Friday, February 28, 2014

Simply WOW!

I got home from a weird shift at work. Serving the public is ridiculous sometimes. We're servers, not SERVANTS!

Was going to blog but my back's been killing me all day and have a lot to do before work tomorrow. I just checked in on my blog and noticed  it has now had over 92,321 hits from ten different countries. Not that it's making me rich or making me any money at all,  but feels pretty good that almost a hundred thousand times people have read what I have written.

I had a bad day. Things just aren't going our way...yet. This getting old stuff isn't helping. Bad back, bum knee, bad shoulder...and my husband's not even a wife beater!

Car problems, as usual. Number one being I don't HAVE a car. Number two being the one my husband drives won't pass the emissions test so now he's driving on an expired tag.

I got depressed earlier thinking about it and so did he. That's all we need, a ticket for an expired tag!

Then I read the headlines. Then I watch the news about the Ukraine and even the idiot leader of North Korea. I think about the millions and millions starving in Africa. I think about tragedies like Sandy Hook here in my own country. I think about parents dealing with children who are dying from cancer or other incurable diseases.

Then I remember the fact I am depressed because we don't have a tag for our car or because my husband only has a part time job.

It almost takes my breath away. How ridiculous can I be?

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses. Seemingly, I forgot to do that today.
Big Whup we have car issues and the hubs is only working part time. Do you know how many hundreds of millions would trade places with us in a heart beat and feel grateful to have the opportunity?

Obviously I am doing something right with my blog. Obviously people out there are either identifying with me or love reading about someone more unfortunate. Maybe they just like it because out of all we've been through and all we may have ahead of us, I manage to make light of it, and why not?

Never cry over spilled milk. It will just sour anyway.

Look for all the silver linings and be grateful for what you have not for what you want.

I needed a kick in the pants tonight and got it when a table of six women came into the restaurant whining about service when they were totally ridiculous about choosing a bottle of wine and berated a fellow server who is a single mother working seven days a week to make a better life for her son and herself.

One word..."Karma."

Watch out for it because HE has a mighty bite. I should have hugged my fellow server before I left tonight but know what that does when you are already flustered, it makes you cry and none of those women were worth her tears.

Got my head on straight now. I have little problems!

Til next time...COTTON


Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Hat's Off to Housewives

Dang, going back to work tomorrow will feel like a vacation. I have cleaned every room in the house, minus two of the Lost Boy's. Laundry, check! Kitchen floor mopped,check! Bathrooms scrubbed, check! Entire house vacuumed minus one Lost Boy's, check!

Today I started by the kitchen door to my fabulous newly painted kitchen and began scrubbing dog slobber, other unidentifiable globs, marks and stains from all my walls. I took it one room at a time. Once the walls were clean I went back and did the baseboards. Whoever invented the Magic Eraser is a genius or owned dog's who sling slobber everywhere.

Once the walls and baseboards were done, the doors looked dingy so I did them too. The more I cleaned the more I saw that needed to be cleaned.
We don't live in a mansion, far from it but at least it's ours and will be paid off in less than five years. I used to be a nut about the front lawn but work got in the way a few years back. The inside was in desperate need of a thorough cleaning and way overdue. The last two days I've started about noon and worked til around nine. I have lots of books and lots of framed pictures around my house...both dust magnets. I cleaned every picture and dusted every book shelf. I even got crazy and took the light fixtures down out of the bathrooms and washed the globes. Can't blame THAT grime on the dogs but will since they can't deny it.

You know, the more I did the better I felt. Everyone was gone to work by three so it's just been me here doing my magic. I live with four men. How many of them do you think will come home tonight and say "Dang, look how nice all these walls, baseboards and doors look! And wow, she even cleaned all the light fixtures...doesn't it look amazing?" Maybe if I lived with four gay men they would but I don't so it ain't gonna happen. At least I feel amazed!

On a different note, let me share a classic COTTON moment with you from earlier today. I can't even believe I did it. This morning before I started my cleaning binge, was in our bedroom with my husband. I had my cell phone with me looking for a number thought was stored in contacts but couldn't find it. Tim was talking to me about our car's repairs (another debacle altogether) so just decided to call information and ask for the number since they also send you a text of the number. I dialed information and was surprised when  a woman answered and said "Coweta County 911, what is the nature of your emergency?"

For Pete's sake! I dialed 911 instead of 411. Number one I felt like an idiot. Number two I couldn't hang up, then they'd think the bad guy just snatched my cell phone out of my hand and was proceeding to kill me. I'll have to say the woman was very polite after I profusely apologized and she took down all my information.

Tim just slowly shook his head and walked out of the room. I think I heard him say "Way to go, Ace" toward one of the dogs on his way down the stairs.

So I'm not the brightest bulb or even the sharpest tool but seem to be pretty good at providing entertainment.

Years ago I read about a convict who escaped from jail . He went to a phone booth to call a buddy to pick him up. He dialed 911 instead of 411 to get his buddy's number. He hung up the phone but cops picked him up three minutes later at the phone booth chatting with his ride, giving directions to the pickup site.

I don't think I've had a dull day in over six years. There is always something to worry about but there is always something to laugh about.

I have one more bathroom to clean and luckily it's the half bath. It feels absolutely wonderful to have a clean house, unlike the fake clean house I've lived in for months via Febreeze, Yankee Candle tarts and a cinnamon broom tacked to the wall of my kitchen.

Baby, this house is CLEAN and even if none of the Lost Boys notice will be quick to point it out when I see even ONE of them not wiping their feet after coming in from outside. Heck, the pups even wait at the door now for me to wipe their paws.

Who doesn't love a truly clean house? My house has been fake clean for a long time. No overhead or florescent lights and no opening closet doors or looking under beds.

My life and house is an open book now. I'll just answer the front door and say "Come on in, we ain't got much money but you can see out of the windows now and don't have to put on a flea collar before sitting down for dinner."

Sounds inviting, doesn't it?

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Life's Good

Some people describe me as a bit crazy and I resemble that remark! Woke up early today and got more done before noon than I have in a week. Freaking Georgia weather has turned again. It was in the seventies this past Sunday. Tonight's low is twenty three. I got lucky this week and have two days off in a row. Another server called me around one wanting to know if I would work for them? That'd be a negative, Ghost Rider!

I took TJ to work at ten and headed to Walmart. I wish their groceries weren't so cheap, but they are and so am I. It wasn't too bad today. I would have gone Krogering but needed a filter for my furnace, weather stripping and a couple of other household items. One thing you can say about ole Walmart, it's one stop shopping.

For the first time in months all the laundry is caught up, folded and put away. Zach keeps his room neat, he's freakish about it and is one of the things I love most about him. The other two Lost Boys, not so much so I just keep their bedroom doors closed.

Tonight's task is dusting, a chore I absolutely abhor. Amazing how much easier it is to endure when you enjoy a lovely adult beverage while you do. I can't just dust, I have to carry a bottle of Murphy's Oil Soap around with me to get down to the actual furniture. I detest doing it but sure looks better when it's done. Too bad I have three big dogs who feel the need to shake their coat like crazy every single time they get up to move from one spot in the house to the next...and don't even get me started on the slobbering faces.

My new best friend (until I take Johnny Dear out of hibernation) is the Mr. Clean magic eraser. I'm here to tell you, they ARE magic!

Thanks to my sweet sister who totally redid my kitchen,  inspiring me to attempt to get the rest of my house in order as well and not to brag, but recently updated my Facebook status: "My house is so clean it smells like we only have ONE dog."

Put a giant roast with potatoes, onions, carrots and celery in the crock pot around noon so dinner's done.

