Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Think My Personal Thermostat Is Broken...

Oh my Lord... I can work in the yard all day out in the sun, I'm a Leo so it comes natural to me. It's when I go to sleep that my thermostat goes haywire. I fall into bed around 2 every morning in a tank top and undies. I pull the covers up because I sleep with the ceiling fan on high. I drift off all snug and wake up an hour later drenched in sweat. I sleep on my back and will have a puddle of sweat in the hollow of my neck below my Adam's apple. I can take my finger and make splashing sounds.

Off come all the covers and sometimes I have to wet a wash cloth to cool down my steaming forehead. During the day time I seem okay...except at work. I go in and make a cup of coffee to get my MoJo going and by the second gulp I have sweat stains under both  arms (sounds attractive doesn't it?) After my coffee fix I switch to water and drink probably at least ten glasses during one shift...I  use the water weight gain to keep me up to a hundred pounds.

I can't believe women are put through this torture...isn't it enough that we shoot babies out of our vagina and afterwards even manage to love them more than life itself?

Guess not!

I don't seem to suffer from the crazy hormonal swings, but then again I've always been a titch crazy so it would be hard to notice anyway.

I blame it all on Eve, the weak be-otch... they say "one bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch"...I can guarantee you a man came up with THAT saying.

I am hoping the end (of menopause) is's ruining what's left of my already crazy sleep pattern and ruined the under arm of all my work shirts. Massey comments on my "pit stains" on a regular basis. I let her comment because I didn't shoot her out of me, but come to think of it... they split my lower belly open and snatched HER out . Almost sixteen years later I still have a numb scar to prove it.

I have decided the older you get the more you rationalize...especially if you are a woman.

I have crow's feet  that are at the very least a size eleven and frown lines like I've been pissed off forever, but my Dad had the same ones so I call it an inherited trait. I have plucked a gray hair out of my eyebrows but I attribute that to me being a deep thinker. My hair has started to turn gray too but I keep my hair short, hence I have less gray hair. I sometimes have corns on my pinkie toes from 34 years of working on my feet but consider them battle scars. The veins in my legs look like a Rand McNally road map but at least they are nicely shaped and cellulite free. I only shave my legs in the the winter it  keeps me warmer and helps my socks stay up.

All in all I'd say I am doing two teens left to shoo away from the nest that wear me out like a door mat but would do it all over again in a palpitating heart beat. At least I have a heart beat. You gotta take the good with the bad...

Til next time..."Sweaty Cotton"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Alone With My Thoughts

This is a picture of Massey with Rosie just before she left for Florida (the FIRST time). Both my girls look happy and remind me of how lucky I was to have such a great dog and how lucky I am to still have a great daughter.

Life is plodding along and ever so slowly getting better. I absolutely LOVE my job and all the crazy people I work for and with. Tim's new job seems to be much better and pays more, but when you are years behind you can't expect that first paycheck to automatically make everything right...but I was still hoping. (Didn't happen)

Massey has been gone since the first of June. Stayed with her aunt's for almost three weeks in Florida and came home for two days to repack and throw some more crap around on the floor of her bedroom and left for another week in Florida, this time with her BFF and her parents.

It's given me lots of time to work (a good thing) and lots of time to think (sometimes a troubling thing).

I wish I was a better parent...and if I had it all to do over again I would be a magnificent one! My teens would probably hate me but I can remember a time as a teen when I felt I hated MY parents. Stupid me...I thought they were ole fuddy duddy's but it turns out they were silently high fiving each other  behind their bedroom door after I stormed off to mine (slamming it loudly) when they not only put me on  a month's restriction but imposed it with no early release. hindsight I was an awfully lucky teen.

Massey does great in school. I even got a Thank You note from one of her teachers. To reward her I let her live in a pig sty and leave a trail behind her every where she goes. Both my boys struggled as teens and I bailed them out time after time after time. I wish I  kept a score would read "Mom: deep in denial and debt /  Boys: Master manipulation  a complete success."

Massey's flaws are superficial and I tend to cut her  slack. My boys have tried to kill me and almost succeeded numerous times.

I am a wuss when it comes down to it...I love my kids so much it hurts, especially when I see THEM hurt or in trouble. I rush in to fix it instead of waiting for THEM to figure it out on their own. My parents would have never done that and  I am eternally grateful.

I don't want to say I am a bad parent...but I could be a better parent and strive for it daily. It's not like raising teens in the sixties or seventies.

 It's  raising teens in a gone wrong society...sometimes making me ashamed of what this world is becoming and realizing at the tender age of fifty one  it is up to me.. one of the little people (small pun) to right this world one step at a time.

