Friday, May 29, 2009

My Girl With Her Award and Medal

A Banner Day For the Cottons

My daughter had her awards ceremony at 9:30 this morning. I went into work two hours early to get everything set up for opening at 11:00 , so I could sneak away at 9:20...make the five minute drive to her school to watch the awards and be back at the store by the time we opened at 11.

Catch number one: my sister was going to meet me at the school, she called me at work five minutes before I was going to leave and said "The sign out front of the school says the awards ceremony started at 9:00."

I flew out of the back door of the restaurant flying down the road to the school, feeling reminiscent about the trip at 85MPH in a driving monsoon to Macon to see Massey in her state competition for Winter guard. At least it wasn't raining today!

Catch number two: Her principal is an obvious blow hard who loves the sound of his own voice. I was thirty minutes late and he was just giving out the first award.

This is an example of how he introduced EACH and EVERY award:

"This next award is for the A/B honor roll students...this means that each and every one of these students had an
'A' or 'B' average, no one had any 'C' on their report card or received a grade lower than a 'B.' Certainly no dastardly 'D' and maintained this average for the last semester. These students had only A's or B's for the entire nine weeks."

For pete's sake! I was never on the A/B roll and even I know what "A/B" means...It means all A's and B's.

When you are in a class of 313, you have to cut to the nitty gritty.

Next came the "Perfect Attendance".

As he stated: "This award goes to these students who have maintained a perfect attendance record... this means that not one of these students have missed even ONE day of school for the past semester and have been here every day of the school period of the last nine weeks."

Thank the Lord he cleared THAT one up for me!

Next was the Perfect, Perfect attendance, which means "that every student has not only been present each and every day, but has not checked in late or checked out early for the entire nine weeks and has been present for the entire day for the entire nine week period."

After that we had to endure perfect attendance for the entire school year and perfect, perfect attendance for the entire school year.

Next came the sports awards. My sister remarked on the size of one of the recipients..a big ole strapping boy. She asked me if he was really in middle school...I told her he was probably an eighth grader like my son Zach was a sophomore (at almost seventeen)...I told her he probably doubled as a bus driver for field trips and would receive THAT award next, once the principal thoroughly explained it to us idiots.

It went on and on and on. When they gave out academic awards, I went to move my illegally parked car, knowing for sure I wouldn't miss anything. Not that my kids are dumb, they just choose not to excel in the academic area any more than they have to. As I told my sister, you really don't have to bring a camera to these things if you are one of my kids...just show up for moral support.

Oh there were the smart kid's parents with their zoom lens cameras walking the perimeter waiting to snap that photo, adjust their F-stop ... zoom in on the face of their over achiever and get THAT SHOT! The kid may be smart, but they are still a middle school kid and most looked mortified that their parents wouldn't just sit in the stands like the rest of us and leave the the student to blend in with every one else and act like they didn't even HAVE parents ...much less ones that were there in the gym.

After over two hours we were only half way through the program and I had to leave to be at work by the time we opened. I told my sister that I would walk out the other door so that maybe I could see where Massey was and blow her a kiss and let her know I was there. I caught her beautiful face...she brightened a thousand times just seeing me and I mouthed to her "I have to go, but Aunt Cindy is in the back." She blew me a kiss and I pointed to where Cindy was in the stands. By this point , the older people, probably grand parents were dropping like flies, leaving every exit they could find.

The only awards left were the important ones , like the superintendent's award, all kind of awards named for our county's big shots and awards sponsored by Kiwanis, Coca Cola and so forth.

As I was pulling into the parking lot at work, five minutes before we opened, I received a text from my sister: "She just got the Citizenship Award from Coca Cola."

Cindy said she was making a grocery list when she heard my daughter's name called.

Massey told me later that she was quietly chatting with her friends when someone said "THAT'S YOUR NAME!!"

The program I have from the ceremony reads as follows:

The Coca Cola Citizenship Award is sponsored by Coca Cola and given to the student that exemplifies outstanding citizenship and character. The award is presented to one male and one female student.

I thought that I would bust out crying. It was voted on by the teachers...out of 313 students, they chose MY GIRL!!

I am so glad that my sister was there to see it and that my girl got such an appropriate award!

Cindy checked her out of school after the awards and brought her to the restaurant for lunch.

My manager bought both of their lunches, all my co workers went by to hug her and look at the medal she had gotten. My best friend at work gave her a ten dollar bill. The cooks sent her a huge dessert..two huge pieces of chocolate cake, five types of chocolate, chocolate mousse, two scoops of vanilla bean ice fudge and whipped cream.

It was a banner day for her AND me.

I got home from work around five, and Zach told me that he had gotten a"Perfect Perfect" attendance award at the high school as well. What the heck...he may not be doing much but at least he shows up! Kudos for my boy getting something too! I started to ask him how they described the award and how long did it take them to describe it "Perfectly?"

All in all a great day! I hated that I missed Massey getting her big award, but so happy that my sis was there to cheer her on.

I am one of the luckiest people I know. I have terrific kids, they may not turn out to be brain surgeons...but they will turn out to be wonderful people and a definite addition to society. They will always make me proud...of THAT I am sure. They certainly made me proud today.

God has blessed the Cottons and for that... I am truly grateful !!

With a heart bursting with pride....COTTON

Thursday, May 28, 2009

School is O U T !!!

Tomorrow is the last day of school for my younger two kids and no one is happier than ME!!

My daughter is getting out of middle school, or as I have come to call it...middle Hell.

My son gets a two and a half month reprieve from his "prison of education" and I get a break from shelling out money hand over foot to the county...$26 a week for lunches, dances and yearbooks and school projects and all they incur.

I told my son a couple of weeks ago as I left the house for work that it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I expected him to get out and enjoy the sunshine. My daughter called me when she returned home from a friend's house to inform me that Zach had carried his 36" TV down from his third floor bedroom out into the driveway...had run a drop cord out from the garage and was sitting in a lawn chair playing his PS3 ..."Enjoying the sunshine." I have GOT to be more specific when leaving him instructions! Thank the Lord he will be married one day and the task of shoving him down the path of life will be taken off of my shoulders.

He had the hardest time in middle school. They are so ridiculous with their demands on kids and their petty rules. When Zach had his hair cut into a liberty spike mohawk, the principal had a fit (like Tim and I suggested or even liked it.) There was no policy against it , but it turned into a HUGE issue with the principal and I finally told Zach "You have one more month in middle school, get through it and next year you will be in high school and you will blend right in with all the other freaks and no one will say a word."

Luckily over the summer he shaved his hair off and looked so sweet it made me proud that I had let him make his own decision...took a while, but he came around. Sometimes you have to let your kids make an idiot out of themselves before they realize how wrong they are and correct the problem on their own.

My little "social butterfly" of a girl is on the opposite end of the scale. She is in every group she could join (all with a check needed from me.) Chorus, color guard, year books... the list never ends with her but she has had a grand time and made many, many friends and is making the most of her time in school.

The semi formal 8th grade dance was tonight (another check written) and she was so excited. Her dad dropped her and a girlfriend off at the dance , and the other girl's parents picked them up. I called her from work when she was getting ready and told her to have a good time and NOT to kiss any boys (she did NOT think that was funny but I did.)

She reminds me of myself at that age...relishing every possible moment, attending every function and event and living her thirteen year old life to the fullest.

How can these two kids both be mine? They are such polar detests the things about school that the other cherishes.

As crazy as it sounds, I enjoy having them be so different... it kind of balances out and only one of them is constantly needing me to send in a check...the other I have... having to constantly check up on!

