Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dr. Seuss Was Right!

"What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"

I stressed myself to the max about two days before Christmas Eve. I didn't have a tree (for the first time in fifty one years)  I hadn't bought the first present for anyone, let alone my kids. Unfortunately...or not , my kids all know I am broke and asked for nothing.
While at work the day before Christmas Eve, an angel came in and handed Barb, my boss an envelope to give to me. She left quickly saying she didn't want me to see her and when I opened the envelope there was a note that simply read "Merry Christmas from a friend" and had a hundred dollar bill inside. I was stressed because I knew I was negative in my checking account, which allowed no room for my artful kiting skills. I knew over the next  two days I would make enough money  to buy some food and a few small presents but was frantic over my bank account. My wonderful boss offered me a loan and between her and my Christmas angel I was on my way as soon as I got off work. My bank account was in the black and I had at least one present for each of my kids.

It doesn't end there. I got home with less than a hour before I was due back for the dinner shift and a friend of Massey's mother had come by and loaded my kitchen cabinets with food and my freezer as well. I sat at the kitchen table and bawled like a baby , wiped away the tears and headed back to work. I made pretty decent money and Christmas Eve day bought a couple more presents and since I was in the black went by my favorite store (who takes longer than any store I know to process a check) and finished my shopping. It was a bare minimum and I felt like a crappy Momma but now  had some presents and food for Christmas Day.

I gave my husband the twenty bucks I had left and demanded he go out and find me a tree while I was at work Christmas Eve night.

We were busy as a bee hive at work and my last table (who came in five minutes before closing left me a forty five dollar tip on a hundred dollar tab.)

By the time I got off it was 10:45 PM on Christmas Eve.

Like any other waitress or bartender... I headed to the gas station...the only store still open. I was first in line with a Waffle House waitress behind me and her co worker behind her. I took that last PHAT tip  and bought forty five scratch off lotto tickets. When I bought the tickets and commented they were for my kids,  one of the waitresses behind me said "You're a good Momma!"
 I got home and divided them up between my  kids and two nephews. I called my sister (like I do most every night) and we decided to set ground rules. "If they hit anything over $100 I get a ten percent cut."

Barb had given me  a Turkey Breast from Honey Baked Ham for helping the restaurant with their Face book page and once home,  I was all set! The tree was up and decorated and my oldest son was there. I had all three of my kids there for Christmas, had presents , a tree and felt the weight of the world suddenly lift from my tiny, bony shoulders.

On Christmas morning I woke, tired as a granny from the ten shifts I crammed into the past week... but when my kids opened their presents and we had a tree to sit around, it felt really good.

A few hours later my nephew arrived with his girlfriend, followed shortly by my sister her husband and my other nephew. My brother showed up last announcing his arrival by coming in my back kitchen door blowing an air horn. It's the first time my bull dog's ears have worked and the hair on his fat little neck stood out like a Mohawk. He barked for five minutes and we all laughed for at least fifteen.

The party began, my brother started making bloody mary's and all the food was set out to eat. We laughed so much it was ridiculous, we ate drank and quickly became merry!

All the kids were spoiled  rotten by my brother and we all laughed and laughed and laughed. If there is one thing I can say about my family...it's that we are a fun bunch!

The one person  that deserved a gift from me was my brother. He was the one I didn't buy for but knew he would understand. He would want me to buy for my kids...and I did. My sister and I  already pinkie sweared we wouldn't exchange gifts and were okay with that. She gave me dish towels that I desperately needed and I gave her a hour long massage that made us look like Ellen and Portia on their anniversary. If my family heard her utter one more time "OH yeah, RIGHT there" we would both be masters of ceremony in a gay pride parade. It meant a lot to her and she swears I could be a professional masseuse. (Shows how easy my sister is to please.)
The next  day I got up to go to work and my car battery was dead. My brother in law came over and took the battery to be tested (it was  dead as a door nail) and fixed the breaker switch so the washer and dryer my brother gave us worked .

It was a great Christmas! I was together with my family, we laughed more than I have in months and everyone had a good time.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." (Dr. Seuss)

I am not a great person, far from it. But I work hard and love harder and my life has been blessed because of it.