You can't give just need to "Step it up."

My kids have been spoiled beyond belief.  But I hope  the values and determination I have shown rub off on them one day and they have the same wake up call I did.

"Momma and Diddy are pretty stinkin' smart."

I strive to be "Smart" on a daily basis. Hope I am one day!

 All my kids still end  phone calls with "I love you."

In a Mom..."That's the"

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Momma Comes Home

It seems unreal that I was only gone for less than two and a half days. It felt like a week that flew by too quickly. I was in such need of a break that I was so grateful for what short time I had. Left all five males at home and screeched out of the driveway before anyone woke on Sunday morning and stayed gone til late Tuesday night.
I had a ball with Massey and my friends treated us like royalty (no wonder Massey stayed there almost a month!)

Got home late last night after driving through a horrendous storm In Montgomery. Seventy MPH winds and lightening that scared even me, the weather freak.

Woke up this morning and took stock of the house...didn't take long.
Out of the three bathrooms there wasn't one sheet of toilet paper...not even those last two  that stick to the cardboard tube. There was no garbage bag in the kitchen trash can. There was a small Kroger bag in the bottom of the can and five pounds of trash crammed into it and empty milk jugs and cereal boxes on top of it.
 I had lined the trash can with the last bag before I left but thought they would realize you have to go to the store for them...a fairy doesn't put them under the sink at night.
"My Bad."

I can tell you every thing they ate. Not that they left it in pots on the stove,  but in the random Spaghettio obviously stuck to the countertop for at least two days and bread crumbs from where they made sandwiches (the knife in the sink with dried up mayo and mustard on it helped solve that one.) The paper towel dispenser was empty...there was a new roll in the pantry. Stains on the counter where they mixed more pink lemonade. At least I know they ate and had something to drink.

The empty toothpaste tube in each bathroom was  rolled more times than my hated high school principal's lawn. You can roll it as tight as you want but if it's's empty. Guess they thought there was a fairy for that too.

I asked Zach what they had been doing and he said "We been living on nothin' mom."

I was broke as a bad joke and shouldn't have even gone on this jaunt but just needed to  get away. Came back with a dollar to spare and a house  even sparer.

I got in my car and drove to work under the pretense of checking my schedule. Asked Barb if she had been saving me the low rolls of toilet paper from the restaurant's rest rooms and she gave me six small rolls. It might not be Charmin but it gets the job done (huge pun.) Snagged one garbage bag on my way out  promised myself I would work extra hard to compensate for my petty theft and headed back home.

The dishwasher was full. It was the load I started before I left (at least they were clean.) The sink was full of dishes. It wouldn't have been full if males knew to stack  bowl on top of  bowl, plate on top of plate ... not stack them "Glass, bowl, plate, frying pan, silverware, three quart boiler....repeat process."
The towels I had folded before I left were still in a basket downstairs but giving them their due, it looked like a new load of clothes  sat still wet in the dryer.

I suppose left to their own devices for  longer periods of time  men would finally figure it the guy did that invented the wheel after the last strong cave woman in the dragging group died from complete exhaustion.

We now have toilet paper thanks to Barb and toothpaste thanks to me (I bought some in Florida because there was none at the house to take with me.)
It's gotta  be a dropped gene.

There will someday be a special pin , sign or insignia for being  male...kinda like a "Cause."
We have Breast cancer awareness, pet advocates, special Olympics and one day "Men."

I will have to say they have all been exceptionally nice to me...especially when I made sub sandwiches for lunch before I went into work before 4PM.

More about my fantastic trip in my next blog... just so baffled at what I found when I got home that I decided to blog about them first. That's just how I am, "I'm a giver!"

Til next time.....Caretaker Cotton

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Going To See About A Girl"

Destin, Florida, highway to heaven : vintage photography by Arturo Mennillo
That was the last line in "Good Will Hunting" one of my favorite movies.
It's midnight and I just got home from an exhausting shift. Not so much because of work but because I cut grass for three hours before I went straight in. At least I took a shower! I clocked in and one of the taller servers started picking grass out of my hair. Guess I should have spent more time on the shampoo portion of my shower.

Headed to Florida in five hours to 'go see about a girl.' She sent me the picture that I used above. She went on a dolphin tour last night and took this pic of a mama and her calf. I've missed my calf...

Leaving a house full of testosterone and headed to a beach house full of estrogen. Well, Massey is full of estrogen but the rest of us probably need shots for it, but it will be a Girls Gone Mild three day vacation that I am in desperate need of.

Is it sad when I am more concerned about leaving my pups than the three human males that live here? I mean at least the humans can fix a meal or grab a drink....what about my pups?

