Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Worker

Zach has taken on a job with my neighbor and co worker. She has 3 small children and someone gave them a play set for their back yard. It sits right by the woods at the back of their yard and she needed someone to clear the woods from around the play set.

It's a pretty big job but Zach wants to pay me back for paying his fine . It doesn't help that he sleeps til noon before going over to her house and it gets dark before six but he is on day three and has made a lot of progress. Unfortunately when he completes the brush removal he still has to cut her lawn and bag all the clippings from the front and back yard.

I decided that I will ride my lawnmower over tomorrow when I get off work and cut the front and back for him and then all he'll have to do is rake and bag.

He has done a pretty decent job and she is going to pay him $100.00 when he finishes.

My only worry is that it may take him two weeks to get it all done. He's not the fire ball of energy that I am ...he takes his time doing every thing and moves slowly and methodically.

He said when I called home from work that he worked til dark and told them he would be back tomorrow after school. Let's see, he gets home at 4... takes him til ten after to get down the driveway and into the house...another ten minutes to eat a snack, about 8 minutes to walk to her house in the sub division behind me. That leaves him about 45 minutes of daylight to work.

Maybe I can get him a coal miner's hat with a light on top so he can work past six. I asked him when I took him over today if he needed any tools out of our garage to help. He said no, they had all the same kind of clippers and tools we have except all of theirs were sharp. Let me point out all my clippers and hedgers WERE sharp until my kids left them all out in the rain time after time or back in the woods for weeks at a time when building forts and such in the woods behind my own house.

Zach is a skinny kid but he is scrappy. It has been good to see him go over day after day and do some manual labor for a change. He hasn't complained once and I take him lunch and drinks over every day. I figure at the rate he is going the swing set will be usable by the first of Spring.

He still reminds me of the little boy he was in the above picture. A "Thinker."

At least now he is a "Working Thinker."
Til next time....COTTON

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Great Success

Just got back from my sister's. As you can see "effin" the cat was there. Added to the mix was the new pup that my nephew and his girlfriend brought over. Knox is an eight week old pup that immediately loved me(I guess I always smell like dogs) but is a precious pup and was a hit . The food was outrageous and the company even better. We had enough food to feed the homeless (understatement but you get my drift.) I told my brother when he came in that he only had one more holiday with us and he would be through for the year. He loves us but I guess with all of our pets, problems and perils he is good with having two days that he has to be with us for the entire day. He brings his rolling bar..BLOODY MARYS are his specialty and the thing I look forward to the most...right behind hugging his neck and telling him how much I love him and appreciate the way he looks out for me.

We had a great day. Cin had a friend over that is from New York and couldn't get home for the holiday and she fit right in with our crazy family. We ate... after praying for our nation, our blessings and our future... including Frances... I teared up during the prayer, yeah I am a softy.

I have so much to be grateful for . I have new family members that I never knew, my husband has a job and I have a family that loves and supports me .

HEY! What more could a woman ask for?

My husband just left for work and I have the king size bed to myself ( the dogs sleep on his side.)

Plenty of left overs in the fridge and the memory of a really good time .

Life is good. Life is hard. Life is what you make it.

Be thankful for your life...I know I am.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Going to My 'Mom'ister's For Thanksgiving

My sister...there are at least a thousand things that come to mind when I think of her and all of them are good.
Maybe when she was "Tween" she was mean to me but I always idolized her so that even her meanness felt like a blessing to me. Hey! At least she noticed me.
So WHAT she was mean to me when she was in high school ? She always had boyfriends that were crazy about her and figured being nice to me was an easy in. I think I came out on the better end of things. I had hot teen age guys taking little goofy me to fairs and Disney movies just so they could try to get to first base with my hot sister. I don't mean "HOT" like she was the school tramp..I mean "HOT" like she was, and still is a fabulous person inside and out. I have never met any one who doesn't like her or any one who wouldn't love to call her a friend.
After she graduated high school and went to Georgia Southern the roles changed. I was no longer a pest but a little sis that she invited down often to hang with her and her sorority sisters.
I probably remember more of her sorority sisters and the stories about them than she does. Her looks have held out beautifully and she is still a doll but her memory is crap. I can remember phone numbers of our childhood friend's parents house..what kind of tile they had in their kitchen and what their dog's name was.
Cindy always tries, but sits close to me at funerals and weddings so that I can whisper in her ear who is approaching us and how we know them.
If that is the worst thing I have to say about speaks volumes for her personality and character. Not to mention her ethics , ideals and values.
I have been dealt a few bad hands in the game of life.
I watched my mother die in front of me unexpectedly at the age of 17. My sister was by my side.
I watched my father die unexpectedly from West Nile in the matter of ten days. My sister was by my side.
Our brother has been right along beside us and turned into the father we once had. He is a crusty and funny person...much funnier than me (I hate to admit that) but has taken on his role as our surrogate father with much admiration from me and my sis.
Thank the Lord he never had kids...they would have just kept him from focusing on keeping me and my sister afloat in life.
Without my brother and my sister I would be a lost soul.
With them I am a blessed soul.
This Thanksgiving I am going to spend the day with both of them. My brother is most likely thinking "Thank God I only have to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with them."
My sister and I are thinking "Thank God that he has the moral values of our parents and feels compelled to spend two days a year with us and pretty much pay for everything."
My kids and my sister's kids are trying to send us to an early grave. As my brother pointed out, "Our family seems to take the express check out."
Thanks to our brother... he has bumped us back to the main check out line many times.
I really think that he knows how much we love him....and we do, TREMENDOUSLY.
I love my sister so much that it hurts, but she makes it easy.
I have a best friend in my sister and a brother that makes sure both of us girls are okay.
How much more could you want from a family?
Yes, I am blessed and I get to spend the day with both of these siblings that are in essence "MY FAMILY" and I am one of the luckiest people in the world.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Hounds of The Season

While mama wasn't looking , we three climbed onto the bench in front of her computer to type out why WE are so happy to be here and what WE are grateful for.

Rosie is doing the typing...being the only bitch in the group she of course took over. Ham and Charlie are left to add in when she lets them Thank goodness I have watched mama type enough blogs to know how to use spellcheck. I just hope my talons(as she calls them) can navigate this tiny key board.

We are the luckiest dogs in the world...paws down.

