Wednesday, September 26, 2012
We've been married now for over two decades. The first decade started from scratch and ending up with us making over six figures and sitting pretty.
The next thing you know, we were broke as one of my jokes...but we still had each other. (Glass still full)
I have three kids. They have all made me smile, made me worry and made me cry...but I still have three kids. (glass still full)
I have two knees. One is great, the other gives out occasionally. I have two thumbs, one has been numb for eight years from carpal tunnel but the other is just fine. (Glass half full)
I have many wrinkles on my face but if I smile, they seem to go away. This leads me to believe I need to smile more often.
I have lots of gray hair but if I keep it cut short you don't really notice it which tells me I will never have long hair again.
The "Rat Basts" in the mortgage industry tried to take our house but we kept it. (Glass definitely full)
We don't have a lot but we have each other. (Glass brimming over)
People seem to love me and my family...and for some crazy reason my brother and sister seem to love me even more. Now the glass is overflowing!
You get what you give, you reap what you sow.
People have started to worry me about this "Pain in my neck." (Glass half full)
I decided if it turns out to be something big I am lucky it's in God's hands. (Glass totally full)
I don't believe it is...I think it's me over doing it and just getting old.
Just in case, I sat in my daughter's room tonight after I got home from work and expressed (with a stiff neck) how much I loved and how proud I am of her.
If I die tomorrow my only regret will be that I haven't finalized the plans for the "Par-Tay" I want to take place when I leave this earth. I want a disco ball and a keg by the entrance to the dance hall.
I want my brother to emcee my "Event." He'll give me the send off I truly want. Lots of laughs, memories that will make people chuckle and memories that will make people smile when they leave.
We are placed on this earth with no guarantees.
Live your life the best you can, do the best you can possibly do and hope you leave a positive mark in the life of ones who matter the most.
I don't THINK I'm going anywhere anytime soon but if I do...
I think I am a funny person, I think I am a hard working person and think I am a good person who feels compassion for the masses who aren't as fortunate. Sometimes you need to be grateful for things you have been blessed with and not complain about the "Half Empty."
Sometimes you need to quit bitching about the world and just be grateful you woke up at all. Sometimes you need to look into the face of your child and tell them you love them no matter what.
Sometimes you need to realize your glass has always been full, but in this cynical world is often times hard to do.
I'm almost sure I will be hopping onto Johnny Dear for his last ride of the season tomorrow. I am almost sure I will be here when Massey gets home from school.
Yes it scares me when I think I am over half a century old...It would be dis honest to say other wise.
I will wake up tomorrow (hopefully) and keep on keeping on.
It reminded me of when Zach was little and filled out a form in elementary school. It asked where he lived and he wrote "I live with my family."
I am lucky. My glass has always been at least half full if not running over.
You can be a hater or you can be a lover. I love my life, wouldn't change it for anything. I have three kids I love, a husband banging his head against the closet wall because I am such a freak , who he for some reason loves.
I am a lucky woman...my glass is definitely FULL.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
I volunteered to get the owner of my restaurant to make us a huge pot of chicken cacciatore and brought it home with me last night after work.
I told Massey we were leaving at 3:30 so we could pick up a friend of mine and take her with us. She lives in north Atlanta and graciously rode MARTA to the East Point station where we were to pick her up.
We got in the car to pull out of our driveway and Massey asked "Where did you meet this girl?" I told Massey I had never actually met her.... Massey rolled her eyes.
She joined the Facebook page my sister created for the church we attended as kids because she attends there now and we struck up a friendship through the page. Then she found my blog and we REALLY became friends.
Massey said "So I don't know her?" I told her no but my new friend knew all about HER from reading my blog...Another eye roll.
We were pulling into the East Point MARTA station when Massey said, "So we don't really even know what she looks like unless she is wearing the outfit in her FB profile picture." It took us a few minutes to find her but we pulled over, she got in and it was like we had picked up an old friend.
We got back onto the highway and headed south for Senoia where my sister lives forty minutes away.
HEY! If she's read all about me and my family and will still get into a car with us, She's MY kind of friend!
I promised her when we were on the last five mile stretch of country road leading to my sister's house we really weren't kidnapping her...she just laughed. She is a wonderful young woman and a new friend!
She slipped right into our family and I hope she had a good time.
The meal was fabulous and we had my brother there to entertain. Ten of us were there. One of my nephews brought his new girlfriend to meet the family and when we sat down for dinner and the blessing, my brother said "It's always customary in our family for the new girlfriend to say the blessing." She didn't bat an eye and said "You just made that up."
I have to admire my new friend for trusting me enough to get in a car with us and eat with ten crazy members of my family. We laughed, had a great meal with even greater company and it was an awesome day with a new friend.
"Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold."
Welcome to our family Kim...It was an absolute pleasure to meet you face to face and hug your neck. Don't be a stranger!
Til next time..COTTON
Saturday, September 22, 2012
My favorite thing used to be pooping on the floor in the house...it was just so much closer than that huge back yard they have outside the door. They started rubbing my nose in it and it didn't smell that great so I decided to poop right outside the back door where they all walk out of the house.
My next favorite thing to do is chew up anything I can. I don't care if it's underwear I pull out of the hamper or a shoe I find they didn't put in closet. Bathroom waste baskets are like a gold mine. You can find empty toilet paper rolls, Q-Tips, cotton balls and sometimes if you're lucky an empty water bottle. (Those are the best)
The two other dogs I live with seemed not to like me at first but after sniffing my butt for what seemed like a really long time both agreed to let me stay. The big brown dog is a hoot, he acts like he can't see really well and I surprise him all the time...it's easy to do! The fat white dog is pretty lazy but sits really low to the ground which makes him easy to gnaw on. He's as slow as a turtle and jumps like he has heavy rocks in his pockets but likes it when I lick the tear stains on his wide fat face for fifteen minutes and lets me chew on his collar for thirty minutes at a time. The big brown dog lets me chew on his legs which are as thick as the branches I find at the back of the yard and bring back to the patio. I must have at least twenty of them strewn across the back porch for easy access.
