Monday, February 28, 2011

Car Tag the COTTON Way...It Still Counts !

It seems that someone spotted me getting my car tag today!

Every year I wait til the last minute and always seem to have some excuse ...this year was no different (well maybe a little.)
Let's start from the beginning. Last June, Massey and I were headed for a weekend getaway at friend's house in Destin. I scraped enough together to get a set of tires on my car and borrowed my brother's gas card for the trip...everything else was paid for, my friends were taking care of us...just like they always do.
We got five miles from Newnan and my check engine light came on immediately followed by a noise I had never heard my car make, followed by the "STOP ENGINE" light. Not a good sign.
We putzed back to the mechanic who had put on my tires and asked if he would take a look at my car. After putting on a set of points and plugs he told me I still had an "O2 sensor" out but we should make the trip just fine. He let me post date a check for two weeks and off we went.
He was right, we made it just fine and had a great trip.
The check engine light remained on but I just kept on going...remembering the "just fine" part .
Fast forward to Zach changing the oil in my car when in financial desperation and then my "STOP ENGINE OIL PRESSURE LOW" light coming on.
This was a light I had never seen come on before and after Zach telling me twenty times he had put the right size filter on...I discovered he had put on a filter that was for a VW pick up ( haven't been made since the eighties) and I drive a 2001 Passat.
My nephew came over and changed my oil, putting on the right filter and pointing out that I had a broken hose connection.''"Hose-Schmose" my car was running and that was all I needed.
My brother in law told me to go by Auto**** and let them plug into my computer and tell me what was wrong.
Number one: the guys at Auto**** act like they are ALL mechanics when in fact they are cashiers.
Number two: they are all very nice and a few of them DO know about cars...but what am I supposed to do, memorized THEIR work schedule and only go by the days THEY are working?
I went my by trusty mechanic(bestest car worker-on-er EVER)...dang I've been hanging around Massey too long... and he looked at my car and said the "Cashiers" were wrong I couldn't buy the hose connection at their store for $5 like they told me. He told me to go by the VW dealership and buy the part and he would put it on for me.
By this point it was the last week of February. My tag had expired on Tim's birthday, Feb12. I knew I was already driving on an expired tag but as long as I didn't get pulled over I felt "Cotton Confident."
My big problem was getting my car to pass emissions. I knew it would never pass with the check engine light on so I was taking baby steps to correct the smallest problems I could.
My husband stopped on the way home from work the next morning at the VW dealership and picked up the $5 part the "Cashiers" had told me to was $40.
I went to my mechanic and his shop was full of people sitting reading papers and texting. There were at least ten people waiting. I walked in with the part in my hand and he immediately went out into the work bay and told a guy to "Put this part on for Mrs. Cotton."
Five minutes later "The guy" called me out into the bay and said "I put it on but you have one busted on the other side of the engine too."
He showed me what it should look like and I said I would get one the next day. I asked the owner how much I owed him and he said "Nothing...go get the other one and bring it back."
Tim came home the NEXT day with the NEXT part and as soon as I got off from my lunch shift I went back (to the nicest mechanic in the WORLD.)
I walked in and again the room was full of paper reading, texting, snoozing people. I sat for maybe five minutes before the guy who had replaced the other part came into the lobby and held out his hand for the part...then said "Where's your key?'
While a "REAL" mechanic put on my missing hose connection I asked the owner how much it cost to replace an O2 sensor? He said "more than this."
I immediately let it go but told him I would check back with him on it.
Five more minutes went by and all the same people were all sitting in their same chairs all reading the same newspapers when the owner said "You're ready, Mrs. Cotton."
I asked him how much I owed him and he said "Fifty cents" not loud enough for anyone to even look up from their paper.
I gave him a $10 bill and told him to give it to the guy that had replaced both parts.
The owner knows me from the Western Sizzler I used to work for and knows what we have been through.
He knew I was 3 days from driving on an expired tag and helped me all he could. I told him as soon as I got some money together I would come back to have the o2 sensor replaced...that was keeping my "Check Engine" light on.
I got back into my car and looked at the "Check Engine" light!
I screamed into the nearest emissions place like I was late for one of Massey's shows and pulled worries!" I felt like pounding on the horn to let them know I was a busy person and they were lucky to have me drive through!
It was a young couple running it and had their dog tied up by the drive through. I got out of my car and left it running, scared if I turned it off the check engine light would come back on. As I petted, played with and let the dog sniff my every body part I noticed the guy running the test kept looking back and forth from my car to the computer.
He finally asked if I had recently had work done on my car? I said "Yeah, I had two vacuum hoses replaced." He said my mechanic (my new hero) had seemingly reset my computer and I had to drive 60 miles before he could test it.
I went home and told Tim after he drove my car to work that night and drove it home again ( a round trip of 90 miles) to go back and have the car re tested at the same place.
Tim got home the next morning and called me to say the car had passed emissions. WOO HOO!!
I was at regional competition with Massey... and between Prelims and Finals went home to get the car. I got in it and cranked it up. The first light I usually notice is "Please Refuel" followed by "Check Engine."
Thanks to my brother who has loved me so past the point any relative should have to (and his gas card)...the only light on was "Check Engine." Who cares?
Guess what... I got my car to pass emissions and could now get my tag! "Touch ME...I GOT it...Who Bad? ME Bad! Going to the courthouse!! Marrying a little sticker called 2012 for a VW Passat!"
Actually Tim tried to go this morning so I could sleep late having to work a double shift. He came home in time for me to take our only running/semi legal vehicle to work, saying the line was too long.
I ain't the only idiot...they all show up the last day of the month with their reasons and all their excuses. I SHOULD know all these people by now, but I guess we are timid procrastinators...
Who wants to be reminded of their failures?
I went after my lunch shift....around two.
NOTE TO PROCRASTINATORS: Go at 2PM...not before and not after.
The people with"real" jobs have given up and returned to corporate America by 1:45 stopping by Starbucks for a quick fix. The rest will wake up early and be there by 2:30 if there isn't a long line at McDonald's.
When I got in line there were five people in front of me. When I left the EXIT door giggling with delight, there were 30 people behind me and more flooding in every second. I left in five minutes with my brand new tag.
Another bullet dodged...learning to "Snake Life" (Thanks Scott and Dee) and knowing that as long as I keep on keeping on my life will keep on being blessed.
This last weekend made it ALL worthwhile...I was tired to begin with and more tired at the end.
The middle was AMAZING.
I met friends that love Massey as their own...What greater friends can you have? I met people that welcomed me and made me feel comfortable enough to do my "Routine" in front of and laughed along with me.
Came home with a current tag today..."Hooty Hoot!"
Spent a weekend with some great people and some great teens...that's a pretty good weekend.
It feels like work at the time but feels like a blessing the minute you get home and open your door.
If you have a door in your life you probably also have a window to look out and see all your opportunities when you feel the door close behind you.
I have a life so blessed, so full of family and friends that it gives me "Night Sweats" beyond "Night Sweats."
At least I have the window...
Life is getting better every day...
Moving in the right direction and starting to "In-Joy" life.
Til next time..."Cruising Cotton."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Most "IN-JOY"able Day

The sweetest bunch of Drama Queens you'll ever meet...The ECHS Guard. They can exasperate you to no end but pull it together when it counts and make it worth every tear...They are an awesome bunch of teens. The pic to the left is them saying The Lord's Prayer before a performance. I absolutely LOVE this picture!

I spent a lot of time with them at band camp this summer and made a lot of new friends..and a lot of those new friends have been so wonderful to Massey, which makes them "Wonderful" to me!

I'm finally beginning to feel like I fit in. I miss a lot of things because of work, but have spent more time this year with the Guard than ever before...and have thoroughly
"In-Joyed" every second.

