Friday, September 30, 2011

Home Again Home Again...

Still chugging along. Worked this was slow and I got off before two. Came home took my skirt off  put on my Daisy Dukes  hopped on Johnny and headed to the front of the subdivision. Tomorrow is the first and I think this may be my last cut of the season which means my last check from the HOA. A lot of the hillside part is just red Georgia clay and it flew in my face and all over my body. I finished cutting but have to go back in the morning to weed eat the ditch on either side of the road. I got home and looked REALLY tan. It was actually the red dust and clay I had plowed through. I layed down on the sofa and took a hour siesta. I woke up with ten minutes to get back to work...changed back into my skirt and top and headed back with the top down on my car so the grass would all blow out of my hair. About six thirty my ear itched and I stuck my finger into it  . My finger came out covered in red clay. Immediate "Note to self" Stand far away from my tables and hope the wind was downhill. It was slow at work and since I had opened the store  was the first one cut. I took my money and headed home. When I was a kid I took maybe two baths a week if I could get away with it. I am fifty one and try to bathe daily but sometimes my schedule gets in the way. I knew I should have re showered before going back to work but it was a balmy breezy day and the red clay just looks like a dusty tan unless you touch it.

Segway...It looks like we are moving. I am excited beyond belief for Tim. He has landed a job that recognizes his potential and has awarded him with a  promotion.

I have conflicting feelings. My job has been wonderful to me and the owners have bailed me out of tight spots more times than I like to admit. I have made dear friends and am  considered the resident comedian...A title I wear proudly!

These people took me in when I was at the lowest point in my life. It's hard to be over fifty years old and desperately need help. It is humiliating and humbling all at the same time.

I hope I have helped them at least a tenth as much as they have helped me. Tim leaves in two weeks. I will stay behind to tie things up and get us ready to move.

This is a new beginning for our family. It is a BIG change but it is ultimately the blessing we have been praying for.

How can I say good bye to my "Mama's" family? How can I leave them with no one to poke fun at them or point out the humorous when situations are heated and tensions are out of control?

How can I leave these crazy Italians without letting them know that they have been an intricate part of my life for a year and a half and  feel totally blessed to have been so lucky to land in their crazy whacked out world?

I will still do ten shows a week through October but when I leave it will be a sad day for me. I have met people who I have taken to heart and love .  I have met people that have taken me and my family to heart grown to love us. I have joined a family and have loved I have to leave it.

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

I don't mind saying that I have loved every minute at Mama Lucia's and loved every minute that they have loved ME!

Entering another phase of my life and leaving the past behind...where it should be. Tomorrow is a future yesterday...I better wake up early to get the jump on it!

Til next time...COTTON

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finally Get To Enjoy Having Smart Kids..

 Massey was inducted into The National Honor Society today..."Cotton style."
 I got off work at 4:12 and the ceremony started at 4:30.
As usual I had NO minutes to spare. Zach picked me up from work at 4:00 as I sat in my owner's chair in the office for twelve minutes  trying to fax a menu to a customer. I had sent it three times with "No answer" coming back on the fax. I copied and pasted it and asked the hostess to finish trying to deliver it. I told her to just send it email and scurried out the back door with my banana nut muffins and brownies the cooks had baked for me to take to the candle light ceremony.

I am a pretty good cook when I have the time. I am a TERRIBLE baker. The Latino cook who baked my brownies was appalled when he saw  I had cut up the brownies and covered them with plastic wrap. In HIS words... "Are you stupid as f*** or WHAT? You doan cover the bitc*** up when they are still warm you stupid. They sweat and get mushy."

Another lesson learned (the hard way.)

I am new at this whole National Honor Society thing.

 My oldest son graduated with a 3.9 GPA but never joined the NHS. My younger son could have blown them all off the map with the amazing gift of intelligence he somehow possesses  but chooses to fight the broken educational and judicial system and point out in detail it's every fault and fallacy (he is totally right about the broken part) seeming to want the system fixed before he even considers returning to it.. I feel his pain... and know he is right in much of his theory and thinking but am waiting for his  marvelous and intelligent mind to kick in and realize you can fight the problem or help solve it.

I snuck in under the wire...the principal was already speaking but my muffins and brownies had "Effing" cooled and were good to go. I slid them onto a table and sat down to watch.

I had slithered out of my work shirt in the parking lot and pulled on a  respectable top while my son remarked "This ain't Ole women gone crazy."

I saw my girl walk across the front of the room to sign her name in the book of The National Honor Society and  think I was the only parent in attendance that cried. I am serious...I couldn't stop!! I tried to act like I was yawning or that something had flown into my eye. My older two  are males and could care less about joining girl is a young woman and knows "This is it!" I can make my mark  now and challenge myself daily or sit back and wait for it to happen.

My boys will do great too (when they meet a woman to shove them down the path of life) but have both learned  the hard way. Massey has realized early "I am a kid...I have one shot before I am tossed into the chaos of this world. I can make the most of my life or I  can  watch as life passes me by."

I felt like an idiot but when my girl's name was called (and they pronounced it correctly) I balled like a baby.

When you have kids, never expect them to all be the same...just expect to love them all the same!

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I See The Other Side

I feel like Charlie did in this picture... trapped but can now see the way out!

I have been behind the fence for two years and waited patiently...sometimes frantically while friends,  family and even strangers fed and took care of me. I made my way TO the gate but just couldn't open it on my own. With help from Above and help from MANY around me, I have made my way not only TO the gate but have my own fat head sticking through it.

There were times when I felt hopeless and alone even with all the love and support. Being fifty and broke ain't no joke and pretty hard to explain to teens that have had it good for as long as they could remember. In hindsight it has been a wonderful lesson for not only me...but THEM.

Nothing is a guarantee in life, not even the next breath you may or may not take.

I have been at my new job for a year and a half...Tim at his for about six months and we are slowly busting through the gate.  We have one shoulder through and wedging  with the other.

My bosses have been great. They have helped and supported me so many times I have lost count. Tim has a new job with  many opportunities for advancement. Actually he has an offer on the table for an advancement as I type. He has just gotten home from work and told me they have offered him a position as a terminal manager in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Am I scared?
A little.
Am I excited for my husband? YES!

I have never moved further than thirty miles from the city and house I was raised in. Am I nervous? Yes a little... but if this is the way to bust RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE and to charge ahead, who am I to question destiny?

Is this God's answer to our prayers? Lots to think about, lots of things to figure out...

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, September 26, 2011

Still Floating...But With My Head Above Water

Jeez...I never knew my nose looked so big but my tiny ears are cute! Just got home from work (again) and had a super fantabulous night. Waited on five tables and walked out with Ben Franklin.

