Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Light At The End of The Tunnel. Well, THIS Tunnel...

Family SupportSearch for teens
It's been quite a year. It seems like five but has only been one. My life took a totally unexpected turn a little over a year ago. I was in the above photo but with the light to my back.

Turns out the light to my back was the light of many many family members, friends and even strangers. When I thought I couldn't go on one more day...something happened to inspire and urge me forward. My family was always steadfast and overwhelmingly loving. My friends from high school kicked in overdrive. Churches helped us, relatives that I had only recently met helped us and along with the grace of GOD we have come to that last curve in a really long tunnel.

Zach graduates on Saturday after screaming and kicking his way through a brutal Senior year. I often screamed right along beside him and realize  all I have been through hasn't exactly been conducive for a great last year of school but the boy did it anyway and it makes for a high point in my life as a parent.

The tides seems to be changing...the wind is blowing in a different direction and the air smells sweet.

Tim got a new job with wonderful opportunities and a huge raise if he does well after six months.

 Zach totalled my car three weeks ago and  I am now driving the car I always wanted as a twenty year old. Granted it is older than my car but looks newer.

 I was still apprehensive as I drove it home. Would it explode, overheat or be sideswiped before I made it back to the Grady curve? (Atlanta landmark on our ridiculously traffic overloaded highway system.)

We made it back to Newnan. I was still in denial. Then it passed the emissions test.

 Still wary, I drove it to work today and encountered a downpour  the likes of the one that made Noah start building an ark. It's a convertible and I thought...every thing else is working fine, the rag top must be the weak link in this fantasy I seem to be currently living. I got to work and the bottom fell out. The wind was blowing so hard I couldn't open the back door. When I managed to get it open the wind whipped and slammed it open so hard I couldn't get it shut. Everyone in the kitchen was staring and laughing at a ninety nine pound soaking wet ole lady just trying to clock in.

When I left work tonight the car was nice and dry inside...BINGO!

Tim starts his new job next week...going to Nashville for training (or maybe they will keep him and just direct deposit his paycheck...totally kidding, unless you talk to Tim. He might be DOWN with all that!)

Having fam and friends over on Saturday for the /MY  graduation par-Tay. Two kids down, one to go. My house is a semi wreck but I spent six hours on Johnny today making the front of the subdivision look fantabulous and cutting my own yard as well. I may have to make people stand out in the yard waiting for me to bring them a plate so they don't see my HUGE dog house on the inside but it's all good to me.

My boy  is "Gradiating" and that is a milestone I have dreamed of for several years.

 All the rest is just a bobble in the game of life, a tumultuous time that reminded me  how much I am loved. Massey's band family helped us as I tried my best to help them. I got a great new job that has helped us time after time after time.

It's like I am scared of being happy but thrilled that I am all at the same time.

I have so many to thank. I have so many to pay back and I have so much to pay forward. I have to work a double shift on Friday but if I can get Zach out of high school I can do ANYTHING!

Will give the house a quick "Fluffing" when I get home from work tomorrow night and have all the burger patties made up before I go to bed. My next door husband is in Hawaii and I am dragging his grill over to cook on. It will be a great day...oh yes it will!

There are  millions and millions worse off than me, even when we were at our aboslute worst. I feel ashamed that I ever felt sorry for us.

The curse has lifted. I feel empowered. I am the only one in control of my own personal destiny, but  would never be standing in this light without the help of so many and the help of the Man upstairs.

So it is Memorial Day will certainly be remembered by me.

Gloria Gaynor said it best "I will survive!"

Til next time...(that means tomorrow)  COTTON

ONE MORE DAY!!!!!!!!!

