Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Good Time Was Had By All

Massey and I went to celebrate with Cpl. Todd Love at his welcome home/ 21st birthday party. She got her "I partied with an American hero" shirt and even had her picture taken with him. Who would ever imagine that her daughter's first crush would be a triple amputee?

He was so gracious. He was so overwhelmed with people scrambling to talk with him or just shake his hand, but touched my girl's heart by actually talking with her, asking her what her name was and smiling for the camera. It was a moment that Massey will never forget and a moment I was lucky enough to witness.

This kid, this young man, this Hero is totally amazing. His attitude should set the tone for every person who thinks they have gotten a bum rap.

I went to elementary and high school with Todd's step dad. I have become friends with Todd's mom via high school reunions and facebook. I have followed his journey since that fateful day his mom got a call..."Your son has been hit by an IED and lost both legs and one arm."

And I thought I had problems.

In fact, I am living a fairy tale dream compared to this kid's circumstances. This kid is resilient, this kid is a fighter, this kid has great support from family, friends and God. This kid is a TRUE American hero and today I was privileged enough to attend his homecoming and witness what a person can do with their life when life seems to throw them a curve.

I will never whine or complain again. I will never think "Woe is me."

There were people I went to high school with there and hundreds of people I have never met .

Massey and I were standing out on the back deck when one of Todd's friends came out to wheel him away, telling the ole codger Todd was speaking to "He has to go now, I have the first dance with him."

He wheeled him back into the hall and while the music played he picked Todd up and held him in his arms and spun him around the floor. Then he passed him to another buddy, and then he was passed to another. It was touching. It was emotional and it was inspiring.

I hated to approach him, I don't even know him personally but knelt by his wheelchair and asked if I could take a picture of him with my daughter. He hugged my neck as I told him how proud I was of him and how grateful I was for his service and inspired by his positive outlook .

He asked Massey what her name was and gave me a smile that speaks volumes about his character. He is a good man, has been handed a huge load and has responded with "What else ya got?"

So what my son wrecked my car, it is a car for Pete's sake! This kid has shown me what determination and LOVE can do (pun intended.)

He is quite handsome and well spoken and made my daughter's day. In fact, he made MY day too!

Happy birthday to Cpl. Todd Love, I don't think I have ever attended a greater party and learned so much about making the best of a bad situation.

You (Todd) inspire me and you inspired my daughter. You inspire many and will go further in life than the millions that have all their limbs but don't realize the fact that they are lucky to even have them. It was a good day!

I feel lucky to have been invited. I feel lucky that I spoke to a Hero. I feel lucky to be a person Todd gave his appendages for.

It was a great day. It was a not so gentle reminder that my life is amazing. My life is a cake walk.

Just glad to see Todd have his cake as well and see the huge outpouring of "Love."

Til next time, wearing my "Wounded Warriors" bracelet and reminded once again that I am one lucky person...COTTON

Friday, April 29, 2011

A ROYALLY Screwed Up Day

The big day was finally here!
I have worked double shifts the last three days and was halfway through today's double when I clocked out at 2:30 for a two hour break. I went and checked Massey out a half hour early so we could go home and watch the "Wedding" we had taped on the DVR on my break.
We got home and Zach and two of his flunkies were out in the garage in their "Man/Boy Cave."
Massey and I retreated to my bedroom and hit the "Play" button. I zonked out five minutes in and Massey nudged me awake for the good parts. We (Massey) witnessed the ceremony and then my cell phone rang...It was Zach. I figured he wanted to know if I would fix him something to eat.

Instead he said "I just hit somebody." I immediately thought to myself that I hadn't heard a fight break out in the garage and asked "Hit who?" He said he had just rear ended someone. I asked who's car he was driving and he said mine. I said "Who said you could take my car ANYWHERE?" He said his buddy needed a ride to work and he knew it would only take fifteen minutes so he borrowed my car. He said the good news was that he was following one of his buddies and that was who he hit. I told him to bring the car home NOW and hung up. He called back and said (in that voice that breaks a Mom's heart even when she's pissed) "I am totally freaked out...the car isn't drive able and traffic is backed up behind us...I need you to come."

Well..That just royally shot my break to hell!

Got to the scene and traffic was backed up like the downtown connector on the "Grady Curve." For non Atlantan's, it is a place approaching downtown Atlanta that comes to a stand still every day from four to five o'clock. My car was angled a foot off the road and hanging on the edge of what I have always previously wondered is a "Soft Shoulder?"

Five o'clock at one of the busiest intersections in our county...and here I sat on what I know now is an "EXTREMELY" soft shoulder. The cops pulled in behind me and asked if anyone was hurt. My reply..."Not Yet."

I am trying to stay calm...not working. I try to remember no one was hurt...kinda working.