Kids are a marvelous adventure. I love my kids and enjoy being around them more than anyone dogs coming in right behind them. To be loved by your child is an extremely satisfying feeling and one that fills my heart every time they say "I love you"...which they do a lot.

They disappoint me , they let me down sometimes, but they always seem to find the way ; Granted they take detours and short cuts...but what is important is that they are good people, they are conscientious and they seem to have retained what I have taught them through out their formative years.

I look forward to spending the summer with them...hoping Zach will be inspired to do better and Massey will be inspired to cost me less.

I don't count on anything...with kids it can all change in a nano second.

I am just glad that I can enjoy this time with them and let them enjoy their youth as they wish. It would be a lot different if I was doing the choosing...but then it wouldn't be "THEIR" life... would it?

I am sure they will both turn out fine...I just hope that one day they will know how much I fretted and worried about their choices and decisions, and appreciate how hard it was for me to keep my big mouth shut as they both rambled down the road to adulthood.

I don't think they know how rocky that road can be, but at least they have a mom to kiss the bruises and give them a band aid when needed. (That will most probably involve another check!!)

I wouldn't have it any other way, my kids are my life and without them it would be a desolate place to be.

Have a great summer kids...and Zach, don't throw your back out toting the TV out to the driveway this summer enjoying the weather!

Til next time COTTON

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Back" From the Brink...

Sorry folks, but I have been WAY out of commission lately.

My bronchitis came back in a mean way...almost had it completely gone. On Sunday I went into work and the managers sent me home...Memorial Day weekend is a slow time and they let me go home to get fully recovered.. I pulled into our out of the car and leaned over to pick up a reciept that was on the ground and "WHAM" my back gave out completely .

I hobbled up to my bedroom on the third floor and crashed onto the bed. By 7:00 I couldn't move without wanting to scream. There is nothing worse than having a racking cough while you are experiencing lower back spasms. I have been drinking probably 2 gallons of water a day and my daughter had to help me not only sit up, but lean TOTALLY on her for support to get to the bathroom 8 feet away. I alternated between the heating pad and the ice pack while also alternating between tylenol and motrin. It was almost unbearable until yesterday around noon when I could finally get up , stand up straight and walk on my own.

I have always been healthy as an ox until I reached my mid forties. Since then it has been a steady onset of every symptom you can imagine.

I can't read my books anymore unless I am out in the I have said before it is like my arms are too short all of the sudden. I can't get things far away enough to read if I am holding them. I have carpal tunnel in my left arm from carrying heavy dishes at work for 31 years, I usually always have corns on my pinkie toes from the work shoes that I have to wear, my right knee still gives out every once in a while from a skating injury I recieved when the kids talked me into the "speed skate for mothers" at skate night for the elementary school they were attending. First off, I was by FAR the oldest mom entered...second of all, not to brag but I DID come in second (the winner was 18 years younger than me). It was back when I worked in the school cafeteria. I remember lining up on the starting mark and kids screaming out "GO LUNCH LADY!!"

I guess I showed THEM I could do more than just slop lima beans on a tray!!

My back is 15o percent better. I can pull up my own underwear now when I have to and even went to work today and managed to stay the entire shift.

Thanks to Mucinex, OJ, my inhaler and tons of water my lungs seem clear and my back is on the rebound.

Dang it sucks getting older!

On another note, my fabulous daughter made the color guard team for the Fall season!! We had our first meeting tonight (which means they wanted their first check).

At least we are starting out from the first of the season and privvy to all the fund raisers they have. They wanted their first check tonight for $220.00, but said we could pay it by the last day of school (Friday).

I opted for Friday since I get off of work at 4:00 and will drop a check by the school to the band director. I LOVE me a check written to someone on a Friday after 4 PM!!

They really have some good fund raisers though and with them ... I think can cover the rest of her $650.00 dues....Look out friends and family and neighbors!! HERE I COME!!

I must say I have been really impressed with the band program , the band director and even her choreographer "Teddy". My husband calls him "Napoleon".

I will include a link that will take you directly to the band's web page (which is pretty awesome) and when you see a black video box in the lower right corner... you will see a video that the kids made of Teddy without his knowledge at band is hysterical, but I know for a fact that he felt honored that they included him.

I am so grateful that my child wants to be part of such a tremendous and successful program ... that these adults take so much time out of their OWN lives to make our children eager and willing to dedicate an enormous amount of THEIR time and feel an immense feeling of satisfaction for their effort.

This is Teddy with the hula hoop as he watches the group practice....PRICELESS !!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Nice to Have Nieces

My "Unexpected" visitor is leaving tomorrow, so his daughters came over for a cook out.

I spent over twenty hours in bed yesterday and over night...a much needed vacation with out pay. I took my meds, drank tons of water and OJ and came out feeling pretty much normal this afternoon.

We had hot dogs and burgers, teriyaki chicken salad and potato salad, 3 lbs of cajun shrimp, guacamole, cheese and crackers and fresh strawberries and grapes.

I love his girls like they were my own. They are beautiful..."REALLY" beautiful and the sweetest girls in the my Massey.

The rain came pouring down (thankfully AFTER we cooked) and we had a great and a terrific time together.

I am lucky to be from such a close family (the ones we have left ) and blessed to have married into a huge family that only comes over when invited!

I have been stressed to the point of almost feeling like having to be institutionalized lately, but luckily rebounded after a brief stint in my own bed with my husband shutting my bedroom door and refusing any one's admittance.

The kitchen is clean, the food is put away..and I am going back to my paradise for another 12 hour vacation. Don't call me until I have to go to work tomorrow...if anyone needs this escape....I DO!!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Day Another Dollar

Rough day at work. I went home early from work last night, another server ticked me off right off the bat and it was slow so they let me go home. I worked less than an hour and made $45.00 so I felt good about leaving.

Just felt bad when I got home, feverish and achy. Went to bed at ten last night and slept til 2:30 this afternoon. I wore sweats to bed and sweat all night long hoping to get the fever out of my tired , now 95 pound body.

I am not sure how much better I felt when I went into work, but it wasn't buoyant by any means.

The management is under trememdous pressure from our new owners and run our shifts with the most minimal staff they can. That means that the food takes longer, the cooks get disgruntled and the entire operation gets thrown into chaos. At least the big wigs are happy, their payroll has gone down...but so has the moral of the whole store. The cooks take petty swipes at us servers, we in return dog them about every wrong order and pretty much we stay at each other's throat the entire shift.

I have been at this company for over ten years. Since our buy out from a larger corporation..the moral and attitude has been in a steady decline. I would fact some days I "WANT" to, but with the current situation I find myself in I "NEED" this job and just have to make the best of it.

It used to be such a fun place to work and a place that I loved to walk into.

My husband is considering taking a civillian logistics job in Afhghanistan...that will really help my stress level! I would almost rather him be in Iraq.

On top of all of this I am supposed to be focused on our customers having a "Great" experience in our store...when a lot of them just come in to gripe or get something for free.

Granted most of my customers are really good people. But the ones that come in talking on their cell phone shooing me away from the table while they talk, only to complain to management that I wasn't there when they needed me..get on my nerves these days..when it used to rarely bother me.

I realize that the turmoil of my own life has an impact... but if they want to know "REAL" problems I could fill them up a book. "My salad just had too much dressing". "I asked for butter on the side".