Icing on the cake is I have tomorrow off too. The kitchen is full of groceries and we have plenty of dog food. That's all we need for me to not have to leave the house until work on Friday.

Classic Cotton story: I came home from work day before yesterday and walked into the kitchen. The blinds from my back door were in a broken shambles on the table. The plastic frame which made it look like our back door had individual panes was broken into a million pieces from the middle down and all over the floor. One of the Lost Boys came home and asked him what the heck happened? He said he took Ziggy out back to play with and left Charlie the bulldog in the house. He heard Charlie whining at the back door (Chally2Phat doesn't like being left out) and came back inside. Charlie had destroyed the blinds and chewed off the plastic frame trying to get outside. For Pete's sake, does it ever stop? I cleaned up the mess and headed to Lowes with one piece of the frame after measuring the door.

Whadaya know...they don't sell just the plastic frame but can order one. I asked if it was expensive and the Lowe's dude said "Naw!"

I considered $56.00 VERY expensive so just stopped by Walmart and bought another three dollar blind for the door. I went home and tore the rest of the chewed up frame off from the middle down. I lowered the blind to cover the top half still with fake panes and called it a winning solution. These dog's better be glad I am such a pup lover.

Tim's in the running for a wonderful opportunity with a new company and have all our fingers crossed, praying it works out.

Life's good.

Life's what you make it. It can BE bad,  but if it isn't bad every once in a while, how can you tell when it is really good? Needless to say we can tell around here!

Massey has applied to be a camp counselor this summer along with her room mate. There will be some lucky little girls if they hire those two and I have a feeling they will. She's really grown up this past year and couldn't be prouder of her.

Life's good.

For the first time, I've started to realize I'm the momma of three grown ups now. It's a pretty amazing feeling. I guess that nurse at the hospital was right when I went to take my first one home from the hospital after giving birth and told her I was pretty nervous about taking care of a newborn. She patted me on the back and said "Honey, don't worry none...they're HARD to kill." I just shrugged my shoulders and said "Okay then, let's put him in the car seat and take him home."

Life's good. If you wake up on this side of the dirt, call the day a success.

Til next time...COTTON


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

AAAHHHHH!

I've turned into a wimp since I've started having days off. For the past few weeks I had two days off, something I haven't had in six years. The past week almost killed me, I worked six days. Tonight was my last shift and have the next two days off.
I can play in my new kitchen...as opposed to putting up with my old kitchen.
I can continue the never ending quest of De Dogging my house. I can catch up not only the laundry but wash sheets, curtains and knock down cob webs from every corner of every ceiling. I can change the filter in the furnace and  even clean out the last two closets.

For years I worked day after day after day. I finally realized taking a day or two off was okay. So I wouldn't make money, it wasn't like that extra hundred or two dollars would change our situation dramatically but working too much may kill me and that would pretty much suck for the ones left here.

Then they'd have to throw me a big fancy funeral complete with a Disco ball and a keg of Natty Light. I've given strict instructions, when I go (and hope it's quickly like my parents) It's gonna be the biggest ParTay peeps have ever seen. There will be an Emcee (my brother) and his lovely assistant (my sister).

People will simply tell stories about how they met , knew or know me. People will laugh because my brother is the funniest person I have ever known. People will love me even more because my sister is pretty much a Saint, or should we call her a Saintress? She seems to think highly of me which means she is REALLY high up on the list of MY favorite peeps.

You know you are getting older when you worry about funeral plans.


We've come from being without a penny in our pockets to being
THIS CLOSE.
I pray every day things will get better,  so I know they will .

To people out there with problems larger and huger than ours...

Keep the faith. Fight every day and pray every night. One day you will have two days off  too...look back at how hard you fought and know every shift was worth it.

My dream is to live a good life and be loving, be close to God and be a good human being and bring peace to people.

Kudos to Ziggy Marley for calling it right.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This

Worked the brunch shift. Got off around three thirty. Tim and all three kids came up to eat with me at work. TJ picked up the tab and gave me a big phat tip.

Went home to change clothes and my sis picked me and Massey up. We went to see "American Hustle". It reminded me of a Quentin Tarantino movie, one you need to see more than once to get it all. I came away with mixed emotions. Number one, all politicians are crooks and number two, sometimes the bad guys win.

On the up side, I could look at Bradley Cooper all day and Jennifer Lawrence played her part perfectly. Amy Adams made me realize little boobies can be sexy and I was lucky to survive the late seventies.

Girls day...just Massey, Cin and me. After the movie (which I highly recommend) we drove her back to her dorm in downtown ATL. I broke down and paid for parking so Cin could go up and see her dorm room. We toted up all the stuff she was bringing back with her. We stopped at the front door after Massey buzzed us in with her ID card. I told my sister to have her license with her...you have to leave it at the front desk and put on a wrist band to go up the elevators. We walked in and the girl behind the counter said "Massey! I've missed you this weekend." Massey introduced us, to her R.A who was currently working the desk and were all given the green light to go on up. I appreciate the security but appreciate more that they all know and trust my girl.

We were all toting stuff. I had bought more Girl Scout cookies than a person should but knew they would be well appreciated in a dorm. We got on the elevator to go up to the fifth floor when a guy got on with a pizza box. I joked about him bringing us a pizza when he spied the box of Girl Scout cookies. He seemed to be salivating by the time we reached the fifth floor after asking me if that was a box of Girl Scout cookies?. We went to Massey's room and almost immediately peeps started knocking on the door. Every girl that came in mentioned the Girl Scout cookies. Looks like I made a good call on over buying from my friend at work.

We all chatted for a few minutes then Cin and I left. I hugged and kissed my girl. I asked her if she had everything she needed and she said she would be fine.

As the dorm room closed and my sister and I walked down the hall, my eyes teared up, my throat seemed so dry I could barely speak. Words can't express how thrilled I am for Massey having this college experience. She has met and made so many new friends. She has decided on a major. She has set a goal and is excited to reach it.

She told me and my sister on the way back to her dorm tonight that Ga. State pays tuition for  peeps over the age of sixty five.

Eleven more years and I'll be there! Cin and I will room together. We'll have to constantly say "It's just a haircut" but will be rocking  it! I'm thinking of a journalism degree. I can't speak for my pseudo lesbian room mate  but know we will be OWNING that dorm. Deuces, shout out, and all that other cool junk kids say now.

Cin and I were talking on the way back to the car. I am so happy Massey has chosen this path. She stepped up, got a job and is working her way through school. College isn't for every one. No shame there but Massey wants this and I want this for her.

My sister almost got us killed us getting back on the downtown connector but dang she's a zippy little driver!

After a week, my back finally feels better. After a week my husband has the opportunity we have been waiting on. After a week, my girl came for  visit and it was a great one. She saw her older brother after over a year and all spent some quality time together.

Hoping for great news this week. My husband  is way over due for some good news.

Life goes on, you just have to roll with it.

Til next time, COTTON

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Money Can't Buy You Love

It's been an excellent weekend. I've have all three of my kids here for the first time in over a year.
I'm really not sure where the time has gone...seems like just last week they looked like this.

We all sat around together last night talking and laughing after work and it warmed my heart to see them all together again.

We're packed in like sardines and overflowing to couches to sleep but just feels nice to be a whole family again.

Massey and I spent the day together before work,  running errands and picking her up a few things for school. It's nice to have an eighteen year old daughter who still wants to hang around momma. She's turned out to be a really terrific young lady. Yes she has her faults, who doesn't? All my kids have their faults as do I but have many more great qualities that make the faults easy to over look.