Zach was finally seeing the last year of his life in the blink of an eye..."A WRECK." I didn't admonish, I didn't bitch at him. I simply said "I have told you time and time again, the ONLY thing I have is my car. It is paid for, it is reliable and not only gets you and Massey back and forth to school but gets me to and from work and your Dad to and from work. You aren't hurt, Thank God no one else is injured. The only ones that will be hurt by this are me and your Dad."

The State Trooper asked what tow company I wanted to call and I almost said "One that takes four month post dated checks." I called my brother in law who has pulled home cars for all of our boys (mine and my sister's) who have also sat on soft shoulders waiting for "Prince Towing."

The trooper balked at first but after me putting my PHD in BS to use again told him I was so broke I couldn't pay attention much less a tow company . He agreed to let my brother in law come pull my now sad vehicle back to my now sadder house. I had to leave to go back to work. I was a complete wreck (pun intended) by this point and sweating like Mel Gibson at a Bat Mitzvah.

I went back to work knowing at least everyone was okay and knowing that now the ONE thing I had free and clear...the ONE thing no one was trying to take was now a piece of crap that was being hauled back home to die.

Filing a claim tomorrow. Hoping for the best but as my luck has proven before...bearing for the worst.

Zach could have been killed. He could have killed someone else. At the very least we are looking at deductibles. That beats picking out a cremation urn.

I am not sure if my teen is trying to kill me or wanting to make me feel like killing him. I think it is fair to say we BOTH feel like crap. I cannot keep coming to his defense, keep bailing him out, keep making excuses and keep making it right.

I guess it's time for him to get married!

Til next time..."Grateful he is still alive so I can strangle him to death" COTTON"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What is Wrong With Men? I Think it May Be Women...

I got home from work tonight and Tim was just getting up to get ready for work. These are the drawers he was wearing. Oh, you gotta click on the photo to get the full effect!

I asked him why on earth was he wearing them and he replied "I'm getting all the mileage I can out of these bad boys." It looked to me like the mileage ran out about three years ago. As soon as he got in the shower to get ready, I went upstairs to dig the disgusting boxers out of the trash can so I could take a picture of them. I couldn't find them in the trash can...Guess where they were?

In the laundry basket.

Does Tim really think that these deserve for me to waste laundry detergent on? For Pete's sake...he has plenty of drawers. They may not all be brand new but they certainly don't all look like these. After snapping my photo I promptly threw them in the trash. Heck, they can't even pass for a cleaning rag.

I'll have to say that Tim is pretty low maintenance. He never buys anything for himself and can always find something to eat when the kid's whine about "There's NOTHING to eat here."

We have lived on bare necessities for over a year now but Tim has always lived that way. He has tee shirts he had when I met him over 23 years ago, and they were worn out THEN! He wears a pair of shoes until they are totally worn out or has had them so long they have come back in style.

I don't buy clothes either but have friends that give Massey hand me downs and I take them over when she grows out of them. There is something to be said for being a size or two smaller than your daughter.

If Tim ever got in a car wreck and had on those undies and had to have his pants cut off and expose those drawers and I was called to the scene of the accident, I would say "I have no idea who this man is but I will pray for him."

Don't get me wrong, Tim is a wonderful man but being married to a force like me (and I don't mean "force" in a good way) for over twenty years...he gave up thinking around year two.

It is all totally my own fault. When I met him he was coming out of a horrible divorce and I took (forced) him under my wing and took right over.
It seemed like a fun project at the time and he sure was handsome to look at!

It is a complete miracle that he hasn't left or killed me. I think he would have, but is still waiting for me to tell him how to do it.

So many people get married and divorced like it is nothing. The going gets tough and they get going...out the front door as fast as they can.
Were they not listening when the minister said "For better or worse, richer or poorer?'

Heck, those are the vows I am reminded of the most and we are still hanging in there!

Marriage is a partnership. Sure, I am the managing partner but in most heterosexual marriages that is a given.

Men are the strong ones...and women are the STRONGER ones. Show me a man who can push a new born baby the size of a small watermelon out of his butt and I'll call HIM the stronger one.

Tim and I are almost to the point of falling back in "giddy" love again. If we have made it this far, if we have overcome this many obstacles, it would be a shame not to stick together to enjoy the pleasant part of the ride.

Tim is the undisputed head of our household and I am grateful for that. Of course I am the neck and usually tell him which way to turn but that is why it is called a "Partnership."

Headed to the Sock Shop in Griffin to buy my man some new drawers as soon as I can... and when I do he will act like I have bought him a new car!

That's a good man.

He doesn't ask for much, puts up with a lot and has stayed in it for the long haul. I am lucky to have him. For all the grief I give him, I wouldn't trade places with anyone for any amount of money. We have created a life and family together, have made it through thick and thin and still love each other.

Other couples should BE so lucky.

Til next time...Counting those blessings again, COTTON

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's Such a Bonus to Love Your Job

They gave me my new uniform at work today...I think I look pretty good in it . I'm not too far from being a "Little blue haired Lady" anyhow.

It is so nice to laugh at work again. Being a server is nothing but sales and marketing and I am lucky to be marketing an excellent product.