I needed tonight bad. I got all my bills caught up last week and had almost five dollars sitting in my bank account. Of course my "Week" was 22 days long but it really paid off so I celebrated by kiting a check for $134.00 to fill my kitchen with much needed groceries and hoped that Kroger was still taking three days to push a check through.

I got nervous when I saw online that the high school had deposited the check I wrote for Massey's fund raiser. I was hoping they were holding it til the Yankee Candle order came in but after a week they pushed it through (someone probably told them if they had a check with MY name on it they should RUN not walk to the nearest bank and shove it through with fingers crossed.)

I got all the things I needed to cook a few meals and wash clothes and clean house and crossed my own fingers when I handed over my bogus check. God once again smiled on me and Zach deposited the money I made yesterday this morning when he took Massey to school...ya gotta love having kids that can drive!

I got home from work tonight, crossed my fingers once more and logged into my account. I made it!! The check hadn't gone through and I made enough tonight to cover my grocery check and even send Zach to WalMart to buy us a new door knob for the back door leading to the garage. It has been messed up for over a year. First you had to wiggle the key to get in. Then you had to lift the door up so the key would fit in. Now you have to turn it one way then quickly turn it back the other, lift up on the door and say an even quicker prayer as you hope it lets the door actually open.

Work was great... one of my friends from high school that has read my blog came into eat and brought his wife and in laws. About a hour before they got there the bartender told me someone called to ask if I was working. I asked her if they asked for Kelly or Kelly Cotton? Big difference to a gal like me. Kelly means they know me...Kelly Cotton means they may be LOOKING for me.

She said he sounded super friendly but bill collectors can be sneaky like that so I was a tad nervous.

I was thrilled to see my old friend walk in and felt tremendously relieved. They tipped me phat and the four other tables showed me their love too.

I am pacing myself this week. I picked up a shift on my only day off so I am back to running my weeks together...but I gotta tell you it feels great to have a job where I can do that. It feels great to know that I am beating my checks to the bank. I feel like Charlie Sheen without a drug or wife beating problem. "I have tiger blood and I am WINNING!"

Working tomorrow to cover the check I kited at BJ's today. They sent me a coupon for a free sixty day membership and since I  USED to be a member and TOTALLY remember that they take almost a week to push a check through I went in and had my free membership activated. The woman behind the service desk said I could go ahead and purchase a new membership card today and get a wonderful stack of coupons she waved in front of me.  I kept myself from saying that I was already going to write a bad check for chicken breasts and BBQ sauce to make dinner but just replied "We'll see how this free membership goes and I'll think about it."

I am SO close to being legit! (Too legit to quit)

A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...and I'm doing it!

Praying for another slam banger shift tomorrow.  I  am "THIS" close. I am on the brink. I am almost there.  I have survived two years of financial, physical (I am old and it's hard on this old but skinny body) and emotional torture.

I have a husband that for some unknown reason to man  still loves me. I have kids that I adore and are all healthy. I am a lucky, lucky woman. I have a sister and brother who have both given unselfishlly and continually. I have amazing friends and a job that I not only love but bosses that genuinely love me.

"Cotton" the fabric of life....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back to Normal

After 28 hours of sleep in two days I am finally feeling back to normal. Just look at me!

I am back in the swing of things and woke up feeling pretty good this morning. I picked Massey up from her sleep over at noon and went and got my "hair did". Twenty bucks... that includes a six buck tip, and it wasn't even a barber shop! I go to  Great Clips where I have found a girl that cuts it just the way I like.  I sat down in her chair the first time I went and said "Make me look like a cute fifty-ish year old lesbian."

I like my hair short for a number of reasons. Number one I drive with the top down on my car unless it is raining. Number two if my hair is short I have less gray hair. Number three it takes me ten seconds to do my hair. Number four and most importantly I like it this way.

I got home and jumped on Johnny. After the torrential rain we had a couple of days ago my back yard was getting bushy. Zach cut it for me last week and although I was grateful it was definitely a "Zach cut." No weed eating where the riding mower couldn't go. The grass was almost knee high around the patio and the picnic table that sits in the yard. The grass was so high I couldn't even see the stepping stones that lead to my hammock.

 It took me a while to cut because I may let my house go with a fluffed over / Febreeze enhanced cleaning but when I cut a yard I am totally anal. I cut the entire yard starting on the outer edges cutting towards the center with the blade on level three. Then I reverse  and start in the center, go back with the blade up on level five and blow all the cut grass back to the edges of the privacy fence where I can weed eat it all. When you have two big dogs it's best not to have a ton of loose grass for them to tromp in and bring back into  my Febreeze enhanced / sorta  clean house. It took me more time to weed eat around the patio and picnic table than it did to cut (and re- cut) the entire yard. I'm "Rain Man" with a weed eater. I cut the tall crap down to where I could see the stepping stones, then raked up all the excess and put it in the fire pit out in the middle of the yard. Then I went back and edged every stepping stone and the patio and around the privacy fence. No job is complete until I sweep the patio clean of all grass I have blown onto it and the patio table and chairs.

From now on if we have company come over,  I think I'll tell them to knock on the back gate and just let them sit on the patio at the table and admire my handiwork. Maybe they will think "Dang if her yard looks THIS good, imagine what the inside looks like!"

Looks like I have about four  more weeks to have company come over. Guess I will have to clean the garage next!

Til next time..."Cuttin' COTTON"

Friday, September 23, 2011

I Think I Slept Too Much

Call me crazy (you won't be the first) but I just think I am geared to working every day. After 22 days straight I had a day and a half off and it just made it harder to go back into work. I didn't shower for two days...slept 14 hours the first day off and 14 more the next. I managed to put on more deodorant and furiously brush my teeth before I went to the grocery store but wore a ball cap to hold my fly away short hair down and looked at no one while I shopped quickly.

I did manage to get some laundry done and actually cooked two meals for my family that was beginning to squat naked in the floor of our living room holding tin pans out in front of them with flies buzzing around their  faces like a commercial for the Christian Children's Fund. (Not to dis the CCF and I apologize in them AND my family)

I slept a total of 28 hours in a day and a half. If time had permitted and the buzzing of the flies hadn't woke me I might still be asleep.

I have determined that for the long haul of getting us back on track I am better suited to just work day after day after day. Heck!  Families running convenience stores seem to do it, why can't I?

I went into work tonight and felt like I had been off a week.  I felt like co workers were thinking "Slacker!" every time they asked how my day off was?

I have been a server ever since I earned my degree in "Night Clubs and Dancing" from Georgia Southern and put my PHD in BS to work. I have always worked six days a week, even when we were doing okay and am just used to it. It's gotten me to the age of fifty one and I still feel pretty good so why mess with what's working?