The name of their show this season is "In-Joy." It's about when life was simpler and sweeter. The music is Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" and it is one awesome show.

Today was Atlanta Regional...a huge competition at a high school in a neighboring county.

I worked the past fourteen days with only one day off so I could spend the day helping with the props at Regional.

Their tarp is painted like a Monet least that's what it resembles to me and is beautifully done.

We have less than three minutes to assemble and place four huge swing sets made of two by fours, braces and huge steel pins and set up five sliding boards after unrolling the tarp and clear the floor to keep from getting penalized.

I was very nervous about helping...the other parents (and two teens) have been practicing for weeks setting it all up and taking it all down while timing the entire process.

This morning was the first time I have even touched one of the swing sets or seen how they were assembled.

I had to have Massey at the school by 6:30 this morning and came back home to shower and get back there before 8:00.

When I went into the gym the guys were rebuilding one of the swings that had broken apart during a run through (while Massey and another girl were swinging on it.)

Drama...always a factor!

They threw up the fixed swing in no time and were painting it as the Guard loaded the bus to head to Regional.

I was nervous for the Guards performance but more nervous about stepping in as Props help having never done it before.

The guy who built the swings and sliding boards walked me through how they went up, how to put the pins in and where to place them on the this time I had thrown up a little bit in my mouth twice and was sweating like Mel Gibson at the Apollo.
The swings are bulky and the slides are heavy...and I had never touched one of them until we loaded them in the trailer, much less tried to assemble them in under 3 minutes in front of a gym full of people that thought I knew what I was doing and were most likely looking at the ninety pound weakling trying to carry a ninety pound swing across a gym floor and set it up properly so that one of our kid's wouldn't get maimed or the entire thing collapse (my biggest worry.)
I just listened to them and moved left when they said left and moved right when they said right...Or did they mean I was right about moving left?
My heart was pumping full volume and I was shaking when I sat down to watch them perform.
Oops...six minutes later we had to move the "Play ground" off the tarp as quickly as we moved it on.
By this point I was a total nervous wreck. I think I like the competitions better that I go to when I scream into the parking lot on two wheels with one minute to least I get to sit down and watch and can get my heart rate back to normal while in a sitting position knowing I don't have to get up again unless I want to.
Not the case today! After prelims we of course :) made finals... and headed back to ECHS for lunch and more practice.
You know you are tired when you can fall asleep on a hard plastic bleacher in a high school gym, and I did just that while they practiced....I've been informed pictures were taken of me sawing logs but it was the best thirty minute nap I have had in a while.
Woke up somewhat refreshed and we headed back for Finals.
When we got there I was all "Are we doing it the same way, do I carry out the same swing, does it face this way or that and who's gonna tell me when to go?"
Before we left the prop room they came up and handed me two steel pins to go in either side of the swing set.
I began to panic again and said "I don't think I was a pin-pusher-in er" this morning, who should I give these to?
They informed me that I indeed WAS a "Pin-pusher-in er" that morning and was obviously expected to do it again.
More bile rose in my throat, somehow getting past the pounding in my teeny weeny chest .
No time to panic..."WE'RE ON...Let's move!"
I scrambled under the set and weaved and snaked ...I worked that swing set around the poles and somehow got it into place with three other people dragging my 90 some odd pounds quickly through the process.
I ran back to the bleachers to see those kids give a performance that almost took what little breath I had left away!
They had huge smiles on their faces and in Guard speak "HIT IT." The crowd loved it and my heart melted to hear the response the show got.
No time to was time to run out on the tarp and carry off what seemed like a "Home Edition Extreme Makeover" off the floor in two minutes.
After we loaded the props back on the trailer I went back in to sit with Massey's best friend and her Mom. No less than four people stopped me to comment on our show.
I went to concessions to get a coke and three more people spoke to me about the extravagance and showmanship of our Guards show.
I wanted to say "I was the skinny one dry heaving beside the swing set on the far left."
It was great to finally feel like "One of the Guard."
I have bruises on both my hands and my legs got beaten to death when I "Snaked" the wrong way coming off the tarp...but I DID IT!
No penalties for taking too long setting up or taking down and hands down we were a "Crowd Favorite."
I worked fourteen days to "In-Joy" one day with some of the most amazing people I have ever been blessed to know.
It ended up to be fun...we had a million laughs and saw our kids give a priceless performance.
Life should always be this good.
At least today I started to earn my wings, spent the day with my daughter and learned what a "Pin- pusher- in er" is... It's ME when I can take time to "In-Joy" what my girl loves.
I am beginning to love it too!!
Til next time "Cotton with a Cause"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are You Listening Or Even Paying Attention?

I took my VW to have the broken hose fixed today only to discover one was broken on the other side of the engine as well.

Seems to me if MY mechanic noticed the second broken hose...the mechanic at the VW dealership would have noticed it when we purchased the first one . It was the size of a cork and cost $40. The second hose has a small nipple on it which will certainly cost at least $20 know how expensive nipples are!

At least I am halfway to having my car fixed and twice as far along as I was yesterday! Gotta keep thinking positive thoughts.

Took Massey some dinner by the high school where she had 9 AM to 9 PM practice....sometimes I wonder if she is training for the Olympics?

Headed to work and my first table almost put me over the edge. They were nice enough, actually VERY nice people but with the current pressure I am under and the fact that I am fifty, menopausal and sweat like Mel Gibson at The Apollo after a cup of coffee doesn't help my patience.

It was a table of four . I took the first person's order and when I asked what type dressing they wanted on their salad they asked what kind we had? I say the dressings in the same order every time..."Italian vinaigrette, Balsamic vinaigrette, Lemon Basil, Mediterranean, Bleu cheese, Ranch and for fifty cents more a Caesar salad."

I took the next person's order and when I asked what type dressing they wanted they said "What do you have?"

I said sweetly "Italian vinaigrette, Balsamic vinaigrette, Lemon basil, Mediterranean, Bleu cheese, Ranch and for fifty cents more a Caesar salad.

Guess what happened with the third person to order? I kid you not...

When the fourth person ordered and asked me the same question, I wanted to scream at them "ITALIAN , BALSAMIC, MEDITERRANEAN, LEMON BASIL, BLEU CHEESE, RANCH AND FOR FIFTY CENTS MORE A CAESAR SALAD...ARE YA DEAF OR JUST STUPID??"

I took a deep breath, felt sweat trickling down between my "A" cup bra and reminded myself this was my job...leading sheep and herding them in the right direction. Their destination was to have a wonderful meal and I was the "Go To" person for that to happen. They came to me for a great meal and I made it happen. Most people think waiting table's is a cake walk and it is if you are slacker.

I consider it my profession...BIG DIFFERENCE.

This profession has been good to me and I truly think I am good at it. It's just like any other job, sometimes you get fed up and want to scream.

That is when professionalism comes into play. I wanted to say "Did you not realize I gave you a menu with EVERYTHING in black and white to lead you through your order or did you think the hostess gave you the menu to fan me with to keep my sweat stains to a minimum?"

At least my life is on the rebound and I can take dummies with a grain of salt and still make them love me before they leave my table.

Getting my second hose (with the nipple) tomorrow and hopefully my "Check Engine" light will go off so I can get an Emissions sticker before March. My tag expired on my husband's birthday, February 12 (which I forgot...therefore forgetting my tag was expiring).

I guess I'm good to go until March... at least I hope so.

It doesn't really matter to me (but it really does.)

I discovered that I am extremely proficient and have learned to work, bend and make things happen.

In other words..."I am a Wife and Mother and have no greater love or focus than being JUST that! "

I think I'll be okay..." I gots the BIG Guy in my corner!"

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just My Take On Things...

