Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Happy Halloween!

What a day! Had to have Massey at the school by 7:30 AM and then had to be at work for a meeting at 8:45.

With all the stupid questions that people always ask it didn't end til almost 10. Came home and changed and headed for the city to watch Massey in her first Bands of America competition. I decided to try the Marta route.

Parked as close as I could to the station, locked everything in the trunk and went in. I didn't even know how to buy a ticket!! A young guy led me through the steps I needed and told me which pass to buy. Then after the machine gave me the ticket I didn't even know where to go or how to even get through the gate. Another nice man told me how to scan my card and then a policeman (a comforting sight) told me where to board the train. I found a group of women and sat close to them waiting on the next train. It really wasn't so bad and I began to feel better about my decision. All went well through East Point and Lakewood. When we hit Oakland City things kind of changed with the new arrivals . When we hit the Garnet station a crazy looking man (sorry buddy) sat down next to me muttering to himself (I hope) and a few more unruly teens jumped on board. By the time we got to Five Points I felt like I was joined by "Thirty Deep" the minute they got on board they were cursing and almost defying anyone to look at them. I am sure they were all talk but I gave them no reason for worry, just kept staring at the map on the train wall and continued to hang by my women folk.

Had I had time to log onto Facebook this morning I would have seen all the tips my friends had left me...telling me to sit near the first car etc...

But I was almost at my transfer point and I felt like I could make it one more stop. I hated that NONE of my women folk got off with me and feeling kind of panicky (I guess I had the Halloween jitters) I scrambled up the steps just like my grill guys had told me and searched for my westbound connection. I went to the wrong side first and another nice guy (looked like Snoop Dog's twin brother) told me I was on the wrong side to go to the Dome. With time getting closer to Massey's first performance I RAN to the escalator and climbed the steps two at a time as they rose not waiting for them to get me there on their own.

Like a gift from God I spotted a young girl with an ECHS sweat shirt on clinging to her father and fell right into step beside them having to stop the urge to grab his arm as if he was my husband. You know I don't mind talking to people and I quickly introduced myself into their lives for the next part of my journey. He was super nice and let me hang right by them for every step of our way to the Dome. I bet I thanked him ten times as we all sprinted toward our final destination. We made the connection and arrived at the Dome with ten minutes to spare. Had to walk all the way around the Dome to the gate only to be told we had to go to another gate on the OTHER side to purchase our tickets.
By this time I had used my fake husband for all I had needed and took off at a full run to go back and get my ticket and be inside in time for the performance.
I got to the window and they wouldn't take my debit card because I didn't have my driver's license (DUH...I rode Marta.)
Had to use the twenty I was going to give Massey to eat with to get my ticket...sprinted back to the gate (getting winded by now) and raced into the Dome to hear the announcer introducing East Coweta's band. I got to watch the entire performance and they were GREAT! Not one flag dropped not one step missed and it was so thrilling to see my girl on the field at the Georgia Dome!
The minute they marched off the field I found out how to get downstairs to see Massey and let her know I had made it. (I'm good at sneaking into places I shouldn't be.) I found them on the ground floor and didn't leave the band for the rest of the day. Massey immediately told me she wanted me to stay for the rest of the day (Til midnight) and knew from the train ride down on Marta at 11 in the morning on a full moon Halloween that I certainly didn't want to try my luck on a ride back after midnight.
When the band had their picture made they went back to their buses to change and I followed right along. Once again I chatted up the bus driver (more women folk) and told her I had ridden the train to the Dome. She said she wished I hadn't left my car at the College Park station or she would just turn a blind eye and let me ride back to the high school with her.
I whipped out my cell and called Tim to see if he could ride to the College Park station with our oldest son who was headed to work downtown and go drive my car back home. Of course he said sure and suddenly I was safe to stay the entire competition with my girl.
Massey was thrilled. I have been working so much lately and she has been at practice so much lately that I never seem to see her. We watched the rest of the preliminaries and went to have lunch together. Nine bucks for a coke and one order of fries that we split.
Good luck strikes again.
Another parent said that her husband had bought a ticket for the finals that evening (you have to buy a ticket for prelims and another for finals) and didn't know they were leaving early. He had bought the ticket with his military discount and they sold me the ticket for nine bucks. A ticket for the finals would have cost me another $19.
BINGO...I was in for the whole show and never left Massey's side. I sat with the band and had a ball. Being around a great group of teens is so refreshing and invigorating.
We all walked to the CNN center for dinner and found very reasonable prices in the food court. Surrounded by literally thousands of teens from all across the country there for the competition was just what this ole tired body needed and just what my daughter has been wanting. We spent the most amazing 12 hours together, laughed and had the best time we have in years.
On top of that I got to hitch a ride back to the school with the guard girls and didn't leave Massey's side for twelve hours. What a wonderful day!
They missed being in the finals by a mere point but made me and themselves proud. Coming in 25th out of over 50 bands from all over the country isn't too bad in my book and the experience was great for them.
And you know what is even better is that the experience was great for me as well.
I need MORE days like these...I really do!
Til next time...Lucky Cotton

Friday, October 30, 2009

My Funnel Finale...For the Year At Least

Last home game...Yippee!

We won, 45-22. GO INDIANS !! It was a drizzly night and the crowd was small, but the band looked great as usual. Tomorrow they compete in Bands of America at the Georgia Dome. Tickets are $30.00 so it will be attended by me alone. Not looking forward to riding the Marta train home alone tomorrow night @ 10:00 PM. Wish I had enough money for a can of mace.

No greater adventure than riding the rails of Atlanta on Halloween night by myself after 10:00 dressed as a ninety pound weakling. Hopefully all I will get is sand kicked in my face!

I just can't afford to drive to the Dome , pay parking AND buy a $30.00 ticket. Plus the band is eating dinner at the food court at the CNN know that won't be cheap. I will pack me a bologna sandwich in my purse along with a pair of brass knuckles and num chucks.

Massey has been so excited about this event that I just CAN'T not go. At least she hasn't pressed for the whole family to go, but she wants her Mom there and her Mom WANTS to be there. Whether her Mom SURVIVES the trip is another thing altogether.

I didn't start worrying until tonight at the ballgame when I was talking to my new found buddies that grill the burgers and hot dogs ...great group of down to earth "Boys" that have treated me really nice during my stint as the "Funnel Queen." The grill pit is right next to my funnel cake stand and we have bonded over the football season.

They said to park at the College Park Marta station (already getting scary) take the train to Five Points (a little better with MY hair cut) go upstairs and take the West bound train to the CNN center. May have to walk a quarter of a mile and then I will be there. I am not worried about GETTING there at all. I am leaving at ten Saturday morning. What I am worried about is leaving Halloween night from downtown Atlanta by myself...riding Marta back to College Park and trying to get back to my vehicle in one piece. I have averaged in an extra ten minutes in case of being assaulted or robbed. I won't fight back and will gladly give up my bologna sandwich (I'll bring an extra) in exchange for escaping with my... as of late pretty depressing life. Maybe I can floor them with the details of the life I have been living and if they are an accepting bunch... I may ask for donations.

All is said in jest, but all of this is in the back of my mind...

I told my husband that I would call him on my cell the minute I arrived at a Marta stop going home and would talk to him the whole way back to my car. He'd better not pull a Klaus Von Bulow. I ain't no SUNNY and I don't wanna be WHACKED! Besides that who would vacuum the house?

Til Next time , Hopefully... Careful Cotton

P.S. If I do get least I was funny one last time, don't ya think?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunny Day...Easy Night

I got a lot of things done before work today. I went and deposited our donation to the fallen soldier's kids college fund that we collected at work. Then I went to get my "funky" hair cut. It was beginning to look like a mullet. I got a $6.99 coupon in the mail...can't beat that price. Of course it doesn't take much to cut my hair. Of course it doesn't take much to mess up on hair as short as mine either, so I was relieved when the lady seemed to know what she was doing. It was Senior Citizen day and the first time I drove by I could see two wheelchairs waiting and at least five other people waiting so I opted for a trip to the post office to mail off some bills and went back by the house to get a book to read in case the wait was long. It wasn't a long wait at all and I was in and out in about half an hour.

Came home ... fed the pups and sat out back for about an hour reading in the glorious sunshine.

Got ready early for work (supposed to be there at four) and went in to roll my silver ware for my night shift so I don't have to do it after I get cut. That always cuts thirty minutes off the time it takes to get out of there.

Had an early pop and had about seven tables going at once. Everyone was really easy to wait on and by the time every one else came on the clock it stalled to a slow dinner. I was cut by 7:00 and walked out of the door before 8:00 with $82.00. Not bad in my book.

Called the kids to see if they wanted me to bring them anything. Massey said she wanted Wendy's. Zach had a girl over and I told Massey to find out what they wanted and call me back.

Of course she sent their order in a text. You gotta love that dollar menu at Wendy's!! Fed all three of them for ten bucks, and Zach eats like a small horse.

Zach's friend had wanted a chicken sandwich and once I doled out the food in the kitchen all the teens scattered with their food. Massey came back to the kitchen and said that I had given her bacon cheeseburger to Zach's girl and she was already upstairs chomping away on it. I went upstairs with the chicken sandwich in my hand and told her I had given her the wrong sandwich and she said "Really?" I wanted to ask if what she was eating tasted like chicken...but she seemed happy with her free meal or else felt bad about me goofing up her order.