Have you ever eaten a remote control for a TV set? They're delicious! I'd had three since I've been here and they just keep getting me more of them.
I really love the older woman with the wrinkles and crew cut who lives here. She always gives me food when everyone else forgets. She always makes sure me and the two old dudes/dogs have water and even changes the water three or four times a day. She's HOT if you ask me !
She can be mean, like when she rubs my nose in my artistic urine designs on her carpets or when I prop my front two lanky legs up onto the kitchen counter to see what she's cooking.
I love her most when she settles into bed late at night and lets me snuggle beside her...she can snore even better than me but it feels great and is comforting when I am right next to her. The man who lives here always wakes me up early and says "Let's go outside." I say it's a small price to pay for the excellent place I landed to grow up.
For some reason they keep saying I'm lucky I am so cute.
I like it here!
I'd better get off this computer before she wants to do that "Blogging thing" she is always talking about. I often wonder what a blog would taste like? I'd love to sink my teeth into one and chew on IT a while.
Til next time..."Bad Dog" (So the humans say)
Friday, September 21, 2012
I went into work the other evening. We only had three servers on so I was hoping for prosperous night.
The owners have a firm rule about cell phones...they are NOT allowed. They have a sign before you even come in the front door that says "No cell phones please." Customers still use them, the polite ones walk outside to take calls, others ignore it totally and use speaker phone where you can hear both sides of the conversation.
We servers had to sign a piece of paper saying we knew if caught on a cell phone at work you could be fired.
A good friend and co worker of mine got caught by the owner checking her cell phone. I happened to come out of the kitchen and knew immediately she had gotten busted.
The owner stopped me and asked if we were supposed to use our cell phones at work? I knew my friend was in trouble, knew she was wrong but hated throwing her under the bus. I hesitated and said something along the lines of "Umm.."
He almost fired her and I feel grateful he didn't.
When I went to turn in my check out after my shift he called me in the office. I knew what was coming, unfortunately.
He was livid I didn't stand up for him being right and her being wrong. He WAS exactly right and I was exactly wrong.
He told me he felt he couldn't trust me and that really hurt his feelings. He said several things that were true but also said he felt I had no respect for him. I have so much respect for him that it isn't even funny. The man works seven days a week. He isn't rich but gives us all the opportunity to survive and thrive without having the load of the tremendous over head of running a business.
The man can simply scare the poop out of you when he's angry and I thought with my emotions instead of my head and took the coward's way out trying to save face for a friend.
After stewing about it for a day I realized he WAS exactly right and I was EXACTLY wrong.
He told me (glaringly) the rules and demands he has aren't so he can line his pockets with money or get rich but simply trying to make ends meet.
He asked who paid my mortgage...was it my friend I took up for or him? He replied before I could answer... it was neither, it was the customer and that is who he is most concerned about. He added that if I didn't take the side of the store over another employee who was obviously in the wrong then I could not be trusted.
He was exactly and one hundred percent right.
They hired me when I was at an all time low. Our house was being foreclosed on, we were on food stamps, unemployment insurance and my younger kids were both on medicaid. They have loaned me money for bills time and time again , money for dog food when the pups had nothing to eat but each other and even money to take on our first vacation in over five years. They gave my daughter a part time job for Christmas and gave my son a job when he needed one to be eligible for a work release program when he got arrested and sentenced.
These people saved me and what did I do in return? I backed up someone who I knew was wrong because they were my friend and I didn't want them to get fired.
I thought about how much I believe in "Pay it Forward." They have always paid it forward to me because I am a hard worker and they believe in me ... yet I failed in paying it forward with loyalty and respect.
Yes they can be crazy and often times are... but if I worked the hours they do and have for the years they have, I'd be sitting in a rubber room bashing my head into the wall.
In hindsight, I am lucky he didn't fire me. I have apologized to both of them and feel grateful they seem to have slightly accepted my misguided and misplaced knee jerk reaction which was totally wrong especially considering I am a fifty two year old woman, wife and mother who happens to help support her family by them keeping the doors to their restaurant open and allow me to work all the hours I want as long I do my job well.
I failed to do my job well the other night. I failed to support what has supported my family for over two years.
I'm not perfect...no one is, but have realized my mistake and won't make it again. If you don't like working there and don't like the rules, then don't work there.
I like working there. Some days are tough and the owners can be too, but nobody is forcing us to work for them.
Apologies to my friend, I love you but you were wrong and I was even more wrong.
Lucky to still have a job and lucky that I have remembered "Pay it Forward."
Til next time...COTTON
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
My point is the odds are too close to plan your life around or hide from. Yes if there is a tornado on the ground half a mile from my house I probably wouldn't go outside and cut the grass or throw steaks on the grill. If it was a blizzard outside I probably wouldn't load up Massey and decide to drive to Atlanta for an afternoon in Little Five Points.
Actually I guess my point is, "Use common sense!" Do people use it? Some do and more do not.
All they had to do was mention there was a CHANCE of us having 4 inches of rain and the people scrambled into weather combat mode. I did get a table right off the bat, but she's a regular and originally from the west coast. I guess four inches of predicted rain compared to living in on a fault line leads you to tend to just carry on and let the quake fall where it may...or may not.
