Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Home From the Now Hated House of Employment

You know, I was one of VERY few employees...actually probably the ONLY employee that genuinely loved their job and loved going to work. This whole shopper episode has left such a bad taste in my mouth that it makes halitosis seem sweet.

I feel like the managers are watching my every move (mainly because they are) and when they asked if I wanted to stay or go tonight..."GO!!!" came flying out of my mouth on it's own. I just wanted to leave. When I was in the office handing in my money the manager said he had watched me and that I had done a good job of slowing down and taking my time.

So basically I have to change from the type of person I have been for 49 a new person that I don't recognize or relate to if I want to keep my job.

I told my general manager that the reason I seem rushed and manic is that even though I am fifty, I work circles around all the people I work with... most of them in their early twenties, do my job and most of theirs all the time. For twelve years this has been fine...but since being bought out by a huge corporation, suddenly I am not an asset but a liability.

I never thought that I would want to leave this job, but if changing WHO I AM is a prerequisite for me keeping my job...maybe it is indeed time for me to think about moving on. I will HAVE to keep this job and seem happy about it til my husband gains employment. But the minute that it happens I plan to splurge on getting my blog copyrighted...make a list of my fave blogs and begin submitting to newspapers, magazines and anyone who will look at my writings. Maybe I could be the next "Carrie Bradshaw" or the new "COTTON" posting a column.

I know this is far fetched and most likely unattainable, but I just can't give up being "ME" it is who I am, who I have been and who I want to remain.

Don't ask me where this new font came from, I am on my daughter's laptop and can't seem to make it go away. I kind of like it though, I took my glasses off and can still read it! I am not sure why we have switched to yellow text either, but it is really hard for me to read so I guess corporate can even see me at home and want me to end my rant. Don't worry, I'll be back. Big brother must be REALLY watching me...kinda scary but kind INDICATIVE of how lame I am on a laptop. (We'll leave this one out when I submit my blog to editors.)

Hopefully back to the right color tomorrow....COTTON

PS. I finally got the text close to the original color again, still not sure what happened...guess this ole broad isn't cut out for a lap top.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Drama, At Least it is at Home

My computer was acting up last night and I lost Internet access while trying to upload a video. I have become quite the "I.T." and tried to solve the problem. I rebooted, restored, recovered and de fragmented. Reset the modem and the wi fi...still no go.

I noticed a program my 17 year old son had installed and thought "Bingo"...went to add and remove programs and uninstalled it. To his credit (as he will say) even that didn't help. I gave up and went to bed.

Got up this morning for work and my husband was on the Internet submitting applications. I asked if the computer was working and he said it was fine.

DANG..maybe I am in the wrong profession!

Went to work (I hate my job now, hopefully the hate will be short lived) and came home after taking my daughter some food to the school since she had practice til 8:00.

My son came in from school and sat at the computer to play a game and asked where the "Steam" icon had gone. I sheepishly told him that maybe I had deleted it last night while working my magic on the computer.

Hell hath no fury like a 17 year old boy without his "Steam." Not only did I delete it but uninstalled it from my computer.

Having raised three kids, I find that it is usually always THEIR fault when something goes wrong , gets broken or goes missing.

OOPS!! My "Bad."

He was LIVID!! It was a tool that he HAD to have to play the $50 game he had earned for clearing my front island in the yard (where he gained the $150.00 case of poison ivy.)

I quickly said that I could fix it (didn't have a clue as to how) and sat down to try. He started in on me about deleting things that were his and I finally reminded him that it was in fact MY computer that I had paid for and he was simply a visitor that was lucky enough to have free access to "MY DOMAIN."

Back and forth it went until I frantically found a way to re install the program and begrudgingly made him as happy as a 17 year old kid gets.

It's not MY fault his download wasn't the's HIS fault for being wrong so often that I jumped to the wrong conclusion !!

All is good now.

Massey just got home from practice, finally got her wind suit and they even spelled her name right on the monogram!! I took this picture of Zach when he came downstairs to finally say he was sorry for exploding and found his Alfalfa strand so cute I snapped a quick pic. I even took one of Massey in her wind suit just to even things out.

Ya know, even with my kids wearing me least they love me for who I am and appreciate me when I do things right. They dog me when I screw up but at least they can't get me fired.
Til next time...hoping my writing career takes off soon....COTTON

Monday, September 28, 2009

On a Lighter "NOTE"

The high school had a band exhibition tonight...five bands attended and put on their shows. I , of course was in the concession stand (thank the Lord NO funnel cakes) and only went out to film my daughter's band performance. I filmed the entire show for once and it was too big to upload so I just filmed a snippet of them warming up. I can't brag enough about the excellence of this program she has joined. The camaraderie and closeness of this particular group of kids is a fascinating thing. The involvement from the parents is outstanding and the thing that makes it work. Hey! At least I've worked my way up from funnel cakes to the actual concession stand. I just have video of the guard girls coming into the stands before their performance and a video of the band warming up on the field, but it gives you a feel for what was happening. They did a terrific job and I nearly froze my butt off filming it. As a fifty year old woman constantly having hot flashes you would think I would be fine, but with the wind blowing and I having on a tank top and shorts I had more chill bumps than a savant could count. We had a good turnout and hopefully made some $$$ for the band. After the day I had at work, I needed some uplifting and the band gave it to me. They are a great group of kids under the leadership of a great band director. I may try to upload their entire performance on my FB page. Massey gets upset because I always film only a portion of the show... because I am thinking about how it will be too big to upload on my blog. But if you read my blog, you probably know me on Facebook so you can check it out there.

Happy to be home and warm, happy to still have a job...the dressing down wasn't pretty at work but I understood their point of view and am glad they kept me around. If it had been anyone else they would have been toast. Obviously I must be all that and a bag of chips! I am grateful to still have a job and have one less thing to worry about! Til next won't be long, COTTON

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I just got home from work. I talk about how we have "Secret Shoppers"...guess who got a bad shop?

UH OH ! It was me. They ripped my service apart. Out of 1o0 points they gave my service a 69 ...NOT GOOD. It was so bad that you think they would have stuck out in my mind , but for the life of me I can't remember them. First off they said I didn't ask them if they had eaten there before and I find that HIGHLY unlikely. I start every table off the same way, introduce myself and ask if they've eaten with us before. Okay, maybe for the first time in twelve years I did it differently...still HIGHLY unlikely.

They said I let dishes pile up on the table. I am so anal about pre bussing my tables that by the time my guests leave there is nothing there but drink glasses and napkins. It's why the bussers love me..because my tables are so easy to clean and re seat.

They said their potato was hard. Well TELL me for Pete's sake and I'll bring you another one. I don't generally poke a person's potato before I take it to them. They said I seemed rushed...what server isn't?

Granted I am a bit high strung and go a million MPH most of the time. It is just my nature, my personality and my way. So they got me on THAT one.

I try to constantly remember to slow it down..but it's JUST NOT IN MY GENES. Trust me, I'll be checking myself strenuously on every shift.

What is crazy about these reports is that they are taken VERY seriously by the managers and their bosses. I dropped the ball. There is no one to blame but me.

In my defense (not that it matters a lick) it was Wednesday 19 of a 21 day stretch of working without a day off. My husband has been out of work for six months and I am the only bread winner in a family of five. I have so much on my mind at any given time of the day that it is a miracle that I can be nice to anyone, much less concentrate fully on what I am doing.

Two of the managers are having a meeting with me tomorrow to talk about the shop and that is one meeting I am not looking forward to. The pressure being put on them from corporate is insane and I realize they have to address my failing report.

But after being at this store for 12 years with ONE bad shop...I feel like that is a pretty good average. Unfortunately it isn't good enough for corporate and if I go in tomorrow and lose my job over this, I may kill myself.

When you have a job like mine and a life situation like is hard to make it all work smoothly.

So these people didn't like me, they thought I rushed them (they were there for 2 THAT rushing?)

I have people that come to our store and will sit in the lobby for thirty minutes waiting for one of my tables to come open so they can have me as their server. Just tonight I had three different tables tell me what a wonderful server I was.