She said she didn't even realize it was a cheeseburger. Thank God Tim had been at the house all night or I would wonder if they had been smoking something. Beef/cheese/bacon and chicken on a bun are about as far apart as you can get. The girl seems really sweet though...and I think she is sweet on Zach as well. I went back to Wendy's to get Massey a bacon cheese burger because I really should have gotten some gas on the way home but I like to live on the edge...the edge of the empty gauge. I can go 90 miles on five dollars worth of gas and have proven that point many times but was cutting it close tonight. So I swung through and pumped SIX dollars worth (I could drive half way to to California) and drove back through the Wendy's drive thru. The Latino guy at the first window who takes the money looked at me and remarked "We forget?" I told him no I had given the wrong sandwich to one of my teens and he said "I Sorry."

Got back home to my pouting daughter and gave her the obviously precious bacon cheese burger and my husband came into the room.

He said Great Clips had called , when I was in there today the woman took my $6.99 coupon but charged me the full $14.00 fee. I had not even looked at the receipt but had shoved it in my back pocket with my debit card. I had tipped her in cash and just didn't even look at what I was signing. It was really nice of her to call, I wouldn't have noticed it til I checked my account online and by that time it would have made me mad. She told Tim she had my seven dollars and to stop by and pick it up.

Then Tim told me that Massey had forgotten to tell him she had practice today and when she didn't answer her cell phone this afternoon he had asked Zach's friend if she would drive up to the school to make sure Massey was there. Zach told Tim that his friend didn't have any gas and Tim said "Take your Mom's card and buy her $10.00 in gas." I was LIVID!! I told Tim she could be ALL the way to California for ten bucks!

Maybe that is an exaggeration, but at least now I have Zach's friend owing me a couple of trips to the high school "Pro Bono."

Just a day in my crazy life.

Tim got a job today with a Ford dealership in Griffin selling used cars. Straight commission, but it is better than sitting at home fretting and worrying. If good looks count..he should be a hit.

Shout out to my cousin Frances for finding the ad and sending it to us. I sent her an email thanking her and telling her that they DID hire Tim. Tim told me to tell her to come buy a car.

Guess I'm not the only funny one in my house.

Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trunk Or Treat...Or Back To The Doctor?

Tonight was Trunk or Treat at the high school for the band. All the parents had their trunks and vans mash booming over the stereo, and they emptied out the 18 wheeler that they take to games and turned it into a haunted house. You could hear the chain saw from across the parking lot.

My car wasn't decorated but I had two full trays of candy (the good kind.) I always hated it when people gave out crappy candy when I was a kid. No name candy or stuff you couldn't even GIVE away. So tonight I got Whoppers, Nerds and Milk Duds and set them on two trays in the back of the trunk.

It started to drizzle again as soon as I pulled into the parking lot and I saw Massey going back to the band room to get in her Halloween costume after practice finished. They practiced for two hours out in the parking lot in their tank top unitards. I felt like throwing up when I saw her soaking wet. I brought her two more antibiotics and a 500 Mg Advil and pumped them into her with a bottle of water. She swore she felt okay, but I knew it didn't help being out in the cold rain for two hours in a unitard.

Then she changed into her Halloween costume and the throw up feeling came back to me again. She had on a skimpy Vampire outfit that came to mid thigh. At LEAST she had a cape on that had a hood I could pull up over her already soaked head. Just as they began to go car to car the bottom fell out and it started pouring. I went and got her an umbrella and demanded that she use it.

There were so many cars and so much candy there that Zach and I took the rest of our candy and went home...telling her we would be back to pick her up. We came home and heated up some vegetable beef soup that I made last night and got dry ourselves.

The video is just a rambling short film of my pups gathered around Zach and me in the kitchen and a nice shot of Zach's gansta pants (boys...whadda ya gonna do but love 'em.)

My depression seems to come in waves, like when the phone constantly rings with bill collectors...we ARE paying, just late and their constant reminders just bring me down. My happiness comes in spurts, like when I am with my kids or my dogs and see that I am loved and appreciated. When I am at the high school surrounded by that great bunch of kids that all think I am a "cool" mom with a funky haircut, or at work when my managers tell me my life ought to be a reality show. I told them today that my life IS a reality show. A husband out of work, an oldest son that can't seem to get moving out right. A brother in law out of work as well living on my couch in the living room , two teens trying to act like this is all normal and three dogs just grateful no one has moved into their dog houses...YET!

My manager today asked me what was going to be the name of my show and I have given it a lot of thought since he cracked his little joke. Mmm... maybe "Too Much Cotton To Pick" or maybe "My Bale Runneth Over." How about "Even The Dogs Feel Crowded."

I still have faith that this is just a bump in the road of my life...but it is beginning to feel like a pot hole...or maybe a sink hole.

PLEASE...somebody throw me a rope, and don't let me put it around my neck!

At least I can still make jokes and laugh about the situation. When I lose my sense of humor I will know that I am really in deep doo doo. Keep a pooper scooper handy for me!

Til next time...Cotton and The Crowd (maybe THAT'S a good title for my show)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Back to Work...Again

You know, if I work 21 days straight I am better off than working six straight. If I actually HAVE a day off I hate to go back. I had a day off yesterday and even though it was filled with taking care of the sick ones and catching up on the house was STILL a day off.

I woke up this morning, spooned once again by my hounds (I will NOT sleep in my bed til Tim goes to the doc in the box) and immediately dreaded going into work. I pulled myself together in twenty minutes (thank goodness I have a 5 second hair do) and went out the door to work from 3 to close.

Got to work and it was slow so of course they cut everyone but me and another server. Worked to our advantage, we began to get table after table and lucky for me I had a LOT of drinkers (always good for a check average.) I only had one bad tip and I could see that one coming over the backyard fence. Demanding, extremely red neck family that left me a five dollar tip on a sixty eight dollar tab.

Everyone else was a joy and a pound in my pocket. I walked with almost $200.00 in my pocket after tip out and I felt blessed once again.
We are in the middle of a huge remodel and have crews working all night long in our store finishing their work right before we open.
As a safety measure we have to have security on the premises all night long because the workers are going in and out of the doors at night . The phone rang at work tonight around 10:00 when we close and the woman on the phone said she just wanted to make sure the security man had shown up. I told her that he had in fact shown up and was at the bar drinking.
You know me...never turn down the opportunity for a good joke!
After I assured her he was drinking coffee, she laughed.
Baadda Boom... I have been restricted from answering the phone after closing but that is one less thing I have to do!
Once I got back into the groove of work I was "Back."
Can't hold me back from being a maniac and a total idiot when it comes to my sense of humor or style of relating to the masses.
I had four different call parties...that means that they specifically asked for my table. I must be doing something right.
My last table was a party of seven of them wearing a Collar like a priest would wear. I always thought that all Asians were Buddhist.
Dang the Catholics have even infiltrated the far East...Where Is Robert Langdon when you need him? I bet he could find a conspiracy at that table without a map.
They were very nice...all the women had the exact same hair cut, even the kids. A Bob and bangs.
I clocked out at 39 hours for the week. If I hit 40....poop hits the fan.
I had spread my humor and wit as far as it would go and the management said politely "Kelly, it is time for you to leave."
So leave I did, with $200.00 and a good feeling in my checking account.
It will feel good not to have to go the furtherest window at the drive through and make fake calls on my cell phone while they tell me I am in the red.
Baby I am in the black for today...and feeling pretty good about it.
Tomorrow could be even greater...IT COULD HAPPEN !!
Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Shoulda Been a Nurse...Heck, Guess I AM One!

All is quiet on my ward tonight. Nurse Cotton has handed out the meds and the vitamin C, cooked a huge pot of spaghetti and is currently washing anything she can find in the house.

Time to take a break.

Last night my husband was acting sick and sounding worse so I called my 23 year old who has graciously moved back in with us at JUST THE RIGHT TIME to see if he was coming home. You never know with a 23 year old. They can stay in their room for a couple of days without you ever seeing them emerge or else they disappear for days at a time with no warning or advance notice (I prefer THOSE days.) It was well after midnight and I really didn't want to sleep next to Tim with his sore throat and fever and thought if TJ wasn't coming home I could crash in his room (formerly MY den.) He said he had just gotten off from work and was headed to the house. I told him that was fine I was just wondering.

Zach had a boy over to spend the night, Massey and her germs were in her bed and Tim and his were in my bed. My brother in law was on the couch in the living room so I finally just got out an old comforter and slept on the dining room floor downstairs.

I woke to three dogs spooning me and snoring away. I guess they thought I had a sleepover for them and decided to chaperone. On top of that, TJ didn't even come home...I could have at least HAD a bed.

My neck is sore but I think it is from sleeping on the floor with three dogs right on top of me. Tim refused to go to the Doc in the Box and "thinks" he feels better. Men are so pig headed.

