Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Whew!! What a Day...

Here's a picture of my baby as a new born. I found it on google after entering "Adopted GX75's at birth."

I can't say much about the sterility of the birthing room but in comparison to my own garage it is like a
private room with a view.

Now that I know he was born in 1996 it all makes sense. I am riding a teen ager. They constantly challenge you...always need a new  pair of shoes (or tires.)

Give them a week or so off and they whine like a baby when you try to wake them up for school (or for a quick cut.)

OH..he tried to get out of work today...complaining about a back tire being low (he probably let the air out himself.)

I shook the can of fix a flat right in front of his steering wheel and dared him to not have his valve in the six o'clock position that is required on the label of the can.

I pumped his lazy back tire up and screamed into the back yard that looked like a wheat field  after the three inches of rain we have had and never took him out of 5th gear.

There is a method to my madness. I cut blowing all the grass OUT from the house, leaving  cut grass piled up and once I have circled my fire pit in the center of the yard turn around and begin to go back over all the cut grass blowing it finally into the fence at the edge of the yard. That way the dogs aren't running through a pile of loose grass and by the time I go over it again in the opposite direction all the loose grass is blown into the edges by the fence and I am left with a nice trim yard with all the cuttings blown against the fence.

Then I crank up my trusty weed eater ( who is obviously an adult) and cut the crap out of the edges and  "BAM" all the loose grass is spread evenly and my work is done.

Am I insane? "Yes."

Am I smarter than Johnny? "On a good day."

He only has a couple  more cuts til he hibernates for the winter.

He whined and bogged down because the grass was so high but I screamed into his ear (exhaust pipe) and said "You're running like a GIRL."

I think that dig got to him. The yard looks great, I am whooped (don't tell Johnny) and  "All's well that's trimmed well."

After finding out he is a teen (born in 1996) that answers so many questions. Teens are a handful. Teens push you until you push them back.

One more cut and he's done for the year. I went into the garage a few minutes ago and patted his tail pipe. I don't want to  him to go to sleep without knowing his Mama loves him.

It's like  teens...give them too much freedom  and they take advantage of you...ride their ass daily and they know what you expect from them and know what to deliver to survive and continue to be a reciprocate of your love and support.

Not too sure what this says about me as a mother...but my kids all know how much I love Johnny and if he helps me reign my kids in and keep them on their toes...Heck, I'll push the yard...Mr. "Slow Lee's"  too.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Ties That Bind

It took me all day today to recover from my weekend...from funnel cakes to working two doubles to a memorial service squeezed in between shifts.

Cooked some food for the kids when they came home from school. A young Latino dishwasher from my restaurant stopped by to use our computer for a school project and I fed him as well. It was only yellow rice and beans but my young friend Noe,  said that was part of his culture and dug right in.

I took Massey to guard practice before heading to work. Another server and I split a party of 22 businessmen. Before our party arrived I was delighted to see four sisters that I have known all my life come through the front door of the restaurant to have dinner with me.

The second picture above is a picture of these four girl's mother. Below it is a picture of my own mother. Our mother's lived together right after high school and remained life long friends. Unfortunately neither of them lived as long as we would have liked... but we all grew up together in the East Point Christian Church family and I spent many weekends at their house and the sister closest to me in age even went on our family vacation with us one summer.

They could best be described as "The Lennon Sisters." (See first photo above) All with incredibly God given talent of the most amazing singing abilities I was always jealous of. I'd croak along with them by the piano in their basement and they are the ones that taught me how to sing in harmony.

 "Out of The Ivory Palaces" was one of our all time faves...not to mention "The Wonderful Grace of Jesus." At least with four of them singing so loud and right on key made my croaking alto barely noticeable (at least that's what I led myself to believe.)

Over the years we have kept in touch in different ways. One of the sister's has a teen in a high school that plays my kid's high school in football and I see her at ball games. Two other sisters used to come eat with me at my old restaurant (you know, the CRAPPY one) and believe it or not told me they haven't been back to that restaurant since they fired me . Talk about support, these girls know how to give it!

The youngest daughter was a wee one when we were all growing up together...I bet she wasn't older than eight or nine when we were all singing in the basement of their house or going to antique car shows with their parents.

Flash forward to today.

We are all middle aged women now (sorry Donna, I know you're the youngest but we are draggin' you into middle age with us.)  Our mother's are still friends with each other , I am sure of it... only now they are upstairs behind the Pearly Gates with so many other of our loved ones.

We  had a blast talking and chatting between me waiting on the 22 top and  reminiscing with them. They read my blog and wanted me to tell them which servers were what cartoon characters/ famous celebrities (previous blog ya gotta read.)

They mentioned my blog which meant "BINGO" you get a free dessert. They recognized at least four characters while they were sitting there and I told them I wished I could get Anna,  the Latino dishwasher to come out of the back so they could meet Charro the "Coochy -Coochy" girl from Laugh In and the old Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

I was in the kitchen talking to the owner AKA "Dr. Evil/ Mr. Magoo" and said that my friends had really enjoyed their dinner and had also enjoyed picking out who was who in my little  Cartoon/Famous people blog. I told him I wished I could get Anna the dishwasher to come out front to meet them since they all were old enough to know who "Charro" was.

He immediately hollered over the line to the dish pit area and said quite loudly "ANNA...GO SAY HELLO TO TABLE 302!"

Anna doesn't speak much English but she knows enough that when the owner says "Table 302" just go there. She immediately dropped what she was doing and hurried out of the kitchen, with her immaculate eye shadow , blood red lip stick and  baseball cap with rhinestones.

She followed me to my table and I introduced her to my friends. Let me say right now that she is one hard working woman, and we are lucky to have her. But when the owner says "GO GO GO" we do just that.

I really think that she felt good being singled out to meet the guests. She works so hard and washing dishes is oftentimes such a thankless job.

I absolutely "LOVE" Anna. If I come into work and forget to say hello to her she will do this little routine of "Hello, Killy..how are you? I am fine Anna, how are YOU?"

I enjoyed waiting on "The Lennon Sisters" and once again was reminded how 'The ties that bind' are often the most precious.

This four sweet girls left me a  150% tip.

I tried to decline (only once.)

Why I am so blessed is often an amazement to me... humility escaped me over a year ago and has been replaced by total gratitude.

Now my cell phones won't be cut off tomorrow.

My mother would be mortified that cell phones are a priority of mine. In today's times they have become a necessity. In my youth when your parents couldn't get in touch with you  and you came home late your Dad would get his belt out and use it until you heard the ringing in your ears. That was a ring tone you could never miss hearing.

It's been a long year but it has been a year of  realizing  that what you get is what you give. What you receive is what you need to pay forward and every gift is just that.."A Gift."

I am a lucky, lucky woman.

The 100 year anniversary of East Point Christian Church is this coming Sunday. I am lucky to have had the church and the church family to make me into the person I am. I have faltered, I have wandered but I always have had the convictions  of what is right and wrong. I have come to know the Lord even closer over the past year. If not for Him, my family would have been lost in the shuffle of a terrible economy.

If not for the owner's of my new restaurant, I would be without a job.

I plan on attending the 100th anniversary of EPCC.

Should I sit on the last row of the balcony eating sixlets like I did as a kid or be one of the people sitting up front?

I'm not really an upfront person so maybe I'll split the difference and sit halfway down the sanctuary. I DO know that my Mom and Diddy will be there in spirit along with the "Lennon Sister's" Mother.

Another long week...but that has been my life for a year now. I am still here and thanks to family... God and friends I am still swinging away and keeping it going.

I hope they ask me to come up front and sing "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus." That's my favorite and with the 'Lennon Sister's' as back up I bet I could sound pretty decent.

Til next time...Countin' Blessins' Cotton

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Today is a Gift...That's Why it is called "The Present"

 Went to my cousin's "Circle of Friends" celebration today. There was a memorial service for him after he died suddenly but this was an event for all of his friends from the film industry he had worked with for years and years.

