Saturday, March 28, 2015

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk... Be Grateful You Had Some


Tomorrow, already today  (seems to happen to me a lot) is the baby shower for TJ and Chelsea at his mom's house a million miles away in Canton.

I've known about it for weeks and kept meaning to RSVP or remember to ask off at work; I did neither.

It's been a kindly stressful couple of months (six minimum) and have had quite a bit on my plate every single day of it to chew on, from planning on how to get from point A to point B with a way back to point A again after I clocked out again at point B.

That in itself was mentally exhausting and certainly don't have mentality to spare, I'm about wore slap out.

Coordinating this living a thousand miles apart while catching up bills has proved to be another test of our marriage but at least we're (I'm) a lot nicer now. Absence does makes the heart grow fonder... kinda miss yelling at him every chance I get when stressed out about (usually) something stupid.

Anyway...

I've put it off and tried to put it out of my mind but tomorrow I'm gonna be a Granny at the shower whether I like it or not.

For Pete's sake how in the world can I be old enough to be a grand parent?

Number one I don't even own a Mu Mu or knee highs, have never owned a four door Cadillac and am still kinda almost semi hip.

Okay, "hip" did make me sound old and was the first word I thought of.

Guess maybe I am old enough.

Huge mental sigh... there goes even more of my now extremely limited mentality!

On the up side am glad I started highlighting my hair, am gonna need all the help I can get.

It'll all be okay in less than a year and has been a half decade struggle but can say with complete almost total confidence everything will indeed be okay ...God Willin' and creek don't rise.

Seems my main resistance towards the idea has nothing to do with the fact  TJ and Chelsea are having a baby but with the fact they're still babies. They are aren't they?

What have   been smoking?



We've had some bad luck, unbelievable circumstances occur these past few years but if an almost fifty five year old ninety nine pound woman soaking wet from hot flashes can endure and overcome surely to goodness two strong twenty something year old kids can have a tiny baby together and everything be okay in the long run.

I guess maybe it's just "me" tired of running.




It's going to be rough at first, they're struggling just like us and millions of others. Tim and I were far from rich when first getting together but were doing okay by the time Zach came along.

TJ and Chelsea have the greatest advantage of all on their side, four families who will love, support them one hundred percent and always have their back.

Sometimes it's nice to have your kid's back (especially teenagers) so can silently mouth behind them the words "I told you so".

It's not like anyone, especially me is flawless or doesn't make a bad decision but this wasn't one of those times.

They decided to bring a tiny human being into this world who will have even tinier parts of all the families.

The kid's sure to be eclectic, defined by Webster as: "Selecting or employing individual elements from a variety of sources".

It's truly a miracle, it really is!

Bonus points, don't have to worry about her being all freaky. She doesn't carry any of my blood but will have all of my heart. Trust me, that's an even sweeter deal.

My life is mine, I chose it. Who am I to choose theirs?




You know what? Ole Daisy Moses looked pretty good when she wasn't clocked in!

My gift tomorrow/ today will be a printed copy of this post awaiting her approval to post, a modest gift card but nice present in a few short weeks when  find something nice they really need. I'm hoping baby shower presents don't have a cut off notice.

Okay, I'm on board now.

I think I'd like the baby to call me "Daisy".

Til next time...still COTTON



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Oh Spring, I've Missed You


I remember this picture of Massey and Alyssa. It was beautiful and exciting to wake up to outside of the house and was a total blast until the first one of the kids came back inside, usually dragging one of the dogs in too.

That's why I live in the south.

Somehow it's almost the last week in March. Not quite sure how that happened but doubt the calendar is wrong.

I've decided to cut the front of our subdivision one more year, then I'm done. I don't need the sixty bucks as much although it's nice to count on. We got several years behind on our HOA dues and applied cutting last summer to the debt. If I cut one more summer we'll be caught up.

I really like cutting grass but the front of our subdivision is a nightmare on your mower. I've broken three blades up there and gone through two weed eaters.

Let somebody else do it next year.

I'll still stop and pick up trash when I see it, but Johnny's the most reliable gasoline motorized vehicle I own. I wish he was a bigger tractor, I'd drive him to work.

I filled up an entire tall kitchen garbage bag full of trash from the side of the road and both culverts.

Who randomly throws an empty can of Vienna sausages out their car window anyway?

Dang we're red necks... that's almost embarrassing. Don't ask me how many empty Skoal cans I pick up, that is embarrassing.

I honestly can't remember the last time I threw trash out a car window but pretty sure it wasn't an empty food can from the cabinet in the kitchen.

I spent three hours doing the front of the sub and the front yard of my house. Before that I took Charlie to get his stitches removed at the Vet-in-a-Van, stopped by Auto Zone to buy a fix-a-flat for Johnny and went by my shady tree mechanic to get the last of my receipts (have an appointment with Perry Mason next Thursday) and stopped by the credit union to get some cash.