Yeah...the others feed us but mama is the one that makes sure we always have fresh water. How hard is it to rinse out a bowl and let some fresh water run in it? Obviously very hard since none of our other owners seem to do it. That faucet must be a pretty tricky contraption.

Our mama lets us all sleep right beside her in the soon as her husband gets up. She makes us stay on his side but we don't care. He seems to smell pretty good and he has a real nice pillow that we fight over.

When it is raining outside, mama lets us in right off the bat and wipes all twelve of our paws. She wipes the slobber off our faces although we thought that was one of our most endearing traits. Nothing says "I'm happy" like a drool of slobber dripping off our mouth.

When she comes home from work, we are the first to hear her. We hear her car coming down the street, turning in the drive way and before she can get out of her car we are clustered at the back door waiting for her to open it and say hello.

If she goes upstairs...we go upstairs. If she goes upstairs and then back downstairs immediately so do we. If she shuts the bathroom door but leaves it cracked we can wedge our nose in and get it open and all three of us prance inside and stand in the bathroom with her. We think she really likes that because she always says "For Pete's sake" and that is one of her favorite things to say.

When she is on her computer we all three lay around her feet (they smell really good to us) and do not leave until she gets up from her bench.

She can be when the two idiot males (thank goodness they can't read) get in a fight. She has watched so much Dog Whisperer that she has finally figured out how to keep them from fighting....and we haven't had a brawl in quite a while.

BALLS...what is it about them that makes you so stupid?

We know she is going to her sister's house for Thanksgiving but know she will leave us inside and come back in time to let us out before doofus Charlie needs to go out. Me and Ham can stay in all day and not mess anything up ...Charlie is still a pup (only two) and can get into quite a bit of trouble if left on his own (just like his daddy, TJ.)

It's a "dog's life" around here and we all enjoy it very much.

Hey!! At least we aren't getting bad grades or sucking her dry. We don't ask for much...just a pat on the head or a rub on the stomach and we're good.

I think she loves us too...I can see it in her face and we can all tell when she needs us to just lay beside her and keep her company. We love our mama.

While she is away on Thanksgiving we will just kick back a couple of bowls of water and lick her work shoes (they taste JUST like steak) and know she will be back to take care of us before the water bowl runs dry.


Charlie is trying to hump me so I have to go kick his squatty butt...

Til next time...Rosie Cotton

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Laid Back Tonight

Isn't this an attractive shot...looks like it may be an alien or some grotesque life form but it is just a pic of one of my sister's boxer's "Chillin" which pretty much is the way I feel tonight.
The relief that has taken over my life is such a welcome that I sometimes wonder how the whole family has survived the past eight months and all come out in one piece. I actually DO know why.
I have a terrific family and a support system that anyone should envy. I have been blessed beyond belief by customers at work, friends at work and friends on line that have cheered me on every step of the way.
When I would have a day that felt like could possibly be my last...I would be uplifted by someone or inspired by someone. I was constantly taken care of emotionally financially and physically by so many friends and acquaintances that it will take the rest of my life to repay all I have been given so freely and genuinely.
My sister and brother have become my mother and father. They have been such good parents to me ...and I needed that, even though I am 49 years old.
My kids haven't complained but have pitched in and helped when they could. There were days when one of them wouldn't eat lunch at school because I forgot to send them with lunch money. They didn't ask for the money...just made it through the day til they could come home and eat. Many times they have told me the food at school wasn't that good anyway.
We aren't over the hump but we can finally see the crest ahead.
We are still in our house and are still a family.
The blessings I am grateful for this Thanksgiving are monumental. I am grateful that I have so many people that love me and care about not only me but my entire family. I am grateful that my husband has a job now and that I have a job that has been truly wonderful to me.
I am grateful that I have a husband who has kept his himself and his God.
I am grateful for neighbors that have been there for us.
I am grateful for every day I have and every prayer that has gone up on our behalf.
I hope that every one has a spectacular Thanksgiving and can find all the blessings in their own life. Sometimes they are little things and sometimes they are huge just have to see them, large or small and be thankful that you have them.
Remember to tell someone that you love them and are thankful for them.
I love you all and am truly grateful that I have a place where I can tell you.
Peace and Love to each of you and yours...enjoy the season and remember the reason.
Til Next Time...COTTON

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nice and Quiet Here...Very Odd

Massey is still at a friend's house, Tim is upstairs sleeping because he has to work all night. Zach is the only other one here but as long as he has a game controller in his hand you wouldn't even know he was here. TJ is at work and I am doing what I love best...writing.

Went to meet Frances at Longhorn for lunch. Her nephew and his wife are in town and his sister was there as well. I had met Flip before on a visit to Frances when she was in re hab. Today was the first time meeting his wife and his sister. How strange that I have only recently met all these members of my family. A few years back one of my cousins created a family site and the relatives seemed to come out of the word work. Frances was first on board. Her father and my grandfather were brothers. She has lived in Digby most all of her life and yet I never met her until the family website was created. The above photo is from a family reunion at my sister's. That was the first time I met Frances and since getting to know her I have met so many others on her side of the family that I never even knew existed. They are wonderful people...the type you want to hug the first time you meet them and love after two minutes of talking to them.
My immediate family has dwindled so that it is refreshing to meet new relatives and learn all about them. What is amazing to me is that I lived for 49 years without knowing that I had all these wonderful peole who were related to me and never knew about them til now. Frances in herself is quite enough...but to meet all these new relatives is an overwhelming feeling of knowing that I have more family that I thought I did and that they all love me as if they had known me since I was two!
It is weird that even though we grew up not knowing each other we have so many of the same values, beliefs and ideals. I guess the saying is true "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
I know we will only grow closer and having more friends is never a bad thing.
They all asked about Tim , how it was going for us and it was like having lunch with people I have known all my life.
Came home from lunch and went to buy some grass seed and wheat straw to try and replace the mud around my back patio where the dogs have created a mud hole big enough to hold mud wrestling in. I got Zach to come outside and unload the bale of straw to toss over the back gate and the minute he got it out of the trunk the string came off and wheat straw went every where. He looked at me and said "I hope you know I didn't mean for that to happen."
We scooped it all onto a moving blanket that my husband had in the garage and carried it through the gate. The minute the dogs came outside the bulldog , Charlie lifted his leg on the pile...only to be followed by Ham, my boxer coming to do the same. IDIOTS!
I got all the grass seed out and covered most of the muck with straw and you would have thought I put down Berber carpet for the dogs. They rolled in it sniffed it and all three laid on it like it was a Persian rug. It doesn't take much to make my three dogs happy. They didn't realize that I was doing it for me and not them.
Tim is working overnight...I thought he was off but am secretly happy that it will be me and the pups in our king size bed (I make all the dogs stay on his side...just don't tell Tim.)
BTW...went to Yankee Candle after I left Longhorn today and bought some new tarts for my burner. They have a fragrance called have GOT to buy some. It smells like I have a 20' tall Fraiser Fir in my house . That's all I need is the smell of Christmas ...the rest comes from the heart.
Til next time...COTTON

Friday, November 20, 2009

So THAT'S How It's Gonna Be...