Of course my side kick, Massey went with me and after a harrowing drive of I-85 being shut down in both directions and taking back roads to get back on the interstate we got there...almost two hours late but WE GOT THERE.
 Massey was mesmerized by the film studio. This pic above is a huge jukebox painted on the wall. A door was in the middle of the mural and it killed Massey not to be able to see where the door led.

The next pic is of a huge vault that was built for a movie "The Real McCoy" and I begged Massey to act like she was trying to turn the handle to get in the vault. She dissed my begging but at least let me take her picture next to it.
The celebration was bitter sweet. Such a loss but what a tribute. I saw many friends I haven't seen in years, relatives that I don't see frequently enough and had some kick $%# barbeque. I even ran into people that somehow knew me from my blog.
OMG... (that's Massey/teenspeak)  I have never seen Massey roll her eyes so much in a five minute time frame. One guy came up to me and said he read my blog all the time. He was from Cordele...way down in south Georgia and when I went to introduce Massey, he immediately said he knew who she was. Guess I am reaching the masses with my "Massey" stories!
He said he loved my "John Deere" stories and asked Massey if I was making it all up? She replied "Nope...that's just the way our family is."

There are a lot worse things to be than to be "REAL." I put my family, my life and my feelings out there every time I post and have no regrets.
There was a wonderful display of pictures of my cousin...from early childhood to giving his daughter away at her wedding. There was one framed quote that caught my eye and summed up life totally:

"Yesterday is a memory
Tomorrow is a Promise
Today is a Gift
That is why it's called
The Present."

I feel honored to have been included ...Shad had so many friends that you almost felt like you needed a VIP pass to get in. Tears were shed...God added his own... all day as the rain fell. It hasn't rained in forever, but I think that God paid his own tribute to a wonderful man in his own way, giving us the much needed rain  and a sign from Him that another great human was coming upstairs to join HIS party.
I hope God has a fishing hole. 

Short video below from the slide show...
"Shad...you were one in a million, glad I can say I am related to you."

Till next time...COTTON

Friday, September 24, 2010

Suffering From Carpal Funnel Syndrome

What a day!

Got up at 8Am. Took Zach to school... waited til I actually saw him walk through the doors knowing the cruel authority figures waiting inside would take over  from there and went home to get ready for work. I was scheduled to work a split shift and the guy who had asked for my PM shift had backed out. It was homecoming at Massey's school and I was supposed to help run the funnel cake stand. I dashed off an email to the woman in charge of concessions and told her I couldn't get my shift picked up but would definitely be at the next home game.

I was at work opening the store when the guy who wanted my shift called me back and said he could work after all.

We had a GREAT lunch...I had a party of 10 women and then a party of 16. Made terrific money and decided I would cut my loses on the night shift and go work the ball game. Of course Massey was thrilled. I left the restaurant at 3:50 to dash to the bank to continue my expertise of beating the system. I made my deposit at 3:58 with two minutes to spare. My deposit covered all my checks and I was the proud owner of  86 cents siting in my account waiting on me to spend them. I was pennies away from a $34 NFS charge. I was PUMPED ! I told my co workers when I got back to work to finish my closing work that it's pretty sad when 86 cents makes you incredibly happy. They all agreed with me ...It IS an incredible feeling!!

I called the concessions woman and told her I could make the game if she still needed me.

I got to the ball field an hour before the game and they had four people in the funnel cake stand. Last home game I worked it by myself. Zach came to help me (very begrudgingly) for a short time but for the most part it was a one woman show.

So when they know I can't come they have FOUR people working the stand? When I walked up to the funnel cake tent  they all acted like  "Emeril" had arrived. I swear they looked like they were going to give me a standing ovation. The head of concession's  husband was standing there and said "Kelly ran this whole stand by herself last home game."

So if they know  I am coming...they schedule no one else. If I am NOT coming they have four people there. I am not sure if that is a compliment or the total abuse of a fifty year old woman.

There were so many people at this ball game that you would have thought it was an NFL playoff game.
It was wonderful to have help and it was more wonderful to have others experience the gross job of frying funnel cakes for three hours non stop.

By the third quarter the grease was getting over used to say the least. Some of the funnel cakes came out so heavy with grease that I told the woman behind me  taking the cakes from me while I was pulling them out of the vat "Here's another Imodium needed  funnel cake."

The line was over twenty people deep. Who in the heck waits in a line that long for a plate of sugary crap? Obviously a LOT of people. But we got 4 bucks a pop from each of them.

When I got home my back was aching from leaning over two vats of 4oo degree oil with the batter sometimes dripping down my legs and at other times popping onto my stomach. (You know me, I had my shirt pulled up because it felt like a zillion degrees under that tent.) There's something to be said for weighing under a 100 pounds. Someone came by the tent and asked if we needed a drink and what did we want? One woman said "Only water." I said "A coke please..if I want water I will lick it off of my face."  I was sweating like Mel Gibson at the Apollo.

At least these other people realized what a chore it is to run a funnel cake stand. I can almost assure you that they are all signing up for hot dogs at the next game. The one man that helped me fry all night was sweating more than me when we left the game. I told him we had worked three hours together and I didn't even know his name. He said his name was Ryan...or maybe I heard him say "Fryan."

At least I have carved out my niche with the band..."Funnel Cake Queen."

It's a great band program that Massey is involved with. I try to do my part...I guess I  "FRY" to do my part.

Came home exhausted...I washed everything from the tent and  can go the entire rest of my entire existence on this earth without ever wanting a funnel cake.

When I got home my dogs were overjoyed at my sticky and greased up state. My bulldog licked my legs and shoes for thirty minutes. I included a video of Charlie having  himself a snack. He didn't even have to stand in line or buy a ticket.

The things you do for your kids (and your dogs.)

What is crazier is that I enjoy doing these things for my girl and her band program. I can't count how many times I had to turn around from the fryer when kids would say "HEY Massey's mom...I love you" or "You rock Ms. Cotton."

Nothing rocks MY world more than making a difference...even if it is just at a funnel cake stand.

Thank the Lord next week is an away game!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Big Weekend Coming Up

It is homecoming week at Massey's school. I had to miss the parade today because of work but my sis attended for me.

I have to miss cooking funnel cakes at the game Friday night because of work too...but work is a good word around our house and even Massey understands.

I go to work at 10:30 to work lunch and have to be back at 5:00. I am taking Massey dinner at the school between shifts and giving her a kiss for luck before heading back to work and will pick her up after the game.

I am working all weekend but on Sunday will go to another memorial service for my cousin. He was in the film industry and all his friends are having a BBQ/memorial that I wouldn't miss for anything. I have to work the brunch shift and will leave from work to go to the BBQ and then head back for a dinner shift.

It took me almost a month to figure out how to burn a DVD of his memorial service (one of the most uplifting I have ever attended) and have so far successfully burned eight discs.

I am so glad his kids and family...including friends can have a copy of his wonderful send off that will be a LOT like my own. Full of laughter, tears from the joy of memories and the feeling that you feel light when you leave,  not drowning in sorrow but happy to have known that person.

This month marks the one year anniversary of our "Big Slide" and I can say with all honesty that I finally feel like we will make it. We will be okay. Thanks to prayers ... not only charity but the genuine caring and compassion from so many people I truly feel that we can make it. It will be a long road, but at least I can SEE a road now.

My last load of laundry is drying and my pups are by my feet.

A former co worker of mine is at Egleston with their 18 month old daughter recovering from brain surgery to remove a tumor. Talk about a devastating blow.

My life pales in comparison to having a toddler recovering from brain surgery. Many prayers are going up for this little girl...feel free to add to them. Her name is Sunny Norman, God already knows who she is because he has already worked miracles in her favor. Pray for her parents who are exhausted but grateful and stressed beyond belief.

Going to bed once again counting my blessings. "Count your blessings, name them one by one and you will see what the Lord has done."

I think I need a calculator.
Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Busy Week In Full Swing...

Here's my little "Tinker Bell" in her outfit for character day at the high school. It is homecoming week at ECHS and each day has a different theme. I'll have to admit she threw together a pretty good Tinker Bell costume since I refused to donate any money to the outfit. She borrowed her wings and I am not sure how she managed the cute dress...probably cut up something in my closet that I had been saving for a special occasion.