I am leaving all males home so at least I know the pups will always have water...all three toilet lids will be up at all times. You know, men act stupid but when left on their own somehow survive.

I haven't packed the first thing but have crossed many things off my mental list. They got all the essentials because they live there and have been taking care of my girl as well for weeks. Packing my deodorant and tooth brush and a couple of changes of clothes...that oughta do me.

I saw an article in a magazine recently. It said the big No No was a woman over fifty wearing a bikini. Guess I am headed to the beach with with a tiny No No  a tooth brush and deodorant.

I've talked to Massey every day and texts even more. I just want to see her face and feel my arms around her. I am thrilled that she has had the opportunity to have this extended  vacation but will be thrilled to have her back  home with me so I can have someone to roll my eyes at besides the dogs when the guys do something stupid.

The dryer just buzzed which means I can go start packing. I am starting to get pumped, I'm not used to having more than one day off in a row.

Will update from the beach!!!

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, June 17, 2011

So Close I Can Almost Feel Sand Between My Toes

Home from another double shift. One more shift tomorrow night and I am off to pick up Massey from her prison (NOT) in paradise. She has been there for what seems like two months to me, but has in actuality been pretty stinking close to a month... I miss my BFF.

I opened this morning but it was slow so I left a little after two. It was a bazillion degrees outside but I only had a hour or so before I had to be back. I threw on my fancy fifteen year old "Bo"kini top and a pair of Massey's daisy dukes and detailed my car for the trip down to pick up the Queen of Huntington Court.

Car washed and dried, wheels cleaned , tires done and leather interior cream conditioned thanks to all the extras the guy we bought the car from tossed in for accepting all the money we had from the insurance company to spend on a vehicle . I'm just being funny (at least I think so) but do LOVE the car and ole Johnny boy better step it up a notch because I seem to really like the attention my Lil' Beem of Sunshine seems to be beaming with every time I open the garage door and see him. (I'm starting to think that it may actually be possible for a car to smile... I think he has dimples)

I was sweating like a ho during the invitational hymn at a tent revival that struck a chord and made her say "Damn Straight"...and was done with thirty minutes to spare!

I crashed on the couch in the living room under the ceiling fan on high , it took twenty minutes for the sweat to evaporate. I spent another ten wiping off the mascara that had dribbled down my face with toilet paper...put a little powder on the shiny spots, dabbed on some more deodorant   and put back on my work clothes.

Dinner was okay, not balls to the wall but I was tired and stinky anyway....Do ya think maybe they smelled me?

Came home and the two boys (my pups) were fighting over three frogs jumping across the back patio. Charlie ate two and was frothing like Uma when she over dosed in Pulp Fiction. He's sleeping outside tonight.

You know, I don't make this stuff up...but as I read it and read it again month after month...actually year after year I gotta say if you offered me the winning lottery ticket or the life that I have...

I wouldn't change a thing.

I like the challenge...keeps ya young!
Til next time...updates from the sandy shores to come...COTTON

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Now It Makes Sense...

 I am so relieved that all the graduation hoop-la is finally over, not as glad as Zach's teachers I am sure... but pretty giddy about it.
Zach tried not to look happy (click on photo) but I know he felt good, I know I did, especially after no one from the faculty or administration booed when his name was called.

I recently finished a great book my sister gave me to read..."Cutting For Stone." It had nothing to do with my family or situation... It was about two brothers growing up in Ethiopia, but I came across a passage almost at the very end of the book and was dumbstruck. It describes Zach perfectly. As soon as I read it I  read it again and then once more.

Now it all makes sense!

"He is...very different. A genius some would say. But not in the usual way. Impatient with school. He'd never answer an exam question in a way that might make him pass, not because he didn't know...He has never understood the need to subscribe to convention."

That's going to be on his headstone in ninety years if I have MY way about it...and will be a stipulation in my will. Don't fulfill my wishes  and see if you get any of the crap from my attic that my grandmother gave me when she cleaned out the crap from HER attic after my mother refused to bring it home.

 Once my mother died, every time my sister or I would go to Mema's she would force things on us when we left. Sometimes it was something you would WANT to take with you, like her fried chicken wrapped up in what Papa called "alumeum" foil. Most of the time it was pot holders made on those square frames with the teeth all around them or a random candle stick. She was always good for a King Edward cigar box full of S&H green stamps or a bag of circus peanuts...those big orange peanut shaped  treats that taste like stale marshmallows. Sometimes she would send us home with bamboo calenders from ten years back but the flip side had a pretty Japanese print on it. I still have her dining room chairs that I sat in as a kid, one of the chairs has a burn mark on it where Papa's cigar probably sat too long.