Massey is feeling a bit better, her cough still sounds like she is smoking three packs a day but her fever is gone and she is getting back her appetite. I told her she could NOT go to the competition tonight...too windy and too cool for her to be out in the weather. I actually think she was relieved. Her doctor said she wanted Massey to stay inside until Monday and NO outside activity. As Massey's nurse I followed the doctor's orders.

I know the compettition was a big deal but her health is a BIGGER deal to me and I just couldn't let her go.

The towels are almost dry in the dryer and I have about three more loads to do so I guess my break is over. Dang...being an unpaid nurse is HARD work.

Zach just left with two boys to go out, Tim is still in bed and Massey is in her bed. My other boy who still hasn't come home is back at work and my brother in law is off somewhere. Just me and my doggies who are all gathered around my feet hoping for another sleepover tonight.

I just took out my cam corder and recorded what surrounds me at this moment...three hounds that love me like nobody's business. There isn't a brain between all three of them but I love them to death and just wanted you to see how tightly they cling to Nurse Cotton.

Guess I must being doing something right.

Glad that Massey is better and glad that I had a day off to clean some germs, cook a good meal and chat with ya'll!

Til next time...Nurse COTTON

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thank Goodness For Peach Care...

Massey has been battling illness for a week now but put on her game face this morning and went to school because there was a game tonight that she had to perform in at halftime.

I had to go into work at 10 this morning and worked til almost 10 tonight.

I got a text from her around 1:00 saying that she had to have her Dad check her out. I called my husband and told him to get the Peach Care card we had just received and take her to HER doctor and just sit in the waiting room until they could see her.

They were there for several hours, but got to see the doctor. She has Strep throat and an ear infection. She has always had problems with her ears and had tubes put in when she was younger.

Thank GOODNESS we took her when we did. She was also prescribed an inhaler for her lungs and at least we fought off obviously impending Pneumonia.

She is upstairs snoozing and I know that she feels better already just having some antibiotic pulsing through her bloodstream.

Good news is that it didn't cost us a dime (except for the $7.50 premium a month.)

Bad news is that my husband is now sick in bed with a terrible sore throat and fever (wonder where he got THAT?)

Tomorrow I will send him to the Doc in the Box at CVS to have a Strep test and send him to Publix to have his antibiotic filled for free.

I couldn't catch a break if you tossed it to me gently!

I have all the toothbrushes boiling away on the stove and have pulled all hand towels , dish towels and have started Lysoling everything.

At least tonight was a bonus shift and that will pay for Tim to go get checked out.

Massey has a band competition tomorrow and the color guard coach has already sent me an email asking if she can perform.


I know that Massey is worried about being in trouble for missing a game AND a competition...but what do they want? Everyone to come down with Strep?

She is contagious for twenty four hours after starting her antibiotics...not to mention that she has been sick for a week while I tried my "Mommy Prescription."

I am just going to wait and see how she feels in the AM...see what the weather is going to do, and do what is best for my daughter.

Going to scrub some bathrooms, door knobs and phone receivers...sleep with my head turned away from my husband since I can't sleep on the couch (see previous post) and pray that I don't come down with it as well.

If I hadn't signed my kids up for Peach Care...I would be out at LEAST $200.00.

I guess THAT is the silver lining in this cloud of germs into which we have all been thrown.

I feel terrible that I let it go on for a week. But when you are raising your third tend to try every avenue you can before running to the doctor.

Instead I put it off too long and have made my girl suffer unnecessarily.

I can already tell you that I am leaning towards keeping her home, letting her get some well deserved rest and letting the "Guard" chips fall where they may.

She was a trooper, she tried her best and I feel horrible that I put her through this.

Just wish I hadn't kissed her on the lips this morning when she left for school...UHH OH!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I wish I had a picture to go along with this post. My Dad's cousin who I visited in re hab and took to a football game to see Massey has the absolute cutest niece that I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past few months.

We will call her the "Enunciator."

She lives In Tennessee and comes to visit Frances regularly. She has an older sister who lives in Texas and can't come visit quite as often but is just as wonderful a person as Barbara is and they remind me so much of my sister and me that it isn't even funny.

Elizabeth is the older sister who is a very stately and dignified lady very quiet and serious while still charming and warm.

Barbara is more like Phylis Diller with glasses and without the cigarette holder and Mu Mu.

My sister and me are just the same with our our differences.

I call Cindy "Hard Hearted Hannah" whereas I am a bleeding heart always looking for the silver lining and hoping it is close enough to touch. Cindy is more realistic and keeps me as grounded as she can.

Barbara was a teacher for years and I can tell she was a terrific one.

She is an absolute hoot and I can't imagine anyone not loving her to pieces.

She came to visit Frances the day she was released from her stint in re hab and Zach and I were at Frances' house when Barbara arrived.

She blew in like a tornado and immediately took over the room (usually MY job.)

She commanded Zach to "Look" at her when speaking, and Zach has been under her spell ever since.

She came into the house and immediately began firing questions at Frances. She asked how the release had gone at the re hab and told Frances that she looked really cute. Frances responded that she didn't feel cute.

Barbara clasped her hands together, put them on her knees , perched forward and said "Tell me why you don't feel cute."

Frances was at a loss for that one or either she had so many reasons she just couldn't nail one down .

Barbara is so ME and her sister Elizabeth is so CINDY. Poor Frances is getting the double whammy from our family, she may be placing secret calls to re hab to see if she can get back in!

My brother in law has been at Frances' house putting on a new roof and has gotten to meet and know Barbara over the past couple of days...he too is under her spell.

She is so vibrant that a halo seems to hover over her head and her spirits are always so high that you WANT to be her friend or ask her what she is smoking. (Totally kidding, but you get my drift.)

A nicer woman I have never met.

A more upbeat and inspiring woman I have never encountered.

A better friend I have never gained.

Kudos and love go out to this woman that has been related to me for 48 years before I had the chance to meet and immediately love this new found niece of my Dad's cousin .

As my family has has also grown.

She is a joy and a bright spot wherever she shows wonder it finally quit raining when she came to visit.

To impress my 17 year old son is impressive in itself. To be able to make people love you the way this woman can is incredible...once again I feel really lucky.

Maybe I can get her to talk to my bill collectors.

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Home Again...

Just got home from work, watched my favorite show "Curb your Enthusiasm" with my seventeen year old (he's seen worse at the movies) and sat down to type.

Work was easy tonight, pretty slow...but thanks to a couple of friends from high school who tipped me outrageous and thanks to my son's doctor who did the same, I did pretty well AND got home by 8:30.

My son's doctor and his wife are always nice to have at my table because I can pick his brain for free medical advice. I asked him what he thought of the swine flu vaccine and he said that he was getting one and recommended it for me and my kids as well.

That will be next on my "to do " list.

He said he hadn't seen us in a while and I told him through unfortunate events my husband had lost his job and we had lost our insurance. I told him as embarrassed as I felt I had enrolled my kids in Peach Care and been accepted so that I could take them for check ups and have them taken care of by the doctors that normally treat them. I told him I was greatly relieved to see his name in the providers book and his wife was very nice to say that I was smart to use Peach care for my kids when I needed it.

My daughter's doctor is in the book as well so I am booking appointments for them both tomorrow and plan on having all of us take the flu shot.

I told my son's doctor that I had heard arguments on both side of the fence about the swine flu vaccine and he asked me if I had ever seen kids with Polio or Meningitis ? If there was a vaccine that prevents these illnesses, would I get them for my kids? Well there are and I did.

Guess he answered my question of hesitation on getting the swine flu shot.

He is a very down to earth doctor who shoots it straight. I told him I was bringing my 17 year old in for him to slap around....and he said "bring him."

Zach has been off of his ADD meds since sixth grade and that is when all of my problems with his school work started.

Zach has even said recently that he is willing to go back on them to help him in school...HALLELUJAH.

Now I can take Massey to have her knee checked out, get Zach back to making the grades he is capable of and have them both vaccinated against the swine flu.

Massey has finally recovered except for a slight cough she still has but I feel relieved that I now have the option to make them appointments with the doctors that know them and their history and don't have to worry about the cost.

One more thing off my plate to worry about.

I feel overwhelmed most days and down right depressed some days.

Today was a GOOD day and I appreciate it to the fullest.

This Friday the football game is an away game so I was able to pick up a double shift at work, not having to work the funnel cake stand.

I keep telling myself that everything will be alright...I just have to keep believing it.

Thanks Kathy and Rick, Dr. Roberts and all the people who have taken care of me with money, prayers and good thoughts. It will never be forgotten and will most certainly be payed forward.

I just need to keep reminding myself how lucky I am...

Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Damage is Done

I just HAD to post pictures of my once PERFECT lawn. I borrowed my "next door husband's" landscaping rake and tried to repair the damage that has befallen my once pristine lawn. It is tough work raking out the mud and making it smoother, I found that out in about five minutes.
I had to get Zach outside to finish...I felt like I was raking 3,ooo lbs. of mud with every stroke and it was killing me.
It looks one hundred percent better...which makes ME feel one hundred percent better. Once the Titanic was removed from the front yard I felt a sigh of relief.
Massey spoke for the first time in three days today and made me happy that she was finally recovering. She has had a fever of 102 for three days and between Mucinex, Advil and throat spray has slept her way back to the living.
The remodel at work was in full swing this morning...Tuesday is my favorite shift, me, Teresa and Lisa. Three old timers opening the store. Throw in Lynsey at the bar (a youngin) compared to us ole farts but a staple of our store as well and that was our line up (the pre- lunch pump 'em up talk from the managers.)
We were gathered on the patio (a side room ) that had been completely demolished. No booths, tables, lamps or chairs. It was a wide open dusty smelling shell of what it was waiting to be transformed into.
The manager, trying to be funny asked who could do a cartwheel down the empty aisle?
I was taking off my apron as he asked the question.
Don't think that this almost fifty year old woman didn't execute a perfect cartwheel. (I could have done a cartwheel round off...but that would be showing off.)
It just made me feel better to start my day off reminding myself of what I can still do at the over half way mark in life.
I'll be honest, I felt a definite pull in the ham string area ...but it felt so good to twirl like a little girl that it went away immediately.
Came home to a brother in law still hanging around and a daughter still feverish.
After another dose of Advil and Mucinex...Massey finally came around about seven o'clock, my older son who has been sick as well seems on the road to recovery too. The only one I need to get on the road now is my brother in law.
I love him dearly and know that if it was my brother or sister Tim would welcome them and somehow make it happen.
As it stands, I am barely making it happen and wonder what HAS happened?
When TJ moved back in and took over the 'Den' that I had made out of his former room...I simply gave him a mattress on the floor (HEY there were TWO of them stacked on each other) and moved my digital cable box up to the living room so that I could still watch my "Curb" and "Mad Men" while I folded laundry after work as the rest of the house slept.
Now my brother in law is on the sofa in the living room ...400 channels at his disposal.
I will give it some time.
My husband would certainly do it for any of MY siblings.
I have a time limit though.
I have been the bread winner for the last six months... not through ANY fault of my husband's...been downsized out of my fancy den I had all set up and was enjoying tremendously. Now I am cooking for another mouth and have been kicked out of one more place that I could call my own.
Let me see HIM do a cartwheel...or SOMETHING.
I love him dearly, but this is NOT the time to add to my plate. Obviously I am not EATING from my plate because I have gone from 115 lbs to 90 lbs.
ONE WEEK...I think that is enough time for him to realize that I cannot afford to have another person in my house at the current time.
Keep looking for my new website..I am working on it , I think it will be a great thing. Thinking about Youtubing some of my blogs too. Maybe you can see me do a cartwheel or maybe you can see me kick a relative out of the house (Take TJ with you.)
Totally kidding, but God help me survive..
Til Next Time...Cartwheeling Cotton

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oh Brother Why For Art Thou Here?

Had to be at work for a meeting at 8AM. By the time it was over the doors were open for business at 11AM.

During the meeting my cell phone began buzzing in my back pocket. The server next to me reached for hers and I quietly told her it was mine. I looked discreetly at my phone and saw that it was Massey calling. I put my phone back in my pocket only to hear it buzz again...this time with a text: "When are u coming home?" I put it back into my pocket once again only to hear it buzzing again not five minutes later with a voice mail. After two hours they gave us a bathroom break and I took the time to call Massey back and see what was the emergency was.

She wanted to know where the throat spray was...her throat was really sore. For Pete's sake...I am at a meeting in Peachtree City and the throat spray is somewhere in the house in Newnan. Should she ask her dad who is in the living room or should she call me in a meeting at work where the Vice President of the company that I work for is speaking to us about a million dollar renovation of our store?

If you have a teenage daughter, I guess you already know the answer to THAT question.

So back to the draining, droning meeting I went. My doofus co worker (the one who most likely owns an UZI) asked the most inane and idiotic questions time and time again adding at least thirty minutes to the meeting. I started to say "You know, you probably won't be here that much longer so don't bother with the stupid questions."

If I could have been sure he hadn't already brought the UZI into work with him , I would have said it, but since I am the only currently employed person in our household, I just bit my tongue and continued to screen my constant texts from Massey.

I went home after the meeting to see Massey sprawled across her death bed. Cleopatra came to my mind the minute I walked into her room. She is such a drama queen that I never know when it is actual pain or just the angst of a 14 year old girl making everything more dramatic than it needs to be.

She did had a slight fever and I gave her some Advil and a glass of water.

I cleaned house for the two hours I had to spare before I had to be back at work at 3:00. My manager had already called and wanted me to go by the Newnan store to pick up some Swiss cheese and to go bags. That meant I had to leave thirty minutes before I planned to.

Zipped by the Newnan store and went to work.

My husband told me last night that his brother was coming to stay with us for a night from St. Augustine. That is why I went home and cleaned like a demon.

What the more person to feed, that is JUST what I need. I felt like asking my husband if he might want to ask his brother to bring a friend? Maybe by that point we could get some help from "Hosea Feeds The Hungry."

I love this brother in law...he is my favorite of the five brothers that my husband has...but this is not the greatest of times for an impromptu visit.

With the house clean enough for a man (that doesn't take much) I flew back to work my 3 to close shift.

When I came home, I almost started crying before I pulled into the drive.

I had already thought about the parking...Tim knows I get ticked if people come over and block my entrance to the garage. I am not picky about a lot of things (well maybe I am ) but I hate it when people come over and park like no one else has to get into the garage .

I keep my space clear in the garage so that I can pull in , get out of my car and walk four feet to the kitchen door.

Tim "Kinda" helped me...KINDA.

I pulled into the driveway with my headlights shining on the horrible tracks I had left in my side yard when Zach's friends had made me squeeze out of the garage the other morning running late for work and got stuck in the mud.

I pulled in and my brother in law had driven a van up from St. "Econoline." It was the size of van that a church would use to go pick up invalids or orphans.

Guess where he had parked it to give me access to my garage?

Not on the a sane person. He had pulled it into my FRONT know , the one that has seen five inches of rain in the past three days.

I could see the tracks where he had backed up and re positioned the big clunker (Dang, just park it once if you're gonna "F" up my whole front yard.)

I was sick about it.

I truly love this man and he is a great brother in law...but doesn't ANY man notice how trim, neat and carefully cut I keep my yard...and maybe parking a Shuttle Van in my grass may cause some damage to MY lawn?

While I was cleaning the kitchen tonight my husband came downstairs and I told him that I almost broke into tears when I came home and saw the Land Yacht on my grass. He said he would go tell his brother to move it and I said "NO...I'll look like a bitch."

I mean the damage is already done..I told my husband to just ask him to park on the street I can get a landscaping rake and try to save what I have LEFT of a yard.

Why is my life this way?

Am I just destined to ALWAYS have something to write about?

I thought the horse messed up the football field on Friday night...You should SEE my yard now...Maybe Princess Senoia brought "Chief" over for a tromp while I was at work.

It sure looks like it.

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, October 16, 2009

Freezing With the Funnel Cakes

That was the coldest 49 degrees I have felt in quite a while. Just got home from the ball game and don't think my feet will ever thaw out.
Our five man funnel cake stand has been downsized to a husband and wife team. I went to the game as soon as I got off work and by the time I walked to the stadium I was freezing. I called Tim who was still at home and told him to dig up a hat, scarf and gloves to bring me. Granted I am a sissy in cold weather but with the drizzle and the wind was downright cold. Even the fryer didn't keep me warm. I hung out at the grill pit til Tim got there with my scarf and hat. Note to self: If you have hair as short as a man's, always have a stocking hat handy from October to March.
Once I covered up it got a bit better but the wind was non stop and killing me. I don't think I've ever clung as tightly by my husband in our twenty one years together.
It was "Pink Out" night at ECHS and pink was every where, even marking the football field yard markers. The Wild Indian Boys...a group of students that paint their upper bodies and usually have E C H S on their chests tonight were painted with the message "Save the Ta Ta's" and had pink ribbons painted on their backs. I hope they have all had flu shots. I don't know how they stood the cold but they stayed in their war paint the entire game and I never saw one of them with a shirt or jacket on. The color guard all wore pink ribbons around their upper arms.
At the beginning of every game after the National Anthem, 'Princess Senoia' on her horse 'War Chief' charges down the field. I wish you could have seen the mud that horse kicked up. I always think it is neat that they have an actual horse charge down the field before the game, but I bet the groundskeeper was clinching his teeth at the damage that large horse made in its thirty second charge down the field.
It reminded me of this morning when I left for work. Zach had four boys spend the night and when I went to leave for work I was all but blocked in the garage by cars. I squeezed straight back between three vehicles and was going to go out my next door neighbors drive way. As soon as I hit the grass I sank in the mud. I got all four boys, plus Zach to come push me out and left a huge mess in my once pristine side yard. It made me sick, but probably not as sick as seeing a huge horse galloping one hundred yards down a field that I personally take care of on a daily basis.
It did make me feel better about the tire tracks I left in my side yard though.
I can't brag enough about the high school my kids go to. They are a bunch of die hard students that obviously love their school and a bunch of parents that make the whole experience lots of fun for the kids and make it run smoothly .
My feet are beginning to thaw finally.
We were getting killed the first half but came back and won the game 25 to 17.
Til next time...COTTON

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another Funeral...a Canine One

We are big lovers of Boxers in our family. When I was young that was the only kind of dog we ever had til a Scottie we named Angus showed up. We had Smokey and Punch as sister had Champ and Spunky when she was first married, then moved on to have Maggie. Tim and I have Rosie and Ham and my sister now has Boss and Bear. Bear has come down with liver problems and does not have a good prognosis. He has taken a swift turn for the worse and the vet is telling my sister that it may be time to have him put down.