Zach has been promising to bathe the dogs for over a week and today I finally found his weak spot. I take him to school at 8:50 every morning because he attends the CEC (continuing education center) where he can make up credits and begin to take college courses.

Last night I had another battle of insomnia and the insomnia won. I finally settled into bed at 2:30 and started watching "Cold Mountain." I had read the book and loved it so I gave the movie a shot. By 3:30 I was really into it but when I hit the info button on my TV during a commercial discovered it didn't end until 6AM.  I moaned so loud it woke the boxer spooning me and he looked at me like I was crazy (smart pup.)

I  turned the TV off at 4 and just willed myself to sleep.

I woke up at 9 and thought "Oh crap...Zach!" I jumped up and opened the door to his dungeon, complete with black out curtains and not a sliver of light to be seen. The bed looked empty and I thought he must have caught a ride to school. I shut the door and crawled back into bed. Five minutes later the door to the dungeon opened and Zach was hopping around pulling on some pants and complaining about how his alarm didn't go off.

I am fifty years old and  cannot think of one time that an alarm clock set correctly didn't go off. I guess it happens to teens all the time. It must be some kind of meta physical force that detects a lazy teen who wants to sleep late and without any human involvement obliges automatically.

About this time the phone rang. I screen calls like I am working the phone lines for the White House but it popped up "Coweta County Schools" so I answered. The lady was very nice and said she was just wondering if Zach was sick? I told her HE was making me sick... but  had over slept and  would be there in ten minutes.

On the ride over he knew I was ticked. After my "You are eighteen years old..." speech I told him he needed to come straight home from school and bathe the dogs before he did ANYTHING else.

We got halfway to the CEC when the road sign said "One lane traffic ahead." We were about ten cars back and had to wait on the "Pilot" truck to finally come through, make it's SLOW turn around and lead us on at the amazing pace of 10 MPH.

When I dropped off  Zach, like an idiot I took the same road back home. This time I was the first car in line when the Latino held up his stop sign on a long PVC pipe to tell me to stop and wait on the slug of a truck that would scream back down the road at 10 MPH.

As I sat in the front of the line I was struck by how many times he would look up at his sign to make sure he had the "Stop" side turned the right way. He would look up at it...look back at me...take a drag off his cigarette and look back up at his sign , I guess to see if he had inadvertently spun it around to the wrong side while exhaling.  Cars behind me backed up...made 3/4 turns and went the other way. For Pete's sake! By the time you turn around and go back, take another road and detour... "Pepe" will be looking up to  swing his "STOP" sign around to say "SLOWLY."

When I went into work at 5 , Pepe was still out there with his sign. Granted they were 1/2 a mile further down the road. I would go NUTS having that job. I would be handing out suckers or chatting up the crowd.

I told Zach we were leaving twenty minutes early in the morning for school.

Zach came home from school and bathed all three dogs...bitched the entire time and talked about what a persecuted life he led.

I came home from work tonight to three happy, clean pups and one ticked off 18 year old. Bless his heart, his life is so hard...cursed with an alarm clock that malfunctions on its own and a mother that demands he do something for her at least once a week. I may be convicted for child cruelty next week. At least Bishop Eddie Long seems to be currently in the que in front of me.

 I didn't even get to see the end of "Cold Mountain!"  If I had known Zach would oversleep I would had at least finished watching it. The things we do for our kids!

Homecoming parade tomorrow night in Senoia...big game on Friday (come buy a funnel cake from me) and a memorial for my cousin given by the film industry on Sunday.

My life may seem to be be in the crapper but at least it's never dull. In the crapper AND "dull" would be a terrible life to live.

Keeping the faith.

A former co worker of mine has an 18 month old daughter in the hospital recovering from brain surgery to remove a tumor. THAT my friends, is a hard thing. My life is roses compared to so many others.

Please pray for Sunny Norman... a tot that doesn't even realize or know the concept of hardship or obstacles. She is a baby fighting for her life and doesn't even know it.

Once again I am reminded "I am blessed."

Tomorrow is another day if you are lucky, but always be grateful  God gave you today.

Til next time (hopefully)  COTTON

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Still Spinning...I Think I May Need Need New Tires...

Dang...my little legs are tired of seemingly running no where. I'm not sure why the sign says "final" and not "finish." Hopefully it means I am headed for my last big hurdle!

The last couple of days have been crazy.

Insurance had denied Massey anymore therapy for her knee so when I took her for her sports physical I went to her pediatrician instead of a sports clinic. Her doctor said she definitely needed more therapy for her knee and our only avenue was for her to refer Massey to an Orthopaedic surgeon. It took me forever to get an appointment and the closest one was an hour away in north Atlanta. I left my house at 3:00 for a 5:00 appointment since they wanted us there early to fill out paperwork.

We saw the surgeon at 6:00 and after taking at LEAST six x rays, he determined that what Massey needed was at least six more weeks of therapy for her knee. He wrote out a prescription for six weeks of therapy and told us to come back after that for a follow up.

We left there and went to Children's Health Care Sports Therapy where we were able to immediately sign her up for six more weeks of therapy...twice a week.

Had my insurance approved more therapy they wouldn't have had to pay the Orthopaedic surgeon for his consult or pay for the six x rays, which I am sure were at LEAST $400. THAT...my friends is one of the major problems with this messed up health care system!

But at least she is back in therapy. Had she not been approved for more therapy it would have snowballed into an injury that would cost them tons more money and possibly surgery for Massey.

With my small battle won we scheduled her first therapy for next week and headed back through downtown in sluggish but moving traffic.

We made it back to Newnan by 8:00 and I can't believe I didn't run out of gas. Gas was too expensive in downtown and I assured Massey we could make it back to the Kroger in Newnan to use my ten cents off a gallon. It's hard to drive with both fingers crossed but I did it and thank The Lord we made it.

Her guard practice had been from 5:30 to 8:30 so we drove straight to the high school for her to join in the last twenty minutes of practice. They ALWAYS run at least fifteen minutes over and her guard coach was already put out with me for Massey missing practice for a doctor's appointment. (HELLO???  We weren't out shopping for clothes but shopping for a solution to a knee injury that GUARD had caused.)

She ran and got her flags out of the band room and ran out to join the group. I sat with some parents as her coach belted out orders from the tower in the parking lot. Us parents never listen to him because it is too excruciating to hear the tone he takes with our kids.

Let me say that I have always been a champion of her coach...and he doesn't tend to have many. He can be brutal and often is but I keep telling Massey they don't pay him to coddle but to make them the winners they are.

While I was blocking out his screeching tirade  he had called Massey out over the microphone for not knowing her new drill (one he had taught the guard while we were at the doctor's office.) It humiliated Massey and when practice was over she was in tears and sobbing.

Let me insert here that I am very apprehensive about complaining about anything guard related since they have been so great about our circumstances and have allowed Massey to remain on the team. I realize I am not there all the time...I would LOVE to be. There are some parents that never show up one time the entire year. There are parents who NEVER help. There are parents that only show up at games to sit in the stands and watch their kid perform while I am frying stinkin' funnel cakes out in a field where I can't even HEAR the game much less SEE it.

Yes...a LOT of other mothers help me out with carting Massey to and from practice...and they do it with a full heart and seem to love my girl as their own. But it isn't because I am at home watching "Jersey Shore" or "Oprah." It is because I am trying to keep a roof above our heads. It is because after being in debt for a year takes YEARS to recover from. For twenty years Tim and I were ahead on everything. One bad turn of events (one that was out of our control) has set us back five years.

Unfortunately our kids are all old enough to know what our situation is. Sometimes it is a blessing but more often than not it is an embarrassment to me ... I hate that my kids have to suffer from it and that I have to accept help from so many. Don't get me wrong...I am so grateful for the help that I have received that I will never be able to pay it all back in my own life time but will have to impress on my kids how important it is to help others and hope I leave a legacy of children that know where they came from...where they sank to and how blessed they were to be raised up again by love compassion and caring.