Our family passes crap from generation to generation like others pass on rare jewelry or heirlooms. These things may be crap but it is OUR crap and are OUR family heirlooms.

I have had a good life. I have had an unusual life. I am still having a life...that's batting 500 to me.

We are a crazy eclectic bunch here on our Cotton plantation. We have had many bountiful years and survived some recent Bo-Weevil infestations but still all have balls of Cotton thanks to some pretty amazing "Leach's."

Tim's been gone all week and I don't know who is happier, him or Ham?

Ham (my big boxer) is my steadfast body guard. He hates it when Tim rubs my shoulders or touches me in general. He would tear someone apart if they even pushed me...the boy KNOWS who gives him that fresh water and food every day! He spoons me at night and when I wake with a hot flash he hops off the bed to let me cool off (I kid you not.). He probably gets tired of my night sweats getting his coat wet.

Charlie stays in his stud cave under my bed and my guard has his back to mine ...when I finally DO sleep it is knowing that I am more protected than Fort Knox.
Why does Tim's snoring bother me so much when I LIKE to hear the dogs kick off a know when they have dreams and do that little  paw jerking motion and sound like they are hyperventilating and just as suddenly relax, blow out their nose and peacefully drop back into a deep sleep?

I wanna be a dog.
I could handle the ticks til my humans notice them and pull them out with a blown out match stuck to it and and tweezers.
I'd just need a flea collar and a semi clean toilet to drink out of.

 This has been a heck of a day. I had to have Zach at the courthouse by 8:30 for the ticket he got when he totaled my Passat. It amazes me that they charged him $229.00 for wrecking MY car.
Let me get this right...the county makes $229.00 for MY son wrecking MY car...seems like the wrong people got paid unless they plan on forwarding that money directly to me. At least Zach paid it himself , begrudgingly counting out the bills.

I felt bad and stopped on the way back to the house to buy him some new gauze and ointment for the last remaining oozing wounds from his long board accident.
Then I went and had the oil changed and my tires rotated because I am driving down to reclaim my daughter who thinks she lives in Florida now.

Went and floated check for the mortgage (It'll be good tomorrow) but the gas and power got paid yesterday so even if it bounces I call it a win win situation....for a $25 charge we have air, a stove , hot water and a house to use it all in.

After I left Wells Fartgo  (HUGE pun intended) I got on the highway and headed to the State DMV by the airport to meet the clown who signed the wrong name on the title of my car when we bought it. "I smell a used car salesman!" I was actually impressed that he showed up. He had to drive down from a county a couple of hours away. Guess that "Don't make me go all Bee-Otch on ya" voice still works!

Sitting in that place was another thing all together...I felt like I was in line at Ellis Island. There were hundreds of people there. Women in burkas, guys with Rasta hats, boys with pants on the ground and old men in wife beaters dragging the beaten wife along with them in her size eight spandex stretched over her size 24 boo-tay. The guy I met to handle the title issue had on old Levi's and a white tee shirt. He actually looked like he would have been pretty cute about ten years and forty pounds back. As we waited for over an hour and a half for our number to be called  an older black gentleman strutted into the circus arena. He had on a pink and white pin striped seersucker suit complete with matching vest and matching brim cocked to the side. His berry colored wing tips were shined and his cane looked like something FDR attempted to walk with.

I looked over at my new buddy (the one paying for the title) and  said "You'd look good in an outfit like that." He still paid for the title...probably just to get rid of me.

Flew back to Newnan running twenty minutes late for work. I had been in my little car from 8:30 until 5:00 with the top down and the sun GETTIN' down...ninety two degrees. "I LOVE it!"

Got to work and I was roasted...thank The Lord my mom had some Indian in her. Changed out of my shorts and tank top and put on my work uniform that I like to call "My sweatsuit." Barb was sitting at the bar and had some new cocktails the bartenders and she had come up with. I tossed back one and she said "You were supposed to take a sip." Then the bottom fell out. We were busier than a bee hive and between my day in the car/sun and slamming back a cocktail...or two, I got some serious pay back...and PAY CHECK!

Sun all flashes and no food other than one Krystal at ten in the morning made for a long night but a profitable one.

Finally home, recovering from my slam session with Zach, my State experience and work being crazy busy.

You know what?

I gotta good stinkin' life. I mean I might stink right NOW, but after soaking in a bath and sleeping off slamming Barb's new drinks down...I got a LOT done today.

Four more shifts at work and I am headed to the beach! Thinking about picking up a pink and white seersucker mu mu with a matching kerchief while I am there.

