arms reaching from every direction across my OWN chest. That's when I felt the biggest outpouring of love and concern I have ever experienced in my half century on this earth.

That is when I realized that love not only conquers all...but feels pretty darn good. That is when I realized who my true friends were and realized that I had friends that I didn't even KNOW who would protect me against the downhill spiral part of the ride and deliver me safely back to the platform..."Watch your knees and exit to your left."
The left has never felt so RIGHT!

I have realized a few important things:
"Karma" is real.
"Friendship" is precious.
"Faith" is essential and powerful.

I survived, my family survived and I have made many new friends who I now consider part of my family...my family of friends that showed me it was just a ride...just a bump in the road...it wasn't the end, just a detour.

I'm not big on detours, I have little patience and an "A" type personality that didn't take being at the bottom of the hill lightly. I have learned humility and I have learned to accept help. I have learned that my years of helping others has paid off...in a HUGE way.

Massey has lacked for nothing this year...even when we were worried about losing our house, friends family and guard moms made sure she enjoyed every experience with the guard just like the other girls did. They made sure we had food to eat in our house and made sure Massey was a part of every event.

This year has flown by...sometimes we were flying against the jet stream and just as quickly we had it at our back.

I have a lot of paying back and paying forward to do...I just feel lucky to be here to start doing it! I've always loved a challenge anyway...just didn't expect one this big.

As you can see from the pictures, Massey hasn't missed out on anything. She had a great year...(yeah, she worried for a while) but all my family and friends and even strangers made it happen for her...therefore making it happen for me.

She went to her first prom, she had a great year in guard and experienced everything her freshman year that she needed to.


She has friends from guard, from chorus and even from other schools that love her and she loves them just as fiercely.

She has grown up from the little girl in the denim dress with Morning Glory's behind her into a young woman with many friends beside her.

She is a lucky young woman and I am just glad to be along for the ride.



You never know when a Mom will be needed to fling her protective arm across her kid's chest...but thanks to many I am still able to do that and grateful for when they all flung their arms protectively across mine.





Enjoy your summer, enjoy your life and stop to thank someone who has helped you...it may be YOU that needs help one day...That is "KARMA" my friend, that is the "Golden Rule" ...All lessons in life, all words to live by, all things I am sincerely grateful for.

Looking forward to a good summer and a better year in 2010.




Thankful for the people that pushed Massey and helped me survive her pushing MY buttons like most 14 year old girls do.

Thankful for the incredible people that have come into my life this past year and thankful for the blessings God has given me.
Thankful that this school year is over..."Stick a fork in me, I'm DONE!!"
Countin' some blessings...COTTON
As always...click on the pictures for a better view!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Wheels on the Deere Go Round and Round...

SHEESH!! Talk about major surgery with multiple complications...I think Johnny flat lined a couple of times...no wait a minute, maybe that was me!
My last update had ole Johnny boy flat as a flit and sitting lop sided in his bed room...I mean my garage. I finally broke down and went to buy a new rear tire. The old tire had more plugs than tread and was a rolling exhaust fan. It's pretty bad when you can see the holes in the side wall and they are too big to hold TWO plugs put in together. Fix a Flats are great but they were only band aids that seemed to be getting smaller and smaller until it was like putting on one of those little circle band aids a doc puts on your arm after a shot. Unfortunately John Deere tires ain't cheap but compared to a Fix a Flat every time I cut the grass it was a MUCH better investment. Zach helped me get the tire off (another story all together) and I took it with me to Tractor Supply to prevent me from getting the wrong tire or wrong size...been there, done that. Thirty four dollars later I was home with a new tire and no clue as to how to mount it on the rim. Of course it was a Sunday and the tire stores with their fancy dancy tire mounting thingy were all closed. I did what comes natural...called my 'next door' husband. Believe it or not he hadn't had his number changed or my number blocked (yet) and even actually had the cajones to answer...Ya GOTTA love that man! He told me to come over and Massey and I trotted next door with the old tire still on the rim and the new tire. Being flatter than a pancake the old tire came off the rim pretty easily (compared to the next part.) About a half gallon of sealant goop came out of the old tire and luckily he had done this part in the grass. He cleaned the rim up like it was brand spanking new and then the hard part began. It took him a good fifteen minutes to get one side of the new tire on the rim and then he said "Okay, that was the easy part." The next part took more like twenty minutes and when he finally dragged out his air compressor out of his garage I thought Thank you , Jesus (and 'next door hubby.') The tire wasn't completely sealed around the rim and the air didn't help any at all. Being the genius he is he said "I saw a show one time on TV about truckers and how when they changed a flat on a big rig they sprayed starter fluid on the tire and lit it. The heat makes the tire expand and it pops onto the rim...wanna try it?" Massey and I both vigorously nodded and I sent up a silent prayer that it worked...not so much for me but for my neighbor who had just spent over half an hour helping me to fix his rival for my affection.."Johnny Dear." He told us to stand back and we both backed up about twenty feet (yeah, we're sissies.) After spraying the tire he held a match to it and it was like a small atom bomb went off..."WHOOSH." About two seconds later the tire gave a loud "POP" and the tire was sealed on the rim. It took him a couple of seconds to beat the flame out with a rag but it had worked! I told Massey in amazement "Dang...Mr. Ron's kinda like a wizard !" He just laughed and said "Yeah, that potion worked pretty good!" He inflated the tire with his compressor and asked if we needed any help putting the tire back on...I would've had to been blind , bedridden and hooked to a respirator before I would have even CONSIDERED saying "Yes." I thanked him about fifteen times and told him putting the tire back on would be easy. Massey and I trotted back across the yard and went into my garage to show Johnny his new appendage. I've never seen a lawn mower smile but he definitely looked happier to me. I had been using my huge Christmas tree stand as a jack (yeah, I'm a ghetto mechanic) and John was sitting on it now. Problem was with the new inflated tire he wasn't QUITE far enough off the ground to slip the new tire on. No problem...that's what 17 year old sons who sit around the house are for! Zach came out to the garage and lifted John's 400 pound butt off the tree stand so I could slip the new tire on. "With this tire...I thee wed" was going through my mind as it slipped on his axle. "Throw some bird seed and rice on me as I drive out of the garage" I wanted to say to Zach , as I jumped on my baby and cranked him up! Put him in gear... and AWAY WE (didn't)GO. @#$%! I tried reverse...still "No go." I told Massey, who had come out to wave me off on my maiden voyage to give me a push hoping the gears would catch or maybe I would just "Catch a break" and the gears would engage. Once I rolled down the drive I was leaning forward in a "GO GO GO' type of lurch just praying for a miracle. I Guess God was telling me my "miracle" balance was low so Massey and I pushed the mower back into the garage and I went inside to sulk. I got on the computer and googled the John Deere discussion board. For Pete's sake there were 16 pages of discussion topics and it took me 30 minutes to find anything helpful. One guy wrote that his JD wouldn't move and another guy had written back "Have you recently replaced a rear tire?" I clicked on the follow up comments and there were none. I guess they were keeping the solution a secret but at least I knew I was going in the right direction. I went into work the next night and was picking the cook's brains while they were pounding the crap out of the Veal, Chicken and Beef on the prep table. One of them said there was probably a reset button or toggle switch that incapacitated the transmission when a wheel fell off or was removed for safety purposes. Sounded good to me so when I went home from work tried googling THAT topic. No hits. But I came across a topic about replacing the pin into the axle before putting a rear tire back on. HMMM. Interesting, considering I didn't remember a pin when Zach took the tire off. After talking to my brother in law this morning I went out to the garage and sure 'nough...there was a two inch metal pin on the garage floor! I had seen it yesterday when getting in my car for work and thinking it was a nail, kicked it out of the way thinking "I don't need a flat on my car too!" My brother in law came over with a "Real" jack and took the tire off, put the pin in the axle and put the tire back on. This time I think I heard Johnny actually giggle...or maybe that was just me. Hopped on my yellow seat, cranked him up and put it in reverse..."GO JOHNNY GO...JOHNNY BE GOOD !!!"Success at long last! Only at MY house, can a flat tire be a blog a pain in the butt and an amusing antedote all rolled into one. Til next time..."CUTTIN AGAIN COTTON"