I am a little upset with my next door husband.

The guy that lives next door to me is a mechanic for the airlines and has saved our butt so many times that it is not even funny...even to me.

The family that lived in their house before them was a strange bunch. They were nice enough but the dad had a temper that was unbelievable. How many times do you want to hear a father scream out "God *&@# son ... you're doing it wrong!" They were very, very conservative. I bet the dad has a pin up of Sarah Palin in his to his double wide photo of Rush Limbaugh hugging Bill O'Reilly.

When my youngest son was in first grade he asked the next door neighbor's son what "gay" meant? I guess he had heard it in school or on TV. My neighbor's son told Zach that it meant "Sick love between two boys." I was outraged.

New family moved in...HUGE sigh of relief. The best thing the last family did for us was when Tim pushed our lawn mower over to see if the husband could fix it and he told Tim it was out of gas. Brings back "Slingblade" memories doesn't it? "Ain't got no gas."

My new next door neighbor was married when he moved in, but went through a divorce...after fixing the heating element in my oven, helping to replace my dishwasher and fixing my car at least three times. His wife probably said she was sick of me and had to leave.

I kept waiting for him to build the Great Wall of China between our houses but he didn't so I kept on calling when I had to. I have gotten pretty good at figuring things out on my own. I love my husband but he needs help changing the toilet paper (maybe not that but you get my drift.)

I don't know my neighbor's political views...he doesn't hang them out there like a flag like my former neighbor did...but I love him either way.

I started calling him my 'Next Door Husband' a few years back...after I chased his wife off and he has done so many favors for me that probably only HE can count them!

First off I got a little ticked when he got a girlfriend...HOW DARE HIM?

Then what does he go and do but move the little vixen in. It didn't help that she was cute and even smaller than me. Oh YEAH...she HAD to be a nurse. Like having a handy man next door wasn't sweet I had free medical advice as well.

I remember the first time I really needed my 'next door husband.'

My oldest son was 16 at the time and had just left the house in the Ford Ranger we had bought him. He called me not two minutes later asking me to come around the corner and pick him up. I asked him if he was okay and he just said "Come get me." I drove around the corner from our house and saw his truck in the ditch on MY side facing towards me. He had tried to go from drive to overdrive and had gone to reverse instead. Spun around...thankfully no oncoming traffic and landed facing traffic in a ditch with a blown tire.

I think that may have been when my 'next door husband ' broke up with me. He changed the tire and believe it or not the truck was okay.

Okay, so I even asked for more favors after that, but I am always good for a free twelve pack or a free meal brought over in Tupperware. He won't take my money...I guess he doesn't want a paper trail when he sneaks away in the middle of the night.

I have given him a break as of late (not really) but haven't needed him as much. I have gotten pretty dang good at fixing things and thanks to his many tutorials have learned quite a lot.

So my oldest son's car broke down. He immediately came over and towed the car home...spent a couple of days trying to diagnose and determine the problem. Fuel A couple of other things tried and still no fix.

I left for work this morning to see my 'next door husband's' ex wife's car in his garage on jacks.

What? My son's car had been bumped down the que in favor of the mother of his children???

You see if I call him the next time my hot water heater goes out...okay, I let him fix it once but you see if I'll let him come over and fix it for free again. Don't even get me started on how many times I have let him come over and fix wiring problems...The Bastard.

Don't even think I will let him charge up the freon again in my husband's SUV once Summer hits.
Twice is quite enough !

I felt bad tonight thinking that he still had to help my son with his car and took over a fresh baked pecan pie when thanks to his advice and wisdom my son fixed his car on his own. I told TJ to go over and get the pie back.

I say all this in jest...I guess you get that by now unless you are my former neighbors, have found my blog and are saying "God #@!* we helped her a LOT more than that...the nerve of that liberal bitch."

Geez, my husband has a job son's car is daughter is spending the night off (after bringing home a friend for dinner) and Zach beat the rap with his ticket.

Can it be possible that my life is taking an upswing?

I still don't know if I can ever feel the same about my 'next door husband" unless the furnace goes out in our house...maybe I will have to give him a 42nd chance.

I am most probably one of the biggest deductions on his tax returns.

HEY!! Is that a moving van I hear next door ??

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When Does It Quit?

So my husband got a job. It doesn't pay too much but it is 100% more than he was making. My oldest son's car has broken down and we are shuffling vehicles around to get every one where they need to be.

My next door husband came over this morning bright and early to fix my son's car. After towing it home at night with the lights on the battery went dead so they hooked it up to a battery charger out in the driveway. My son unplugged the cord that had a big red tag on it that read "DO NOT UNPLUG THIS CORD" and my house phone went out.

Granted it was nice not to hear from Citi group or Chase for a few hours, but no one else could get through either.

I got my oldest son to take me into work over an hour early so he could pick Massey up from school (God forbid she ride that bus) and I told him to pick me up at eight.

At 8:45 I called the house to see where MY car was and by 9:15 I was finally picked up where I stood in the parking lot.

Ya gotta take the good with the bad... a lesson I have learned over the last 8 months. Just don't leave me standing out in 46 degrees when 60 seems chilly to me.

It may sound trivial to anyone else..but I have corns on both of my pinkie toes from working so much that if someone squeezed them I would give them the number to the Red phone in the Oval office without having to ask twice.

My Carpal Tunnel is so bad that I feel like I am on the edge of a stroke every time I pick up a dish of food at work.