From the look on my face in this photo, I knew just how tough life was gonna be!
It's crazy, this picture is one of my earliest memories. I remember my Mother made that little bow she clipped in my hair...of course she made EVERYTHING.
Now I am fifty (even crazier) and wish I had listened to my parents when I was young. All I heard then was that muted trumpet sound adults have in a Charlie Brown Special..."WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH."
Let's get started on my latest gripe...Printers.
Who owns the rights to ink cartridges that go in your printer...Saudi Arabia? Why does a cartridge the size of Tic Tacs cost $34.99?
I got duped by someone I used to work with when she came up to me one day at work and said "You gotta go buy this printer they have at Target."
Granted it was only $25 and came with ink cartridges. Since buying it I have realized that the cartridges they so graciously give you are about half full. When my black ink ran out I decided to let the color run out too and only purchase a black cartridge so I could print documents etc.
Got home and Massey installed the cartridge for me so I wouldn't have to strap on my binoculars to read the instructions.
Whadda you printer that was such a fantastic bargain has to have the color cartridge too to print in black ink.
Next thing I know they will tell me I have to use unleaded ink only. What a rip off.
Not to mention with my old printer I could take the empty cartridges and have them refilled at Office Max for $10.
Can I do this with my new printer? That would be a big fat NO.
Somebody tell me how a tiny cartridge of ink can cost $34. Somebody, somewhere is laughing all the way to the Ink Bank.
When you have high school or even elementary school kid's you HAVE to have a working printer. Maybe the school system should look into buying stock in printer ink.
Next on my list is people buying lottery tickets at the gas station. If you are hooked on playing the lottery you should have your game plan down by the time the clerk says "What can I do for you?" Don't hem haw around saying "Umm, give me two of those and three of not that one but the one beside it." It kills me when I am running late for work or running late to pick up one of the kids and I scream into the gas station to pump $5 only to stand in line behind some idiot plotting out his future, one scratch off at a time.
That's why I like stations that have the lines "Lottery Only." I have nothing against the lottery but I hate being held hostage by people with obviously more spare time than me.
Moving on...How many Holidays do banks need? I didn't even think about Monday being President's Day. I mean I did when I went into work that morning knowing we would have a good lunch because it was a holiday. Then I got off and had a two hour break. I picked Massey up and we went to run errands. She was driving so I was already distracted. I told her to pull into the bank drive through and was busy endorsing my catering paycheck. When I had every thing filled out I glanced up to see their notice about being closed. I thought "'re closed, but you're still running my checks through."
Luckily I have finally realized you can't beat the banking system...but still believe it is an evil institution.
I am beginning to believe that banks, printers and cell phone providers are our biggest enemies.
When the above photo was taken of me...I think I knew then what the future held. My face seems to say "You mean MY kids will have cell phones?"
How did I grow up in the "Flintstone'" era and end up way past the "Jetstones?"
How did I grow up in a house with one land line phone and one TV set?
How did my mother raise us without cell phones...and why didn't walkie talkies know what they had going? They could have cashed in big.
We are so spoiled in life it is pitiful. I am as guilty as anyone and embarrassed by how technology and continuing advances are tossing us all into this "Cyber" world.
If you stop to think about it, it is scary...especially if you are MY age.
Til next time "Cyber Cotton"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Charlie Needs a Good Therapist

The first picture is our idiot Bulldog with his fat head stuck through a hole he chewed through the privacy fence so he could get a better view of the world he is terrified of. He worked on the hole for a good two days before he got the space big enough to wedge his fat head through. I ended up having to stick a metal pole in the ground just to keep the idiot in the yard.

Not that he goes anywhere when he gets out of the back yard. He escapes from the back yard and runs around to the front of the house and sits by the front door looking through the window for someone to let him back in. He's not the sharpest tool in the shed.

I was at work today when one of the other server's asked me where I took my dogs to be groomed? I told her I took them out in our driveway and turned on the hose. She has just recently gotten a dog .

Then she asked me where I got their nails clipped and I told her usually in the garage. I told her I had an extra pair of clippers I would give her.

The owner was in his office listening to us and leaned back out of the office and said "You're an old school dog person like me , Kelly. Just feed them and love them til they die."

Heck, I haven't even taken my dogs to have shots in over two years...they're lucky they get fed. I don't mean to sound heartless...I used to faithfully take my dogs once a year for checkups and shots. When it came time to HAVE to choose between their shots or my kid's , my kid's won the coin toss. Of course the dog's vaccination's would have been cheaper, but I'd rather be considered a crappy dog owner than a crappy Mom.

My female Boxer who is over 10 years old (pretty old for a Boxer) can barely walk anymore. She has horrible hip dysplasia and does okay on the carpet in the house or out in the yard but when she hits the linoleum kitchen floor her back legs go weak as water and in two different directions. In lieu of surgery I just keep a beach towel going from the linoleum to the carpet so she can get to the back door. It kills me to see her struggle but she is still happy and eating. Once in the yard she can still even run after Charlie like no body's bid- ness.
I was out back today with the three stooges between my shifts and noticed that Rosie is getting worse, even stumbling around in the yard now. It breaks my heart to see her struggle but she doesn't seem to be in pain, just losing her ability to walk. I need to start thinking about what is best for her, but even having a dog put to sleep is out of my price range right now.

I know people that have put their dogs through Chemo or spent thousands of dollars on surgery to keep them just a short time more. I don't have that option.
Charlie is deaf as a post but a dummy anyway, it has grown to be part of his charm. Ham is healthy as an ox and almost as big as one. Rosie is totally the "Alpha" dog and both the Male's demure to her.

I'll give it a month...or should I say I'll give myself a month longer with her.
We got Rosie when the kids were young and she has grown up with all three of my children. She is as much a part of our family as any of us.

I can remember when she was a young pup, chasing Zach across the backyard pulling his shorts down as he tried to scramble up on the wooden fort out back. I gotta find that pic.

We will just love her until it hurts her too much. Then it will kill a part of me to have to say goodbye to her. She grew up with all three of my children and IS one of my kids.

I love looking at these pics of her as a rambunctious young pup...and that is the way I will remember her.
"Pics of our sweet "Rosie."

"Only the good die young."

She is only a decade into our lives but will be a part of our family memories forever.

She may get better but I don't think so. She has had a good run and for a Boxer ten years is close to the cut off.

Guess it's getting time to lose my first pup in a long while.

The kid's know it is coming but it won't be easy for any of us. She went through two years of Zach trying out Kindergarten... pulling his pants down as he tried valiantly to jump on the wooden fort out back before she snagged his britches (He never won THAT race.)
She lived In my oldest son's bedroom for her first year until she fell through the crack of his cheap "Futon" I bought him at Big Lots (you get what you pay for.)
She has watched all three of my kids grow up and loved all three of them...unconditionally.
We love her the same..."Unconditionally."
I "Ain't got no money" to save her or even try!
It reminds me of when Massey was about four years old. We gave her a doctor's kit for Christmas and she played with it as I lay prone on the couch (like a good victim.) I tried to act realistic when asking "Oh Doctor, will I live?" She quickly responded "Yes..You will live with your family."
Rosie has lived with her family and her family has loved her.
The time is getting close and I am putting off the inevitable.
At least I still have all these pictures and will remember her as the kid that gave me the "Least amount of needed therapy or problems."
Til next time..."Counting Down the Days and Waiting on the Tears Cotton."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

If We Didn't Laugh We Would All Go Insane

Got home from work last night around 11Pm. Did laundry and blogged til almost 3AM. Got up this morning and went in at noon and got home a little after 10:30PM.

My job isn't always easy...but it is always easy to laugh at work and that makes it easier to do day after day. I was at my old job for over 13 years and found it easy to laugh for about the first 11 years. The last two years, not so much.