Case in point: Tonight we had a party of 11 for the Dad's 88th birthday. He shuffled out into the hall on his walker and told me that he didn't care who tried to pay...HE WANTED TO! He said not to give anyone else the bill, he intended to pay the entire bill and leave us a 20% tip. That sealed the deal for me..."Let's get this party started!"

The birthday boy was sharp as a tack. He used a walker to get around but his mind was running full throttle. Before dinner he said he wanted to make a little speech and began "Four score and seven years ago I was brought forth into this world..." The whole room cracked up.

Then he opened his cards and began to read them aloud. "Dear Dad, you were a horrible father and made me grow up without loving me one bit."

Laughter broke out again.

The Dad and his wife were locals, the kids had come in from as far away as Alaska and California, bringing spouses and grand kids. As he was reading the last card I prompted him to hurry telling him the stripper would be there in five minutes. His wife, who is 21 years younger than him (smart man) told me to go easy... remember he's 88!

I quickly said "No worries, we booked Betty White."

They all raved about the food.

The birthday boy had the "Leonardo Cannelloni" a dish that the owner Len created . We make our own crepes in house and this particular one is filled with freshly ground chicken breast and Gorgonzola cheese topped with apples, walnuts and a brandy cream sauce. It is off the chain and different from anything you have ever tasted.

Sometimes I get a little burned out when I work shift after shift after shift. It's my fault, I am famous for picking up shifts from other servers but in my world, if you don't work you don't get paid.

The great thing is that I laugh so much at work that I almost feel guilty walking out the door with money too. Since there are no worries about "Corporate" and worries about being fired, they encourage you to be yourself as long as you do a good job. They let me be myself (the funniest person on the planet) and often laugh along with me.

Saturday night I was having some more fun with one of the newer servers. Every new server is terrified of Barb. I was when I first started, and I had known her for 13 years!

She rules the restaurant with an iron fist and I think sometimes Len is just as scared as us. She actually has a tremendously huge heart and just terrifies us to keep us on our toes. We servers could all try out for the Atlanta Ballet as toe dancers and probably make at least the first two cuts at audition.

My new favorite game is to go up to one of the newbies, let's call her Sybil... and say "Sybil, Barb is looking for you.' The panic stricken look on her face makes me laugh every time! After a few rounds of the game, she started to just say "Yeah, yeah...whatever."

You know me...I stepped it up a notch. I found Barb and told her about the game I was playing and asked her to join in. I said to go find Sybil and say "Did Kelly not tell you I was looking for you?"

That made us all laugh for another hour.

Once the night begins to wind down we are handed slips of paper when we are cut to tell us what our closing duties will be. Every one had theirs but Sybil, she was still rattled by our game and hers was sitting on the end of the service bar. Another server who is just as funny as me (great minds think alike) got a pen and at the end of Sybil's side work list wrote "See Barb."

It was slow in the restaurant by this time. That meant one thing..."Kick it up a notch!"

Sybil was still flustered (her FORTE) and had not picked up her slip from the service bar yet. I got a pen and added to her side work "Sexual favors for all male employees, just keep your eyes shut."

We were all laughing even harder now and a couple of the regulars at the bar were aware of our high jinks. One of the male servers even went up to Sybil and said "I'm gonna need you to get started on your side work."

Sybil was just so relieved to find out the "See Barb" was a joke that the rest didn't even matter to her. She is such a sweet girl and takes my kidding in just the way it is intended. If I don't like you, I don't kid around with you. The more I love you, the more I kid with you.

I love Sybil A LOT!

I love my job A LOT!

I've only been there a little over a year. I was at my last job for over thirteen years. I plan on keeping this job a lot longer. Think how funny I will be by the time they come to roll me out of the restaurant on a gurney when I am 88!

Til next time...come catch my act, I usually do nine or ten shows a week. I only give autographs on Sundays after the matinee performance.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Graduate...Again

It's been 14 years since Zach's had a cap and gown. I leave it hanging on the door outside of the laundry room so I can look at it every time I come inspires me!

He's by far my smartest kid. He also tends to make the stupidest decisions. At least he's not a "Show off."

He was an extremely happy kid until his schooling started and has bucked like a wild bronco ever since.

My kids never went to day care until we moved to Newnan. I worked nights and Tim worked days.

We closed on our house on April Fool's Day fourteen years ago. Tim and I were both now working day shifts so I enrolled Zach in a Pre K program at a day care center. I should have taken the "April Fool's" signing date as an omen. I didn't even think about the fact that the school year was almost over and he couldn't repeat Pre K.

His first day in Pre K happened to be picture day. I introduced him to his teachers as I introduced myself to THEM. They promptly said "Zach, put on this cap and gown and hold this diploma. Big smile..that's great. Now take off the gown and hat and hand it to the kid behind you."

That should have been my certainly was Zach's. He thought "Dang, this school thing is easy. Heck I just got here and I've already had my graduation picture taken AND gotten a diploma."