Saturday, May 22, 2010

On the Right Track and Never Looking Back

Just got home from work. Slept in this morning after a ten hour double shift yesterday, got up and jumped on my "Johnny Dear" and cut my yard and my next door neighbor's. He still has a bum tire but with yet another Fix a Flat he made it through. Tomorrow I work a lunch shift and will go buy some new plugs and see if I can salvage the tire.
I thought about going to Wal Mart tonight after work to buy the plugs so I could do it before work but the thought of Wal Mart at 11:30 PM kinda made me feel queasy ...actually the thought of going to Wal Mart at ANY time makes me feel queasy. The day time crowd isn't all that great and the closer it gets to midnight the slimmer your chances of survival are. Some customers at Wal Mart tend to rub me the wrong way and I have had several confrontations that embarrassed my daughter beyond belief. Like the man smacking his four year kid in the head because he forgot to brush his teeth. I didn't hesitate to walk right over and ask if he'd like it if I smacked him around? I followed up with a verbal tirade about if he treated his kid like this out in public, what kind of treatment was this child getting behind the doors of his home. I finished up with a group of people staring at me, Massey slipping off to act like she wasn't with me and a couple of people actually backing me up. My next episode was with a woman screeching into an empty parking space that I had my blinker on for and calling me a "bitch" after she got out as I continued to sit in my car with my blinker on with my hands up in the air signaling "What gives?" The 'bitch' remark almost made my head explode and unfortunately Massey was with me once again...already running for another entrance to put as much distance between her and me as possible. I'll never forget, it was Easter Sunday and we were there to pick up an Easter basket for my brother in law who was in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery. I passed the ole biddy several times while I was inside the store and every time said "I hope you have a GREAT Easter" or "Enjoy this beautiful day." Massey was mortified...my own mother often mortified me when I was a tween, so Massey was just catching up with my own experiences with my mother who was a LOT like me.
Anyhoo...decided I didn't want to face the nuts tonight and just went home.
Work was great tonight! I'm catching on so much that you'd think I worked there! I'm getting faster on the computer and learning something new every shift. One of the dinner specials tonight was"Spring Rack of Lamb." Herb marinated 1/2 rack of lamb grilled and served with tzatzil, couscous and goat cheese and asparagus wrapped in phyllo . It was the prettiest dish on a plate I have ever seen. The chefs at this place are truly incredible and the dinner specials are always amazing. Come try some "Salmon & Shrimp Cartoccio"...Fresh salmon and shrimp baked in parchment paper with capers, black olives, tomatoes, shallots, basil and linguine .
My last job was a 'cookie cutter' type restaurant...this place is some "GOOD Eatin' with a flair."
In the words of a song I learned at the age of five in Sunday School.."I'm on the right track and I'm never looking back."
Tim and I have come a long way...we have a long way to go, but now I know we are on the right track and our train is headed in the right direction.
Gotta work in the morning and fix my "Johnny" in the afternoon so I can finish the cutting at the subdivision entrance.
Life is good. Life is hard...but stick with it, persevere and it will all work out. God is good. God makes it hard, but persevere and HE will make it all work out.
Til next time...Persevering COTTON

Friday, May 21, 2010

Some Men Just Aren't Thinkers...

Oh, you GOTTA click on these pictures...and "NO" none of them are of MY husband. The swimming pool shot cracked me up and is exactly something my two sons would do.


The kid stuck in the chair is almost exactly like something my sister's son did when he was younger except it involved HIS head and the wrought iron bars of a fence.
Some men just aren't thinkers!
Case in point: Yesterday a horrible tragedy happened to my boyfriend "John Dear." I was all ready to cut the front of the subdivision when I noticed Johnny's front tire was looking a little low. I found my can of Fix a Flat...half empty! Tim has a slow leak in one of the tires on his car and has been mooching out of "Johnny's" emergency can. I shook it and thought maybe there was enough to fill the small tire on the mower (I'll fuss at Tim later.)
All gassed up and 'flat fixed' I putted to the front of the subdivision and started cutting. About ten minutes in I happened to look down and ole Johnny boy's tire was not only flat but loose from the rim. DANG!!
It was almost time to pick the kids up from school so I parked Johnny , took the key out and hoofed it back to the house.
After I picked the kids up I stopped off for a new can of Fix a Flat and headed back home. Zach and I tried to fill the tire but it wasn't on the rim enough and couldn't seal. DANG #2!
Massey had to go back to the school for guard practice and Tim was taking her, so when they drove past me at the front of the subdivision I told Tim to get me another can of "Fix" and told Zach to go borrow my 'next door husband's' jack. Zach drove the jack up in my car and we jacked ole Johnny off the ground so we could try and get the tire back on the rim. It wasn't easy by any means...I've learned over the past year NOTHING is easy if you're a Cotton these days.
Zach helped me get the tire back on the rim and jumped in a car with his buddies as they turned into the subdivision and took off for parts unknown...I think I heard them burn rubber turning out onto the main street. Zach probably said "Hurry or she'll think of something else for me to do."
Pouring with sweat I found a spot of shade to wait in for Tim to return with my Fix a Flat. Here he finally came...driving slow as a granny and in nobodies hurry. He rolled the window down to hand me the can when I told him he had to wait and take the jack back to the neighbor's once I got the tire pumped up. I shot ole Johnny up with some sealant and told Tim to lower the jack. He looked at the jack like it was a nuclear bomb he had to dismantle and after about ten seconds said he couldn't figure out how to lower the jack. For Pete's sake...
He saw the look on my face (the one that said I didn't know how to either but at least I was a woman) and just picked up the back end of my 400 pound lawnmower off the jack and sat it on the ground. (I guess he IS somewhat of a thinker.)
I jumped on Johnny and took off. Fix a Flat was spewing out of the side of the tire and I thought to myself "Houston, we have a problem."
Tim had already loaded up the jack and headed down the street...thinking like Zach "Let me get outta here before she wants some MORE help."
I knew I had to drive ole Johnny boy home before all the Fix a Flat was gone or I'd be pushing a 400 pound mower back to the house on my own and be pretty ticked off by the time I got there.
Putting down the street with Fix a Flat spewing like Silly String I barely made it back to the house before the tire came off of the rim again. No more "Dang"..it was definitely a "Damn."
I went to my next door husband's house to borrow back the tire plugs his son had borrowed from me last week. They are these sticky gluey strips that you thread with a huge needle type tool to plug a hole. My next door husband was already laughing at me putting down the street with foam squirting out of my tire ( we may get a next door divorce) and asked if I needed help. I told him thanks but I knew how to plug a tire.
My husband was still over there talking with my next door husband, returning his jack when I borrowed the plugs. Tim said "Man, those look pretty nifty, do you think you could put one of those in MY tire?" He was talking to my next door neighbor...NOT me. I rolled my eyes at my neighbor and took my gluey stick of plug to go back over to my house and fix my Johnny boy.
Turns out Tim didn't have a slow leak, he had two nails stuck in his tire. My neighbor fixed both of them and I plugged up ole Johnny.
Some men are good at cooking breakfast and vacuuming when you bitch enough. Some men are handy men and can fix anything.
Tim and I are a mix...he won't try to fix anything and there is nothing I won't try to fix. Guess it all works out in the long run.
To his credit, he is an EXCELLENT vacuumer and can make some mean home fried potatoes with breakfast.
Is it just me or does my life seem to be a sitcom waiting to happen?
At least we know who the "Director" will be...
Til next time...Johnny's girlfriend