If he can make it through six more hours of school...stick a fork in his skinny little butt, "He's Done!"
Got the email today from his teacher...which royally ticked Zach and his global sized ego off. She told me he had one more paper to turn in, his senior paper on Culinary Arts.
I found it on the computer and had my sister edit it ...after I had edited it. I'm getting this boy out of school no matter what. If I have to sleep with one of the custodian's so what? They are generally the nicest people at the school and the one's being paid the least. I thought wouldn't it be great if he buffed all my floors before he left or took the trash out for me? Talk about a win/win situation!
Zach burred all up when I told him I was going to edit his paper. He said it was four pages long and that was good enough. He also said he was 18 and in charge of his own education...I simply walked away, to the computer and sat down and edited his paper anyway. The paper was pretty well written, although, he seemed to have a comma after every other, single word. (get my drift?)
He still doesn't understand the "There Their They're" rule when he is writing or most probably thinks it reads the same either way so...NEXT PARAGRAPH!
Now was the hard part...getting him to turn this paper in with the corrections. I knew he had a hard time making the paper four pages long. His first draft was done in font # 42 and there were three inches between each paragraph...Helen Keller could have read it.
Once that horrible relentless tyrant of a teacher who made her every day goal to torment Zach (NOT) told him it had to be in a certain font, he faltered.
He finally made it four pages long, but barely. I gave the new one to him this morning and said "I know you didn't want help but Aunt Cin taught English for years and wanted to give you the gift of cleaning up your paper. This one doesn't have one grammatical error or wrong punctuation ...the only bad thing is that it made the paper a bit longer, will that count off?"
I called my sister and told her about my skills as a mother of an 18 year old know it all who didn't have a clue as to what really happened. She said "Kelly, I only taught English for two years." I told her that two was plural and we were calling it "Years."
It was the same paper with the same ideas and same message, it just flowed better now.
My husband said not to say too much (who ME?) because Zach would get suspicious and he was right (that's the second time in 23 years, he's on a roll!) I didn't mention it again.
I took him to school this morning...the LAST morning of his high school career/4 year debacle and when he got out of the car actually said "Thanks for the paper."
I said a prayer in the parking lot before I ever pulled off. "Dear Lord, let him make it five more hours without a major blow up."
As Zach used to say when he was four "My prayers came right!"
He's done!! He has pushed me to limits I never knew I possessed but has given me what I asked for..."Do it and get OUTTA there with a diploma." I am a bit apprehensive about graduation. When they call his name, if the faculty doesn't give him a standing ovation (obviously more for themselves than him) they will most certainly start a wave and begin that old chant from high school football games in the seventies... "Na na na nah, Na na na nah, Hey - hey...Good Bye."
As we say around these parts... "My boy's done gonna git gradgiated."
I don't know who's happier, me or them. All I DO know is that it ain't been easy when it could have been but at least we all have somehow survived....and that's a GOOD thing!
His dress pants are at the cleaners and he is headed to graduation practice tomorrow at 9AM.
Life is looking up! Even more good news came today but that is another blog. I like to leave you with a cliff hanger because my life seems to be such a great soap opera.
Stay tuned........COTTON

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Southerner's Listen to the Warnings...

It was really slow at work tonight. You would have thought there was a tornado warning or blizzard didn't help that the world was ending at 6PM.

People in JawJa listen to the forecast...even the spiritual ones. Tell them there is a slight chance of tornadoes and they all head to the bomb shelter they built during the Cuban missile crisis. Tell them it may snow and the store shelves are empty in two hours and they lug it all back to the bomb shelter (in case the blizzard collapses the roof of the house.)

So we are all at work ...knowing that people are at home nailing up crucifixes and dusting off the family Bible and replacing the TV Guide on the coffee table with The Holy Book.

"Game Time!" We (me and my co-hort) decided to play a little game. They recently re-hired a former employee that the server staff wasn't overly fond of. We decided it would be fun to see who could slip one single ice cube into his server apron without being noticed.

You don't notice it until about fifteen minutes later and by that time it has started to melt and all your paper work, orders and pens are a wet mess. Sounded like fun to me..."Sign me up!"

We put up a score card on the ice machine. It started out just me and my dastardly co-hort but as we began to realize it was going to be a slow night....we added people one at a time. We made up the rules as we went along and changed them every fifteen minutes.

We let one of the newer servers in on it...she's best described as a "Nervous Nelly." She is cute and sweet and is nervous from the time she walks in til the time she walks out. It's a hard job when you first start...the menu is massive, the wine list even more so and when you work in a restaurant that you can wait on four tables and walk out with a hundred gotta be good at your job. She will be fine but we often find her curled up in a fetal position on the restroom floor and have to coax her out with free food.

She sidled up next to the guy we targeted and was so obvious dropping the ice cube into his apron that even HE said "Man..don't do that, it'll mess me up."

Okay...rule change. New Girl is eliminated and now that she has screwed up she is a target as well. Double points go into effect.

By this time it was apparent tonight was going to be slow. Time to add more players.

Pretty soon every one was paranoid. "If they kicked the new girl out...maybe they are targeting us too."

It turned into an episode of "Survivor" with us all making alliances with each other... plotting against the weak links and constantly checking our own apron pockets. We still had a decent crowd and made some money...the game was just a bonus. We backed around each other and looked for a server with a melting ice cube dripping from their clutched fist. passed the time and ended up being pretty funny. I went up to one of the male servers we had let in on the game and said "Is that an ice cube melting in your apron or did you just go swimming?"

So the Rapture didn't feel like rappin'...guess God was right after all, only HE knows!

I got home early...after checking all my apron pockets. Came home to a house still there. I was kinda hoping it was a "Cleansing Rapture" and the only thing that would be gone would be the dust and dirt...but there seemed to be even more.