If you aren't a dog lover you just won't understand how this kind of news hits you. It hits you like a ton of bricks in the chest.

Boxers are the most wonderful dogs you could ever have. They are always smiling and good natured (except Maggie when she got older...she could be a BEE-AACH .) They are happy, playful and are very protective of their own (in my house that would mean ME.)

As I type this post I have both of my Boxers and the Bulldog that my son brought back home with him arranged around my feet. They know who feeds and loves them and their devotion is never ending.

When my husband gets up in the morning and I have worked late the night before...the minute he leaves the bedroom, my Ham jumps onto the king size bed and snuggles down next to me. Rosie is older and too lazy to make the leap , but if she does she is there for the afternoon. Ham will pop up and down as Tim moves about the house, Rosie just thinks that it was so hard to hike her fat butt up onto the king size bed that she will stay there unless she hears Caesar Milan ring the door bell.

My heart breaks for my sister. She loves her Boxers just as much as I love mine and if I had to make the decision she has to, I would be wringing my hands in despair.

She had a paint job today so I went by to check on Bear for her. He was curled up on a blanket and barely lifted his head when I came in. I tried to take him outside but he resisted so I let him be. I just patted his head and rubbed his coat and let him know it was okay and that he could do what ever he felt like..which turned out to be just lay on his blanket and not move much.

I know they are dogs, but when you love your dogs like my sister and I do...they are family and almost just as important to you as the kids you have sucking you dry and always needing something. These dogs never ask for any thing but are grateful for every thing that you give them and show such tremendous love in return that I sometimes wish they could tutor my kids in showing respect.

My sister has decided that they may have Bear put down tomorrow (I HATE that term) but if it happens I told my sister that I wanted to be there. He is a great dog and he has wormed his way into our life and we all love him like he was one of our own a way he is.

It breaks my heart that he is so sick and has no chance for recovery...what hurts me even more is that we have to watch him die.

My sister's husband already has a plot for him ready.

Dogs come into your life and become one of the family. When they leave you it is like losing a family member. They never complained they never griped or asked for something special, they just loved you for loving them and for them that was enough.

At least we give them a good life and for the years that we have them we love them RIGHT back.

Go rest, Bear...and know that even though you are a are one of the family and that you will be dearly missed.

I will never forget those Bronze eyes and long will be remembered and always be missed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Here Goes Blog 400

It's hard for me to believe, but this makes my 400th Blog... guess I need to make it a good one. I wouldn't even know that but when I log into blogger it tells how many posts I have written and this makes 400.

I have enjoyed blogging more than I have any thing I have done for myself in years and hope that my readers have enjoyed it right along with me.
Went to my fourth funeral in four weeks today , came home and hung my black dress in the back of my closet and hope I don't have to get it back out for quite a while.
There were a lot of high school friends at the funeral and a lot of friends from the church I grew up in it was bittersweet. I saw a lot of my parent's friends and what struck me as strange is that they all look EXACTLY like I remember them as a child. I guess when you are nine an adult that is in their thirties looks ancient to you so that when you are fifty and meet them again they seem not to have changed. I guess that is a mechanism to make yourself feel better when you reach the half century mark. Either way they looked pretty good to me and every hug I got was heartfelt and appreciated.
One of my good friends that I HAVE kept up with throughout the years was there and I sat by him and two other high school friends. After the service he asked if I wanted to ride with him to the burial and I said "sure." We went out to the parking lot to get in his car and he popped the lock on my side but the door wouldn't open. Someone had hit his car (damn those mourners) and the door wouldn't open so I had to sit in the back seat. It was that or crawl over the seat in my fancy dress so I opted for a chauffeured ride. He said it felt weird with me sitting in the back and I said to him "Hoke, you're my BEST friend." (Surely you remember "Driving Miss Daisy") When we got to the burial we parked behind two of our former classmates and they looked puzzled when I climbed out of the back seat. I climbed out and announced to them that Tony had made me ride in the back seat. Tony came right back with "She wouldn't shut up."
Hopefully I am done with funerals for a while. Some of my friends make fun of me for going to every funeral of every person that I know...but to me it is just respect and truly means a lot to the people who have lost a loved one that you have taken time out of your day and out of your life to show that you care. Call me crazy'd be right. I have lost so many people in my life and to see an old friend or even an acquaintance pay respect and show their support in your time of grief is a genuine and appreciated gesture.
So after Hoke took me back to get my car, I had to go straight to work. My sweet husband had my work shirt ironed and I was in and out of the house in ten minutes.
Went into work and started the second part of my blog!
We have some new servers that are great and some that I worry will come into the store one day with an Uzi and blow us all away. This new server I worry about recently asked me if I was waiting on table 81. We don't even HAVE a table 81. He always comes in muttering to himself (plotting our demise) and somehow fumbles his way through the shift. We have another new server I really like that has the same size and coloring and I continually get them confused. Last night I commented to the new guy that I DO like that I always got him confused with that doofus new guy. He sarcastically said "Thanks a lot." I told him, "What can I do, go up to doofus and and say that he reminds me of the new server that I DO like?"
The barbs and sarcasm were flying tonight at work because we were slow and we are all worried about making money.
I made the comment at one point "Nobody likes a smart ass, that's why we all hate each other."
That seemed to break up the tension and we all went back to work.
The night ended up okay, and I got to go home around nine. I had been gone from the house since noon and have been running myself to death with all the funerals I have gone to (slight pun intended.)
I am thinking of taking my blog somewhere else or creating a website myself. I have over 6,000 hits on my blog each month and google has decided that I am a risk and have cancelled my ads. Geez, I hate that a company as big as google had to write me a $100 check each month, but if people like what I write...why do it for google when I can do it for myself? I have a friend that wants to help me set up my own web page and I am seriously thinking of it.
What do YA'LL think?
Til next time...unless google kicks me off for tattling on them...COTTON

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dang! I Already Know I am Getting Old...Quit Reminding Me

As you know my best friend from high school lost her Mother on Friday. I went to the viewing yesterday after work. I looked out of the room and saw another dear friend from high school walking down the hall. I thought maybe she was there for my friend's Mother. She went to leave the building and I followed her out. All three of us girls were on the cheer leading squad together in 1977. Me, the girl who's Mother had just passed and the girl I saw walking out the side door. I asked her why she was leaving and she said she was there making arrangements for her own Mother who had died that morning.

I guess when you reach the age of 50 and you are the youngest sibling...your parents are well into their eighties.
I tend to forget this since my own Mother died when I was 17...but time goes on and these two girls (I still like to call myself a girl) had just both lost their Mother within hours of each other.
I was the lucky one.
My Mother went in a matter of minutes. These other two friends watched their once vibrant Moms dwindle away over the years and came to be the care givers that their Mothers once were.
They both are reacting exactly the way their Mothers would want them to. They are happy that they are gone from their tired worn out bodies and have gone on to a new existence by the Right side of God and are taking their well deserved and earned places in Heaven.
We were all blessed to have wonderful parents and now we are all blessed that they have crossed over to the place they lived their life to end up in.
It saddens me to think that within one month I have gone to the funeral for a 33 year old soldier giving his life for his country..and gone to funerals for the parents of three close high school friends.

It reminds me that in fact I am getting older myself and have all the more reason to live my life like the way my parents raised me to live it .
Put God first...put family second and put care for others a close third.
The picture I uploaded is grainy and off center because I just couldn't make myself tear out a page from my yearbook...they mean too much to me, but how bizarre is it that Denise, Sandy and I are all on one page from thirty two years ago and we are still all on one page today?
Yes, that is me and Sandy (who's Mom died most recently) with the bandannas and sunglasses and Denise who's Mom died Friday is right next to our picture with her long hair (Peggy Lipton from The Mod Squad style) and my picture is right above hers and Sandy's is on the left.
Thirty two years ago we were together on a page in a year book. Today we are all together on the same page of life.
We had a terrific childhood and a wonderful experience as teens. Today we mourn the loss of parents and wonder why we took our youth for granted?
When you are young you feel invincible.
When you reach middle age you feel grateful.
When you lose a parent you feel lost.
They are all still with us emotionally, they are just waiting to see if what they taught us was listened to and are all huddled together in Heaven waiting to see if the seed they sowed will sprout.
Let's make every one of them proud!
Oh Yeah, click on the photo and it will be BIGGER than life...
Til next time....COTTON

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Heaven Welcomes Another Great One

I got a notice on Facebook late Friday night from a dear from of mine I have been close to since childhood. Her Mother had just passed away.

The last few years she has been battling Alzheimer's and has been living in a Nursing Home that specializes in Alzheimer's care.

She was quite the "Grand" Lady...always, even from my earliest memories of her. A divorced Mother of three that raised three great kids and they were always the center and focus of her life.

