Sunday, August 13, 2017


I'm fifty seven, that's old to me. At least my body doesn't look like a busted can of biscuits and consider myself in fairly good shape. It's mainly because I've had such a physically demanding job for almost forty years. I never sit down while at work unless it's to pee, and that takes about fifteen seconds. Carrying heavy plates on the same arm five days a week for decades tends to get your alignment out of whack.

My back started going out about once every year or so around the time I hit my late forties. It lasts about a week and is not fun. Tim has told me for (literally) years that I need to stretch...every day. I know he's right, I just never think about it if my back doesn't hurt. I go into a shift feeling pretty frisky but lately as a shift wears on, my lower back begins to feel as if I'm 'all stove up'  (southern speak) and is painful when I have to lean over to pick something up, especially if it's on the floor.

When it first started hurting, Tim would have me lay on my back on the floor and lead me through various stretches he did while playing soccer and football as a teenager, which helped tremendously.

Once my shoulder began killing me too, I knew I had to do something. I was at work about a week ago and mentioned to another server that my back was killing me and my husband always says I need to do more stretching exercises. She asked if I wanted to do Yoga classes?

You know me... I said "will I have to pay for it?"

She said not if I took classes from her, she'd taught for years before her daughter (now four) was born.


It took us about another week to finally arrange a free day off  together and decided to meet up at my brother's house while he was at work. It was halfway between where she and I live, much bigger than our sardine can rental and totally empty while my brother was working. He told me it was fine by him so we met up there just the other day.

It was immediately obvious she had done it for many years. I'm a 100 pound mighty mite, she's toting some extra pounds around but totally more limber than I have been in over thirty years. Heck, I had to struggle to get one foot on top of the other when she told me to sit 'indian style'. I'm so bony my ankles hurt when on top of each other, especially on the tile flooring.

Number one: I need a Yoga mat.

Number two: Don't do Yoga with a couple of hundred pound Dobermans wandering around the room.

At least my brother's two are well behaved and obey commands. All you had to say when they got right in your face while in a contorted Yoga position was "No" and they would walk away.

It started out easy enough. I liked the initial stretching but couldn't for the life of me get that one leg tucked on top of the other. She did it like it was nothing.

I'm talking about this one.

I finally gave up and just got as close as I could. Of course she started me with beginning moves and most of, I could do.

When she first suggested at work for me to try Yoga for stretching, funny me replied "I'm downward facing dog with that!"

When she instructed me the other day to go into a leaning forward position with my hands stretched out in front of me on the floor said "There's your downward facing dog."

It was a pretty amazing session. In one position I felt my sinuses draining and both ears popped and cleared.

In another position we held, I could feel the bones popping up and down my spine.

Towards the end of the session she instructed me into another position and after holding it for about ten seconds, collapsed on to the floor, telling her it was killing me. She laughed and said "I just thought I'd see if you could do that one."

That ended our initial session. I stayed on my back on the floor for a good five minutes...breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth...per her previous instructions.

It was the most intense, invigorating but relaxing experience I've ever had. It was like having a sexual climax ...only my husband wasn't there.

I kid you not.

She told me I would feel better the rest of the day, and did.

The next morning I woke up, still felt good but was sore. I knew then, this is exactly what I have been needing.

I don't want to join a gym or class I have to pay for, but if I am lucky enough to have a good friend who is willing to lead and teach me for free, count me in!

I was sore for three days but am now ready to go at it again. I can't even imagine how awesome it will be when we do Yoga with soft music playing, no dogs or kids around and can get into that whole Zen thing as well. My mental well being needs some fixin' too.

It was a pretty amazing experience and although am easily impressed, think I may have hit the proverbial nail on the head for most of my ailments.

Till next time...COTTON

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Silent Spat

I very rarely ever have differences of opinion with either of my two siblings, we're a tightly knit three.

 Always have been.

My sister and I both know better than to get in an argument with our brother; he's way too much like our Diddy.  Diddy got mad when major league baseball players (underpaid to play a game for a living?) went on strike in 1994 and vowed to never watch another game.

He didn't... for literally years.

My brother is the nicest person in the world, unless you make him we don't. Of course we all three fell from the same tree so pretty much are all stubborn.

One of the hardest things about moving out of state was leaving my sister behind. For the first time in well over half a century, we wouldn't be less than an hour away from each other. Granted I'd live near my brother again and was a saving grace but not having my sister near was like leaving half myself behind.

It has proved to be a hard transition to become accustomed to.

She got upset with me one time when I visited Georgia for a couple of days and stayed at our old house in Newnan (I went back to clean out the house and garage) instead of staying with her. It took us four weeks to get past it.

We finally agreed to disagree about my decision and let it go... and did.

I know I sound like a brat, but my feelings have been hurt that she hasn't come to visit me here more often. She came once, at Christmas but we had Christmas at my brother's house this past year.

I want her to come see me.