Massey and I went by one of my favorite stores, Yankee Candle to get some more tarts for my burners. We walked in and one of the sales ladies asked me what kind of scent I was interested in? I said "One that doesn't smell like three dogs." The lady behind the counter started laughing. (If she only knew)


You'd think if I had three dogs they'd be miniature Yorkies or Poodles. Nope! I have two boxers and a bulldog totaling over two hundred pounds of slobber . I love the brats and the brats love me. Tim will even call me momma when he's talking to them. I'll get home from work and Tim will say "Your momma's home, boys!" They all surround me and sniff the food from the restaurant and lick my shoes. They follow me up the steps and they follow me down the steps. They follow me into to bathroom and they follow me into the kitchen. It's nice to have three kids (pups) who never have homework due or want something I can't afford. Give them a couple of bowls of water and a bowl of food every day and they are happy as clams. And by the way, why are clams supposed to be so happy? Go figure.

It's been a tough few years here at the Cotton Compound financially and one thing I've learned is money can't buy you love but love can buy you happiness.

We are SO The Clampetts. We're simple and hard scrabble. We didn't find black gold or Texas tea. We didn't get to move into a mansion but live in a house we own. We have family and friends who love us and are blessed far and beyond belief.








This is why I have been able to hold on. As bad as things have gotten, I wouldn't change it . It's made me a better person. It's made me realize who my friends are. It's made me realize how lucky I am to come from such a great family. It's made me appreciate being loved.

It's all about Karma. You get what you give. You get out of life what you put in. Roll with the punches, laugh when you can (always) and strive to be your best.

Hug your loved ones and even hug the unloved ones. One hug can sometimes make a huge difference.

I have one more day with all my kiddos all together. I'm going to bed feeling old, tired, broke but happy.

"Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits." (Thomas Jefferson)

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, February 21, 2014

Squeezing In Another

So the girl is almost here. Tim went to pick her up after he got off from his part time gig. All the Lost Boys are either at work or out. It's just me and the pups. Work was slow but lucky me, had three tables who requested me and walked out with a fist full of dollars.  I only had one day off this week but have the house in pretty decent shape. I can't wait to see my girl and can't wait for her to see our new kitchen.

All the laundry is caught up, the Lost Boys cleaned their rooms and the kitchen is clean and stocked. Kinda bummed. She leaves on Sunday morning and I have to work Saturday at three and Sunday at ten thirty but we'll squeeze in what time we can.

We're going to the movies together early on Saturday before work and hopefully she can come have brunch with me at work on Sunday before going back.

She's made me proud. She's doing great at school, has a part time job and earns all her own spending money.
 This will be the first time she has seen her oldest brother since he got back from the land down under. It will be a weekend of reunions.

Tim had an interview today for a job here in our county. Close to home, a company which promotes from within and I feel pretty good about it. This may be the answer to our prayers. We're hanging on by a thread and even that's getting bare but if this pans out it will be a greatest blessing.

Girl just got home! Time to go, will blog about it all later.

Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Funerals, (the new) Reunion For Middle Aged Friends


Went to the funeral of my dear high school friend's father today. Once you hit fifty, funerals seem more like impromptu reunions with one less in attendance.

It was very nice and along the lines of what I want my own to be like. Short and sweet. As soon as I walked in  saw one of my parent's best friends and the reunion began. She is actually the one who taught my mother how to drive a car.  I couldn't believe it when she told me she was eighty five. She looked pretty stinking good for well over three quarters of a century old, and still driving herself around. She's still sharp as a tack , you just have to speak louder which is no problem for me! We sat together and reminisced about old times. Our families used to go to "Seabrook" together every summer for picnics. It was a man made lake with a beach, tube rentals and tons of  shaded areas for eating all that fried chicken we took with us. Those are some of my earliest and fondest memories.

Lots of old peeps turned out, another good sign. There were probably more hearing aids than cell phones in the church. I saw many people I went to church with as a kid, high school with as a teen and friends of both my parents. It was quite the eclectic bunch.

My friend's dad was in a rehab/nursing facility because he had fallen broken his hip and wasn't very happy about being there. I'm with him! If I get put into a facility, I'll hang around til lunch to see what they are serving but after that, check me out...one way or the other. If it's the big check out, so be it.

It was nice seeing my mom's friend and after the funeral  told me she had a ceramic set my mother had made her for Christmas years ago and wanted to know if I would like to have it? I said I would love to have it and said to follow her out, she had it in the trunk of her car. Old peeps seem to be prepared!

I got home from the funeral and unwrapped all the pieces. There, etched on the back of each piece in my mom's handwriting was..."Ann." The largest vase was etched with "Merry Christmas from Ann, 1963."

This woman has had this since I was three years old and has given it back to me. I will treasure it forever.

When you reach my age not only parents but friends as well seem to be dropping like flies. Once again, I'm one of the lucky ones.

We don't have a ton of money but have a ton of family and friends. Take the good with the bad and always be grateful for what you have not for what you need.

(Segway) into my middle age ailments again. My lower back has been killing me for the last couple of days. It doesn't help my right shoulder has been killing me too. Last night I couldn't sleep because of it. I went to bed around eleven and watched the clock tick by until three. I just had an ache between my abdomen and back that wouldn't quit. I fell asleep around five thirty. I woke again at seven and simply gave up.

It hit me then, I remembered this feeling. When we first hit the skids about six years ago and was stressed to the max working thirty days in a row I had this same feeling. I thought I had an ulcer but a customer of mine told me to buy some Prilosec and see if it helped. After the first pill I was immediately better. I came home from work tonight and dug around til I found the box. Still plenty left and don't expire til March. On the downside you have to take it first thing in the morning.

Had a good night at work, unlike last night. Last night I crapped out but tonight I scored. That's the life of a server. Actually, that's the life of anyone.

Taking me a hot bath with my body therapy salts, then using an ice pack, then rolling into bed. After the two hours of sleep I got last night should sleep good just from sheer lack of it.

Til next time...COTTON


Saturday, February 15, 2014

I Really Got Lucky In The Sibs Department

 My sister will kill me when she sees this pic of her but at least it is from far away. Anyone who knows her knows what a true beauty she is, inside AND out. She came over last week with her hubs and fixed a leak in our master bath shower that had been leaking for years and caused a huge wet spot on the ceiling in our kitchen. Then my sis repainted the entire ceiling after the leak was fixed and ceiling patched. She painted all the baseboards, trim and even the doors.
 Today she came over after Zach took everything off the walls and the top of the cabinets and painted my entire kitchen for me. The wall paper was okay when we moved in almost eighteen years ago but is too busy looking and made my already tiny kitchen look even smaller.

This is the way it looked this afternoon when I left for work. Everything was piled on the kitchen table and the tiny room was a wreck in preparation for painting. My sister retired from Delta a few years back and has taken up painting. She does interior and exterior. She strips wallpaper and refinishes cabinets. The woman is amazing...and doesn't even tape or use a drop cloth! My three pups were thrilled to see their Aunt Cin. We kept Ziggy and Charlie out back while she painted but they could see her through the glass back door and rarely moved from it. We let ole Ham stay inside. Blind as a bat and moves so cautiously it breaks your heart.He meandered into the kitchen once to sniff out Cindy but after running head on into her ladder decided he'd just lay in the dining room. Cindy (a pup lover like us) moved her ladder and worked on the other side of the room first so he could meander back in to visit. I know my OCD sister. She spent more time cleaning than painting. The top of my drop down cabinets are clean enough to eat off of. Maybe I should get a couple of monkeys too, they could just live and scamper around  up there!