One of the Lost Boys (the Amish one) drives a huge truck, I paid him with gas money and the promise of a home cooked meal if he would take a load of junk to the dump for me. We filled his truck up with things which have been sitting in the way for months (years) and off he went, just like a Clampett with Jethro (Zach) beside him.



If he hadn't been available would have loaded up my newest old car and done something like this.

I pulled out my bank envelope from my visit to the drive through. I had taken out fifty dollars but my envelope contained two tens and three fives. I looked at my receipt, it said I withdrew fifty.

Is the entire universe against me or are you just trying to ruin my mental comeback?

Spent thirty minutes on the phone with them and had to download a form to email back.

Then I went out, cranked ole Johnny Dear up and cut grass for three hours.

I didn't think about my car debacle one time, didn't think about the fifteen dollar shortage at the credit union and actually thought of nothing except how good it felt to be back on my Johnny Dear and was making not only our entrance to the subdivision but my own house a much nicer place to see.

On the flip side, I'm pretty tired now.

Baking a potato in my newly repaired oven and soaking in the garden tub with smelly-good bubbles.

Then I'm cranking up the chain saw and shaving my legs.


"Spring" as defined by Webster :

To move upward or forward in a single quick motion or a series of such motions; leap.

That my friends is me in a nut shell (pun intended).

I'm not looking back anymore, it's not the way I'm headed.

Til next time....COTTON











Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Moving Forward

So I finally got my car back on Thursday. It's been in the shop since the beginning of January. It was all systems go and ready to be picked up! This last round of repairs he did with no charge for labor since it took so long. (his idea)

The morning I was to pick it up received a text from him: "Don't forget you still owe me $69 for the throttle and there was no labor charge but can you give me something I have a lot of time in your car."

Whatever dude.

I picked it up and like the idiot I am gave him an extra fifty bucks.

Hindsight is twenty twenty.

The check engine light came on the next day.

I drove it anyway.

The next day Massey was flying in from Spring Break early so had her meet me out front of the international terminal. I got out and went into work, she drove the car home to get some sleep since had been up since three. I told her to pick me back up at five.

She text me less than an hour later and asked if I knew the power steering was going out?

Dang, I just paid the guy to replace the power steering reservoir too.

I called her when I had a chance and told me it went out on the interstate, could barely steer it and scared her to death. One of the Lost Boys was at the house and agreed to drive the car to pick me up after work and take Massey back to school. Massey and the Lost Boy picked Zach up at work and gave him a ride home before heading back to the airport for me.

Massey called from the house to say when they pulled into our driveway the oil pressure light and stop engine light immediately came on and the car wouldn't crank again.



I've been patient. I've paid for all repairs and parts up front first. I've given this guy almost six grand of my hard earned money over the last two years. I trusted this guy even though every fiber and  bone in my skinny body told me not to.  He let me drive off in a vehicle that could have harmed or killed my daughter.

I felt like throwing up and felt like crying, not necessarily in that order.

I was already panicking thinking about how I was going to get to work the next day and all the ones that followed?

My nephew has a car he was going to put on craigslist so called him and asked if he'd take payments?

First problem solved, I could get it that night for a two hundred dollar down-payment and give him the rest when I could.

My brother in law picked Massey up at our house, they picked me up from work at the airport and we dropped Massey off at her loft in downtown Atlanta. My b&law drove me back to Newnan and let me out at my nephew's to purchase yet another car. I told him I'd bring the money by the next day, he said no hurry and gave me the keys.

It was getting dark by then and in hindsight should have gotten a lot more info from my nephew before he went back into his house.

Took me five minutes to get the parking brake off (couldn't find a switch or handle anywhere) and was totally dark by the time I pulled out of the driveway in pouring down rain. Had to stop at the top of his driveway to open the driver's door so the interior light (couldn't find that switch either) would come on and find out where the wiper switch was located. I got all the way home and found out had driven with my headlights off too, in the rain no less.

Okay I got this.

I'll admit I did a little drinking and a lot of crying that night. I talked with my husband living a thousand miles away from home and both agreed after a long talk.

We're suing.

It's not like we're going ape sh*t crazy and asking for 2.2 million, punitive damages or pain and mental suffering but he's not getting away with what he's done to us. I've contacted a guy who used to work with  me,  studying for his bar exam at the time but now a full fledged lawyer. (like I got money for a lawyer)

Anyway...

All I want is ten grand. Six paid for the Volvo, the thousand I have to shell out for another vehicle, any court costs and attorney fees.

I felt like George Dub... fool me once.




Actually, all said and done felt more like this!



It may end up just being a waste of time but will absolutely make me feel better.

Don't kick a person when they're down. (actually you should never kick a person)

I may not be the greatest person or even close to the top of that list but work hard, love hard and a firm believer in The Golden Rule (aka) Karma.

This dude's got it coming. He owes me.

I had an ultra extreme intense, almost crippling forty eight hour mental meltdown but regrouped and am moving forward.