Enjoy the video of my crazy brother berating my nephew for not knowing how to use Massey's camera...he was supposed to be taking a picture but shot a short video instead. A short glimpse into the family that means more to me than anything. They are my life and the reason I keep on keeping on!!

Til next time...COTTON




video

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Well..It's Christmas and All Through the House...

It happened... Christmas that is.
I worked myself into a frenzy and had several breakdowns but as usual God , family strangers and friends made it happen.

I wasn't crazy about working Christmas Eve night but didn't have a choice...I needed to. Of course I got seated with a party of five, five minutes before we closed at eight PM. Only one woman ... with a child in a high chair.  She was waiting for the rest of the party to show up. They got there at 8:20. I felt like throwing up. I had so many things to do at the house.

I sucked it in and treated them as well as I do any of my tables. It was their first time eating with us and I gave them my spiel. They were really  nice... anyway, what does it matter if it is after eight thirty on Christmas Eve? Even Wal Mart was closed. I  sold them two desserts and got the tab up to $100.
 They left and I went to clear  the table. They had left me a $40 tip!

I chased them down  in the parking lot and told them how much I appreciated their generosity and said to the man who paid the tab "Thanks Santa!"
I  got out of work around ten and headed  for the gas station to finish my Christmas shopping  I started today at noon. I was in line first with a Waffle House waitress behind me and her co worker behind her. I decided to play the odds and take that last phat tip and gamble it on lotto tickets  for my three kids and my two nephews.

 I said to the Indian guy behind the counter who totally spoke no English "I want forty Christmas scratch off tickets." Thankfully his cousin Apu was near by and translated. The waitress behind me looked at me and I said "They're for my kids." She said "Damn you're a good momma."

You know what? I have been so stressed thinking what a terrible mom I am not being able to spoil my kids rotten this Christmas.
But when I talked to my sister last night,  all depressed about Christmas  she reminded me that when all my kids were young and believed in Santa...Tim and I were sitting PHAT and spoiled them rotten.

 Now they are all old enough to know that utilities and  the staples of life are a gift.  None of my kids expect anything but with the help of generous customers and my generous bosses they will all have a pretty decent Christmas. My brother came through , fixed our furnace and gave us a new washer and dryer, my sister came through and talked me out of my suicidal breakdown, friends have provided us with Christmas dinner and all will be Merry at the Cottons on Christmas morning.

Two tough years behind me and the world in front of me..

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Til next  time..Popping Cotton!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas is Next Week, Right?

I have two days til Christmas Eve and haven't done anything. No tree... It's the first time in 51 years I have never had a live tree. I've bought two presents and one of them has already been given.

I make myself feel better by saying "Christmas isn't til next week." In fact Christmas is on Sunday, which is the first day of the week...so I'm good til next week.

I'm not  stressing too much. My kid's are old enough to know I am broke as a joke. My sister and I have agreed to not buy each other presents. I am giving my brother a check for $1000.00 post dated for 2014 and giving my nephews gas cards. Depending on how much I make tomorrow on my double shift...  they may get twenty a piece or if I hit the jack pot, thirty.

I am more concerned about buying a ham and a turkey for sandwiches on Christmas Day when everyone comes to our house.

I truly believe that this is our last "poor" year. I have Massey's wish list covered when I get off from my lunch shift  Thursday, my boys could care less about a present  and as long as I have plenty of food and drink we will have a fabulous time.

It's hard to be fifty one and struggling. On the other hand it has brought me promptly back to Earth. Nothing is promised, nothing is  guaranteed. The things that are important change as you grow older and you simply adapt.

I am more worried about getting my house clean before everyone comes over on Christmas Day to get their "Non" presents. I have two dogs and two teens who battle for the messiest and I am working double shifts on Thursday and Friday... My oldest son has moved away but will be here too.

It will be a house full of Leach/Cottons and a place that will warm my heart and soul.
It will be what Christmas is all about...family, fun and tons of laughter.

My present will be all of us being together. Trust me, when my brother and sister are here...add me in the mix and it is a pretty good time!

We had great parents...they left us way too early but left us in the company of each other. I think being  around my sister and brother is the greatest Christmas present I could ever wish for.

I may not be able to buy presents but my family's "Presence" is just the thing I need !