I have a 23 year old son who is obviously a contestant on a game show on MTV or VH1 "How Long Does It Take To Drive Mama Mad?" have two other kids that seem to be cheering him on and on top of that I still have my bad knee from that fateful night at the skating rink when my kids begged me to enter the 'speed skate for Mothers' (what in the heck was I thinking? But I did come in second)

With a family you take the good right along with the bad. The "good" is that you have kids. The "bad" is that they know you are their Mom.

Mothers should be awarded a medal for every six months they make it without committing themselves to a re hab for child rearing.

Let's add in my back that goes out at least once a year (it's getting due) and the fact that I am so frightened that now our life has taken an upswing the next bomb is ready to drop.

I have never been a pessimist. I have been challenged over the past eight months like I have never been challenged before.

At least now my husband is working again and I can stand up and say "Go ask Your Father."

He has been so worried that I have been fielding all questions and requests.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009


My girl!
It has been a long expensive road ...but one that I would take again gladly.I got home from work...fretted about Zach and his court case, found out all was well (except for the$40) and Massey came bouncing through the door from school. She is the happiest child you have ever met...even though she is a teen.
"Tonight is the viewing for the composite for the band picture and we have to go pick out which pose we want!!!"
I felt like just going to bed but since my youngest son wasn't going to the slammer I felt like I needed to go give her some face time.
We went to the school. Both poses seemed identical except for the slight tilt in her head but she was so excited that I took my time and acted like there was an actual decision to be made.
I bought the cheapest package they had. One 5x7 for me to frame and one to give away. I also got the composite picture of the whole group, band included.
She was over the moon.
My kids are really easy to please these days. They know we are struggling and appreciate our every effort.
My "Next Door" husband towed my oldest son's car home and is going to replace his fuel pump tomorrow.
I took the day off tomorrow to get my husband's car tag and get the fuel pump for my son's car so that my "Next Door" husband can put it on and get him back on the road.
It is crazy around always is, but now it all seems to be coming our benefit finally.
Of course I hate it that my next door neighbor has to fix TJ's car but at least he is a willing and wonderful friend.
I owe him so much that I keep waiting for him to build a border wall ten feet high between our house and his.
Zach came out okay with his date with the law, Massey is over the top with me just purchasing two pictures (they had $400.00 packages) I can get my son's car fixed and a car tag for Tim before he starts his new job and feel the sigh of relief that I have been waiting for for over eight months.
You know what? Life is good.
Life is a tough and often trying road but you just can't give up or give in. You keep may feel like giving up, you may feel like you can't go on but it is amazing what a human can do when under extreme pressure.
Have faith my fellow readers... I feel like I am being reborn. I feel like I have weathered the storm and I feel like I can make it. Not only make it, but make something of it!
Some people give up ... throw their hands in the air and say it is impossible.
By the grace of God and by the help of many, many people I really think we are going to be okay.
This blog, this site has been one of my most soul saving things, to have a place to go and have a place where people understand, and want to help and pray for me on a daily basis.
Your kindness will never be forgotten and I promise that I will pay it forward every day of my life.
Last week I felt like I couldn't make it another day. Today I feel like if it wasn't for friends and the words of Massey I would be a "HOT MESS."
My family has saved me, my friends have saved me and my God has saved me.
I will be forever grateful for every act of kindness that I have been shown and truly understand the concept of "What goes around comes around."
Life is a tough, tough road. If you don't stay on the road you get side tracked and sometimes lost. No one said it would be a straight shot and no one said it would be easy.
It has been the hardest eight months of my life and I have gray hairs on my head and even hairs on my lip that I don't want...but at least I am alive to pluck them out and friends to cheer me on.
Thank you FAMILY and friends...what would we have done without you is a path I don't want to even explore.
I love each and every one of you and as our life takes an upturn...know that I will never forget the messages, the emails and the phone calls. I am so blessed that I wonder if maybe God has me mixed up with someone else!

"So im no ones Bitch"

Okay, here we go...this may be a lengthy one.

My seventeen year old son was a late bloomer socially. He stayed at home for most of the first 16 years of his life but since turning 17 he has brought home more new friends than I can count and keep fed. They all seem like good kids and through much trial and error I have come to be a pretty good judge.

A few weeks ago he set out on a weekend day with four boys. They went to Cochran's Mill...a park on the outskirts of Coweta County. I was sitting at the computer when he got home... a little late but only about 9:00. He said he had some good news and some bad news. He said he didn't get arrested but that he had gotten a ticket from the police. He said not to "Freak Out" that he could explain (I could hardly wait to hear THIS one.)

The boys had been walking around the park and were headed back to the car when one of the boys stopped because his flip flop had broken, after trying to fix it he lost sight of the other boys and became lost. The other boys heard him hollering and went back to find their friend.

By the time they found him and found their way back out a policeman was waiting telling them they were in the park after closing and were subject to a fine. He searched all the boys and went back to their car and searched it as well. All good on the search...he gave each boy a ticket to appear in court. After calling the number on the ticket we were told that the fine was $250.00. I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit when I heard .

We tried to contact the District Attorney but were told he had to show up for his court date. As the date got closer I kept telling Zach he needed to pick up some odd jobs to be able to pay his fine. Heck, I am having trouble making the water bill...much less a $250.00 ticket for broken flip flops. I work with a girl who need some brush cleared in her back yard and kept telling Zach to call her. To his credit he did call her once and she said she would call him back. She is a working mother with three kids under the age of six and the thought probably never crossed her mind again. I told Zach to call her again and again.

Three days before the court date Zach said he needed to get over there and do that work for her. I told him that he hadn't talked to her in over two weeks and even if she still wanted it done I was pretty sure it wasn't going to pay $250.00.

I got a little upset with Zach (maybe an understatement) and told him that I did NOT have the money to pay this ridiculous fine. He kind of blew it off and I reminded him that this was a "COURT DATE" not a "PROM DATE" it wasn't optional and it wasn't negotiable. I told him that judges mean business and his word would be the final word.

Of course then my mouth took over (I just can't help it sometimes) and said that if he didn't have the money and the judge found him guilty he may end up going to jail. Of course I expanded on these thoughts and told him he was already a pretty skinny kid and may find himself someones bitch by the end of his first day in the Big House. A friend of mine at work said "Hey! At least it will be one less mouth to feed and tell him I'll come visit him in the Slammer." Let me interject that she loves all three of my kids dearly but is a smart aleck just like me.