It's a bad sign when you cry more than you laugh ... that should have been my first warning. I should have jumped ship before they so coldheartedly pushed me overboard without a life jacket.

Lucky for me I am a strong swimmer. I did the "Dead Man's Float" for a while and then "Dog Paddled" over to my new restaurant. It took a while and after being thrown MANY life preserver's have begun to feel buoyant again.

The new place I work can be insane, but it is a comforting insane. We have a good time and are a pretty close knit family. Of course every family has a crazy Aunt Edna or a whacked out Uncle Earl but that's what makes a family unique and interesting.

Let me just say we have a VERY interesting family at work.

I work usually work nine or ten shifts a week. What makes it easier is that I laugh every chance I get and Earl and Edna give me plenty of material to work with. Sometimes Earl and Edna are fellow employees, sometimes they are the customers but when you work in a restaurant there is always plenty to laugh at.

Jimmy Buffet said it best "If we didn't laugh we would all go insane."

I swear I laughed so much today that I had actual tears in my eyes a couple of times. I worked the day shift with Hoke and that's always a hoot. We are a lot alike in the respect that "You gotta laugh...getting bent outta shape doesn't solve anything and usually works against you."

We have a really sweet new server that just started. She has gotten her butt handed to her several times when we were balls to the walls busy but she just keeps on chugging along. She has a heavy French accent and when she first started I called her "Pepe LePew" (I don't know many French names.) I didn't like that name because Pepe was a male so I tried to remember the name of the female cat Pepe chased, thinking she was a skunk.

Barb helped me out after shaking her head in disgust at me for calling the new girl "Pepe" and said "I believe it was Petunia."

See...I get everybody on board with me! I don't even have to ask, they just like being on "The Cotton Culinary Comedy Cruise" and I don't blame's pretty stinkin' funny (no Pepe Le Pew pun intended...or maybe just a little bit.)

It's so nice to be in a place that I enjoy working and a place that seems to enjoy me working there.

I think I am a hard worker at least I try to be. Believe me, if I wasn't...they would have told me to shut up a LONG time ago.

The new guy (Uncle Earl) is hanging in there and beginning to see the big picture..."It ain't all about's about the team, we all look good together or we all look bad together."

Bless his heart he's young and I can still remember being young like that, but our restaurant ain't no Olive Garden and it's a lot of work given the extensive menu and wine list we offer...but that's what puts us ahead of the game.

The dryer just beeped...signaling that my blogging time is over and my maid service has resumed.

Headed back Monday morning for another double shift (performance) and another two show performance on Tuesday. I am cramming in the shifts so I can be off for Massey's competition this upcoming weekend.

It feels so good to be laughing again.

"If we didn't laugh we would all go insane."

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Somebody Stop This Ride and Let Me Off...

I just HAD to use this picture...I laughed so hard when I saw it and can identify with it completely. Working in the service industry can lead ANYONE to drink!

Tonight was one of those nights.

Number one I was ticked before I even went to work when none of my work shirts were clean.

My eighteen year old son had a load of his clothes in the dryer and another load sitting wet in the washer. I appreciate the fact that he does his own laundry (sorta) but for Pete's sake finish what you start!

I had one shirt out in the car that I had talked the owner's wife into giving me. It was a small and all my shirts are extra small. She told me it was too big for me and I balked.

I'm tired of being considered "Extra small" and consider it "Pound Discrimination."

I told Barb I had gained ten pounds since I had started working for them and the shirt would fit me just fine. It would probably help if I had bigger boobs but seeing as I'm already fifty... I don't see that happening.

I planned on using the shirt as a clutch hitter but had to call it to the plate today. I was mad that Zach had my laundry room held hostage and sprayed the new shirt down with starch and ironed it. It looked kinda big but I attributed it to being brand new.

I went into work wearing my potato sack and even the 18 year old hostess said it looked "Kinda big and floppy."

It is meant to be worn un tucked but after Barb saw me in it we decided to go the "Tucked" route.

Then the cartoon began...

When it gets REALLY busy at a restaurant it is total insanity...We like to call it "Controlled Chaos" but sometimes you lose the "Control" part for a span of time that in actuality is only an hour but feels like ten.

I have been at this store for almost a year and feel pretty confident most every shift. Tonight I lost all confidence in myself for about thirty minutes, which seemed like thirty days.

Was it still Saturday? Has my table been waiting five minutes or has half a hour passed?

You lose all concept of time and just keep pushing on trying to remind yourself that it will all be over with soon. I tried not to make eye contact with anyone else's tables, scared they would flag me down and want something. I was in a pinball machine bouncing through the pins hoping not to "Tilt."

It wasn't just me...every server had a look on their face like a deer in headlights...sheer panic.

At one point, my ole buddy Hoke passed me in the alley of the kitchen and said "We'll be laughing about this in a hour." I didn't have time to slap him or even respond...and that's totally out of character for me.

But he was hour later it was all over with.

Two hours later I un tucked my potato sack and clocked out with a nice pay day in my pocket.

I am still not sure why I have chosen this profession... it just seems to fit me well (unlike my new shirt.)

I like selling our great product to people and making their dinner seem like they bought tickets to my own personal show.

Sometimes when I have a particularly good shift and have "Wowed" not only my customers but made my co workers laugh their butts off...I clock out and announce "That concludes my show for this evening, please come back tomorrow to catch my matinee AND dinner performance."

If you've never been a server... I hope this gives you a small glimpse into our wacky world. If you HAVE been a will totally "Get" the above photo.

Ironing a shirt that fits...going to bed and doing it all again. I have two shows tomorrow, lunch AND dinner ...if you live in Newnan, come catch one of them...I promise to make eye contact with you!

Til next time COTTON

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pink Hearts Started the Week... A Full Moon Ends It

Valentine's Day started out the week (or Valentimes Day if you believe the sign in a store window in our small town.)