I know I embarrass Massey with the limited amount of clothes I wear in the summer, especially when I am working in the yards but she doesn't realize what hot flashes can do to a woman and how weighing ninety nine pounds lets you get away with it.

Now it is almost 2 AM and I feel like it is around ten at night. I stand by my theory that days off are over rated.

I got my month's worth of sleep in two days and I am ready to go again. I put fly paper up in the living room and enough leftovers in the refrigerator to get me through another week.

Call me stupid (you won't be the first) but I LIKE working. If you don't work you don't get ahead. If you don't get ahead you don't advance. If you don't advance you either stay the same or fall behind.

I am moving ahead, advancing and looking forward to the day that I will have not only paid all my bills but paid back all the people that have helped me  along, supported me and filled a few of those tin plates my kid's held out in the living room floor as they squatted and batted the flies away.

Once again, and I never get tired of saying it...I am a lucky, lucky woman!

I'm starting to feel tired again... COTTON

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"MY" Day Off

Worked the day shift yesterday, day 22 of my work week. Got off and picked Massey up from school and let her drive. My feet were killing me my back was screaming in pain and I thought maybe my heart palpitations were beginning to be real. I asked her not to wreck the car because I had my head against the headrest and my eyes were closed. I was close to a total physical and mental breakdown.

We went by  the grocery store to buy some food . A friend of Zach's lived with us for about six months needing a place to live. He's a good kid and we wanted him to finish high school and have a roof over his head so he moved into our barely modest almost  functional house. He graduated in a gown I borrowed from a neighbor that fit him like a bath robe. He is easily six foot six with his slouch.

Yesterday was his birthday so I cooked for him. Since moving into our humble hovel he has saved money , bought his own car and just recently moved out and into his own apartment. It took me a week to realize he was gone. Nineteen year old boy/men come and go at their own will and he was always so unobtrusive that it made it hard to notice.

Zach said his friend wanted  pot roast for dinner. That's easy enough (especially if you already have a five pound bag of taters at the house that Zach could start peeling.)

Got home and threw a roast into a pan and cracked a beer. It may be HIS birthday but I was celebrating having a long awaited day off. It took me a while but I had all bills paid (with help from Tim or me helping Tim...depending on who you ask...totally kidding, it's just a woman thing) but was tickled pink that for the first time in over two years I could take a day off and know that the phone wouldn't ring with a collection agent on the other end or that the lights would go off during dinner.

Cleaned up as all the teens (five party guests) ate and sent each of them home packing left overs.
I fell onto the couch, not having enough energy left to climb the stairs and CRASHED.

I woke at 3:12 AM to a crack of lightning and went outside to shut my garage door. I fell back onto the couch and snored along with my two pups. Tim had to go into work at 4:30 so I had to crawl off the couch and take Massey to school. I came back home and slept til ten. I watched the news for an hour and when the thunder started again I thought "That's what I'm talking about"..and rolled over and went back to sleep. I didn't move for three more hours but heard rain coming down like it was time to build an ark. I could have done a lot of stuff on my day off...but I didn't.

Zach was actually very helpful . When I arose from my Sleeping Beauty nap the dishes were done, the trash was out and the ice cream van was gone from my driveway. It was raining like crazy but to me it was "A Sunny Day."

It took three weeks of working straight but for the first time in over two years we managed to get almost, kinda ahead. What a wonderful feeling. It was hard but I got rewarded with a much needed  foureen hour nap, gave Gabe a birthday dinner and awoke to a missing ice cream van that I have wanted to be missing for weeks. (Thanks Kevin O...we won't charge you for free parking)

My life is crazy but I almost kinda like it that way...keeps me on my toes!

Til next time...Lather , rinse and repeat COTTON

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Am "THIS" Close(r)...

Just got home from work...again. I've stopped counting shifts and have a hard time remembering what day of the week it is. Don't get me wrong, I am truly blessed to have a job where I can work day after day after day until I get the bills paid. My old restaurant used to cut me off when I got to thirty five hours. My new restaurant says "More power to as much as you need to, we love you."

We have survived the darkest moments and are "THIS" close to being closer to being almost close to being current on all our bills. This  may seem pathetic coming from a fifty one year old woman but to me it feels like a tremendous success story and one I will laugh about to my grand kids.

My life is crazy and this week has been no exception. Yesterday morning when Tim was getting ready to leave for work he told me I had to go pay the gas company twenty bucks before they cut it off. Twenty bucks is easy to come up with and would limp us through til next month's bill was due. The power bill is what has killed us this summer and I keep the thermostat on 77 or 78. Tim said he was leaving a check for the power bill on the counter but not to take it by til late so hopefully it wouldn't be run through for a day or two. He gets paid on Friday and  would have the money in his account after midnight Thursday. I guess he really HAS been paying attention to my check kiting skills!

After he left for work I crashed on the sofa to let me body rest. I can work as many days in a row as I need to but I have to nap in the mornings when everyone is gone and let my body rest til at least eleven. After that I'm good to go til two in the morning. I come home from work and do laundry, dishes, bathrooms and blog. Go to bed at two, sleep til eleven ..."Rinse and repeat."

I was in my zombie state on the couch in the living room when the door bell rang at nine AM. I peered over the back of the couch and didn't recognize the lady but recognized the foot long bright red tag she was placing on the front door knob. I knew it would say I had twenty four hours to pay the electric bill and would be not only in English but in Spanish on the flip side. She walked away and rounded the corner of the house so I quietly opened the door to remove the flashing neon sign letting all or neighbors know we were once again late with our electric bill. I closed the door and looked at the Spanish side...something looked different. I flipped it over and was horrified to read "We have disconnected your electricity for non payment.'

"YIKES!" I took off out the front door in my (thankfully extra large) John Deere tee shirt and undies, yesterday's mascara under my eyes and my hair looking like Woody Woodpecker on a bad day and caught the woman as she headed toward the power box. I called out that my husband had taken a check with him this morning and was paying the bill. (Big Fat Lie)

She said then she would leave the power on for a hour. I scrambled back into the house as two soccer mom's who live in my subdivision and have never even HAD to hold a job walked their little foo foo dogs by my house and tried to look away.  "Screw them" I thought, and ran back into the kitchen and grabbed the late day intended check off the kitchen counter. I went back outside (still in my JD attire) and threw my husband under the bus. "Just like a man, he left the check for ME to take!" I asked  if I could give it to her...already thinking "It will ride around with her all day long in her truck and when she gets back to work , hands it to a cashier who is ready to leave for the day;  it will get stuck into a  drawer and maybe not move for forty eight hours."


Next stop was work to ask Barb if she would let Tim post date a check for Friday  and her give us the cash to deposit today.  Of course she said yes. It's not like I take four days off a week and ask for help. I tend to work thirty days in a row , the owners see that and are wonderful about helping me.