The picture below was taken while Zach was serving in the Navy(click on photo). I think they made him an Admiral by the time he could hold a sippy cup. Also notice the cable satellite dish in the background. We were at some friend's house for an Easter egg hunt. For Pete's sake they should have gotten channels from Pluto with that thing!

He started out small and skinny and smiling. He has grown up to be skinny and sulking but sometimes smiling...or maybe it's just a happy smirk.

He liked Kindergarten so much we let him do it twice. (That just sounds nicer)

It was hard for him to go from staying at home with Mom and Dad to attending a school of over 700 kids. That's a pretty big thing to spring on an unassuming five year old and I spent many mornings having to get out of the van, get Massey out of her car seat and physically push Zach into the Kindergarten room while still wearing my pajamas. I would wait until we both stopped crying and then sneak out of the room while the teacher diverted his attention.

I think this may be where all his anger with authority issues come from. We tricked him.

I still have the table that is in the background of this picture. I still have the small framed card behind me on the wall. I got it from a friend when Zach was born and loved it so much I framed it. It is still in Zach's room today.

It's been a long road. It's been a bumpy road. It's had more hills and treacherous turns than I would have liked but there have also been some lovely short streets and avenues I have been down.

With teens it's never easy. If it IS easy... you are either an anomaly or not paying close enough attention.

He has less than 20 days left in high school. He has hated school since they took that fatal picture of him in Pre K. It was his first day. They stuck a diploma in his hand and snapped a photo. They set the tone for Zach that day.

Can you sue a pre school for false advertisement?

With fingers crossed and prayers going up on an hourly basis, I may see Zach in a cap and gown once again.

At least this time it will mean something!

I still stand by what Tim said about Zach when he was in ninth grade.

"Let's just get him out of high school and he'll end up being the next Bill Gates."

Here's to wishes, dreams and prayers coming true! (Or as Zach used to say "My prayers came right!")

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Glad This Week is Over!!

What a week...the best part is that it is behind me now. When work is the sanest place in your life I don't know whether that is a good thing or a sad thing...We'll call it a "Good Thing."

The people I work with are a great group of people. Yeah, there are a couple of idiots but that just makes us semi idiots look even better!
We have hired a few new servers that have been a welcome addition to our already totally dysfunctional family.The server I used to call Professor has been replaced with his Clone. The server who left was named Mark, and I find myself constantly calling the new server "Mark."

In my defense Ive always confused "Mark" with "John." (not really)

We have my best friend "Hoke" who keeps me in stitches without even trying. Saturday night we were slam packed and running around like chickens with our heads cut off.

Ole Hoke decided to pitch in and fill up the ice bin at the soda tower. He grabbed the bucket and took it to the ice machine and shoveled it full of ice. Then picked it up and walked right past the soda tower where the ice goes and proceeded to walk out of the kitchen into the dining room even calling the courteous "Corner Out" so no one would run into him as he swung the bucket beside him and turned the corner into the dining room and disappeared.

I thought "Where is the heck is he going?" As the thought flashed through my mind, he came swinging the bucket back into the kitchen "Corner In!" He said "I don't WHERE I was going!"

I started laughing so hard I thought I was going to wet my pants...and being an almost fifty one year old woman, it doesn't take much. It was a crazy night and every one of us were out of our minds busy, but this one comedic moment made it all okay. Yes, it was busy...but a good laugh always helps and Hoke is quite "The Helper."

Then we have our new female server "Frenchy." If she turns sideways, she disappears. They say I am as thin as her...if this is true I am in dire need of a lard sandwich on heavily buttered Texas toast. When it rains, she could stand under a power line to stay dry. She is the hardest working woman I have ever met. She makes the Latinos at work look like Slackers!

She helps everyone and runs circles around us doing side work. Its nice to know ONE French person that seems to love us Americans!

She and I both worked double shifts today. She came in before I did, so she got off before I did. When she was checking out with Len (the owner) in the office to leave I remarked "Hey, Frenchy, can you clock back in? The dishwasher just ran some more silver through and it needs to be polished." She immediately replied "Oh, jess...I vil be glads to."

Len said to Frenchy, "Tell Kelly to kiss your as#."

I was totally kidding but she would have done it in a heart beat!

It's been a rough week here at the house. It's been a rough week at work. It's just good to still be able to laugh.

"If we couldn't laugh, we would ALL go insane." (Thanks Jimmy Buffet)

Sometimes it's hard to see the bright side of life ... sometimes it just means you aren't looking hard enough. I think I may need to have my eyes checked!

Til next time...Still hanging by a thread, but that's a LOT more than millions of people have to hang on to.

Still counting blessings...COTTON

Friday, April 15, 2011

Love Hurts...