A gorgeous full moon is ending the week and the last few days have been an absolute weather delight.
I never liked Winter when I weighed 120 pounds, and I HATE it weighing in at 100 pounds fully dressed and in combat boots.
I don't like my feet being cold and my hands always seem to be cold. The only warmth I get it from hot flashes and they are temporary (so I am told.)
My Jonquils have poked their heads out of the dirt searching for warmth and I don't blame them. The sun has felt fabulous the past few days and at least the dogs aren't soaking wet and covered with mud every time I let them in the house...they are just covered with stink and I don't have to mop that up, I just stick in a new Glade plug in and rub them down with a dryer sheet.
We have had a run of illness stampeding through the house. Massey got sick about ten days ago and for about five days she hacked like she had a five pack a day habit. Luckily no fever was involved so I put her through the routine my Mom did when we were little. Soup, juice and since she hates oranges I introduced her to Clementines. She has eaten an entire bag full and after switching her to Delsym she sounds and feels much better.
Then my husband got sick and my sympathy simply ran out. Number one he is a terrible patient and the minute he becomes ill, turns into the biggest sissy on the planet. He comes home from work in the morning and never takes medicine but goes into the den and shuts the door to sleep until he has to get up to go to work again. I guess I should make him soup and a glass of juice and carry it to him on a tray but if he is happy going to sleep sick and waking up sick, who am I to argue with him?
It took him five days of being sick to finally listen to me and take something for it.
He's not well but better... who's fault is that?
He is at least now taking medicine and complaining a little less when one of us will listen.
Today Zach called me from the school office..."It's my turn" is all I heard when he asked me to come check him out.
Brought him home, felt his head and sent him to bed with some throat spray and a 500 mg Advil.
Three hours later he was in the back yard with a BB gun hitting (hopefully only) trees in the woods and I scratched him off my nursing list as well.
Men and women are so polar opposite when it comes to being sick. I was sick for three weeks before I broke down and went to a Doc in the Box. I never missed one shift at work and only went to the doctor when the owner's sent me home and said sweetly "You look like sh#t. Go to the doctor." They even offered to pay for my visit.
Massey didn't miss one day of school. She hacked her way through and probably had hoodlum students offering her a Camel unfiltered as she walked from building to building on campus, thinking "Dang, she sounds like one of us."
Tim was actually pretty sick but refused to listen to me...guess he's become conditioned to that over 23 years. I tried to give him money to go to the Doc in the Box I went to but he refused saying we needed the money for bills. I think it sunk in when I said "Yeah, that hospital stay will be a LOT cheaper."
He has been taking the meds I have bought and eating better. I have tried to help by being nicer but after 23 years of marriage and two years of living in an episode of "Helltown" my sympathy has been stretched so thin you could call it gauze.
Where my kids are concerned I am all over it.
I guess I should save some of that sympathy for Tim, but he's an adult like me (although no one is TRULY like me) and I guess I push him as hard as I push myself. In hindsight, that's probably why he married me.
I bet he's re thinking that strategy!!
We are all on the mend and I haven't woken up to Tim with a noose around my neck (yet.)
Spring has poked it's head out and I have embraced it like a lover on the side. I am pleading with it not to go away or leave me. We all need the healing of it's warmth and sun.
I feel like I have been living in Winter for almost two years.
I am ready and waiting for the Spring.
I have had so many people help me through these horrible Winters and when I emerge again in Spring it will be with a vengeance.
I made it through " The Winter of My Discontent ."
My family is healing and our lives are healing, thanks to the greatest medicine on Earth.
"Take two heaping doses of God, take help from family three times a day and love from your friends as often as they offer it."
It has been the prescription I needed and am beginning to feel whole again.
Before you know it I will be back on my "Johnny Dear" in a pair of hot pants that say "AARP" across the butt and moving on into my fifties feeling like a "Spring Chicken."
Thanks be to everyone that helped me get here!
Til next time...can't wait to be "Hot Cotton"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Teens...But They Will Always Be Your Babies

My first teen ager grew up without a hitch...maybe a fumble or two but I remember thinking "This ain't so hard".
I still had a little girl behind both boys and thought after raising two boys I would have enough training to tackle raising a girl.
My second has been a teen ager for over ten years now...he obviously never read the "Teen Manual". He started acting like a teen when he was eight years old and has been wearing me out ever since. He learned to debate when he was nine...he won all debates by the time he was ten and by the time he was eleven I gave up trying to debate him.

He's eighteen now and has made me feel like I am seventy (on a good day).

The difference in raising teens when I was one in the seventies and now is hands down ONE thing...the cell phone.
When I was a teen and you got ticked off at your parents you usually couldn't call friends immediately. Your mom was most probably on the only phone in the house, chatting with her best friend smoking a Kool Mild and drinking Iced tea...and that would be the wall phone hanging in the kitchen (with a rotary dial).
Today they are already texting their friends as you are screaming at them and before you take a pause for a breath ...your tirade has been broad casted about to a hundred of their closest peeps.
Next they turn to Facebook and by then have 600 peeps commiserating with them.
If you had told me when I was thirty years old that all of my kids would have cell phones by the time they were in middle school I would have asked what YOU were smoking?
Now I couldn't imagine them NOT having one.
My kids aren't BAD kids...but they are kids.
They think they have every answer to every problem and that you are the cause of most of them.
To their credit...I felt the same way when I was a teen, I just didn't have the Internet and social networking for all my buddies to back me up instantaneously...I had to wait for the next school day.
I do like the fact that they have cell phones (that I pay for) so I can reach them at any time, any where for any reason.
In this day and time that is a blessing... and very often a consoling thought.
I also like that my house seems to be "Teen Central". Yes they eat and drink me out of house and home but at least I know where they are and who they are hanging out WITH.
WOW!! What will it be like when MY teens are raising teens of their OWN?
Will you have to go through a body scanner to gain access to your high school (or your friend's house?)
Will cell phones be a thing of the past... only people in Ethiopia will have them?
Raising three teens has been an adventure...sometimes misguided and sometimes even "I" have gotten lost.
I feel like I have survived (somewhat) and sometimes think they are luckier to have survived having a nut like me for a Mom.
I sit and look at pictures of them chronologically arranged on my bedroom wall...where have the years gone and how did they pass so quickly?
I think back to when they were toddlers and realize how much they have changed, evolved and grown within the time span of a decade.
I don't know how, but I have three extremely intelligent kids that have had every advantage I could (and sometimes couldn't) afford.
They have worn me down...they have given me more gray hair and wrinkles than I ever wanted at the age of fifty but I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.
Having kids is a journey every person should travel...even if it is via nieces/nephews.
They make you old but they keep you young.
I am off tomorrow for the first time in over a week. I have already announced I am actually cooking so I can expect my kids and at least five of their friends to show up wanting a plate.
What a wonderful feeling.
If your kids want to bring THEIR friends to your house...always welcome them.
Life is fleeting...Life has no guarantees.
Enjoy the time with your kids and the friends of your kids.
I plan on being one popular "BE OTCH" in the nursing home and hearing how much my homemade macaroni and cheese meant to my kid's friends when they didn't have enough money for a McDonald's value meal.
The value of life?
Having kids that love you... remember what you taught them and knowing that they love you despite your faults and THEIRS.
I hope they get me a really cool walker with bright orange tennis balls on the front.
Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Maybe I Should Have Rephrased "Make it stop"

And just like "That" stopped.

I worked another double shift today, my third in a row and it was a 180 from the previous two days.

That's really okay too. I banked big all weekend and the only price I paid was I now seem to limp all the time.

I worked lunch today and learned a BIG can't survive raising teens AND working without a cell phone. I got less than a block from the house and felt my back pocket that I keep my phone in. Uh oh...

I got to work and called Tim. I told him I didn't have my phone and to send Massey a text telling her I had to close on the lunch shift and wouldn't get off until 4:00 and to wait in the band room for me to get there.

My biggest worry was I wasn't really sure if Tim knew how to text.

It's weird...I always carry my phone in my back pocket and keep it on vibrate. Today I bet I felt my back pocket vibrate at least four times and I didn't even have my phone with me. It's like my butt knew Massey was texting me and was sending me remote notifications.

At 3:50 I answered the restaurant phone at the host stand and it was Massey. I told her I would be there in fifteen minutes to which she replied "Are you SERIOUS"?

You would think I had asked her to wait outside in four feet of snow in flip flops and a bathing suit for me to come get her. It was a beautiful day in the high fifties and besides that all her cronies hang out around the band room until at LEAST 4:30.

Having a teen age girl is definite payback...I bet my Mother is "rotfl" up in Heaven.

"btw" I am down here on Earth with two teens that are "idk" DRIVING ME CRAZY?

I will have to say having teens keeps me in the loop, somewhat.

The other day Massey and I were at Kroger when we passed one of her guard buddies. When we left the store she was looking for their car. She said matter of factly "He must be driving the loser cruiser" I don't see the car.

Go ahead, Kelly...walk into the fire. I asked her what a loser cruiser was?

She informed me that was what they called mini vans.

How much do you want to bet that if on her sixteenth birthday I parked a mini van in our driveway with a huge pink bow wrapped around it she would jump with joy and immediately christen it "Massey's Multiples Moving Machine".

I dumped off my little Diva, fed her and her brother..and her brother's friend and went back to work.

On the upside, I found my phone. I had left it in my brother's car that we have "Over Borrowed" for several months. The tag is expired and I only use it to take Zach to school in the mornings. I sit at the traffic light until I see a car that doesn't look like a cop car and scream out in front of them so that I know I won't get pulled over. If the car behind me turns off it's a whole new ball game. Just the other day, THAT happened. I kept looking in my rear view mirror and dadgumit there they were...lights on top of the car behind me.