Went into work (again) tonight and God blessed me. I had a party of 14 the tab up to $500 and they left me a tip of $104. Had two other tables  and walked out the door in the black and gas money to spare.

I feel like sending out an alert to the bank "All systems go. Run the check through NOW...GO GO GO!"

Who would ever think that I would have to work this hard at the age of fifty one? NOT ME. But at least I now have a job I love and one that loves me.

I feel like a phoenix rising from the ashes...and you know what?

 "I AM."

Made enough tonight to make every thing clear and still have electricity. Before you know it I will be paying on time!

I'd rather learn these lessons at the age of fifty one than at the age of seventy one.

At least I laugh at sometimes HAS been comical! It has been depressing and sometimes desperate but as a firm believer in Karma..."What goes around comes around."

I never knew the earth was so large but it finally seems to be rolling around my way.

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Lisa!

The birthday girl is the one in blue. The one in the yellow is another former co worker that I love as much as I love Lisa (the one with the hooters)

She is younger than me (not by much) and was my mother for almost fourteen years when I worked at the Western Sizzler. She is one of two people from my former workplace that have kept in contact and continued to love me.

I met her in the late nineties and we quickly became fast friends. I would call us "Ebony and Ivory." We are different in many ways but love each other unconditionally. When I got fired  from my job most all my "friends" from work quickly forgot me. A few have done nice things for me but my 'Lisa' has always been there for me. She sits on the far right of Rush Limbaugh but still waves to me where I sit on the left side of  Jimmy Carter.

She was my mentor at Western Sizzler and I miss that I don't see her on a daily basis anymore. The thing we DO have in common is a firm belief in God and his miraculous powers.

Quite a few years back she was rowing in  the same boat I am now . I helped her when I had the chance and she helped me when SHE had the chance.

"Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other one's gold."

I miss going into work and being with her. I miss seeing her face every day and feeling her arms around me when I needed them. I miss the banter back and forth and the way we co existed while being polar opposites politically.

Most of all I just miss HER!

She is one of the strongest and most resillient women I have ever met and has been the one I think of when I think I can't go on one more day in the crazy restaurant world that I work in.

Happy Birthday Lisa Shrum!! You are a woman that I admire and a woman that I consider myself  extremely lucky to call my dear friend.

I miss you, I miss us bossing all the other servers around and I miss seeing your beautiful face. Have a wonderful birthday ... know that I love you to the moon and back and most importantly, thank you for loving me!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Mad Italian

What a day...number nineteen in my current work week and I'm running on fumes. I had to be at work at eleven this morning and woke up at 10:21. Nothing like panic to get your juices flowing. Thankfully I had my uniform ready to go and set a new record for getting ready. I walked into work at 10:59 and the bottom fell out. We open at eleven and open we did!  It started off busy and got busier.

We offer a brunch menu and also our regular lunch menu. One side of the kitchen cooks the lunch orders and the owner cooks the brunch orders.  Today was "Brunch" day and we pounded him with tickets. The computer was screwing up and not giving us the option for grits,  instead offering an option for "Wheat Roll." I hit "Wheat Roll" and sent a special instruction (Sub grits.) I went back to get my order when they bellowed my name and started to pick up my order. I had my arms full of plates when one of the cooks said "What plate do you want the wheat roll on?"  I said I didn't need a wheat roll and tried to explain.

The thing you have to know about working in the restaurant industry is that all cooks think they are perfect and act like all servers are idiots.

Granted a lot of servers ARE idiots...but not many cooks are perfect although I'd never say that in front of one. Cooks are artists and the dishes they create are their masterpieces. They take their craft very seriously and are usually always extremely temperamental.

Today was no exception. The cooks were balls to wall but so were we. They were busy cooking the orders but we were busy taking them, serving them and refilling coffee at a maddening pace. Like a dummy I put in another order subbing "Wheat Roll" for grits and  s*** hit the fan.

 I should have known better and  had I been on top of my game I would have. As it is I just wake up every day iron a shirt and drive on auto pilot to the store and clock in...the rest is becoming a blur. It didn't set well with the Mad Italian and he yelled at me for ten felt like two weeks. I know when to say I am sorry and it won't happen again. This was the time to say it and I did, scurrying out of the line of his fire as quickly as I could. I thought I heard bongo noises like you do when Fred Flintstone runs real fast chasing Barney.

The owner of my store is a true Mad Italian. He's actually half French and half Italian...a deadly combination. He has the Italian temper and every one knows how the French feel about Americans.

It took him a good hour to quit ranting  but I took it like a trooper since number one it was my fault  and number two I need my job more than Michael Bolton needs Rogaine.

Once an Italian is angry he is angry...REALLY angry. As a rule I am on his good side and he really likes me. A new girl started this past week and followed me on her first shift. She made the comment "Some say you are Len's favorite server." I replied "I try to be."  Today I wasn't but I know when to tuck my tail in and hide.

I was supposed to be off tonight but picked up like a dummy. I knew the only person that would be upset would be Massey so I called her and made a deal. I told her I would come home and pick her up and she could come back to work with me and take pictures of Len's car he was selling to post on Craig's List.
After going by  to give our evil cell phone carrier a couple of twenties we trudged back to work. Len seemed a bit calmer(not really) but he perked up when I told him Massey had her camera and could take pics of his car to post an ad to sell his car . He handed her the keys and said to back it out and take it to an empty spot in the parking lot so she could photograph it. I said I would watch her back out and he barked at me again "She doesn't need you to watch her!"

Aye Aye Cap'n!

She took the pics and came back inside and put his car on Craig's List. He said "I'll buy her dinner, whatever she wants." Dang, she was the first person he had been nice to all day...little sneak!

The dinner shift was slow but every thing I made was more than I would have made NOT working. Massey hooked Len up with an ad, got dinner for free and put him in the best mood he had been in all day. We were calling him "Chef Cranky Pants" behind his back but Massey had him wrapped around her little finger...Guess who's Len's favorite NOW?

Tomorrow is day twenty...I am thinking about taking Massey to work with me again for luck. If I hear one more co worker mention a "Wheat Roll" again HEADS are gonna roll!

It's a crazy place I work for but I absolutely love it and it feels great to be loved. So I got put in time out...wasn't the first time but hopefully the last!

Til next time...Cotton in the corner

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I'm a Creature of the Night

I have always been a night owl. I have been a server since I was eighteen so I've pretty much always worked nights. I can get by with five hours of sleep for weeks but decompress about twice a month with a fifteen hour sleep-a-thon and start all over again. I just finished my  eigthteenth day in a row working and slept yesterday til noon. I watched the news still in bed and caught up with "All My Kids" for another hour. Two o'clock hit and I was ready to go! I went to the grocery store and made killer subs for all of us...including the next door neighbor's kid who was over. Turkey, smoked ham, roast beef, salami and cajun chicken with lettuce, tomato and lots of spicy mustard ... a bit of mayo and provolone cheese.