Love hurts, Love scars. Love wounds, and marks. Raising kids... I'm not sure what worries me more. Am I doing an okay job or are THEY doing okay? When I was a kid, I would have never dreamed of the shape our society is in today. Unfortunately I am trying to raise my last two teens right in the thick of it. It scares me to the point of a physical ache. How can you make a teen realize you know more about life than them, when they think they know everything? You can't. You have to love them with every ounce and pound you can throw at them and hope that it sticks. You have to be there for them and hope they get it right...wonder if they don't get a second chance? Loving your kids hurts sometimes. Seeing them make foolish choices and having to help clean up after all the excrement hits the motorized air movement device seems to be an apt description of parenting a teen. You have to keep an eye on them and sometimes a closer eye on who they are hanging with. You have to be the bad guy and sometimes take the cold shoulder from them with a grain of salt. They think they know what they are doing but rarely do. They think you are an idiot when you know for a fact THEY are the ones acting like an idiot. You learn to take the roll of their eyes as a sign that at least they are hearing what you say. You start when they are barely toddlers and try to show them the way. They grow up to be rebellious teens and drift down another path ... you just hope one day they will come back to the path you lay out for them from the time they begin to walk. You pray a lot. Sometimes you cry and sometimes they fill you with so much pride and joy that you could pop! Other times you feel like popping THEM! I do not care if it takes them until they are thirty to grow up...just let them grow up to be the amazing person I know they are capable of being. I feel like I am sitting on the sidelines of their lives waiting for them to win the game. You can not play it for them but can cheer them on and tend to any injuries they may sustain. Being a parent is one big Doctor Kit. It is filled with remedies and band aids, prescriptions you hope they take correctly and lots of advice that is rarely taken. I used to think that was why doctors call it a PRACTICE. Now I know practice makes perfect...or at the very least helps one heck of a lot! The best a parent can hope for is that their kids have a very good memory and will wake up one day and remember all the lessons and things we instilled/pounded into them all their youth. Parenting should be called a PRACTICE as well. A practice in patience and a practice in persistence, you cannot give up on your kids, you simply must see them safely to the other side...Adulthood. Til next time...NOT GIVING UP COTTON

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Excuse Me..."My Age is Showing"

How did over half a century fly by in such a seemingly short period of time and why does it also seemed to have happened in the blink of an eye?
My childhood was wonderful. My teens were awesome until my Mother died. My twenties were a self inflicted blur of stupidity.

I look in the mirror today and suddenly see a fifty one year old woman that could easily pass for fifty nine. (I try not to look in the mirror a lot)

Like a dummy I dropped out of college...and they didn't encourage me NOT to, actually I think they sent me a Thank you note.

I somehow stumbled along and was almost grown up by the time I hit thirty.

Had kids and enjoyed being a "Mommy." My kid's are all almost grown (in THEIR minds) and still call me "Mommy" when they have royally screwed up or want something they know they don't really deserve but would LOVE to have!

I can't complain.

I COULD, but who COULDN'T?

My only gripe is that getting old seems to kinda suck. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to still be gasping for breath after working like a demon all day and sawing corns off my pinkie toes at the end of a night.

It makes me feel young to still have something as cute sounding as "Pinkie Toes!"

I just seem to "Creak" more and sometimes need a few more pushes on the ole "Primer Pump" before I can get cranked up for my day.

I cut the front of our subdivision for the first time this year.

It turned into a two day job.

I mean it's not like the entrance to "South Fork" on the show "Dallas" but it WHIPPED MY BUTT...and it's just April for Pete's sake!

I am getting lazy in my old age.

I couldn't find any sunglasses around the house so I weed eated without shades. Crap flew into my eyes non stop for over a hour. I looked Asian because I was squinting so much. Got it done though!

Didn't cut the weed eater line off shorter than the guard after running out of line (and time) and it flew off and popped me a good one on the chin. Dang...yard work is giving me battle scars now.

It takes away from the wrinkles on my face so at least it's a win/win situation.

Dang...that's kinda sad too!

I gotta get more money for this gig.

Can you imagine that scenario in July when it is over 100 degrees and my hot flashes are working overtime ..."Dang Meno-cause, not helping either!"

So now I am approaching being called "Senior" again. It seemed a lot more fun in high school... It was ALWAYS cool to be called a "Senior" then!

I think I'll just consider it all "The School of Life." I liked it so much I did it twice.

Til next time...knowing one day I'll be the one to have that really cool walker with a basket , horn , tassells and different colored tennis balls on each front leg and be the one EVERBODY talks about among the ones that can remember.


As always, click on photos to enlarge (my flaws)

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Tired" is an Understatement

I had a half a day off today and it felt like a two week vacation. Last week I worked every shift the restaurant was open except two lunch shifts. By the end of last night I was a zombie.

I slept til noon and hopped on Johnny for a trip around the front of the subdivision. One of the officers from the HOA called me last week and left a voicemail asking if I was going to cut the front again this year.