I started to panic when a side street appeared like a heavenly apparition. I took a left and turned around in the first driveway I saw. I pulled back out and the cop was now in front of me...that was okay, my head lights weren't out and even if they were it was a bright sunny day.

My life is just the way you read it...I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

We are on the cusp. We are making strides. We are ALMOST there.

Tim's car is now in the shop and will be fixed in less than two weeks. I don't have all the money but I have a plan (I always do).

The guy fixing it is really nice and I am thinking I will do like I do with every one else wanting money from us. I will go by every day that I work and give him $40. I will chat them up, become their friend. Tell my story of the last them with my wit and once they know I am good for the money and trust me to pay in full, maybe I can get Tim's car and they will let me pay off the balance within a week's time.

It's not that I am a scam artist. It's I am a person that is reliable and a person that you can trust.

It's supposed to cost between $600 and $800. I am thinking if I can pay$400 they will get it started. If I go by and pay $200 more it will be fixed.

I may be older looking ... but as Tim has always said "You have a PHD in BS that no one can refute".

It's a fact...Karma is real.

I know that if I make good faith attempts and payments...people will have faith in me.

Massey just told me she doesn't have a ride to school in the morning . For Pete's sake...that means I have to elude the cops TWICE in the morning. This should be considered a two part episode of "Cops".

I would prefer "Reno 911".

At least if I get stopped I know they won't film me being hand cuffed bare chested saying "I ain't done NOTHIN, Man"!!

Sometimes it's hard being a Cotton...But it's getting easier and at least I am moving in the right direction and can still laugh about it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's OVER...

It's over.

Valentine's Day is done for another year...a sentence every server "Loves" to hear.

I went into work at 10:30 this morning and the phone was ringing off the hook and never stopped.

Who calls the morning of Valentine's Day to make a reservation for dinner?

Obviously a lot of procrastinating husbands who dread going home to their wife holding a bag full of Whoppers or McRibs to impress their sweetie.

At 11:00 the phone rang and a woman asked to speak to the owner. I asked who was calling and she said she was with a local magazine calling about advertisements.

I know every person hasn't worked in the restaurant industry...but it just seems common sense to know that on Valentine's Day...right as lunch is hitting and you are preparing as well for the manic dinner that will follow, that the owner/chef of a restaurant isn't interested in talking to a sales person.

I almost told her she wasn't helping her cause...but just asked for her name and number and threw it in the trash can when I hung up the phone and continued getting the restaurant ready for the massive crunch we expected and luckily received.

Around 3 Pm it leveled out and I clocked out to my cell phone buzzing. Zach needed a ride home from the CEC where he attends classes and I had to pick Massey up from the high school. I swung by and picked Zach up and with no time to spare headed to the high school. Zach balked at going to the high school with me so I let him jump out of the car at the red light by our subdivision. Walking two blocks won't kill a boy and he could spend the time texting his buddies as he "walked twenty miles to the house barefooted uphill in the snow".

I picked Massey up and dropped her off at the house, checked my email left money for Chinese food to be delivered and headed back to work.

I worked a double shift yesterday and my feet were still aching when I woke up this now they were throbbing like I HAD walked twenty miles in the snow uphill.

I got back to work and continued eating what I had been eating all day....Massey's fund raiser candy I had taken to work. I had eaten a box of Sour Patch candy and some Twizzlers...that took care of my fruit intake. I moved on to a pot of coffee and a huge Kit Kat bar.

The bottom dropped out by 5:30.

My section of tables were in an area I like to call "Way north of nowhere". It is further from the kitchen than anywhere in the store. You have to take a tray with you because there is no where to sit dishes down, no where to make drinks or drop off dirty have to plow back through the restaurant to the server area for any kind of plates, pitchers, cheese, pepper mills or to go boxes.

I was in Antarctica with my buddy, Hoke. After thirty minutes I hid a pepper mill grinder on the hutch that holds the computer we use when we are in Antarctica.. After thirty five minutes I hid a Parmesan cheese grater up there as well. I opened the bottom drawer of the hutch and put to go boxes and bags for us to use.

I came up to ring on our computer and Hoke had tickets and payment books spread all over it. I told him it wasn't his personal dresser...was I going to open a drawer and find it filled with his socks and whitey tighties? The hutch has three filled with silver ware and the other with napkins.

We already had our pepper mill and cheese grater stashed there...I told Hoke we should put some bread in the bottom drawer.

I thought about putting a bus tub in one of the drawers so we could dump our dirty dishes in it but knew Barb (the owner's wife) would flip.

The new guy (Mr. Freak out) did pretty well tonight...I don't care who says he didn't.

He goofed up a few orders but didn't have a tantrum. I think he is on to me....I gotta quit laughing every time I see him.

At least he bought five candy bars from Massey's box (he's already moving up in my book).

By the time I got off work I had seen so many Valentine's Day sweaters and red shirts that I wanted to puke.

Not to mention even my TOES hurt.

My feet felt like I had been walking around with my toes curled underneath my feet. I don't know if it was stress or just old age but my dogs were barking...and I don't mean the three idiots at the house.

I clocked out right before 11Pm.

Tim leaves for work at 11:10 and is still using my car.

I limped in on my feet that feel like they have been binded by an angry old Chinese woman. Google foot ain't pretty.

I came into the house to two teens in bed, a husband walking out the door and me looking around for someone to rub my feet.

A beer later I feel better.

What a long long day.

At least it was profitable and will only be a memory when I wake up to work another double shift tomorrow.

No wonder I have so much gray hair...
Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Make It Stop...After Monday