My sister is the most fantastic giving person I have ever met, except that I have an equally fantastic brother as well. He's currently helping us on the Massey end of things with college and delighted to say she isn't letting us down either, making good grades and even got a job on campus to help pay expenses.

Last week I got so bummed out. Things weren't looking good around here, Tim still hasn't found a steady job but is working part time five days a week. We were a bit short (understatement) on the house note and all the snow and ice didn't help. My boss floated me a loan (I call them the Drysdales) and even with tipping gods smiling on me came up a little short. My sis loaned me a bit and we made it! Today when she came over to paint I had the money to pay her back thanks to a great Valentine's shift It made me feel a little better about her completely re doing my kitchen.

I went into work at four and got my tiny booty thoroughly beat. Balls to the walls busy. I was already overwhelmed when Barb asked me to pick up two tables in the bar area. What am I gonna say, she helped us make our house note? It took me over an hour and having to ask for help from other servers before regaining any sense of composure or time. I left work after giving the Drysdale's a hefty payment on my loan and still came home with enough money to pay the garbage company who refused to pick up our refuse last week for non payment (I just took it all to work and threw it in the dumpster) and even have enough left to put gas in the cars to eek us through another week. How sad am I ? Pretty sad...until I walked in the garage door of my house and saw my new kitchen when I got home from work.
I'm not sure why I am this lucky but not even going to question it, just LOVE IT! The wall paper was gone, a soothing blue had taken it's place and the kitchen looked huge! Not only had she painted the entire room, she cleaned up all the mess on the kitchen table and had the room put back together for me so when I walked in had the full effect of a fabulous new kitchen.
So this is my brand new kitchen, with my new used refrigerator our neighbors gave us. I was blown away! It looks so clean and open.
She's not through yet! She wants to paint our kitchen table (she gave us years ago) black and the chairs in an accent color, maybe red or green.

So once again, here's the deal. I'm one lucky woman. I'm one lucky wife. I'm a lucky mom. I'm a lucky sister. I'm the luckiest broke as a joke person you'd ever want to meet or be. Millions and millions around this planet would and have died to be as lucky as us.

"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple"  (Dr. Seuss)

Can't wait to get home from my day shift on Sunday and play in my new kitchen!

Til next time...COTTON




Friday, February 14, 2014

The One That Almost Wasn't

This should have been a home run week in the restaurant world. Valentine's Day fell on a Friday so we had a whole week to reap the benefits. Then Mother Nature dumped a bunch of snow and ice on Wednesday and the whole city came to a stand still. Most all businesses closed early on Tuesday with the impending storm and Wednesday was a total washout, no one opened. Thursday we lost half a day until the ice melted and only had Thursday night to play catch up. It worked out fine for me, I was scheduled off Wednesday and Thursday but business owners took a huge hit.

I went in today and noon and hit the ground running. I didn't slow down once til I clocked out at midnight. I got extremely lucky. I had several regulars who always tip me well and my section was four tables, all two tops. Most all parties are just couples on Valentine's Day and I got my butt thoroughly beat but well compensated.  Two crappy tips but all the others were excellent.

I got a message on my phone from my daughter around two to call her so stepped outside during a short lull and called her back. She told me one of my besties from high school had just lost her dad.
The above is a photo of my own Momma on the left and my bestie's mom on the right. This was the last photo ever taken of my mother, she died two days later. They were waiting on a bench at cheer leading camp to bring us girls home.

My friend's mom was divorced. I knew her dad, he was still around town but  was nothing like her mom, they were polar opposites. Of course Tim and I are too so maybe there's something to be said for that.

My friend lost her mom a couple of years back after a horrible battle with Alzheimers. My friend and her mom were best friends, always had been. She was a stylish woman, hair always coiffed perfectly with outfits accessorized and flawless makeup.

Her dad was just a crusty ole fart, always was and don't think she'd mind me saying that. He was kind of like the Grinch who stole Christmas but never lived til Christmas morning when the whole concept of happiness occurred to him and made him change his ways.

Regardless of that, I know he loved his kids and know without hesitation he regretted losing his wife to a divorce years ago. I spoke with him at his ex wife's funeral and that was very apparent to me.

So unlike me, who used to think was short changed by losing both my parents early; my friend had to live with watching her mother and best friend turn into a person who didn't even know what day it was or if it was even day or night for that matter. THAT is being short changed.

After her dear sweet mother died, her crusty ole dad continued on his grumpy way. I've known my friend for over thirty five years and her dad as well. She loved him of course, he was her father and had done some good things for her through the years. He wasn't there for them a lot of the time when they were younger but was there for them when they needed him. That says a lot about a person. No one is perfect, none of us are but many people have a parent who is never there or even wants to be and spend their lives wondering why?

Seems ironic but just this past Tuesday, my friend came into the restaurant where I work with some co workers for a business luncheon. I spoke with her and she told me Ole Crusty had taken a fall and was in rehab at the same facility her dear mother had been in when suffering from Alzheimer's. The nurses at the facility had called her mom "Miss America" because she might not have known what day or year it was but always had that hair and makeup done to perfection. I'm not sure what they called her dad.

My sister actually went by to visit her mother before she died one day in the facility when checking on a member of her own church.  She said my friend's mother seemed out of sorts and wasn't sure if she even knew who she was. She sat by her bed and held her hand. She told her she was Kelly's sister (although this woman had known my sister longer than she had known me) and said "Your daughter Denise was best friends with my younger sister." She said a slight smile crept over the older woman's face as she slowly shook her head and simply said  "Oh...Denise and Kelly."

In a lucid moment she had remembered our antics and knew what my sister was talking about.

So Ole Crusty was there now rehabilitating from his fall and didn't like it one bit. My friend said he was not happy and not being very polite to the staff.

Here's my theory. Who WANTS to be in a nursing home even if it is the best one? Who WANTS to end up there and still have the ability to know where they are and can most probably guess the odds of them going home again are pretty stinking slim?

Not Ole Crusty.

My friend left that day and I told her to let me know if I could help her. In hindsight, I was so lucky. Both my parents died quickly. It was devastating for us  at the time but what a blessing for them both.

So today at work I get a text from my daughter, who adores my friend as much as I do. She told me Ole Crusty had died.

I took a moment out of my busy shift, went into the restroom and prayed not only for Ole Crusty but for my dear friend and her two brothers.

I say good for Ole Crusty. If you gotta go...GO! Who wants to hang around long enough to end up on a gurney in the hallway of a nursing home drooling from the mouth?

He went out just like I want to....quickly.

God's first name is Compassion. I'm sure He took everything into consideration. What Ole Crusty had done and what he hadn't done. What he should have done but what he DID do. Some people (like me) wear their heart on their sleeve, other people keep it guarded and regret it too late.

Ole Crusty is gone on to his reward now. I can just see my Momma and my friend's mother standing at the Pearly Gates wagging their fingers at him and immediately assigning him to either KP duty or sweeping up all the Angel feathers littering the golden path.

I'm just glad he didn't linger long in the nursing home. That's no way to go, for anybody.

I'm sad for my friend and her family, loss is a horrible thing to deal with. Been there, done that. I'm relieved that he didn't linger too long and it is finished.

My last thoughts for him are "Good luck with Frances and Ann (my friend's mom and my  mom) up there. They'll have your wings whipped (or clipped) into shape in no time!

Every one is born and every one must die. It's a fact no one can escape. The way you have to go is the thing that matters.

Ole Crusty got lucky, it's just us left here who suffer the grief.