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Choose Your Battles Wisely...Especially With Teens

I was going to let you try to guess WHICH bed room wasn't in MY house but I guess the pictures of Massey in them gives it away. Her room looks pretty much like the room I down loaded from Google images...minus the ladder. Although there MAY be a ladder somewhere in Massey's room and it just hasn't been uncovered yet.

The picture she took of herself is her room on a good day (there aren't many of those.)



Zach came upstairs to go to bed and I had the overhead light on in Massey's room taking these pictures.
He said in that sweet way he has "That would tick me off."
Well, "tick' wasn't the exact word he used but that's another battle completely.
I really have no room to talk (small pun intended.) When I was younger my room made Massey's look like a ' Better Homes and Garden' shoot .
I lived in squalor from the age of ten until I left for college. My mother would walk by my room when I was a kid during the summer and say "Clean your room or you can't go to the pool."
If you grew up in East Point in the 60's and 70's...not being able to go to the swimming pool was like a death sentence. My parents bought a family pass every summer...$15 for the entire family of five...and that was a big deal back then.
Every morning we would wake up and walk with our friends to the pool, about a mile away ... get there as swimming lessons ended and stay until the pool closed at six.
If my mom had 'one of those mornings' and demanded I clean my room before leaving, I did just that. To a ten year old girl, that means taking every thing and shoving it under the bed.
What wouldn't fit under the bed got pushed into my closet. I'd think to myself "She'll NEVER look under the bed or open the closet door.
She always just said "Okay, go" and after I left looked under my bed and in my closest and just decided to have a Kool Mild and a glass of iced tea and talk on the phone with her best friend complaining about what a slob I was for an hour or so.
HEY! At least I was out of her hair for the entire day.
That's pretty much the reason I let Massey get away with it.
I did, why shouldn't she?

She makes good grades has a huge heart...and like her mama an even bigger mouth.
Zach on the other hand has turned my short hair gray with worry but keeps his room neat as a pin...whereas Massey's is a "Pen.'
I remember when Zach was in middle school and grew his hair out longer than Cousin It on the Addams Family.
He went from that to a Mohawk with liberty spikes. I brought it up to his pediatrician at the time and the wise doctor told me something that has helped me maintain what little sanity I have left. "When raising teens, choose your battles wisely."
When it comes to my kids, that is the mantra I now live by.
Zach grew out of the Mohawk stage pretty quickly (another pun) and has finally realized he is his own worst enemy in school. His grades have shot up and yesterday got the highest grade on the final exam in his Geometry class. He is on his way to graduating on time and finally utilizing the intelligence he has been blessed with (maybe there was a baby swap at the hospital...but he's MINE now.)
Massey is a train wreck in the house keeping department but has blossomed into a wonderful young woman that makes my heart full every time I see her face. I don't care that her room looks like the DEA just tossed it looking for a shipment or that her closest looks like Katrina blew through.
"Choose your battles wisely."
Long stringy hair can be cut.
A room can be cleaned (and fumigated.)
To have teens love and respect you is worth that and MUCH more.
It's nothing that a blower, garbage bag and shop vac can't take care of...and as far as Zach is concerned, I always have those clippers charged for when he decides on that 'buzz cut.'
They both still love me...granted it is hard to feel sometimes. With teens a tiny glimpse of hope is like a huge open window to a Mother .
I love my kids. I make them mad a lot of the time...but even if I make them mad for the next two years...they will thank me for it when they are thirty.
It's like what my mother told me two weeks before she died when I was seventeen.
"The older you get, the smarter I will seem."
Til next time..."waiting for them to get older" COTTON

PS You gotta click on the pics to get the jest of THIS blog!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Getting Used to This "Day Off" Thing

For almost 13 years I worked at LEAST six days a week. For the first seven years I was at Longhorn I worked seven days a week. Monday through Friday at the elementary school my younger two attended and Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Longhorn.