Zach didn't think either one of us were funny and as the court date approached I could tell he was a bit apprehensive. He said he was going to speak for himself and that in itself made me a bit MORE than apprehensive.

Day before the court oldest son's car died in the Publix parking lot and he said he needed my husband's car to go to work. At least life is never dull at the Cottons.

I had to be at work at 10:30 this morning so my husband took me to work in my car, TJ took my husband's car (with an expired tag) to work and Tim checked Zach out after lunch for his 3:00 court date.


It was all I could think about at work. I bummed a ride home from a friend and went to doing what I do best lately...worrying.

I sent Zach a text on his phone about 3:45 and said "Let me know what happens and I love you."

At 4:00 he sent me a text saying the fine was dropped and he just had to pay the $40 (he said fourty...wish cell phones had spell check) court cost and that he would pay me back when he did my friend's yard.

I was so relieved it wasn't even funny...until I received another text from him not two minutes later. It read, verbatim " So im no ones Bitch."

Zach is a good kid. He has wavered and sometimes struggled...but who hasn't? I love my kids like nothing else and even though they seem to be trying to kill me on a daily basis I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tim said that Zach did a pretty amazing job of talking to the judge , explaining his case and even had the broken flip flop in the courtroom as evidence.

Maybe my boy will be the next F. Lee Bailey.

Tim starts a new job tomorrow, not much money...but money! The trucking company seems to be on the verge of starting up as well and you know what I think?

I do believe the tide is finally starting to turn...right before the surf swept us totally under. Thank the Lord we all knew how to tread water.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another Crazy Day...Just WAIT Til Tomorrow !

First off I got to work and stood outside of the back door for fifteen minutes for someone to let me in . First it was me and another server. Ten minutes later it was me, another server and the opening hostess. After fifteen minutes the bartender pulled into the parking lot as well. Our security policy is that no one enters through the front door until we are open. I finally called on my cell phone and told the server that was lucky enough to get in the obviously "Secret" door to either have some one open the back door or we would just all walk through the front door together at 11:00. (That is what time we open) Crazy as it sounds us two servers and the hostess finally got in but the bartender must have been walking too slow to catch that 10 second period it took to let us three in and had to stand out back an additional five minutes to gain entry.

What were the managers doing? Secret experiments on the Mexicans in the kitchen...for Pete's sake, when you hear a door bell ANSWER IT !

We got in the building at 10:45 with 15 minutes to take down all the chairs, replace all the salt and peppers and sugar caddies..dust off all the sawdust from the night crew who are doing the remodel and clean up all the crap they leave laying around the entire restaurant.

I know that the managers are busy from the time they step through the door at 6 AM and are sometimes in the cooler cutting steaks , salmon and can't hear the door bell.

But come ON Faustino and Ranulfo! Step in the cooler and let the managers know that the Gringos have arrived. What's the deal, is the door bell only ringing in English or what?

Once in we all skittered about like water bugs scrambling to get the store set up before we opened.

My fave server "Doofus" was working so we had plenty of comedy material to work with once the lunch shift started. He still hasn't shown up with a weapon cocked to clock in but just tries too hard to fit in. He is definitely a square peg guy trying to fit into a round hole restaurant. Once we opened another male server was standing in the expo alley putting bread into the oven when "Doof" walked up beside him and made the comment "Is that 'Nautica' you are wearing?" The bartender heard him say that and said "Oh my God" before he knew it was out loud.

Okay, a gay guy MIGHT say that and it be okay ...but this guy is straight and for the life of me I can NEVER imagine those words coming out of my husband's mouth as a comment to another man.

The other male server is married (and in Doof''s defense DOES wear quite a bit of cologne).. we all made jokes about that for about three hours.

We have a restroom sign off sheet posted at the far end of the restaurant by the rest rooms so that every half hour an employee goes in and makes sure it is neat and tidy, no paper on the floor and makes sure the soap and towels are full. This is a HUGE pet peeve with management as we get scored on the cleanliness of our restrooms when we get shopped...not to mention that no customer likes a nasty rest room.

So anyhoo..Doof comes up to me about 2:00 and said the the general manager asked him to sign off on the bathroom sheet. He asked me what the manager was talking about.

Let me point out here that I did NOT train this guy! I asked him how long had he been working with us.. and told him that he needed to sign off on it every thirty minutes. His reply was "Just tell me where it is."

For Pete's sake...he didn't even know where it was! I told him where it was located and if I had been on top of my game I would have said "They keep it in the office with the General Manager. Just go knock on the door and tell him you need the R-14 sign off sheet and he'll give it to you."

Okay...I AM a smart ass but I do have a heart.

An hour later I went to check the rest room and went to sign off on it. As our restaurant is western themed...we call the women's room "Lambs" and the men's room "Bulls." Right there in his time slot, Doof had signed his name on the Lambs side.

Bless his heart...he is working with some tough seasoned servers that know the ropes so well they could tight rope walk across them blind folded. He's not a bad guy, he is just a guy that doesn't "Get" it.

My new promise is to TRY to help this guy fit in. It may be my greatest mission and may be my biggest defeat. But he has given me SO much material for my blog that I almost ...ALMOST feel like I owe it to him to try and help .

I am torn. If I help him too much...we'll have to find a new reason to laugh throughout a shift. If I don't help him at all...he may show up with that UZI I was talking about.

How much you wanna bet that OTHER server doesn't splash himself quite so heavily tomorrow with cologne?

Got a good blog about Zach tomorrow.

Til next time...Cotton

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hurtin' For Certain...

One day off and it absolutely KILLS me to go back. If I work day after day after day it's not so bad but give me 24 hours off and it is torture to go into work.

It was so busy that it was the time I left I felt like I was insane as well. I felt like I was in a cartoon for six hours, I ran like the road runner but kept running into an Acme dynamite box at every turn. One of my first tables ordered Chop steak well done. Number one, Chop steak is a glorified hamburger patty... number two, order it well done and it is like a Beef Fritter. When I went to the table her husband said his wife's Chop steak was dry...NO DUH! I offered to get her another one but she declined and of course after I walked away they asked another sever for a manager. Free Chop steak HEARD!! The wife was okay but her husband who obviously does her complaining for her got a free meal and THANKFULLY the other couple at the table paid the tab.