This is what happens when Valentine's Day falls on a Monday...people make a Mardi Gras out of it.
It started Friday night...kinda like the "Early Bird" special. Saturday night was even crazier, people all decked out in their red vests and pink sweaters. Most overheard remark at the host stand..."Table for two please".
Working in the restaurant industry requires that you take full advantage of all holidays...Gotta strike while the iron is hot! After Valentine's Day we run dry until Mother's Day.
The only problem is that it tends to be a lot of people that usually don't go out to eat and some of them don't realize we make $2.13 a hour and rely on tips to make our paycheck.
I am still a firm believer that if you "WOW" them...most will respond in kind. If you get a few bad tips and a lot of good ones the odds work out in your favor.
We have a few new servers that recently started and have been blindsided by not only the huge menu we offer but the rapid fire pace that we work during crunch hours.
Most are young (of course they are ALL young compared to me) and come into the job thinking of only one in their pocket.
I had been a server for 33 years when I started this job and it took me four months before I felt comfortable "selling" as opposed to "order taking". I knew very little about wines but busted my butt learning all I could .
Now I can sell the product, push the product, suggest modifications to certain dishes to make it more palatable to the guest and know how to send it all to the kitchen without major goof ups.
The new servers...Not so much.
Some try really hard. Others try really hard to act like they try really hard when they don't.
Some of them get ticked when you try to help them. They burr all up and shoo you away, only to come back thirty minutes later to ask you to help them figure out what went wrong.
I feel like saying "YOU went wrong, you idiot ... I tried to tell you that to begin with thirty minutes ago before you acted like I was a stupid old woman who was holding you back from making your wad of cash".
One of the newer server's had a meltdown during the brunch shift and I swear it was like seeing a toddler throw a tantrum.
You know me...I cracked up about it all day long!
He pitched a hissy fit when I told him he had taken the wrong food to his of the plates was supposed to go to MY table.
He kicked a glass rack that was on the floor and said "I didn't TAKE the wrong food...anybody that says I did is wrong. TRY to fire me for it, I DARE ya" !! I started to tell him "Be careful what you ask for".
We all looked at each other and tried not to laugh until he huffed away out of earshot. It's like the saying "The guilty dog barks first".
The other night we were closing with the same guy and I told him what he needed to do before he left. Once again...his money had been made and he was ready to go. He said (quite loudly) "I'm not doing anymore side work... I don't care WHO says I have to".
I laughed at him THEN too.
Of course being the resident comedienne, that does nothing but give me more material to work with.
That's our new big saying at work (when he's not standing there). "I'm not doing it, I don't care WHO says I have to".
I went into the dish area last night to drop off an armload of dirty dishes and said to Hoke "I'm sitting these dishes right here, I don't care WHO says I can't".
Followed by "I'm having me a drink of water..I don't care WHO says I can't".
Followed later by "I'm doing my check out and leaving...I don't care WHO says I can".
If it's funny to us...we have no problem with beating a dead horse...we'll beat it until it is dog food in a small can the size of Bumble Bee Tuna.
When holidays hit and it is crazier than crazy...that's what gets us through. Laughing at things and letting troubles roll off our back.
That's what we do and "I don't care WHO thinks it is funny".
I was at work today when Hoke sent me a text asking when he worked tomorrow.
I sent him back a text saying "I'm not telling you, I don't care WHO tells me to".
I immediately sent him another text telling him he had to be there at 11Am.
Not five minutes went by and I felt my phone buzzin my pocket. I went to the women's room and checked my phone..It was Hoke.
"I'm not coming in at 11...I don't care WHO tells me to".
That's life when you work in a crazy place that for two hours a day is like "Panic Central".
You make the best of bad work your butt off and try to laugh along the way.
We laugh a lot at work. We also work really hard.
I'm not sure if the new guy is gonna make it..."I don't care WHAT he thinks, he just needs to START thinking".
When I clocked out from my brunch shift I had laughed so much I announced to the other servers "This concludes my Matinee performance, please come back at five for my evening show".
I must say I "WOWED" them during the evening show as well...I don't care WHO says I didn't!
Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, February 12, 2011

And They Lived Happily Ever After...

No...not the couple above!
No...this couple is almost half way there...

YES...this couple above have begun their journey to "Happily ever after".
Massey and I were lucky enough to witness their very emotional and touching wedding. A girl I work with married a guy I used to work with (so the story goes) and they locked the ball and chain (I mean tied the knot) last weekend.

Here's one of the bridesmaids (Peppermint Patty) beaming after catching the bouquet and telling (Cinderella) "Better luck next time, Beeotch". Needless to say they both work with me (I think the cartoon nicknames clear that up).

Lucky for Peppermint Patty and Cinderella, they both have awesome men in their lives so neither one of them has to worry.

The Bride was absolutely gorgeous...the little old lady next to her, not so much!

She creamed him with the wedding cake right after he so sweetly held out a bite for her to nibble from. Hey...that kind of sums up what happens to a man once he asks you to marry him.
He thinks he is just giving you one little ring, what he DOESN'T know is that our little wheels are already spinning the minute he says "I will" and "I do".
Brides need to record those two words to remind them of years down the road we like to call "Honey-do Circle". They start out constantly saying they will and often do hop right to it.
Twenty years down the road it 's "I'll see" and "I'll try".
I call it Honey-do Circle because it just goes round and's the never ending road to "Happily Ever After".
Men and woman are so polar's no wonder we are attracted to each other, if the old saying is true.
Marriage is give and take. Unfortunately sometimes you have to give more than you get but other times you get so much more having put forth little effort. That my friends is "Love".
It's not all sweet smelling flowers...sometimes it can be downright stinky Do-Do, but how would you ever know how lucky you can and sometimes are unless life gave you a few shots to the ribs or reality checks along the way?
The bad times make the good ones that much sweeter.
"The bad times make the good ones that much sweeter" is a very good theme for this wedding.
It was originally planned for late in February...had to be moved up because of health problems with one of the parents. This parent is going through a bad time...which made them being a part of this wedding that much sweeter.

They could have spent over a year planning this wedding and it could not have been more perfect. Everything flowed as beautifully as the bride's stunning gown. The reception was at Mama Lucia's...great choice since they both worked there at one time or another and all their friends were able to attend whether they were working or not!
I can't think of a more deserving couple. They are both honest, wonderful hardworking people who found each other, fell in love and started their life together surrounded by friends and family.
Of course I took my side kick, Massey and we both had a ball.
The wedding was held in a small but beautiful church off the town square in Newnan. Massey and I sat with a couple of guys from work. Well, kinda. One is our wine distributor and considered a good friend even though I only met him when I started my new job almost a year ago.
He was sitting next to a former manager of mine who used to work at the Western Sizzler I worked at for over 13 years until they fired me for being too pretty and too efficient at my job. (Not really but that line made me really chuckle and it's taken me almost a year to get to that point so I thought I deserved the laugh). Actually he was gone from my store several years before my fall from grace and is hands down one of the best bosses I ever worked for.
Massey knew them both and we had to quiet ourselves several's just so much fun being around friends at happy occasions. Massey picked lint off my bachelor friend's suit for him and I shook my head at Massey and said "Thanks baby, he ain't got a girlfriend right now, bless his heart. Some body's gotta do it for him".
We all chuckled when we heard the Flower Girls lining up to come in. It sounded like the lunchroom in an elementary school on Pizza day.
There were only three attendants but what they lacked in attendants they made up for in Flower was precious!
Five little flower girls...traipsing one at a time determined to get those petals in all the spots the others missed. There should have been six but that's another Blog another time.
I think if I ever did it over again I would do the same..highlight my wedding with the highlights of all my closest friend's lives, their children.
All in all it was a fabulous uplifting day. It reminded me of when I married Tim, gained a step son and started our lives out as a new family together.
It's almost 23 years down the road, we added two more children and then three more dogs. The kids are almost all grown, the youngest is fifteen.
In three years I will be saying to myself (and Tim if he's still listening)
"When we weren't looking a quarter of a century blew by. There were good years and there were bad years but they are all behind us. Good memories and a few bad...but at least we both have them. We raised three kids and even though they all three gave it a good shot they didn't kill us. Anyway, the older they get the smarter we seem. Our life has been good".
To me that makes for "Happily Ever After".
Life isn't a guarantee and makes no promises. Live for today and hope for tomorrow.
That's why we call it the present..."It's a gift".

Til next time...COTTON
PS Massey made all these pictures...not too bad for a beginner!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another Winter Storm..."Seriously"?


By the looks of this forecast, seems we have "one humdinger" of a storm approaching.

I am just putting all money on the groundhog and hoping Winter will be behind us in a few short weeks.

I know that I am a sissy about cold weather...but Georgians are FREAKS about any mention of snow or any type of frozen precipitation. They don't wait to see if it really happens, they start freaking people out at least three days in advance and once the first flake falls all channels run 24 hour weather coverage.

The last snow storm dumped maybe two inches of snow and school was out for the entire week. I know people in Wisconsin and Maine were laughing at us...I think I heard them cackling as they shoveled out of their front door to stick their kids on the school bus or even make them walk to school.

I realize the south isn't as prepared for adverse winter weather but with increasing global warming and freakish weather that has been occurring the last couple of years...why not invest in more than 3 snow plows for the largest city in the southeastern United States?

A couple of weeks ago when the forecasters told us the Big Storm was "acomin'" three days in advance...all the grocery stores were out of milk and eggs with huge signs on the dairy case that read "Due to inclement weather we are currently out of milk and eggs".

The sign SHOULD have read "Due to the mere mention of inclement weather three days from now, we are currently out of milk and eggs because of not only poor planning but freaked out Southerners".