Having this new job is like getting a reprieve on my life expectancy.
I still work six shifts a week but have two entire days off to myself. I can work in the yards, go places with my kids or do absolutely nothing.
Work was slow tonight and I got off right after 9:30.I didn't break the bank tonight but working in such a refreshing atmosphere sometimes makes me feel like I should be paying THEM.
The owners are nice to me, the cooks are nice...dishwashers, ditto. Every one from the front of the house to the back of the house is a pleasure to work with and I am finally feeling like I fit in.
Being in debt for a year will take some time to recover from, but at least I am recovering in a friendly environment and actually LIKE going into work.
The customers are even nicer. I know that sounds crazy but it's true. It's a different clientele we have (a MUCH better one) and the pace is slower and more of a dining experience than a "Dinner."
I have learned more about wines than I ever thought I would and learn something new every shift...even if it is just a good joke!
Why I didn't leave the big corporation thing years ago seems stupid to me now. I don't mean to say it is all roses at the new place. Sometimes tensions run high, it gets busy and nerves are on edge but in the end we are a team. The other place was more like a competition..."let's see who gets to keep their job today."
At my old job I worked with so many lazy people that I spent half my time doing other people's work just so things would run a little bit smoother. Now I am in a place where I can focus on MY job and know that others are doing the same. At my old job managers were so busy that they never noticed the lazy people but just expected the hard workers to make it all happen. At my new job, my managers are the owners and see EVERYTHING , EVERYBODY and will call you out in a New York minute if you aren't pulling your weight. That's the main reason it all runs so smoothly. They aren't worried about crunching the numbers or getting people off the time clock...they are worried about the guests and making every attempt to do what ever it takes to give every guest the ultimate dining experience.
As far as my home life...actually haven't had anything wacky happen in a day or two (I must be due.)
Tim and I are going to Consumer Credit Counseling to try and get some bills paid off. When the axe fell, we hung onto the house and the utilities but didn't even consider paying credit cards first. Now the interest rates have sky rocketed and even though we haven't charged anything in over a year it is out of control.
After a while you get used to when to pick up the phone and when NOT to. Even the kids will say "It's Florence, Kentucky...don't pick up!" That would be Capitol One.
DFS Is Dell Financial services. We bought Massey a lap top for Christmas two years ago and were paying it off nicely ...when the axe fell. Be realistic...am I going to make my mortgage or pay Dell? Now I owe them enough that I should have a lap top in every room in the house.
"It's DFS, Don't pick up!"
Heck, I've even gotten to where I will say "It's Children's Miracle Network...Don't pick up!"
Not that I don't want to help them but afraid I would end up asking them to add my kid's names to THEIR list!
I am not a person that squanders money away...but a person that knows her limitations and priorities. Number one...keep a roof over our heads. Number two...try to have lights and water in the roof over our heads. Number three...food on the table. Number four...pay my debts off as soon as I reasonably can.
For months Tim had no income. Now we both have decent jobs that both have bright futures. Before you know it, we'll be answering the phone again!
With the help of family, friends and even strangers we have been able to keep our house, had food to eat and been given breathing room. I owe so many people thanks and have tried to pay it forward as much as I can at this point in time. Lucky for us we only have two credit cards to pay off and many friends that have helped us out financially and personally. I feel my personal debt is quite bigger than my credit card debt...and since these people obviously love me, maybe they won't jack up my interest rate!
Thanks to my friends and family...I am in a good place now. Thanks to our new jobs we have the means to start digging out.
Having all of this happen to us used to be a weight on my already bony shoulders. Now I feel the sweet breeze of friendship and can smell the promise of a much brighter tomorrow. There are so many guard moms that have taken Massey under their wing and made sure she never felt like an outsider. Not only that, they put groceries in my kitchen when I couldn't...brought my girl home from competitions or practice when I was at work or just let her stay the night at their house.
Friendship is an amazing and wonderful gift ... one that I cherish and never take lightly.
I am a fifty year old woman who has learned more about life and friendship in the past year than I have the entire half century I have been alive.
God is good...family and friends are a close second.
Tomorrow is Massey's final chorus concert (for the year.) A day off for me...one to spend the day in the yard and the night with my girl. Thursday is my next day off...Massey's band banquet is THAT night. Last year was the first band banquet I attended and was blown away. The program she is in (color guard) is part of the amazing band program at East Coweta. The banquet is an eye opening experience. A great band director who genuinely loves these kids and it shows. The kids are amazing. They are an eclectic group within themselves...jocks, nerds, fat, skinny, popular, unpopular, even some in wheel chairs...but all have a common bond. They are a team...they are ECHS Marching Indians and if you ask me, they are one heckuva Tribe.
So life has thrown me some curves.
I have also been thrown many life lines and have grabbed onto them for dear life.
Thank you family, thank you friends and thank you strangers. The help was MUCH needed and will remain one of the things I will ALWAYS be grateful for...people loving me and people loving my kids.
I am a lucky woman. I am a woman who saw nothing but despair at one point...and like a beacon...you all showed me the way.
Hugs from the heart...COTTON

Friday, May 14, 2010

DANG...I am TIRED !

I feel like my sister's boxer LOOKS in this photo.



Friday I had to be at work at 11:30 AM to work the lunch shift. Got off at 4:20 and had to back on at 5:00.



I went home to trade cars with Tim so Zach could give my car a MUCH needed oil change. I gave the dogs some fresh water...Hey, it was only 90 degrees outside and there are three dogs, who'd expect anyone else in the house would think to give them a big fresh bowl of water at LEAST a couple of times a day? You know they are always panting anyway...guess they looked normal to the kids! They can always just lick the slobber off each other for hydration.



Went and cranked up Tim's car to go back to work...already sweating like a Ho in church when I remembered Tim's A/C didn't work in his car. OH GREAT!



By the time I got back to work I was sweating so bad in my long sleeved work shirt that I wish I still resembled the Ho in church condition I had left the house in.



I immediately got seated with a party of nine and fifteen minutes later a party of sixteen. Thankfully I was working both parties with a really good server who trained me (and they STILL kept him!)



Our restaurant computer system identifies us by our finger print on a pad mouse and sometimes it doesn't seem to read my print and allow me to ring in orders. I thought maybe it had to do with me burning off all my prints cooking pizzas for "Johnny's" for fifteen years when another server told me last weekend that the sensor needs for you to have some oil on your finger to read it. Since we all wash our hands about 30 times a night during a shift, I guess it washes away all the oil. She said sometimes she keeps a small beverage napkin by the computer with some olive oil on it to dab on her finger when the sensor won't read her print.



I was trying to ring in a nine top and then a sixteen top and the freaking sensor wouldn't read my finger print. Of course I had forgotten about the handy "bev nap" trick and was starting to get behind. I still have a hard time ringing in big orders quickly so I thought "What the heck" and wiped my finger across my forehead and tried the sensor pad again.



BINGO! Thank the Lord I was like a greased pig...the computer recognized my print and I got all my orders in on time. Disgusting? Yes. Resourceful? Heck yeah!



Got through both parties when the owner told me I was on a party of 14 in the private room for a surprise birthday party..."SURPRISE, YOU SWEATY PIG!"



I worked this party with another server that had trained me as well (HEY, they even made her head waitress in addition to keeping HER.)



They had a crown for the birthday girl to wear, a feather boa and had the table all decorated for her arrival. When the birthday girl finally arrived, she was a short very heavy set girl stuffed into a strapless poodle skirt sun dress who when seeing all her friends starting jumping up and down and reminding me of Nikki Blonsky in "Hairspray."



They were a nice bunch...a bit eclectic..very gay and look who they got for a server....ME!! I already look gay with my hair cut and the Liberal roots of my parents loins from which I sprang let me fit right into their party. I am by NO means "Homophobic" but the opposite. They were all so excited about "Nikki's" birthday and I was glad they chose our place and the owner had chosen me to serve them. Most all of them had been servers (another plus.)



Unlucky for me, they were in no kind of a hurry. I had been there since 11:30, they got seated at 7:30 and at 11:30 most of them were still there. Nikki had bounced all over the room in her by now obvious "Fake" boa. There were black feathers all over the floor from one end of the room to the other. They finally paid their tab about 10:30 and I thought I finally saw light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunate for me it was a freight train barrelling down the tracks. They seemed to settle in to wait for her birthday to roll around once again.



By this point I had used up all the grease on my forehead and was just ready to "GO."

They didn't leave until after 11:30...we close at 10:30. A couple of times they asked "Are we holding you up?' I told them (like a good server) "Not at all." I felt like saying "No, my aching legs are holding me up, but BARELY...and y'all save something to chat about in the car!!"



When they were having their last round of drinks , the bartender walked by and commented on all the black feathers from the fake boa on the floor saying it looked like someone had just had a hair cut. I told her that not ONE woman in that room was in need of a haircut...my hair was longer than most of theirs.



They finally rolled out, happy and full. They tipped us really well, I know they had a good time and it wasn't THEIR fault I had just finished my twelfth hour on my feet with my greasy forehead.