We didn't get another table for another hour. Not conducive for a server, especially a broke one... much less the owner of a restaurant. I always try to look at it this way. If I make a hundred bucks in four hours, great for me! If I only make twenty five bucks, it's twenty five more than I walked in the door with. Now that I have cut back on my hours I have also cut back on my odds which mean I simply have to step up my game and make every single customer as happy as a clam and then some!
I'm gonna keep on keeping on. I'm gonna be grateful every day I wake up. There's always a fifty fifty chance I won't. I'll go into work each day, give it a hundred percent and hope to profit at least fifty percent of the time. We're getting so close I can smell it. I can't touch it but I can smell it.
We had to meet with our bankruptcy attorney today...not good news. The IRS is after Tim for $28,000 from the failed company he got involved with. Our attorney told us to consult a CPA, get them involved to contact the IRS about dispersing the blame and liability. I don't see why when four guys start a company together and it fails one guy should take all the blame. The attorney seemed to agree with me. Tim is just worn out with worry, emotionally, mentally and tired of the harassment. Being married to me doesn't help.
The attorney told us about a CPA he trusted and advised us to contact them. Once we get this IRS debacle settled we will have to re file for bankruptcy and be in it for five more years. You can be in bankruptcy or not be in bankruptcy..there's a fifty fifty chance!
All you blog readers will be happy to hear that I have changed banks. I am now with the "Commerce Bank" of Beverly Hills....aka I borrow money from my boss's wife. She can be a a bee-otch but she has a heart of gold and has helped me out too many times to count. Our email is The Clampetts and aptly so. I have started to call my boss's wife Margaret Drysdale. After the meeting with out attorney, who's name is Cotten...They called us back , "Mr. and Mrs. Cotton, Mr. Cotten is ready to see you both."
I felt better after the meeting and am ready to spend forty bucks to see the CPA and make some one else share the blame.
Tim left for work and I headed home. I passed the owner of the restaurant driving his wife's car home for a break and knew immediately that "Margaret" was manning the fort. I screeched into the turning lane and went to the restaurant. Ole Margaret was perched on a bar stool and I asked for yet another loan. I always pay her back and even in a timely manner. She gave me the money to cover all checks that haven't cleared and I was once again the proud owner of four dollars.
When I got home Massey told me when she went to get her parking pass for school now that she has a car, the woman who took her check asked her if it was a "Valid Check?" Massey said yes and the woman again asked "Are you sure?"
That kinda ticked me off...number one because I know this woman, she used to work with me at the elementary school I worked for eight years ago. Number two...don't talk to my daughter like we are dead beats. Yes I am a creative banker but it has nothing to do with my daughter and the comment royally irritated me.
Mrs. Drysdale had just loaned me the money to cover everything and it was deposited before the cut off. If you think my check's bad, call me don't question my seventeen year old daughter.
I may be fifty two and may be broke but I am a good person and I work like a demon. I have survived things this woman couldn't even dream of.
If you have a beef with me or my check, take it up with me but leave my kids alone or I will kick your #ss.
Do not humiliate my daughter, she has been through enough.
Will we survive all this mess? Either we will or we won't. Is it anybody else's business? That's a big fat NO unless you love us or want to help.
I've been with Tim since 1988. We started poor, worked our way up to over six figures and after over twenty years fell flat on our faces. We picked ourselves up, cried a bit and prayed continuously.
Pick on me...don't pick on my kids, they didn't choose us for parents.
A year ago I would have been mortified, today I am just ticked. Yes I make light of my situation, can you blame me? You can look at the glass as half full or half empty. I look at it as we have come so far that I am ticked instead of mortified and the glass may not be full but it certainly isn't empty.
Tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow is another chance.
You have to wake up every day and realize you are just lucky to wake up. If you do, you are already beating the odds.
Doing it again tomorrow and the next day. Grateful for every day God gives me.
Til next time...COTTON
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Well, Mister Old Man I still miss you but glad you're with Mama again. Tell her I miss her too.
It's hard to believe one tiny mosquito bite took you from us a decade ago but in hindsight all three of us siblings are glad it happened the way it did. You were so healthy before that and if the pesky mosquito hadn't rescued you from the beginnings of Alzheimer's no telling what life would have been like for you the last ten years. I hate to even imagine.
Like the hoarder I am I still have every diary and journal I ever penned. This entry was made less than a year after Mama died in 1977. I was seventeen years old.
"There's a man who holds my world together. He patches all my weak spots with love and smooths my rough spots with care. This man of love who makes my world goes by the name of Diddy. When the frightening reality of life haunts me, he stands by me bravely and when the agonizing pain of growing up hurts me too much, I know he is there. In my darkest moments he has open arms that wrap around me and in those precious moments no problem can touch me. He's who I turn to in times of despair, he's who I turn to with my deepest thoughts. When it seems there is no one I turn to see him waiting with all the love in his heart. At times when even my best friend would laugh at my problems I know I can depend on him. He is the life and love of our home now and without him I have no home. No matter how old I grow or how far I go...I will always be his child and with him will be my home."
He married his soul mate and thanks to his excellent choice for seventeen years I had the greatest Mama too.
I miss both my parents but feel eternally grateful that I had them for as long as I did.
"Sometimes...not often enough, we reflect upon the good things. And my thoughts always center around those I love.
And I think about those people who mean so much to me, and for so many years have made me so very happy.
And I count the times I have forgotten to say Thank You, and just how much I love them."
Simply said..."I love you Mister Old Man."