We are a "Literal" folk here in the South...I guess that last war taught us something..."The Yankees are coming" has evolved into "The tornado is coming, the blizzard is fixin' to hit, God will be here in twenty minutes...are there fresh hand towels in the guest bath?"

Til next time... COTTON

Friday, May 20, 2011

"OH...It's ON Now!"

Granted Zach hasn't been a model student...but the faculty never met that nerdy little three year old wearing Barney sneakers riding a Bat Man bike while wearing a fanny pack as he held the real (to him) Barney tight against his tiny chest.

Move forward to the goofy years. You know... take a bath twice a week and always have the same fake grimace/smile in every photo as if your big brother was fixing to smack you(again.)

Oh... then there are those three horrible years called "Middle School ." You think you look cool but totally look like an idiot and your posture resembles someone that will be on a walker before they get a learner's permit.

Move on to the "Now I AM cool stage." Still clueless but think they have surpassed you in knowledge, coolness and obviously intelligence.

Then the hammer drops. It's senior year...three days to go. He has

procrastinated for three years but thought time moved a lot slower.

Oh..he's in the REAL world now. He has butted heads with and challenged every authority figure he could. He has pointed out the weaknesses of our failing education system and damned the people who won't give teacher's the money they so rightly deserve. He has written eloquent speeches about the environment, wowed me several times with other papers he has written and not often enough made me really proud. He has also made a few bad decisions and in doing so raised the red flag . They are watching him like a hawk now. They are scrutinizing every move he makes and taking their final shots at breaking him.

I've talked to his teachers, Tim's talked to his teachers...a LOT.

We're BFF's now.

I truly think his teacher's know what a smart guy he is and just shake their heads in regret as Zach continually refuses to use his gift to his advantage.

My boy.

That's all that matters. He is my blood. He came out of my body and is the product of me meeting and marrying Tim. He is the end result of a miracle that never ceases to amaze me...the creation of human life. God gave me Zach for a reason...sometimes I think it was so he could chuckle a little.

God gave me this gift of life and I will do my best to make him a person to be proud of and am proud that I was the person lucky enough to be able call him my son.

Let's move on to TODAY! Massey sent me a text picture at work. Zach made the year book!!!!!!!!!!!

He looks really happy(not)... but I AM!!
I think he looks really handsome and have looked at this photo at least thirty times today.

I just wish the school systems would focus on the important and administration could forget about feeling power over a bunch of teens and getting all giddy about mentally punching them when they are down or targeting them when at LEAST they are still attending school and trying to finish.

HEY! I know my kid's no angel..."Try living with him!"

But at least he has hung in there. He wants to finish school.

Of course he wants to make it as miserable as he can for everybody, but as teachers and admin's you should expect that from some of the teens in the year 2011. That's sad to say...but it's "Just the facts Ma'am!" (Joe Friday on Dragnet)

I'm using Honey this weekend...Tim's on Vinegar patrol. I will get Zach out of this school and after a nice par-tay...will kick him out into the world.

Fly away litttle bird. Flap your wings..."Watch out for the down draft!"

Til next time...still crossing fingers and toes, COTTON

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Five, Four, Three, Two...

Counting down the days is hard to do with your fingers crossed but I am doing it. Massey has six days left, Zach has three. It's the three that worry me but I think his teacher's want him to graduate more than I do so perhaps he'll make it after all.

The picture to the left is truly "old school." It is one of my brother's class photos from the early sixties. Notice the trouble kid who's desk is pulled up by the chalk board. Dang...don't you know his mom was proud as pop when he brought home THIS class picture? Was he SO bad that they wouldn't even let him join the rest of the class for a picture?

Then we move into the swinging seventies with a "Groovy" class picture from the same school but with my class. I still remember that sweater of the two I owned that my Mom didn't make. I think the white knee socks and chucka boots are a nice touch. They scream "You won't have a boyfriend til you are twenty."

Life was so simple back was school. Once a week you had square dancing class, I still know how to do the Virginia Reel and know all the words to "Oh Johnny Oh Johnny Oh." Our Spanish lessons were watching Senora Del Ray on PBS on a huge black and white TV they rolled into the class room. The biggest scandal I can recall about any of the girls was the time Charlene came to school with her hair dyed jet black instead of her snow white blond. I think we all thought "Her mother must be lady of the night" because I can guarantee none of OUR Mother's would have ever given the go ahead for something like THAT!

From the time of Kindergarten I walked home from school...with no cell phone, beeper or tracking device and I lived to tell the story. We went trick or treating with our friends and our parents stayed home and gave out candy while we went to every house in a four block radius wearing our totally flammable costumes with the cheap plastic mask that cut into your eyes and made you drool after trying to breathe through that tiny slit in the mouth. Those were the days!