Til next time...CRAZY COTTON


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Boys of Summer...

It's still just me and the boys. Some nights there are two of Zach's friends sleeping over in addition to Tim and the two male pups. Attendance varies from night to night and is not required by all on roll. I actually like having Zach's friends stay least I know they are safe.

Massey has obviously declared her emancipation from our family for the summer but at least she is having a ball. I opened a card from the mail the other day and could tell it was a Thank You note. I didn't remember buying or even giving anyone anything lately...I knew several grads and have hugged them all...that was the limit of my gift allowance this year but they gave ME the great gift of all finishing high school and letting me see them walk across that stage. I have made a note of them all and when I become a famous writer I will fund each and every one of their college  the time that happens they will all be through playing around and ready to make the plunge into adulthood, and who will be
 I bet THEN they'll all think I am as funny and talented as I already think I am. Nothing like a good ole "TOLD-CHA" before  funding six or seven kid's college education!
I know I am dreaming but wouldn't that be a GREAT thing to happen?

Anyhoo... it WAS a Thank You note in my mail box...It was from one of Massey's teachers, one I  heard a lot about but had never met.

It read:
"Mr. and Mrs. Cotton, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed teaching Massey this year and thank you for raising such a great girl. She always brightened up my day and I know she will go far in life! Have a great summer!"

Talk about some gravy! Life has been slowly but steadily turning around for us. We lost our beloved oldest pup, but Tim has a promising new job and Zach escaped/ graduated from the brain washing he was subjected to for fourteen years (and has the diploma to prove it.)

It was icing on the cake ..."I done good with ONE of 'em the first try!"

It was the first time  I have ever received a thank you note from a teacher I  never met...although as soon as Zach's teachers recover from the trauma of teaching him this past year I am sure a few more will trickle in.

Double icing...

Still missing my ole girl Rosie... Went into work tonight and my little "Frenchy" co worker handed me a card. It was addressed to "Kelly and family." It had a beautiful picture of a boxer on front, she looked just like Rosie. On the inside she had simply written  "Let Rosie's good memories stay in your heart."

I am a blessed person. I am married to my total opposite, have three kids far from perfect but that couldn't love me more... even if they had to admit it. I love Tim and them right back and am grateful they love a freak of nature like me.

Last night I had a party in the "Blue Room" at work where I shattered a glass table a couple of nights ago. When they were paying the bill one of the women placed both of her hands on the glass table to get up and it flew up and banged back down. As I expected it to shatter like it had two nights ago I let out a scream right into her ear like Lucy did when Ricky caught her and Ethel by surprise. I apologized to the woman and said it brought back bad it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

All the boys are home but one... he is working late and not related to me so I'll just leave a light on so he can see that he is welcome. It can be three in the morning when I hear that front door open but to know that one more kid has a place to stay and be safe is a pretty good feeling.
Life is good, life is what you make it.

Once again...I am a lucky woman!

Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Must Be A Hundred Years Old...

 So these are the skates that kids are skating on today...Is that an exhaust pipe on the back where the jet fuel propels you along? I remember when TJ got his first pair of inline skates. The first time I took him to the skating rink I tried a pair and had to turn them in for ones similar to the picture below.

 The first pair off skates I ever got for Christmas came in a box exactly like the next picture. I had skates before but they were hand me downs and didn't come in a box, they were thrust into my hands from my older sibs once they outgrew them. The first time I saw that red box was thrilling. My very own brand new skates! When you were the youngest of three in a middle class family growing up in the sixties and seventies you got used to hand me downs...and were grateful for every item your older sister and brother outgrew or got tired of.
 They had steel wheels and no toe stops. We would skate all over the neighborhood. When a street was newly paved it was like a new rink opening up. Smooth asphalt was Heaven!! Girls skates were white boots and boys were black.
 When I first learned to roller skate it was on a pair of shoe skates. You squeezed your tennis shoe into the frame and wedged the front of your shoe between two prongs that held your foot in place. Then you inserted a key and tightened them to fit, Next you buckled the leather strap around the top of your shoe to hold them on. Dang!
My kids would read this blog and think I grew up in a third world country or at the very  least an orphanage. I consider myself quite lucky to have grown up this way and looking at these pictures brings back many fond memories.

It was a time when you learned to ride a bike by your older sibling holding you up on their bike which was so big for you that you had to lean against a wall to get started because neither foot could touch the ground. They held on to the back and gave you a push. You rode until you simply fell up and pushed the bike back to the wall and started all over again.

It was one of the first lessons I learned in life...when a problem seems too big, keep trying long enough and you will finally succeed!