Til next time...COTTON
Saturday, September 15, 2012
It's been quite a ride. People just don't seem to stay married anymore. They hit a bump, throw their hands up and call it quits. We've hit so many bumps it's not even funny but believe it or not I was listening to the wedding vows and knew what I was signing up for..."Life."
I heard a man on TV once talking about a couple who had been married for fifty years. He asked the man to what did he attribute the longevity of his marriage? The old man said "Fifty years ago I took my wife to Hawaii on our honeymoon. I went back and picked her up last week."
I'll have to hand it to Tim. I know I am not easy to live with. I talk fast and a LOT. I want things done immediately and have little tolerance for waiting. I attempt things I have no earthly idea how to do but usually get it done...I may have to use duct tape or safety pins but I generally get it done.
Tim is as laid back as I am "Full Steam Ahead!" He is the most patient man in the world, except with me. I drive him crazy and he drives me crazy right back. He is a good man, and by that I don't just mean he hasn't killed me yet although the thought often enters my mind.
I was at work tonight waiting on an older couple who told me they had been together 42 years. I told them today was my anniversary and my husband and I had been together 24 years. The wife asked what my husband was doing and I said "Well when I left the house for work he was in a fetal position in the back of our closet banging his head against the wall."
They both got quite a kick out of that!!
When we first got married I always worked nights and he worked days. When we had kids I kept them during the day and he kept them at night. When Massey came way too early and finally came home from the hospital on a heart monitor I was a nervous wreck. I would call him all the time to make sure no alarms had gone off and simply pestered him to death.
My sister called our house one night to check on Massey when I was at work. She said the phone rang and rang but Tim finally picked up and sleepily said "Hullo?" My sister said "I was just calling to see how things were going with Massey?" My sister said he let out a huge audible yawn and slowly said "I'm watching her like a hawk."
That's my Tim! He lives his life right and lets God sweat the big things.
We had a great twenty year run. He steadily moved up and ended up with a job that put us over the six figure mark. I've always been a server so pretty much my salary just supplemented. He paid the bills that came in the mail and I bought the groceries, gas, paid for vacation accommodations, clothing and school supplies and needs for the kids. It was a great system.
The system fell apart about four years ago...but we stayed together and muddled through with help from family, friends and sometimes anonymous donors. We battled the giant corrupt mortgage company that refused to work with us but kept our house.
We are back up to what we were making ten years ago but have somehow managed. We took our first vacation in six years this past July. We ate bologna sandwiches all week but had a relaxing week.
This is Tim when I first met him. He was a pretty boy, always has been. He had been through a rough divorce and I and my Rottweiler, Layla moved in . He had two pairs of jeans, maybe three tee shirts but a nice house that I helped him keep. Since then he has taken excellent care of me as I shoved him down the path of life.
Twenty four years later we are still together. The last four have been a total debacle and not very conducive to a lovey dovey marriage but we hung in there. We're both in it to win it!
"To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death us do part."
I can't believe he still loves me. I am a tyrant...ask any of my kids. I don't give up, I don't relent and I don't like waiting for results...I like to see them, immediately!
I guess we are a good mix...I am a frantic idiot and he is the calm in a storm. I get bent out of shape over the smallest things gone wrong and he simply says "You can't change the past."
I don't tell him enough but feel it constantly...I am a lucky woman. He hasn't killed me in my sleep, but that only gives him an eight hour window of opportunity. He has stuck by me and I have stuck by him.
We signed up for this life. We were never guaranteed it would be a walk in the park but promised to walk the distance together and together we will!
Thank you for loving me, Tim Cotton. It's been rough and tough and sometimes scary but I wouldn't have it any other way. We have three great kids, a roof over our heads and three pups that remind me constantly why I am glad I ain't birthing no more babies!
Let's make the next twenty four even better!
Til next time...Proud to be a COTTON
Friday, September 14, 2012
I don't have a savings account unless you count my jar of coins. I have almost three hundred dollars in my checking account but unfortunately have four hundred dollars worth of checks floating hopefully extremely slowly towards my account.
I have a job where I am never guaranteed to make money but have to rely on my skills as a server and the flow of business at the restaurant. When I don't need the cash immediately, guests tend to throw it at me. When I need it the most...sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. This week was one of those weeks when it didn't.
I always say a prayer before I check my bank account and sometimes even make deals with The Big Guy before I put in my password. I have been lucky this week in that respect.
I know it is a terrible way to conduct my financial affairs but "A mommas gotta do what a mommas gotta do."
On the other end of the spectrum, I am rich beyond belief. We still have our house and all the necessities...air, heat, gas, water and electricity with the added bonus of Internet and cellular devices.
I have three kids I couldn't love more if tried although all three have tried me time and time again . I have a husband who loves me for some unknown reason and three dogs who make me smile every day and remind me why I quit having kids.
My older two dogs are great...the puppy is an accident waiting to happen. (huge pun intended)
Every day it's something else. He likes to get the toothpaste the kids leave too close to the edge of the counter of the bathroom sink. At least his breath smells wonderful.
He's insane! He loves random shoes, house plants and anything left in a waste basket in the bathroom. He's happy all the time, even when he's in trouble and I think that's why I love the little stinker so much.
I've had a lot of trouble over the past few years but have always tried to be happy.
Sometimes it was hard but my dogs make it easy. They are happy every time I walk in the door. They never complain when they have to wait a day for dog food. They never complain they haven't had their shots. They never complain when I beat their butts for getting out of the fence but seem eternally grateful when I help them back under the hole they dug to get out.
They all sleep with me every night. One gets in the dog bed on the floor, another gets under the bed and the last one gets on the bed beside me. I've never had to get any of them out of jail and I've never been called in for a conference about them.