We didn't feel the need to count down the days at the end of the school year. Heck, we didn't start until the Monday after Labor Day and got out in May. When I was a kid there was no "School List." They gave you every thing you needed the first day, notebooks, tablets and pencils. All you had to do was show up!

By the time I have grand kids they will be expected to show up for pre-K with a lap top and iPhone.

I went to the last banquet tonight. Concerts are all done, awards given out and Luke warm food scarfed down off a paper plate...CHECK!

Thank goodness I only have one child that is crazy about extra curricular activities. TJ started out strong in ninth grade playing basket ball, football and running track. By the time he turned fifteen he started working and discovered pay day was better than a win on the field and made him a lot happier. (Smart boy)

All kidding aside it has been fun being involved with Massey and her flurry of keeps you young and in touch and teaches you what the words "Epic...Beast and Chill" mean in 2011.

Got a call from Zach's teacher today.

I don't know if caller ID is a good thing or a bad thing at our house, tough call. The principal called him out at lunch for his pants being too low. The "Principal"...loosely translated by Zach "The Anarchist that oppresses and tries to control and take over the minds of teens, sucking the life out of them and demanding the ridiculous...RESPECT."

His teacher said the principal demanded they write Zach up or he would suspend which case he wouldn't graduate. The teacher almost seemed to be whispering, I think she was hiding in a custodian's closet. She said "Mrs. Cotton, I know pants seem to be trivial at this point but could you ask Zach to pull them up a bit...we just want these kids to graduate."

Dang...I've never bought a TEACHER a gift for graduation but this lady may deserve one. She refrained from saying "We're trying to get Zach outta here for Pete's sake, can he JUST pull his pants up for three more days?'

I let Tim field this one. He had made the mistake of getting up to go to the bathroom while he was sleeping for work tonight and I handed him the phone and went upstairs.

I could tell she put Zach on the phone...Tim's voice rose about 2000 decibels and I could hear every word as if I was in the custodian's closet with the teacher. Tim came back upstairs to hang up the phone shaking his head and said "Zach's got an answer for everything...wonder where he gets THAT?"

If I consider my personality type 'Fiery' let's just say Zach's initials are TNT... Guess he really IS an overachiever!

The boy is going down fighting. Tim reamed him a new one...easy to do since his pants hang down to his upper thighs. I told Tim the pants he has are 28's. I don't think they make 27's for men. He's a skinny kid that eats like a horse and has a mouth like a screaming Hyena when cornered.

I have a belt ready for him to wear tomorrow. I'd like to use it on him first.

Massey has decided not to do Guard for a season. I think she feels guilty about how much it costs. In her defense she needs to get much needed therapy for her knee and we're still waiting for Tim's insurance to kick in. Heck, we're waiting for all the promises they gave Tim when they hired him to kick in.

He had two interviews with a new company this week and they are going to let him know tomorrow. It's a great job with many opportunities to advance. We may have to relocate but at this point I say "Let's go." Could be Ohio or Illinois or Florida. My vote's for Florida. If it's Ohio, he can come home Thanksgiving and Christmas. If it's Chicago I'll go. If it's Orlando I'll beat him there.

If it's Orlando my brother will have to be put on suicide watch...he is transferring back to the Orlando area. He is single and never had kids. That's a good thing because he has been helping to raise mine for years. He and my sister have been the forces that have seen us through. My sister still likes me, I make her laugh...she thinks I should be a stand up comic.

My brother is three times funnier than me and four times tireder of taking care of a fifty one year old sister...but he does it anyway. He may not like me...but he loves me.

In nine days Zach will graduate. I've heard rumours that out of the 650 graduates they are going to call his name first and escort him out...that boy knows how to make Mama proud!

When he was in third grade he came home one day and announced he wanted to go to Clown College. When I laughed he said "There are some really good ones."

He already dresses like a clown...

Till next time, counting down the days...COTTON

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Parenting Shmarenting

You HAVE to click on this photo. I laughed for five minutes. Then I kicked myself in the butt for two more minutes wishing I had thought of this photo opp when my own kid's were young.

You know it was a young couple that took this shot... Parents who had back to back youngun's and by the time they reached three and four thought to themselves..."If we don't start laughing about this now, we'll be in a rubber room by the time they hit 17 and 18."

My dogs have always had free range of the yard, house and furniture so we never HAD a kennel. If we had, I would have already thought of this...(I'm funny like that.)