I wanted to go up and bitch slap Massey's coach for hurting her and humiliating her.  Instead I told Massey not to worry. I told her no one but the guard heard his rant...us parents had tuned him out long ago. I told her it was nothing the guard didn't hear on a daily basis and to let it roll off her back like water on a duck's back. The tears she was pouring out were ill spent. The emotion she was feeling was unwaranted. She is a good guard girl. She may not be the best but she most certainly isn't the worst.

She actually seems to have a gift for it...if not a gift "A Heart" for it.

I hate that I have to have my kids on WellCare. I hate that I have to use food stamps. I hate that I have had to accept so much charity from others...but without it,  I HATE to think of where my family would be.

I had to work tonight...usually my off day but I had to take yesterday off for her Ortho appointment. They had an exhibition at the high school and I thought I could be off by maybe 8:45 to see ECHS perform. Didn't work out. I had to close and my last table sat down at 9:10. Twenty minutes before we closed. They didn't leave until 11:00. Even the Mexicans in the kitchen beat me out.

As usual, lucky for me another guard mom took Massey home...Zach came home on time and they both had three big dogs guarding them til I got home at 11:45.

I keep telling myself it will get better...and it actually has.

I am just here to tell you that never before in my fifty years have I ever experienced twelve months like I have just been through. Thank The Lord it is my first time and hopefully my last.

I wish my kids were still little and oblivious...instead they are teens and obstinate and unfortunately aware. I guess that COULD work in their favor and teach them early  what  family is all about and what love and compassion are about.

I'll be honest...I am tired.

As long as I can write and as long as I can LOOK at the words I write and think "That's EXACTLY how I feel" it will one day be a memory I am glad I recorded and a feeling that will never be forgotten.

One day when I am finally published and recognized for my wonderful writing abilities...I will take all my readers and followers to Australia and then buy them all their own plane to take them back to the mansion I had built for them while on their vacation. "Take THAT Oprah..."

Til next time....COTTON

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"HEY...I Resemble That Remark ! "

"Uh oh"
Talk about having a bad day at the office...how would you like to be THIS anchorman? I found this picture while scrolling mindlessly through friend's pictures on Facebook. I laughed for five minutes!

I got home from work around 9:00 and sat down at the computer . Sometimes Facebook is so entertaining.

Number One: It definitely needs a spell check button.
Number Two: Why some people post the  things they do never cease to amaze me.
Number Three: Thank the Lord for the "Hide" key.

I enjoy Facebooking. Sometimes I enjoy other's pages more than my own. I am not big on people that get on political or religious rants. As far as politics go...the voting booth is where you should express your opinions. As far as religion...your heart and actions are the places that show your beliefs.

It is called "Social Networking" for a reason. It's supposed to be social. I think some people feel it is a platform that sometimes unfortunately  doesn't show them in their best light.

Massey uses FB to click "I Like" on at least thirty items a day. She is a BIG "I Liker."

I am not sure what Zach uses FB for... but with him the less I know, the better. Of course I have figured out how to sneak around the system and bounce from my friends to friends that ARE friends with him and keep an eye on him that way...The less HE knows, the better!

Sometimes I wonder why I get friend requests from people I don't know. I mean we  have friends in common but that's about it.

Another big thing is all the games. Farmville, Mafia Wars etc. My house is already like a farm with three big dogs, a John Deere in the garage and two teens that live like pigs...."Baby, I am LIVIVG in Farmville !"

I am off tomorrow and have to take Massey to an orthopedic surgeon about her bum knee. Hopefully he will give us an answer . I know her knee hurts her and from the number of knee braces being worn by other guard girls seems to be a symptom of this type of sport. Nothing like driving into downtown Atlanta at 4:30 in the afternoon...except maybe driving back through at 6:00. It was the only appointment we could get so I'll just have to deal with the traffic and give myself plenty of time to get there.

Maybe I can get the surgeon to tell her cleaning a bedroom is the best therapy her knee could get. All that bending over to pick up clothes, bobby pins and empty water bottles...that could be quite a work out!

I have added a couple of "Widgets" to my blog. Now you can check out specials and offers from Amazon from the comfort of my own blog site! They follow my blog and tailor the ads to things I write about.
We'll see how it goes. If things are bought I actually could make some money..."HMM." I guess I'd better be careful what I blog about!!

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tim..."You're FIRED."

For Pete's sake...how hard is it to hold a camera for less than ten minutes and record my daughter performing in a half time show? Obviously extremely hard and undo able for my husband.

He didn't want to go to begin with. He worked last night and instead of coming home and going to sleep this morning he stayed up all day watching college football. I took Massey to practice at 9AM this morning and picked her up at 1PM. Well, it was SUPPOSED to be over at 1PM but by 1:30 I was idling out of gas in the parking lot and pretty ticked off. If they say practice is from 9 to 1...it SHOULD be. They had a ballgame tonight and had to be back at the school by 5.

Her coach decided the guard needed to back at the school by 3:30 for another run through which meant when I picked her up well after 1:30, she had two hours to eat, shower, do her little fancy bun thing with her hair and be back at the school for the run through for the Oscars show. No , wait a minute...it wasn't the Oscars but a halftime show.

I know that their guard is good because they practice like crazy and have "Little Napoleon" (I think that is called an oxymoron) pushing them insanely...but today WAS insane. It was over 90 degrees and these kids were whipped before the show, game or even before the buses pulled up to take them to LaGrange.

I took Massey to eat lunch. Even though we're broke she needed some pampering so we split lunch at Panera and I enjoyed letting HER wind down and ME catch up with all her drama, complaining and venting.

Went home to let her shower and change and Tim said he just didn't feel like going to the game.

"I am tired...I worked all night and haven't been to bed."

I told him the Bulldogs didn't have him under contract...they were losing anyway and quit enforcing my belief that UGA fans are sore losers. (Except my friend, Denise... but of course she's a woman...DUH."

I told Tim that "I" was tired too. I don't work a manual labor job like he does...but I work a full time job and take care of the house... laundry...cooking... dogs...carting kids around, yard and even manage to squeeze in yelling at everybody when they need it.

I felt like using my new favorite line I just learned "Shut the FRONT DOOR!"

HOLY MOLEY...believe it or not, it WORKED!

He told Massey he would go to her game...it made Massey happy beyond belief and made me re consider my decision to never have sex with him again.

I asked him to take my cam corder and record the half time show.

I got home from work to discover there wasn't ONE sheet of toilet paper in the house and after blowing my nose into a wash cloth and throwing it into the laundry hamper went to Kroger to buy some. I had cut grass all day between taking Massey to and from the school and was clogged up like a stove pipe with no vent.

When I got home from 'Krogering' Tim and Massey were home and Massey immediately said "Dad is a terrible videographer."

I downloaded his camera action and hollered upstairs to Massey (I am an EXCELLENT holler er) "He got maybe twenty seconds if I count slow."

But at least he went. At least he represented. At least he was in the stands.

Men just aren't programed like women are. Women seem to want to do it all, men seem to want to just get by without being dogged out by their wife.

So I have no record of the halftime show... but Massey has the recollection that her Daddy came to see her. Tim represented. I hate to give him credit... but dang it I have to!

Raising kids is incredibly hard...especially if you do it right. I hope that I am doing it right.

I am proud of Tim for going. I can even forgive him for his shoddy filming abilities. All kid's want is to be loved, whether they admit it or not.

I love my husband for going the extra mile. It wasn't me going, it wasn't the video I wanted but it was a labor of love and the" intent" was there...."An aim or a purpose."

Dang... I wish someone had told me how much work it is to raise kids and husbands at the same time.

Totally kidding (kinda)

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, September 17, 2010

The "Waiter" In Me...Literally

I have waited seventeen years to see my son, Zach smile this big again. I will have to wait until I (hopefully) walk through the pearly gates to see my Diddy smile this big again.