I've cleaned up their messes but I have cleaned up my kids messes too. My kids will say "I am sorry" and my dogs have learned that when I point my finger in their face..."They better be sorry!"
They never ask for money or my car. They never want...but always give. Sometimes it's love and sometimes it's grief, but at least they GIVE!
It's not like I have a pristine house. I raised three kids and half the neighborhood in my house. At least when the dogs do something wrong I can smack them on the butt and it seems to sink in. Good luck with that theory when it's teens!
I am a rich woman. I have survived and lived to tell my story. I have three kids who have all pleased me greatly. They have stumbled, what kid doesn't?
My kids are all on their way and I am left at home with three pups who need direction, love and discipline every single day.
Once again...I am starting over. It's better than giving in.
Til next time..COTTON
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
I march to the beat of a different drum no one else seems to hear and don't mind being called crazy. I consider it a compliment!
The last few years of my life have been the hardest of my adult life but ones that have taught me the most. I wouldn't change it for the world...and that's a good thing because I can't anyway :)
I learned what true love and friendship means. I learned how much God and family means beyond anything else and have weathered a financial storm that felt like it was named Katrina. It wasn't as devastating as Katrina but sometimes felt that way in my tired mind.
We've battled back with tons of help, generosity and love and getting by okay. It's still paycheck to paycheck but at least Tim and I are both getting paychecks.
TJ is doing great on his own, Zach is working full time and seems to enjoy his job. Massey started her senior year of high school has GPA of 91.75.
We had promised her a car when she was old enough if she made and kept excellent grades. Unfortunately when she kept up excellent grades and turned old enough to drive we were down to one job in our house and one vehicle. I'll have to hand it to her , she took it with more grace than I would have at her age.
We are over a year behind on our promise but this past week finally got her a car. It's a 2000 Ford Focus with a new engine two good tires two iffy ones, nice body and interior and everything works.
Tim traded in his Mercedes for an older Volvo and the Ford Focus. The Mercedes was nice (and paid for) but the maintenance was killing us.
Now we have been able to make good on our promise to Massey since she fulfilled and surpassed our expectations of her.
Don't get me wrong, she still has her faults but what teen doesn't? Zach is just happy to be able to borrow my car and always puts gas in it for me and when he can't borrow it bums rides and never complains.
We took Massey's car for it's emission test yesterday and went to add it onto our insurance policy. We get discounts for her taking her driver's ed online and a huge discount for her GPA. She was driving us back home when her car started making a vibrating sound. It sounded like tires to me and Zach said he thought it was the transmission. Either way I told her to slow down a bit and it stopped.
She drove it to school today for the first time and can just imagine how proud she felt. She got home from school as I was getting off my lawn mower and asked her if the car made that sound again?
She said "No ma'am, it doesn't do it unless I go over fifty." Like the smart momma I am I said "Well then don't go over 50 MPH." She happily said "Okay!"
I don't think I'll have the problem looked at, I'd rather keep her under 50 MPH for quite a while.
On the other end of my crazy life spectrum, this new puppy is a trip. His potty training is almost complete but he is an "escapee" and drags Charlie with him every time he gets out. I've patched four holes in the fence with chicken wire that cut my hands to shreds every time I wind it around the hog wire we have staked up in the woods at the back of our property. He squeezes his little head through and then Charlie widens the hole with his huge fat bulldog head and they both escape into the acres of woods and creeks behind our house. I used the last of my chicken wire today to contain them once again. I wouldn't worry so much but at night you can hear the coyotes in the woods and it sounds like they are killing each other or something else. Ziggy seems about the size of a coyote appetizer.
I am off tomorrow (second day this week!) and thought about picking up a shift but decided against it.
Like the excellent kiter/mom who has been writing checks to the school system for over eighteen years, they have waited over a week to deposit a check I wrote last week. I finally have the money to cover the check and will deposit it in the morning on my way to take Zach to work.
I'll come home, clean dog stains off the carpet, ride my buddy "Johnny Dear" in the back yard and the front of the subdivision and just take a "Me" day.
It's been a long road but one I haven't walked alone. I feel more like a Olympic torch bearer with God, family and friends cheering me along the route.
I truly think that my comedic view of everything has been one of my greatest assets. If you can't laugh, what's crying gonna accomplish...more gray hair and wrinkles?
Til next time...COTTON
Monday, September 10, 2012
I am thankful that my three kids, ten other ones from the neighborhood and three previous dogs broke my house in...carpets, walls and furnishings. I never even painted our walls til about four years ago. I just left them standard builder's white until my sister came over and painted the house for me as a present a few years back.
She is an amazing painter and now I get to wipe dog slobber off beautifully painted walls instead of using white out to cover crayon and marker scribblings.
I am thankful that I still have my humble little home. It's not a mansion but it is full of life and love and is almost paid for.
I am thankful that my youngest child is a senior in high school and college bound with vigor and determination to change the world.
I am thankful I have survived raising three kids.
Things I hate:
Back to what I am thankful for.
My only other hate is that kids are too spoiled these days...and guilty of doing that as well. I haven't had a lot of money to spoil them with, but they are spoiled just the same. I guess I should feel lucky that I didn't have money to spoil them with or else I would have a lot longer hate list.
I go to pick Massey up from school every day and kids are screaming out of the parking lot in brand new Mustangs, Chargers, BMW's and I've even seen a kid driving a Jag. None of them are driving safely and all trying to pass each other or pull around each other when they know it is a high school of 3,000 kids all released at once... For Pete's sake"Some body's gonna have to wait."