My parents were born during the depression and the lessons THEY learned stuck with them their entire life time. They knew the value of a dollar and made it stretch like nobody's business. They didn't spoil us but loved us and taught us what true happiness meant. We never wanted for anything but were raised NOT to want but  be grateful for what we had.

My kids are all spoiled and I have no one to blame but myself.  My Mother died pretty young and would have undoubtedly spoiled my kids rotten had she lived to know them...I simply did it for her.

They aren't bad kids but lack the motivation my parents demanded from my brother and sister and me. If you did something bad, when my Diddy got home from work my Mother would tell him about it and then you would have to meet him in the green bathroom, pull down your pants and lay across his lap as he sat on the closed toilet lid and gave you a whipping with his belt. We were all excited as kids when cloth belts came into fashion but Diddy still kept that leather one and it was one heck of a reminder.

I am the person I am today because of that leather belt. I have survived the past couple of years because of that wall I leaned on to learn to ride that huge bicycle and because of the push my brother and sister gave me.

I am nowhere NEAR the parent either of  mine were, but am a better parent for having the wonderful upbringing they so sternly and lovingly gave me.

 My kids aren't perfect and I don't expect them to be. I simply hope  the values I taught them stay with them and one day help them turn into the great person they are destined to become.

I learned to skate on rickety steel wheels strapped to my worn out hand me down Keds. My kids all had cell phones by middle school.

The saying is "Life goes on" but can't it slow down just a bit to let kids grasp the reality and reason for a meaningful life and the inspiration to make not only THEIR life greater but make the world a better place for future generations?

A mom can only hope! 

Til next time...COTTON    A greener earth

Monday, June 6, 2011

Getting Back to Normal...As Normal as It Gets Around Here!

Spent the entire day Sunday with my boyfriend "Johnny." We cut yard after yard after yard. I filled  his tank up twice and made him run like a "Deere." I had grass and twigs in my hair, my face and body was covered with red Georgia clay that I churned up since rain has apparently gotten pissed off and left our region of the country.
Massey is in Florida trashing my high school friend's house and I am at home with so much testosterone that it is gagging me. I lost my beloved Rosie and my girl fled to Florida on the same day. It's me and Tim, Zach and three of his buddies and two male dogs. I've started to pee with the toilet seat up just to feel like one of the gang.
At least males are easy to please. They seem to like whatever you do for them, as long as YOU do it and never complain. Sometimes they get so giddy they will take a trash bag out of your hand and say "I'll take this out" knowing that frees up more time for baking brownies or making another gallon of iced tea.

I am a tom boy anyway...I never put on make up unless I am going to work or a funeral or wedding. I wear a bikini top and daisy dukes when I cut grass. It's hot in the south and I already suffer from hot flashes. I'll work all day in a yard, but I dress for the occasion.

One of Zach's buddies is currently staying with us...he is a sweet kid with a great head on his shoulders and I am hoping it somehow rubs off  on Zach. Not that Zach is horrible, he's not...just stumbling a bit. I'd rather him stumble when he is 18 than fumble the ball when he is married with a wife and kids.

I miss Massey but try not to let her know because she is having a ball with her Aunt's in Destin and  being treated like the queen she already thinks she is. Aunt Del called me tonight and asked if she could stay two more weeks. I told her that I have been throwing away crap every day from her bedroom and by the time she gets back I may be able to actually see the back of her closet....if there is one back there! My girl's sweet but she is messy, cluttered and an obvious pack rat.

It makes for lots of time to pick up extra shifts at work and not worry about getting Massey to and fro. I am going down to pick her up in two weeks and may even be able to take a couple of days for myself at the beach.

As far as living with all these men...they are pretty easy to put up with. They never say "What's for dinner?" but happily fix a plate of whatever I find time to cook and if I don't are just as happy with a bowl of Spaghettios or a banana. If I run out of iced tea or lemonade, they don't take the initiative to make more but seem happy to drink water until I find time or the desire to make more. They don't gripe about toilet paper I bring home from work ...when the rolls get low the hostesses take them off and replace them so a customer doesn't run out. They throw all the small rolls in a bag and Barbara gives them to me to bring home. Massey made the comment one time "Do you think Barbara could buy softer toilet paper?" That thought has never crossed the boy's minds...they are just grateful to not rely totally on "shakin it."

Worked a double shift today and when I went back for dinner we had two big parties to set up for. Len had me show a new hire how to set up one of the rooms for a party of ten. We have glass tables that we arrange in one long table for parties and as I was carefully (obviously not) putting the tables together I turned one of the tables and it BARELY glanced the other and exploded  in my hands. It shattered in a million pieces...and by the small cut on my forearm wonder why they call it safety glass? I was mortified. Len heard the noise...along with everyone else in the restaurant. He came into the room , looked at the new girl who was more shocked than me and simply said "We're getting rid of her anyway...Hey Kelly, when's your last day?"