I feel like responding sometimes "I am SOOO sorry your salad had too much dressing, did I mention that my husband who is currently unemployed is considering moving to Afghanistan to support our family"? Now let me go and get you another salad, because you know what? They probably don't even HAVE salads in Afghanistan...and I want you to have EVERY stinking thing right before you can even THINK of enjoying your meal with us and I should probably be fired for bringing you a salad with too much dressing on it. I am so sorry that I am such an idiot to treat you in this horrible way and if you could just complain to my manager, that would really set things right... AND you could get a discount on your dinner."

Come on people...look at the big picture of life. Is a salad the end all be all?

My job is so much harder these days because as an almost fifty year old woman...I see clearly what really matters in life...and a small dinner salad is NOT IT!

Thank the Lord I have this vent or I would have already been fired. Often I have to step back and take a deep breath, and repeat my mantra "My family, My family, My family".

I am truly grateful for my job..but EASE up folks...we are all hurting. You never know what the other person's story is let's just treat every one as an equal...or at least with some respect and dignity.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Hamming" it Up For the Camera

This is just a small glimpse of Ham's talents. My husband is over six foot two and Ham can jump up to his head if he wants to. He is (thankfully) a gentle giant of a dog, and it drives my female boxer crazy to have him out do her in any fashion. My two pups are an enormous comfort to me...they don't get bad grades and NEVER back talk me, just nuzzle up whenever they get the chance.

The "After" Picture

As my husband says, Zach goes from one extreme to the other in the blink of an eye. I LOVE it when he cuts his hair, but from his comment I seemed to have infringed on his "RIGHTS".

Who cares? He can sue me later...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"I'm Passing Pink Floyd History"

My Private Utopia... Meager as it May Be

This is my small utopia, my backyard. I sit in it every chance I get. I read here, play with my dogs here and feel more at home here than anywhere else . The woods in the back...the wind rustling through the trees. Looking through the windows as my husband and kids wander from room to room as I view them from my "Utopia" position. I am a lucky woman, who is having a bump in the road. As long as they are bumps and I can look into a house full of love and a family that loves me...the bumps almost seem like tiny "Zits" on the face of life. As small and humble as my castle is, it seems like a fortress to me. I have a husband that is unwavering, three kids that love me even when they don't always show it, and two big dogs that think I hung the moon.

Sometimes you have to step back from problems and look at your advantages. When I looked at this video on my camera, the kids wandering from room to room, I realized how many kids don't even have ONE room to go to, much less two parents that love and provide for them.

Even if I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, I finally realize that I am the one putting the weight there. Granted I could use the extra pounds, but I am a truly blessed person. The small things that I have are things that millions and millions of people can only dream of.

I thank God for giving me what he has so graciously given me and will strive to make tomorrow a better day.

I have often said how I believe in Karma... I need to remember that and know that if I live my life to the best of my ability...things will swing back around my way...what goes around comes around.

I will wait patiently for that to happen, and be grateful for what I have in the meantime.

The Boy Who Knew Too Much...Or Thinks He Does

How can you not love this face? He is the sweetest man/boy I have ever met...or given birth to. This is a before pic, he walked in the door thirty minutes ago after letting the next door neighbor's son give him a crew cut. He came in from school today and told me that his Algebra II teacher told him he was her favorite student. I told him if that was the case, "Ask her to pass you".

I don't see it happening a week before school is out. But he is a good kid, just uninspired at the present time. He doesn't drink or do drugs...I could be doing a LOT worse for a kid that is sixteen going to school with 3,000 other teens.

These days I just look for the positive. I told him I would not pay for summer school.. $450.00 for one class. He can tough it up next year or deal with the consequences of his own choices.

I think that he may be rounding the corner, he is begining to realize that the only one he is hurting is himself. As a parent sometimes you just have to let them realize things for themselves and figure their own way out.
My responsibility is to love him every step of the way and to be there when he finally DOES ask for help.

Boy am I looking forward to THAT day!

Will post his new haircut tomorrow...Stay tuned!!! COTTON

Girl Growing Up

The Guard Girls

Congratulations to these girls being honored at the banquet tonight. That is Massey on the bottom right

The Big Banquet

I went to my daughter's Color Guard banquet tonight at the high school.

It was over two hours long...first came the band awards, marching, orchestra, seniors in the band; Awards for every pin, star ,letter and certificate you could dream of.

Finally over an hour into it came time for color guard. She was so proud, I could see it in her precious face. They got great comments from the band director about how they brought home the Gold medal from the state competition.

I will have to say once again... I was impressed with this program she has chosen to bleed me of all the money I don't have.

The band director went on and on about this great group of kids he works with, he teared up a couple of times talking about what they mean to him and how proud he is of their hard work and diligence.

I could tell how the band and color guard felt about being part of this group. They were excited for not only themselves but their team members as well, cheering for each other as certain ones were singled out for specific awards and accomplishments.

They had a video made that they showed, from the beginning of band camp last summer, through the football season, concert season and regional competitions. The faces of these kids, the feeling of camaraderie and the look of happiness and friendship on all of their faces made me tear up as well.

I remember feeling just like that about my own days in the band back in the stone age of the seventies. It is good to see that some things haven't changed ... that teen agers can still bond and grow as young adults in a positive and encouraging environment that they truly love , enjoy and appreciate.

Some of the seniors spoke of how much this program has meant to them and their lives. Some said they don't know what they would have done without it and others cried openly about how much they would miss it.

It was a touching 2 hours and knowing that my daughter longs to be a part of this wonderfully run program that involves not only the kids but parents and volunteers as well is worth every penny it costs.

There were knock out gorgeous girls and chubby girls...studs and geeky looking nerdy types. There were kids in wheelchairs and kids that looked as if they wouldn't fit in anywhere.

But they ALL fit in this group of teens, they all high fived each other and cheered each other on when a name was called. The geeky looking kids got just as much support as the jock types...some of the heavier set girls got more cheers than the "Prom Queen" types. You could tell they all loved each other and that stereo types were no where to be found in this room of several hundred teens.

As a woman quickly approaching fifty and worrying about the state the world is in today...I take great comfort in the fact that my thirteen year old daughter has found her way to this great program and great group of friends. The seniors spoke kindly of the underclassmen, sometimes jokingly but you could feel the love in that room so powerfully that it made me choke up several times. It made me glad my kids go to this massive sized school that has a small town feel to it. The Booster program is tremendous and the parent support is amazing.

This is the kind of thing that makes a young person realize and fulfill their potential. It melds together all different types and personalities and makes them a strong single unit.

With all the problems and ways to go down the wrong path of life, I feel blessed that my daughter wants to walk down this road with an amazing group of kids, led by a dedicated teacher that actually seems to love each and every kid and seems immensely proud of the work these kids do so very well with obvious pride and determination.

Now if we can get the academic teachers to inspire them, we would REALLY have something going on!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Unexpected Visitors

Came home from work last night to see a car sitting in the driveway...Florida tags.

It had to be my brother in law.

His mother had wrecked his last car so I didn't recognize the vehicle. She is a dizzying wonder of seventy one years on this earth. She builds coy ponds and gardens that are totally unbelieveable on her little plot of land in St. Augustine. Obviously she isn't a great driver, but other than that, she is one Hell of a woman.

My brother in law is up to visit his daughters who live here , and as my husband said.."I thought I told you he was coming".

He stays with us when he comes to visit his girls. I love him and his girls, love to have them over at any time..but would like to have at least SOME notice that he is coming.

He stays in what used to be my oldest son's bedroom (now "MY" room) a place that I call my own, can iron my clothes in, watch CNN and do the laundry that piles up magically every day.