Working double shifts Thursday and Friday. Have Saturday day off to scramble together food  and first/last minute shopping.

I have a feeling this will be the greatest Christmas EVER!

No wonder they call me Rotten Cotton...I am spoiled beyond belief. To put it simply... I am loved!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tis The Season...

So as I sit here at my computer...time is ticking away. I have four days til Christmas Eve and  finally bought my first present today. Actually my second. (I bought a  friend a book I knew she wanted and gave it to her when she came in for a Christmas party with her work group at my restaurant. She brought me the same exact present when she came in...great minds think alike)

So I've bought two...Starting early this year! You know I used to get stressed out. I passed stressed out about a year back, moved on to freaking out , sat in a closet and cried for a day and then just moved on to face the rest of my life. You can hide from your problems but they won't go away...only YOU can make them go away. I was one of the lucky ones, I had tons of help...more than I deserved.

I am lucky that my kids are 25, 19 and 16. The Tooth Fairy , Easter Bunny and Santa years are behind them. For years they were all spoiled rotten, so was I.

The past two years have been eye opening yet heart warming. We have made it through, lost some perks but have  learned to truly appreciate.

My kid's are kids. They took everything for granted. Over the past two years they have learned (along with me) NOTHING is guaranteed. They have  learned how to make dinner out of whatever is in the kitchen cabinet and not one of them has whined about it. (well maybe, but just a little)

I think this may be our greatest Christmas ever...

I have tomorrow day off and plan to go buy a Christmas tree. Heck, shouldn't they be marked down by now? I may bring home a twenty foot tree for twenty bucks! Then I'll go into work and let Zach decorate it. Granted I may come home to a "Bob Marley"  Christmas tree but that's okay with me...maybe I'll drink some"Red, red wine" and help him.

I have been paying bills and just trying to stay ahead of my checks. I have been working like a demon while being sick for over a week. I am old, I am sprouting more gray than Betty White but bursting at the seams with the Christmas Spirit.

It's not about the gifts. It's about saying Merry Christmas to random people you pass on the street. It's about holding a door open for someone. It's about letting people cross in front of you when you are sitting in your car waiting for a parking spot while they are walking in the rain carrying packages.. It's about dropping a dollar into a Salvation Army bucket every time you see one. It's about going to Big Lots and buying baby dolls and dropping them off for "Toys for Tots." It's about telling people "God bless you" when you hear them sneeze.

It's about not judging people. It's about loving. It is about knowing however bad off  your life is, there are literally hundreds of millions that would feel lucky to walk in your shoes...Heck, they would be thrilled to just HAVE shoes.

I am not worried one bit. I have a houseful coming over on Christmas Day...but they are MY family and I could feed them all Spaghettios and they wouldn't complain. That's how lucky I am.

I am one of the luckiest women in the world. I have a husband that for some bizarre reason loves me. I have three kids that are healthy,  perhaps sometimes underfed to their glutton's desire but doing okay. I have a brother and sister who have come to my rescue more times than I can count. I am a lucky woman.

My Christmas will be amazing...it already is. Our furnace is fixed thanks to my brother, who is probably still looking for a transfer to Yemen to get away from me. I have a sister who is my touch stone.

Christmas will happen...I am sure of it. It may be a Christmas of home made gifts and excuses but it will be a Merry one.

I will be at the gas station on Christmas Eve. I will start on the motor oil aisle, work my way to the gift card stand and end up buying scratch off tickets and gas cards for my nephews.

We'll have a big ham and eat sandwiches all day and my brother will bring his rolling bar and provide us with Bloody Mary's.

Never take for granted what you have today, just be thankful for God, family and the chance to wake up tomorrow and make it a better day.

So what I'm not a big dog anymore...I have seen Chihuahua's that could chew your arm off, or at least act like they could.

It's not the size of your stature but the size of your heart. Tell a random person "Merry Christmas" and notice the surprised look on their face...That should tell you a lot about what is wrong with this world.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Merry Christmas...God bless, and Pay It Forward!!

Til next time...COTTON

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spin It Any Way You Want...I'm On The Downhill Slide

So I am fifty one years old...will be fifty two in seven months. Even if I live to be a hundred I am on the down hill slope of my life. My eyes are terrible my legs kill me constantly and I think my wrinkles are in a race with my gray hair.