Boy, Heaven must be bigger than Facebook or Twitter by now by the number of loved ones who have joined their ranks. Must be a pretty big place and hope I'm lucky enough to knocking on those gates one day.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Must Have Been a Housewife in a Former Life

So we had another blast of winter here in the deep south. Both storms just happened to fall on the two days I was off from work so I didn't feel guilty about missing work and got to stay in PJ's for two days. I slept when I wanted to and got up when I wanted to. I got closets cleaned out, bathrooms scrubbed and rooms vacuumed. I cooked two meals every day  and caught up all the laundry. I ate a half gallon of chocolate ice cream...the list could go on and on.

This last storm was a bit scarier, more ice than snow. Ice is not Nice. We never lost power but many of my friends and family did. We would have been super screwed. We didn't have one stick of fire wood and just two taper candles. I had one flashlight with old batteries and our house is cold and drafty even when the heat is on.

God looked out for us and kept our power on and I am extremely grateful.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day or as we call it in the service industry, Amateur Night. Peeps who normally never go out to eat are forced to and the ones who suffer are servers. They HAVE to pay their tab but aren't obligated to leave a tip. I'm working from open til close and just pray I get lucky. I'm just hoping for quantity vs. quality, or maybe a nice mix of both.

These past few days here at home have been wonderful except for the worry about losing power. I think I was born to be a house wife or maybe a house wife who works two or three days a week. I got so many things done that I normally ignore when working full time. When you work full time you're at home a lot less and tend to overlook things like dusting, vacuuming or putting up clean laundry.

 The laundry will get washed but the first person who washes a load  rarely gets it out of the washer immediately so when the next person comes along to wash their load will either pull the wash out and throw it wet in a basket (the men) especially if there are still clothes in the dryer. If they feel generous or need their clothes immediately they will pull the dry clothes out into a basket and stick their stuff in. Then the clean dry clothes sit wadded up in a basket until someone comes looking for them or get mistaken for dirty clothes and have more dirty clothes piled on top of them, hence starting the cycle over again. Everyone here is old enough to do their own laundry but it's a nightmare. Do they check the water level? Do they clean the dryer vent out? Not always...and sometimes. I know when they clean the dryer vent out because they leave the lint ball on top of the dryer. That waste basket four feet away is just too far to aim for.


Yes they load the dishwasher but do they start it when it's full as a sardine can?  That would be a NO. They also load it with plates facing backwards and plastic cups on the bottom rack which melt. I guess they figure that's less to unload when it's their turn. I will give them kudos on unloading. This is most probably because I always say "If you'll unload the dishwasher I can get dinner started." Works every time!

As long as I'm picking on them, do they brush their teeth with their eyes closed or really not notice that huge glob of toothpaste left in the sink when they spit to rinse? Don't even get me started on the way they squeeze the tube. Is it supposed to be a show of strength?

When you work five or six days a week these things really get under your skin. When you have two days off in a row you feel relaxed enough to nicely ask for help instead of barking out orders as you dash out the door for work with zero minutes to spare. Granted I'm pretty good at giving orders but you catch a lot more flies with honey than vinegar.

Today I cleaned the entire master bedroom, closet and all. Sheets and comforter washed, furniture and bookcases cleaned with Murphy's Oil  Soap and cleaned my makeup table. I even matched the entire (huge) sock basket and threw away ones who have been missing mates for as long as I can remember. I cleaned all the pictures on the walls and cleaned the master bath.

My sweet sister is coming to paint my kitchen on Saturday and I'm pretty pumped. She's already painted the baseboards, window sills and ceiling. Walls are going to be really cozy looking shade of blue called "Poolhouse". I'm going to take before and after pics just to let you all see what amazing work she does.

One more snow storm and I'll have this house kinda sorta in almost halfway tip top shape!

 Here's the thing about housework, the more you get done the more you WANT to do, especially when you have time to sit and enjoy the results.

Guess all my enjoyment is done til next week or next storm. Working all weekend. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to have my job but was sure nice to have a two day staycation at home.

 Bonus points... bet I gained five pounds too!

Happy Amateur Day to you all.

Til next time CUPID COTTON


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ice Ain't Nice

So two weeks ago we had a snow storm of almost three inches and shut down the largest city in the south east.

Yesterday they predicted an ice storm. I remember what those are like,  we had one when I was about eleven or twelve. No power for three or four days. Our oven and stove were both electric. We slept in the living room in front of our gas logs.

I can deal with cold, I can deal with snow and even ice unless it knocks out the power. At least we have gas appliances. I was off today. Woke up this morning around nine, stretched and rolled over to pet Ham and we both settled back in for a weather-thon on the boob tube. Around two I got hungry and nuked me a bowl of last night's chili. I brought it back up to the bedroom with me. I washed all the sheets last night and  smelled so yummy I simply couldn't resist climbing back in them. I watched more of the boob tube, rolled over once or twice to rub Ham's belly and snoozed on and off til six . It was a great day...just ask Ham.

I stumbled downstairs still in my PJ pants and threw some drumsticks in the oven. I went back upstairs to the bedroom worried I had missed an important update. Ham looked over at me and seemed to say "Same ole same ole" so I settled back in.

We had dinner at nine thirty, but was an awesome dinner. Baked chicken, black eyed peas, collard greens and buttermilk corn muffins. It was Tim's birthday. I hadn't done squat for him unless you count me leaving him alone all day. We took his plate up to him in the bedroom where he was watching ESPN while singing Happy Birthday and even stuck a candle in his corn muffin.

I can't for the life of me figure out why he still loves me but does.

I was posting on Facebook tonight when my sister commented on one of my posts. (not about Tim) "What kind of yummy cake did you bake for Tim's birthday?" I immediately wrote back "One with a file in it so he can escape."

She responded "Oh, his favorite kind!"

I'm a special case. I'm definitely type A personality and borderline freak. Tim is the complete and total opposite. Sometimes it works great but other times it is a test of our love for each other.

I'll have to say he has the patience of Job. I'm not easy to live with. I'm wired differently. When I want something done, it has to be done THEN. He could wait a month.

So we're opposites, they say that's a good thing. Let's hope for my sake it is.

We're hanging in there, in my understanding of marriage that is the only thing to do.

If the power hangs on I will be one happy woman. That will be a bonus.

 I wear Tim out but consider it "Urging him on."

Yep, we're a different sort of couple but both in it for the long haul.

Heading to bed after another hot, hot bath with my aroma therapy bath salts.

So my life seems to suck, but in the grand scheme of things am one of the luckiest peeps on the planet.

If we wake up with power, heat and  water...once again we will be one of the lucky ones.

Happy Birthday to my Hubster, and thanks for sticking with me.

I remember the words and lucky for me he does too.

"I take you to be my partner. To have and hold from this day forward, for better or worse, richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. To love and cherish til death us do part."

Once again, I'm one of the lucky ones. We've been through all the vows and are still together.

Oops, my water is ready for my hot soak in a tub. Sucks getting old but still beats the alternative.

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, February 10, 2014

Here We Go Again

After the last weather debacle two weeks ago here in the deep south I'm not taking any chances. Forecasting not only snow but ice this time. I went into work tonight and it was a ghost town. Peeps here in Jaw-Ja take weather warnings very seriously. I got lucky and the owner cut everyone but me and managed to walk with eighty bucks, enough for groceries if we get stuck at home for a day or two.

Kroger shelves looked pretty lonely when I stopped by on the way home. No bananas, one loaf of bread left and no milk. Lucky for me I went by yesterday and bought milk. I don't want an ice storm but at least now am somewhat prepared.