None of this matters when you get one bad shop.

All I can do is go into work in the morning and listen to what a bad job I did on ONE table. Although I find it hard to believe that I did ALL of the things they wrote about, it doesn't matter. I often wonder if these "shoppers" realize that they have some one's job on the line when they write their little report?

I am the only person working in our house so I just have to suck it up and step up my performance and hope that I get a GOOD shop really, really soon.

I can do this. I can take this criticism and show them that I can give flawless service even to a "A" hole. I need my job. These people got a free dinner and the opportunity to pick me to pieces. I have to shake it off and regroup. I am better than what they wrote and if it kills me I will never have another shopper's report like this. I just hope my managers give me the chance.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Soldier Finally Goes Home

I went to the funeral for the brother of a dear friend and co worker today. He died in Afghanistan serving our country. He was 33 years old, and left behind a wife and two small children so that he could protect our freedom. The service was solemn and fitting...the burial was awe inspiring. From the fly over to the gun salute to the playing of taps to seeing a Marine touch the casket on his way out and murmuring "I love you, Bubba."
It was emotional and it was somehow uplifting. In the procession to the cemetery...people not only pulled their cars over, but got out of them and stood saluting this young man , standing outside of their vehicle. Women with their hand over their hearts... all of them showing the respect that this soldier deserves.
The pall bearers were his closest buddies and how they made it through this ordeal with grace and discipline is a tribute to their training and dedication . I personally thanked every one of them that I passed , gave them a hug and told them how very much they were appreciated and how proud I am to be an American with men and women that are dedicated to keeping my own family safe.
Now starts the true grieving period. Every one goes home, goes back to their lives.
Whenever you see a person in a military uniform...go give that person a hug or a handshake and thank them for fighting for your country.
The loss this family feels is overwhelming I am sure, but the gratitude for their son and brother's service fills my heart and truly does make me proud to be an American and to have been fortunate enough to witness his final home "going"...He is truly at home now in the arms of our Saviour. Peace be with him and the loved ones he has left behind.
Thank you, Sgt. Shawn P. McCloskey....

Friday, September 25, 2009

Homecoming at the High School

Tonight was homecoming for the high school.. I was running late and when I got there it was a little over an hour to kick off. I filmed the drum line practicing because I think they are awesome and I always liked percussion when I was in the band. There's nothing like a cadence to get things rocking in the stands. I shot the second video when I got to my now all too familiar funnel cake stand. Over an hour to kick off and it was already covered with people setting up their stands and preparing for the big game. I have to hand it to this high school...they make a big production out of each and every event for the kids and have amazing parent participation, which is exactly what it takes to make a successful program. The third video I made is after the funnel cake batter ran out (thank the Lord) and my husband and I went to watch the last five minutes of the game. It shows the band and how many people go to the game...thousands! I tape the band and then the players. Then I film "Chief Wampum." This kid is in a wheelchair and has difficulty speaking and cannot walk but my kids have both told me he is extremely intelligent and is one of the most popular kids in the school. I had to work last night but Massey marched in the homecoming parade in downtown Senoia. She said they had a stage set up to announce the nominees for homecoming court and that "Chief Wampum" was nominated for homecoming king and when his name was announced his parents lifted him out of his chair and helped him 'walk' across the stage. Massey said the crowd immediately began chanting "Wampum, Wampum , Wampum!" What a thrill it must be to this kid to not be thought of as an invalid, but to be uplifted as a school hero and mascot. Massey said he lost by 57 votes..not shabby in a school of almost 3,000. It made me respect these 3,000 kids even more . When I was in high school ...he would have been a pariah, an outcast, a kid that was never given a second glance. This kid is one of the most popular kids at the school and has been welcomed with open arms to be hailed as their mascot and treated accordingly. "Hail to the Chief!"

Every game I work, I gain more respect for the terrific school that my kids go to and for the kids that go there. On another one showed up to fry funnel cakes except me and my husband and we "Kicked Ass." We had a line thirty deep at one point but we made it through. The first game there were five of us there, the last game we were down to four. Tonight was homecoming and many parents wanted to see their kids on the field. Tim and I were "DOIN'" it ...we tried not to look at how many people were in line but kept them coming and did just fine. I told Tim after the game that we were screwed now that they knew we could do it on our own. But I don't mind, helping this great group of kids and helping to support such a positive influence on the teens of today is a GOOD thing and that is what we need more of .


Thursday, September 24, 2009


Just got home from work. My feet are killing me and I am dog tired (not that any of MY three dogs ever act tired.) Worked in the yards for three hours before I went to work and for a nice change it was sunny...but it was HOT. I went up and cut and weed eated the front of the subdivision and came back home and cut my elderly neighbor's yard.

Work was fairly busy and I didn't think it would ever end. I have had one day off since August and have worked 21 days straight since that one day off... it seems like a very vague memory (maybe I just imagined that I had a day off.)

I had a woman who ordered a sweet tea to drink and when I came back to get her husband's drink order who had just arrived she informed me that "This tea isn't SUPER sweet." I started to say that I was sorry, I thought she had ordered sweet tea, not super sweet tea. For Pete's sake ! I will have to say that people in the South are insane about their sweet tea. They seem to want it to be sweet enough to rot their teeth out before they leave the restaurant.

I told another server I felt like saying "You know what we SHOULD do is have like a little plastic holder on every table with let's say..Sugar, Sweet and Low, Splenda and Equal in it and you could just tear the top off of the individual packets and pour the contents right into your glass and then kind of swish your straw around and stir it up...Hey, LOOK we DO have those on the tables!"

If I'm not busy it doesn't bother me too bad, but when they see I have six other tables with six separate lists of wants and demands...Super sweet tea seems kind of silly to me.

It's like when a customer asks me for a straw. I often forget to bring one back because in MY mind I have moved on past the drink portion of the order taking process and have moved on to thinking about the dinner order. Sometimes they don't ask me again...sometimes they HAVE to ask again (if they a straw freak ) and my standard comedy answer on their third time asking is "I thought the answer to that would obvious by now, it's NO." I never use this one unless I know they already like me and know that I am busy and that I have simply forgotten (again.)

Another good one I use is when the order is being taken and someone will say they want Ranch dressing on their salad and then as an afterthought say "Can I change that to Honey Mustard?"
If I've already developed a good relationship with the table (which thankfully I usually do) I will shake my head sadly and say "I'm sorry, but I'm writing with a pen." That one is always good for a laugh and some customers have even had some good comebacks for it.

Let me say right here that I am a pretty good judge of who I can joke with and who I can't. If I didn't have this unique skill I would have been fired years ago.

I think my favorite story along these lines is when we had a promotion going on for shrimp appetizers. We had two different types. I was giving my sales pitch trying my best talking them into buying one of the two when the husband said "Why don't you just surprise me?"

I said "I am pregnant with your baby." That surprised him!!!

His wife was taking a sip of her drink and it felt like a "Lucy" episode. The drink actually shot out of her nose. We all had a good laugh over that one.

Tonight I had a family of four when I noticed the teen aged son's Sprite getting low, said I would be right back with another one. I got busy and as I cruised back by their table it was getting almost empty...I promised I was bringing another Sprite and went on to check on my other six tables. As I went by them again I said "I know this is the third time I've said I was bringing you another Sprite...but I MEAN it this time."

It's really not easy being a server. Let me correct that. It's really not easy being a GOOD server.

After 21 days on the floor, I know my nerves are wearing thin and my patience is running on empty.


I had to work late and got a text from my daughter was important, she needed me to pick her up some purple panty hose before I came home from work.

I called her back right before I left and asked why?? She told me that tomorrow was SPIRIT day at school (it's homecoming week and the school colors are purple and gold.)

I told her that tonight was "Get your bedroom clean night."

I got her the purple tights and the bedroom was "Cleaner" when I got home.

I feel better now, I always do when I blog...JUST ONE MORE DAY!