I waited on a table the other day of six Blue Hairs, all decked out in their Christmas sweaters, earrings bracelets and socks. They were so sweet but it started me thinking..."This will be ME in twenty years." (if I live that long)
I went to take their drink order when the one on the outside of the booth was dabbing at her nose with a Kleenex . I asked what she wanted to drink and she promptly pulled out her blouse and tucked the tissue into her bra and not batting an eye said "I'll just have water." For Pete's sake! It wasn't an embroidered linen handkerchief from her great grandmother, it was a piece of tissue... (fancy  toilet paper) but she was saving it for future use.

People  in their eighties remember what it's like to be poor and most probably are freaked out over gas being sometimes  almost four  dollars a gallon and monthly electric bills that would once have heated their house for the entire year  . People in their eighties know how to stretch a dime and obviously a Kleenex  too. People in their eighties are ME in less than thirty years...YIKES!

I like waiting on older folks. You  bring bread to their table and they all clasp  their hands together in joy as if you sat down a plate of caviar. Most all servers I work with are in their twenties, so when I wait on   seniors and chat with them I  remember things that they do...rotary dial phones, even the ones you hand cranked. My mom had one hanging on our kitchen wall.  Ours didn't work but the bell still did. I remember black and white TV, rabbit ears and "Charles Chips." I remember the Cuban Missile crisis , Truth or Consequences,  The Lawrence Welk Show and Art Linkletter.

JEEZ...I AM old!

How did it happen?  I don't stuff Kleenex into my bra (although I did in high school) but I AM guilty of sometimes squeezing my legs together when I sneeze real hard. I still weigh what I did in high school and it suddenly seems  that is about all I have left of my youth.

I know it could be worse but I sure wish I could roll the clock back JUST a bit. My twenties I don't really remember much (oops), my thirties were great and my forties were outstanding.

Now I sit at the top of the last slide of life. I don't want to go down but I have to.  Age is behind me shoving from the back. I can hear them laughing "She can't even read a book without glasses, just give her a push... she won't see where she's going."

I had kids late in life so now I am faced with growing old and still having to stay somewhat young so I don't look like a complete idiot to my two remaining teens and their friend's that feel my house is a food/ drink/ video/ cyber magnet.

I like having teens here, I really do. If they weren't all hanging at my house I would just wonder where they  were... worry  more and  increase my wrinkles/gray hair intake.

 My doctor (the one on General Hospital) says to keep  stress levels down so I just let them all hang here and have learned quite a bit from them along the way.

It took me a while to learn how to use "Word" on my cell phone and even longer to learn all the text acronyms. I am now FYI, SMHS  at WTH is going on with not only society but the world in general.  We seem to need help ASAP  and realize  WWJD?

I'm hanging in there, I'm coming off a two year run of bad luck but by the grace of God and the love of family and friends will make a while longer.

I am thinking about a book of acronyms for us ole farts.  I  Like  HFM "Hot Flash Momma" or BIKM "Back Is Killing Me."  How about SCP911 "Sharp Chest Pains 911" I think the best would be MCBRTY..."Merry Christmas Blog Readers Thank You."

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Til tomorrow...COTTON

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Welcome To MY World Little Missy!

So Massey has started working part time for the restaurant I work for...and she thought OUR family was dysfunctional!

We are a bunch of nuts at work and all a little crazy in our own individual ways, but that's the way I like it. Mixed nuts have always been my favorite.

She's not feeling her best, our furnace has been out for three days and of course she came down with a cold right before the heat went out. On top of that her bedroom is the only one on the ground floor with the garage on the other side of one wall and the front of the house on another...in other words her room is the coldest one in the house. Luckily I bought her a small ceramic space heater last week on a whim for her room and also she is right by the kitchen so I just turn the oven on 200 degrees before I go to bed around 2 and Tim turns it off when he gets up early for work. Heck, I should throw a roast in the oven before I go to bed and dinner would be ready by six in the morning!