Before I left for work this afternoon my sister came by my house to clock in for work. Her husband had replaced some Sheetrock on our kitchen ceiling and she came over to re mud and paint the patches. What I didn't know until I came home from work at eleven was that she also painted all the baseboards, doors, trim, window sills and even cleaned the old dried Gorilla Glue drip off my refrigerator from where I had tried to glue back on the freezer door handle Tim broke when hauling in the new fridge our neighbors gave us. I never read the bottle and didn't know it expanded like a fat lady. It had dripped down the front of my freezer and looked liked a long drip of infected snot, firmly glued  going nowhere and serving absolutely no purpose.

I came home from work with my groceries and walked into a kitchen that didn't look like mine. Gleaming white baseboards, all doors and frames sparkling. She even cleaned my microwave stand, an antique from my Maw In Law.

I have the greatest sister a person could ever have, and she's just getting started! She's coming back to paint over my outdated wall paper and paint my kitchen table too.

It couldn't have happened on a better day. Yesterday was quite depressing. I left work and stopped by the grocery store knowing about the forecast of inclement weather. My next door husband's son was in front of me in line at the check out. He asked me if we had gotten the tire situation fixed. What situation? He said Zach had called him earlier and asked if he could help with the tire. What tire?

I got home and found out Tim had a flat on his car we had just gotten out of the shop after sitting ready for a month while we whittled down the bill. Zach and TJ were gone to work (in Tim's car) and asked Tim if the boys went out to get in it and found the tire flat?

Here's the difference between Tim and me.

It had been in the shop because when Tim went for a job interview a few months ago, he couldn't find the driveway for the place and bumped over a curb to get into the parking lot. He unknowingly busted the oil pan and while driving back home blew a head gasket...hence the extended stay at the repair shop.

We've been scrambling to get money in the bank for the house note check we gave Hells Fargo on Friday. Every time I get home from work I give Tim my tip money and he goes to the credit union to deposit it. He went through the drive through to make another deposit and was looking down at his receipt when he hit a curb and the tire blew.

Had it been me who had blown the head gasket, then finally paid off the repair and hit a curb blowing out the tire without him knowing would have most certainly said "Yep, they went out to get in the car for work and the tire was flat...go figure!"

Here's the kind of man I'm married to. He told me straight out what happened and apologized for it.

That's what keeps me keeping on.

 I'm in good hands. I have a husband obviously more honest than me. God has my back and belong to a family anyone should be jealous to be a part of. My kitchen looks great, thanks to my sister and Bro N Law. I got some groceries in case the weather gets ugly. I work a double shift tomorrow and if the tipping gods smile on me will make enough to cover the house note.

Even better, my day off is Wednesday when the weather is supposed to be really bad.

You have to measure your life. Things may seem bad but you have to look for the brighter spots.

I have a lot of bright spots in my life. If I had to name them all it would be a very long list.

Just hoping the bad weather holds off until I get off work Tuesday night. Working til nine then have to pick up Zach and TJ from their jobs. At least they both work at the same place.

I already have my inclement weather day off planned. Cooking, cleaning and just enjoying being home.

Til next time...CRAZY COTTON







 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I Guess It Beats The Alternative

I feel like I am LEAST this old. When in your mid fifties and sling plates for a living for over thirty five years it takes a toll on your body, especially when the body only weighs ninety nine pounds.

It's weird, sometimes I feel like a spring chicken. Other times my ailments rear their ugly heads. My newest ailment is a bum shoulder. At least it isn't on the same side as my bum knee. My carpal tunnel comes and goes, so does my bum knee (which I got in a speed skate for mothers at the skating rink when the kids were in elementary school. and  yes I won.)

It hurts to even pull a shirt over my head to get undressed. I thought I had just slept on it wrong but day four says different. I guess getting old still beats the alternative.

Hot flashes are no joke either. I wake up at least four times a night literally soaked in sweat. I feel like I may spontaneously burst into flames. It lasts about five minutes, just enough time for me to peel off as many covers and  clothes as I can. Then just as quickly I get cold again and reverse the covers/clothes process. It's exhausting to say the least and's really cutting into my beauty sleep. (see above photo)

I just got home from work and low and behold, my back is killing me. About once a year my back goes out too and can feel it coming on again. For Pete's sake, isn't birthing kids enough pain to suffer for a lifetime? Not to mention you have to feed and raise them after you shoot them out of a tiny hole in your body. Oh yeah, I got me a crick in my hip too that makes me walk like Festus on Gunsmoke.

Right now I feel about as attractive as Cloris Leachman in Young Frankenstein. I suppose it still beats the alternative. On a brighter note I managed to pull off the corn on my pinkie toe when I got out of the shower for work today. There's a bonus! Come to think of it, I haven't even had to shave random gross hairs off my chin lately either. Things are definitely looking up.

So I'm a limping old woman with a bum knee, sore shoulder, carpal tunnel, bad back, crick in my hip and eyes that can't see squat without my peepers...but I'm minus a corn on my pinkie toe and haven't had to shave my face in while. I'm gonna go ahead and call that a win.

We've gotten lots done around the house this week. The garage is totally clean and organized. TJ moved back home with us after returning from Australia and found a job in less than a week. He and Zach are both working at a new restaurant that just opened and both seem to like it. We had to scrap two cars this week but also finally got one out of the shop. Our temporary boarder thinks he has found a house to move into. I actually may miss him, he's Latino and a pretty hard worker around the house. My laundry room has never been so clean or organized and he helped Zach with the garage makeover.

Tim's still looking for a steady job, bless his heart. I've never known a more resilient man. I know it will happen but hope it's sooner than later. We mailed off our mortgage payment yesterday, albeit a week late. The lady at Hells Fargo said that would be okay but wanted us to know it may affect our credit rating. That's a good one! What credit rating? Our credit rating is the least of my concerns. We used to have an excellent rating and maintained it for twenty years. When the financial bomb dropped on our lives a few years back, we were lucky to just survive. Of course our mortgage company was absolutely no help. We tried for two years to modify our loan but they never lifted a crooked finger to help. The main reason was we only had five more years before our house was paid off and they wanted it. We showed them! We went from being almost six months behind to being one week late. They should be sending us a Thank You note. Granted the check wasn't exactly good (yet) but by the time it goes through on Monday should be.

I don't want to jinx myself but the tipping gods have been smiling on me at work. If I can keep it up two more shifts, the house note will clear and we'll keep on keeping on. That's all a person can do.

Fast forward a day...

Last night our PC went bonkers and had to save this blog. I went into work this afternoon and hit the floor running. I clocked in at three thirty and made almost seventy bucks before the night shift even clocked in. It was a mad house. I was the first server to check out and didn't leave til almost eleven. I had a few tables that were so so but had several that made my night. Tim's already asleep but left my tip money on the kitchen counter for him to put in the bank. I open the store tomorrow and if I can kick ass one more time will only have to borrow a hundred bucks from my boss to make the house note check good.

Dang, when I read that last sentence,  it made me sound pitifully sad  but to me sounds like success. I work hard and my bosses know it. They understand our situation and have always helped us out when asked. I have also always paid them back in the matter of a few days. They are probably the only people who we have a good credit rating with and right now is the only credit rating I care about.

Here's what happens to good people when they try their hardest.

My sister and her hubby came over after I left for work and fixed a leak in our master shower upstairs which is above our refrigerator in the kitchen downstairs. We've  had a hole in the ceiling for about four years where we tried to find the leak. I usually keep a piece of printer paper tacked over it. We have another leak above our stove, where we had another hole searching for the OTHER leak. I never even bothered with covering that one. They came and patched both holes with sheet rock.

My sister said she has some spare paint and is coming to paint my entire kitchen for me. She's painted every room in my house and is quite the professional.