There are parents who have kid's with horrific disabilities both physically and mentally. To those parents "Yes I am a wimp but I take my hat off to and pray for you on a daily basis realizing what a truly lucky person I am."

Kids are so different. Sometimes I wonder how mine could have possibly all come from the same gene pool? All I have to say is that it must be a HUGE gene pool...the size of the North Atlantic.

I keep feeling myself slipping off the deck of the parenting boat, tossing and turning in the huge waves of Testosterone, and the swells of PMS and "Whatever!"

Finally my LAST two kid's are over three fourths of the way to being one tenth of the way to maturity and responsibility. Kids just don't grow up as quickly as we did. My parent's ran a tight ship and were commited to church and Country...they still thought about the Cuban missile crisis when I started Junior High ten years later and always had a corner of the basement designated for Tornado Warnings. It was back by the Cuban Missile Crisis corner. Guess bomb's hit from the same direction as Tornado's.

My Mom spent sixty bucks a week on groceries for a family of five and that was with getting twenty bucks cash back.

No wonder Zach is so pissed at the world. We are making tremendous strides with technology but values and morals seem to be going in the crapper. Don't get me wrong there are millions of wonderful parents and children but the important things have taken a slight detour. They are no longer the straight and narrow but more undefined and sometimes skirted around. When you hit eighteen at our house when we were kids and graduated from high school you got the graduation present of a nice set of luggage and were expected to use it ....and we did.

There was no moving back home, your room had already been made into a comfy den or one of the younger Sib's had taken over your bigger bedroom as their own...packing up whatever crap you left into a box and shoving it into the attic.

If you chose to go to college, your parent's were your "Hope Scholarship." They supported you . If you didn't go to college, you joined the work force.

I have spoiled all three of my kids. They are products of what I raised them to be. I bailed them out every time they screwed up. I took them papers to the school when they left them at home after I had propped up a note on the kitchen table saying "Don't forget papers." I have been known to throw together a pretty mean "Diorama" in one one night (that would be the night BEFORE it was due.) I would have it looking perfect then tell the kid's "Okay, add what you want" (to give it that authentic non parent look.) They would add something that was not only nowhere close to being scale to the scene but usually having nothing to do with it.

I didn't do all my kid's school work for them. They earned their grades and often all excelled on their own.

I am just a push over when they look at me and admit they have screwed up. At least they admitted it and asked for help.

A lot of kids aren't even THAT smart...maybe I am raising geniuses and they are pulling a fast one on the ole lady.

I could have done a better job and I am the first one to admit it but I could have also done a horrible job and be sending three future serial killers or uni bombers out into the world to wreak havoc on the masses.

I think my kid's will be may just take longer.

My second one is graduating in nine days...I wrote the check for senior dues and it cleared, I'm holding this school accountable.

I told my husband I was excited about Zach receiving the "Most likely to be missed least by faculty and administration" makes me feel kinda fuzzy all over!

My job with Zach will be a success in nine short days. He is a brilliant kid that has fought the broken system every step of the way and pointed out it's every downfall .

Between his mind and my constant love he'll graduate. If he had chosen to do it all on his own using the wonderful gift of intelligence he has been blessed with, he would be headed to Harvard with a full ride.

But at least he is loved, has always been loved and will always be loved. That's a pretty good gift to have too.

He's still getting the luggage as a present...and is expected to use it.

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, May 13, 2011

Can't Scare me!

I feel pretty good about this Friday the 13th. I've had more Friday the 13th's in the past couple of years than I care to count...this one's been a piece of cake!

It's been a long "WEAK" as I like to call them. I put in well over fifty hours last week so this one felt like a staycation.

Took a 36 hour self imposed time out from the world on my day off and came back strong.

My next door husband's daughter went to her first prom this weekend and asked me to hem the dress she (he) had bought. I'm no super seamstress but my Mom was and taught me all the basics. The dress was a pale sea foam green and quite beautiful, especially when Alyssa put it on. She has lived next door to us since she was four and I have watched her grow up alongside Massey.

They started as precious tots and grew into cute little kids, struggled through those awkward "Tween" years and both turned out as rare beauties, inside and out.

I was a nervous wreck hemming the dress. A brand new dress is a novelty to me much less one that cost a couple of bills. The skirt was full and at least six inches too long. I didn't want to cut it ... get rid of material and there's NO room for errors! I decided on turning it up twice and hemming. The problem was that creates a LOT of material to hem and when you get a quarter of the way around you end up with two inches of material to fold up and try to blend in.

If you are a straight male that reads my blog...just skip the last two sentences.

On top of the dress hemming, my boss asked me if I wanted to starch and iron catering shirts for this weekend? We are catering one wedding for 2oo and another for 300 both on Saturday. They said they'd rather pay me than a dry cleaner so I said "Sign me up...Shirt be ready Friday, Love you long time!"