She worked with us last night busing tables and I'll have to hand it to her, even feeling like crap she did a great job. She has grown up surrounded by the restaurant world and knows how the system works, knows to ignore the potty mouth she hears from the back and how to behave in the front of the house. One of the hostesses who is eighteen decided to call in and quit over the phone so she got got put on the schedule for this morning as well. I had to close last night and didn't get out til late so Tim picked her up and she came home... fell into bed with another dose of cold medicine and was ready before me this morning for work.

When we got there she asked who the hostess was and I told her "It's YOU."

With brief instructions we opened the doors and "Off she went!"  She did just fine and hung in there til almost four this afternoon when I got off. I took her across the street to Target and bought her some flu medicine, bought her and Zach some sandwiches from Panera and dumped her off at  home and got back to work ten minutes late for my night shift. What amazes me is she did a better job than some of the grown people we have had host for us. She made me proud and has fifty bucks to show for it.

She has the owner Len wrapped around her little finger. I have never seen the big ole bear  as sweet as he is when talking about or to Massey.

Another server, Hoke (my best friend...remember Driving Miss Daisy?) told Massey "Don't get sucked into this restaurant world...it's like a drug, you just can't stop or get out." He is right in a way...look at me! It's a life I chose but a life that has served me well. (small pun) Every shift I work is  pay day, the better I do my job the better the pay check. Not always,  but if you do your best the odds are in your favor. At  the age of fifty "ish" I think of myself more as a writer...a poor writer but still a writer. I have faith in myself that one day it will happen for me and being a server has helped support my family until I can reach my OWN goal... of being discovered, published or both.

Massey will go far in life, I have no doubt. She is driven and hungry (totally a metaphor...I DO feed my kids although we HAVE been through a ton of peanut butter in the past two years and she has only recently learned to drive.)

She will use this job as a vehicle to help her reach her her desired goals and it will be padding along the bumpy way to a successful life.

She's working with a bunch of nuts,  me being one of the biggest ones. I like being a nut, makes life so much more fun!

Another server and I had a group of ten older ladies in a private room today  for their little Christmas get together. They all came,  each in a Christmas sweater or vest..some had both. Of course it was all separate checks. I had the checks printed off but when I went back into the room they had all changed seats to chat with other friends so I just called out what they had ordered wanting them to raise their hand and claim their check.

The first check,  I said "So who had the small Barbarella salad?" They all sat stunned and no one said said anything. I repeated it and they all sat silent and stared at me. Finally the woman in the reindeer vest sat up straight and said "Oh, that was me!"

I said "Thank goodness, I thought maybe I was in the wrong room...it happens to me all the time, that  hamster falls asleep in his little wheel." That got  a chuckle and things went smoothly after that. They were adorable and left us a phat 20% tip.

I  enjoy being in charge of my own destiny. The harder I work, the better service I give... the better my audience seems to appreciate me.

My co worker was right in a way...waiting tables IS like a drug. You need money... you work.  If you need more money you work even more. You work until you have what you need then enjoy the high of your success and want even MORE!

People who don't think being a server is a real job aren't  being real...trust me!

I don't wanna brag but I am a master of my craft and a professional at what I do.  What makes icing on the cake is that I enjoy it and it suits me just fine.

Call me a dealer...I am! I deal out great service in a time when people want the best bank for their buck. When they go out and spend hard earned money...how lucky are they to get not only excellent service but a comedy show for free?

Come see me...I do ten to twelve shows a week!

The beach season has opened in the restaurant world...three weeks where you pack your nuts for the rest of winter. Hopefully my little cheek's will be poppin' and droppin' !!

Come see me for some yummy food and meet the new Hostess Extraordinaire!! Remember, mention my blog and you get a free appetizer or dessert!

Til Next time...COTTON

Saturday, December 10, 2011

At Least He is Handsome and Hardworking...

I have been married to Tim for over twenty years. He is handsome and hard working but knows his weaknesses. "Fixing anything or even attempting to try."

Me...I'll attempt anything and usually get the job done with a minimal amount of duct tape. I have replaced the faucet and pipes in  the kitchen sink, fixed ole Johnny Boy on numerous occasions and fixed our dryer several times. My next door husband has taught me a lot and I learned a lot by trial and error. I have unstopped drains and replaced the innards of toilets. I have fixed ceiling fans and I have replaced many a vent hose. Lawn mowers seem to be my "Forte" I feel like I could build a John Deere from the ground up.