I want her to want to come see me.

I want her (retired airline employee) to get on a plane and come down to spend just six hours with me one day.

Any day.

Any time.

Her pick.

Massey and I would pick her up at the airport, we'd drive to Cocoa Beach and be there in thirty minutes. We could sit in the sand, look at God's water bowl and laugh together for three hours. Then we could grab a bite to eat together and head back to Orlando towards the airport(near my house) stopping by our tiny rental first so she could see the pups and change clothes.

BOOM...back home in six hours, maybe seven.

I need an updated picture of Massey, her and me by the beach.

I know my sister has a lot going on. I know she does a lot more than I do and am proud of her relentless service for others.

Call me "Jealous you're such a good person but lonely in Orlando".

Call me selfish.

I've invited her her down several times for a get together at our brother's lake house but something always comes up.

She accepted my latest offer but had to decline the next day after looking at her schedule again.

I guess I need to realize the world doesn't revolve around me.

My bad.

Thanks to modern technology our latest spat has been via text. It got ugly, by sister standards. I got my feelings hurt, she tried to explain but all I read (and felt) was rejection.

She (called) back when I was at work, it was busy so just texted back "At work". She texted back for me to call her when I got off.

I didn't.

I didn't want to.

My feelings were hurt, probably not even valid feelings but my feelings at the time.

She called again this morning, didn't answer because I'm still pouting.

We'll get past this, at least I hope we will.

I feel like she thinks she has to take three or four days off to come visit me in Orlando.

I don't want that.

I just want her to take six or seven hours off, on any given day at any given point in time,check the flights and jump on a plane to spend four of those hours with me.

Webster's defines 'Squabble' as  "To engage in a disagreeable argument, usually over a trivial matter".

These past few days of being on the 'Outs' with my sister have been on my mind twenty four seven.

If our brother is mad at me, I'm scared. If my sister is mad at me, I'm broken.

I'm the nut in our family. I've always known it and they have too. I'm almost proud of it. It's my greatest accomplishment as their sibling. I'm the tie dyed black sheep of the family.

That doesn't necessarily make me the weakest link (of course I am) but totally makes me the hardest link to love, and appreciate the fact my siblings still do love me.

So me and my sister had a text spat.

Every thing's still going to be (hopefully) okay.

North Korea hasn't attacked...yet.

We are both worried and concerned about the same things. It's what makes us one. I just want us to be one again.

Webster's definition of spat is "to engage in a brief quarrel' and hopefully ours will be exactly that.

I love my sister and know she loves me.

"This too shall pass."

Yes I was a baby and exaggerated my disappointment by not replying to her text. Yes I had my feelings hurt.

How do do you heal that relationship?

With a silly love song?

What's wrong with that?

I can live (maybe) without technology, but I can't live without my sister.

Till next time...COTTON

Friday, August 11, 2017

Call Me A Lifer

"People seem to love their dogs with an unabashed acceptance that they rarely demonstrate with family or friends. The dogs do not disappoint them, or if they do, the owners manage to forget about it quickly. I want to learn to love people like this, the way I love my dog, with pride and enthusiasm and a complete amnesia for faults. In short, to love others the way my dog loves me."

                                                                                               Ann Patchett

I came across the above quote while reading a book my sister loaned me. It's the third book by her I've read in the past month. I read State Of Wonder first, then Bel Canto next. 

The crazy part is while she (Ann Patchett) always wanted to be a writer, she worked for years as a waitress.

Sound familiar?

 know you're a Lifer when you have pictures from every place you've worked since college and a few of them contain cross over friends from  different restaurants. I actually enjoy being a Lifer. I've always advanced monetarily with each restaurant I've served for. I enjoy that every shift is a pay day and that my pay day depends on how well I do my job.

It also doubles as to keeping yourself in check with how well you do your job.

I've always said, if you're not making enough money as a need to be a better server. I've also said being a server is like being a professional gambler; you may not win every hand but just hope the odds favor in your direction at the end of the shift.

Being a server is totally being a gambler for a living. There will always be that one shift when you crap out, but if you play your serving cards right, will win more often than not.

I happen to think I'm a pretty good gambler and should be. I've been doing it since 1980.

Jeez, we used to hang our tickets up on a line with  clothes pins. Whenever someone paid with a credit card, you had to ram their card through a manual stamper, hoping not to rip the card in two...

then look through a tiny font booklet, searching to see if that card number was listed in it before approving it.

It was not a good thing to have your card number listed in the booklet. 

How did we live like such cavemen? Only one telephone in our houses, one TV set and no remote controls.

Maybe being a server is a pretty noble profession after all... of course it has its ups and downs but has a lot of other benefits as well. You work with your team like a family and have each others back, no matter what. Oh sure, there's tension, sometimes flat out verbal war, but when the shift is finally over and you've all survived it, is quickly forgotten.

 You also get to meet different people every single shift and is certainly never dull and mostly pretty amusing.