I went up today and cut all I could on Johnny. The deep culverts on either side have to be done with my weed eater. I have bent two blades on my mower trying to cut down in them but there are so many exposed large rocks that it isn't worth it to me to tear up my mower on a yard that isn't mine. It takes me an hour to cut on my mower and another two to weed eat.

For this they pay me $20.00. Out of that twenty I spend five on gas. When we moved in the subdivision 14 years ago my oldest son, TJ cut it with a push mower for $20 and did a semi crappy job.

Now they have a 50 year old woman picking up all the trash every time she turns into the street...cutting it and weed eating it with not ONE stray weed left sticking up when I am through and still pay me $20.00.

I decided to do it this one time and then am sending the HOA a letter requesting $50 a month. I am going to plead my case in a positive way...

"I live five houses from the front of the entrance. I pick up trash any time I pull in or out. I spend at least three hours on cutting it and use my own mower and gas. I am doing it for the same price they paid my son 14 years ago. I keep it nice and neat which keeps our subdivision looking much more attractive to anyone that may ride through thinking of buying a house here. I truly do not think you can get anyone else to do the job I do maintaining the front for less than $50."

We'll see what happens.

We were slower than a snail at work tonight which made my two week vacation seem like three. I hated not making a lot of money but I needed the rest and the owner made us all dinner on the house! Free Range Chicken with a home made dipping sauce and yummy garlic mashed potatoes. I made a little bit of money but had a restful night and got my belly full.

I know why we were slow..."The weather."

In Georgia all you have to do is MENTION bad weather and the state shuts down and battens their hatches. In the Winter just mention "Snow or ice" and the store shelves are raped. In the Summer mention "Severe thunderstorms" and all the lawn furniture is put in the garage and the stores sell out of candles and flashlight batteries.

We're simple folk here in JawJa. It doesn't take much to rattle us. We listen more closely to the Meteorologists than to our Preachers!

When I was little my grandmother would call my Mother every time a weather alert was issued. It was like she thought we couldn't watch the TV ourselves and she needed to warn us of the impending doom we were obviously unaware of.

I'll have to say I got my Grandmother's "Weather Gene." I am a weather freak too. One year when a tornado ripped through our part of the county I had all three kids and the dogs stuffed in the laundry room with a flashlight and radio as I stood by the front door and watched mesmerized as the trees all blew sideways at a ninety degree angle. I just couldn't quit watching! Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me...She is a Mighty Beast.

Tim came home fom work that night and had to park his truck two miles away and walk home because of fallen trees and downed power lines.

A storm is rumbling in as I type. I hear the beeping of the weather channel from the TV in the den behind me.

The only thing that would freak us Georgians out even more is if there was news of a possible shortage of Rebel flags, Cammo jackets and chewing Tobacco.

I am proud to be a Georgian. I'm not a red neck (well maybe today, it was sunny while I was cutting grass) but I know what it means to be a type cast Georgian .

"I know ASS- rite!" could be the "Type Cast" State motto.

Of course there are lots of us that don't meet the "type cast" standard but if you took a poll, there are more of US than THEM.

I still like being ME and being a Georgian.

I may not be a Southern Belle, but when I am riding "Johnny" with the wind of cars whizzing by me not two feet away making my own subdivision look better...I feel like the "Belle of the South with a brand new Blade."

Am I really that sad of a person or do I just answer the question "What's Kelly Cotton all about?"

I don't think I'll ever move away from the South...who could they possibly ever get to replace me?

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, April 8, 2011

A GREAT Run...

It's been a good run. I've looked at dirty Guard feet. I have made countless new friends.
Have witnessed parents and friends all coming together for one common goal.
I have witnessed Massey growing into a young woman I am extremely proud of... making her own decisions and learning about commitment , dedication and how far that can take you in life.

I have made a lot of new friends and had the time of my life being around all these teens. They excelled in Drama...created a lot of it themselves but always came together when it mattered the most.

They support each other and have renewed my faith in the youth of today.

Massey is closer to some than others but they ALL stand together united as "ECHS Guards."

I cannot say enough good things about the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles , friends and supporters of this Guard.

I'll give you a gauge to go by...I was a slacker!

I got home from work tonight, tired and worn out. I found out the Guard season was finally over and it wasn't relief I was sadness. Not for the Guard , but for me.

I wouldn't be around all these kids , parents and excitement anymore.

The Guard is just what I needed at this point in my life.

A reason to smile and reason to "In-Joy."

It has been a reminder that when life gets have to be TOUGHER!

Just when you think you are need to look around you.

Extend your hand and it will be firmly grasped by the many that love you and they will pull you through.

It may sound crazy that a high school sport has become so important to me...but it has.

I have a wonderful immediate family but I also have an extended family...The Guard family.

It has been a great run. It has been a thrill.

It has been something that has drained me but has uplifted me ten times over!

Congrats to all these kids!

Thanks for letting me be a small part of your wonderful world.

There's always next year! (unless you are a Senior)

To the Seniors...Believe me, your life is just getting started but what a wonderful way to begin it!