Now I felt pressure to do a REALLY good job on the shirts.

It's hard when you have Charlie scrubbing against the ironing board every five minutes like a cat next to the shirt hanging on the ironing board and gets his white freakin' hair all OVER the jet black dress shirts I am trying to iron..."IDIOT" (But I love the little doofus)

Between both projects and working eights shifts, I squeezed in Franny's 80th birthday "PAR-TAY." If you read my blog you know who Franny is...if you don't, she's my Diddy's cousin we only met a few years back through a relative doing a family tree. (Thanks Cuzn Neil)

She's most aptly described as "A hot mess that makes ya feel blessed!!"

She is a pistol. She's taken many a lickin' and kept right on tickin'. Sharp as a tack. The only sign of old age I have noticed is that she is "hard a hearing" (that's what we call it in the South.)

By the time you reach eighty you've heard it all anyway!

If I live to be her age, that's the way I want to be..."Like Franny."

She NEVER complains, and if she does it's because she is putting you in your rightful place and reminding you of how lazy today's society has become. When I look at all this woman has been through and seen in her eighty years... and the fact that I have never heard her complain once, except when she complained I was focusing on the negative too much and not the positive, truly and totally inspires me!

Both my parents are gone...but now I have a "Super Franny."

Franny's birthday is May 13 and this one fell on Friday.
You are one LUCKY woman Franny, and I am even LUCKIER for having YOU in my life.

Almost the end of my weak/week . My struggles are NOTHING compared to what Franny has survived. If she, at eighty can be as strong and strong willed as she most certainly still is...I am a very lucky woman... Thank the Lord I come from strong stock.

Countin' down the days til Zach graduates from prison/high school with fingers toes and eyes crossed....COTTON

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Made It!

Well THAT was a weekend! I worked three back to back double shifts and lived through the nightmare...even managed to laugh a little along the way. I have a lot of self doubt and tend to be way too hard on myself but ask me my strong point and I'd say my ability to find humor in almost EVERY situation.

Friday was okay. I was on day number five of my work week and still felt semi fresh. Finished my Double, came home and cleaned house til after two in the morning. You are a little groggy when you wake up later that morning but will look around and see all you accomplished while "The Destroyers" were sleeping and it feels pretty darn good.

I'd rather wake up groggy, running late and step into a clean shower than be well rested enough to look around the shower stall and think "This is disgustingly dirty."

My Saturday double began to wear me out around two in the afternoon...not a good sign. I had a twenty minute break between shifts and went to "Medicate" my hooves. Bought corn pads for my darling "Pinkie" toes that were screaming so loud they had to turn the music up in the restaurant so customers wouldn't complain. Bought some callus cushions for the two bone spurs on the bottom of my feet that make me walk like "Festus" from Gunsmoke. It's a good thing my sis bought me a pair of Dansko's to wear at work or I would have asked if I could finish the night in my bedroom shoes.

Enter "John"... stage left.

He is a newer server that has been thrown into "Mother's Day Weekend Hell" for the first time at our store. Let me back up for a sec. We used to have a server named Janine. She tried, honest she did but just wasn't cut out for our store. She was like a bull in a china more like an elephant in a hamster cage. Everything she touched was a disaster. She would make herself a cup of coffee and it would look like she stirred it with a shovel. Coffee and sugar would be all over the place and you could follow the dripped coffee on the floor to find her if you needed her after she walked away with the cup in her hands. One night during the middle of a Friday night rush she knocked the printer off the expo window in the kitchen that sends checks to the cooks. When she fumbled to catch it (which she didn't) she knocked the container of steak knives off as well. When she tried to catch the steak knives she knocked over the container of pasta spoons. She was a nightmare. She was a nice nightmare, but it was kinda scary. When she had a night off and someone else made a goof up...we'd (mostly Dayna and I) would say "Way to go, Janine."

She reminded me of Hazel Burke trying to be a ballerina in an old episode of "Hazel."

Back to John...Saturday night was crazy busy and he has been sick lately and was still in recovery mode. He went to get the carton of half and half out of the small refrigerator we use and spilled it everywhere. I walked by and said "Way to go, Janine." He finally cleaned up the mess and filled the little creamer pitcher and turned out of the kitchen to take it to his table. He had several plates in his hand as well and as he walked by the computer I was using to put in an order I noticed he was spilling creamer all over the floor of the dining room. I softly(hard for me) said "John, stop." He didn't hear me til the third time and when he did , wheeled around to look at me and created a nice semi circle of half and half on the floor surrounding him. Bless his heart, even his customers were laughing.