The only problem that I have is that I didn't have notice to give the downstairs bathroom a thorough cleaning and be able to dust "MY" room so that he wouldn't think I was a complete loss as a housekeeper.

Of course this is all in my own mind, he is after all "A MAN". He could care less what my house looks like, but it matters to me and it happens to mean a LOT to me.

He left this afternoon to go visit the girls and I went into "WIFE" mode.

I cleaned and scrubbed the bathroom downstairs by his "suite". I went upstairs and cleaned the shower he will be using and put out fresh towels.

What is really crazy is that he probably won't notice ANY of it...but I will feel better.

At least the kids bathroom is clean now (mark THAT chore off the list) and at least I feel better about having him stay in my humble home.

Men just don't get it. I was so ticked off at my husband for not telling me he was know what he said ?

"I thought I told you...didn't I"?

At least my house is clean now...thank the Lord he showed up right before my only day off.

He is on his own from here on out. Of course it won't matter to him, but I feel better scrambling and putting things decent.

It just would have been nice to have some notice, but I seem to work better under pressure anyway.

His leftovers from dinner are in the fridge, his toilet is scrubbed and I feel better...I am not quite sure why, I guess it is one of those "Woman Things".

How nice it must be to be an unasuming and seemingly blind male species?!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How Much Time Do you Have ??

Thank the Lord I am off almost did me in at work.

I go in at 3PM and work until closing. I come in at the tail end of lunch when the whole restaurant is a wreck and the day shift is scrambling to get out of there. I can't much blame them. Sunday lunch (The attack of the Christians as I like to call it) can be crazy to say the least.

It started out well enough and quickly turned into "Restaurant Riot". The kitchen kept up for a while, but buckled under the pressure of so many orders being sent back at once.

They finally recovered, only for me to fall into the quicksand of customer stupidity. I had a table of eight. When it came time to split up the tab..this is what I heard:

"He'll pay for the two strawberry lemonades and the dessert. Put THESE two dinners on one check and she... (pointing at another) will get the appetizer. Split my parents meals between us three and he and I will split half of her meal and you can take off the sweet tea because it wasn't sweet enough".
It was almost like they were speaking a foreign language or just filming me with a hidden camera for a TV show.

After several attempts I split the check correctly and reaped the reward of another ten percent tip.


My last table came in ten minutes before closing. They were nice enough...slow to order (the cooks LOVE THAT ten minutes before closing). The food came out and I asked if everything was alright (stupid question at closing).

The only guy at the table remarked that his ribeye was fatty. Let me insert here that a ribeye is the steak with the most fat of all...marbling all throughout the steak, just like a tiny pot roast. He said there just wasn't enough char seasoning on it and it was under cooked. Back to the kitchen I went to have it cooked up for him (to the hiss and boos from the cook).

When I took it back, he said it was cooked fine and continued to chow down. On my next round by the table, he lamented that it just didn't have ENOUGH seasoning on it. I told him I could bring him a small ramekin of char seasoning for him to dip every bite into. He shook his head and told me it just wasn't the same as having it "Cooked" in it.

Then I guess an alien took over my body because I cannot believe I said (ten minutes after closing) "Would you like for us to cook you another steak"?

And what in the world do you think HIS reply was??

Back to the kitchen I went, apologizing like crazy, promising new sombreros to the Latinos and a cold diet coke for our diabetic cook if they could do me this one last favor (Por Favor).

They dutifully cooked another ribeye..adding enough seasoning to choke a horse and I walked it back to the table, waiting right by the table until he tasted it. Whadda ya know..."PERFECT" was the reply.

By this time every other server had left, the cleaning guy was there to do the floors and I was left to wait for this guy to finish his second steak. I chatted them all up , apologizing for "OUR" mistake and packing all the other's leftovers into to go boxes.

My manager came out and took the ribeye (both that he had eaten) off the check and I got to finally take them a bill.

Here's what I heard for the second time tonight...

"Put Mom's and hers on one bill and SHE will pay for those and these other three, minus the ribeye will go on another".

When I came back to the table, they had everything in one stack. "Just run both of these on my discover card, but run them separately".

I did just as instructed, bringing back more paperwork than it takes to close on a house.

As they puttered their way out of the restaurant an hour after closing, I thanked them all for coming in and once again apologized for the steak.

As I cleaned up their table I realized that one credit card slip was missing, since they had made me split it in two. I had one slip for $67.00 with a generous five dollar tip and the one for $70.00 was missing completely.

I went to the front door where thankfully they were still talking , and mentioned to the woman who had paid that I was missing one of the credit card receipts. Oh she dug and dug in her purse before she could find me a copy. On it was written another five dollar tip.

You know what? They thought they would get two steaks for free and take the copy of the other charge slip and leave me a five dollar tip for a $137.00 tab. Granted I only got ten dollars as a tip, but calling their bluff (if you could call it that) made me feel better..hey!! Ten is better than five, that is better than NOTHING.

I am a firm believer in KARMA.

What comes around goes around.

I'm no slouch as a server although I seem to be waiting on more and more slouches as customers as this economy struggles along.

At least I got my ten bucks out of them, and know that I did everything in my power to give them a positive experience in our store.

Stinkin Grifters!! As I said, Thank the Lord I am off tomorrow!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Friend I Have Never Met...YET!

I drive to and from work every day down Highway 34. Once you pass the shopping centers you come to a renovated house on the side of the highway that has been made into an assisted living home.

For the past year there is a small older gentleman that sits by the road on his "rascal" wearing his veterans hat and waves as the cars go flying by at at LEAST 55 MPH...usually 65 or 70.

I always , always honk at him and wave, my daughter(his biggest fan) always want to stop and talk to him.

This past Christmas Massey wanted to take him a scarf and a hat, and if I had not been scraping by to give my own kids Christmas I would have done so...probably should have anyway.

Now it is Spring and he is back at his post. Any day that it is not raining this wonderful friend of mine that I have never met is waving to the masses that "fly" by him, some waving, some not, some honking, some not.

I came home from work last night about 8:30.

The sun was setting and the evening was rapidly approaching. As I rounded the curve on the highway that went by his "home" I wondered if he would still be there? I think about him EVERY time I pass the spot...if he's not there I hope that he's okay and just having a meal or a nap.

As the house came into view, I saw him turned around... motoring his "rascal" back to the house for the night. As I passed with his back to me I gave a honk on my horn anyway.

He never looked back, but flung up his arm in a wave just to let me know he had heard me passing by.

That is all I do... pass him by.

My daughter wants to stop and meet this man, my sixteen year old son is a little more cautious..."He's probably just crazy".

I see both of their points of view.

I say let's satisfy everyone and stop by one day just to see.

He could possibly tell the most amazing or heartbreaking tale. He could be out of his mind, or quick and alert...just confined to an electric scooter and wanting to make his day a little more interesting. Whatever his story or situation is...I feel compelled to stop one day, one day soon and converse with this magnificent man that I am almost positive has spent a life worth hearing about and having someone do more than just "wave' .

Everyone sees him; But how much time could it possibly take out of my day to pull in and talk with him one on let him know who the person in the Passat is that honks back and waves every day?

I don't know what kind of flack I may get from the "home" but I am willing to take the risk.

People who read my blog... that live in my city certainly must know who I am talking about. Wonder if we ALL stopped by to visit this gentleman? Wonder if when we did, we met others that couldn't make it out to the street every day, but were just as fascinating? I can promise my readers and my daughter and son that we will be doing... JUST THAT... Let's meet who I have been honking at for a year...too lazy or too busy to pull over , but now too intrigued to let it go .

Of course I will update you...I always do!