I was walking out of work the night after this latest vehicular debacle began when one of my managers waved to me, smiled and said "Kelly Cotton, you are one strong woman".

Another switch I obviously couldn't find either suddenly came on like a flood light.

"A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do"



I've gone from bouncing checks just to keep the utilities on (paying exorbitant NFS fees) to leaving it all behind ... with skid marks.

This too shall pass.

Til next time, COTTON


Monday, March 23, 2015

Finally Home Tonight But Off Tomorrow Which Will Be Today In Twenty Minutes And Tomorrow By The Time This Posts


These past few months have been a real blessing and curse. I took this selfie today and think I look pretty good considering all that has happened these past six months. You know what, I'm gonna send this one to Tim.  That'll  keep him warm at night a thousand miles away in Texas.


I was walking out at work tonight after a nine hour shift. One of the managers smiled, said goodnight then added "Kelly Cotton, you're one strong woman".

It's little things like that which can immediately spin your entire mind set one hundred eighty degrees the second spoken.

I needed that.

I also needed to remember and thank him for the literally two seconds long "Free Shrink Season."

If I didn't have (for some still unknown reason) this greatest job I've also literally ever had would have (literally not) sunk like the Titanic.

Too mentally and physically exhausted to even begin to blog about it now but just wanted to write the words simply to reassure not only myself but others, and be able to go back anytime I want and read the following five words I write next.

It will really be okay.

Stay tuned to hear all about it.

Right now I have a date with my pillow and "Everybody loves Raymond".

Til tomorrow,  COTTON


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Stupid Is As Stupid Does



I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed unless you count how skinny I am but people who don't think really get on my nerves. Case in point, this is just from today.

I left the house early for work today to go by the credit union to deposit Zach's paycheck for him and get out some cash to put gas in my once again borrowed vehicle.

I never leave for anywhere with much time to spare but at least am semi prepared. I went through the drive through at the credit union. There was one car ahead of me in each of the two available windows. I hung back to see who would leave first before pulling behind one of them since no one was behind me. I saw a tube come down and got behind that car. The person got something out, sat for about four minutes writing something, put the manifesto back in the tube and sent it back. I backed up and got behind the other car. (still no one behind me)

The guy in the other line was obviously writing his own manifesto and sat four  more minutes waiting on them to return the tube.

I mean, if you are going through the drive through it's usually because you want to save time. Would it not make sense to have everything ready and filled out? I saw both cars in front of me fumble around in their back pocket or purse for ID to put with their deposit/withdrawal/transfer as well. The car on my left finally left and a truck pulled up next. He put it in park, opened the glove box and searched for either a deposit slip, pen or both. Then  began to fill it out on his steering wheel as I shot my tube back up with all my stuff already filled out before even leaving the house , ID included.

If I'd had plenty of time to spare would have pulled into a parking space, parked, got out and gone into the building.

Next I stopped at the gas station to put gas in my free rental. Three registers only one open and the woman at the front of the line was cashing in and buying scratch off tickets.

Bitch please.

"I'll take one number thirty four and how much do the green ones cost? No wait a minute, I don't want that one, I want the one two rows over to the left. No, the other way."

Just shoot me now.

I don't buy a lot of lottery tickets but if did and people were lined up behind me six deep, would gladly step aside and wait for a lull.

You're not in a casino, you're in a gas station. Get a grip.


Next I went by O'Reilly's to pick up a quart of oil. The 'check oil' light came on last night on my drive home from work, went off but certainly wasn't taking any chances.

Oh My God.

There were two sales assistants, both tied up. One was with an old man who had an empty soup can filled with little bolts, nuts, screws or whatever and needed to find new ones. Then he said (in my mind) "Now next on my list is a  'blah blah blah' and do you think I need the whatever to make the something or other work or can I just bypass with a thingy m'job? My daddy used to buy a whatever and clean out the thingy but they just don't make 'em like they used to. It's a shame. Well, guess I better go ahead and get the clamp too long as I'm here unless you think that do hickey might work. Whudda you think?"

For Pete's sake! They're salesmen, not free mechanics. Trust me I wish they were but they ain't so scoot along there ole pardner, this granny's in a hurry.

Next up...

Here's the thing about the airport. I know it's the world's busiest but it kinda ticks me off when you can speak the language but not read it. Is there a difference I don't know about?


Every single shift I work, there is someone who gets in the wrong line for a shuttle or plane train when both are clearly marked and even announced by people who's job it is to simply say loudly for eight hours "Concourse D is to your left as you exit."

The restaurant where I work is in the new international terminal. Most customers are flying overseas but a lot of peeps flying domestic make the trek out to concourse F to eat with us too.

The restaurant is aptly equipped with plug ins under every seat and chair for recharging devices and have an entire section with a huge peg board for duffel bags, totes and plenty of room to stow your suitcases. Nine out of ten people insist on  taking every piece of luggage with them to the table sometimes blocking aisles as well as you from even being able to reach their table much less sit the plate or glass down without an eight foot robotic arm. We should have a sign clearly stating servers do not have extendable robotic arms.