Til next time, "Whipped" COTTON

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Bittersweet Homecoming

It was emotional... and it was an honor to see this soldier being brought home to be laid to rest. As I stood surrounded by veterans, I realized what a bond they all have. They are the strongest and the bravest and they were there to honor "One of their own." The day was overcast. As the plane landed ...God parted the skies and sunlight filled the air strip. When we first left from our house the entire sky was gray but in the distance where the airfield was it was sunny. Like a spot of sun in an otherwise cloudy and gloomy day. Even my 14 year old daughter noticed it. When we arrived at the air was solemn and intense. As this brave soldier was taken off of the plane, the sun broke through and he had God smiling on him with all the brightness he could provide. There were thousands of people lining the streets as his body left the field . He was honored by all of these people that maybe didn't know him personally but felt compelled to come out and show their support . Another fallen soldier...another true hero...another reason why we are the greatest nation in the world...people like Sgt. Shawn his life for his country. It was one of the greatest tributes I have ever witnessed. Last year when the Black Hawks were shot down was another. Two men who I both have ties to have given their lives so that we can live in freedom . The gratitude I feel is almost overwhelming and completely deserved

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Visit From Reese

The precious little girl that Massey has watched since she was 9 months old for a dear friend of mine is now three and has come to visit from Texas. She is staying with us tonight while her mom goes out to eat and to a concert with her beau. She is absolutely the most beautiful little lady I have ever encountered and it is always a delight to have her in my home.

Massey had guard practice at the high school so my husband and I took Reese up to watch the practice. She was chatting away in the car about wanting to see the flags being twirled by the girls, but when we reached the school and she heard the drums and saw the was the band that blew her away. She was totally mesmerized. The minute they began to play she was holding her little skirt out and twirling around dancing like crazy to the music. The minute they stopped...she stopped and sat down. The minute they started back up she was on her feet again doing her little improvised dance and kicking up her heels (in this case, sandals.)

My husband and I laughed so hard it hurt.

If I had only thought to bring my cam corder! I had my cell phone though and snapped a picture of her in action. I have GOT to start taking my cam corder with me so I can capture life's great moments when they happen.

This child has the most beautiful face, heart and demeanor of any small human I have ever met and it has been a joy just seeing her again and seeing how quickly she is growing up.

On a more somber note...

I just got off the phone with my friend from work who's brother was killed in Afghanistan last week . His body will be flown into a small airport in Peachtree City tomorrow morning. I am going to take both my teens with me and check them into school afterward. This man gave his life for all of us and I feel like my kids need to be there as much as I need to . My friend told me that there was going to be a fly over not only at the funeral but at the cemetery as well. When she told me that I had chill bumps. She said a General was coming to the service and I am so glad that this true hero is being honored in such a fitting way.

It has been a crazy week. It has been an eye opening week. It has been a week that will never be forgotten.

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bring it On, Ya Crazy " #@&%*!$ "

It's been raining here for days and days and days. For Pete's sake... I can't remember what a sunny day looks like.

Worked a day shift and it was pretty slow. One big pop at noon and then it dwindled down to nothing. Once the lunch starts to slow the managers start cutting the staff. They send home three of the servers, send home one of the hosts and all the cooks but one (LABOR LABOR LABOR.) Corporate is on the managers constantly, especially with this economy to keep labor costs down. The poor managers...they get it from complaining customers to complaining employees to complaining higher ups. It's no wonder they all have bi polar tendencies.

Case in point.

Last Friday the general manager was on a rant for no apparent reason. There were only four of us there. All of us have been with the company for at least twelve years...some for fifteen. We are the cream of the crop. We all are the hardest workers who always look good and know and do our job without having to be told (not many of the other 50 employees do.)

We had just opened the doors when he took us all four out to a side room and verbally exploded in our faces. I think you could see sparks flying off of his frantically moving lips while he railed all four of us out . We said nothing (We're smart like that) and tried not to look at each other while he finished his diatribe. It was like he literally went nuts there for a minute. With our morale bolstered (NOT) we went back to all of our tables that sat out in the restaurant wondering where their server was.

We had a slam banging lunch and the manager came up and personally apologized to each one of us privately at some point during the mad two hour crunch. I guess he realized what side his bread was buttered on.

After it was all said and done , I went up to him and commented on what a good lunch we had. He agreed with me and said it all went really smoothly (I told you us four were the best.)

I then said that it was really nice to see business picking up and "If all it takes for us to make money is you reaming us a new one...I say BRING IT ON YA CRAZY BASTARD!" I followed up my joke with a quick hug and told him that I loved him. He laughed, he knows how crazy I am and he is really more of a good friend than just a boss.

He came to work today after having the weekend off and appeared to back to his normal self. I know what tremendous pressure he is under and being a managing partner in the store just adds to his load. I was a manager for the last restaurant where I worked and I wouldn't do it again for a million dollars (well maybe for a million...but not much less.)

Today after it all died down and we were down to one cook and two servers, the bartender and one of the servers decided to order something to eat. Then I asked another server to split a burger with me. I heard our manager talking to one of the maintenance guys who does repairs and pressure washing for us what he wanted to eat so I jokingly yelled back to the only cook (an AWESOME guy and another good friend) "Hey Dean, we got a ten top walking in!"

Such is life in the crazy world of an even crazier server!!

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Good LONG Day

This top picture is of Danielle and her wonderful Aunt Amy at the party today for Danielle finishing therapy at the Sheperd Center. We had a nice turnout, about twenty people came and there were another twenty people that were already there working. We had tons of good food and friends that all had one common interest..."Supporting Danielle." These are some random shots...the first one is Danielle with her FABULOUS Aunt Amy. The second is of of her BFF's and Morgan a fellow hostess.

The third is one of us all cramming down the food and just socializing.

The next is me and Jen "D" a fellow server who transferred from a Florida sister restaurant after a hurricane and has slipped right into our little niche perfectly.

The pics aren't too good, my son Zach made them and I told him after viewing them he was fired...but you get the gist. It was a good turn out of good friends of Danielle. This girl has come from a near death experience and made it back in a miraculous manner. "She is WOMAN hear her ROAR."

Getting to know and love this young girl has been an amazing journey for me and one that I am grateful I joined.

She has had a tremendous support team and her Aunt wins the Gold Medal in my book. An incredible woman that has been Dani's surrogate mom sister would do the same for my kids (God bless sisters.)

It was a good day...and I needed one.

Day fifteen of working and six more to go. Giving Danielle something to smile about will make those upcoming days seem easier...think about what SHE has been through.
I added a small video (I found out how to upload again, Amy) and it is just a glimpse of the people that have supported, visited and loved Danielle along her journey back to us and back to herself.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day Fourteen and Going Strong...(kinda)

Just got home from work. Today is day fourteen in a twenty one day work week. Hey! Only seven more to go. I actually do better when I work all the time...give me two days off and I don't want to go me every day and I begin to feel like it is the "Norm." All I have to do is wake up and try to remember what time I have to be at work and work the rest of my day around that.

It's been busy around here. Last night was the football game, today it rained all day and Massey and I laid around watching TV in my king size bed and then I went into work. It was Homecoming for two high schools in the area and we were swamped with teens (note to self: take off on Homecoming.) They come in dressed like they are going to the VMA's or the Oscars. When I was in high school we had a football game and then all headed to the auditorium for a dance with the disco ball transforming the 50 year old room into an enchanting evening. The band would be some guys from our own school who dreamed of being the group "Queen" or at least gave it their best shot. Today the kids go out for an expensive meal with their dates clomping around in four inch heels and rent limos.

I got side tracked on Wednesday when I went into work. The manager pulled me aside the minute I walked in the door. One of our co worker's brother had just been killed in Afghanistan ... her mother was home for lunch when the soldiers rang her door bell. My co worker (and dear friend) was in the shower when she heard her mother scream.

What parent of any person serving in the military doesn't think about that knock on the front door ? I just couldn't imagine that and although it happens on a daily basis around the nation, until it hits your own house it doesn't seem real. Then the reality travels as fast as a lightening strike. Calls are made, people are stunned and caught off guard.