That will be me one day..or YOU one day. Wouldn't YOU want someone to stop in and chat?

Once upon a time they were vibrant... contributing and as fit and able to do for themselves as I am today. The least I can do is stop and smell the roses. I am sure it will be sweet and I am sure it will be welcomed.

One day, it will be me on a "rascal" and I hope someone will feel the same way.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

And Now a Short Commercial Message

I do my grocery shopping day by day...sometimes twice a day.

My favorite store by FAR is Publix. I LOVE ME SOME PUBLIX!!

I don't care if their prices aren't as low as others, they make up for it with their spotless store and wonderful customer service.

Every time I walk in the door it's "Hey Ms. Cotton". I bet three or four employees call me by name before I ever make it to the check out.

They always ask me how work is going...and on Mondays will say "Today is your day off, isn't it"? They know my kids and most even know my husband.

One time I left my checkbook in my grocery cart when I left. Before I had time to get home they had called my house to say they had it at the customer service desk.

I buy mostly Publix brand items...and have always been pleased. My favorite is the Monday "Mystery Item" for a penny!! Publix is a debt free company and there sure aren't many of THEM around anymore.

I think they like me not only because I am there every day, but always bag my own groceries and take them to the car myself. It drives me crazy to see a woman stand there talking on her cell or worse than that just stand there looking while the cashier rings up AND bags the groceries while the woman just waits seemingly impatient for this lowly cashier to finish "her" job.

Like the people that get in the "ten items or less" line with 30 items, and send their kids to get ONE more thing while we all wait patiently behind them and their 20 extra purchases.

My hat is off to the Publix food chain... my neighbor across the street is a general manager with Publix and when I worked for the school system we had a family in the after school program that had next to nothing and disabled children as well. I called my neighbor and he had Publix fix their entire Thanksgiving meal and I went and picked it up and delivered it to their house. He has always helped me out when I ask for help with a family that needed supplies or support.

In return I shop at their store...every day!

They treat me like family and give me the utmost in service ...and you know how I am about "customer service"!!

Just a little shout out to my friends at Publix...Good job folks!

My oldest son worked there during high school and I began shopping there as an effort to support his paycheck. They quickly won me over with smiles, great service and a pleasant environment. These are the things that make a business thrive and grow... being in customer service for over thirty years I think I can be a pretty good judge. They truly do make
"Shopping a Pleasure".

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Toll" free calls...I don't think so

When the phones rings at my house do we do some screening.

What irritates me is creditors calling me...they are ALWAYS a "TOLL" free call. That is a bunch of bull. They are not toll free, they are LOOKING for a toll. They are looking for money and looking for someone to talk to to remind them that they are struggling. I pay my bills, I pay them every month, Granted sometimes I am late, but who gains from that? THEM!! They zap me with a late charge and I pay more money to them just to get on track again.

My husband takes care of all the household bills, utilities and insurance. I have two credit cards that I am paying off, not having charged on either of them for two years. Of course I also buy the groceries ... household items and the kids school supplies, lunches and extra curricular activities and pay the medical and dental bills.

I will admit that I am NOT nice when I speak to them. I tell them of our current situation, tell them that I FAITHFULLY send them a check every month...and when it is late, it is to their DEFINITE advantage. I also tell them that there are millions of people totally defaulting on their debt, ignoring notices and statements...why not harass them a little more and take me off the hit list? LEAVE ME ALONE!!

I probably have a red mark by by name on the calling list and I couldn't care less. I would NEVER think of not paying my debts. It is true I have been struggling, but THEY are the ones reaping the rewards of my misfortune.

I do not need people calling me seven times a day to remind me that I owe them money, I am well aware of the fact...almost brutally aware.

I used to hang up when I answered the phone to hear "Please hold for important information regarding your..."
Then I decided to fight back.

I would tell them "Did you not receive my payment last month"? When they began with "Yes, but..." I stopped them dead in their tracks.

I told them the last thing that I needed in my life right now was a phone call reminding me that I owed them money. When Citi Group called the last time, I asked them if my being late caused them to lose any of their bail out money, and if it did maybe they could make up that revenue in the new stadium they had stupidly built with my late fees?

You know what? The calls have dwindled, I can actually answer the phone now. You have to stand up for yourself. There are millions and millions of people so in debt that they have no way of being able to settle their debt. I am not one of them, so why not call THOSE people!

Granted we are hurting, but I am not ignoring nor defaulting on anything that I owe anybody.

My husband said that they call me because I am one of the few that actually sends in a payment.

Well then send me a "Thank You" note and leave me alone. You know I send you a check with a fat late charge tagged on.

I ought to be "Customer of The Year". They should be sending me a plaque. Hell, I probably BUILT the new new "CITI" stadium.

Once my writing career takes off, I may write a book entitled "How to Tick Off Creditors and Influence The No Call List".

I feel like telling them if I have ONE more phone call to remind me of our plight, I will join the millions of others that ignore under a bridge and THEN how will they find me?

After writing this, I am almost WAITING for that next phone call...TOLL FREE of course and giving them a toll free ration of crap that they will wish they had never heard.

I pay my bills, I have had to pay them late , but I pay someone that doesn't pay them at all and THEN get back to me!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why is it SO Hard to Get Some Help?

I have a dear friend, a great person in my life. They suffer from clinical depression. Having known this person for years and years, I realize that it is not a choice that they make but a choice that is made for THEM.

Sometimes when the weight of my current situation comes pounding down into my mind, I feel like staying in bed until the kids come home from school, bounding out of bed when I hear the school bus approach and greeting them with a smile , asking how their day was.
To live with Cinical could care less when the bus comes, just let me is the only "Peace" I have.

People around you want to say "get over it"..."move on"... "get a grip".

Do you not think if they could, they WOULD?

Depression is an in pending doom to waits at every comment and criticism.

My depression comes from the fact that my family is going through a hard time, theirs comes from the fact that they cannot help it.

This person is currently unemployed...not helping the motivation factor. They are bounced from agency to agency , papers to fill out, records to be obtained. the red tape is enough to make you want to give up completely.

When a person needs help...GIVE them that help and we can discuss details later.

Have we turned into a society that worries more about co pays and compensation than a country that "just wants to help their fellow man"?

I have suffered depression in the past few months, have lost ten pounds that I couldn't afford to lose...but I have the mental and emotional strength to see it through. I can gain my weight back, my husband can get another job.

People dealing with depression do not have this choice. I am sure if they could...they would snap back like I intend to.

Do not criticize, but be supportive..but for the grace of God you have been spared.

It is nothing less or more than having is an illness and it needs to be taken care of.

If you don't take care of may take "YOU".

It is certainly nothing to be ashamed of...I am a 49 year old woman going to the outside drive through at a bank because I can't seem to balance my own check book and feel that if I am further away from the bank..they won't "REALLY" see my balance.

Let this new administration address these issues and help the people that need to be helped.

Let's worry and care for "US"...and if not that, make it easier for them to get help so that they can feel as normal as the rest of us idiots..I think they would be okay with that feeling and how much of a sacrifice can that possibly be?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Winter Guard Video of Massey

This is a VERY amateur video (I made) of one of Massey's competitions that I attended. It gives you a sense of how talented these thirteen year old girls are in their first season of performing EVER...especially in front of hundreds of people.

Hope you enjoy the show!! It only took me two hours to figure out how to upload it (Zach is off with a friend and Massey is asleep). Where are teenagers when you need them?!!

The MA$$EY Tree

YIPPEE!! I can hardly believe that it is time for tryouts for the "Fall" Guard for next year!