This is my favorite photo of Zachary with his Grandpa. It was taken at a surprise party for his retirement at Johnny's Pizza where I worked.
It was a time when Zach was too little to speak...much less complain about the corrupt and vile system he has to mainstream into to survive..."HIGH SCHOOL."
It was a time when my Diddy had finally somewhat overcome the sudden loss of our mother and could look in his grand son's face and truly laugh with happiness.
Nine years ago this week the twin towers fell. Eight years ago this week... my heart fell.
Eight years ago I pushed tubes, wires and monitors to the side and laid down next to a man that will always be my hero and lucky for me also happened to be my "Diddy." One stinking mosquito bite took him from all of us but sent him quickly on to his much deserved reward.
I haven't been hit with such a hard blow since I saw my mother die just as unexpectly when I was 17 years old.
To lose a parent is awful...to lose a tremendous and wonderful parent is even worse.
I am told things happen for a reason.
I believe now the reason both of my parent's were taken too early was to urge me on. They gave up their life so I would realize the value of my life...the urgency and the reason FOR life.
I have a wonderful husband, three great kids (overall) and a life worth living.
I have learned what waiting is. " Waiting Game"... is described in Webster's as "The stratagem of deferring action and allowing the passage of time to work in one's favor."
I come from sturdy stock. I come from two parent's that were not only incredible, but who incredibly taught me how to survive.
I have often wondered in the past year how we would survive. I have wondered how we could make it. I have wondered IF we could make it.
I know now, looking over the past year how fortunate I am ...how blessed I am and how downright "LUCKY" I am.
I've made many mistakes and will most probably make many more. But I have two wonderful parents sitting upstairs cheering me on and a host of family and friends down here... too many to name, that have helped us through and never asked for recognition or reward. They love me and my family. They have taken over where my parent's left off and have filled my life with a spirit and a feeling of love that will never be forgotten.
I am "WAITING." I am waiting to pay back all of these people...family, friends and people that I don't even know. Without their help and without their love I wouldn't be sitting here typing on my computer. I would be under the bridge at Turner Field trying to shove a mattress under the upper most pillars. I would be standing in line at a soup kitchen. I would be standing by the highway exit holding a sign.
But I was lucky enough to be born Frank and Ann Leach's daughter. I was raised to respect people and to always have compassion for others. I just didn't know that one day I would have to accept compassion from others as an adult.
I think in many ways this last year has been the greatest year of my life. I have not only learned humility but learned how to accept help and more than all of this...how to feel not only grateful but learned the urgency of "Paying it Forward."
I keep telling Tim that we will laugh about this difficult year one day...but I don't think that is true now. I think that this last year will serve as a reminder.
Where you come from often determines where you will go.
Be grateful for what you have. If you come from a great home you are lucky. If you aren't from a great home, know that you are the person in charge of your life and with God's help amazing things can and WILL happen.
I miss my Mother and Father every day. I used to think I got screwed with losing them both so soon. Now I know they both did me a service beyond belief...made me into a strong woman and made me realize the power of not only prayer but perseverance.
The towers fell and it was devastating. What struck me even more was losing my last parent . When Diddy died it was like the second tower crumbling to the ground.
From destruction and chaos comes a calm when you believe. You build your life with your own building blocks. I was lucky to have two great engineers. If you don't have help, never be ashamed to ask for it. "Ask and ye shall receive."
One LUCKY Cotton and one really lucky LEACH...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Did They Have to Say "For Better or Worse?"

Today is my twentieth wedding anniversary. I just got home from work and passed Tim on the street as he was leaving for work. I flashed my lights at him in Morse code "Happy Anniversary " or maybe it was "S.O.S."

This first picture is how Tim looked when I first met him and began shoving him down the path of life...Thank the Lord he met me! He was newly divorced and recovering from having lost all his money to his ex.

I gave up my comfy one bedroom apartment that cost me $220 a month with all utilities included and moved in with him to try and help him keep his house...Now "OUR" house. I took my Rottweiler, Layla and started keeping cleaning and setting up house.

When I met Tim his son was only two and after two years Tim and I finally got married.

We wed at his parent's house in a nice outdoor wedding that I planned and with help from his parent's did the entire rehearsal dinner and reception myself.

Then we flew off to San Francisco for a week in the California sun. I had never been out west and it was the trip of a life time for me. We flew into Frisco and spent two days. Stayed one night in Sausalito and drove up to Sacramento to visit his mother I had never met. Tim's dad remarried when Tim was young and I had only met the step mom.

Meeting Tim's birth mom was a hoot. She is the total opposite of his step mom. An artist who after going through a terrible divorce moved to the west coast and started collecting dogs and cats to replace the six children she had to leave behind.

We all drove up to Tahoe and gambled for a day. We had to pull his mom off the Blackjack tables more than once...she is like me, always waiting for that BIG win.

Tim and I continued onto Sonoma for a couple of wonderful days in the wine country and traveled back down the Pacific Coast highway to fly out of Los Angeles...a pretty nasty city if you ain't rich (and we weren't.)

Back home to our first house and where I began my love of yard work. We had a Peach tree and an Apple tree in the front yard. They were building new houses around the corner from us and as they dug up the earth I went and loaded truck bed after truck bed of huge rocks to line the rose bushes in front of our house.

Then after a trip to Jamaica with some friends...Zach was planted in my belly. Tim was working for a bakery. He left the house at 3AM...I got home from working at Johnny's Pizza around 11Pm and our rotating life began. It always worked out great...Tim worked days and I worked nights. We rarely ever needed a sitter and he was a great caretaker. Then Massey came along and we continued our sharing of taking care of the kids. His son TJ (who I will always consider my oldest child) stayed with us on weekends and when we made the move to Newnan when Massey was one...he moved in with us full time shortly after.

After getting up at two AM got old Tim got a job with a freight company and started a long stretch in logistics.

By this time I had landed a job with Longhorn and also got a job as a lunch lady at the kid's elementary school (their lunchroom may never recover from my stint.)

For seven years I worked for the school Mon-Fri and for Longhorn Fri Sat Sun. The school job didn't pay squat but I was there with the kids and it was the best elementary school in the county. After seven years as room mom, PTA volunteer and eventually after school program assistant co ordinator , I threw in the towel when a nice new middle school was built that my kids were in the district for.

I went back to waiting tables full time and my salary tripled. Tim moved up to transportation manager and considering our meager beginnings...we were doing pretty darn well. We were closer to six figures between us than we had ever been and I thought we were pretty darn lucky. (Note to self...never THINK you are lucky.)

I don't know if it was the axe that fell or the economy...maybe a little of both.

After twenty two years it all came crashing down seemingly quicker than the blink of an eye.

After a year of total disaster and finding out how extremely important family and friends are...we are still here.

After twenty two years together, we are broker than we have ever been.

We are also more aware of what God can do, what loving family can provide and how truly wonderful friends can be.

Webster's describes it best. Life... "The physical, mental, and spiritual experiences that constitute existence."

"A particular segment of one's life."

"Human existence, relationships, or activity in general : real life."

I have had fifty years on this earth...the last twenty two have been with Tim.

The last year has been the worst of them all.

But to have a twenty one year run of "Good Times" certainly shouldn't overshadow twelve months of bad times.

I don't tell him enough...I use my 'angry face' WAY too often (that should just be used with my kids) and hope that he knows if I could do it all over again...I wouldn't do it with anyone else.

Tim has put up with my bossy, sassy 'GO GO GO' attitude for over twenty years and it has turned out to be just the mix that works for us.

I also looked up the word 'Love' in Webster's and found the true meaning of what Tim and I share... "A deep , tender feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship or a sense of oneness."

I don't tell him enough, I don't show him enough...but I think he knows it. It is what true love means. It isn't a word spoken but a feeling and a promise.

"For richer or poorer...until death do us part."

One bad year doesn't make a marriage...getting through it and moving ahead does.

I love you Tim... and love even more that you love me.

Let's just hope that the next twenty are easier, and if they aren't...so be it.

You're stuck with me and I couldn't imagine any other person I would want to grow old with. We have three good kids. They have all had their ups and downs...

But who hasn't?