My heart breaks for this wonderful girl and her close knit family. I talked to her today for the first time. I sent her an email last night and she called to thank "Me." What does THAT tell you about what a great person she is and what a good family she is a part of?

I just seem to be a better writer than talker and tried to convey to her that her brother is a TRUE HERO and should be remembered for just that. He gave the ultimate sacrifice for not only her family but for ALL of our families and for our country.

I truly think about her constantly throughout my day and realize how grateful I am to have people like her brother who are willing to put their life on the line for ALL OF US.

So we lost the football game last night, my night at work was thwarted by teens with no money to tip, it rained all day and I am tired from working two weeks straight without a day off and my husband has no job.

She has lost a brother...his kids have lost a father and their mother has lost a husband. Her parents have lost a son and it was all to let us live here in America and have our freedom.

It seems ironic to me that this will be the second funeral I will be going to for a fallen soldier of our conflicts in the mid east. When the Black Hawk copters were shot down over a year of the soldiers on board was the son of a man I grew up with and our family took vacations with. It was the most draining and emotional funeral I have ever attended and left me with a new respect for our military and their families.

It seems I will be going to another one.
It seems that my own financial problems are small.
It seems like I am a lucky person.
It seems like you need to stop and count your blessings.
It seems like you always need to look at the "Bigger" picture to be able to see your own and put it into the proper perspective.

God bless Sgt. Shawn McCloskey and God bless his family. Thank you for giving your life for mine.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dang! Talk About Getting SCALPED

Just got home from the game...our first loss 13-9.

My husband and I went to the game, pulled into the stadium and were told that it was $2.00 to park . How ridiculous is that? Is there going to be some kind of shuttle bus to drop me off at the ticket booth where they want $14.00 more to get in...they must have ushers that will show us to our seats...I was kinda looking forward to that...DIDN'T HAPPEN. gets better.

After the halftime show I walked to the concession stand with my daughter just to chat and of course give her money to eat. While we were in line the man in front of us commented "They don't have change."

I asked what he was talking about and he told me they had ones but no coins. If you bought something for $2.25 and handed them a five, you would get two dollars back. How much money did they make off of THAT scam? I bet they had coins on the home side of the field...but we weren't allowed over there. (NO DUH)

I gave my girl all the quarters, nickels and dimes I had in my pocket and went back to the stands to sit with my husband.

A lot of the mothers who have guard girls wear shirts with their daughters names on daughter once told me that they had a really "cool"one that said "Guard Moms Gone Wild" and asked If I wanted one. I politely declined. I have already sunk over a grand into this thing and although I think it is a FANTASTIC program, in our current situation my husband suggested me getting a tee shirt that read "Guard Mom Gone Broke."
I laughed for a good five minutes...he can be pretty witty when the mood strikes him.

We had some shaky calls by the Ref' husband said the Ref's probably got all the parking money and half of the "mark up" from concessions....DANG, is he trying to be funnier than me?

We lost, but only by 4 points and they never even led til the 4th quarter. I told my husband that with the point spread their school most certainly had going while taking bets during the pep rally this afternoon before the game, we probably would have won .

They were the Seminoles, we were the Indians...but I feel like THEY did the scalping. I felt like hiding in a wig wam and hoping they didn't notice I was from the OTHER tribe.


The top picture is Massey with her hair back in a loose bun. You can see the curls sticking out from every direction.
The second picture is one with her hair down, only pulled back from her face. She has a head of thick curly hair and THEN some.
The smaller picture is with her hair in what the guard refers to as a sock bun. They wear it like this for football games and competitions. It is rolled tight inside of the cut off portion of a sock and slicked back with tons of gel, then bobby pinned and sprayed. It could stay like this for a week if we left ain't MOVING. She has to wash her hair with baking soda just to get enough of the goop out so she can shampoo it. She stays after school on Fridays so all the girls can have their hair done and then do their makeup (it ain't easy being a princess.)
This morning she got up at six thirty and started getting ready for school. She came into my bedroom with her already plastered back into a sock bun and asked if it looked okay. I told her it looked fine to me and asked why she did it at home instead of after school. She said their choreographer had suggested that she do it at home if she could to save time. Massey said since she had a "Hot Mess" she thought she would try it herself instead of having someone else do it.
I thought to myself "When did she ask me to pick up a
Hot Mess" kit from the store and why didn't I remember buying one?" I asked her what a "Hot Mess" was, thinking it was some new hair straightening product or some type of flat iron.
She looked at me as if I was a complete lunatic (she wouldn't be totally off base) and replied "My HAIR is a hot mess."
OHHH! Now I get it.
I guess her hair takes more time to do than anyone else's and they had probably started drawing straws to see who had to put her "Hot Mess" into a sock bun.
"Hot mess"
Mama's got her some new slang!
Now I know what term applies to the way I feel most of the time these days and sounds a lot hipper than "Depressed."
Once again I have learned something from one of my teens...I'm DOWN with THAT!!
Headed out the door to the ballgame to see how that "Hot Mess" holds up on the field.
Til next time, COOL COTTON

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Super Franny on the Fifty

Last week we took my Dad's cousin to the football game with us to see Massey performance in the halftime show. She is nearing eighty, recently had open heart surgery and an open wound from a botched catheter. She spent a couple of months in a rehab and came out like the champ she has proven to be. I picked her up at her house and we went by to pick up my sister who was going with us as well. My daughter's high school is a massive size school and luckily I get there early to help with concessions. I wasn't thinking when I parked the car...I always park by the band room for an easy exit when 2,000 people are trying to leave the stadium. we all got out of the car and stood for a minute or two to watch the band rehearsal and wave to Massey.

Then we started our trudge to the stadium. I just wasn't thinking about Frances when I parked so far away and by the time I had led them both in and out of the school a couple of times and weaved them behind the cafeteria to finally come out on the other side of the school where we could see the stadium in the distance, Frances commented "You should have just parked at YOUR house and we could have walked from there."

My sister and I cracked up. She was right, I made it as hard as I could for her, just to make it easier for myself after the game. Her best friend's son is with the Sheriff's dept and is the resource officer at the high school. We called him on his cell phone and he met us at the gate after our 1/2 mile walk and got Frances into the game for free and set her up on the fifty yard yard line. He also told me that after the game we could go get the car and pick her up in the handicap line right by the front gate.

I gave her a free funnel cake from my stand that I help in and even got to watch the half time show with her. I thought that she would want to leave after half time but she stayed the entire game.

She is a pistol and sharp as a whip. I only hope that some of her genes are equally shared with mine. She is hard of hearing but besides that she is an amazing and strong willed woman that seems to have no limits.

It was the most fun I have had at a ball game and she makes me laugh with almost every comment.

I didn't really get to know her until she had the open heart surgery and went to rehab. Massey and I visited her quite often and got to know how much of a delight she is. She is a fire ball and on top of her game. She knows what she wants and knows how to express herself in the most wonderful way. I don't think that I have ever met a person as strong as her or a person with a more positive attitude or out look.

Geez...I hope that I am like that one day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another Anniversary...

Seven years ago today I lost my father to the West Nile virus. I lost my mother when I was seventeen. I was crushed by both unexpected deaths, but as I have grown older... have come to appreciate God not making me watch both of them suffer for years, forget who they were or who I was. They both went quickly and both without years of pain or suffering. The only ones left to suffer were us...I'll take that bullet for both of them ANY day. My dad was as healthy as you could imagine at the age of 77. A vibrant and sharp man... who just got bit by a mosquito. The ten days he was ill with the virus are embedded in my memory forever. The virus took my only remaining parent from me but brought me, my sister and brother closer together than we had ever been and where we remain today . He was an amazing man and a terrific father. As I go to more and more funerals of my friend's parents who have suffered and battled with illnesses for years and years...draining every one's energy, resources and mental well being...I realize that I am the lucky one. My parents went quickly and spared us from watching their demise with a calendar but with watching it with a wrist watch . My father joined the navy at the age of 16 with his parent's forged signature by his brother...he said he had a lot of nice clothes back then and his brother knew he could keep them if my dad joined the service . He came home and met my mother, worked blue collar jobs all his life to provide us with the wonderful upbringing we all so fortunately had. He is up in Heaven with my mother today, looking down on all of us smiling and saying that us kids are doing okay...he knew we would. He is my hero and he is my father. He is missed today as much as he was eight years ago. Maybe even more. I love my parents and the way they instilled "doing the right thing" in me...I hope I make them proud because I am very proud to have been blessed with two of the greatest parents a kid could ever dream of . I still dream about them both and they are the sweetest dreams I ever have .