Headed into work and closed the restaurant. The tipping gods  smiled on me so I left the store after eleven and went by WalMart for a few things I can't buy at Kroger or Publix...namely a new vent hose for my dryer and new clamps to attach it. I pulled into the parking lot and saw a space right by the door (lucky me!)

I locked the car and took in my surroundings. I am careful and know that wearing a uniform and apron scream "I have cash in this apron!" I don't carry a purse so I keep my apron on to hold my keys, money , cell phone and wine key (doubling as a defensive weapon.) I walked quickly to the door only fifteen feet away to find out it was locked. For Pete's's WalMart! You already know crazy people shop there. Why piss them off even more by locking an entrance? I was so tired I didn't feel like moving my car so wielding my wine key I walked even faster all the way to the other set of doors.

Found my dryer vent hose and clamps. Picked up a couple more items while I was there and headed to check out. There are twenty seven registers at the store and there were at least fifty people in line. Three registers were open and with the recent remodel they did away with self check out. "Lovely!"

One woman was pushing a full cart in front of her and pulling another full one behind her. I chose another line. Then the person in front of me had an item with no tag on it. I moved to the only lane left and just took a deep breath.

Got my purchases and went out the only door they would let us and scampered back to my car on the other side of the parking lot. By this time it wa almost one. I checked my email and logged onto FB for a minute and decided to"Get Busy."

Our dryer is old and the idiots that built our house ran the line from our dryer under our staircase...took a ninety degree turn and spit it out underneath  my back living room window. They could have gone directly out the front through Massey's bedroom wall. They did the same at my next door husband's house but he changed his. I'm good at a lot of things but re routing vents isn't one of them. I need to change my vent hose every six months but I've been distracted.

I pulled the dryer out from the wall and climbed over. The vent hose was totally clogged with lint and water from the heat my tired old dryer was trying to put out. It was taking three hours to dry a load of clothes and the last load came out smelling funky and mildew(ish.)

I took the old hose off being careful not to spill all the water that had collected in it and almost threw up at the stench. I poured it out in the back yard and put the hose in the garbage can outside. I knew the  pipe running from the laundry room to the outside was wet as well so I got a great idea.

All my good ideas seem to come to me at one fifteen in the morning!

I went back into the laundry room with my leaf blower, took the long nozzle off and crammed it into the vent leading from my laundry room to it's bizzare escape route. Trust me...if you think a leaf blower sounds loud outside in the daytime, try using one in a tiny laundry room after one in the morning. I was covered in dust and lint. I crawled back out from the dryer and got a beer outta the fridge for a much needed break. My facebook page was open on the computer in the dining room and there was a post from Massey. "hmmm..are you seriously doing this at 1:36 in the morning?"

Damn skippy!

It took me forever to attach the new vent hose, I couldn't find the right size screw driver and it is  a really tight space I was working in. By two I had my dryer running like new and felt truly energized. My sink in the master bath was draining slow so I poured down some Mr. Plumber. It said to flush with hot water so I did it one step better. I boiled a huge pot of water and while I waited for it to boil glugged every sink in the house and flushed them with the boiling hot water.

So what it is after two? Now my dryer works great and all my sinks drain like my bank account.

I crashed onto the couch with my two pups beside me and dreamed that Anderson Cooper was straight and had a thing for me. (I really did dream that and really wish he did)

I woke up this morning to a daughter that looked at me and said "Well everyone else got a kick out of your leaf blower episode on FB."

I have learned a lot being married to Tim. He works like a dog but will not try to fix anything...he knows his limitaions and being handy isn't one of them. On the other hand we turn out to be a perfect match because I will try ANYTHING and can usually do a pretty good job. I tend to use a lot of duct tape and it may not be perfect but it keeps the house going.

As long as he pays the bills, I'll be his "Fix-it woman." I like learning how to do things and the pleasure when I fix something really gives me a rush. He does his part by folding and putting up the laundry...a job I detest. Guess we ARE a good match.

That seems to be the problem with couples today. You  don't need to need to know each other and see their strengths and know your weaknesses and make it work for the common goal.

I am crazy...I know that,  but think that is what endears me to my family. Want or need something me after one AM and I'll be on it!

Til next time...CRAZY COTTON

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Road Less Traveled...Staying Married For Life

It's hard to believe (just ask Tim) but we have been together since 1988. So many people get married but when they hit that first bump in the road, bail out and call it a day.

Tim and I met at the restaurant I worked for  (DUH) at a time when I was dating a guy fourteen years older than me. Thank the Lord I met Tim or I wouldn't be able to work as much as I do now...all my time would be spent pushing around a wheel chair and screaming into his"Miracle Ear."

I still scream at Tim from time to time (maybe a little more often) but you know what? I made a good choice when I married him and wouldn't change a thing...except maybe the balance in my checking account. We bank separately...he banks wisely and I throw the dice and  holler "Come on lucky seven!" It rarely works but I have honed my skills down to a science and can beat a check to the bank like nobodies bid-ness.

We started out broke. I was a waitress in a pizza joint he hung out in with his co workers after work and he was working for Safety Kleen. I moved up to manager and he started a long career with Engelman's Bakery. We built up our credit and had a pretty nice house in the southern tip of Jonesboro a block outside of Henry county. TJ was two when I met Tim and I fell in love with the kid. I liked being a step mom and it didn't leave any stretch marks. I've had TJ longer than I have had Zach or Massey and he will always be my oldest child.

In the Fall of 1991 Tim and I went to Jamaica and I forgot my birth control pills. In 1992 Zach came into our lives. He wasn't planned but was a pleasure. He didn't leave stretch marks either but I gained seventy pounds and ate Little Debbie Swiss Rolls every day washing them down  with a giant sized Ice-ee . Maybe that's where all my energy comes from...residual chocolate and caffeine effect.

Tim was making pretty good money when we had another "Oopsy."

By then I was thirty five and had to have an Amnio. I was told the baby was a girl and I may have complications...Boy was THAT an understatement!

I was elated to be having a girl and had already decided  to name her mother's maiden name. My Momma died when I was seventeen and I STILL haven't totally gotten over it, but having a girl gave me a reason to at least honor her one more time. My due date was even my Mother's birthday ...October fifth!

It was a hard pregnancy...I was on complete bed rest from the beginning of June. Massey ruptured my placenta in the early morning hours of August nineteenth and entered this world on the same day my Mother left it. She didn't make it til my Mommas birthday but replaced the day my Momma died with her arrival into this world and our lives. Tiny she was...just barely four pounds.