We had the Latino dishwasher bring the mop bucket out and as she ventured into the dining room (NOT a place she spends a lot of time) she said "Where I go with bucket?" I told her to just follow John around .

He has a new nickname from me ...that means you ranked in MY book. He is now officially my bff..."John-neen."

Saturday I stayed up even later and glued a broken piece back onto my china cabinet after I emptied all the trash cans. I left an FB status that said all I wanted for Mother's Day was for the house to be cleaned, trash out ...dishes done and laundry caught up.

Oh, I worked THIS one. I printed off my status and left it propped up by the computer.

Then I went and got every dish and glass out of every bedroom, the den and the Man/boy/Cave...AKA garage and piled them in the sink. Then I emptied every laundry basket in the house and piled them in a heap on the laundry room floor with a note attached "Dirty."

Pulled every dish towel and hand towel. You could barely open the laundry room door.

I didn't expect a present... but asking for cleaning seemed like stretching it.

Of course I woke up with NO minutes to spare this morning and bolted out of the house. I did receive presents from both kid's still at home and it pumped me up...maybe they ARE paying attention !!

By the time it ended tonight I had worked 36 hours in the past three days. Wait a minute..."Is it still May?"

Guess I won the grand prize...the schedule was posted late tonight and I am working another double tomorrow. If I am going to perform more shows per week I expect a raise!

Finally got home and released my pinkie toes from those cruel things THEY call shoes. I looked around the house and I'll have to say they got a LOT done. It wasn't "MOMMY" done but it was DONE.

I will say as a woman that represents a LOT of women (married for at least 15 years)..."We always appreciate the effort but know we could have done a better job....That's just US!"

So tired but it's a GOOD tired.

The fam knocked my work load in half and to me...that is the greatest present a Mom could ever get. "WOOT WOOT and HOOTY HOOT!!"

Happy Mother's Day to every woman or every man.

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day....Really?

Went into work this morning to open . Of course I left with NO minutes to spare and had to stop for gas. When I pulled into the station I had five minutes to pump gas, pay and get to the restaurant which was one minute from the gas station. There was only one other vehicle there so I thought my odds were pretty good of making it on time..."NOT."

The other vehicle was a county truck marked "Animal Warden."

When I was a kid they were called "Dog Catchers." We would see them coming down the street and all line up and scream at them "BOO Dog catchers!" It consisted of a man riding in a truck with cages on the back and a long pole with a huge net on the end hanging on the side of the truck.

The woman in front of me at the cash register had pepper spray, multiple weapon looking devices hanging from her belt and a shirt with "Animal Warden" written in bold letters across the back. I guess animals have gone downhill since I was a kid and require a lot more force to be taken into animal custody.

As I waited for her to have her fifteen scratch off lottery tickets checked I noticed I had two minutes to get to work. One of her tickets happened to be a winner so then I had to wait while she decided what scratch offs she wanted to buy with her five dollar pay off. She actually turned to look at me and said "I ain't never won before." She finally chose "Two number sevens and one number twenty...and give me a Mega Millions for tonight. Straight option. Then I'll take a Jumbo make that a Fantasy Five quick pick."

I almost grabbed her pepper spray off her belt and doused her with it. By the time she could see again, I would be clocking in at work with my car hidden behind the restaurant.

I felt like screaming "My GOD woman, take your tickets and go catch some critters...they're out there just waiting to take over our county and we need you back on patrol. Time is wasting...Go gettum!"

Of course it wasn't HER fault I sleep until the very last second and know (to the minute) how long it takes me to shower, iron a work shirt and get out the door to get to work on time, but she was throwing a kink in my plan and I never liked "Dog Catchers" anyway. You can call them "Animal Warden" if you want to ...but they are still "Dog Catchers" to this ole girl.

Worked lunch, clocking in five minutes late and got off in time to pick Massey up from school and go home and lay on my bed in a prone position that wouldn't mess up my hair or makeup for forty five minutes. When I woke myself up with a start with that big snore that even scares yourself as you finally drift off was time to head back to work.

Mother's Day is a joke for servers that are Mothers. It is almost like being punished and taking a cut in pay all at the same time. It amazes me how people come in to eat, see my wedding ring, gray hair and wrinkles on my face (very obvious signs of Motherhood) and still leave a crappy tip.

Of course these are just the amateurs, people that only go out to eat when forced to and know they will never see you again...a crappy tip is better than no tip, so at least they throw you a scrap.

Thank goodness I am at a great restaurant that has a very good regular clientele and will make some really good money this weekend. The down side..I am working Friday day and night, Saturday day and night and as an added bonus another double shift on Sunday.

At least I am working, and in this economy that is definitely a good thing.