It took a good twenty minutes to sweep up the boa scraps and another ten minutes to return the room to its former condition.



I got home after midnight...mainly because Massey text me and said she needed to be picked up from her friend's house. Luckily I absolutely love the girl and her family and after 12 hours on my feet, it felt good to just SIT in a car. Especially since Zach had returned MY car to work and taken his dad's "Ovenmobile" back home after the oil change.



Just another day in my life...



Til next time "Greasy Cotton"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY..."Franny"

So today is Frances' birthday!!

The most wonderful new addition to our family. I met her a few years back at the family reunion at my sister's house. This was back when my Dad was still alive and I really don't remember much about her at the reunion. Massey was still pretty young and I had to leave during the reunion to go work the Fall festival at the elementary school
where both my younger kids still attended.

When she first really burst on the scene in my life was when she had a botched medical procedure and had to go to a re hab facility after open heart surgery. Her nieces were worried about her being alone and my sister and I promised them both that we would keep a close eye on her since we were the only relatives living close by.

What a blessing that botched procedure turned out to be!

My sister and I took turns visiting and often met each other in Frances' room at re hab. We grew to know this woman and immediately fell in love with her.

Massey went with me on many trips over and even Zach went a few times.

The stories from Frances' stint in re hab still make me laugh (probably the people in the re hab office not so much) but it was a couple of months of getting to know Frances and finding a new member of the family that we couldn't do without with now.


She has wheedled her way into our hearts and has a special place in our soul.

She makes us laugh and makes us realize what a determined person can do...no matter what your age or condition ...it is all in your mind set, your faith and your willingness to strive and survive.
Frances is one of the most incredible women I have ever met. My whole family has fallen in love with this latest addition to the family tree. We have seen what she is capable of and have all been amazed at what she can do when she sets her mind to it.
She's a pistol.. and she shoots it straight.
When I was having a pity party over losing my job and drowning in debt..she told me "Enough of the negative!" You know what? She was sooo right!
When you're down...don't look down...look UP!

She is a country woman with country values and country morals.
That makes for an exceptional human being in my book and I am sure God has her a penthouse reserved upstairs for when she finally kicks it in 30 years!
She is savvy on the computer and even savvier with her wit. She is a fireball that will put you in your place in a heart beat and will love you like no body's business.
She is one of the reasons that I got off my sorry butt and got back to the real world when I lost my job and thought I was losing my mind.
So she is turning forty today...LOL...LMBO..ROTFL (I'll get back to you ,Frances with all this 'Massey' speak) and I have the incredible honor of knowing, loving and admiring this woman who can jump over hurdles like they are pebbles in the road of life.
She is sharp as a tack and can prick you with that tack when you need it.
She encourages you and slaps you around when you need it.
I really think my Mother is sighing in relief up in Heaven knowing that God sent Frances our way.
Happy Birthday, Frances and "Thank you" for giving ME a gift...the gift of getting to know you and reaping the reward of your years of wisdom and practicality.
You are so dear and special to all of us..."Where the heck WERE you all this time before we met ...Bingo?"
Have a wonderful day and know that our "Leach" family is glad they have finally gotten a matriarch back.
Keep cracking the whip and we'll keep saying "Yes Ma'am!!"
Much love to you...and give yourself a pat on the back...you are an incredible woman and I hope I can someday be half the woman you are.
Much love and big hugs....(the stripper I hired should be there by four, I told him you ate dinner early)
Thanking you for loving ME ....COTTON

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Having Teens That Like to Hang Out With You is Awesome

Massey added this picture of her huge ice pack from therapy!!
The picture above is of my childhood home. A place full of memories and a house that will ALWAYS be my home no matter who owns or lives in it. We rode by it on the way home today.


Today was another day trip to take Massey for therapy at Children's Healthcare (a FANTASTIC place.) Once she gets there , Zach and I have an hour and a half to cruise around Lenox and look at where we wish we lived! The neighborhoods are beautiful...two blocks off of Lenox Road and you are surrounded by huge Oak trees. After we go back and pick her up, it is after 6:00 and there is NO WAY I am getting on the downtown connector. It was bad enough on the drive up after school. Once you get to the Grady curve you never get over 40MPH until the 75/85 split.




So instead we headed over via side streets to Little Five Points for a slice of pizza and a slice of life you can find no where except little Five. Street musicians, people on unicycles, homeless people, freaks, families and plain ole folks.




RAGORAMA is our favorite hangout...you can look around for hours and never get bored. We found a new pair of "Uniform" pants for Zach to wear to school and wandered around a bit more.






There is a small park at the corner of Euclid and Moreland where the homeless claim all the benches as their own and nobody argues with them. I saw an exchange of cash going down and knew what what was going on but said nothing to the kids. We hung out in Wax N Facts for a while. Walking in there is like stepping back into 1968 and a fun place to browse the myriad of cardboard boxes and see albums you haven't seen since high school.




We left to see the people who had been doing the cash swapping all sitting on a bench hand cuffed by an APD officer. Obviously someone didn't appreciate them rolling a joint at their self claimed bench.




I told the kids "Hey, at least they all have a bed for the night now."




Massey had come out of therapy with an ice pack as big as a cantaloupe plastic wrapped around her knee and we stopped to pull it off after all the ice had melted. I bet five different people asked her what was wrong and a few wanted to hear the entire story.




At Little Five Pizza, the guy who took our order had a Tat on every part of his body that we could see and was one of the nicest people we have ever met. He wanted to know about the knee, about the therapy and wanted to know WHY she needed therapy. The guy behind us in line was in a wheel chair with one tiny shriveled leg...needed no help maneuvering in the place or getting in and out of the door and got no stares from any one. Nobody stares in Little Five. Nobody looks out of place in Little Five.




There are yuppies, moms like me, single dads...entire families and every other person is an eclectic and sometimes an extreme individual... that all blend together in this small corner of the world. Some are homeless and some are driving Maserati's. Every one is an equal in Little Five and I think that is one of my favorite things about the area.




The other is that I have two teenagers that will go there WITH me , walk the streets and cruise the shops...not walking five feet behind me like they are embarrassed to be seen with me but are glad to be there with me.




Chidren's Healthcare is an awesome place and they are taking GREAT care of my girl. The bonus is that Zach always wants to go too.




It's a really HARD work out for Massey...but therapy for all of us.




Kids are TOTALLY what you raise them to be. You can raise little snots or you can raise kids that are fun to be around even when they are teen agers.




They keep me young, they keep me on my toes, they keep me in debt but I wouldn't want it ANY OTHER WAY!




Kudos to Children's Healthcare...and Kudos to my kids!













So Zach doesn't look particularly happy in the above photo...it's just because he hasn't met the woman of his dreams yet that will shove him down the path of life.




Maybe he'll meet her in Little Five!!




Thank you Children's Healthcare for doing SO much for my girl, thank you Massey and Zach for loving your "OLE" mom and thank you Atlanta for having such a wonderful place for us to hang out and enjoy each other's company.




I just wish I would have asked the drag queen at RAGORAMA what shade eye shadow was he was wearing...I think it would have looked REALLY good on me!




What a fun day...if you can't enjoy being with your kids, you haven't done something right!