Her two boys were older and long gone from the nest by the time her daughter and I became really close. Her Mother rode to cheer leading camp with my Mother to pick me up that fateful day in 1977 two days before my own Mother died. The last picture taken of my Mother was sitting on a bench next to this wonderful they are sitting next to each other again.

After my own Mother died, this woman treated me just like a daughter. She took me to her workplace...Fashion Garment and let me pick out my graduation dress and paid for it. She had me and my Father over for dinner many, many times my senior year in school and helped fill a big gaping hole that my own Mother's death had left in my life.

This woman ALWAYS dressed to the nines (I've often wondered where that expression came from ...but it befits her) and every hair on her head was always fashioned into something you would see Lisa Douglas wear around the farm on Green Acres. Her make up was always perfect and I never saw her in a pair of sweats or one of those loose cotton print frocks so prominent with southern women while in their home.

Once home for the day, she would change into her Leopard print floor length velour bathrobe and somehow look just as regal.

When her daughter and I would go out gallivanting with boys or just other cheer leaders on a weekend night and miss our curfew...she would be standing on the back porch in her leopard robe glaring at us and our comment to each other was always "Oooh...the 'Lep' is riled."

Once I went away to Georgia Southern to college and my friend went to UGA...we weren't as close but she came to my wedding and I went to hers and we always exchanged Christmas cards and saw each other through the years.

She is the most caring and thoughtful daughter I have ever known and her own place is reserved in Heaven just for the love and kindness she has shown her Mother throughout the years. Once her Mother was moved to the home, she visited her regularly and took amazing care of the woman that had taken care of her for so many years. While in the home...the staff called her mom "Miss America" because she still put on that make up and still had that hair done. She may have lost some of her faculties, but she knew she needed to look good no matter where she was.

My sister went by to visit her one day in the home and she said that "Frances" (we'll call her that for this post) sat and said nothing while my sister just chatted with all the women in the day room and talked to Frances as well. My sister said some of the women asked if it was lunch time or dinner time or what day it was...they were all living out their life in the fog of Alzheimer's and just happy someone was there to chat with.

My sister made the comment to the other chatty women that her younger sister Kelly and Denise (we'll call my friend that for this post ) were close friends in high school and were just crazy girls back then into all kind of things .

My sister said that Frances' eyes opened up and she lifted her head as she shook it slowly side to side, and sighed... "Kelly and Denise."

She remembered!

A fleeting memory came back to her ...she remembered us and our shenanigans and my sister had brought her back for a moment.

Denise has loved this woman with the heart, devotion and caring that every Mother wants to have from their child. Denise was lucky to have Frances...but Frances was equally lucky to have Denise.

I told my friend that the greatest thing about their relationship was that her Mother had loved her from before Denise was old enough to remember and that Denise had loved her Mother until even after her Mother COULDN'T remember.

That my friends... is a well raised child... that has remembered the way she was brought up, remembered what an amazing Mother she had and has supported her every step of the way and stuck by her to the ugly end.

Frances is up there in Heaven RIGHT now, sitting by my Mother and probably asking if her hair looks okay. My Mother is probably telling her that she can sew her a new leopard robe and they are both smiling...while my Dad is most likely saying "Good Night A Livin' , Ann (my Mom's name)...she just GOT here!"

We miss our loved ones.
It is hard when they leave us with just our memories and tears.
It is harder to realize they have gone on to a reward earned and well deserved.

Denise would not be the great person she is today without having had the great Mother she did for almost fifty years.

She will be with Denise every day on her shoulder and in her dreams every night as she sleeps...I have no doubt.

Heaven HAS to be popping at the seams by now...It must be a wonderful place to be and I am glad all my loved ones and their friends are there waiting on me.

I hope I make the cut!

The larger picture on the left is of Denise and me at our 10 year high school reunion. The smaller picture on top is one of Denise and her Mother talking to my sister and my husband at our wedding. Be sure to click on the photos and they will be in original size.

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, October 9, 2009

Just Hang On...

I feel like Zach did in this picture when I took it seven years ago at the Powers Crossroads Festival. He was all geared up and excited to begin the climb. He was a tough guy and knew he could do it.

Ten feet up he began to look nervous..twenty feet up and he began to look for a way down. He had on a harness and had a safety line attached so we knew that even though he was scared he would be okay.

Some days I wake up and forget that I have my own harness from God keeping me safe.. It's always been there and sometimes you just seem to take it for granted.

The harness holds you but what happens when you take a fall?

I found out today at work.

I went in for my thirteenth day in a row and was lucky enough to get an 11 top of investment bankers having lunch together. They were probably scheming how to bilk old people out of their savings..but it was over eight people so I got to add an 18% gratuity.

The hostess came up and said I must be popular because I had a party that wanted to eat with me as well.

I quickly sent in the order for the 'Schemers" and went to find a girl (I call her that because she has always seemed like that to me) with her daughter and grand child sitting at my table.

I grew up in East Point Christian Church and her older sister was one of my best friends from the nursery on up. My best friend was the middle sister of three ... the girl at my table was the baby sister and has remained that way in my mind for all these years.

I always call her giggle box because she has the most delightful giggle I have ever heard and I seem to bring it out in her every time I wait on her.

In server speak, she is a "PHAT" tipper and is one of the easiest people to wait on. As long as she can sit and dote on her grandchild and visit with her "mini me" daughter she is happy. Her daughter looks just like her mother and has the same wonderful qualities.

She told me she had read my blog about my Mother's birthday and that she had loved it (another reason I love her.)

After my fiasco with the bad shop at work with the dreaded secret shopper she sent me an email telling me how great a server she thought I was.

We chatted about her Mom who is the most emailing and forwarding woman I know. Where do they FIND that stuff? I couldn't even begin to know where to look on the Internet for the things this woman sends me..but along with a couple of other friends of mine, they seem to do all the searching for me so I don't have to worry about learning how.

Anyway, we had a nice visit and I had a free kids meal coupon I gave her daughter and set them up with drinks to go in our to go cups that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Big 22 oz. cups that I have about thirty of in my cabinet at the house. When my kids leave the house and want a drink , I always say put it in a "GO" cup. Cups always seem to leave my house but never come back.

I started to get busy and when I went to pick up the check she said she didn't need change so I kept on working my section until I got a break to go by and pick up the payment book from the table.

Her tab was $33.00. Inside the book was a hundred dollar bill.

She had been gone for fifteen minutes when I went to pick up the check so I knew she was long gone...but the tears fell from my eyes so fast it almost hurt.

As soon as I got home from work I sent her an email to thank her for her wonderful gift. You know, just when you think the harness is going to break and you don't think you can hang on any longer...another Angel comes swooping in and saves you.

I was embarrassed...again, but her wonderful gift brought my bank balance back into the black...a place it hasn't been in a week. I am the proud owner of $1.42 and could just POP!!

How am I ever going to re pay all these wonderful people that keep pushing me on and helping my family to survive?

I don't know what I have ever done in my life to deserve this outpouring of love and support...but I have been truly humbled and learned that family, friends and caring are probably the three things that come right after "GOD."

When I went into work today I was a broken woman..when I left I was an uplifted woman.

Thank you to my readers, thank you to my family, thank you to my friends and Thank YOU to the Good Lord above.

I can hang just wait and see !!!

Shout out "S.T.B" You made my day!!

Til next time...a revived COTTON

PS Be sure to click on the picture of Zach..he seems to be looking for an Angel (or ladder) as well!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Think I Can See A Day Off Coming !

I'm not sure at this point, but I believe that after tomorrow I will have a day off. I have had one day off since August and the days have just run together and the week seems to never end.

I open the restaurant in the morning and after my day shift I finally have a day off. I wake up every day and don't even know what day it is...just know that I have to iron a work shirt and go into work at some point in the day.

These past few months have been incredibly hard on every one in our house and in our lives. My brother, sister and brother in law have been so supportive that I don't think I will ever live long enough to re pay their kindness, love and generosity.

I have always thought of myself as a person that would do anything for anyone...but lately these roles have seemed to reversed.

I have been humbled, I have been sometimes embarrassed but I have also learned how to accept help from the people that love me and be truly grateful for their love and compassion.

Heck...I feel like I have been working hard! These people are probably working harder than me just to help us keep afloat while maintaining their own lives as well.

I try to keep my depression down to a minimum. I had a small breakdown the other morning but felt better after I let the tears flow and cried myself silly in the bath tub and came out actually feeling a bit better.

I know that my husband will find work soon and know that I can hang on til that day arrives. I have lost more weight than I would like and can take my jeans off without even unsnapping them. I notice more lines on my face every day and more gray hair sprouting out of my two inch hair every time I run my fingers through it.

We've been through our savings and been through our 401K and now are simply living off of a server's salary...but at least we HAVE that salary and it seems to be getting us through with help of my touchstone (my sister) and the grace of God.

I know that when one door shuts, God opens a window. I just wish I could send him a can of WD- 4o, because our window seems to be sticking and I feel like I am suffocating.

At least I still have my sense of humor and I think that is one of the things I am most grateful for.

I got my kids approved for PeachCare and am just waiting for their cards to arrive. Then I can begin to use all the money I have paid into the system since I was 15 years old to help my kids be able to go their own doctor without worrying how I am going to pay for it.