She blossomed like a rose and we were now a family of five.

Life was good. Tim started a new job with great pay and we moved to our first brand new home in Coweta County. TJ moved in with us soon after and the American dream was happening for us.

Life went on without skipping a beat , TJ graduated from high school, I was working for a big corporate restaurant and everything was great.

Then Tim took a gamble and went into business with a couple of guys. Sounded great but in hindsight "If it sounds too good to be true... Blah blah blah"

We hit the bottom so hard it felt like my front teeth had been knocked out. The economy tanked shortly thereafter and he was out of work for over a year. We had thousands of dollars saved up in his 401K and went through them in less than six months to pay our bills. My big bad corporate restaurant fired me for giving Massey a free dessert when she came into the store with some of her friends and now we were both unemployed.

My God, family and friends kept us afloat. My friend got Tim a job stocking shelves overnight at WalMart and when he got off every morning  headed to his second job parking cars at an auto auction.

People POURED their love upon us. I got gift cards in the mail, anonymous letters with cash  and people dropping by to bring food. Friends  bought Massey a Letterman jacket she desperately wanted (Dee's the woman!) A member of Fayetteville First Methodist church paid to have our septic tank pumped and somehow we made it through.

Two years later we are still playing catch up...but catching up we are. I pay it forward every single time I can.

I see Tim awake and face to face maybe two times a week. He works days and I work all the time. After two years  he has gotten a job that has great potential for advancement and is paying the bills.

How he has stayed with ME is still a mystery. I am a firecracker. I am always popping but once every couple of weeks I am a dud and have to decompress and step away from life, kids and sleep for twelve hours and he lets me.

It hasn't been the dream I thought it would be...but isn't that why they are called dreams?

I married Tim because I loved him and over two decades later I still do. He still has great legs.

I Love You Tim Cotton..(True THAT)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It...

Jeez...I need some major fixing because I am so broke I can't even pay attention. Had a couple of flush weeks at work and made some major head way and stopped just as suddenly. That's the downside of being a are at the will of the public sector.

 WILL  they go out to eat tonight...or WILL they stay at home? They've been staying at home for two days and it is killing me. What's worse is my last day off was August 29 and I seem to be fading. ( at least my feet are back are) I could take a day off...heck I could take two or three but what am I gonna do, sit at home and think about how broke I am? I'd rather just keep on keeping on until the tide changes and things swing back in my favor. Until  then I scheme and plan, skirt and kite and borrow from Peter to pay Paul. Verizon, our choice of rip off cell phone companies (They are all robbing us blind in my opinion) called the other day to tell me I was past due so I went across the street between slow shifts to plug a twenty in the automated pay machine. It took my money and I went back to work.

This morning Massey told me before she went to school that the cell phones were cut off. I mentally thought "The bastards" but know I had grown up without a cell phone and lived to be fifty one. What am I gonna do...have electricity, gas and running water or cell phones?

I voted for the utilities and still stand by my decision. We had a slow lunch today when I needed a busy one...go figure! I went back to the automated machine between my double shift and shoved in the few dollars I made at lunch and prayed for a miracle. Got home and  noticed I had cell service again and since no one was at home but me said "selfish bastards" out loud and got back in my car to go pick up Massey from school. My  low fuel light was on...when it rains it pours. I went back in the house and grabbed my baggie full of coins out of the junk drawer in the kitchen and headed to the school. After picking up the girl I managed to put ten bucks worth of gas in the car. Years ago it would have given me almost a full tank and since Massey was with me mentally said to myself (freakin' oil bastards.)

We got home and I had forty five minutes before I had to be back at work. I collapsed onto my bed, on my back so I wouldn't mess up my make up and semi watched the four o'clock news and semi snoozed. Feeling refreshed (not) I  got up thirty minutes later, brushed my teeth and swiped on some more eyeshadow to make me look more perky.

Being a server is my profession of thirty four years and for some crazy reason it just suits me. The only bad thing is that it is a constant gamble and you just pray  the odds and your ability make it all work out in your favor. It's crazy...when I am not in a pinch the public seems to throw money at me, when I am desperate it's like the oil companies and cell phone providers take over and will my good favor away. (the bastards)

I was supposed to be the first server to leave since I worked a double but mooched and cajoled myself into closing the store. I didn't make much but made more than all the servers that left early. I went to drop my last check and said to my manager "If this last table leaves me a fifty dollar tip on their sixty dollar tab, I'll be sitting pretty!"

He laughed and you know what? did I.

 I can't make it be busy, but it usually is. I can't always depend on walking out with Franklin but I want to. I also know that I have been a server long enough to realize that when you think you are at the bottom the next shift kicks you back up to the surface and lets you not only breathe but remind you why you take the gamble. At least I have a job where I can work as many days in a row as I want for as long as I want until I reach the goal I am currently aiming for. Then when I reach that goal I can take as many days off as I can afford to.  Sounds crazy but it's the type of job I love and am good at.

 The downside is that I am getting older quicker than I am getting richer but also realize there are millions and millions of people who would love to be in my old worn out shoes and be grateful to have our worn out roof over their worn down bodies.

When I look back to where we were two years ago and look at where we are now...I know our future will be so bright we'll have to wear shades!

 You have to perservere you have to have faith and you have to constantly pay it forward.

My last table left tonight and my manager said  "You should have told them you were working two shows tomorrow." (Another double shift)

I am a lucky woman, I am a tired woman but every day I wake up on this side of the dirt is a good one.

 I am a Cotton  and I am a Leach and every one knows a Leach sticks like glue.

Thursday makes twenty four years I have been with Tim. He has stayed with me and stood by my side through the good times and the bad. He must have some Leach in him too!

Getting up and doing it again tomorrow..."The Good Lord willing" (as my Mema used to say)

Til next time...COTTON/LEACH

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gotta Have More "ME" Days...

Took a good friend of mine to Lil 5 in Atlanta today...her first visit to the planet. We window shopped and people watched. I decided she needed a lube job so I took her to The Varsity for lunch. She is a health nut but I am a grease monkey.
I called a friend of mine from high school who works in downtown Atlanta and she met us for lunch (kinda.) I called her when we were leaving Lil 5 which is five minutes away from The Varsity and she said she would just walk over and meet us. I got back on the highway and took the first exit when my cell phone rang. She said "I just saw you get off the exit, I am walking a block behind you." I pulled over and saw her in my rear view mirror half running up Peachtree Street in her dress and heels. We waited by  the curb for her to catch up and she jumped in the car.