Til next time...CONTENTED COTTON




Monday, May 10, 2010

Larry, Curly and Maude

Nobody ever said they were smart and nobody loves them more than Mama (That's me.)

They make me laugh and sometimes make me crazy but if my own three kids listened to me like my dogs do, I'd really have something going on.
The two males are like Larry and Curly. The female is like Bea Arthur when she played "Maude." She never moves too fast but still rules her roost and every one knows she's in charge.

Rosie and Ham get along fine...just look at them back to back spooning!


I put Ham and Charlie on restriction last week and made them sleep outside for peeing in the house when it rained all day and they refused to go out. I thought I had taught them a lesson until I went out back the next morning to find Ham all curled up in a patio chair looking like he had just had the best night of sleep in his life.
The two males have been dragging around a ten foot long branch like it is the biggest rawhide they have ever seen...coming right up next to you with it, scratching your legs and knocking chairs over with the stupid stick. It took them about two weeks but the finally got it chewed down to a foot long nub. One of the males will get it and take off running with the other male close on his heels. The one with the stick will act like they have a golden egg and try to make the other male see "Just how fun" that stick is and look at them like "Don't you wish YOU had this stick?"
The minute one of them gets tired of it and drops it... the other male scoops it up and takes off like a rocket. Now that the 'stick is on the other foot' the chase starts all over again.
DANG...it doesn't take much to entertain a dog !
I included a video of the stick when they first started dragging it around and another video of the stick in it's current size. If you ask me, that's a "Wholelotta" bark to swallow...guess it's "Roughage" to a dog!
I was sitting out back today reading and heard the cat and mouse game going on once again behind me. It sounded like Charlie barking after Ham so I knew Ham had the "Golden egg." I turned around when I finished a page in my book and thought I would fall out of the chair.
Ham had a claw hammer in his mouth like he had found the greatest catch toy alive and was slinging it from side to side with the idiot bulldog trying his best to get it . I can't believe Charlie didn't get knocked silly with it...but that wouldn't be much of a stretch any way. Maybe it would have knocked some sense INTO him!
I went and took the hammer from Ham and put it in the tool box in the garage. Massey had been out in the back yard with a friend of hers yesterday tanning. Don't ask me why she had the claw hammer out there. Sometimes it's just best NOT to know.
When I went back out into the back yard they both looked disappointed. Their 10 foot branch is down to a six inch nub and NOW I went and took away their hammer !
Parents spoil all the fun, don't they?
I have the most entertaining dogs in the world and I feel pretty secure about retaining the title while all three of these doofus dogs are still alive and kicking.
I even thought about getting the hammer back out tomorrow just to see if I can catch them on video with it.
Might just do that!
Til next time...enjoy the videos and see how cute my stooges are in action!
COTTON


PS click on the photos...they look so cute close up!



video

video

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Zach Has Joined The Work Force

Last night at work the owner's son who is a chef and a dear friend of mine asked if Zach might want to come in on Mother's Day night to help clean up.

"YES"!!!! I said a little too anxiously.

The restaurant that I work at is Zach's favorite place to eat and he has always liked Leon (the owner's son.)

Last night Leon called me after I got home and said "Make sure he doesn't look like a clown when he gets here...no sagging pants and make sure he has a belt on."

Okay...he described Zach's usual attire to a tee and I started fretting about it.

This morning Massey brought me grits and sausage biscuits to scarf down while I got ready for work.

Zach's hair is outrageous...too long and hangs in his eyes but a couple of years ago his doctor told me to choose my battles with him wisely and Hair was WAY down the list.
I worried all day at work about how he would come in looking but after the third secret phone call from a bathroom stall in the restaurant my husband said "He'll look fine, trust me."

He showed up ten minutes early hair back in a pony tail, his pants from his good suit on and a nice black knit shirt.

Five minutes later he was taking all the garbage out and breaking down boxes. By the time I left he was hosing off floor mats out back and covered with grime and food "Crap."

So what...I can have the pants dry cleaned...he'll jump in the shower as soon as he gets home and after spending five hours with the crew at my store will probably be chomping at the bit to work again.

I came home, did some laundry and cleaning and by 11:00 started to wonder If he had left work with a friend picking him up and goofing off somewhere.

I sent Leon a text "Is Zach still w/ you"?

Leon (the smart ass) text back "Yes Mom."

He at least followed it up with a text saying he would bring Zach home and be responsible for dropping him off at our door.

Zach is a good worker...a lazy son but a good worker.

He has his foot in the door now. Start at the bottom with the $@^$ job and work your way up.

Leon is someone that can end up being a mentor to Zach...although that kinda scares me too! But Leon loves me and will take care of Zach...push him to succeed and encourage him.

Bless Zach's heart...when I left tonight he was so covered in grime, garbage and liquids that you don't even want to identify but he was okay with it.

Plus Leon was driving him home. Leon goes from zero to sixty in four seconds and has never seen a curve he couldn't take on two wheels.

This could be a great opportunity for Zach...no this IS a great opportunity for Zach.

The Mexicans were buzzing about the new guy...some of the servers were saying "Who's that strange man in our kitchen"? And I was left thinking "Praise God...Zach has joined the work force!

What a great Mother's Day...I didn't do too well financially, but "HEY" I'm the new guy too.

Zach just got home and I can see the satisfaction and desire for more in his face.

Knowing my boy will be okay is the greatest gift I could have ever gotten.

What a great Mother's Day...what a good way to start off my week.

Til next time..."Easy to please COTTON"

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Greatest Mom in the World...GEEZ Was I Lucky!