Til next time....a Totally Sucked In "GUARD MOM."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dog Sitting Duty Day Two...

On the way to my friend's house this morning before work to check on their dogs, and let a few more cats out the back door...I picked them up a possum and two raccoons off the bypass. I was looking for an armadillo (wouldn't it be cool to have a tiny dinosaur?) I figured the possum will take care of a couple of the cats and the raccoon can pass for one of the missing cats! I picked up a shift this morning from a fellow co worker last night on FB. She said "Do you want my 11AM shift?" To me that means I am supposed to be there at 11. I flew to my dog sitting house and helped the dogs hump over to crap faster...fed them, shooed them back outside and let them crap again , put them back in their kennels promising them I would spend more time with them after my lunch shift. I've never seen a dog give a "Yeah, RIGHT!" look before, but believe I got one from both pups as I shut their kennels. Got to work with five minutes to spare only to learn I was forty minutes early for my shift. "AARRGGHH!" I went across the street to throw a few bucks at Verizon so our cell phones wouldn't be cut off...that 's my connection to Massey while she is in Ohio and I can't let that happen. Went back to work and got off around 2:00. I went by the bank using the drive through making fake calls on my cell phone while I made my deposit. It makes me feel better when I am worried I am in the "Red." That way I'm not staring at the teller wondering if they are going to say "Your account has been closed." Then if they do, I can hold up one finger and say "I'm on the phone with Oprah...she's depositing some money in my account as we speak." I was in the "Black" with 14 bucks to spare! Went back to check on the pups I am sitting. There was a cat sitting out front that acted like it was supposed to go inside so I let it when I opened the door. Spent a few minutes letting the dogs enjoy some couch time and for the life of me couldn't figure out how to make their TV come on. The pups seemed as disappointed as me when I couldn't watch "GH." Let two cats out and one more back in...these people are going to kill me when they come back from Ohio with sixteen more animals living in their house than when they left. They all seem happy to be there, so who am I to question it? I didn't get off until after nine and went back to check on the pups. They can hear me before I even put the key in the lock. They are cute little dogs and have really taken a shine to me. I have decided that before the family gets back I will take a calculator and count all the animals I have been letting in and out, just in case they try to sue me! When I got home from work and my husband was leaving for work, he said to drop Charlie (our bulldog) off at their house tomorrow. "Just tell them he is a snub nosed fat cat you found scratching at their back door." So I'm not a great animal sitter this week. Normally I am. I have worked so many shifts this week I have lost count and still have five more to go. At least the dogs are okay. The cats...I think they are all still there. There may be a couple of new ones and I might have lost one or two of the old ones, but who's counting? (NOT ME) I have to be at work by 10:30 in the morning. Going by to take a quick head count before work and will take another before I go back for my dinner shift. This family USED to be Massey's best friend's parents. You may be reading about me on the news...Do you think the family will notice the two chipmunks I let in the back door? Or will they say "Hey, I found those hamsters with stripes we have been looking for!"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dog Sitting...Day One

Dropped Massey off at the high school before 5AM this morning for her trip to World Championships in Dayton. Came back home and got a couple more hours of sleep and headed into work for the day shift. I am dog sitting for Massey's best friend on Guard. Her entire family went to Dayton and I am dog sitting for them while they are gone. This family has been wonderful to Massey so it's the absolute least I can do. I went by their house last night to pick up the key after I got off work. They have two small dogs (all dogs are small compared to my three galoots.) I forgot they had cats too. I am not a big cat person...I don't hate them but have never owned one. It bugs me how they seem to suddenly HAVE to be in another room in a split second. What do they know that I don't? And what about those razor sharp talons they have...they could kill you with those if they wanted to! They can hide in so many different never even know they are there until they decide they have to suddenly scamper into another room for no apparent reason. The family took care of the dogs before they left this morning so I went by after my lunch shift to let them out. Their dogs are crate trained (wish mine were) and were in their little homes when I went in the front door. They were barking so ferociously I was almost scared to put my hand on the cage to open it. No worries...they were just happy to be let out. They scampered all over the house looking for their owners. It made me feel sorry for them. Once they determined they had been abandoned they turned to chasing the cats around. I stopped counting cats when I got to six. I hooked up the leash and took the dogs out back. They immediately did their "Do" and wandered around for five or ten minutes. When I went by last night for my instructions...I noticed the cats had a big automatic food bowl that dumped food in as needed. I gotta get my kids one of those! I made sure all the toilet lids were up in case the cats got thirsty and locked the dogs back in their houses. I sent the Mom a text and said "Dog Duty Day One...How many cats does one family need?" She replied back "I keep asking that myself. Me and the cats just don't get along and the girls take in any strays within a 50 mile radius." I sent her back a text: "There are six cats living by the dumpster at work. Want me to take them over to your house?" Quick reply "That would be a negative." You know me..I sent one right back "Would you really even notice six more?" Another quick response..."I think I would." Another zinger from me..."We'll see!" Quicker response "NOoooooooo" I was on fire now...sent back "Here, Kitty Kitty!" I locked up and left, still laughing at myself (I'm my biggest fan.) Went back to work for the dinner shift and got off around 9PM. I went back over to let the dogs out again and think I counted seven cats...including the mean one that stands guard outside their front door...I'd be mean too if they locked me out while an entire herd got to stay inside. While I was letting the dogs wander around out back I sent the Mom another text: "Just got off work. The six new cats get along great with the twelve you already had. I locked them all in your bedroom so they would have plenty of room to play." I didn't hear back from her so thought they must be on their way back to the airport to fly home and kill me! She finally sent me back a text saying " As long as they are on my husband's side of the bed, we're good." I am having a lot of fun with this "Dog Duty/ Cat Harassment gig." It takes my mind off the fact that I am not in Ohio with my girl. They perform for the first time tomorrow and with fingers crossed and prayers going up, wish them all the luck in the world! I think the day that everyone is due home I will swing by the family's house one last time and lock all the cats up in the dog cages and leave the dogs roaming round the place! "Dog Duty" update tomorrow! Til next time....COTTON