Til next time...COTTON

PS You GOTTA click on these photos...even I was amazed at how we have changed. Just click on a photo to see us in our "Glory Days."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just When You Start To Resent Teens, They "Represent"

Massey had two of the guard girls spend the night Saturday. By the time I got home from work the living room was a wreck and three girls were having a blast. I brought them home a pizza from work (we got some GOOD pizza) and it was gone in thirty seconds. They were on the Wii...with a dance party game. I hadn't heard MC Hammer since the eighties but they were all about some "Don't touch this" and I was instructed to sit and watch. They had already taped themselves on my cam corder (video below) and as I watched it I realized Massey knew how to center herself in a frame quite well, giving semi generous glimpses of her friend with a cast on her arm trying her best to keep up.

They went to bed at a decent hour and all got up to go to church with Tim while I got ready for work.

I am blessed to have a girl who is sweet...sloppy but friendly. Messy but will throw on a cute outfit in a heartbeat to go to church with her Dad. As filled with drama as she is with love and has the biggest heart I have ever been witness to in a young woman.

Fast forward to Tuesday..my day off. I worked in the yard til I picked her up from school. She went with me to kite my check at EMC and we scooted by the grocery store to pick up some milk and bologna to make sandwiches before guard practice.

It was in the upper eighties when practice started. I dropped her off and went home to make myself somewhat presentable and went back to the school to chaperone practice. I was sweating just sitting in a chair. When you attend a guard practice, four words stick in your brain "FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT."

Every step and every movement is set to counting off the drill. They don't rely on the music, they rely on their ability to know their drill and count it off.

Over and over again they went through their work and it made me realize once again why they are so good.

The last video is of them in the waning hours of sunlight...still pounding the pavement still counting "FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT" and taking more heat from Teddy (their coach) than probably any of them take from their own mother.

HEY! If you wanna be champions don't expect to be babied or coddled. Expect to be pushed and then pushed some more.

It is a lesson I have learned recently..."To Succeed, you gotta Proceed."

It felt good to take a few hours off and spend them with the guard.

Enjoy the videos...and guess what??

Tomorrow is my 20th wedding anniversary. Although Tim says it feels like 50, it has only been 20. We have been together 22 years, married for 20 and struggled for one. I think that's a pretty good record...

You just wait....Blog to follow!

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, September 13, 2010

What Time Zone Am I Living In?

I seem to be living in the "Black Hole" time zone.
When I work a lot I tend to stay up way too late and sleep way too late as well. I get up to take Zach to school and come back home. I piddle around the house, eat and take a late morning nap.
I have always been a night owl and just enjoy the solitude of a quiet house with no sounds except the snoring of three dogs arranged around my feet. It's when I catch up on the laundry, do the dishes that have been left in the sink that no one claims to have left and do my blogging. If they could invent a silent vacuum cleaner I would REALLY have something going.
I have a full day tomorrow (today) planned. I have let the island in my front yard grow ridiculously out of control and my bushes seem to be over taking the front of my house.
I am cutting it ALL back tomorrow...my front yard and bushes will make my hair cut look like Crystal Gayle's.
I have the day off so I will work in the yard all day and have volunteered to chaperone at Massey's guard practice tomorrow night from 5:30 to 8:30. That means I sit out in the parking lot and in the gym making sure Teddy (their coach) doesn't kill one of the guard with his always gruelling workouts and demands.
Thank the Lord for crock pots! I have my roast thawing in the sink and will throw it in before I go out front to cut back the jungle I have let take over my front yard.
I added some widgets to my blog...had no idea what "Widgets" were until a dear friend of mine (who is super smart...A Tech Grad) told me to add them to my blog. It's kinda like shopping from my blog page. They (Amazon) read my blog and add things readers may be interested in, pertaining to what I write about and if things are purchased I get a cut.
Sounded good to me... and if I can make $300 by tomorrow afternoon the check I am taking to EMC for our power bill might just clear!
I'm not really counting on that but you know me...I wait until after four to take the check, scratch over the electronic account numbers on my check with a spoon so that it doesn't go through automatically but gets kicked back and has to be processed manually ( my mother in law taught me THAT trick) and then hope that Oprah comes in to eat dinner with her posse at my restaurant , asks for my table and leaves me a tip bigger than her hair do.
HEY! It could happen...
You gotta stay positive.
At least my yard will look good, at least Massey will be happy I am at practice with her and at least dinner will be done when we finally get home at 9:00.
Maybe when Massey and I pull in the drive, Ed McMahon will be standing there with a fist full of balloons and a huge cardboard check..."HEY..It COULD Happen."
I am going to paint my nails and shave my legs...and watch me some Soaps and go to bed. Great therapy for a woman...nothing makes me feel better than fancy looking toe nails when I am slinging a weed eater around.
Off til Wednesday so I will post pics of my trimmed down yard tomorrow.
Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Barely" is a Beautiful Word...and One I Live By Lately

I had to work another double shift today, not one of my favorite things to do but "Ya do what ya gotsta do."

Opening day of the stinkin' NFL didn't help one bit.

Brunch was slow...I guess the preachers kept their congregations extra long knowing most may not show back up for the evening service...Blame The Dallas Cowboys.

I pride myself on my check kiting skills but got a little nervous when I went back for my dinner shift and things looked dismal.
I have a check hitting the bank tomorrow that I needed to cover and I even said a little prayer as I sat in the empty lobby of the restaurant. I had three good tables that all left me well over 20% and then it died.
I went in the restroom so no one would see me on my knees as I sent up one more quick desperate prayer.
Bingo!! Twenty minutes before we closed a party of 11 came in. They had just left the funeral home and came to drown their sorrows...and drown them they did! Scotch, two bottles of wine, frozen drinks and they all re ordered at LEAST twice. They were all with their 97 year old Aunt and her 98 year old husband who had just come from putting her 102 year old sister to her final rest. Dang..I need me some of THEM genes! The aunt was sharp as a tack and seriously didn't look older than 70.
I went from despair to making my deposit with $13 to spare. To many people I would seem ridiculously broke..to me if I have $13 bucks to spare I feel like making it my Facebook status and would feel proud to hit the "Publish" button.
Tim and I have both agreed...if we have made it this far we can make it!
Wednesday is our anniversary. We've been together for 22 years although Tim says it feels like fifty.
Our kids drive us (me) crazy but I love all three of them a little more than I love my three dogs so they must be doing SOMETHING right.
My life has been a hard up and down ride, I feel like I am driving through life in a Dune Buggy with no windshield or shocks.
My eighteen year old is trying to kill me with his cell phone that never works when he is late or expected to call. How come a parent's cell phone always works fine but when you are a teen you constantly lose service or the battery dies?
I can't wait for that call from him "Collect" when he needs to reach me. I have already thought of my options. "Hello, I can't hear you...wait you're breaking up, we have a bad connection...I'm losing the signal, hope it isn't important...call me back!"
Of course that is all bologna...I have never ignored one of my kids in trouble. It is too much fun to give them that "I told you so" face and wait patiently for an apology or at least a hug.
Sometimes a hug from a teen can be the greatest feeling in the world. My kids have kept me grounded...kept me in touch with the times (when their phone works) and make me determined to get back on top or at least back in the black.
Got my deposit slip all filled out for tomorrow...I may even go INSIDE to make this deposit just to see the surprised look on the teller's faces when I leave with an actual positive balance.
It's called determination, it's called a willingness to survive...it's called being the greatest check kiter on the Southside of Atlanta.
I don't argue with any of those descriptions and I am not shamed to be any of them.
Life is hard for ALL people these days , even ones that HAVEN'T been out of work for a year. Life is tough for everyone and I just feel blessed to be one of the people that is making it...day by day, check by check and one that at least has a great job and a path that will lead me back to the place I once was and " To Infinity and Beyond."
Johnny and I have a date in the morning...he thinks I have been cheating on him because I haven't ridden him in a while...stupid men (unless my Johnny is really a Johnnie) ....if that's the case no wonder she works so hard..."I am woman hear me roar." Thank God I am a Liberal...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remember 9/11...EVERY Day, Not Just On 9/11

I remember when the first plane hit.

I was getting ready to go into work for my "Lunch Lady " gig at my younger two kid's elementary school.
I was watching the Today Show and was stunned.