Our microwave quit turning about a year ago and was just aggravating. The food never heated all  the way through because the table didn't turn and  burned popcorn every  time for the same reason.

I work in a restaurant which means we are in our "Beach Season." We have from Thanksgiving to New Years to pack our nuts for the Winter. Massey was at work with me one day last week and as I counted my tips said "Let's go get a new microwave when I get off."
 A co worker said "Can you wait three days?" Of COURSE I can wait three days...I have been using a piece of crap microwave for over  a year. She owns a house in South Carolina she is trying to rent and had an extra microwave in it. She was driving up  to check on the house and said she would bring the spare one back for me.

Just like my email address says, we are "The Clampetts." She brought it to work with her a few days later and I stuck it in the trunk of my car when I left after a lunch shift to go pick Massey up from  the high school. When Massey  came out and popped the trunk to throw her book bag in she squealed "OOH a Microwave!"

We took it home and you would have thought I brought a new puppy to the house. Zach came into the kitchen and commented on how much bigger it was and toted the carcass of the old one out to the garage to die.  Massey immediately wanted to cook some Ramen noodles and I took a picture of her using the microwave for the first time and we sent the pic to my co worker on my phone.

Some people may think that is pitiful..we call it "Stinkin' Grateful!"

Massey and I went to the grocery store and while there picked up some microwave pop corn in  celebration. I asked Massey if we should get big bags or  mini bags? She voted for the mini bags so we chose them .

I got home from work the next night and Massey  told me when she asked Tim how he liked the new microwave he  said "Well the POP CORN button doesn't work, it burned the crap out of it."

I think microwaves are spooky too from the get go. They move molecules around and cook things. But they aren't smart enough to know if you put in a mini bag or regular size bag of pop corn!!  I guess Tim thought they did.

Yes, he is my "Homer Simpson."

But if he can put up with me I guess I can put up with him...

Til next time...Marge COTTON

Thursday, December 8, 2011

So I'm Old..

Got home from work tonight and walked into the house through the kitchen door. I had the thermostat set on 67 and it was 64 in the house. Now I am all about keeping cool all with my hot flashes, but knowing Massey is sleeping on the bottom floor of the house  and winter has made it's appearance known the past two days... it worried me.

I didn't want to open the attic door on  the top floor of the house,  flooding the upstairs with cold air in case it was something I couldn't quickly fix but did it anyway. The furnace was making noise so I scampered back down the stairs and quickly shut the door.

Like the new age techno savvy mom I am I went to Face book for an answer, getting post after post from a friend of mine from when I worked for Johnny's Pizza back in the early eighties. That's what broke people like..."Free advice."

We went through several question and answer  posts and after determining it was a gas furnace and secretly going into my kitchen to light the stove top to make sure we hadn't had our gas turned off, my friend mentioned maybe I should check the batteries in my digital thermostat. Heck I didn't even know it HAD batteries! I pulled the cover off and discovered three totally dust covered AA batteries. I went around the house and pulled three AA batteries out of remote controls and plugged them in. When the thermostat came back on the numbers were so bright it looked like a neon sign in Vegas.

I was on the phone by this point with my sister. It was cold in  the house so I started drinking some wine Barb had given me from work. (A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to keep warm.)

When I changed the batteries we went from 64 to 65 in a matter of five minutes.

I told my sister I never even knew the thermostat ran on batteries.  It reminded me of the time when the kids were still young and they came out with the wireless mouse for your computer. Of course when they first came out you paid like thirty bucks for one and since we were still doing well back then I ran out to Circuit City and purchased it.

About eight months later it stopped working and I took the mouse back to the store. I told the woman behind the service counter  it had stopped working and wanted another one. She asked me if the batteries in it were new? I said I didn't know it took batteries and she simply replied "Baby, did you  think it was magic?"

Well as matter of fact I did! It came with a little plug in for my modem and I thought it was working off of that.  I felt like an idiot (what else is new) when she put in two AA batteries and it worked like a champ.

So a digital thermostat has batteries too... Learned me another lesson! We are back up to 65 but still a little chilly. I think my batteries were dead in my thermostat but may have a furnace problem too. Just going to bed with the oven on 200 degrees and dealing with it tomorrow.