My youngest made the Winter Guard last year and fell in love with the the tune of $650.oo for half a year and that was just dues. She has decided she wants to do Fall Guard this year (they perform in the half times shows at football games). I am so excited I can hardly contain myself...or my wallet!

I had to take her for a sports physical this morning...another joke, although this doctor actually performed an exam. Last year a nurse took her vitals, gave an eye test and the doctor came in and asked her to touch her toes. That was the extent of the exam($35). This doctor actually took a history and gave her a thorough exam ($25)...we like this doctor MUCH better!

While sitting in the waiting room Massey told me there was a $10 audition fee for try outs. I thought she was joking until she handed me my checkbook. Are you kidding me?? You have to PAY to try out to make the team that you have to pay MORE for to be on?

If she didn't love it so much and wasn't so darn good...I might make a call to a local TV station to have this racket investigated. When I went to her Southeastern Championships I counted up all the girls on JUST the Winter guard...the varsity team's dues added up to $22,000. Then there is Junior Varsity and THEN both Jr. and Varsity "Fall" guards. I'm thinking in the ballpark of around $65,000 for just these girls dues...not to mention undergarments, rehearsal outfits, money for camp (one at the school and another one in North Georgia) money for food when they go to competitions and selling and buying ads in the programs. Dang, they could get Paula Abdul as a choreographer for that kind of dough.

Luckily she is starting from the first of the year this time and will be able to participate in all the fund raisers to help defray the costs. I am gonna be a candy selling, subscription selling ,wrapping paper selling fool is what I am gonna be!

It almost makes me thankful that Zach is an underachiever...let's hope he stays that way til I get this paid for (I can't afford for him to wake up now).

She came home from the first day of tryouts to announce she thinks she is going to make the team (my modest little angel). The band program is huge at her high school, over 400 members in the marching band program and they are all very dedicated kids at their craft. At football games there have been as many as 10,000 people in attendance.

I am really just trying to be amusing about my little MA$$EY, I am truly glad she wants to be a part of something good for her and is so dedicated and feels such a strong bond with all these young women.

She has turned out to be quite a lovely girl and I feel blessed that she is on the right path in life. It could be a totally different turnout when you are raising a teen...I bet having to send her to Rehab would cost more than band camp...not by much though!!

I am proud of my little girl...she just won't quit growing up so fast. I am proud of all of my kids, they make me happy in different ways and I love them all for different reasons. Life is good ! It's just with Massey, life is good and expensive!! Thank God she is worth every penny.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Dogs are Barking...Literally as Well

What a day! I sit here typing having just walked in the door from two dogs are staring through the window at me barking and my feet are absolutely throbbing.

We opened our doors at work to the masses at 10:30 AM and the bombs started dropping. My once starch white work shirt certainly supports the "bomb" theory, I've never seen it so dirty and stained.

What kills me is my first table I greeted with "Happy Mother's Day" to the wife was answered with " happy one to you too, if you are a mother". I told them I was and started my routine. Her husband had as much personality as the black bench they sat on. Fed them and gave great service...even followed them out to their car because she had left her to go box. Went back to the table and picked up their credit card slip... a $5.00 tip on a $60 tab and they had a $40 gift card they used. This is the way the day started.

More bombs began to drop. The kitchen struggled, we ALL struggled and the masses turned into an angry mob at best.

Lunch was a blur, the smoke didn't clear before the dinner hour hit. Straight through the battlefield I plowed...bad tip after bad tip...they almost felt like land mines to me, blowing up in my face when I looked at the amount that had been left. I realize that I am a server and usually over tip, but to leave a crappy tip to a "MOTHER" on Mother's Day just seems like a slap in the face ...what's next, "Water boarding" the waitress?

I kept a smile on my face and kept telling myself it would be alright and sometimes it was...some people were great, understanding that the kitchen was under tremendous pressure and overloaded and I have no control over how quickly (or not) their food gets to the table. I had some really nice guests that ALWAYS make up for the "insurgents" that slip in to try to bring me down...mentally and financially.

Then the whole thing fell apart. There was a point when I couldn't tell if 30 minutes or 30 days had gone by since a table ordered. It was like I was in a time warp. I tried to placate people, tried to apologize...some were totally understanding and some were just big babies about it. To sling down your fork in disgust because your steak is one temperature undercooked during the mad rush of Mother's Day...when your waitress is indeed herself a mother who spent no part of this day with her own family seems a little over dramatic to me. I felt like slinging my order pad on the table and shouting "You know you are right! How can I, as a mother let us totally ruin your special day with serving you a medium rare steak when you specifically requested medium steak? Here I slap down this steak in front of you as if it is okay...if there was ONLY some way to perhaps put it back on the grill or bring it up to your desired temperature I may be able to live with myself for one more day, instead we will cook the steak more for you, knock off 50% of your bill and once you leave me a crappy tip...we will be's that sound to you"?

I know that the stress in my own life doesn't help, but neither does the stress that the public heaps on me like an unwanted incoming bomb. They need to think about the grand scheme of things before they launch their attack, think about how much of it is actually MY fault and realize that I have just spent another Mother's Day away from my kids, husband and family...who are in desperate need themselves.

I believe in karma...what goes around comes around.

I worked on my "special" holiday because it was what my own family needed... as for their petty get what you give folks!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day !

It's one AM, just walked in the door from work. I have to be back at work at 9:30 AM and work straight through dinner.

When I got home there was a Mother's Day card on the kitchen table and a bottle of perfume...also a new umbrella with little lights all around the edges of it for my back patio table (my old one broke from the weight of 4" of snow that fell unexpectedly in late March).

My card was signed by my two younger kids that still live at home. Massey wrote "Goodnight, I love you" and Zach signed "Zach Cotton". I guess he didn't want me to confuse him with someone else I may know named "Zach".

Work was a nightmare...people that go out to eat on special holidays...not to mention a full moon must be out of their minds. We were in a wait before 5:00 and stayed that way til almost 9:30.

On another work related note...

Sometimes when I am home and on the computer I will bounce over to Facebook. On two separate occasions, I have seen one of my young co workers using her blackberry to post on her Facebook while she is at work to let the world know how things are going at work. As an "ole" lady, it takes me too long to hunt and peck on a cell phone to be able to post ANYTHING quickly.

I was kidding her at work tonight about it and told her that I felt like texting her to tell her I was running food to her table for her that was sitting ready in the window of the kitchen.

Of course I kept on with her...telling her she had
"two new Friend's requests" she should respond to (Facebook lingo). You have a little pop up window on Facebook that tells you how many of your friends are online, so when I went to the restroom to call and check up on my kids, I sent my friend a text saying "how many friends are online now"?

When I got out of the restroom I went out onto the patio section of tables where she was working, and there she was, hovered over her blackberry typing away...I KNEW she would be! It's like working with my own children!

I told her one night when I was at home and on the computer and knew she was at work, I was going to write on her wall (more Facebook lingo)..."The kitchen needs to see you in the window".

It's like one of the bartenders we used to have at work (another young kid). Sometimes I felt like texting my order for drinks at the service bar to his cell phone because he checked his cell phone more often than he did the computer that sends our drink orders back to the bar.

It 's almost like I never leave home...always surrounded by kids and having to get onto them relentlessly...thank the Lord I love both sets of home kids and my work kids as well. it's tough to be almost fifty and work with some kids that are younger than the ones you left at home tearing up the place and eating up all the food.