Okay...go ahead and laugh about how geeky I was but this is my favorite picture of my mother and me. (It's at the bottom of the blog) Go ahead and click on the photo so you can see all the bruises on my skinny little arms and the braces glaring out of my mouth.
My mother reupholstered the couch we are sitting on, made the ceramic bowl above our heads and sewed all of the clothes she is wearing. The picture behind us now hangs over my bed and I still have the end table beside us in this photo.
The other two pictures show what a beauty my mom was in her prime (before us three kids broke her down completely.) My dad was a cute little guy too!
Growing up I was one of the luckiest kids in the world. EVERY ONE loved hanging out at our house...young kids and adults as well. We bought fresh eggs from the "Egg Man" Frank Reeves. His son is now on the H&G channel...Walter Reeves. Frank Reeves would deliver our eggs and sit in our kitchen for an hour just talking to my mother.
The man who owned the local Gulf station was a crusty old man, Herman Jeans. He would come over to our house and literally sit for hours talking in our kitchen to my mother. Gulf stations used to give away free dishes with a fill up but Herman filled my mother's cabinets with full place settings. I still have the white octagon shaped dishes out in a box in my garage.
One of my father's closest childhood friends came by a couple of times a week to sit in the kitchen with my mother while she cooked cleaned or just sat smoking Kool Milds with her while they gossiped like two old women for hours sipping iced tea.
My brother's friends ADORED my mother...all his buddies took their turns hanging out with her in our kitchen, scrounging food off her or laughing when she would pin my brother down on the floor. He always said "I wasn't ready!" and she would wipe her brow...ask if he was ready now and pin him down in under ten seconds. She was a strong woman...physically mentally and emotionally.
She always had a glass of iced tea she was sipping stuck in one of those old fashioned Styrofoam coozies.
My sister's friends were always at our house as well. Mama sewed all the majorette uniforms when Cindy was in high school and on the majorette squad. She could sew a potato sack into a night gown and made all my sister's many, many prom dresses and homecoming dresses.
I was nice to her and never got invited to a prom so she only had to make my sister's!
My sister's high school sweetheart was a Golden Gloves boxer and my mother made his boxing trunks and robe.
When I finally got over the "Geeky" and landed on the cheer leading squad of my middle school my mother sewed all the uniforms for us.
My dad was crazy about my mom just like everyone else was. Diddy (as we always called him) didn't smoke whereas Mama smoked like a house fire. He smoked when he was younger but said when us kids were born that we were too expensive for vices.
I remember one time he came home late from work and Mama didn't have any dinner left. She told him he'd have to make a sandwich. He looked in the bread box and said "We're out of bread." She told him to run up to the Majik Market and pick up a loaf. He said "We never seem to run out of cigarettes." She didn't miss a beat and said calmly "If I smoked bread we'd never run of of bread."
What a life! We were raised in East Point Christian Church and were there every time the doors were open. My parents were married in that church and my sister, brother and I were raised there. Many great memories of EPCC ...all night New Years Eve parties, progressive dinners, youth retreats to Woodland Christian camp(with my parents and their crazy friends as the cooks) and just all round a wonderful time and place to grow up.
Nothing lasts forever and three days before my senior year of high school started my mother dropped dead on the floor of a clothing store while she was out shopping with my sister and me. She was gone in under thirty seconds.
My brother likes to point out that our family seems to take the "Express Lane" when checking out and in my mind that is a good thing. No lingering illness or years of draining finances and emotion...when we're ready to go it's "See Ya Upstairs!"
When my mother died so suddenly it was hands down the most difficult time of my life. I was too young to comprehend that she went in a quick way and that was best for her. I was more like "What about ME?"
It probably took me ten years before I got over just the shock of losing her. I still grapple with it especially now that my kids are growing up without knowing this truly wonderful woman.
Oh they know all the stories, I have all the pictures... but for them to not be able to hug my mother or let her spoil them silly breaks my heart.
I was blessed to have wonderful parents..I was blessed that neither of them suffered long before going to reap their justified reward in Heaven.
I am left with memories and I am left with the examples and qualities they instilled in me. I hope I am a good mom...I try to be.
So many children grow up with no guidance or direction. I grew up with TONS of it. I faltered miserably at times and made many mistakes but am the woman and mother I am today because of my parents.
They are together again this Mother's Day...upstairs enjoying being reunited and still coming to me in my dreams at night. They still guide and inspire me to always try and do the right thing.
Happy Mother's Day to all you women out there. I hope that you all have a mother that you love or a mother that inspired you as much my own did.
To have a child grow inside of you and grow up beside you is an incredible and wonderful feeling.
At the tender age of fifty..."I finally GET it."
I miss my mother every day of my life. I miss the fact that she is not here to pin Zach on the kitchen floor in front of his friends or sew Massey's uniforms . I miss that my kids can't know this wonderful woman personally or fill up her tea glass. They didn't know her personally but they all know her privately and intimately through years of us keeping her alive in our heart and soul.
I hope you have a GREAT Mother's Day, Mama! Know you are missed tremendously and that we are all waiting for the day we will meet again .
Geez...I was a lucky little girl, even with the braces and bruises.
Til next time...COTTON





Friday, May 7, 2010

A Feeling I'm Trying to Forget

That's right...I'm the one with the brown spots, I just have spiky hair instead of spiky horns! Enough said about my feelings from the ex job.
I am over my mourning period, moved on through the denial stage and plowed my way through the anger portion of my healing.
It's true what they say about teaching old dogs new tricks. Yes I am an "old bitch" (pun for my dogs intended) and it is hard to break from habits formed over an almost 13 year period.
When I worked for Longhorn...the first thing you said to every table was "Have you eaten at Longhorn before"?
My new restaurant doesn't demand that of us (asking if you have eaten at Mama Lucia's...they like it but you won't get fired for not asking) but being an ole fart the words just WANT to come out of my mouth. I was working lunch today when I noticed an older couple that looked SO familiar to me. I went to their table and said just that. The woman said "Yes, you have waited on us for years, I believe we were sitting at THAT table over there last time."
So her memory is kind of give and take...she knew she knew me but couldn't differentiate the two stores. I told her I had only been there a month when her husband said "I know! Longhorn."
Bing bing bing...give that man a mark in the "I'm right" column. God knows men need that mark because when you are with a woman you are rarely if ever right!
My next table was a younger couple that I recognized from my old store...not by name but by face. As I greeted them the words just popped out of my mouth with no way to stop them..."Have you eaten at Longhorn before?"
The woman looked at the man...they both looked at me and finally the woman said "Well, uhmm...Yes we have."
Quick like a fox (an OLD fox) I said "Well we are certainly glad you're not there today! Let me tell you about our lunch specials..."
Dang! That was a MAJOR goof. When I came back to the table with their drinks they were both grinning. I was busted!
We all had a good laugh about it and I told them it was just a reflex response that I was currently in therapy for. (This is where my PHD in BS comes in handy.) I also told them I was banned from answering the phone at work until I got the 'all clear' from my therapist.
Am I an idiot or WHAT?
I started to tell my sister this story tonight and she stopped me..."You told me about that."
I had to tell the truth...no this is ANOTHER time.
The other night I waited on a young girl and her mother...knew they looked familiar, knew it was from Longhorn and as the words came out before I could stop them said "Have you eaten at Long..Lucia's before?"
Dang it! I thought I flubbed it over well but when I came back with their appetizer the mother said "Didn't you used to work at Longhorn"? I said "What makes you ask"? (Pretty quick on my part...I THOUGHT!)
Face it...when you have been a professional server for over 32 years on the same side of town...it all fades together for the customer. I have GOT to get a new hair cut...it is more my trademark than any service I give and is a dead give away.
The owners just laugh at me, support and encourage me...something I haven't felt for years.
I am happy again, I feel wanted and accepted... think I am doing a pretty good job, considering I am an old dog trying to learn new tricks and once again feeling like a human being that is where she needs to be.
JUST DON'T LET ME ANSWER THE PHONE !!
Happy Mother's Day to all of you muthas ( I still have two teens I am TRYING to keep up with) and enjoy your day on Sunday. I will be at work from open til close and can think of no better gift this Mother's Day!
Til next time...."Bitch learnin' new trix" AKA... COTTON

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Feliz Cinco de Mayo, Mi Amigos

Do theses guys know how to party, or WHAT?

I was pushing the Italian Margaritas at work. Unfortunately La Parilla
is right across the parking lot from our restaurant and they were jamming like they had all just got green cards.

I still did okay, that's what is so nice about my place...quality over quantity every time. Easy night...only four tables and made $70.oo.

I had a $6.99 coupon for Great Clips and got my hair cut today before work. When my hair starts to grow out, my gray hair starts to grow out. If I keep it short it is barely noticeable...plus it doesn't look so much like a gray mullet.