My friend from work has never eaten at The Varsity... that was made obvious when she ordered a grilled chicken sandwich. I didn't even know they sold chicken at The Varsity. She is a health fanatic and only drinks Almond Milk. (I didn't even know almond's had boobs)

 I ordered a chili steak , onion rings and a Co-Cola.  My friend from high school ordered a slaw dog , fries and two PC's.  We urged her to at least get some onion rings and she did. Dang, if you don't have some grease it ain't eating at The Varsity!

Downtown Atlanta is a crazy place...lots of suicide lanes and one way streets, people randomly either talking to you or screaming at you...especially around The Varsity (Whadda Ya HAVE?)

You'll have to google that phrase if you don't live in Atlanta but if you grew up here you'll know exactly what I mean.

We dropped my friend back off by her office after eating and were sitting at a red light when a car pulled up beside us. When it's two women in a convertible with the top down sitting at a red light in downtown Atlanta on a sunny day,  the car in the lane next to you chats with you. It's like the next door neighbor peering over the fence to talk. He asked what year my car was and was close enough to smack us if he wanted to. He went on about my car and then started on a story about his car. By the time the light changed we were BFF's.

I absolutely love going into Atlanta, always have. I  grew up on the outskirts and have been driving in downtown since I was seventeen years old. My mother died shortly after my seventeenth birthday and I used to drive myself to my orthodontist appointments off  Moore's Mill Road , three exits past downtown Atlanta.

I don't think they should let kids drive at sixteen anymore unless they live in Mayberry and the year is still 1963 but I don't write the laws...I just skirt 'em.

 I monitor my nineteen year old son's activities in my car by the odometer after he brings it back and do the fake brake check or dashboard grab to keep my daughter with a learner's permit on HER toes.

They will both be in their twenties before I let them take my car into downtown Atlanta. Til then it is MY town and MY fun. A woman's gotta have some "ME" time.

Til Next Time..Cruising COTTON

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It Was a Good Day

 Got home from work Friday just before midnight and did laundry dishes and some light cleaning. Watched CNN til late thirty and fell asleep on the sofa.
Woke up at 8:30 and decided to roll over. Woke up again at 10:30 and by 11:30 left the house with Massey and her friend and headed to Lil' Five for the day. Massey and I have been there many times but it was her friend's first visit. It was a beautiful day to take the convertible and cruise beyond the small town atmosphere we live in and take a peek at the crazy eclectic world  called "Lil' Five."

Welcome to a different world!

Lil' 5 is like landing on another planet.  A planet where sexual orientation is a mere suggestion at best, a place where you feel odd if you don't have a TAT and a place where the homeless fit in more easily than we do. If I had to be homeless I would choose Lil' 5 too, which leads me to believe the homeless population in Lil' 5 is smarter than the homeless living under the bridge by Turner Field. Both lifestyles are harder than hard, but I'd choose Lil seems a lot friendlier.
Massey once made the comment when we were entering a certain store we frequent that we always saw the same couple sitting on the ground with their backs against the wall . I told Massey that was  their living room....and I meant it.

It's a world where everyone is equal and no ones judges. Maybe Lil' 5 has the answer to the big problems we have all been searching for.

No  finger pointing, no  accusations or condemnation...just acceptance and  willingness to  co exist and work towards a common goal...being positive, productive and moving on without bashing each other to death with narrow minded views of what life should  or should not be.

They make ME feel like the odd ball ! I told Massey's friend today when we were eating pizza in our favorite place "We're the ones that look like freaks here."

We were the  ones without tats , piercings or a box sitting out for donations between our legs while sitting by the curb.  No one looked away from us or  or accused me of  being a fifty one year old woman who has three kids and a house  but still  has a hair cut that screams Lesbian. (I like my hair sue me) They don't judge me and I never judge them..I admire them . I didn't judge the six foot four transvestite in four inch heels with the shortest skirt I have ever seen but I did admire the amazing wax job.

We had a ball and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Actually I had so much fun I am taking a friend of mine from work to lunch and  Lil' 5 on Monday. She moved here from Alabama a few years back and has never been to Lil' 5 or The Varsity...THAT my friends will be corrected with a trip to the planet Lil'5 and a lube job at The Varsity .
"WHADDA YA HAVE?" (Only peeps from the ATL will get that but I bet if you google the phrase it will tell you.)

Call me a sap but I love living on the outskirts of Atlanta.  It is an amazing place to live and an amazing place to explore.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner...

 Our bulldog, Charlie is an idiot. You want to hate him but you just can't. He is absolutely beautiful and looks just like UGA. His eyes are lined in black, he has a tongue that is at LEAST seven inches long when he pants and has to scrub up next to you any time he walks by. I wear black pants or a black skirt to work and he makes it his mission to get as much of his white hair on them as possible before I get out of the house for work. He must think he is a cat and I am his scratching post.  I have another male dog, a boxer. Ham sits straight as an arrow and at full attention. He looks like he is in the Dog military at all times. He looks like he is ready for a drill Sargent to come in and scream "Drop and give me fifty!"

On the other hand, Charlie seems to be deaf as a post and always late to the game. The front door bell will ring and my boxer takes off for it. Charlie hears the vibration of Ham's bark and scrambles out from under my king size bed (his man cave that Ham can't squeeze into) and takes off for the kitchen door . He gets there and barks for a few seconds and then scrambles back upstairs to the front door.

Maybe he is smarter than I think (most probably not) and realizes it may be a diversion and the enemy is actually attacking from the kitchen using the front door bell as a decoy  Either way...he gets there when he can.
As of late he has taken to slumping in the corner by the kitchen and  dining room beside the door to the garage.

"Nobody puts baby in the corner" but Charlie drops and plops right in it.

 That way he can either be right by the kitchen door or closer to the living room. It's only four steps up to the living room as opposed to nine steps down from the bedroom.

Besides being an idiot, he runs like a Grandma and even "I" could beat him in a foot race (and he has four feet.)
I have to admit his legs are like little white match sticks ... it's like he is running on little white pegs. We have replaced his rabies tag with a Life Alert tag. He can touch it with his  seven inch tongue and let us know he has "Fallen and can't (or doesn't want to) get up!"

He does have his spurts of when he couldn't see out of the privacy fence gate and spent an entire day gnawing away at the gate until he chewed a hole big enough to stick his fat head through.

When Ham sits or  even sleeps he just looks like a stud! When Charlie sits he looks like a total doofus. His sleeping position is even more pitiful. On his back, mouth wide open , tongue hanging out and snoring like Otis Campbell sleeping one off in the Mayberry jail.

 When sitting... his legs are splayed  to one side. He has one tooth  sticking out of his mouth from his bottom choppers and his tongue wagging in the wind like a pink flag and on special occasions has his red thing out too.