Massey has a space heater in her room and I have one in the kitchen. All the rest of us are on the third floor where it is five degrees warmer.

Surviving another night here in the Cotton compound. If we can can live without money for two years we can make it one night without heat!

At least I don't have to worry about hot flashes tonight...

COTTON

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

27,000 !!!

Logged in tonight and noticed the stats...I have had 27,000 hits on my blog! I went to the stats page to see what kind of people read my incessant drivel. I have readers from not only the United States but the following: Russia, India, Philippines, Canada, Germany, Italy, Pakistan(Yikes!) Puerto Rico, Turkey, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Denmark, Australia, and Netherland. That totally blows my itty bitty mind.

I started my blog as a vent but it grew into a personal venture and a healing machine for my soul and sanity.

I went from comfortably well off upper middle class to welfare in the span of less than twelve months. It was an eye opening jaw dropping  lesson in humility and gratitude. I have learned a lot about myself and a lot about how much I am loved and how many blessings I have.

We are on the road back to what Massey calls "Being unpoor." Although Tim and I felt the finacial weight bearing down on us like a ton of bricks, it wasn't easy for my two kid's still at home. We actually had to not so gently shove the oldest out to flap his own wings and fly away. I still feel bad about that, but he has matured and made it on his own and it makes me smile to know how wonderful he has turned out to be.

Still got two at home both in their teens driving me to look like the above photo. Massey is a great girl but when you are feamle and sixteen...Drama is your middle name. I remember it well.
Zach is like a son in a sitcom series....somebody's gotta be making this crap up! I love him anyway but he is close to getting shooed out of the nest as well. (Maybe his older bro needs a room mate.)

My life is comical to say the least. It is never dull around here.

I came home from work tonight after working an eleven hour shift to find my living room all re arranged by my younger son. He moved the 42" TV to the other side of the room which was fine by me. Now it won't have the glare coming through the windows making the picture harder to see in  the daytime.  My problem was he routed the cable wire across my fireplace mantle and had it tacked down with push pins (nice touch.) He also moved my sofa out of the living room and into my dining room for some unknown and bizarre reason.

I came home from work and sat down at  the computer in  the dining room to check my email when Tim came downstairs from the bedroom and spoke to the two dogs laying on  the floor behind me. "Well look at  this, now Momma can do her blog and then just plop on the couch and go to sleep."

I glared at him but relented the glare when he rubbed my aching shoulders for about 45 seconds.

Now tomorrow I have to drag my couch back up to the living room. At least the living room is all vacuumed and ready for the return of the "sitting device."

One thing is for sure...there's never a dull moment in our house (unless we are ALL gone) but then again who knows WHAT my two crazy pups do when we are!

Thinking about getting a Christmas tree on my day off tomorrow. Heck I could buy a forest of trees with all the room we have now in my livng room...

Til next time, lived another day to tell another story COTTON

Monday, December 5, 2011

Had a "ME" Night

 I don't get out much unless it is to work, the high school, bank or the grocery store. Tonight I met former co workers at Mama Lucia's for a Holiday gathering. The above photo is Massey with one of my favorite former co workers who looks so much like Massey it scares me. They both have that wild curly hair  they always try to pin down (not working) and those wide faces. When I started working at the Western Sizzler back in 1998 (When Massey was a toddler) people used to think she was Massey's mom. Looking at pictures of them together I can see why!

I booked us a room at Mama Lucia's and we all got together for the best  three hours I have had in a while.
 Of course the food was fabulous. The wine even better and the company outstanding!
 These were the peeps I worked with WAY BACK WHEN...when it was fun to work at Western Sizzler.
I think only one of them works there now, which should tell you something about working for corporate.

I work like a demon but it is TOTALLY my decision to do so. Two years ago Tim and I were bringing in six figures a years. We bottomed out when Tim lost his job and fell into bankruptcy when I lost mine.

We have scraped, kited and been blessed with amazing help from family friends and even strangers we are almost there, we are on the cusp. We can breathe and answer the phone again.
I was pretty pissed at my former job for firing me, actually I still am...and will be for at least the next  ten years.
Tonight I met my former co workers for a Holiday dinner at my new place of employment for some of the best food and drink you could have. We laughed and remembered old times...the GOOD times.