It was really thoughtful of my kids to get me the new patio umbrella, I sit out back almost every night reading (thanks Hubby) and a special thanks to my younger son for reminding me of his last name on my Mother's Day card. You know , it's weird but when my older son was young he did the same thing...always signing "TJ Cotton" like it was a progress report or project for school rather than just a card for Mom. BOYS!! They just don't really get it until they meet the woman of their dreams and she begins to shove them down the path of life.

I can tell you now, Zach needs to be "Shoved" at an early age!!

Going to finish a book that I am almost through with, iron a work shirt for tomorrow...drink a cold one, fall into bed ... get up tomorrow and do it all again (especially the cold one at the end of the day).

Happy Mother's Day to you all...we mothers are caretakers, caregivers, instructors and sometimes "Bad" guys...but WE make it a home, WE give it the heart and the feeling of comfort and security...have yourself a lovely day and know that we are all deeply appreciated ...even if they don't always show it.


Friday, May 8, 2009

All This Crap is From "THIS" face? Me @ Three

My Two Boys

How Do They Grow Up So Quickly?

Full of Motion and Full of Life...Reese

My daughter in her "Gansta" scarf ??!!


"You Tube" Bound!!

The dishes are done, the laundry is caught up and I have spent a few minutes cruising You Tube, mainly looking at Boxers (the dogs).

I am charging up my video camera as I type. I have a Boxer that can put all others to shame. His name is "Ham". He is 80 pounds of pure muscle and adrenaline. He can jump well over six feet in the air to catch his "play tire" and can actually speak like Chewbakka from Star Wars. Remember Harrison Ford's furry friend? When my husband rubs my shoulders he goes nuts...if we pet our other Boxer Rosie, he goes insane with his "Space" talk.

We have two stuffed boxers that sing and bark when you squeeze their paw...Ham starts out licking their face and ends with a howl and continuous barking until the stuffed animal is put away.

His talking is the best...I have had dogs all my life and never heard such warbling coming from a dog. I will try to post a pic of him on here, he is amazing looking. He is my other Boxer's nephew. He is half purebred Boxer and half Old English Bulldog.

He may be the only member of my family to achieve fame. But achieve it he will via "You Tube". Those other Boxers are cute, but "MY" boy has some real talent...Simon Cowell may be giving us a call after I post my video!

My dogs run a close second to my three least they obey me to a fault and never question me (unless Ham's verbalization really takes off)!!

If you are a dog lover you can sympathize with me...they are truly "Man's Best Friend".

They know when I feel down, know when I need to be protected and know when I need to be loved. Check out his pic and tell me that ain't a cute stinkin doggy (except for YOU Lisa). Now that I have learned to upload photos, get ready for a trip of meeting my family and friends...dang! I never thought I could be so computer savvy!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's Little Helpers Helping ME!

Thank the Lord everyone is taking their mom out early for Mother's Day.

It started last night at work, thanks to the rain that kept people from grilling out (thanks again JC).

Tonight was even better. Tips are still way down...but I say sometimes you have to take quantity over quality. At least the people are pouring in the door. I have to take advantage of it because after Mother's Day we will be in another drought until Father's Day...then we will just hope we can make it til Christmas!

We are all so used to it being slow at work that we almost felt like we were all new servers starting a new job.

The kitchen did a fabulous job...two Latinos and a Gringo took care of "bidness" and certainly helped US earn a paycheck tonight. They earn theirs EVERY shift they work.

We had ole Captain Cunningham expediting the food out of the window, (refer to former post to see what kind of guy he is) and one of our managers that drinks coffee like he is scared of becoming Rip Van Winkle.

Had to stay late, but it was so relieving to make some money, be assured that people do still go out to eat and know that I can make my bank deposit tomorrow at the first window. (If I think I may have a low or negative balance I go to the third window away from the building and make fake phone calls on my cell phone while they process my deposit. (it just makes "me" feel better).

I feel like the economy is taking a slight upward least we aren't still plummeting and with time and patience things will look up again.

After a whole weekend of this flurry of people taking care of Moms...I may just "WALK" into the bank on Monday to make my deposit!!

That will scare 'em !! They will probably think I have gotten so desperate that I am there to hold them up!! They will all say "LOOK..she is getting out of her car and coming in...hit the button, hit the button" !!

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hubby Coming Home !!

My husband is coming home tomorrow unless some more work pans out.

Now I am in "Panic" mode.

My kids could care less if the house is I have been letting them live "Care" free. It isn't a pig sty...but it has certainly seen better days. Working all the time and keeping the laundry and meals up has taken up much of my time.

Not to mention that my husband doesn't allow our two boxers in our bed. Since he has been gone the king size bed has been "Home" for them. I keep my side to myself, but the male boxer has taken over Tim's side, his pillow as well and seems to really like it there(from the snoring he emits). He reclines like a full grown man and stretches out like it is the best dog bed he has ever been privy to.

My female boxer is too old and lazy to climb the stairs twice a day...she will come up once the kids go to school (I guess she gets lonely) and we all lay in a pile until I get up for the day.

When my husband comes home, I want him to be walking into a fresh and clean house(Not that he notices) but it makes ME feel better.

I cut the grass today and tromped grass all through the downstairs, going from the front to the back with the weed eater. I always hit my stride around 11 PM, have always been a night person. I have cleaned the downstairs bathroom, have Fe breezed all that I can and now will go upstairs to "Hide" the evidence that my dogs have taken over his domain. When my husband goes to sleep tomorrow night, there may be a fight. After over two weeks of "Living Large" with Mama, they may wonder why they have been down graded to "animal" status?

But they have been the thing that got me through this separation...having them stuck to my side like glue has been oddly reassuring.

We have had numerous e mails about positions and opportunities for my husband. I wonder if the one's for out of town work are fake one's from my dogs?

Gotta go scrub the upstairs...not that it would make any difference to my husband, but it just makes ME feel better.

I have had such tremendous support and so many prayers and leads sent our way...I would feel bad to not at least have made his homecoming a pleasant "smelling" one.

Gotta get back on my vacuuming and get off of this addiction of "Blogism".

I can honestly say that I am thrilled to have Tim coming back home...job or NO job. It will just be good to have him home (just don't ask the boxers).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Overachiever ??...I Don't Think So

BOYS!! What can I say? They are such an odd breed. My oldest son maintained a 3.90 throughout high school without ever cracking a book. After that, he bombed out of college but made life long friends in his fraternity, and has great aspirations for when he moves to Los Angeles to be "discovered" (I hope it isn't by his creditors).

I have another son plowing down the path of life at sixteen and a half. He is tall and friend at work commented that he is so skinny he could pass as a sophomore for at LEAST two more years...and he may be doing that if he doesn't wake up and smell the coffee that raises my blood pressure even more EVERY day.

What is killing me is that he is so almost amazingly brilliant that his defiance in the school system is the only thing that is keeping him down. He is in high school though, the only way that I can keep tabs on him is with the parent portal...a place where I can check his grades and progress (or LACK of).

I told him tonight to decide which McDonald's he wanted to work at and see if they had a job where he could cook the fries while he could lie down between the fries getting ready to salt.

I realize that the school system is messed up. They should have intervened years ago with him, thrown him into some advanced courses that stimulated him and made him use his talented brain. Instead, they think he is a deadbeat (with good reason) and have just let him be a sub par student, one that falls through the cracks and never has the encouragement or support that he so desperately needs.

I have punished him, taken away his game systems, cut off the Blockbuster visits...then he just watches the History channel or Discovery and finds it much more exhilarating than school itself.