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On the Road Again...Wish I was Going too!

How did this little girl with the massive curly hair and not a care in the world turn into a young lady with so many dreams and so much desire to succeed in what seemed like the blink of an eye?
Kids grow up so quickly...had I known I would have made her start smoking at an early age to stunt her growth!

This weekend is the culmination of her Guard season which has proved them to be stand out champions who make me feel honored to be a "Guard Mom Gone Broke."

They leave at 5AM for Ohio...World Championships. They are going in ranked 8th in the Nation. I hate it that I am not going, but on the flip side it gives me four days to work non stop double shifts and not have to worry about getting her to and from practice.

With this new age of technology I can keep up with her the entire trip via FB, cell phones and texting. It's like I am there with her...just floating along beside her in cyber space!

I have twelve shifts scheduled this week and thinking about cramming in one more. Days off are over rated and by the time she gets back I will have many bills paid and still know what she is doing and how the Guard is doing's a win/win situation.

Her Aunts drove her air mattress up here tonight from Florida where she left it when she stayed with them after her Pensacola competition and flew home. We've even sucked THEM into this crazy Guard world!

It's a world I would have never known about if Massey hadn't filled in as a sub when she was still in middle school. Now she is ending her sophomore year and I am officially a "Guard Mom."

I worked tonight just to make enough to send her with money for food. I made my goal and even got her some snacks to take with her.

My cousin and her husband came into eat with me tonight (Thanks for the phat tip) and we had a good time chatting while they ate. I told them about waiting on a table the other night. It was a party of 8 and three of them were French ( the waiting world.) Europeans are notoriously horrible tippers. In Europe, servers are paid wages and serving is considered a profession not to mention usually the tip is included in the bill. Here, we make $2.13 a hour and rely totally on tips. I saw this one coming over the back yard fence. I thought I had a pretty good chance...out of the 8 only three were French.

My heart dropped when one of the French women came out into the hallway and said in broken English "When the bill is to be paid, Pierre wants the bill."

I wanted to say "I don't WANT Pierre to pay the bill...isn't there someone named Billy or Pete or maybe Jim that wants to pick up the tab?"

Being the smart server I am I got the tab up as high as I could. Two bottles of wine, appetizers, dinner, dessert and espresso. When they declined my offer of dinner to take home in a box for the next day I dropped the check. $244.oo.

Ole Pierre left me a $21.oo tip! I am thinking about going back to calling French Fries "Freedom Fries."

Such is the life of a server.

You have to give excellent service 100% of the time and hope that at the end of your week it all works out to your advantage.

Tonight I banked (Thanks Cuz and hubby) and Massey has plenty of money to go to Ohio while I stay here and make more!

It may seem that this Guard is a frivolous way to spend my money but I see it differently. Massey is learning a life lesson early...dedication + hard work= success!

They head to Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday for a pretty good chance of bringing home a first place victory. I will be with her every mile of the trip, she will be on my mind every minute of every day. I will log onto FB every morning and follow them via the Internet.

While squeezing in my 12 shifts I am also watching another Guard's dogs because her entire family is going. Picked up their house key tonight and am thinking about taking my three dogs over to their house for the duration of the trip to Ohio. Dogs can bond too can't they?

As crazy as it sounds...I am sad the season is almost over. I have made so many good friends, and so many of them have taken Massey under their wing and done so very much for not only her but for my entire family.

When you have teens...especially in these times, it's all about keeping them busy, keeping them focused and keeping them reaching for higher goals.

The Guard has done just that...not only for Massey but for me as well.

I have included a video of their show this is called "In-Joy" and that is what this past year with the Guard has been to me..."In-Joy"able.

Whatever happens, I am proud of these kids and they should be proud of themselves!

"In-Joy" the video...

Til next time...COTTON