One man sitting directly across from the storage area said  he'd just keep his bags with him, he liked being able to see them.

(wanted to say)

Dude, my eyes are probably worse than yours and you're even older than me but  "I"  could see your bags from here if we moved them to the storage area, four feet away from you.. out of the way but still in plain sight so we couldn't rifle through them. Trust me nobody, including me want to see your whitey tighty's or Lord help us all, your cheetah print G string. It'll all be fine and good right over there, so close you could touch it if you got up and took two paces. I'd even help you over there and wouldn't mind one bit...it'd be a pleasure on my part.

What's he gonna do when it's all under his plane in cargo at thirty thousand feet...freak out totally?

People at the airport amaze me every day in every way. Often in a good way and (fortunately) less often in a not so good way.

It keeps me real.

It really does.




I asked my general manager last night at work to show me my impending paycheck now less than an hour away. He can pull it up on his phone or the computer at his desk. I can't see either even with my peepers. He learned months ago to just quietly tell  me my net pay.

He told me last night and immediately hugged his neck and thanked him once again for hiring me. He laughed, I felt a hot flash pass. It's all good.

We're gonna be okay, we really are even with all our bad luck.



Tim's coming home for a week in July. It was good to have a break but am starting to miss ole Jed. Seems like three months is doing the trick.



I'll just keep plugging away here and Jed will keep plugging away in Lubbock. Before you know it us Clampetts will be eating vittles together again.

Til next time...COTTON



Monday, March 16, 2015

Friday The Thirteenth On Sunday The Fifteenth

Thank goodness the quote below is indeed the truth.


I'm ready for this day to be over with already and the sun isn't even down yet. It went okay until about five but then quickly began to unravel.

I should have seen this day coming over the back yard fence. I've been on a roll lately. Found a great parking space close to the elevator every day for well over a week in the parking deck at work. Even one day when the sign said there was only one available parking spot out of all five levels I managed to snag it and was steps away from the elevator which turned out not to matter because it was even on the first level by the shuttle buses. Then every shift I'd go in for eight hours and walk out with three hundred dollars, a couple of times more. All my customers were off the chain great, I could have been selling swamp water to them and would have all asked for second rounds and one to go. People left me nice little notes on the bill and a couple of them even stopped me on their way out to thank me and tell me what a great job I did.  I was feeling their love! Got all the bills but one  paid, another one of my male dogs castrated (neutered) and got to take a day off to go to a really cool wedding of two friends with my younger son as my date.


The serving profession is basically a crap shoot at best and worst. I don't care how good you are how on your game you are or who walks in the door and sits at your table, there is no guarantee you won't crap out sometimes. You can't bat 400 every game every time or always make the shot.

You just simply can't. That's a fact. The job is a gamble, every day and every shift.

After thirty five years I of all people should know that, especially given how the past five years have been.

I left early for work this morning in my borrowed F-150 pickem' up truck to drop Zach off at work first. In true Cotton fashion his car's not running either. Well it's running but won't pass emissions for a tag.

We pulled out of the neighborhood around seven thirty and was pretty foggy. Zach asked if I had my headlights on? I flipped them on and said yes.

It was an okay day shift, nothing to write home about and made almost two hundred. Problem was, I didn't have a lot of people tip over eighteen percent (which I walk out with in cash) and everything went on  my paycheck. Bigger problem, payday isn't until Thursday. I had just enough gas to get Zach and me to work and planned on gassing up before leaving the airport for home. I had made thirty extra dollars, it cost twelve to park, tipped out twelve and had six bucks left for gas. That thought depressed me considering had to get back and forth to the airport the next day as well.

I got real bummed when decided  would have to take gas money out of my  savings account. Then felt a little better when thought about the fact I hadn't even had a savings account in over six years.

That's something!

The sardine shuttle was jammed pack full of passengers returning home when I got off work around five. It was a long five minute ride back to the parking deck with a screaming baby and twelve other sweaty passengers.

I took the elevator up the the third level where had parked that morning. In hindsight should have known when had to park three levels up, my run of good luck was over.

I walked down to the truck and got in. Put the key in to crank it up and nothing happened.

Like a sharp punch in the gut, Zach's words came back to haunt me. "Mom, do you have your headlights on?"

I looked down and saw the headlight switch still in the ON position.

For Pete's sake!

I got out of the truck and walked over to the emergency call box to ask for a jump from the same guys who did diddly squat to help me when my car broke down in the deck at the beginning of January on a night when it was eleven degrees.

On a side vent, my car is still in the shop and pretty ticked about that too.

The dude came over about ten minutes later and hooked up his jumpy charger thing (NOT a technical term) to my borrowed truck. It didn't crank right up and the dude asked how much gas I had?