I was on the phone with my sister the other day when pulling into the parking lot to pick Massey up and told her I needed to get off the phone because a boy in a big ole red neck truck with rebel flags flying from the back behind me was revving his engine and chomping at the bit to simply get around me only to wait in front of ten more cars. My sister said "What are you thinking? Get out of his way, he has the rest of his life in front of him and you're holding him up."
I guess my kids aren't as spoiled as most, but they are still spoiled. They missed having grandparents do it so I filled in.
They also have an uncle (my brother) who is an excellent spoiler and makes me look like the bad guy which helps me reign them in and keep my sanity... what's left of it.
The photo above is Ziggy and Ham snoozing behind me as I type. Click on it...are these dogs sweet or what?
So I've raised three kids...and I'm still raising three dogs. My kids never pooped on the floor (maybe once) but the dogs simply love me for being me and never complain or ask for anything. I wish my kids would silently wait to be fed but they don't.
So I've had the best of both worlds. I had terrific parents and tried to be a good parent. I could never be as awesome as them but I gave it a shot with pretty good results.
I have a husband who loves me, three kids who still tell me they love me on a regular basis and three pups who remind me how hard but how easy it is to show and feel love.
I've had some hard knocks but I have also had more love than I deserve.
Be the best person you can be. Love all you can, even when it hurts.
"When you walk through a storm
Keep your chin up high
And don't be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown.Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never walk alone."
We sang this at my high school graduation in 1978. Thirty four years later I realize what the song meant.
My dreams have been tossed and blown but I have always held my head up high and I have never walked alone!
Til next time...COTTON
Sunday, September 9, 2012
My blog just reached over 47,000 hits so someone, somewhere is listening or at least reading about my journey.
I am big into Facebook. I have made many new friends, lost a few old ones... been de friended time and time again but like staying connected to something other than my own small world.
The world is large, the universe is tremendous and the thought that earthlings are the only ones here sometimes makes me stop and think of the line in the movie "Contact."
"I guess I'd say if it is just us...seems like an awful waste of space."
Call me crazy, I often am and tend to like the description!
It beats being lazy and lame minded. We live in this huge universe which is merely a blip if you look at pictures of the Solar System.
My main concern is life here on our planet. My ultimate concern is the life of my family and the worrying concern is life of others less fortunate than me.
Our country...and world has turned into a hate fest. Some hate the Dems, some hate the Repubs, some hate the Muslims, some hate the poor, some hate the rich, some hate the blacks and Latinos, some hate the whites and some hate the gays. We hate the banks, we hate the economy, we hate the system yet we seem to never run out of hate.
Where is the love?
Where is the positivity? The positive is what we lack and need the most!
"Come on people now, smile on your brother. Everybody get together, try to love one another right now."
I thought my family had been through rough times...we haven't. My family is one of the luckiest ones on earth! People for some crazy reason love me. They love my family, have showered me with love and in return I give thanks to them and God... That's my own personal belief.
Belief... "The mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence in another."
How can I say some one's belief is wrong if that is their belief?
Live your life right...roll with the punches, be thankful for love and I am pretty sure it will be alright when the curtain finally comes down.
Webster's defines HATE as "To feel hostility or animosity toward."
That's a horrible way to spend your time if you ask me.
Til next time..Hoping (but pretty sure I am right) COTTON
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Then we got Charlie.
He was too lazy to go to the back of the yard for an escape route and instead insisted on chewing his way through the front gate.
Then after our dear Rosie had been gone over a year we had the opportunity to adopt another Boxer pup.
I wouldn't have it any other way! My kids are all growing up and I don't have anybody to boss around anymore...Tim quit listening to me over a decade ago. The dogs don't talk back to me and I am hands down their favorite person.
It scares me when Ziggy gets out of the fence. We have sixty acres of woods behind our house, and you can hear packs of coyotes howling every night...not to mention we are only five houses down from a busy road. Ham never goes with them but Charlie and Ziggy scram the first time they can.
Tim let them out yesterday when he went to work out. When he got through he got another work out, tromping through the woods looking for Charlie and Ziggy. He said it took him thirty minutes to find them and when he did Ziggy was laying down in the woods trying to relax and refused to get up. Tim had to carry him all the way back to the house.
Today I just worked a day shift. I picked Zach up from work and came home to "Pen Ziggy In." I put up more chicken wire. Zach cut his way through the back and only found one escape route...the one I had previously fixed. I put on long pants which I normally don't do til at least Thanksgiving and put up MORE chicken wire. Then I noticed the dirt where Ziggy had obviously dug under it and went to Lowe's to buy twelve inch long spikes and staked the chicken wire that was wrapped around the hog wire to the ground. If they can pull twelve inch spikes out of the ground...I say they are destined to go and "Godspeed to both of them."
It's been three hours and all prisoners are still in the yard.
Thank the Lord dogs don't go to school...I would have been called to the principal's office more times than with my kids!
The "Bad Dog" is at my feet as I type. I think the only two words he really knows are "Bad Dog" but that's a start. I raised three kids, one pup can't break me. He can try but as a "Momma" I can tell him with full confidence..."Don't even try me...I got this!"
Til next time or the next escape...COTTON
Friday, September 7, 2012
I was at work the other morning when a reservation was called in for a party of thirteen, including three wheelchairs.
Guess who slowly came shuffling in the door? My friends from "The Home." There were some new faces and a few I recognized from my last restaurant. One ole Dapper Dan I remember from my last restaurant was with them. He used to shuffle in on his own by himself but I guess his family had moved him into assisted living so he was with the group shuffling their way to the table we had set up for them. The care giver was the same one I knew and we hugged each other and I told her it was great to see her and her little flock again.