All I need is ONE DAY OFF to re group and re think my next strategy.

I sleep probably 5 hours a night max, waking up at least twice...once to go pee and once to try and remember what time I have to go into work.

I say all of this because I want to remember all of this .

I want to remember this feeling of despair and this feeling of worry so that when we DO get back on our feet I will appreciate it to it's fullest and know how it feels to be in this situation.

There are so many people around the globe that don't have family and friends that can help them through the tough times, help them survive and give them unyielding support.

Yes, I am one of the lucky ones.

I don't live in Dafur or Afghanistan . I live in a country where people reach out and help, and where if you forge ahead and work your hardest...ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.

Granted I pray for that "something" to happen soon...but I have full faith it will and one day down the road ...years from now, Tim and I will be sitting on a porch with grand kids scurrying all around us and we will be laughing and holding hands saying to each other "Do you remember back in 2009..."

Til next time.. a humbled and grateful COTTON

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Only Two More Shifts..WOO HOO !

I have decided that I am just too old to work doubles anymore....especially back to back. Speaking of backs, this ole gal's is killing her! Not to mention my feet my head and my legs.

I am grateful to have a job that I can work as much as I want and walk out with a paycheck after every shift...guess the good outweighs the bad.

Today was crazy. The lunch shift was fast and furious. Every one wants to be in and out in under thirty minutes.

One of my pet peeves is when another server runs food to your table and they ask that sever to bring them something like mayo or mustard and while THAT server has gone to fetch it...I come back to the table and ask if they need anything and they say "Well yes, I need some mustard and mayo." Then I go to get it and come back to the table and there sits mustard and mayo already brought by the other server. Shouldn't they instead say "Well I asked the other server to bring some mayo and mustard?" This happened twice today. The second time I passed a server in the hallway toting a bottle of mustard and mayo and Tabasco... stopped her to ask her what table she was going to. When she told me I quickly grabbed some mustard , mayo and Tabasco and walked ten steps behind her to the table with my hands loaded with their obviously desperately needed items. She sat hers on the table and I walked up ten seconds after her with mine with a cleverly disguised look of surprise on my face. Hey we may be "Waitresses" but we aren't stupid .

Then there are the people that are "Low Talkers." The restaurant is already loud and noisy when we are busy and the Country music piped throughout the place doesn't help one iota. I will ask what they would like to order and without looking up from their menu will mumble incoherent words like they were confessing their most horrible sin to a Priest. I will say nicely "Excuse me?" Then they will repeat their mumbling order at exactly the same volume still not bothering to at least look up so I can attempt to read their lips. I then try a different approach with "I'm sorry, what did you say?" If they still don't get it I have to finally say "I am sorry but I can't understand a word you are saying." (A good friend of mine that I work with taught me that one.)
It's like people that are on their cell phone while trying to order. If they shoo me away with their hand when I first go to the table...I won't go back until they hang up the phone. My motto is "Shoo me once shame on you, shoo me twice and don't eat." I had a couple at my table today, the man was on the phone the entire time and his wife finally said that she would order for both of them because they were in a rush. I know I shouldn't have, but I am by NO MEANS a 'Low Talker' and took the order from the wife while he held his head cocked over down in the booth with his hand over his open ear and acted like I was continuing to bother him. When their food came out he was un pleased with what his wife had ordered and I felt like saying "If you had taken the time to get off your phone and speak with me I would have granted your every wish...but I just ordered you what your wife told me you wanted."
ANYHOO.. enough of THAT rant!
Tonight was insane. After a fifteen minute break I was back on the clock and ran my butt off for four more hours . I finally got to go home after 9:00 and fell into this chair to do what I love most...WRITE WRITE WRITE !
I went in search of my favorite bedroom slippers...found one but the other one was missing. My husband found it under our king size bed...dried with dog slobber covered with dirt and twigs and missing the cute pink bow and the fluffy tail that used to be on the heel of the slipper.
CHARLIE !! The idiot Bulldog that our son snuck back into our house proceeding his OWN sneaking back home had discovered it and taken it to his secret nest under our bed. My two Boxers are too big to get under the bed so Charlie takes every precious item he finds under our bed to gnaw on and enjoy.
The first time my oldest son snuck Charlie back into the house he was just a pup. Granted my son (another idiot that I love) paid $3000.00 for this dog...but he is till a "DOG."
It was Christmas time and I was getting decorations out of the attic when a piece of insulation (you know, that pink stuff they spray in your attic) fell onto the floor in the upstairs hall. I was coming back down the stairs when I saw it and thought to myself "I'd better get that before Charlie sees it." As I went to pick it up he charged like "Dang that be something GOOD if she is going for it" and quickly snorted up the fiberglass insulation into his flat faced mouth. I didn't tell anyone about it...just prayed that he would still be alive in the morning.
Obviously the fiber agreed with him...just like the cotton puff of a tail on my bedroom slipper and the pink bow that was previously attached to the lamb's head.
My husband said he was wondering while I was at work why Charlie was coughing like he had a fur ball caught in his throat. Dang, it was my little lamb's tail and bow and I will never forgive him for it.
If he can live through eating fiberglass bedroom slippers are gravy, no wonder he looks so happy!
After the day I had though it is good to come home to humor. There is never a short supply of it here and that is why it is always nice to come home. Don't have to be back to work til tomorrow at is almost like a day off! Two more days and I will have my second day off since August!!
It will seem like a vacation...wonder where I will go?
Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Long Day and Longer Night

I went in to work at 10:30 this morning to work the lunch shift.

Guess who came shuffling through the doors on their walkers to have lunch with us? "The Girls From The Home!" They clucked around in the lobby, wandering off in every direction they could while the hostess got their table set up.

If you are a follower of my blog you may have read about this group in a couple of other blogs I have done.

They live in the Alzheimer's Care Facility in the town where my restaurant is located. They come in several times a year and it is ALWAYS a pleasure and a treat to wait on this cute little group of of them even brought along a beau today (I thought maybe he was the male stripper, but it turns out he was just on a lunch date.)

They come in with two care givers that are amazing in their own right. They treat these women with total respect and gracefully administered tact. If a woman forgets what she wants to drink the care givers prod them gently...not pushing them or losing patience, but trying to let them do it for themselves. If they get flustered the care giver simply tells me what to bring them...they seem to know each and every woman very well and I admire the wonderful care they are giving these women ...some who have all but lost their minds to this terrible disease.

Sometimes I will bring back what they ordered to drink and either they have simply forgotten what they ordered or had a quick moment of clarity and remembered that they really like coffee. Some of the women are better off than others... and some are simply toddlers in an eighty year old body. They are all at varying stages in their dementia and some are hopelessly lost in the fog of what used to be a quick and sharp mind.

Some of the women come in dressed impeccably, some look like they had to be dragged into their clothes. At least they have someone to make sure that they are presentable enough to go out to eat. Some shuffle in on their own with walkers with tennis balls attached to the bottom...some are scooting themselves along with their feet in wheelchairs and some have to be led by the arm.

But they ALL get to go out and have a nice lunch... even if they don't remember it by the time they get back to the home at least they had the chance to get out and have some semblance of a normal life for a couple of hours.

I absolutely LOVE waiting on these precious ladies and the care givers that are giving them the best life they can have while this disease rips away their mind, memory and emotions.

When the van pulled up to the door today, my manager said to me "Your girls are here" and I knew immediately who he was talking about.

As I wallow in my own despair, seeing them shuffle in reminded me of how truly lucky and blessed I am and quickly brought me back to reality.

My husband is out of work , I am working myself to death, I worry constantly...but at least I CAN worry. At least I am AWARE of what is happening in my life and can DO something about it.

These women have no say or choice as to what is happening to the person they have been their entire life. They simply have to continue to breathe and be guided through every step of every day for as long as they can hang on to the last scrap of life they have left.

I needed to see these women today.

They will never, ever know...even if I told each and every one of them individually how they uplifted my day and made me step back and once again look at the big picture.

I think God must have sent my "Girls" in today to help me realize how many others are so much worse off in their life than I am in mine. At least I have a life that I can remember, a childhood that I can remember and a family that I can remember...screw the financial problems.

In the grand scheme of things...I seem to be doing pretty good .

Picked up a dinner shift to try and get my bank account back into the black and God smiled on me once again.

All my customers drank lots of alcohol, ordered big and tipped bigger.

Just a mere twelve hours after I left for work, I am back home typing on my blog...feeling a LOT better thanks to "My Girls" today and my "Drinkers" tonight.

At least when I wake up tomorrow to do it all again...I will know what I have to do and will know what I did yesterday...YES! I am TRULY a BLESSED person...I just have to keep remembering that... HEY, at least I still have the capacity to remember.

Til Next time....COTTON

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Have Created A Monster

Got home from work today and couldn't even get in the driveway. My son who is 17 and has waited until now to get any type of a social life has turned into a social butterfly. He came home last Friday with three boys in tow to spend the night, came home the next night with two boys and then they went out for a while. He called home to ask what we were having for dinner and I told him Fajitas. He showed up thirty minutes later with both the boys and a girl all waiting for the Fajitas to get ready.