All the other servers helped me sweep up the glass, which went every where and in every direction. When I went to the restroom I put my hand in my apron to get out my lip gloss and found about two more pounds of broken glass. Thank the Lord Barbara wasn't there and we had it all cleaned up by the time she returned to work. When I saw her come back in I immediately said "Len broke one of the glass tables while you were gone." The snap of her head and the look on her face reminded me of the "RINK! RINK! RINK! RINK!" music from the shower scene in the movie Psycho and I quickly confessed.

These two people have been such a saving grace to me and my family , took me under their wing and into their hearts at a time when I so desperately needed it and have helped me countless times over the past year. So it took me over a year to destroy one of their glass tables...considering my luck it was bound to happen!

I finally returned my brother's car today...he loaned it to us for a couple of weeks last year and I returned it today . He uses it as his weekend car and we have run it to death. The steel belts were showing on both front tires and I couldn't  send it back that way,  considering as seldom as he would have driven it they would have lasted another two years. Being the awesome (not) sister I am...  I had two used tires put on and balanced  put twenty bucks worth of gas in it and took it back to his apartment while he was out of town. I felt like Bill Murray in Caddy Shack slinking away from the golf course after attempting to blow up the gopher with disastrous results.

So life appears to be returning to normal...not that I know what normal is anymore. I am assuming it is the state between frazzled yet keeping it all together , surrounded by Divine intervention and the love of a whole bunch of people.

Sounds good to me!

Til next  time....COTTON

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Sad Goodbye

"Sailin' away on the crest of a wave
It's like magic
Oh rollin' and ridin', slippin' & sliding'
It's magic

And you, and your sweet desire,
You took me, ohh higher and higer baby,
It's a livin' thing,
It's a terrible thing to lose
It's a given thing
What a terrible thing to lose."

I haven't heard this ELO song in over twenty years but heard it on the radio yesterday and it just seemed a fitting  farewell to my sweet Rosie.
I slept downstairs in the living room with Rosie last night...she had lost the ability to bound up the steps two at a time like she used to and stayed on the lower floors of the house. I didn't fall asleep until after 3 and woke with a start before 7AM.
Today was the day...

I put Ham out in the garage and locked Charlie in Massey's room (thank goodness she had already left for Florida.) Ham sat silent and stoic in the garage while Charlie moaned and wailed mournfully from the third floor. Charlie may be dumb as a rock but he knew something was happening and it wasn't good. Ham, always the proud boy took it in stride and waited quietly to be let back in.

We let Rosie shuffle, slide and drag herself out the back kitchen door and after relieving herself simply lay down and seemed to have a pleading look like "Yes please."

She didn't struggle or protest but seemed ready for what I have been putting off for way too long. When she was settled, with Zach holding her in his arms, I had to go inside. I thought I would be brave enough but I wasn't. I kissed her and told her how much I loved her and like a coward, went inside. It was over in less than thirty seconds. By the time I got to my bedroom on the third floor and looked out my  window she was at peace, with Zach lovingly by her side. I had to be at work in twenty minutes but just wanted to make sure Zach treated her with the respect she so richly boy didn't let me down.
He and his friend carried her to the back of the yard wrapped in a beach towel...that's what  she used to maneuver herself from the carpet across the linoleum. We had to lay it out so she could get a good enough grip to drag herself outside. When that first started happening I should have known better than to let it go on...but I couldn't bring myself to accept it.

I watched from my bedroom window as they gently lowered her into her final resting then I had less than ten minutes to get to work. They were covering the grave as I went to get in my car. I tried not to break into an all out bawl as I drove to work. I cried a couple of times but as my boss Len pointed out "You should be celebrating. She is free of discomfort and pain and  lived a great life."
I came home after my lunch shift and it was 95 degrees outside. I put on some shorts and covered her grave with heavy marble stepping stones and lined it with logs from a tree Zach had cut up after it fell during a storm. I was worried about the two males but needn't be. They were sitting by the back kitchen door seeming to wait for Rosie to come outside.

I flopped onto the couch sweating and exhausted and Ham simply came and sat down next to me intently staring. I had an hour to rest before I had to be back at work and he didn't leave my side one time. Charlie was more pitiful... he paced and paced and paced.

This is my final sad blog about Rosie. She was an excellent dog and until  the end lived an excellent life. She  brought us much joy and now we have given her much needed relief.

Life goes on...