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Not Tonight Honey... I Have a Headache

Dang, it took me thirty minutes just to get the photos in order so I could tell my little story...not to mention that my kids have my space bar sticking on my keyboard (of course 'They Haven't Been Eating while sitting at the computer')...BLAH BLAH BLAH !
So today is my 19th wedding anniversary. Nineteen years ago today I wore this ridiculous dress and married Tim at his parent's house. I gained a husband and a step son all in one afternoon . I look at these photos and wonder in amazement where all the years have gone...til I look in the mirror. Obviously they have all stuck to my face! The lines, wrinkles and gray hair say what the 99 Lbs don't. I age, I just don't get fat.
It has been a has been an adventure and it has been a job. A job that pays with kisses, hugs and memories (not all from Tim, mostly from my kids ...but that is what you get when you marry an opposite.)
I truly don't know how he has stayed with me for 21 years. We were together for two years before we married and have been in it for the long haul from the beginning. He came out of a terrible divorce and I swooped in to save him. It seemed like such a good idea at the time ...
Little did I know that 19 years down the road I would have three kids, gray hair and an unemployed husband. The unemployed part is TOTALLY NO FAULT OF HIS OWN... but has been of great concern for him as well as me. It has been the most stressful year of our 21 years together but if we can pass this point in our relationship together...we can do ANYTHING.
I have a back that goes out about twice a year, a bad knee from entering the speed skate for mothers at skate night when the kids were in elementary school and corns on my pinkie toes from three decades of waiting tables and carpel tunnel from carrying plates to tables on a daily basis. As my husband once said when I reminded him of all my ailments..."Baby, you really make yourself sound attractive."
But he is still with me and my loud self. I am a tirade of verbal diarrhea from the moment I wake up til the minute that the three dogs quit listening at night. I go like crazy from the minute I crawl out of bed until I hit the pillow at 2 AM, back up by 7 AM to start it all again. My husband is as laid back as I am hyper, we are two totally different people with one common goal.
Raise our family, love the kids no matter what and try to save some love for JUST us.
My husband has been helping me stretch out my legs at night because they wake me with cramps all night long. I didn't think he paid much attention to me typing my blog every night, but tonight when I asked for a second stretching session he said "Not tonight honey, I have a headache."
Go figure...maybe they just like to play stupid and hope that it works to their may for him tonight!!
Til next time...COTTON
PS you can click on these photos to see them in original size...the dress may be tacky, but I look MUCH younger !!

Monday, September 14, 2009

What a Shimmering Shift!

Just as I said about the law of averages the other day is still true in my profession. Yesterday was a downer and today lifted me back up.

I got to work ten minutes late because I had to go by one of our sister stores to get some product for our store (another favor the MANAGERS owe me...they're stackin' up.)

First off the key to the coke machine was missing and we couldn't turn it on. I don't know which dummy took it out last night, but we always just leave it in...kinda like how I leave the key in my riding mower. After finally locating the key we had a problem with the machine itself (some idiot probably screwed it up last night and thought if they hid the key no one would ever know they had goofed up the fountain.) It only took my manager having to perch on the counter of the beverage station ( he ain't real tiny) and after a frustrating few minutes we were back in business. Nice start, huh?
Lunch started out alright but quickly died. We started with six servers and were down to just three before 1:00. By 2:00 we were down to two servers and before 3:00 it was down to ME!
I had a table seated with a family of five...the parents, a young girl and the girl's aunt and uncle or maybe even grandparents (I am terrible with ages as mine is flying at warp speed down the path of my life.)
They were nice but a touch kooky. After I finally got the order and took the salads to the table, I went back to clear the empty bowls. I asked the first man how his salad was and he remarked "It was just brilliant!" I said 'Alrighty then', and removed his bowl. When I went into the server alley I asked a co worker what he could have possibly meant by that statement. Did he mean it was too glaringly bright to look at or did it just look smart sitting in it's little bowl?
The lunch went out and when I went to pre bus the table the dad was through with his plate. I asked if I could take his dish for him and he came back with "Yes you can, I'm GOLDEN."
Back to the server alley to check with my co workers again...what the heck did "Andy Adjective" mean with THAT one?
I told my manager that when they left I may tell them to have a "Shining Afternoon."
It was all on one check and "Andy" said he would take it. The tab was a little over $70.00 and when I went back to pick it up he said there was no change needed it was all for me. He had left $100.00, almost a $30.00 tip for me. I went back to the table and said in earnest "Thanks for the SHINING tip!" He didn't miss a beat and told me it was "His pleasure." My co worker said that as soon as I walked off he probably said "That's a GOOD one...let me write that down."
After they left, "Curving" out the door of the restaurant, one of my regulars who eats with us almost every day of the week asked me if I knew who they were. I told her I didn't and she told me that they owned a restaurant in the neighboring city called "Broadway."
Maybe he was just using some Broadway terms..."BRILLIANT...GOLDEN." Whatever it was, it made my shift and put some groceries on my "Aromatic" dinner table in our house!
That's the funny thing about HAVE to treat every guest as if they are "The Golden Table." Sometimes it doesn't work out to your advantage, but sometimes it makes a "Bouncing" shift turn into a "Stupendous" affair!
Thank goodness my manager doesn't read my blog, because the ABOVE posted picture is not really his "Good" side...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nice to be Home Early

Went into work and it was a ghost town. I hung around long enough to make $80 and ducked out at the first opportunity. I worked yesterday on my day off so it all evens out.

I spent the first part of my day watching "The Secret life of the American Teenager" with my daughter. Number one: how much sex are these kids having with their parents obvious knowledge? Number two: When did Molly Ringwald get old? My daughter loves this show and has all the episodes recorded since it airs while she is at practice. I guess if she can watch "Friends" she can watch "Secret Life" but it kind of disturbed me. After we were on the fourth show I kinda got into it. I told her she was crazy if she thought it was okay to have sex before she was 30 and CERTAINLY under NO circumstances would it be happening while she was in high school. I was partly joking, she is a good girl with a good head on her shoulders and no interest in any boys other than the Jonas brothers and I see a very slim chance in her hooking up with one of them.

After coming home I threw in a load of laundry and read my book for a while out back with the dogs (I did the reading, they just sat there.)

Work has become a battlefield of tension and drama. Since we have been bought out by a bigger corporation ...the heat our managers get from the home office on a daily basis is enough heat to fry my funnel cakes in the concession stand. They get hounded daily and it trickles down to us. They fired one girl after her lunch shift and took another into the office for a half an least SHE came out the office with her job, but with a tear stained face and still hyperventilating.

I realize more than anyone how tough these times are and how much EVERY PENNY counts. But the one girl lost her job because some customers complained about her service. Is the customer's word ALWAYS the truth? She is a single working mother who teaches in middle school and works in our restaurant on weekends to help make ends meet. Could her service have been SO bad that she deserved to lose her job ? I know this girl pretty well and just don't think so. Do you think that these customers know they got her fired..or just laughed about the fact that they got some free food because they complained about a server? What the managers are trying to do is show us that they are serious about stepping up our service and performance and I totally understand that, but they have about ten deadbeats that NEVER give the job any type of dedication or could care less about the company...GET RID OF THEM!

Get rid of the ones who are always calling out of work or showing up late. Get rid of the ones who are in the rest room texting their friends, get rid of the ones who don't help out running food or doing their side work. Why do they choose to make an example out of one of our better servers just on the hear say from a table of disgruntled customers?