By this time I had seven other tables and they were setting up an eleven top for me to share with another server. I felt like I was just spinning my wheels...I couldn't get caught up for the life of me and I hope the frantic look I had on my face was recognized by my other guests. I think it was because most were pretty nice and a couple of people even remarked how busy I was.

BUSY ain't the word for it. ASS KICKIN seems much more appropriate. The minute I turned around they were seating me again...and again...and again.

I am grateful we were busy but I bet tonight took ten years off my life. My feet were killing me, my shirt looked like a collage of every item I had served and the people just kept on pouring in the door.

By 9:00 I felt like I had been in a war...a losing battle none the less. By this point I could actually breathe and regained some composure. I made the comment to a friend of mine "Now THAT was a smooth shift...kinda like a vacation or a trip to the Spa. I hope tonight NEVER ends."

She laughed and I laughed. After that kind of night that is about all you can do is laugh and be grateful you made it to the other side.

At least I am home now with my bedroom shoes on and finally sitting down. Life as a server is a crazy type of existence...I guess that is why I have been doing it for over 32 years, I am slap crazy!

My very first table today was two sweet older women ... one of them made the comment early on that I had a terrific personality and she always enjoyed me waiting on them. She said she didn't give that type of compliment to just anyone unless she really meant it. They were really nice and when I took them the check they took forever to figure it out. I kept seeing them swapping money back and forth and I asked twice if they needed me to make them some change. The one woman said "No Honey, we're just trying to make sure we give YOU enough money." They finally figured out their math problem of the day and told me to keep the change and thanked me once again for waiting on them. I stuck the payment book in my pocket and re joined the cartoon I was currently starring in.

When I had a second to pause I opened the book. Their tab was $36.14. They had left me a twenty a ten a five and a one dollar bill. For Pete's sake...not only did they stiff me on a tip...they shorted me fourteen cents on their tab! GRANNY GRIFTERS !!

I truly think (hope) that it was just a mistake, but I wish I had told them "Just remember to ask for me next time, my name is Louise."

All in all it was a crazy and manic shift, but even with the Granny Grifters I walked (limped) out the door with almost $200.00.

Not bad for a Road Runner..."BEEP BEEP."

Til next time... Cotton

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday The 13th...WHAT A LUCKY DAY !!

Got home from work today and decided to have a girls night out with Massey. We were originally going into downtown Atlanta to an event at the Biltmore Hotel. It was a jewelry and clothing show . The tickets were $35 to get in but they gave you a goody bag supposedly worth three times that. I thought we could just walk around and look at things we couldn't afford. When I got home from work I looked it up on line and it seemed a pretty pricey affair and maybe even one that you had to be 21 to get in (cocktails and such.)

I got my anniversary check at work today for my 12 year employment date, $1000.00. Unfortunately after taxes and them catching up my state taxes the net was $616.00. Still it was a welcome shot in the arm AND the bank account. I decided to splurge on a dinner date with my daughter and once we decided against the down town affair (I was relieved...too much $$$) I let Massey choose where we would eat. She picked her favorite restaurant, Mama Lucia's here in Newnan.

If you are ever in the southern crescent of the is well worth a visit. A family run business...their son is a good friend of mine and used to work with me at my restaurant. His dad used to be a manager with our company and his mother works there as well. It is a lovely place and the food is out of this world.

Our waitress tonight is the wife of one of our former bartenders (see previous post "Andre the Giant, Doofus." One of the bartenders at Mama Lucia's is the wife of one of my favorite former managers so going there is a very homey and friendly feeling.

I splurged and had one glass of wine, Massey had Parmesan Encrusted Talapia over sauteed spinach with tomatoes and a Caesar salad. I had Veal Piccata with capers (YUM) over angel hair pasta and a Caesar salad as well. It was MARVELOUS! It was so nice to see my friends and chat with them while we had a lovely girls night out. I don't get to see them often but we keep up via FB or when they come into my restaurant.

Massey and I were adding up the tab in our heads, already thinking that we could take the leftovers home to the boys and feed them as well.

Crystal (we'll call our waitress that for this post) brought us our check and packed up all the leftovers for the boys and sent home that wonderful bread with the olive oil, spices and cheese in a small container. I picked up the check and of course had to hold it as far away from my face as I could just to read it (too vain to wear my dollar store reading glasses in public) and saw the total:


I asked Massey to look at it to make sure my eyes hadn't taken yet another turn for the worse. Sure enough that was the total. I told Massey to try and get Crystal's attention, but before she could the owner came up behind me. She was setting up a party behind us and said that the girls (Crystal and my bartender friend...we'll call her Jen) wanted to do that for us and they would be mad if I left a huge tip. She said she let them use their employee discount on us.

Here came the water works! I told the owner (we'll call her Barbara) that I couldn't do that and she said the girls really wanted to do it and it was her pleasure to let them use their discount. I tried to leave $50...she said no, she said no more than $20 so I left a twenty on the table and went to the bar to find Jen. I gave her another ten and asked her to take it as well and split it with Crystal and she refused.

What have I ever done to have such wonderful friends and family and have so much support?

Massey and I decided on the way home that we would babysit for each of these young mothers to give them a night out like we just had.

Massey thanked me controlling my water works and keeping them to a minimum and we left and went window shopping at Lizard Thicket and enjoyed a wonderful evening together. While we were leaving the store, Tim called and said that the financing had come through for the trucking company he and several others were starting up. Tim will be sales manager and another couple has put up all the financing and it is a great opportunity for him. Today his background check came back from Walmart and he starts at the first of the week. (Thanks to another wonderful friend we'll call Lisa and her husband we'll call Russ.)

Who would ever think that Friday the 13th would turn out to be such a fabulous day?

I think my new lucky number is "13"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Friday The 13th...JUST What I Need!

Hey, I've been LIVING Friday the 13th for over eight months...what's one more day?

Just got home from one of the craziest shifts I've had in quite a while. It was insanely busy (a good thing) but with the remodel and a lot of young servers on the floor, we went down like the Titanic. The team work ethic was quickly lost and most of the servers were only waiting on their OWN tables instead of looking at the whole picture and expediting the tickets in order.(NOT a good thing)

I kind of...well actually "Really' went off on a few of them and called them out when they weren't carrying their weight. But for Pete's sake, I had a five table section and an additional ten top and still managed to run food and help out every one else...and I'm almost 50!