I was sure it was a plane out of control ...maybe the pilot had suffered a heart attack.
My first instinct was to call my sister who was a flight attendant. When she said "Hello" it was the sweetest single word I ever heard.
As we started talking...we were both watching the television . When the second plane struck, my heart dropped and I can honestly say it was one of the most sickening feelings I have ever had, and I have had endured some strong blows in my life.
I finished getting ready for work and loaded up my small TV to take to the lunch room with me. When I arrived at the school all the older women I worked with looked frantic for news and I plugged my small TV into the wall and we all watched as the Pentagon was hit and the plane crashed in Pennsylvania.
It was the longest day I could remember in a while.
Now I knew how my parents felt during Pearl Harbor or when the Cuban missile crisis occurred. It is a feeling of reality and uncertainty all crashing together. It's a feeling that nothing will ever be the same.
And it wasn't ... never will be.
It was and still is a tragedy. So many innocent lives lost and so many more lost trying to save the survivors.
The nation came together quickly and collectively. No time for Dems or Repubs...We were Americans and responded accordingly.
The hate of Muslims was quick to spread.
The problem that began is the immediate hate of ALL Muslims.
Not two weeks after 9/11 the vacant house next door to me had a moving van out front and a family of Muslims moved in. The wife who was pregnant wore a burqa, not covering her face but her head and they moved in with their young daughter and two little boys. The girl was Douha, the older son was Amir and the younger son was Wadah.
I was more nervous than I let my conscience believe.
I have always been a Liberal...used to be a Dem but am now so sick of both parties that I am a "Cotton" with her own ideas of what is right.
When on my riding mower one day I picked up a piece of paper that had blown against their fence. They didn't have a riding mower so I cut their yard for them (sound familiar?) It was a map of all the security entrances to Hartsfield airport and marked where a security pass was needed.
Needless to say I was beyond freaked and called my sister. She was concerned as well since she was flying only international flights and we discussed what to do. She was leaving on a flight to Ireland that night and I was struggling with calling the FBI or the newly created Homeland security.
When my husband got home from work I told him about the dastardly plot we had discovered.
He took one look at the piece of paper and said "Kelly, that blew out of MY truck." He was working for a freight company that did a lot of overseas freight and it had been left in his company truck by one of the couriers that drove it during the daytime...picking up documents and taking them to Customs.
PANIC...PARANOIA... not a good thing.
My neighbors never knew that I thought they were involved in anything sinister, but I felt ashamed every time she sent one of her kids over with a delicious dish or a dessert she made for me for cutting her grass.
I remember the first time I realized 'kids are kids' no matter what the religion, belief or upbringing. I went over to return a dish and Massey was over playing with Douha. They had an ornate clock on the mantle that chimed when it was time to pray (five times a day.)
As the clock began to chime...Massey , who was all excited about learning about their culture shouted out "Time to Pray!!"
Douha immediately shouted back over the chimes "I don't have to pray until I'm seven!"
They were wonderful neighbors, they were disgusted with what happened on 9/11 but I am also sure they were pre judged every where they went in our small town.
The hate needs to stop. There are crazies every where. There are crazy Liberals there are crazy right wingers. There are crazy blacks and there are crazy whites. There is crazy in every race, religion and faction of life.
It's the "Crazies" we need to fear... and not assign "Crazy" to one group or religion. Trust me, there is PLENTY of crazy to go around and "That my friends is the REAL problem."
Of course this is only MY opinion...but thankfully it is MY BLOG!
Let's learn to love, let's learn to work together and for Pete's sake realize that all the infighting and the back biting doesn't serve anyone...except the self serving politicians that are more worried about their paychecks than they are about us as the Americans that have somehow been duped into letting them be in control of our lives...Maybe I should run for office?!
It was a tough one, but "Heart Felt' ...COTTON

Friday, September 10, 2010

Another Day..."That's a Good Thing"

Click on the photo... So it would only be ONE more dog...I would KILL to have her legs (and her pool.)

Went into work at 11:30 AM and got off after 9:00 PM. Spent at least two hours trying to get in touch with Zach. He is supposed to work tomorrow at 8:30 AM for the owner of my restaurant doing some heavy duty cleaning. Of course to my boy...any cleaning will be "Heavy Duty."

You supply your teens with cell phones so you can stay in constant contact. Unfortunately that "Constant" part is up to them.

"My phone died." "I turned the ringer off by mistake." "I don't know what's wrong with my phone."

I bet if he got arrested or needed money his phone would work just fine. I never want that to happen but wish I was as strong as my parents, who would say "Hello...I can't hear you, the line is breaking up...Hello?"

Fortunately for me he ambled in well before midnight and said he was headed to bed . Of course it's me that worked a double shift today that has to get up and have him at work by 8:30. After all he IS 18 and if you think I am turning him loose in MY car (read the post about his driving quiz) you're dumber than my bull dog, who is close to making Gomer Pyle look like a rocket scientist.

When you have teens you have to take the good with the bad...give them credit (even small credit) When they surprise you with being somewhat responsible.

Massey is generally smarter than my boys...always calling me "Mommy" and telling me when my butch haircut looks good on a particular day (usually on a day that she wants something.)

But I AM female, and that "pumpin' up" works for this beaten down fifty year old woman.

One day my two sons will be married and realize how much influence the words of any female can carry...especially when directed at them.

I was just happy to be able to lock the doors shortly after midnight and know that all my chicks were safely in the nest.

I think I need to start a blog totally about my kids because they sometimes seem destined to be the cause of my unanticipated early demise.

I will continue to love them and be really nice to them because they mean so much to me ... more pointedly "What if I live to be 100?" They will be in charge of picking out my nursing home .

I want a nursing home that only has one floor...makes for an easier escape.

I don't want a stinkin' walker with tennis balls attached to the front legs...I want a "Rascal!"

No wait a minute...maybe it's a "Hoveround" I want. And I want me one of those built in tubs that I just walk into. Tim will have to get his own. By that point , if we live that long..."He's own his own anyway, grateful we are on separate wings of the home." At least Massey called me "Mommy."

She'll probably even give me a "Jitterbug" for Mother's Day...I hope that she doesn't call block me.

I hope that the kids give Tim a "Life Alert" for Father's Day so I can beep him over to my hall to help me get on "Johnny" to give the home that well trimmed look I want to stare at out my first floor window.

All written in jest...but as I have already reached the half century mark and my teens have made me feel like it is the centennial mark...you have to look ahead...even if it's a short peek into what your life may eventually turn into...I want to have my say while I can I still can.

I've already instructed Massey "If I get real bad off...don't remove the pillow til my little legs quit kicking."

I truly think my last coherent words will be "Massey...CLEAN YOUR ROOM."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Teens" The Ultimate Lesson in Patience and Prayer

Click on the poster above...I LOVE IT !

If this wasn't written for all three of my kids it SHOULD have been.

I guess on the big scale I did okay with my teens. Just don't check the scale on my blood pressure.

My oldest only had a couple of screw ups as a teen...most of his came in his early twenties but at least with a little "Tough Love" he seems to be doing okay.

Zach felt like raising four teen agers at once. He is my "Sybil" teen ager. One year he was one way...the next he was the complete opposite and the next year seemed to be yet another totally different person. I am hoping we have gotten all the bad "Voices/Vices" out of the way and he has seen the err of his ways. At least the Liberty Spikes phase has seemed to have run its course (Oh I wish I still had a picture of THAT hair do.)

Massey got lucky. She makes good grades and stays out of trouble...not even ONE police related incident with her so I tend to spoil her. At least I KNOW I spoil her and can hold that over her head when I really have to make a point.

What seems ironic is that I also have three dogs...two males and one female.

The female is DEFINITELY Massey. Rosie never gives me any trouble and tends to be favored over the two males.

My oldest son TJ is most certainly my male boxer, Ham. He is a proud dog...just "Looks" proud. TJ's pride has always been his best and worst feature/flaw.

Zach is Charlie to a tee...doesn't listen and thinks he is always right, even when he is getting his butt kicked.

I guess that it why I love them all so much. I have an eclectic bunch of dogs/kids.

Never a dull moment... that I can say with conviction. I never know when they are going to screw up or when I am going to have to step in and break up a fight. I will have to say the dog fights scare me more than the kid fights. At least if I start crying the kid's usually stop...the dogs couldn't care less.