I was more than ready to leave work early tonight. I know that my managers know how hard I work and how good of a job I do not only at my tables but in the back of the house as well. It justs disgusts me to see a perfectly good employee rail roaded out the door because of ONE complaint.

To the "Complainers"


Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Secret Meeting in the Woods

Last night my sister went to the football game with me to (supposedly) help with the funnel cake stand...if only she hadn't JUST done her toenails AND worn flip flops!

On the way home she wanted to stop at the store to pick up a bottle of wine. We stopped at a convenience store but they didn't sell wine so we were headed to Publix when we passed a gas station. We decided to check and see if they maybe sold wine and my sister jumped out of my car to go in and check. As she was headed to the door with another woman walking in front of her I rolled down my window and jokingly shouted "See if they have MD 20 20." She came back to get her purse saying that they did sell wine and that the woman who had walked in before her was a cashier there and when my sister went to look for her wine, the woman said "It's up here hon."

When we both went back in (may as well pick up some beer for myself) we were wondering why she thought the wine would be behind the counter. When we got in line we leaned over to peek behind the register and THERE IT WAS... MD 20 20 on a shelf behind the counter. I asked the woman why it was behind the counter and she said because of shoplifting. I guess if you drink wine out of a flask size bottle you might be the type to want it for free.

We laughed about it the whole way to her house and I dropped her off and headed home.

I got home and sat down to upload videos and type on my blog. My sister called me and asked if I had heard anything when I left her house. She lives out in the country on six acres and was home alone because her husband was on a trip (he's a flight attendant.) I told her no and she said it was the weirdest thing but she could hear what sounded like hundreds of men chanting and sometimes hooping and hollering somewhere in the woods behind her property. I told her it was probably a party but she said it was like they were chanting and she heard no female voices, only male voices. I told her to call me back and went on blogging. By this time it was almost midnight and she called back to say they were still going strong with the chanting .

I told her to call the Sheriff's department and have them send someone out to hear it and see what they thought. After all, I live 25 miles below Atlanta and she is 15 more miles out from me and we ARE in the may well be the stinkin' Klan having a meeting in the confines of the country cover...YOU JUST NEVER KNOW.

By this time it is after one in the morning and her husband had just gotten home from the airport and heard the noise for himself. My sister called back again to say that two Sheriff's cars had stopped in front of her house and her husband was out talking to them. They said they had found the road they thought the crowd was on but they couldn't get down it in their squad cars. My brother in law said he would take them down it in his Bronco and they all jumped in and took off. One of the officers was a younger white guy and the other an older black guy. When they went as far as they could, the officers said they would walk the rest of the way. My brother in law commented that they had more balls than him and the older black officer said not really, but he had a gun ... with guns drawn they approached the hidden field.

It was a Georgia Tech fraternity hazing party...tents set up everywhere, eight empty kegs of beer and guys with their hands tied behind their backs! HELLO...the cops are here!

They had rented the land from a farmer and had obviously drank so much that they forgot to keep it down after one in the morning. The cops were nice and even though hazing is illegal, told them to keep it down and with the tents set up everywhere they weren't driving anywhere... they left them to their foolishness.

What a bizarre story with such a bizarre ending ! Only down here in the sticks would THAT happen...but it did and it was just too good of a story to pass on writing about.

I bet they were Kappa Sigs!

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, September 11, 2009

Still Undefeated

Okay, the first picture is at my now famous Funnel Cake stand...these two little mighty mights helped collect tickets while I fried batter in a vat of flaming grease. Moving on to the ball game portion of the blog..I took my Dad's cousin , Frances (famous Frances) to the ball game tonight to see Massey perform. Not thinking, I parked on the far side of the high school from the stadium because it is easier to get out after a game. Halfway to the stadium, Frances remarked that I should have just parked at my house and the walk wouldn't have been much further (she CRACKS me up.) We fixed that problem right off the bat! The resource officer at the high school is a life long friend of Frances' and we not only got him to get her in the gate for free but he told us we could drive the car around after the game to pick her up in the handicap lane by the gate so she wouldn't have to trudge back to the car.
After firing up my grease vats, I went to film the band marching into the stadium...the drum corp is awesome and I always love hearing the cadence. If the blog will let me I will add the blog of them coming into the stadium first.
Before the National Anthem, the announcer said a few words about it being eight years ago that our Nation came under attack and wanted us all to reflect on the fact that so many citizens, rescue workers and innocent people lost their life on that horrific day. As he spoke, you could hear him choking up and his voice wavered and cracked and at one point he had to stop speaking and regain his was EXTREMELY touching and brought tears to my own eyes.
I have included the video of the band playing the Star Spangled Banner... appropriate considering that it is September 11 and as the song played, I sent up a prayer for the victims of 911 and their families ... all the heartbreak their loved ones have had to endure and try to somehow recover from. They had a moment of silence, I thought once again how lucky my own life really is and how very much I have to be grateful for... and how many lives have been taken with no thought or compassion so that I can live in the greatest nation on the earth. My sincere and deepest gratitude goes out to the victims, the rescue workers and the families they have left behind...I am here today because one of your loved ones took the "bullet" for me and my own family.
Okay, back to the blog about the game.
My sister is a whinny baby. She came tonight specifically to fill in for me at halftime so I could watch Massey perform while she poured the batter for the nasty funnel cakes. When we were trudging to the ball field I made the comment that my tennis shoes still had batter on them from the last home game. My sister immediately said "I have on flip flops and I just did my toenails."
She said I had to swap shoes with her before she would take over the grease vat for me. Lucky for her the team we were playing was from upper Cobb county and had only a handful of people in the visitors stands...last time we played a local school and the line became thirty deep for a stinkin' funnel cake.
Her worries proved to be unnecessary and I really never needed her to take my husband and oldest son manned the booth while I shot my video at halftime and her pedicure was spared!
Our team "Whomped 'em" and my sister ended up not having to pour the batter for even ONE funnel cake...pedicure still in tact and she doesn't have to wake up with funnel cake smell in her hair. At least she made the offer and the effort and I love her for that.
I think I will go take a hot bath to wash away the smell because I just picked up a day shift for tomorrow and I can still smell the sickening sweet batter.
It is a great program that Massey is involved in and I hope you click on the videos to get a glimpse of what I am so excited about and what she loves so very much.
We just learned yesterday that they are performing in Hawaii next year in a parade...maybe I will volunteer to be a chaperon on THAT trip!
Til Next time...COWETA COTTON

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What a Day, I Say !

One more day til Friday. On Friday I only have to take the kids to school at 8 (because Massey HATES the bus and she has some "mean" girls on the bus that hate her for being liked by her middle school teachers last year and they pick on her) then I come back home, feed the dogs and give them fresh water...which no one else in the house seems to think they need...get ready for work and go in at 10:30 and work til 4:00. I come home and check my e mail and change to go to the ball field for my date with the vat of grease that fries funnel cakes that I sell at the football game. On the good side, I get home by 11:00 PM. smelling like a pancake and covered in batter.

Today was my EASY day. After taking the kids to school (Damn those MEAN girls) I came back home and tried to sleep for another hour. I had to get up because I had agreed to cut a friend's yard in the neighboring subdivision for $25.00 and threw in that I would weed eat as well. Her yard is MUCH smaller than mine and I thought I could knock it out in under an hour.

I cranked up my John "Dear" and drove to the end of our street. I hung a right on Mary Freeman Road and putted up the road at five MPH for a quarter of a mile to the next subdivision to cut my friend's yard. Along the way one of my neighbor's passed by, stopped and rolled down their window with a look on their face like "What in the heck are you doing?"

I threw up a hand in a friendly wave and said I was just going to the store for a gallon of milk. I told him that I was really going to cut a yard ( I look desperate or WHAT?)

I got to her house in ten minutes flat (Thank the Lord for that 5th gear.)

Her yard as I remembered it was pretty small.

It would have been okay if she had cut it in the past month, but it was obvious right off the bat that they had been too busy to cut it since they closed on their house last year. (JK)

Note # One: Never quote a job before you have actually looked at it .

So I am locked in for a $25.oo job that needs a bush hog or at least a tractor.