Let's take inventory. We've come from being almost foreclosed on to being almost current. We've had our oldest son move back home after a year long stay in Australia and landed in a job in less than a week. We have a temporary Latino boarder who cleans like nobody's business. Zach has a new job he loves and getting a second job this week. My daughter is cozy in a dorm room and doing fantastic in her first year of college. Tim has several leads and may have an excellent opportunity out of state. My brother has helped us out with Massey's student loans and she's set for next semester. My sister and her husband have loaned us a car for so long I have named it. They fixed our kitchen ceiling leaks and my sis is going to paint and tweak my kitchen into a room that will be amazing.

Kinda makes all my aches and pains seem trivial so just going to start calling them battle scars.

Here's the real deal. Work hard, love harder and be glad YOU are loved.

Going to bed, waking up and kicking butt again.

Til next time...a Covered Cotton

  





Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Another Productive Day

Yesterday we scrapped Zach's car. They go by weight so we loaded up everything made of iron or steel we could find. The old broken grill from the back yard, brake shoes a kid left in our garage when he used our driveway to replace his brakes, old patio chairs and anything else we could find. Today we hauled Massey's old car over. It cranked and made it as far as the top of the driveway before it clacked, clattered and sputtered it's last breath. Zach's buddy had a truck and a tow strap so they hauled it over to the salvage yard.

Our garage is cleaner than it has been in years. I'm somewhat of a hoarder, guess it comes from being audited by the IRS about twenty years ago. I had bank statements, bills and pretty much everything dating back to before Tim and I were even married. Not that we have any money but felt uneasy about throwing away so much personal information. Zach burned it all in the firepit in our back yard. I went through every box , every piece of paper and every envelope first just to be sure I wasn't getting rid of something we would need.

While the boys dragged Massey's car to it's final resting place I ran errands. Got some bills paid and bought transmission fluid, power steering fluid and oil for the Mercedes we're borrowing from my sister...gotta keep ole Bertha running smooth.

Went into work at three thirty. It was slow as Christmas until about six then they all came at once. Hey, at least they came!

I did great last night so was okay with having just an above average night. You gotta share the wealth. I waited on just three tables but walked with over eighty bucks. I am off Wednesday and Thursday but picked up a Thursday shift from another server so I should be okay. Around seven, Barb came up to me and said "Your buddy is at the bar." I knew immediately who she meant. I peered around the corner and saw him sitting there. The Rat Bast who fired me from the "Western Sizzler" where I worked like a dog for fourteen years...not that I hold a grudge. (well maybe I do) I've tried to get over detesting him so much but simply can't. I did feel some satisfaction when he got fired for something equally as stupid but still can't bring myself to speak to or even look him in the eye. What I really want to do is walk up and punch him in the face, but that won't solve any of the problems he caused either so instead make sure I have a pleasant look on my face at all times and act like I am having the time of my life while I run to and fro around the restaurant making sure to keep a wide perimeter.

What I want to do is go up and tell him how humiliating it was for me to not only have to file for unemployment for the first time in my life but file for food stamps and put my kids on medicaid as well. We almost lost our house and had to rely on the charity of others simply to survive. Pretty much I just want an apology but know I will never get one...hence the grudge and chip on my shoulder. I get over a lot of wrongs and forgive pretty easily but don't think that will ever apply in this case. Karma came back around, befriended me and should be satisfied with that. This healing process may take a while longer!

TJ and Zach start their new jobs tomorrow. They are having the soft opening for family and friends so I may go see what the new place is like. The menu looks good and the prices are reasonable.

On another note, I'm pretty ticked at Mr. Groundhog and his so-called abilities. Six more weeks of winter? "Inconceivable!"

I'm going out front tomorrow (now today) to clip my budding Pussy Willow tree. It's all popped out with the fuzzy buds and  make great vase decorations. After that, Old Man Winter can go away for all I care. I can't stand being cold,  can't stand the rain and can't stand not being able to work in the yard without a jacket.

It's time to get my Johnny Dear out of hibernation in the garage and start cutting grass again.

I miss my flip flops.

They are predicting snow again this weekend and hope for once they are wrong.

Til next time...COTTON


Monday, February 3, 2014

Take the Good with the Bad

Worked the brunch shift yesterday. The tipping gods smiled on me and I did well once again. I drove Massey's little car to work. I haven't driven it in a while. Of course the one day I get in it, the gas light is on. I decided to wait til after work and hope I had enough to get to Kroger. I made it to Kroger but not before the check engine light came on too. Rut Row!!

I pumped ten buck's worth and got back in. It hesitated before cranking then cranked with a clattering so loud everyone in the parking lot was staring at me. I turned it off quickly so people would quit looking at me and popped the hood. I stood there for a minute staring at the engine hoping something obvious and easy to fix would jump out at me. It didn't. I did the only thing I knew how to do, check the oil. It was a little low so I bought a quart and poured it in. I got back in and tried to crank it again. It sounded like the front end was about to fall off and I had people behind me waiting for the pump. Customers at Kroger gas stations are not a pleasant bunch so I put it in gear and clattered my way over to the back of the parking lot. I didn't have to turn it off, it did that for me. I popped the hood again and stood in front of the car with my hands on my hips in the helpless female stance. Not one guy even offered to take a look or offer advice. So much for chivalry.

I called home, told Tim the great news and asked him to tell Zach to crank up ole Bertha Benz and come get me. He said Zach was asleep. Guess I don't need to tell you what I said next. For Pete's sake, go wake him up or YOU come. Just hurry.

I was on the back side of the lot by the water and air so I gave it one more crank and clattered up about ten feet so I wasn't blocking anyone trying to use the air or water. Then I just sat and waited. I tried calling home again and there was no answer. I took that as a good sign. About ten minutes later a brand new black Chrysler with tinted windows pulled up right behind me. I looked in my rear view mirror and thought maybe he was waiting for the air  or water and I hadn't clattered far enough. My first thought was to crank ole Nelly (or Finnegan as Massey calls him) and get out of his way before he pulled out an assault rifle and went all Kroger Gas Station Postal on me. The passenger side opened and a tall guy got out. I thought he looked familiar then realized it was Tim. One of his friends had driven him. Then his buddy got out of the driver side. I knew his buddy bought a new car but had never seen it. So my gansta heroes had come to my rescue!

Funny thing. They did the exact same thing I had already done (twice). They popped the hood, had me crank it and stood looking at the engine with their hands on their hips. They did at least poke a couple of hoses and pull on a few wires before hollering over the clattering to cut it off.

Tim decided to drive it back to the house, something I wouldn't do but if he wanted to...let him. I rode with Rick in his gansta mobile. Beautiful car. He had Led Zepplin playing on the stereo and we could still hear Tim clattering along in front of us. We made it to the turn off for our street when smoke started pouring out of the exhaust pipe. Rick commented "That's not good." We followed Tim onto our street and down five houses to our driveway. My next door husband and his wife were out in their front yard. I told Rick "They probably want to run inside and lock the doors but  know we've already seen them." Here's the thing. My next door husband is our go to guy. He's fixed my dryer twice, fixed my dishwasher once, fixed my oven, repaired my Johnny Dear numerous times, worked on every car we've ever owned and installed a ceiling fan, just to name a few. He's a mechanic for Delta and the nicest guy you'll ever meet. He had looked up as we clattered and clunked our way into the subdivision and am sure he knew what was coming. Tim got out of the car and headed straight over to Ron's (my next door husband) house. Ron came over and looked at the car. It took him less than five minutes to pronounce it officially dead. There was something about valves and engine block mentioned but pretty much all I heard was the tone a patient's monitor makes in the hospital when they flat line.