The ten top I had was a night mare. Ten red necks out to celebrate "Bubba's" birthday. I worked it with another server who is my age. Every one was happy at the table except the one guy drinking (DUH) and his lovely (not) wife. When I took the checks out, the A hole at the end of the table "Mr. Unhappy" took out his cell phone and called the restaurant to ask for the manager. It took him three times to get through to my manager who was running around like crazy trying to keep some semblance of sanity in the dining room. He said he refused to pay the 18% gratuity that we had added (It's printed in the menu for groups of more than seven) and that it was the worst service he had ever had. WHATEVER!

I had already closed out all the checks but his and had to go back and delete all the payments and have the gratuity removed and re run all the checks. The people at the other end of the table said that was totally unnecessary and that they felt fine with the service and the 18%.

You know me...with my PHD in BS. I told the happy end of the table that someone had called from the table on their cell phone and complained to the manager about my service and that I was in a LOT of trouble for giving bad service and just wanted to make things right. They all cooed and oohed and aahed about what a great server I was and that the one guy didn't matter. They asked to see my manager again, but since I wasn't in any trouble at all (my manager knows an idiot when he sees one) I just apologized more than necessary and played my pity card. One older man shoved a five in my hand and the other couple left me a five as well. The A hole filled out his charge slip with 00000 in the tip spot and his sister next to him followed suit. So I split a ten dollar tip with the other server on a $170.00 tab. You know sometimes you get to the point where you don't really even WANT their money if they are going to be such an ass.

I turned around to see my other table being seated with a couple that I absolute detest waiting on. They are nice enough people but they make Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" look like a pussy cat when ordering. I swear this is not an exaggeration...

"We want two chicken breasts char grilled as an appetizer with extra celery and extra ranch and wing sauce on the side..I believe they ring it in as boneless wings. Then I want the salmon also char grilled with veggies with more than extra snow peas, they never put enough in the medley. I want my salad to be all romaine with tomatoes slices instead of diced tomatoes and onion slices. Then I want an order of just yellow squash, no zucchini and an extra order of mushrooms. I want sweet tea with the lemons on the side and he wants no lemon at all. We need honey for our butter that comes with the bread and some to go cups for our tea."

These people ask for me when they come in, so I guess I am doing something right or either they are trying to see how far they can push a waitress before she explodes. They need separate to go boxes for each entree and to go ramekins for all their many sauces. I made sure it was specifically as they wanted and they left me a $7 tip on a $60 tab. Maybe I should start screwing up some crap where they won't ask for me! But you know, at least they are nice and pleasant. Maybe they are just cheap and would normally leave a five whereas since they like me so much they leave me seven dollars.

All in all it was a profitable night for me, even with not getting tipped on two tabs from "Bubba's" table I walked out after four hours with $154.00 in my pocket and a headache the size of Russia.

Tomorrow is Friday the 13th.

I say "BRING IT ON."

At least after that shift I get a day off after 13 days straight. Unless I pick up Saturday night, which I am contemplating...that will put me at 20 in a row...maybe I should quit counting!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Still coming Here to Feel at Home :(

First off, I am proud of myself for using my first punctuation marks to create a little face! My daughter does it all the time (usually when asking for something from me) but it seems to be the trend and who am I, not to try to stay up to date in this age of advanced technology ;) ??

Did ya see that? I winked at y'all!

I really hate to have to come back here to make a post, but I feel comfortable here and know how to navigate the site. I am learning more every day about my web site though and hope to be there full time soon.

I guess if you follow me on FB you know I had a breakdown of sorts yesterday. I think it was a combination of the gloomy weather and the pity party I threw for myself (sometimes you just need one when things build up.)

I stayed in bed all day today, watching CNN and just resting. I have been working too much and worrying even more. I have finally discovered that worrying does nothing but add wrinkles to my face and gray hair to my head and I don't need anymore of either .

I had a long talk with my husband last night and a longer talk with my sister (I don't know what I would do without her.)

This is hands down the worst time I have gone through since my Mother's unexpected death in front of me in a store at the ripe age of 17. The next worst was watching my Father die in a matter of days ...going from a vivacious 77 year old to an invalid in the matter of a few hours.

I recovered from both of those tragedies with quite a few battle scars in my heart and soul...but I survived.

I can survive this latest onset of misfortune. I just have to keep positive and keep remembering that there are millions of others worse off than me. After scraping myself off of the ground today, regrouping and dragging myself back to work for the eleventh day in a row...I thought about all the victims of Ft. Hood, all the casualties in Iran, Afghanistan and of all the previous wars. I thought about the little baby of a former co worker who was going through Chemo today. I thought about the guy who used to wash dishes for us at Johnny's Pizza who slept on a piece of card board behind the restaurant night after night.
I think about the fact that at least I am living in a house...granted it is a house where the phone rings ten times a day with creditors calling, but at least I still have a phone for them to ring. At least I still have a mailbox for the bills to stack up in and at least I still have a job to help defray and chip away at the debt little by little.
I still have a computer...many people don't even have electricity or a house and would never dream of having a computer but would be ecstatic to have a hut to sleep in.
I am a master of the mouth and a master of partial payments. As long as I have a job and as long as I can look up from my keyboard and see this picture I have posted of my three kids (it is from WAY back) I need to think of myself as a lucky person.
So I had a temporary break down. Maybe I needed that. I took a day off from the world and after some serious contemplation realized that "This is doable."
I have a husband that loves me and our kids, a brother and sister that have not only propped me up but have cheered me on.
It is time for me to take the high road, quit feeling sorry for myself but to feel sorry for the millions and millions that are worse off than us and that have no way to help themselves.
I am a strong, strong woman. This is just a MAJOR bump in the road of life. Heck, at least I am still ON the road. Many people are in the ditch, many people are simply on the streets sleeping on a bench and grazing through dumpsters for a meal. Sometimes you have to make a check...realize that although you are in a rough spot... at least you have a spot to lay your head down in and a place to wake up in .
There are so many people that are worse off than me that it makes me feel foolish to even gripe.
My kitchen cabinets may be bare, but at least I HAVE cabinets. My refrigerator may be bare but at least I HAVE a refrigerator.
I will wake up tomorrow and still have a job.
Do you know how many people wake up each day and pray that they will find a job?
I am blessed...I am a lucky person...I am a loved person.
Thank you to every one that has loved and supported me.
I promise that one day I will PAY IT FORWARD.
PS Be sure to click on the picture to make it is my absolute fave of the kids...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Effin' The Cat...