My boss gave us all free appetizers and the meal was outstanding...the company even better.

You know, I  had a couple of tough years but when you are fifty one, that is a blip on the screen in the grand scheme of life.  I had so many friends tonight tell me that I was doing it right. Keep going, don't look back...there is nothing you can do about the past, you can only control your future.

My future will be great. Heck give me another year and maybe I can also solve the whole "Hot Flash" thing because it is driving me insane. When I was younger hot and sweaty meant great sex...now it means "Turn the  ceiling fan on."

I take maybe one day off a month (maybe two) but tonight was one that made me smile, made me happy and made me feel like I was  young again.

It is nights like this that make it all worth while...I felt young and pretty (all dressed up) and spent the night with peeps that I love.
Thank you PEEPS for making me feel loved, I needed that!

Til next time..Contented COTTON

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Merry Christmas...Sometimes You Have to Make it Merry, But "It's All Good"

 Above is the woman who started it all. She married my Diddy  and spat out three kids,  me being the last. We lived a marvelous life, nowhere near being rich but pleasant loving and comfortable. I wouldn't trade my upbringing for anything. The only regret I have is that my Momma died way too soon and never got to meet her grand kids. Of course all of the grands know about her, we talk about her all the time as if she were still here and have so many things of hers in our houses  that it like a "Momma Museum."
 Once I finally grew up at the tender age of thirty I met and married a wonderful man I have not only shoved down the path of life but hollered at most of the way,  and he still comes home from work every night. We have three kids and somehow they all survived having an idiot for a mother. I will be the first to say "I am a little OUT THERE." I am frantic and go go go most all the time, when my husband is more "Do what?" He has always been the bread winner (considered THAT his input to raising kids) and I have always been the Momma. When the kids were young I took them down to the Christmas parade in Atlanta...do you think HE would? (That would be a negative, Ghost Rider.) It was freezing cold and the kids were like little frozen statues but the parade was awesome!
 Santa was there and I believe this preceded the year my older son told his younger brother there was no Santa...(He got in a heap of crap for that seepage of truth..)
 Christmas is wonderful when your kids are young...especially REALLY young. Hand them a fancy bow and a big box they can climb in and "It's all good."
 Then they start to grow up and you have to actually somehow fulfill wishes. Lucky for us we were doing pretty well until a couple of years ago.
 I remember one Christmas when a friend of mine at work said she had a small rabbit coat just the size for Massey when she was about four. I took it home and put it out Christmas Eve  like Santa had brought it.  She woke up and thought she was a movie star when she saw the jacket. We went to my sister's house Christmas day and my brother in law commented to her how beautiful it was and asked if it was Mink? I'll never forget little Massey looking up at him , rubbing the arm of the coat and replying "No it's Chicken." In the above photo she allowed her older cousin on the left to wear her "Chicken Coat" for this photo.
 The kids starting growing up but still had Gran pa. My Diddy really never recovered from losing my Momma. She was bossy like me and totally ran the household while my Diddy was away earning the money to pay for it.
 Tim and I were much the same. He made most of the money and I made most of the decisions regarding the kids. I went to the PTA meetings,  was the room mom and the one at the Fall festival and award ceremonies at the end of the school year.
 My older and only brother has given up and loved his nephews...and wrestles the crap out of them every  time he sees them. He has spoiled Massey for me, and for that I will always be grateful.
 The above photo is my fave...Does this picture not SCREAM "I Love You Uncle Chris, just let go?"
 This picture of Massey and her Dad makes me smile. Number one I love Tim's hair short and Number two the look on Massey's face tells it all. She loves him even if her her tiny arms can't reach around him. Sometimes your arms aren't big enough to grasp the love...But it is there.
This was one of the last Christmas  photos with my Diddy while he was in complete control of his faculties and  still the Diddy I grew up with. He died from West Nile virus in 2002 and although it almost killed me it also made me realize how lucky he was to go from healthy to death in the span of ten days. My brother always reminds me..."Our family takes the express checkout."

I have had a fabulous life. I had a childhood that millions of children dream of. I have had an adulthood that I didn't deserve after my wicked  twenties and have a family of my own that I love so intensely it sometimes consumes me. Completely.