Even if it was fixable, Ron said it would most probably cost more than the car was worth. Seeing as we haven't even paid the house note this month, a huge repair bill for a car was out of the question. He did make me feel somewhat better when he said  buying used cars is always a crap shoot and and least we got it cheap and got two years out of it.

I immediately went inside, sat down at the kitchen table and seemingly felt the weight of the world crushing me. We were already down to the one car. Granted my sister was loaning us Bertha Benz, but what in the world were we going to do now?  Tim's car has been in the shop for a couple of months with a blown head gasket. It's fixed but we owed over a grand for the repairs. I have been paying a bit at a time and we only owed three hundred more. We were saving for the house note but decided to pay off Tim's repair bill, get his car back and take the Clatter Mobile to the scrap yard and put that money towards the house note. Zach had bought my Lil Beemer from me and it has fallen apart too. Too many issues to even name, it has been sitting for six months. Zach decided to scrap his too and help us out with the house note.

Tim went and picked his car up today and Zach  scrapped his. He got four hundred bucks for it. If we had the money to fix it up we could have gotten more. "Shoulda, woulda if we coulda" is our motto lately but you gotta roll with the punches.

I went into work at three thirty and it was a ghost town. Not good, I needed to bank big tonight. We only had one reservation. One guy was working a double and left as soon as I got there. He only had one table at lunch and was tired from all the cleaning he had done. There's always something to be done in a restaurant, unfortunately today none of it involved tips. He's a single guy though and has a room mate. I, on the other hand have  a husband looking for steady work, a mortgage due, kid in college and house full of Lost Boys. I clocked in and got a table right off the bat. The other server leaving just shook his head. Not five minutes later a couple of great tipping regulars came in and I was on my way!

The next server came in at four and was feeling poorly. More good news for me. She wanted to leave early and told her I would let her leave first and close. The other server came back around six and by that time I had already made thirty bucks. He was ready to go too so by seven thirty the owner cut everybody but me. It was slow but I had the reservation party of seven and they tipped me forty bucks. I had three other tables and by the Grace of God  left with a hundred bucks in my pocket. I was talking with the owner after everyone was gone but me, the cooks and the bartender. Len was in his office looking at news on the Internet. He was looking at a news story about Philip Seymour Hoffman. He pointed to the screen and said "Here you go, this guy had a lot more money than you and look what happened." Len told me we had done exactly what we should have, cut our losses and keep our house note current. We can, and will work out the rest later.

He's exactly right. Money doesn't matter. Well, it does if you're broke like us but you can't worry about what you don't have. You simply need to do your best, have priorities and keep your head on straight. You need to roll with the punches and wear a helmet.  Granted sometimes feel like I'm getting "Helmet Hair" but have resigned myself to the fact that life isn't always easy breezy but you know what? I'm happy. I have a wonderful husband, three great kids, a good job I love and loves me. I manage to laugh every day and have the good sense to realize how comical life can and often be. At least I'm living and that beats Philip Seymour Hoffman. I was really sad to read about him and have pondered the how and why? People have all kind of money and seem to end up a lot worse off than us.

I'll keep my life, thank you. It was great for a long time, been rough for a few years but has always been mine. I roll with the punches and thanks to lots of help from family and friends seem to be just fine. So what I'm a day late and a dollar short?

We're THIS close. Laughter is truly the best medicine and laugh about my life all the time. I've got my big girl pants on and know we'll be just fine...and if we're not will figure out something else.

“There were people who went to sleep last night, 
poor and rich and white and black, 
but they will never wake again. 

And those dead folks would give anything at all 
for just five minutes of this weather 
or ten minutes of plowing. 

So you watch yourself about complaining. 

What you're supposed to do 
when you don't like a thing is change it. 
If you can't change it, 
change the way you think about it.” 
― Maya Angelou

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sometimes Serving is Spectacular (except for the corns on my pinkie toes)

At this point in my life and career (yes, serving IS a career)  have learned to never expect but always appreciate. I've had shifts when  I've gone in and couldn't catch a break if I had a wash tub in my arms. Other shifts peeps just simply seem to love me. It's just like any other commission based sales job. I consider myself a sales and marketing person. It didn't help we were closed two days this week because of weather and was kinda starting to freak out. Tim's still looking for steady work and we're starting to slip behind. Not major behind but sure don't want that again. I'm a worrier by nature. I prefer to consider myself a constantly concerned woman who obviously enjoys wrinkles and gray hair.

I went into work today after barking out marching orders to all the Lost Boys before leaving the house. Some men need direction. (whether they know it or not)

I was kinda worried because Super Bowl weekend is death for a restaurant unless it's a Hooters or sports bar and sure don't have hooters, I barely have Itty Bittys.

I clocked in at three thirty and had the floor to myself. The other servers were working double shifts and going on break. In less than ten minutes I had four tables and it just kept going. The hostesses are all high school girls and worry about over loading me. I told them not to worry I'd let them know when to stop seating me.I had people who loved having a funny waitress! I had time to get one order into the kitchen and take out salads before the next table sat down

I kept worrying (as usual) that my luck would run out. Sometimes you start out like gang busters and  end up limping home with peanuts.

The tipping gods smiled on me all night long and every single table I had was awesome. The people were wonderful, easy to please and all seemed pleased with me.

I really don't know if I am geared for anything but waiting tables and writing a blog. I enjoy both and both make me feel very satisfied with myself.

I logged onto my blog tonight when I got home and saw I was eleven hits away from  90,000 views. I'm not making any money off  it but feels fabulous to know other peeps are interested in what I write.

Once we get past this latest stumbling block I am going to start in earnest to try and get my blog promoted or find someone who may want me to write a column. Tim's always said I have my PHD in BS, maybe it's time to put it to use other than entertaining diners.

I'm all excited about Sunday. I'll open the brunch shift then be cut early because he has later peeps coming in to work until he closes at four. I can make a buck, swing by the store and come home to make potato skins, nachos and hot wings. I'm not a football fan but like eating potato skins, nachos and hot wings.

If I can keep this lucky streak at work going, we'll be caught up by next week and can breathe a sigh of relief.

If it doesn't happen, I'll just keep on keeping on. One thing I have learned over the past five years is that slow and steady wins the race. Another great thing I have learned is prayer is a powerful tool.  A really important thing I have learned is that my husband is the most tolerant person on the face of the earth and feel blessed he hasn't killed me in my sleep. (totally kidding, kinda)

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I say what I feel and don't mind if it bothers others. If it does, just don't read my blog.

This world is in desperate need of  more people who care and less people who complain and do nothing.

I'm almost fifty four, not doing too well financially but  still manage to laugh every day. Sometimes I do get depressed but then think about millions and millions of others who haven't been lucky like us.

I have a network of family, friends, customers and employers who care about us and  never hesitated when we needed help. I have three kids who are happy and healthy. I have three dogs who have been taken care of by people who are pup lovers like me. I wake up every morning with the ability to go at it for another day.

In the grand scheme of life, I am so lucky it often makes me wonder why?

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."

People have never looked down on us because we have so little, but have helped us because they have a little more.

I like to be funny but I also like to be real. I read a quote from Conan O'Brien tonight on a friend's FB wall which made perfect sense to me:

"Work hard, be kind to others and amazing things will happen."

Life has been amazing for us. Not always the way we wanted but has always happened.

Count your blessings, name them one by one and you'll be amazed what The Lord has done!

Waking up tomorrow, doing it again and if that don't work will wake up the next day and give it another shot!

Never give up, never give in.

Til next time COTTON