"Well not a lot but my low fuel light hasn't come on."  (me)

"Lady, you need at least three gallons or so to crank it up. Call somebody to bring you some gas and then we'll come back up here and help you."  (dude)

Zach was at work waiting on me to pick him up in Newnan, Massey was on Spring Break in Florida, Tim was a thousand miles away in Lubbock, Texas and my sister and her husband were in Madrid.

I got out my cell phone and started from the letter 'A' in my contacts. I needed someone who lived close to the airport. I hit on two people who lived within one mile, neither answered. I kept on scrolling and hit on a co worker who lived five minutes from there. I crossed my fingers and pressed call. I don't really know her that well, she started after me and work maybe one shift together a week.

She answered!

She said if had called five minutes later,  would have been gone but said would call me back in five minutes...and did.

She had something to do but would come help me out first. She had to go buy a gas can and get fuel but would be there shortly...and was.

I started counting money again and did some quick thinking. I still had twenty bucks in my checking account so could use my card at the parking exit then still have eighteen in cash to pay my co worker back for the gas, can and her own parking. Under thirty minutes cost two bucks to park.

Dang...she bought a five gallon gas can! That had to set her back at least twenty bucks.

Now was back to being in the red but could at least get home now. We both held up the big can and glugged the gas in. I asked her how much I owed and said just ten bucks for the gas, said she'd been meaning to buy a gas can for a while and now had one.

How nice was that ?  Things were definitely looking up. I told her thank you, hugged her neck and gave her twelve bucks. I owe her Big Time.

I told her to go ahead and leave and would have Mr. Do Diddly Squat come back and jump me off since she had plans. I hugged her one more time and realized once again how wonderful it is to have friends and now even have another  bffl!

It took Mr. Do Diddly Squat over thirty five minutes to come back. Actually wasn't even him who came back at all some chick did, but the truck fired right up and after getting off at five was on my way home at almost seven.

You know what?

LIFE'S a crap shoot but have turned out to be a pretty lucky gambler. Heck, at least I'm still in the game!


On the ride home I had some time to think and decompress.

The first thing which struck me was how on earth did we survive these past few years when it was bad day after bad day after bad day after bad day etc... ?

Here's the thing my simple little mind figured out:





I guess you could say I'm a professional resilient gambler. Sounds much better than being unemployed, homeless and can be sometimes extremely gratifying!

This too shall pass.

Heck, two days have passed since beginning this post!

You know what?

I'm a winner!

My husband is a winner!

We're both still here and kicking. I'm skinny and scrawny but more than anything have at least as much gusto as Granny Clampett did, one of my favorite fictional heroes.




My biggest question is why am I starting to look like her?

Til next time...COTTON





Saturday, March 14, 2015

Post Op...and Post Wedding


Charlie seemed to recover better than Ziggy did after his initial bout with Anesthesia wake up. Last night he finally quit spewing and stayed in the living room with me and Ham. He slept under my bed and didn't move all night. This morning I had to go in earlier for a co worker so fed Ham and Ziggy and let them both out.

 Charlie opted to stare at me from the back side of under our king size bed and not budge. I couldn't have reached him if I wanted to (which I did) but looked like he was dead. I thought he had died with his eyes open. He finally blinked just one eye (in true "Cha lee" fashion) so knew he was at least alive. I just let him be. I was worried because he wasn't close enough for me to shove a Tramadol down his throat but didn't have time to take the bed apart to reach him. I had to leave for work, so I did.

Zach was at work and none of the Lost Boys would be over and knew I wouldn't get home until eleven if was lucky.

I worried about the poor little feller all afternoon. We had a huge pop at work when I first got there and had excellent tables. It died just as suddenly around seven and told one of my managers I was worried about my pup. He's not only a great guy but a dog lover too so cut me immediately. I could be home by eight thirty and had still made almost three B Franklins. That was plenty for me considering I wanted to leave work early on a Friday night during Spring Break departure at the airport to check on a hound.

The above picture is from Panama City, Florida this afternoon. Thank The Lord for Spring Break!

Zach called me as I got off the interstate for a ride home from work so swung by and picked him up. I figured if Charlie had made it this far he'd make it another twenty minutes.

He was fine. We heard him bark when I started to unlock the door. Worried for nothing but felt better for having cared. Our pups are family first ( idiots second) and yes, Charlie chewed a hole big enough to cram his head through between the gates of our fence. That's Ham in the background wishing he'd thought of it first.



I took the next day off to go to a wedding. Two people I worked with at Mama Lucia's were tying the knot. They are a really sweet couple, both young and both awesome people.

I was going to take Massey but forgot she was going to Destin for Spring Break so took my back up date, Zach.



Dang I gotta learn how to take a better selfie! The smirk on Zach's face screams "Mom's taking another terrible selfie; she's a slow learner."

I guess I need to practice more. I've noticed fifteen to twenty five year old girls practice a lot!  Massey's selfies look like she pays someone to take them. (I'll have to start practicing when I'm on the toilet in front of a mirror)

Anyway...