This is my sister's cat..."Patty."

I like to call her "Effin." As in "Tell that effin" cat to quit clawing me to death. I swear it is a miniature Black Panther. When my sister moved into her farm house a stray cat took up with them. They didn't know if it was a male or female because they couldn't get close enough to even touch it. I told her she should just call it 'Pat' that could be either for a male or a female. The name stuck and the cat became another member of their family. It was a sweet cat, solid black with just a tip of white on it's nose.

I am not a big cat person but ole Pat was a good cat by my standards. At first it wouldn't even come in the house (another reason it was a good cat by my standards) but would creep up on the back porch to eat the food my sister left . Eventually the cat would come closer and closer but would sleep somewhere outside of their house and would reappear each morning or when they would come home after work.

One day the cat didn't come up to the porch to eat or come running that night when they returned from work. They looked for the cat but couldn't find it anywhere. My sister was all upset but I told her the cat had survived for as long as it had...even before they had moved in and started to feed it something other than the field mice it had most probably been living off of. My brother in law had seen a dead cat in the road on his way home and was worried that it was Pat.

That night they sat on their big country porch talking and heard a mewing out in the front yard. My brother in law took a flashlight out to search, hoping to find to find Pat. He came back from the edge of their front yard with the tiniest kitten you have ever seen...solid black with one single white whisker.

I just KNOW that 'Pat' was a 'Patty' and my brother in law had brought home her baby. Pat never came back and the new kitten was named Patty (it was so young that they could check the sex.) and moved on into her new digs at the farm house. It was the skinniest kitten I have ever seen, not even five inches long. They had to keep it separated from their two male boxers so that the kitten had a chance to live!

It turned out to be Angela Davis in disguise. The meanest female black panther you could ever encounter. She would spring at you in a moment's notice...claw you up and down and then scamper hurriedly to another room for no apparent reason . If she was lazing out in the sun and her tail was waving back and forth, she would pounce on her own tail in the most vicious way you could imagine. Just like the rest of our pets (mine and my sister's) she is an idiot...but one that we love (I'm still not sure why.)

Moving a few months down the road, one of my sister's boxers got terminally ill and after a brief fight had to be put down.

She came home from the vet to bury his body out in a field and came back inside to clean up where the boy had lived out his last few days...not moving much but not being able to go outside to relieve himself. She was so worried about her other male boxer missing his buddy and worried about keeping the hell cat out of the room when she finally flung up her hands and said "screw it."

The little panther crept over the baby gate they had to keep the dogs from the kitten and she prowled around the other boxer.

You wouldn't believe it.

Best friends were made that day out of former enemies. The cat pounces on Boss (the remaining Boxer) only to skitter way til she can attack him again. They played all day together and are now the best of friends.

It may sound stupid unless you are an animal lover like us...God takes away and he gives back.

My sister lost her beloved Bear (her Boxer) but her other Boxer found a new friend and playmate in that "Effin' Cat."

They play with each other all day and keep each other company.

"Make new friends but keep the is silver and the other one's BLACK!!"

My sister brought home a tiny cat bed for Patty to sleep in that she picked up at the Bric a Brac sale at her church for $2.00. She brought it home and Patty immediately said "YES" and pounced on it like she pounces on everything else. And just like a cat, she then stuck her nose in the air and said "No...Not for me." and swung her butt from side to side as she strutted away.

My sister said then her 100lb. Boxer came into the room and seemed to say "WHOO HOO, look what they bought me " and squeezed himself into the cat bed and seems to be as happy as a lark.

God gives...God takes.

Sometimes it is hard to tell where the blessings lay (small pun intended.)
Patty prefers a suitcase...Boss is loving his cat bed.
Go Figure!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Trying To Transition

I am trying to get my web site up and running. I feel like I have done pretty well considering it is a whole different concept and I am at a loss many times. I think that once I get the hang of it I will be better off, just frustrating at times and makes me feel downright stupid at others.

I have finally learned how to add pages, I want my kids to have their own page and my sister to have another. I want to incorporate recipes and things that I am passionate about.

My brother in law is still living with us...obviously trying to drive me to divorce court. I love him dearly, but the visit has worn out its welcome and I tend to stay in my bedroom until I have to go into work.It is okay when I have to work a morning shift, but staying in my room til after 2 in the afternoon is a little ridiculous.

I will give it one more week and then I will put my foot down.

I am being a downright bitch when I am at home...but what else can I do? My husband has been out of work for eight months, we are drowning in debt and I have a fifty year old man sleeping on my sofa in the livivng room , using my computer all day long and lining up with my kids for a plate at dinner time.

If I can get this web site up and running with the things I think I can do, it may be our salvation.

The tension in my home is so thick you would need a chain saw to cut through.

I am trying to take the high road, but my map seems to be running out and I don't know where the next turn is.

Please check out my new site and let me know if you think it is okay. I had 6,000 hits a month on this blog...if I can transition that to my web site it will be wonderful.

I have so many ideas for it that it is crazy.

If anyone can make it happen, I think that I can.

Please pray for me and continue to read...

Something good WILL happen, I just have to hang on til then...Hope that I can.

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, November 1, 2009

We'll See How Far I Can Get...

I just created a domain for my new website. It will be

It cost me $13.00 for a year and that is with protection. I thought that was a good deal. It is only $3.50 more than a coke and order of french fries cost me at the Dome yesterday. I am excited about this new venture and think that maybe I can finally do something with my blogging. I hope the web company is legit, it seemed to had better be since I gave them the account number to my debit card. If it isn't, I hope they don't steal all of the $25.00 that is in my account!

I have just been so blessed with so many people that send me emails or send me comments on my blog that I think if I am doing it for myself instead of google I will be better off. I got punished from google for having so much traffic on my site (I thought that would have been a good thing) and if I can create that type of traffic on my own website, that would be so exciting for me.

I have so many ideas going through my, videos, contests and many other things.

I think this may be the best $13.00 I have ever spent.

Next problem is figuring out how to get all of my blogs onto my new website. I guess I need to start copying all of them to a CD...but I have over 400 of them and there MUST be an easier way...any ideas?

Waiting to hear from my peeps!

Til next time...Poppin' Cotton