The last woman to come in was in a wheelchair and looked up at me and asked if I was Cindy's sister? I told her I was and she said "I am in love with your sister." I told her that made two of us and found out she attended church with my sister before she had her stroke. She was all dolled up...in a perfectly matching and accessorized outfit and cute as a button.
It took seemingly forever to seat them all, the care giver telling every one where to sit. The ole Dapper Dan I remembered from my former place of work was told to sit by a tiny little man in a "Members Only" jacket and a baseball cap. I greeted them all cheerfully and said to the one man I knew "Hey Don, remember me from "Western Sizzler?" (I used the real name of the restaurant)
The ole codger seemed to remember me and smiled when the old dude next to him in the ball cap said brightly "I'll bet you a million bucks he don't remember your name, just go ahead and ask him! I'll bet ya!"
I blew it off saying it had been over three years and I doubted he did but it was good to see him again!
Jeez...if my Diddy had survived West Nile he would most probably be attending this luncheon with these people. I silently thanked God for taking my Diddy when He did.
It was a pleasure to wait on these people and hopefully give them all a nice lunch outside of the walls that now confine them as they wait for the last chapter of their lives to play out.
It's parties like this that I enjoy the most. It won't be the best or biggest tip but it makes me feel good to make some of them laugh and smile and make a few of them feel okay for not smiling.
I told the care giver now that she knew where I worked I hoped they would come visit me again.
My brother in law died from Alzheimer's in his early fifties... in hindsight, he was lucky too. We used to call it "Going Crazy" or being "Demented" but in fact , Alzheimer's is both and painfully hard for family to witness, watch and go through.
It makes me think about my life.
I think about how hard the past few years have been for us and then I think about how hard the minutes, hours and days must be for people with Alzheimer's and their own families. If they are healthy they can live for years with the horrible disease as it takes their minds and turn them into toddlers needing constant care and supervision while the people who love them have no choice but to suffer a slow painful witness to their demise. I have several friends who have and I applaud them for doing it.
It's takes tremendous courage to watch the person you always admired the most dwindle away amid their muddled confused world of dementia and still keep a smile on your face when you are with them.
Those are the people I admire. Those are the ones who have bigger battles and fought them with all their might. Those are the people who have lost the most. I lost my parents...but I was lucky enough to lose MY Parents. Those people end up losing someone who doesn't even know who they are or sometimes how they are related.
I was spared this travesty and am eternally grateful.
We all have to die (unless you ask Shirley MacClaine) but it is so much easier for your loved ones to take when you die as yourself.
I hope I am lucky enough to do that.
Til next time...COTTON
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
I can take all the days off I want, if I don't need to get paid. I can work just four , five or even six shifts a week but that means I have to hit it big on every shift and when you are a server that rarely happens. I used to work about eleven shifts a week, sometimes twelve which totally increased my odds of banking big. I did that for over two years and although it was exhausting at times, it still wasn't as bad as when I worked for my former restaurant, which I call "Western Sizzler."
When my husband lost his job and we went from a six figure income to 30K I worked like a demon. Thirty days in a row was nothing to me and I did it for well over a year. Then the corporate Rat Basts fired me and my life fell apart. After a week long bout of serious depression, I scraped myself off the floor and got a job with a family owned restaurant. I had known the owners for fifteen years. I dug right back in and worked tirelessly for over two years. My husband got a job , then a better one and we were back to making what we made when we first got married. Then Tim got another job and we bumped up the pay scale to what we were making when I was forty. But when you've been down and out for two years it's hard to come back...and it was.
We have had help from above and help from all sides. Family and friends got us through and we got to keep our house. We are four years away from it being paid off and I consider us lucky, because we are!
I decided tonight after clocking out for the fifteenth day in a row that it simply wasn't worth it. I'm over half a century old and feel like I am in my seventies. I checked my bank account when I got home and so far I'm good. Taking tomorrow off come hell or high water. I actually plugged in my vacuum cleaner last night, even turned it on and was amazed what a difference it made.
We've definitely turned a corner...not the big corner but at least it is a start.
I can work day after day after day but that is about all I can do. I get up in the mornings but once everyone leaves I fall into a coma and wake up in time to do it all again. That's not living but surviving and simply put, I am tired of it.
Let the chips fall where they may. I'm taking tomorrow (today) off and getting my life in order. Bathing the hounds, cleaning the house, washing my car and going to bed at a decent hour. Still have plenty of leftovers in the fridge and taking a "Me" day. May sound selfish, but I think I deserve it, just this once!
Til next time...COTTON
Monday, September 3, 2012
When he gets tired of pestering Ham he quickly moves on to my Bulldog, Charlie.
He likes to pester all of us too. He's happy ALL the time. He's happy to see us walk in a room. HE'S happy to walk in a room. He's happy when you say his name, he's happy when you pet him and he's happy if you even just look his way. Biting is his speciality and we are all happy (including the other two dogs) that his teeth aren't as razor sharp anymore.
Yes I am an idiot, but I love these three dogs like nobody's business and in fact IS nobody elses business so I feel okay about it. Dogs just don't live long enough so I get my dogs in stages so I will always have one. Ham is the oldest, already blind in one eye but hanging in there like a trooper. Charlie is close behind and Bullldogs are notorious for all kind of issues from hearing loss to skin allergies and obviously tiny brains. Now we have Ziggy, who should be around to pester me well into my sixties.