The time that young girl took my really cool looking hot pink pen which actually wrote in pink ink, after signing her name on the credit card receipt I actually looked her up on Face book. Unfortunately I needed my job more than I did the pen so declined my urge to message her about her theft.

Of course every so often you get that person who is a complete lunatic, but in every place I've ever worked the management usually stands up the server. In my thirty seven years, only one man made me cry. Those are pretty good odds. My favorite fantasy thing to say to someone like him would be "You look so familiar to me, is your name Dick?"

I'd say 99.9% of the people I wait on are nice enough people, with more than most of them really liking me after their meal is all said (eaten) and done.

There's a saying I use about the front of the house vs the back of the house. To servers, (FOH) we are South Korea and cooks (BOH) are North Korea. To cooks, they are South Korea and we are North Korea. I can see both sides, having cooked for over ten years as well. They don't need cute little notes typed in when there is a key to simply make them aware of it. I can totally see how servers get on cooks nerves.

Then there's what we call the "Verbal Tip."

The more they talk about what a great job you are doing, while you're doing it is a very bad sign. I mean, compliments are great but they don't keep the utilities on.

My biggest downfall is when another server asks me to watch their section, especially when it's not the time to be taking five. I am extremely focused when I'm working, constantly talking out loud to myself to remind myself what I need to do next. They laugh about it at work. Heck, I do it at home too! I'm an old dog who has a hard time learning new tricks. It takes me at least six months at a new place to really truly comfortable with myself as a server.

My new job here in Orlando features small sharable plates, basically encouraging communal dining. People order two or three things each and all come out as ready, hitting the table in  random order so we suggest everyone try a little bit of every dish delivered to the table.

Try doing split checks for a party of ten who basically shared everything but only wants to pay for things they specifically ordered?

Yep...pretty much, especially on a busy night when they've all changed seats or ordered for others at the table. I've never worked in a place with so many split checks. It can be quite stressful. Especially when they look at their check,  say "I didn't order this" and have the particular item circled with an ink pen.


All these memes are simply funny to me because at one time or another over the course of almost four decades of serving, have had them happen to me...more than once.

I think the one below is pretty much spot-on for any server.

They're more like nightmares. My most reoccurring one is that I'm working in some restaurant I used to work for but have food in my hands from another restaurant I used to work for so I can't find the table...but being the seasoned server I am, go to the host stand to look at the seating chart and is a seating chart for a restaurant where I've never worked.

Or when I (really) wake up in the middle of the night in bed from a hot flash and suddenly remember that table who had told me about a birthday at the table and I'd actually forgotten to bring them a free dessert with a candle in it. That's a horrible feeling as well. I don't even like it when I wake up and remember I forgot the extra dressing table 207 had asked me to bring them.

Or when I dream that I leave the expo window loaded with food in my hands to deliver, turn the corner into the dining room where I discover it's a place where I've never worked and have no idea where table 151 is. That is a nightmare!

Yeah, I'm a Lifer.

And why, for some reason, do six people think food will taste so much better in a booth (meant for four) than at a table, set for six?

I write all this in jest (mostly) but let me assure you, waiting on the public for a living is a crash course in Psychology, at the very least. Like the customer who orders something fried (not seafood), but tells you they have a seafood allergy. You tell them that item is fried in the same oil we fry seafood in and they say, "Well, fried in the same oil is okay. I'll have it anyway."

 In my head I'm saying,"There's preference, there's intolerance and there's allergic to...pick one!!"

Trust me I've also had people who have asked me for bread after informing me they are strictly gluten free. Those people are what I call "Oxymorons".    

I really think all of the above things combined are what make my job such a fascinating one.

My husband often tells me I have my PhD in BS, so being a server certainly seems the right line work for me to pursue.

It's basically having a major in Sales and Marketing with a minor in Human Studies.

It's a life which has served not only me well, but my entire family as well.

It's something different each and every day, always a learning process, and the better I am at my job, the better I am rewarded for it.

It's a win/win job if you do it right.

I try and do it right each and every shift, and constantly aspire to make myself a better server. My best tables are those who come in cranky but leave my table ecstatic.

Case in point...a review from Trip Advisor when I worked at the airport.

And believe it or not, even one from my new gig here in Orlando.

I'm sure a lot of people think I'm just a waitress for a living, and guess maybe they are right, but that doesn't bother me either. I know I'm pretty good at what I do and more importantly, I enjoy it.

To borrow (paraphrase) something I learned from my training days at the airport gig, "Have the passion to allow your customer to experience joy."

When people sit down at one of my tables for service from me, I want them to leave it even happier.

I'm okay with being called 'just a waitress'. That's what the profession was called when I started it in the late seventies.

But at least I enjoy what I do and more than that, hope my customers enjoy it even more.

I hope I'm "Killing it at Life".

I suppose time will tell.

Till next time...COTTON