Headed to fold another load of never ending laundry and watching some CNN before I get up to do it all again.

At least I know I won't have to wait on Osama and his multiple wives this weekend.

Til next time... A Super Tired Mom.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Life is a Comedy of Errors

This picture is SO my family...just add two more dogs and imagine Jed and Granny as husband and wife
After the events of last week we may even be riding in the same truck soon.

Granny is older than Jed...I am older than Tim.

Our daughter is beautiful and has a huge heart. Our younger son (nephew in the show) seems to know everything yet nothing. We'll call my oldest son "Jethrine" since he's the Pretty boy that doesn't live with us.

I have decided that this is my life. I am stuck with it and can make the best of it... or let it get the best of me.

I have had so much help from God, family and others that it rocks me to my core and makes me realize how blessed I am. Dang...we're not even back to living "pay check to pay check" status yet. Imagine where we would be without all the love and support?

I'm a person that has totally learned to work the system. You can learn to work it or you can let it beat you down.

"When life gives you lemons..." I can honestly say we have had enough lemonade to last us a life time, but it is certainly better than drinking nothing.

I have funded two new branches of the Bank of Coweta with overdraft fees. They should send me a Thank You note.

But you know what? It's ALL good.

We are healthy except for my seemingly continuously impending stroke or Tim's life sentence for finally killing me after twenty three years of torture.

We are a nutty bunch and I like it that way. I have a son that is driving me crazy (er) and is obviously a terrible driver. I have three mutts that I can't afford but love like they are AKC registered.

I think about people in Alabama that now have absolutely NOTHING. When and if they get a check from their insurance company there is no mail box to put it in. There is no identification for them to take with them to the bank...if the bank is still standing.

I think about my friend's son. A Marine who lost three limbs but appears to be the happiest kid on the planet.

I think about people sleeping on a card board box under a highway bridge.

I think about people starving from famine and spending their days batting flies out of their eyes.

I think of people in nursing homes with no one coming to visit them.

I think of how great my life really is. I have God, family, friends and neighbors looking out for me.

I have a job that I love and for some crazy reason they love me!

When you think your life is crap you need to take a step back and think about the millions that are much more desperate than you.

It reminds me of the old hymn "Count your blessings."

We'll make it. I will show the people that fired me from my old job for no reason other than my circumstances GAVE them a reason, that THEY were the losers.

I will provide for my family of misfits and hounds. I will stand by my husband who has withstood as many obstacles as well. If he can put up with me...I can put up with anything!

Life is truly a comedy of errors. If you can't laugh you'll cry. I would much rather LAUGH!

Til next time (oh, it's gonna be a good one) COTTON

Sunday, May 1, 2011

How Messed Up Are We?

These gas signs are from the sixties when I was just a wee babe. Back then gas was around thirty cents a gallon.

The gas station ususally had only two pumps...three if they were fancy. You drove in and over a bell inside of a rubber hose that alerted the attendant you were there. You never got out of your car. They came to the driver's side window and your parent always said "Filler Up!"

While they were filling the tank they popped the hood. They checked all the fluids and then checked the air in your tires. Then they washed your windows, inside and out. I can remember the Gulf station even vacuuming our our car while we sat in it.

Then after we paid we got handed a dish to take home. They gave away sets of dinner ware with a fill up. The top photo is one of the dishes they gave away...yes I still have them.

So let me get this right...Now we pay almost $4.00 for a gallon of gas. We pull into a self serve station that has 14 pumps. You battle for the position to pull in next. Then you get out of your car and stand in line behind idiots who want to buy lottery tickets but haven't decided what kind yet. Then you finally get to the bullet proof window and shove your money to them in a drawer with a small dog food bowl for them to place your coins back in.

Am I the only one that thinks this is totally backwards? For almost $4.00 a gallon, they should not only pump my gas FOR me but check the fluids and windshield wipers, clean my windows and vacuum out my car and give me a big fat kiss!

REWARD points for ten cents off a gallon? They should reward us for being stupid enough to pay almost four bucks for a gallon of gas and making US pump it!

I cannot remember the last time someone pumped my gas for me besides my teen agers. And since I have been an adult, no one has offered me a free dish to take home.

The next time I am pumping my own 14 carat gas and go to pay...I think I will take the small little coin dish and say "Thanks! Didn't know you were giving away dishes but my pups will really appreciate it."

This new world scares me. When you can't have a Goober or Gomer pump your gas and your only bonus is that you didn't get shot when you pulled into a pump that someone else thought should be theirs...what does that say?

What will this world be like when MY kid's have kids? The last line I just wrote made me shiver.

Maybe George Orwell really WAS a genius.

Til next time... COTTON