Dogs are truly man's best friend. I've owned a dog as long as I can remember and will have one until I am so demented I don't know what a dog is. They love you unconditionally and totally. They know when you are sad and they know when you are mad. Heck...my husband can't even do that! But he doesn't poop on the carpet so I think I'll keep him the longest.
My older two dogs are totally house trained but Ziggy is definitely trying my patience. He's almost there but best be glad that I raised four dogs and three kids in this house before he came along. It's not a mansion and not a house that is spotless but is a house full of love and a house that cleans up pretty good when I have the time to do it.
It's a house that has always been full of kids... yours, mine and theirs. I wouldn't have had it any other way. I can remember times when I had ten kids in my house for dinner and never thought a thing about it. I can remember when they broke windows in my house with baseballs or golf balls. Thank the Lord for double pane windows. I can remember wrestling matches that tore bannisters off my hall steps and put holes in closet doors. I still have a chandelier in my dining room with two missing panes (I moved them to the back side) because my oldest son stubbed his toe in the middle of the night getting up to go to the restroom and kicked a boxing glove he had left on the floor that flew up and hit it.
A house isn't a home until you let love, life and laughter make it one. I am lucky.
I live in a home!
Til next time...COTTON
Sunday, September 2, 2012
I would have flat out said no but another server's mom had been hospitalized with a collapsed lung and was being prepped for surgery. Naturally no one else would work for him so I caved. So instead of jumping out of bed and getting every thing done before I had to go in at five...I just stayed in bed and took it easy. Around two I took my book out back to the hammock and read for two hours. A half day off is better than NO day off!
Work wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. After I complained and whined about working on my day off, I fell into the groove. If you gotta work, make the best of it. I hadn't eaten all day so I took my jar of crunchy peanut butter and a sleeve of saltines with me and pumped up my protein intake.
I got really lucky on a couple of tables and only one fifteen percent tip. I didn't get out early but I got out with enough to cover my needed bank deposit and part of what I need for the down payment for Massey's chorus trip to New York in the Spring. The check for Massey's down payment will still bounce if they deposit it immediately but being the mom of three kids I have found that schools usually take forever to push a check through. First off, there is always a kid that says "I forgot to bring my check today." That buys me a day. Then after all checks are collected it usually takes the over worked teacher a couple of days to get it all sent to the office. Then the over worked secretary has to get it all together and send it to the person who makes the deposits. I am hoping that person is over worked as well and since my kids go to a public school I am pretty sure they are. By this time I have worked four shifts and the money is in my account. My middle name should be Ponzi. The only difference is that I make good on all my debts, some later than others but I always pay. Let's not discuss late charges...but a mommas gotta do what a mommas gotta do.
I'm not proud of my banking skills but I'm not ashamed of them either. The banks and mortgage giants do the same thing with the money I break my back to earn and give to them. Sometimes they lose it. Difference is when THEY lose it and go belly up...who bails THEM out? I believe that would be MY tax dollars!
So it's Labor Day tomorrow...Guess how I will be spending it?
You got it, I'll be laboring away while all the banks are closed, chuckling to themselves that they got me again if my deposit on Tuesday morning at 7:01 after the bank opens at 7:00 and decides to wait half a day to process my deposit...which they have done before.
You can't fight Big Brother, but you can swing as hard as you can and never stop swinging. I've been swinging for over three years and I still have some fight left in me.
Headed to bed. Waking up tomorrow and doing it all again. My life seems redundant but at least I am alive to realize it.
Til next time...Ponzi COTTON
It was a sea of people. It reminded me of when I took all three of my kids to Centennial Park during the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996. If the kids got more than two feet away from me they were lost.
Today it was just Massey and me. It's the first time she wanted to hold hands with me since she was six. The crowds lined every street. We finally found a spot where some geeks let her stand up on a small ledge with them to shoot some pictures. I stood right in front of her and let her lean on me. There were literally thousands and thousands of people there. What a great day!
My husband would have hated it but I thrive on it. To be in the midst of a crazy place where everyone is on common ground. Old folks, poor folks, fat ones skinny ones, ones in wheel chairs, small kids, geeks, people who reek of money and people who reek of sweat. We were all there for the same reason, may have different beliefs but all had a good time.
It's called "Coexistence."
Sometimes I wonder if I am corrupting my daughter or showing her the way? Atlanta was a hot bed today. Football games at the Dome, The Braves playing at The Ted and thousands of geeks, freaks and even normal peeps just wanting to be a part of Dragon*Con.
I don't do much for myself, but going to things like this make my day and keep me going. Atlanta has it's problems...what large city doesn't? It is also a beautiful city. It is eclectic and electrifying. It is a world you shouldn't miss experiencing at least once a month.
After the parade we put the top down on my lil beemer and TRIED to pull out of the parking garage. The streets were packed. Two guys waiting to walk in front of my car asked if they could just step into my back seat and step out of the other side? We told them to go for it but then I got a chance to pull out.
You know what makes me feel even better is that after driving Massey to Atlanta into this new experience amidst most probably ten thousand other people, we encountered only one jerk.
There's one in every crowd.
We tooled through downtown and pulled into The Varsity...our favorite restaurant where all you have to do is put your car in park and chowed down on Chili Steaks, onion rings and fries...all delivered by a car hop who has been working at the Varsity for 38 years. (Shout out to Nelson)
Atlanta is a great place to visit and we do it at least once a month. We spent the day with freaks and geeks, the homeless and the well off....and survived!
You can't spend your life being scared...you need to spend your life experiencing and taking in every adventure you can. You need to meet people you otherwise would never meet and see things you don't see every day.
Life: "The physical , mental and spiritual experiences that constitute existence."
I'm teaching my kids about the real world.
Til next time..COTTON