He is a wealth of information, he has taught me things about history and the planet that I would have never known. Why he challenges authority is a mystery to me. He says that students that suck up and kiss butt are the ones the teachers like...DUH!!!

If he only knew that is the way life works when you are a teen AND an adult...granted it is a flawed system, but it is the only system we have. He needs to learn how to work the system to his advantage .

He is a mystery to me. An amazing person that just can't see the way, or doesn't care to.

A good friend of mine is having the same issues with her son, they took him out of school and began to home school him. He has done the same thing...missing assignments, no desire to keep up...obviously he and my son will be room mates one day arguing over who gets to peddle the bike to McDonald's for their shift. At least my son is flunking out for free rather than me spending more money on home schooling .

There has to be a key that I am missing, there has to be a way to make him understand .

Don't get me wrong, he is a good kid...he just can't seem to grasp how important these years are and how much they can affect his future. I pray for him, I pray for me...I pray that I will survive raising him and I pray that he will find the strength to battle his way into the future that he so easily could have...or Not.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The "Hair" Affair

My daughter has the thickest head of curly hair that I have ever seen . I think it is beautiful and she absolutely cannot stand it.

I took her a woman who is a customer of mine at the restaurant where I work. She owns six Great Clips around the south side of Atlanta. She was so sweet to Massey, raving about how gorgeous her hair was and made some really good suggestions. She thinned out her hair and gave her cute sassy layers and sent us home with all the right styling products to make her hair look great. On top of that, she gave me about a 50% discount.(made me wonder if she reads my blog)??!!

Anyway, while she was cutting Massey's hair, we were all chatting and I told Brenda (Let's call the hairdresser that) about a close call I had at another Great that she doesn't own.

I went to have my oil changed in my car one day and walked across the highway to a strip mall that had a Great Clips in it. When I walked in the door I was greeted with "The waits over an hour"! It was like they WANTED me to leave. I smiled politely and said "I have all the time in the world".

I squeezed into a small seat left, the place was crawling with kids and picked up a magazine.

The manager had three young girls with her, it was obvious they were new hires...she was showing them all around the salon pointing out hair products, took them up front and showed them how to log in on the computer and how to ring up on the register, told them how the operations were run and took them into the back for a backroom tour as well. None of the girls looked over 21.

After my third magazine the entourage came back out front to an even MORE packed waiting room and the manager said, glancing around at the growing mob of moms and kids and said cheerily "Okay, ready to cut some hair"? One girl almost shouted "YES"...fumbled around on the keyboard of the computer and called out my name. I think that is when I started to sweat.

I was too embarrassed to ask for a more senior hair cutter, so I took my chances and stood up.

She led me to a chair, pulled out her huge hand bag, got out a framed picture of her and her sweetie and propped it up in one corner of her little area, reached back in her bag and got out a framed certificate and put it on the other corner and fumbled around in her bag looking for her scissors. She couldn't find them and told me "I'll be RIGHT back". I should have gotten up and ran right then.

But she was back in a flash. She asked me what I wanted done, so I gave what I thought would be my safest answer and told her I just wanted a 1/2 inch trim. She pulled my hair between her fingers and said "about an inch then"? Heck, my hair is only two inches long to begin with! I said nicely, "NO, just a half an inch...just a slight trim".

She told me she had gotten her license last week and I was her first customer (victim is more like it).

I had my fingers crossed under the cover she had draped over me and silently prayed. Actually she didn't do too badly. She left the hair on the crown of my head a little too long and it kind of resembled a lowland gorilla, but I decided not to mention it.

Hey! At least I got my oil changed too.

My sister had a similar experience at a new salon. She had never been there, having just moved to the area and the young receptionist asked who she would like to cut her hair? My sister said "I guess anybody" and the perky receptionist chirped out "I'll cut it"!!
My sister said the girl kept picking up her hair and saying "OK" and then would start over and say "alright, let me start again". On the third time she picked up a piece of my sister's hair, she remarked "here we go" and with the first snip cut into the skin between her thumb and forefinger. My sister said blood began pouring out of the cut and down the girl's hand. She grabbed a towel and said she would be right back.

My sister said she just sat there in her chair, and sat and sat and sat. Her hair dried out from where they had wet it and finally the girl cutting hair next to her said "Maybe I should go check on her".

The girl finally returned with a huge bandage wrapped around her hand and picked up the weapon, I mean scissors and began again with "Now where were we"? My sister followed the same path I chose and said "Just a slight trim will be fine".

As I told these stories to Massey's hair stylist, we were all cracking up and Brenda said "Well someone should have stepped in and taken over right away or at least taken her to the Emergency Room". I think I would agree.

When you have hair as short as mine and my sister' have to be careful, our hairstyles don't leave much room for fixing mistakes.

Massey came out looking lovely though and thanks to my nice friend's discount, I came out smelling like a Rose!

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Prom Night...For a Waitress...UGGH

Just my luck, all three high schools in my town held prom on the same night,YIPEE!

If that wasn't bad enough, the economy continues to show it's ugly head in the tips I now receive. My first tip was $4 on a $60 tab.Followed by $3 on $40 and so on and so on. The crowning jewel was a$5 tip on a $112 tab.

I truly think that a lot of people think that us server's get a paycheck. NOT TRUE. We make $2.13 an hour. The government takes out 15% of our sales as if we actually receive the standard tip and that all comes out of the $2.13. I haven't gotten a paycheck in thirty one years, and always owe state tax at the end of the year. So when I make terrible tips, it is actually costing me money to wait on tables. Not to mention if I DO actually make 15% tips, I still have to tip out to the host staff and the bartenders. To give you an example:

I sold $1106 worth of food and beverages. I had to tip the food runners $10.00 the host staff got $18.65 and the bar got $5.33. If I had made 15% of my sales, that would have been $165.00. Not bad for six or so hours of work, but subtract all my tip out and I am left with $131.00. Now consider that my tips were terrible, I made no where NEAR 15% and I still had to fork out almost $34.00 to tip share...It's kinda depressing. Don't get me wrong, I am TRULY grateful that I have my job, I just wish more of the public understood exactly how my job works and what the ramifications are when I get stiffed on a tab.

On a brighter note (if there IS one) yesterday I waited on the president of our company (over 300 stores). He is a very down to earth guy...not that I know too many millionaires, but he was affable and genuine. They are about to do renovation of our store and were there to give it a "look see".

After he ate they were walking around with the architect looking at things when they all stopped by the dish area ( a disgusting place where we scrape food, dump trash and send things back to our wonderful Latino dishwasher). I told the "Prez" (as I like to call him) that it would be great if they could block off this section of the restaurant so that customers had no awareness of this area, with the clinking plates, dumping of silverware and the kitchen help screaming out orders and requests. I said that when we were in an hour dinner wait for a table, the customers were okay with this area, but otherwise they always asked to be moved so that they couldn't hear the kitchen help. He replied, "Yeah, I bet they could get an ear full". I quickly zinged back with "Oh No..we don't seat people HERE if they can speak Spanish". At least I got a good chuckle out of him...and a 30% tip.

I do have a good job, I have a great support team, from the regional manager to the general and associate manager to the cooks in the kitchen. It just bothers me that the general public that has never been in my shoes...doesn't realize how important it is to tip a server...I should say a "GOOD" server.

I will continue my endeavor...some of my regular customers today said that maybe I should start doing a stand up routine during my time waiting on tables...adding a little bonus free of charge. It might be a thought for consideration...although I can almost guarantee my managers will nix that one right off the bat...they know how quick my tongue is.

I keep telling myself that it WILL get many times do you have to say it before it actually happens?