TJ has left the nest...with a not so gentle boost out of the tree. Zach is 18 and his gentle boosting is in the not so distant future. Hopefully his wings are getting stronger as my patience get weaker and he will fly out into the world to do the amazing things he is incredibly capable of (if the stinkin' corrupt and oppressive power hungry system doesn't get in his way.)

Massey has three more years for her delicate little butterfly wings to learn how to flap in the winds of the real world or either meet a REALLY rich man who can easily afford a live in maid.

It's hard to believe in a couple of short years all three of my kids will be grown (and hopefully flying on their own.)

It has been an adventure. It has been 22 years of non stop activity, pleasure and sometimes torture. I wouldn't trade these years for anything. It has been a learning and eye opening experience, probably more so for me than them at times.

All the while Tim has been sitting by as referee and mediator. Unlike me, he is one to never over react or freak out. He is a quiet man... of course that's what you are considered to be when you marry a woman like me.

He has always been a wonderful provider and that it why this last year has been especially hard for him. But luckily (or not) he has ME to shove him down the path of life and after over 22 years of shoving it's a wonder he isn't a stooped over man who is terrified out of his wits when he feels someone put a hand on his shoulder.

Our Cotton plantation has seen good crops and not so good crops. We have had many bountiful years and only had to deal with that nasty boll weevil of economics the last year of our marriage. I'd say if you have a good 22 year run in the cotton fields, you can withstand one bad year.

By this time next year the cotton will be poppin' again.

All in all we have raised three kids and three dogs...and they are all still alive. Not a bad record in my book.

Til next time...hoping to be poppin' COTTON again soon.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Get Rich Quick...Count Your Blessings"

I just didn't feel good today. I just couldn't get myself motivated to do anything. That isn't usual for me and it actually felt strange.

Our mortgage company is still dragging it's feet with us, two bills were due today and we only had money to pay one. I flipped a coin and sent Tim off with a check that won't be good til Thursday. I told him to drive slow.

I am WAY beyond worrying...I don't need ANY more wrinkles or gray hair. I am pretty sure the check won't clear til Thursday and have honed my kiting skills to a professional level over the past year.

I just kinda had the blues....but it seemed more of a 'blackish' feeling.

The first productive thing I did all day was go pick up Massey from school. It always makes me feel good to be with her and by the time we got back home I immediately felt better.

I had to turn around in a hour and take her back to the school for practice. When I dropped her off...I suddenly lost my warm and fuzzy feeling.

I love my boys...but when boys reach a certain age they love you more if you leave them alone unless THEY need something. They let you know they love you...sometimes in bizarre ways but at least they let you know.

With my 'warm fuzzy' at practice I went back home and laid down on the couch in the den and watched the news. Before I knew it, it was 7:30. I had to pick Massey up from practice at 8:30 and still had dinner to cook.

Zach hadn't even come home after school so I called his cell to see if he would be home in time to go get Massey for me so I could finish dinner. He said he was at his friend, Kevin's house and had just woke from a nap and didn't think he would be home in time...(WHATEVER!)

When he hadn't called me back by 8:15 I turned the peas down on the stove, left the meatloaf in the oven and turned down the pot of boiling water waiting for the fresh corn on the cob to be put in and went to the school.

At 8:40 while sitting in the parking lot waiting for Massey to get out of her 8:30 practice...I got a text from Zach saying that he and Kevin were picking Massey up and I could thank Kevin when they dropped her off at the house. Another "WHATEVER" moment.

I text back that I was sitting at the school as he and Kevin drove up and parked next to me. Zach got out of Kevin's car all puffed up with attitude "She's not even out here yet." I told him I realized that as I had been sitting in my car for fifteen minutes waiting for her but she was supposed to get out at 8:30 and I needed to be there in case she DID.

He drove off in a huff and even though he had attempted to help me it would have been nice to TELL ME HE WAS .

Then comes a call from Massey...She had forgotten it was her week to straighten up the guard room and couldn't leave until everyone else did.

My meatloaf should have come out of the oven ten minutes ago and my peas were probably out of water and setting the kitchen on fire as I called her back.

I told her I HAD to go back home and turn the stove off and would come BACK and pick her up.

Halfway home she called and said Megan's dad would give her a ride.

Got home and Tim woke up for work and said "When's dinner?' I wanted to beat him to death with an ear of corn out of the boiling pot of water, but just said "It's ready."

THEN I get a text from Massey saying she was going to spirit night at Brewster's with Megan and since they were giving her a ride she felt she couldn't say no.

Here comes my third "WHATEVER."

Zach was still with Kevin, Massey was at Brewster's and Tim was fixing a plate.

I decided that I would do something for someone ELSE.

A co worker of mine (the bull dog in a china shop) ...(previous post) had finally managed to move out of the gross Motel Six and had rented an apartment with another woman that was within walking distance of the restaurant.

I had told her I two twin mattresses she could stack on top of each other so she would at least have a bed to sleep on. I called her cell and said I thought I could squeeze one of them in my Passat if I laid the back seats down. She was so excited I almost asked her if she wanted to move in with us.

Instead I crammed the mattress in my car and drove to her new apartment. I got there and there was a security gate... I didn't know what to do, didn't even know her last name but as the gate swung open for someone to leave I just swerved to the left and went in the OUT gate."

She was sitting outside waiting on me and I dragged the mattress out of the trunk. Of COURSE she lived on the second floor but I picked up the front as she struggled with the back end. She said "You're a strong little #@$&." We made it up the flight of steps and her new room mate opened the door. An African American woman who seemed a bit older than me. They had met in the rental office when trying to rent an apartment. Neither of them could afford one on their own so they decided to rent together.

As I was introduced to her I asked her how she was and her reply was "Blessed."

That struck me in the chest even harder than the mattress did as I was hauling it up the stairs practically on my own (my bull dog friend isn't as strong as this little #@$&.)

The apartment was clean and freshly painted. As I hauled the mattress the last few feet to the bed room I noticed they did not have ONE stick of furniture. I had told her as we were hauling up the mattress that I would bring the other one over tomorrow.

I got in my car to leave...made it to the gate and called her back. I told her "Why don't I go home and load up the other mattress and bring it back tonight?"

I thought she was excited the FIRST time...

I went back home and put half of the meatloaf in Tupperware and the peas as well. I dug out some forks and knives and some paper plates. I got a roll of paper towels and threw them in the car. Massey was home by then and loaded the second mattress. I loaded up a folding table I had in the garage...like a camping table, but could stand in for a dining room table once I went and got a nice linen table cloth out of my closet. I wondered if they had a microwave so I threw in a little pot and a cooking spoon. Massey threw in two bath towels and two wash cloths.

My 'warm fuzzy' was coming back.

I drove back (scooted through the OUT gate again) and forgot which apartment she lived in. I went to the wrong door twice dragging my camping table with me and finally called her cell. I was one building off but when I got there you would have thought they were six years old and I was a big fat white guy with a red suit with fur cuffs.

I had even managed to squeeze in four milk crates that Massey had used stacked four square on their sides as shelves or cubby holes.

Two women, down on their luck...trying to survive. Not ONE piece of furniture to their name but a roof over their head , a bath to bathe in and rooms to sleep in.

As I left I heard my co worker telling her new room mate as she shut the door "She even cooked us dinner."

I left feeling ashamed of myself for feeling bad about my own family's troubles. I drove home feeling better about finally remembering how important it is to CONSTANTLY pay it forward.

My day had sucked until I helped someone else. Then it suddenly turned my world around and made me realize how very lucky I really am.

I have kids that drive me crazy. I have to pick and choose which bills to pay. But I have a house and a husband to help me keep it. I have family and friends that have seen me through.

The small insignificant gesture that I made was the thing that not only made these two women's day...but made mine.

Sometimes it takes other people's troubles to remind you how truly blessed you are.

I am the one that needs to send THEM a thank you note.

Life is full of lessons...you just need to be willing to learn them. I did that today and feel blessed for the lesson and for the reminder that there is ALWAYS someone less fortunate than you.

Til next time...COTTON