After work tonight it wasn't even 10:00 so I went and bought gas at Kroger with my "Plus" card and ran in for dog food.

I stood behind the few people waiting for the self check out lane when I noticed one of them was open. I dragged my bag of hound grub over to the empty lane when a woman behind me said "Sir, that one isn't working."

I turned around to look and her face turned red and she quickly apologized and corrected herself "I meant Ma'am."
For Pete's sake I know my hair is short but how many "Men" do you know that wear hip hugger black pants and weigh ninety pounds? I mean we aren't in Miami...or even Little Five Points.

There used to be a VERY short woman who worked at the gas station I used to stop at on the way home from Longhorn. Every time I was next in line she would say "Can I help you, sir?" I mean I went there at LEAST three times a week, every one else that worked there knew I was a woman but this one vertically challenged chick always called me "Sir" and NEVER corrected herself. Number one...I have boobs, granted they are small but the only men I have ever seen with boobs weigh over 300 pounds and usually have on a wife beater that exposes their hairy shoulders as well.

It used to drive me crazy and I would often gripe about it to Tim when I would get home from work. I told him she didn't know who she was messing with, I had all kind of zingers ready for her but was trying to be nice about it... Like "Oh. I'm sorry, I didn't see you down there." or "It's a hot one out there today, bet you're glad heat rises."

She worked there for over two years and called me "Sir" every time I went in to pay. I finally started using my debit card at the pump just to save face.

Then one day something happened with my card and I hear her squeaky voice over the outdoor intercom "Sir, you'll have to come inside for a receipt."

Oh, she had been WAITING for THAT one!

I was griping to Tim about the woman at Kroger tonight when I came in from work and he was making his lunch to go into work. He's not a big fan of my hair cut either but at least realizes it's MY hair and if I like it than 'so be it'.

I fed the dogs , started the dishwasher and sat down at the computer to release some anger! He fixed a cup of coffee to take with him to work and came to give me a kiss good bye.

I told him to have a good night at work and he quipped "You have a good night too, Sir."

He's been married to me too long...I'm rubbing off.

Til next time "Mr. Cotton"

PS click on the picture to see it larger...it's a HOOT!...or should I say "El HOOTO?"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sometimes You are Driving the Car...Sometimes You Are the Bug on the Windshield

My life has been through the wringer this past year...my faith has been tested and my ulcer has come back.

I am one of the luckiest people alive...just took me a year of trials to find the justice.

My new job is the best thing that has happened to me in over ten years.

I loved my old job when I first got it. When we got bought out by a large corporation the mood shifted and I squirmed in my seat. After squirming for a while I began to feel uncomfortable and eventually came to feel unwanted.

When kicked to the wayside I felt abandoned and alone.

When I woke up I was scared silly. What would or COULD I do to hold on to a job that I didn't even like anymore, because I was the sole provider for my family ?

In the words of my departed father "For Pete's sake...pick yourself up and MOVE on."

It took a while, I felt lost at my new job and struggled to keep up with kids younger than my own. After much studying and a month of faking it I have re surfaced and landed on top.

To go into work every day with a feeling of dread and the feeling that I may be fired at any given moment has been replaced with a calm and with knowledge that this restaurant WANTS me and that they appreciate me.

So it's not Boeing , working for Interpol or Warren Buffet but it is a nice restaurant that is selling a FANTASTIC product backed by ONE family...MY bosses. A husband and wife team and their youngest son.

I am not lost in a corporate shuffle, I am not "One of the little people" I am a woman who has proved herself to be a good server and worker and has been welcomed into their family and been compensated beyond my wildest dreams.

They all tease me about being skinny (which I am) and have all contributed daily to plumping me up with the most fantastic food I have ever eaten.

They added a new dessert tonight...Cannoli Cake. I told the owner I wanted to taste it and he sliced me a big chunk. With other employees following me with forks I hid and ate every bite.

I told the owner I wanted a Cannoli cake for my son's birthday...put me down on the calendar.

My ulcer seems to hurt less every day, my bank account is moving towards the black and I feel better about myself every day.

What seemed like devastation losing one job has turned into a total blessing acquiring a better one.

If anyone wants a GREAT quality meal...come see me at Mama Lucia's ... Ashley Park in Newnan. You will be like me, wonderfully surprised and happy when you walk out the door!

I am off on Tuesday and Thursday but you will find me there on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I will be the one with the biggest smile!

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Vanity is Highly Over Rated When You Are Fifty






I used to be all about vanity and looking like a million bucks.


Now I am just grateful to wake up every morning and still have all my teeth.


If I had to pick my failing "vanity" qualities they would be (in this order) :



My hair seems to get more gray by the hour.


The lines on my face are getting deeper than the Grand Canyon.


My eyesight is so bad I need binoculars to read a paper back.


I used to worry about getting older but now that I am, I worry about not being around to get OLD.


My daughter constantly tells me how great I look and act...but I know teenagers, it's a ploy to get more money out of me and seems to be working out great for her.


When I was younger (in my twenties) it would take me exactly an hour and a half to get ready to go out. I can now roll out of bed, take a shower and be walking out the door in twenty minutes.


Dang! I obviously had way too much spare time in my twenties.


Now I have no shame in putting corn pads on my feet that have been pounding restaurant floors for over 32 years before I slip into the most comfortable pair of shoes I can find.


I don't have a second thought about wearing support stockings when my legs are killing me...heck, I've SLEPT in them before when my legs are killing me.


The Sock Shop in Griffin is a great place to buy really "Cute" glasses for $2.99 so you can read your kid's progress reports from school or the directions on the back of a box.


I have fumbled my way through my new job without my cute 'specs' long enough. The print on the credit card receipts at my new restaurant is so tiny you would think they are national security documents. I have entered a couple of them wrong and after having to ask one of the young whipper snappers that I work with to read me invoice numbers more times than I am sure THEY want to count, stuck my glasses in my apron tonight when I left for work.


The first time I went to enter a tip with my glasses on I thought I was on the wrong screen. I had previously memorized which buttons to hit without having to read what they said. Now that I could SEE , the information looked new to me and I had to take my glasses off to see if it looked like the same lines of blur I was used to. YEP.. it was the right screen I just never realized it was an actual prompt screen.


Dang it's hard growing old with grace and SCREW the vanity part. I did my check out tonight right the first time (for the first time!) with my glasses on and saw what I was missing....the eye sight of my youth and the vanity I used to treasure.


So what I am getting older...at least I am around to GET older.


Bring on the corn pads and the support hose...bring on the heating pad and the back ache medicine. Give me a pair of glasses and some comfortable underwear, sensible shoes and I am good to go another forty years (I hope.)


As long as I don't find a curly hair growing out of my chin or feel like sitting in a recliner every day from dawn to dusk...I guess I should feel pretty good about myself.


If the past year didn't kill me...being fifty should be a breeze.


Don't even get me started on Menopause! God's little private joke of "Hot- Cold." Lets see a man make it through THAT travesty without whining like a baby while pulling the covers off at night and then getting up to find another blanket.


Damn you Adam...why'd ya HAVE to eat that stupid apple?