They got married at a state park on the Chattahoochee River. Small wedding, family and a couple of friends. The day started out dreary but weather broke about an hour before the wedding and was perfect. I've known the bride since she was seventeen and started working at the restaurant. I've always called the groom, Radar. He's a chef in a crazy house but sometimes will have been there four hours before you even notice him back behind the line.  He's pretty smart.

If you work in a crazy house, definitely try to fly under the radar.



video



I've known him about six years and bet he hasn't said over a hundred words to me. That's okay I like doing the talking, just ask my husband!

He's an honest simple quiet country boy with a good heart and impressive Culinary degree. He married a sweet Latino girl who also worked in the kitchen. They are a perfect match.



Sorry about my shadow on her dress. Guess I need to practice my themsies too.

The food was hum dinging delightful. They had a pot luck dinner reception that was off the chain. Three huge picnic tables filled with every food you could want. Whole fried chickens (lemon pepper and cajun)  hand made egg rolls with homemade sweet and sour, home made tamales, roasted pork, rice and salsa verde. There were also three or four different pasta salads, fresh fruit skewers and tons of wonderful yeast rolls.

...AND  they had a huge stack of  "to go" boxes ! I brought home six . Zach made me stop at six.






It was simple, honest and fabulous just like the bride and groom.

This is the groom with his mother, a  woman as talented as she is nice.

This is Zach with the bride's mother who also works in the kitchen at Mama Lucia's.



Two  different countries, two different cultures, two different families united by one mutual love. It was a lovely thing to witness and felt honored be a part of it.

People should "Come Together" more often... and why do us Americans have to be on the right or the left anyway? Shouldn't we all meet in the middle;  unite be strategic and forge forward as one stronger  nation who always have each others back?

It's always better to have a friend than an adversary.







Sounds simple but then again what do I know?

I can't even take a decent selfie OR youie.

Til next time...COTTON


Thursday, March 12, 2015

NEXT!!!


Our youngest boxer, Ziggy has totally healed from his "30 minutes or less nut choppin' or it's free" and the Vet-in-a-Van will back in our county tomorrow from eight to five. Our bull dog Charlie is next up to be cut down to size.



I plan on being there early (again without an appointment) and one of the first to pull into the parking lot. That always says "Yes I have an appointment and this is when you told me to be here!"

The change in Ziggy has been pretty significant.

It took him about two days to get over the trauma of his unexpected no frills discount castration but rebounded quickly. I think his bark may be a little higher but hasn't jumped the fence once, only got into one dog fight (instigated by Charlie, as always) and for once backed down instead of tearing Charlie to pieces before we could separate them. Charlie's been with us for over six years now, hasn't won a dog fight yet but will have to give it to him. He's persistent. He thinks he's a bad ass.

We have an electric prod my sister loaned us. She used to have two males who got into fights. I popped Zig once and he cowered under the computer desk. Charlie kept after him and took three pops with the zapper to get him away.

Dog fights are the worst, especially when your own two pups and love them both.

Zig has been so much better tempered and am sorry we didn't do this years ago, not to mention is much better for their health as they grow older.

Charlie thinks he's a bad boy but is a fat ole baby with a mighty growl who has never been able to back it up without stitches or a really messed up face. We called him "Scar Face" for months after a particularly brutal loss.


"Cut them off  I say!"

And it shall be!

He's such a baby am almost sure will love the Tramadol I shove down his fat throat to keep him whacked out for a day or two.

We could all use a forty eight hour break from him around here, especially when know he'll wake up without those balls he thought could (but never did) win him a dog fight.

It takes two weeks for the stitches to come out and then will take our oldest boxer, Ham to go under the "Sling Blade."

Is it sad I am almost excited for his loss?

Nope!

It's a win all around, for them and me. It's better for their health and cuts chances down for many cancers and problems.



Next Day...

I was exhausted and crashed early last night. Got up at seven thirty this morning and had ole Charlie at the Vet-in-a-Van right on time. They didn't even ask if I had an appointment. I got out of my car like I was expected, filled out the paperwork and asked if I could pick him up in about an hour? Doc remembered me. He asked how Ziggy was doing, took Charlie's leash, handed it to one of the helpers and off my boy went up the steps of the van.

I went by the credit union to pull out some cash, stopped by the house to get the crate (recovery room) ready in my bedroom and headed back at the appointed time.

I had to wait about fifteen or twenty minutes but passed the time chatting with other dog owners and admiring a beautiful American bull dog and cute Australian shepherd. One of the owners wanted to wait and see Charlie when he came out after I told him he looked just like Uga.

One of the assistants came out and said it would be another minute or two, Charlie had just thrown up.

Good news for me! Ziggy had barfed in my sister's car after I picked him up from being neutered.

A few minutes later the Doc came lumbering out of the van with Charlie in his arms belly up. His usual foot long tongue was sticking out about one inch, bone dry and shriveled up. He has always had one wandering eye but today they were both almost looking in total different directions and felt like I was picking up a dog who had been run over by a Mack truck. He looked downright pitiful (as my husband, Jed would say) and had I not been through this with Ziggy already would have been mortified.