The grass in the front was sorta okay, but the back yard looked like it was at least three feet tall .

I started with my blade on 3... I cut my yard on 1... my nephew says my yard looks like a putting green and I LIKE it that way.

The mower cut out immediately and I switched to 5. I had to cut with the blade at its highest level and go back and mulch all the tons of grass so it wasn't piled up on her lawn.
Then came the back yard..a hill at a 45 degree angle that was only accessible with either a sling blade or a weed eater (my favorite power tool next to my John "DEAR.")

I did what I could and told my friend I had to go buy a new weed eater and would be back to finish "Horror Hill" as soon as I could.

I came back as promised and finished the back with my new weed eater ( I needed a new one anyway. )

When I finally finished the back hill, she was out front in her heels with her electric blower getting rid of the evidence that she had let her yard go to *&@# and I asked her if she felt like she had gotten her money's worth. She was so complimentary to me that I almost felt my heart palpitations disappear ( I am good at doing that...I still have three kids to get rid of before I can kick off )

She is such a sweet girl and a really good person that I know she was grateful that I had come to mow her "Pasture" and did quite a good job if I say so myself.

At least now I have it down to a manageable height and can call her in a week and say "It's time again."

I came home from work and went back to the front of the subdivision to weed eat it as well (another $40) and came back home feeling like a sweaty grease ball.

$25 from my friend, $40 for the front of the subdivision, $49 at work...not too shabby.

Going to soak in my newly scrubbed tub and will wake up and start my life all over again...FUNNEL cakes here I come!

Going to upload a video of my daughter's band's performance stay tuned ..

Calgon, Coors Light...TAKE ME AWAY !!

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I had a pretty productive day. I cut the front to the subdivision, got a call from a neighbor in the subdivision behind me wanting to hire me to cut her yard (maybe landscaping is the way to go) and got another bathroom scrubbed all before I went to work. When I was cutting at the front of the subdivision there was a dead bird in the grass. I always pick up all the trash that has been tossed out of cars, but not being too crazy about dead birds I just shut my eyes and ran it over, blowing feathers into the ditch by the side of the road (at least I buried it in a ditch.)

It started off pretty slow at work , then I hit the jack pot. Eight men obviously on a business account with heavy alcoholic tendencies are a server's dream come true. After sitting down their first round of drinks, two of them were ready for another. They had at least two drinks a piece before they ordered and continued to drink through the entire meal. The tab was almost $300 and my tip was $50...nice start.

Then some of my regulars came in and gave me a phat tip as well , after that I had made $130 in less than three hours. 999 must be my lucky number! Thank the Lord it wasn't June 6, 2006...I don't know how comfortable I would feel thinking that 666 was my lucky number.

One of my favorite servers (see previous post about the Addams Family) got a party of 16 high school girls. Most of them didn't even look old enough to drive. He made the comment he could chat them up about the 'Twilight' book series. He was on the party with another cute little server. I told him he should introduce himself to the table and say "My name is Edward and this is Bella...we will be taking care of you this evening."

Young kids (teens) always ask for the kid menus which include a snazzy little coloring book with puzzles in it and come with a pack of three crayons. As I was walking by my co worker who was waiting on the girls I threw out the comment "Your party needs more crayons."

He gave me a glare, but all the other servers laughed so it was a win win for me.
They all split entrees and their tab was pretty thin. After they left I asked him if he had at least been asked to the Homecoming dance (another glare and more laughter from my co workers.)

He is the one person at work that you can't make mad if you try...and believe me I HAVE TRIED.

It is a fast paced shift in a hits all at once and sometimes dies all at once. You either make money you can't imagine or you walk out the door hoping that the next shift will be completely different...and it usually always is (the law of averages is the world we work in.)

Even on a bad night there is ALWAYS something that happens that we can all laugh about or talk about with amazement and wish we had a cam corder to record. There's always some guy with a mullet wearing a wife beater...dang did his wife not notice what he was wearing when he got into the car? Not to mention when your shoulders are covered by hair...a tank top may not be the way to go.

Or there's the lady with the "flippy" hair do. It is a short bob that flips up at a ninety degree angle around her entire head and makes her look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. Why doesn't her husband tell her that it is ridiculous looking?

It amazes me how some people look into the mirror at their house and can actually say to themselves "Alright, I'm ready to go out to eat."

One time at work I waited on a man that was with another guy (I'll give him that, what man is going to say "Dude, put on a REAL shirt.") This guy had big flabby arms covered in tattoos and body hair and was only wearing a wife beater, A- shirt, underwear tank top whatever you want to call it...but it was NOT a shirt you wear to a sit down restaurant especially if you have fur covered shoulders.

As always I seize an opportunity for a joke... I told one of the other males servers "My husband is at table 41 if you want to meet him." I thought that when the server walked by the table he would chuckle to himself and come back to tell me "That was a GOOD one!"

Instead when I walked through the dining room , Lo and Behold he was at table 41 pumping the man's hand and speaking to him. I quickly went to the table and said to the server "I meant table 21...21!"

Trust me . I don't do THAT anymore , especially with male servers...the server probably thought "Dang, I wish MY wife would let me go casual like THAT dude."

Working in a restaurant is an ongoing Sociology lesson...and sometimes a comedy routine. Sometimes it is hard to tell the two apart.

Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Update on Dani

I thought I would give you an update on my co worker who was in a devastating car accident. She has battled back like the warrior she has thoroughly proved herself to be.

Ya know, when I first started writing about her "co worker" seemed the appropriate term. As I have gotten to know her better and gotten to know her wonderful family and support system... "friend" seems much more appropriate and accurate.

She came into the restaurant to see me just the other day and brought her mom with her who is visiting from Michigan. It was the first time I had met her mother and they looked like sisters standing there. Dani brought me a sweet card to thank me for visiting her in the hospital...TOTALLY unnecessary but thoughtful just like the young girl who handed it to me.

She is almost through with her out patient therapy and has made BEYOND amazing progress.

Getting to know this young girl , her friends and family has been a really touching and eye opening experience. You know the saying..."Only by the grace of God..."

You never know what the next minute in life may bring or if you are even going to have that next minute.

This girl knows that now...this girl LIVES that now.

As you can see if you click on the photo of the vehicle she was sitting in the passenger seat of when the wreck happened, it is a miracle she survived at all.

But survive she did... and thrive she will. Her personality is slowly returning to the young girl I remember before the wreck and the glow in her face has returned as well.

In her delirious state early on in the Sheperd Center...she talked on and on and on about the "Sham Wow." Don't ask me why, I guess infomercials work really well when you are in traction, casts, body braces and awake all night with only a TV for company.

Anyway, Massey and I bought her one and took it to her in the hospital. You would have thought I took her a pair of diamond earrings! I have posted a pic of me and her with the coveted "Sham Wow" as well.

The last picture is where the first of this story began. In a hospital bed clinging to life.

Obviously my girl is a "CLINGER."

She hung on, she maintained and made the best of her daily changing prognosis and outlook...sometimes it was bleak...sometimes it was dim...but she gave it her all and God has rewarded her with a miracle in my book.

It has been a true blessing for me, getting to know her AND her courage... and for her to consider this ole broad a friend (I hope people don't think I'm her Grandma) although I would be pleased as pop to have a grand daughter as great as her one day (WAY on down the road.)

She has had a couple of minor set backs and has some problems with having been intubated for such a long period of time...but mark my words (not really my words BUT Danielle is WAY too young to remember this show) it just seems so fitting...









Til Next time...COTTON

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's Bad When WORK is the EASY Part...