Til next less COTTON



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Letting Go...It's Hard

I can tell this is a really old photo because my carpet is still clean. My first Boxer has reached the end of her journey with our family. I have put it off for months, dreaded it for weeks and tomorrow the day will arrive...she will be at rest.

Rosie is the sweetest dog you could ever be lucky enough to meet and have lick you..and lick you and lick you. You have to tell her to stop because her love has no boundaries. She is the Alpha dog in our house and the two males have never questioned it but both revere her as does our entire family. She started limping about a year ago, when we couldn't even pay the mortgage much less buy dog food. They ate our leftovers and wore Dollar Store flea collars. She's  had a rapid decline the past few months and I have finally determined we are not thinking of her best interests but our own, we don't want to say good bye to her.

We have her resting place ready, a friend of Zach's (since he is a temporary cripple) dug a grave for her in the very back of our back yard. He was finishing it up today when I told him thank you. The kid simply said "I consider it an honor."

People that don't own or love dogs can't understand the sorrow I feel...I am losing a kid, and the only kid that has never caused me any grief or talked smack to me. She never complained when she didn't eat for a day and never griped when I gave her Old Roy instead of Iams. She used to chase Zach in the back yard when he was little pulling his shorts down when he tried to scramble up onto the play fort before she caught him...he never once beat her, she was quick as lightning then. She is old now, almost 11 and that is old for a Boxer. She's had a good life and I will miss her happy face. Ham has a proud look, Charlie has a look like "Huh?" and Rosie always seems to be smiling.

A friend from the vet is coming over tomorrow to give her a shot that will let her go in her own surroundings. I thought about taking her to the vet but even healthy dogs know something is up when you take them into a vet's office. It can just be for a check up but it makes them nervous and apprehensive. I don't want Rosie to leave this world feeling anything but love and familiar surroundings.

She can't even walk anymore and has to be helped outside. She has begun to have accidents in the house and you can tell it bothers her. It is the first time I have ever recognized humiliation on a dog's face but it made me realize she is's we that aren't.

I am planting a rose bush on top of her will be our "Rosie Garden."

Every time it blooms I will think of  the years we had with her. Dogs just don't live long enough.
She will be missed but  always  remembered.

She'll be up in heaven and once again  be that perky puppy we fell in love with almost eleven years ago.

Both the male dogs are behind me as I type,  licking away on Rosie. They may be dogs but they are smarter than most people give them credit for.

Here's to you, Rosie!!

As Zach's friend so eloquently put it "It's been an honor!"

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Glad It's All Over...

My boy done good. The only time I teared up was when they all marched in... single file. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them, all proving  they had accomplished something great.

They survived our greatly lacking educational system and beat the odds. They survived being taught by highly underpaid teacher's whose hands are tied by red tape and political infighting.

It was the day the first one of my kids went from PreK to high school senior in the same school system. I have been very satisfied with the education he received considering the limited funding they give to the future leaders of our nation. Maybe they should have all signed up as future lobbyists for big banks and oil companies when they signed up for school lunch that very first day.

Regardless he made it through and he has made me very proud. I kept waiting for him to screw up the graduation ceremony by standing up and screaming "I'm mad as hell about education in America and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

HAD he done that,  he most probably would have gotten more applause than the long winded Valedictorian did. I think the applause was more for the finish of the speech than the content but at least they got a rousing clapping like nobody's Bid-ness.

I have watched the two videos above time and time again. You can hear the excitement of the can see more than several hundred young people beginning to make their mark upon the world. To know that your child is one of them is an exhilarating experience. To know that your child is capable of greatness beyond your wildest dreams is encouraging...hoping they use their God given talent gives you momentary pause and a reason to cross your fingers behind your back and make last minute deals with the Big Guy upstairs.

I remember when Zach first bucked the system with a liberty spike mo hawk in eighth grade causing a furor with the principal and the first visit Tim ever made to the school to take up for Zach's lack of knowing when he looked truly stupid but  using his constitutionally given freedom of expression . I should have known  I was in trouble then but as Tim said when he came home "If we can get this boy out of school he will be the next Bill Gates."

He's bucked, he's debated he's rationalized and he's skirted the rules...but  has made it and I couldn't be prouder if he had been  valedictorian.

HAD he been valedictorian... that would have been a speech EVERYONE would have remembered. He is eloquent and on point with his thoughts and views of what is wrong with this world and seems to have a grasp on what truly needs to be done and how to at least attempt to attain it.

If he fulfills his potential I hope he remembers it was me that shoved him kicking and screaming down the path of life.

As a good friend reminded just the other day, "Cotton... the fabric of our lives."

Til next time...COTTON