The man who had waited to see Uga simply walked back to his car and left as we hoisted my zombie onto the truck seat, covered with an old comforter. Charlie has definitely seen better days.


I got back home with without him throwing up. My boy barely moved. I got out of the truck and went around to open the passenger side. Charlie didn't budge but I noticed he had made a deposit from his other end on the comforter behind him. I had to half pull half carry him out and put him on the driveway, he weighs over seventy pounds. I grabbed the leash and he didn't move. I had to go wake Zach up and have him carry Charlie into the house. We stopped at the only ground floor bedroom and put him in Massey's room. He immediately threw up twice.

He crashed for a couple of hours as I cleaned the carpet after he hurled again and again.

I thought he would be worse than Ziggy and sure came out of the Vet-in-a-Van looking rough but after three hours got up and went to the water bowl by the back door. Ziggy didn't get up for almost twelve hours and wouldn't drink anything for over twenty four.

It's now evening and Charlie is laying in the floor beside the computer desk as I type. He didn't want to be alone except for those first few hours. He's gone out back with Ham and seems just fine albeit even slower than before. (and he was pretty slow)

By the time I get Ham done next, I'll feel like one of those mothers of three who sterilizes the dropped pacifier of her first kid, washes the second's off under hot water and simply put the third's dropped one in her own mouth to clean it.

I was stress exhausted by five and took a nap on the couch, Charlie beside me recovering nicely.

Tim (Jed) called home tonight. I told him about Charlie and told each other what bills we had paid. Just one more month and we'll be back in the game, I'm almost positively sure of it. He sounded lonely a thousand miles away but feel closer to him every day. We're moving ahead and making huge strides thanks to his taking this new job.

Absence indeed does make the heart grow fonder.



Thanks to my sister and friends have had transportation. I have an incredible job and my husband does too.

Our life is fixing to (as we say in the south) take off and finally in the right direction.

We will be okay and make it through. I know this now.


 To be honest, I want to hold Tim's hand again and think he wants me to.

I'm glad we weathered this storm together a thousand miles apart and look forward to locking my hand in his in a few months.

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Life's Crazy


Our life has been such a (mostly) downhill spiral for so long that was almost resigned to the fact. Then I landed my job at the airport (small pun) and shortly after Tim got on with a wonderful company who moved him up after just six months or so. Granted they transferred  him a thousand miles away from home but even after just a week have realized absence does make the heart grow fonder.

This is my absolute favorite picture of Tim with our daughter. She was in first grade but now almost through her second year of college. She misses her daddy, always been a "Daddy's Girl" and steadfastly been his biggest champion. I, on the other hand  (in hindsight) put a lot of negativity in our relationship after years of being broke. Somebody had to take the brunt of the blame and didn't feel like it should be me so made him the bad guy in my selfish mind because he had so much trouble finding a good job too. Yes I can be a bitch. But at least I know and admit it. That's something isn't it?

Tim called yesterday from Texas. Just to talk. The last time he called just to talk was in the 1980's.

The first time we talked about what bills were due and where to find them. He had found a room to rent and moved out of the hotel and told me a little about the place. We talked for a few minutes and before hanging up told him I was off all day and could call again later if he wanted. We have always ended phone calls with "I love you" and "I love you too."

 Life's short.

He called again later. I can't remember a second call just to talk,  ever!


I should have this motto etched on the back of my eyelids.

He's out there all alone in a place he's never been and doing it for not only us but me!

The room he's renting has a twin bed. He's over six two. He said his feet hung off the end. Bless ole Jed's heart, he's a good man.

I will mention one thing he said in the second call which made me smile. He said "I miss the dogs."


We have three kids and three dogs. Guess who complains the least and seems the happiest?

To me, dogs are totally therapeutic. If hadn't had these three pups to talk to the past few years I would be insane(r) by now. They've torn up the house, in the winter they plow up the back yard, sometimes get in fights (with each other none the less) and think they own the furniture but dangit we love those pups! If you don't feel good or have a bad day they instinctively and always know it.

If you have a really busy day and don't have a lot of time to spend with them; they'll look at you like that's okay too.

And it is.

My dogs have had to wait until the next day for food and still loved me. (even more when finally set down three bowls of food)

I've heard Tim complain to the dogs about me. I've done the same thing with them about him. They probably all three think we're both nuts!

I'll be honest, our three pups somehow hold the entire family together and are one of the few things we all have in common and care about equally.

I think they earned the furniture privilege. It's all at least twenty years old anyway and not like they're living at the Ritz. Heck, I had one of them's nuts chopped off in less than thirty minutes.  I think even they realize that much, and more times than not humble with wants and needs.

Maybe I should have given birth to puppies instead of babies. No that wouldn't work, dogs don't live long enough. Unfortunately, they're definitely a short fix.