Went to work today for a day shift. We knew it would be slow so we only had six servers on. Two of them got cut before they ever got a table. That left four...we liked the fourth girl a lot so we let her have one table before she got cut as well.
The manager cut all the cooks but one and sent the Mexicans home too.
Left with nothing but Gringos...we all started to have to work really hard as the crowd trickled in and trickled and trickled and built to a crescendo we weren't prepared for.
At least three of us made money and the others got to go home and enjoy Labor Day.
Before I left for work, in honor of Labor Day...I laid down the law for working around OUR house.
I told my husband that if our oldest thought he was moving back home to sleep until 3 every day and only get up to eat my food and watch our cable in the comfort of his old room (currently my own personal den) he had another thought coming his way...and coming quickly.
I told my husband to wake him up by noon and tell him to pick a chore:
Bathe the three dogs.
Trim the bushes in the front yard with the electric trimmer.
Find a new place to live.
He chose option two..I am thinking that "Electric" trimmer sounded pretty easy to him and didn't seem to require much exertion on his part.
My younger son called me while I was at work to see where the drop cord was and I told him...he said his brother had already cut through that one with the electric trimmer and they needed another one.
I told them where the spare was and was informed my husband had sawed through that one last time I made HIM go out and trim the bushes.
Who do I live with? The "Three Stooges" "Larry, Darrell and Darrell." ??
It got too busy at work to worry much about least I had them working, and cutting through every drop cord I had. My son was left with a hack saw and dull hedge clippers to work with, but he's a young strappin' buck! It wouldn't kill him.
I stayed at work for an extra hour to help the servers coming on to get caught up and headed home to admire my newly trimmed bushes (and still dirty dogs.)
My oldest son was gone. I asked my younger son where he was and he told me that he and Dad had gotten into an argument about the fact that I didn't want him moving a bed back into the house (for a third time) and wanted him to sleep on the sofa I had bought and moved into my new sanctuary... the only place that I can call my own, watch TV , iron my work clothes and fold laundry in without keeping everyone else in the house up at night. least my bushes were trimmed!
He had missed a spot that bothered me so I got Zach to pull the ladder out of the garage and finish the job for me when I got home (He was VERY excited about THAT.)
My husband went out to check the mail and my younger son leaning on a ladder and trying to make it "Mom OKAY" shot off some comment to him about it should be HIM doing it anyway and somehow threw MY name into the conversation.
I was inside helping my daughter with a school project when my husband stormed into the kitchen saying "I don't like that comment you made about me to Zach ONE BIT."
HELLO!!! What comment?
Listen folks, I ain't THAT stupid.
I let it go with my husband and went out side to confront Zach. He said he didn't know what he really said (right!) but he thinks it may have been something about Dad should be trimming the bushes.
Now everyone in the house is ticked off at someone or somebody...WELCOME HOME, MAMA!
It settled down after a while. I was ticked so I left Chef BOYARDEE to cook their dinner and sat down to type my blog.
Zach pulled it back together when he sat down to do missing school work from when he had the "Swine Flu" and apologized for sicking his father on me for no reason ( that was WORSE than the Swine Flu.)
Zach helped me fix the printer on the computer so I could help Massey finish her project and told me that TJ was acting like a "Douche Bag" when he stormed out. TJ had commented that he didn't need to be treated "THIS" way and my husband had calmly said "Then find somewhere else to live."
I think all this brain power with Zach happened when we moved into our house when it was built.
We moved in on April first and I enrolled Zach in the state funded pre-k program. He had never been in a nursery or anything other than home care. He was freaked out to be with 100 other kids , and not knowing that there were only four weeks left in the school year... on his first day they threw him into a cap and gown...handed him a diploma and took this picture I have posted.
"TA DUM!!! YOU are a graduate, my friend!"
Dang, if I had known it was picture day I would have kept him out one more day.
No wonder he thinks life should be served on a platter...he just showed up at school and they handed him a diploma AND a cap and gown.
Could THIS be the underlying issue or am I just destined to have to SHOVE both my boys down the path of life until they are far enough away from the house to find their way back without an invitation or a road map?
Lesson learned..."Don't give them a cap and gown before they EARN it."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Surprising Sunday!

Just walked in the door from work, $211.00 richer (or poorer may be more accurate.)

Still, that's a pretty sweet sum on the night before Labor Day. That is after tip out and tip out is usually anywhere from $25 to $30.

It started out slow and the managers started cutting servers.I only had one or two crappy tips and that always has to be expected.

We went down to two servers by 9:00 and luckily I was one of the two.

I work with mostly young kids and thank goodness they care nothing about making money, only about getting out of the restaurant as quickly as they can. GOD BLESS THEM, they help me more than they know.

My last table was a party of eight and they left me a $50.00 tip that put me over the top!

Waiting tables is a crap shoot. You can really bank or you can really bomb. There is only so much you can do to change what kind of tip a customer will leave, but "Baby can I work a table!"

Of course after doing it for over 32 years...I'd better be good at it or what kind of slow learner would I be?

I've learned a few helpful tips on my own along the way:

NEVER ask a woman when her baby is due, unless her water breaks at the table.

If gender is in question, NEVER use "Ma'am or Sir."

NEVER ask if they need change back when picking the bill up, it's THEIR money and of course they want is up to them to choose to leave you some of it and asking usually decreases what they might leave.

NEVER piss off a cook (there's no other way to put THAT one)

Learn as much Spanish as you comes in real handy in a restaurant kitchen. I have learned more Spanish in my serving career than I ever learned from Senora Pallares in high school.

ALWAYS treat the kitchen help with respect...they may be here without a green card, but they are putting out the product that makes or breaks your tip.

I was kidding around with a few of the Mexicans the other day and one of the fry cooks told me that "Diego" wasn't Mexican but was from Salvador. I told them they didn't have tunnels THAT long yet. Sometimes when there are three or four of them back there at one time, I feel like I am working with the penguins from the movie "Happy Feet." I think that is the movie, about the environment and global warming, but the four penguins with their accent stole the show.

I treat these guys with respect, learn their crazy names (Ranulfo, Faustino, Edeberto) and treat them as equals.

Of course we always give them nicknames (Gringo ones) and they have even given me one. I am "Pelos Sporados" which loosely translated is "Spiky Hair." I guess that is better than the nicknames THEY have for SOME of the servers!

It is a melting pot that I work in...Managers with degrees in finance, cooks with degrees in Biology, cooks that aren't even supposed to be here and people working their way through college hoping to move on to better and bigger things.

Me...I am just a mom , wife and server. Granted I make pretty decent money for the hours I work, but it ain't easy if you do it the right way and I try to do that every time I walk through the door.

Bueno Noches.... ALGODON

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bulldog Determination...Lacking on the Field Today, But Living Large at Our House

We have a Bull dog that is as stupid as he is beautiful. After the "Dawgs" started losing their game on TV and as my husband cried into his beer, my bulldog began winning his own personal game.

I had just finished cutting the huge back yard we have and a tree that was growing at the back of the yard is always a pain to cut under because it scratches me to death as I pass by it on my John "Dear."

He fought the valiant fight, he sat and waited for someone to pull the branch down close enough for him to get his teeth around and pulled with all his might until it snapped back up again and then continued to jump after it

Charlie began to FIXATE on this limb hanging down and started hurling his less than buoyant body up to catch a piece of the limb. He would stand or sit as long as it took for someone to go pull the limb down so he could continue his assault on the deadly branch that was obviously driving him crazy (not a far drive.)

I am serious when I say that this lasted WELL over an hour. The kids would take turns going to the back of the yard while Charlie sat beneath the tree just WAITING for someone to pull the branch within the reach of his vise like jaws.

Needless to say, the worrisome branch that got in my way as I cut the back yard is gone...along with a couple of Charlie's pounds. He sat in the back of the yard for over two hours playing with the limb while my two boxers sat by saying in "Dogspeak"..."What a doofus."

I'll have to hand it to Charlie, he didn't give up til the limb was chewed to a nub and hung seven feet above his fat little head.

From his squashed up face to his pink balls poking out the rear, I love the little dog. I am just a dog lover to begin with, but these three dogs know who loves and takes care of them (ME) and shower me with praise, slobber and panting every time I walk into the house.

Wherever I fall asleep in the house (I stay up til after two most nights) or wherever I go ...they are all three behind me just saying in their dogspeak "Whadda ya want us to do now, mom?"

All they have to do is love me and never ask for money...if they learn to speak and ask for things , I am screwed.