He introduced me to them all but by now all the names were running together. I had never met the girl so I asked casually "What was your name girl?" She replied "My name is Beth, what's YOUR name, girl?" I told her I was Ms. Kelly and it was nice to meet her. They all enjoyed my Fajitas and bragged on my food so much that I dismissed the fact that Zach brought three people home for dinner without telling me.

Today when I finally squeezed my car into the garage and came in the house my son shouted from the living room "Hey Mom." It was immediately followed by another boy shouting "Hey Mom!"

I started to cook dinner while the three teens played Beatles Rock Band in my living room (the only one that could sing was the girl...the boys were pitiful.)

After an hour I noticed no one was acting like they were leaving anytime soon and my son called down "When will dinner be ready?" I told them it would be 15 minutes and they all just sat there drumming, strumming and singing away.

I fed all of them and they all gave me such great compliments that I felt bad about griping about feeding three extra mouths when I was constantly worried about being able to feed my own family of five.

After they left (bellies full) I told Zach he needed to let me know when friends were staying for dinner so I could be prepared. He said that was the reason they were all there. He said his friend Brad said I was the best cook he had ever known and that he had never tasted better cooking than mine.

They seem like such good kids and I truly do appreciate the compliments... but if this party grows any bigger I am going to have to bring in a caterer.

I guess this is what I get for encouraging Zach to get out of the house and meet people. I just forgot to tell him not to bring every one of them home for dinner.

He said I was their favorite mom and that they all looked forward to what ever I was cooking ...and they really liked my hair.

My house has always been a kid magnet and I truly like least I know where MY kids are and that they are all safe.

I had a few years reprieve since TJ is older than my other kids, but now that my younger two are both teens I have been put back into the spotlight and obviously I am a hit!

Kids... whadda ya gonna do?

I guess I will love these kids too and feed them and let them call me "Mom."

Or maybe I will start cooking Brussels sprouts and rutabagas for dinner.

At least I seem to still be popular with the teens even though I am pushing fifty ... guess it could be one of his friends having a van. How many kids they could squeeze into that I don't want to even think about.

Gotta go shopping for tomorrow....

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Happy Birthday to a Great Lady...My Mama

Today , October 5th is my mother's birthday. She would have been 79 years young. An awe inspiring wife, mother and friend to every one that was lucky enough to have her cross their path. She was a stay at home mom until I was around 12 years old...but "stay at home" doesn't begin to describe her.

She had so many talents it is hard to choose where to begin. She could sew anything like a dress designer, she could even reupholster a couch. She made faux fur coats to sell in a local beauty shop and made all the cheerleader, majorette and drill team uniforms for our high school. She made all of the evening gowns my sister needed (unlike me she was very popular and was always on homecoming or Valentine court.) She could stretch a dime...even took a class called "Stretch and Sew" where she learned to make a suit jacket for my father and learned how to stretch a dime even further. My most vivid memories of my mother are her perched over her Singer sewing machine with a glass of iced tea in a Styrofoam coozie (remember them, before the ones they have now..with a plastic rim with slots cut all around for the glass to fit in?) She always had her ashtray nearby (one she had made in ceramics) and a Kool Mild would be smoldering away.
This was back when smoking was still socially correct...we have pictures of her at Sunday school parties with her Pacesetters class...sitting in another friend's husband's lap with an ashtray the size of a small pizza perched on her lap and both of them puffing away.
My mother never drank..not ever in her life. Her father was a terrible alcoholic and a terrible father that abandoned her and her brother early on in her life. Alcohol was never in our house and her only vice was the Kool Milds (formerly Kents) and Wrigley's Doublemint gum. She could pop that gum like a sista and I always wanted to learn how she did it. I never did, but the smell of Doublemint gum reminds me immediately of of my mother even to this day. She was frugal and when we would go grocery shopping at the A&P in East Point on Thursdays...she would buy for the weeks worth of groceries and write the check over for spending money . I vividly remember that every week she made the check out for $60.00. She fed a family of five and gave us every thing we needed that she couldn't make or sew and we lived in the most wonderful way...a house full of love and full of friends.
My mom had her fan club.
From the egg man that brought us fresh eggs every week and sat to talk with my mom at our kitchen table for an hour, to the man who owned the Gulf station (remember Gulf Stations?) and would spend literally hours at our house talking to my mom and bringing her free dishes from his gas station. When I was young, if you filled up with gas you got a serving set, just a few dollars and you got a plate. I still have some of these dishes today..white octagon shaped plates that remind me of my mother just like a stick of Doublemint gum.
My dad's best friend from high school and the Navy had married and settled in East Point as well and he was probably her BIGGEST fan. He would come over and they would sit at the kitchen table for hours while my mom cooked or cleaned or sewed and they would puff their cigs, drink their iced tea in coozies and gossip and chat.
I don't think my mother ever made an wasn't in her nature and her character was huge...I never saw her angry, never heard an argument between my parents and never met anyone that didn't love and admire her.
Oh, us three kids made her angry from time to time...but it was always totally OUR fault. Like the time my brother, around 4 years old told one of our older neighbors that his dad was a fighter pilot and wouldn't be home for the holidays, or the time I cut off my best friend's hair with the hedge clippers...Hey! She ASKED me to do it, I just complied. We had our share of whippings...always delivered by my father when he trudged home after work. The worst thing you could imagine to hear from my mom when you were a kid was " You just wait til your FATHER gets home!"
She was always the room mom at the school, the PTA president, Booster club President and just the mom that every one wanted to be around.
I remember when my brother was in high school and came home with some friends and smarted off to my mother...she said to him "Don't embarrass yourself in front of your friends...I can still take you down." He smirked at her and said "Yeah, RIGHT." He was pinned to the floor in four seconds, much to the delight of his high school buddies. He got up and brushed himself and his pride off and scoffed at her that he hadn't been "READY." She quickly asked if he was ready now? To his misfortune he said he was...and was pinned in under three seconds.
I'll never forget that, neither will my brother OR his friends!
As time marched on, I became a snotty Junior in high school who had finally reached her pinnacle...a varsity cheerleader, first chair in the concert band and was coming into my own.
I began to rethink the whole "Mama" issue and in my small mind thought she was holding me back from being the great star of high school that I had suddenly been destined to become.
When she took me to school I made her drop me off a block away. I made fun of her being such a fuddy buddy and thought in my small mind that she was an idiot.
Two weeks before I started my Senior year in high school I went to cheer leading camp. The third day in, the news came in...Elvis Presley had died. If you are from my generation, it was bigger news than when Michael Jackson died. I was devastated. I went to a phone booth and called my mother...who just last week I had made fun of for crossing her legs when she having borne three kids, one of them a C section, I can't jump on a trampoline without wetting my pants.
But suddenly I needed to talk to my mother...I slumped in the floor of the phone booth and cried like a baby. I told her that I just wanted to call and tell her that I in fact loved her beyond belief and was so sorry I had been such a bitch lately. She blew it all off and said she had never doubted my love and loved me beyond any comprehension of the word.
I felt much better after purging my "Bitchiness" and when she came to pick me up the next day from camp , she never mentioned my breakdown but acted as if it had never happened.
The next day, my sister,who was married by this time and my mother and I went shopping for school clothes at a store who sold name brands for under retail prices (That's my MOM) and when I was in the dressing room waiting for my mom to bring me another size of jeans I heard my sister call out frantically. I came out of the dressing room to see my mom with a glazed look on her face and as she fell over, she reached for the rack that held clothes and pulled it over with her.
She opened her eyes once and in that short moment, I knew she was dying. I was a 17 year old kid, but I knew that was a look I had never seen and hopefully would never see again.
I believe she was dead before my sister ever started mouth to mouth or compressions. The 911 call was made and as my sister and I followed the ambulance to Grady Hospital, I knew what the out come would be.
When we got to the hospital, my dad was sitting in a room by himself making the phone calls.
She was gone.
She had just had a physical the past week and seemed to be in good health, but had suffered a brain aneurysm that no one knew about and was gone in a few short seconds.
I thank the Lord for taking her quickly and I thank my conscience for letting me have the opportunity to tell her how much I loved her...when it mattered the most.
The days that followed were a fog of emotions and outpouring of love for this wonderful and fabulous person that I was lucky enough to call MAMA.
The church was overflowing...a bigger crowd has never been seen in that church to this day I am sure.
She went quickly and she went home to Heaven.
It took me over twenty years to get over my grief and despair of losing her to the point that I could think of her without breaking down immediately.
If I can be half the wife and mother that she was, my life will be a success.
I love you Mama, still think of you daily and am grateful that God chose YOU to me my mama. You were beautiful inside and out, revered by many and loved by many more.
You and Diddy are together again...we all hope to join you one day.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY "ANN MASSEY LEACH" .... You just made another tear fall down my cheek, but it is a sweet and heartfelt one, and know that you are missed here very much every day that I am on this earth.
Your daughter and your admirer...forever, Kelly
The first picture of her with her legs crossed was made the day she picked me up from cheerleading camp. She made that purse she is holding, made the entire outfit she is wearing and made me the person I am today. Thanks Mama...
Til next time...a very grateful COTTON...formerly but still a LEACH.