I gotta have someone who can fill out the paperwork for me when  get shoved into an ole folks home much to the (probably by then) well earned and deserved pleasure of my future son and daughters in law.

All I ask is shove me somewhere that will let me have a pup.

I'm kidding about having had a litter instead. My boobs are way too small.

Our three kids are all composed of tiny microcosms, bits and pieces of us both miraculously put together by nature and God. All different yet all the same. They're ours.



They wear me out and can try me but also give me the greatest joy I've ever known.  I see some extremely wealthy people come into where I work with some (not all) pretty terrible kids (begrudgingly) in tow. What kid acts miserable when their parents are taking them to Greece, Amsterdam or Paris?

They don't have a clue how the other half (or nine tenths) live. My daughter was beyond thrilled to just get a pass through security so she could eat there...and wasn't flying off to anywhere. She rode MARTA with her momma to eat there and rode MARTA back to the borrowed car we used.

I'd take my kids over them any day of the week and all weekend long. They've seen Tim and me struggle these past few years and realize now, at pretty significant stages in their own lives  how quickly it can (and will) change.

Life comes with no guarantee, many hidden clauses and a lot of fine print.

I'd say we have about six more months of struggling but should have our heads out of the water and feet firmly in the black. Well maybe the really really dark almost black red.


Both Tim and I have absolutely fantastic jobs now and (God willin' & the creek don't rise again)  finally on the right path again. Our secure future is so close ahead we can wave at it now.

It appears to be absolutely stunning from where I'm standing.



The last few years haven't been easy but wouldn't change them even if I could.

We went from having everything we needed to pretty much scratching and scrambling for everything needed just to keep this house and family afloat. Essentially we've been living on an ark.

Our ark will be paid off in under three years.




I'll never forget these past few years and now not only realize how hard life can be but understand even more how priceless and fragile this exact very instant in time really is.

Life can change or simply choose to take you completely out of the game before a second hand on the clock can start to tick forward once.




Tim and I are literally a thousand miles apart right now but closer than we've ever been in over half a decade.

I'm gonna stay and dance with the one who brung me!



Til next time...COTTON

Monday, March 2, 2015

How Much Time Ya Got?

So Tim left for Texas the other day. Let's take note of everything that has gone wrong so far.

The night before Tim left, Zach was backing the Ranger out of the garage. Zach called me at work to tell me he clipped a pole I had propping the broken garage door panel up and the door fell.  I was busy so just told him to prop the door back open for me and let it go.

I got home from work around midnight and pulled in the driveway in my borrowed vehicle. Not only had Zach clipped the metal pole but also the wooden beam between the two doors as well. It was knocked about six inches out from the front of the house and looked totally jacked up . The truck had a pretty small dent from where the door fell on it but still say when I left for work, the truck didn't have any dents at all.

Kids! (oh I got me some)


It doesn't look very structurally sound but at least isn't (wasn't) one of the weight bearing beams. State Farm told me to get an estimate and Zach agreed to pay our deductible.

My car was supposed to be ready yesterday. It broke down the first of January and it's now March. I'm still bumming cars from my sister but is getting on my nerves almost as much as I'm probably getting on hers. Then it was supposed to be ready today but wasn't.

Maybe I wasn't  meant to drive a car.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and called another friend, my next door husband's son who worked at the local Ford Dealership. He told me to come on up and look around at used cars and would put me in touch with the right guy to talk with.

All I wanted was a two or three year old Focus or even smaller that  knew would get me to work and back home.

I had it all planned out. I'd go to Delta Credit Union and apply for a small car loan with payments around two hundred dollars and be back on the road!

I was sure since being a member of the DCCU for quite a while and had a great job would qualify like NASCAR for the loan!

It seems DCCU doesn't consider three weeks "Quite a while". It seemed like ages ago to my tiny mind! I got turned down like a bed in the fancy hotels I see on TV.

It wasn't nearly as embarrassing as the time a few years ago when I had to apply for Food Stamps so took it on the chin and thought to myself, "Look at me! I wouldn't have had the guts to even attempt to apply loan a few years ago...it's definitely getting better!"

Guess I got a little too big fer me britches.



We're almost nearly just about back to the middle and the Hecks seem like a nice family to me. I wouldn't mind being like them one bit.

I just have to (hopefully) get my car back, hope it runs until can sell it to someone else with a lot more money to spend on vehicular band aides,  take that money back up to the Ford Dealership, plop down hopefully a few grand in cash and see how they feel about financing now?

It could happen. You never know until you try and try I will.

I don't miss Tim anymore. I'm almost jealous of him out in Texas alone.

Just kidding, but sometimes want to look around for the hidden camera on certain days and halfway expect John Quinos to step out and tell me I've been on a five year special they've been taping for "What Would YOU Do?"

I may slap him if that really happened and really like him but think there's not much chance of that scenario ever happening so am good just putzn' along as a Cotton. At least we're putzn' ahead!



It'll be okay. Really, it will.

Til next time, COTTON