So here we go again...

When we got hit a couple of weeks ago here...up north there was over ten inches of snow on the ground and kids were still attending school and all government offices were still open.

I wonder if they freak out up north when in July their forecasters say "It's going to be 98 degrees tomorrow...plan your emergency strategy now...don't wait for all the window units to be snapped up by retired people with nothing left but spare time or for all the flip flops to be wiped off the shelves. Emergency centers will be open to hand out free sunscreen and wet washcloths while supplies last".

Do they put their forecasters on a 24 hour newscast feed? I can just imagine the reporters...

"It seems all daisy dukes have been wiped off the shelves and people are standing in line at the Red Cross for free Bermuda shorts and tank tops while supplies last... Now let's toss it over to Ted who is at the local WalMart where people are fighting over window fans and plastic wading pools".

It's all over facebook..."Snow coming" "Another big storm" ...


I am a firm believer in being prepared...but I am also a firm believer that a couple of inches of snow won't wipe people off the face of the Earth, even if it is in the deep South.

My biggest fear is that I will run out of dog food or that I have mis-guessed how much gas I really have in the tank of my car. My big worries are that people will give into the scare and stay sequestered in their houses and no one will go out to eat, putting a serious crunch on my ability to make a living.

Even my teens are sick of the "Snow Scare Syndrome".

It's like we NEED something to worry about in the South or we just aren't connected to the rest of the world.

I say we turn the tables and start worrying about some REAL crap!

Let's have a 24/7 newscast about getting everyone a job. Let's have a round the clock report on the mortgage crisis. Let's have a call in show twenty four hours a day for people that have no medical insurance but have serious health problems.

How about a 24 hour news feed on the pitiful way politicians waste their time and OUR money on back biting and working against each other every chance they get and every time they open their crooked mouths?

These are programs I might not only watch but call in to!

But just like the rest of the Southern sheep...following their Southern herd, I will go to the store tomorrow to make sure I have plenty of dog food and at least five dollars worth of gas in my car so I can drive to work and wait on the few Northern transplants that will brave the storm to actually get in their car and go out to eat.

God bless the Yankees and may God have mercy on our scared Southern sissies!

Til next time... Cold but Courageous COTTON

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's All Good...

Finally got the call today...Massey's Letterman's jacket was ready.

I don't think I have seen her this excited since she still believed in Santa Claus. We went to pick it up and Thank the Lord, they spelled her name right!

Her name has been spelled Macey, Massie and Massy by so many people that sometimes I have trouble remembering the correct spelling myself (not really).

I took a picture of her in it and when scrolling through files came across some pics from Christmas Day. The above photo is my sis with her son (the brain surgeon).

Next is Zach (the brain surgeon's future bidness partner) with my boyfriend/dog, Ham.
Totally kidding about the Cuzn's... they are both smart, just have an Aunt / Mom that loves to pick on them. Like I always say, if I don't like you I don't pick on you...obviously I love them both to death!

My cousin commented on my photos and said "Cutest dog ever"! I hope she was talking about Ham .

It's been over a year since the "Big Cotton Crash" and things are finally getting back to normal (if you can call my life normal).

We are using a shovel we like to call Chapter Seven to dig our way out of the hole and start over again. Nothing wrong with starting over...although it was a tough decision to make.

I have a job that I love, Tim is slowly moving up in his job and things are looking up for a change.

Yesterday was the big SUPER BOWL...

I have a few comments on that as well. (who'da thunk it?)

Let's begin with the National Anthem. Number one, if she had used the same tune WE all sing it to, it may have reminded her of the words. It didn't even SOUND like the same song so when she sang the wrong words I thought maybe she had changed the words as well as the tune.

When I mentioned it to my husband this morning, he jumped all over me..."Haven't YOU ever made a mistake"?

Number two...leave it to a man to take up for a blonde bomb shell ...I guess he was too fixated on her hoo haas to hear her faux pas.

Then everyone was jumping all over the Black Eyed Peas least they remembered the words to their song!

I went into work today and sang a great rendition of "My Country Tis of Beautiful " followed by "America Home of the Brave".

Jeez...they would have been better off with Roseanne least she got all the words right.

At least now I know what to give Tim for his birthday this Saturday...I'll dress up as Christina and sing "Happy Birthday to You" to the tune of "This Land is Your Land" while wearing nothing and hoping he doesn't notice the mistake. He didn't with her...why should he with ME?

So we are done with Super Bowl...have another snow event blowing in Thursday and next up is Valentines Day AKA "Amateur Night" in the service industry.
So I'm not a big fan of Christina's...sue me.
Things are getting back to semi normal around the house and I am praying that goofy ground hog is right about an early Spring.
I am tired of being old AND cold.
Til next time...COTTON

Friday, February 4, 2011

Skinny Wimp From the South

As I pedaled my bike through the pouring rain today (not really) I remembered why I remained in the South once I grew up.

The rain doesn't bother me that much, until to you add in the cold. Being of the skinny derivation, I am not a fan of cold weather.

It doesn't help that I am fifty years old and suffer from hot flashes as well. I was at work the other night and told the owner's wife "It sucks being fifty". I had just come back to work after my break and was standing by the cook's line warming my hands under the heat lamp they use to keep plates warm. My hands were freezing but I raised both my arms to display the sweat marks under my arms on my work shirt. That, my friends... is pretty sad.

There is no happy medium when you are a fifty year old woman. You sweat to death, only to ask five minutes later for a jacket. You are happy one moment and asking for a Kleenex the next.

My family has given up trying to figure me out...for that matter, so have I.

All I DO know, is that to be in the midst of menopause AND the coldest Winter I can remember is a pretty cruel joke. Is it God laughing at me or Mother Nature?

I come home from work at night and never even take off my coat. I sit at my computer and type with my coat and scarf on. Once I have fulfilled my blogging urge I trudge upstairs to my bed and peel off the layers.

It takes at least thirty minutes for my feet to warm up. I finally get warm and comfy and drift off to sleep.

One hour later I wake with a start to wonder when the house caught on fire? I kick the covers off and use my tee shirt to mop up the small puddle of sweat I like to call the "pond" between my tiny boobies.

By the time I have sopped up the sweat, changed shirts and climbed back in bed I am freezing again and the cycle starts over.

This weather isn't helping... especially when on top of it all you are stupid enough to have three big dogs that have been spoiled rotten.

I open the door in the mornings and they stick their nose out and look back at me like "You want ME to go out in THAT"?

I let them slide because quite honestly I am freezing just holding the door open for them to decide.

When "Poop comes to Shove" they will go out, otherwise they are happy indoors between December and March. I can't much blame am I.

They say we have more snow coming next week..."ARRGGGHH".

I know part of it is that I have lost a lot of weight and my body fat is pretty much" Non There". (that's a technical term I invented when my weight dropped below one hundred pounds).

I don't care if I was the size of a FAT lady in the Circus... it has been a COLD winter and if you grew up in the South, it is considered "Bizarre and Brutal".

I am ready to crank up my boyfriend, John Deere and sweat for the right reasons. I am ready for my three dogs to spend an entire day outside without scratching at the back door with a look on their faces like "Whatever we did wrong, we won't do again, just let us INSIDE".

That stupid groundhog says Spring is coming early...if it was a "Ground Dog" I would believe it.

Headed to bed to take off Tim's sweatshirt I put on when I walked in from work...over my uniform and scarf.

Hoping the rain is gone tomorrow when I wake up.

Cold is one thing...Cold AND Rain is another. Pile that on top of being 50 and female, the owner of three big dogs and it just starts to feel not only politically incorrect but downright cruel and unusual punishment.

As Barney used to say on PBS "Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, Please come out and play"!!

Til next time.. Cold/Hot COTTON