But you know what?
 It's that freaky, funky wacky part of his personality that just MAKES you love him just can't help it. When he looks at you with his one wandering eye or  scrubs up next to you like he is a cat,  leaving a trail of white hair on your clothing,  or runs as fast as his little peg legs will go to the wrong door when a door bell just gotta love the little guy!

He's a short bus dog but I love him!

Til next time...glad  my dog's can't read my blog but glad they are both loved!   COTTON

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Storm Seems to be Subsiding...

This is a pic of TS Lee pounding the shores of Destin where two of my dear friends live. It looks like a mural of the last two years of my life...tumultuous  yet somehow amazingly beautiful.

I was off today and still hadn't heard from my mechanic about my car. It was almost time to pick up Massey from school. She is still super allergic to school buses so I called in a favor from Zach's friend who has been staying with us. He made the mistake of dropping by the house thirty minutes before she got out of school so I asked him if he would go pick her up. He said sure, so I text Massey and told her he would be there instead of me.

While he was gone I started thinking...if my car wasn't ready yet, why take a day off while I still didn't have enough money to go get it when it was? If I picked up a shift that would just be more money I would have when it was ready. I called my buddy, Hoke and thank the Lord HIS car was acting up and he wanted me to pick up his shift. Now I had a shift but no way to get there.

Call in favor number two...I called Zach's buddy who was on his way to pick up Massey at school and asked if he could run me to work after he brought Massey home and got the same reply "Sure."
Ironed a work shirt and jumped in the shower for four minutes. Five minutes on make up, three minutes brushing my teeth and two minutes on my hair later I was ready to go!

When I got to work the owner said we had two big parties coming in and asked if I wanted to be on one of them? Parties are a tough call. It's putting all your eggs into one basket. You either get lucky or get screwed. I gambled ... said I would take the party of twelve and crossed my fingers and sent up a silent prayer to The Big Guy upstairs who I have on  mental speed dial.

I told my bartender friend, Oopsy that I was gonna be a glass half full kind of girl. I wasn't even scheduled to work so whatever I made would be more than I would have made sitting home worrying how much my car was gonna cost.

Lucky for me the party showed up and all had teeth no visible prison tattoos and seemed to be business professionals. It turned out to be a group from the new hospital being built  and set to open in a few short months, hosted by the CEO. I made sure my service was  flawless and kept the wine glasses full.

I waited on three other small tables before my party came in, two of the tables were just couples and the third  three businessmen. I made $34 off those three tables and had all my eggs in  the party basket.
I presented the check when the hand signal went up and mentally speed dialed The Big Guy one more time.  When the room emptied I picked up the check and they had left me a 20% tip.

Barbara came in the room and asked how I did? I smiled and said I could get my car tomorrow and have it paid off by Thursday. When I first got to work I stepped out back and called my mechanic, He said the car was ready and told me how much it was. I told him I didn't quite have all the money and he said to come get it in the morning and we could work it out.

 As I cleared the table Barbara and one of our regulars who is an older gentleman were standing in the room  with me talking about retirement. Barbara made the comment she was sixty one and could retire next year. The older gentleman has been retired for over ten years. I told them I knew when I was retiring...when my doctor looked at his watch and pronounced "Time of death, four sixteen AM."

We all laughed and as I cleaned the last glasses away noticed they had left half a bottle of a wonderful Merlot. I chirped "This makes it a 22% tip!"

Had I taken a day off I would be well rested but $106.00 poorer. I feel more rested knowing I can go get my car in the morning, work another double tomorrow and have the mechanic paid off by Thursday. Waiting tables is a gamble but one that I love to take.

I'm only good at a few things...writing, chewing out my husband, yard work and waiting tables. My husband rarely deserves it and usually  says nothing. (It just encourages me) The yards speak for themselves looking all nice and trimmed and waiting tables is what I do best. I know when to kid and when not to. I know how to make sure dinner is perfect and how to anticipate customer's  needs before they have to ask. If you do it right EVERY single time...the odds are in your favor and tonight I broke the bank!

Headed out in the morning to pick up my Lil' Beem,  make a bank deposit to cover a check that is floating it's way to the vault as I type (It was a holiday weekend... that always buys me a day or two) and headed back to work to do it all again. Life is good!

Til next time...COTTON (having her PHD In BS)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Shawty Steering...

This was the only picture I could find to post...If  reversed it would tell the story.

I had to work this morning and my Lil' Beem of sunshine is still in the ICU at the car hospital. Tim works on Sunday too but found a ride to and from with a co worker and let me borrow his car. I left this morning with no minutes to spare and jumped in his SUV.

"CRAP" I forgot his electric seats quit working a while back. Tim is six foot three and I am five foot three. My feet were dangling above the floorboard from the seat and I couldn't reach the gas pedal. Now I had minus one minute to spare and looked in the back seat for something to bump me up to driving height. I found a beach towel and a pair of golf shorts and crammed them behind my lower back and put the car in  reverse. Once I backed out of the driveway and put the car in drive my foot slipped off  the gas pedal.  I grabbed the steering wheel and pulled myself up enough to punch on the gas and took off. If I let up on my grip on the wheel my butt slid back in the seat and I lost foot control. Thank the Lord I only have a seven minute drive to work.

I walked into a chaos of a lunch shift but was grateful to have it. I was supposed to get off at four and didn't leave til after five thirty. I had to go to Big Lots only a two minute drive from the restaurant so I grabbed a box from  the back of the kitchen and took it with me to the car. I put it behind my back and started the car. It wasn't comfortable but at least I could reach all the necessary controls. I walked into Big Lots...intending to buy Massey a monthly planner that was on sale for three bucks but as soon as I walked in saw a twelve roll of  toilet paper that looked exactly the right size and shape to serve as a back cushion for the car.

When I left Big Lots an employee was sitting out front smoking a cig on break and stared at me as I placed the twelve pack of toilet paper on the back of the driver's seat and slipped in.

My life is a suits me just fine. As long as I keep making strides and moving ahead my life is my comic relief.

Hoping tomorrow is as busy as the past three days have been at work...I'll have Lil' Beem of sunshine out of the ICU and maybe have enough to get a day off breather.

What matters most to me is that life has gotten SO much better, we are finally moving forward as opposed to treading water and before you know it I will be able to throw away my nose clip that kept me from drowning and burst from the waters of debt and soar like a bird.

If my life wasn't funny, it would really suck.

I have three great kids and a husband that keeps coming home from work each night...What more could a girl ask for?

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Yard Work is Good for the Soul

Went to bed late last night with a wet washcloth on my forehead...These night sweats are turning into nightmare sweats. Got up and jumped on Johnny to cut the front entrance of our subdivision around 11AM. Cut for two hours and came home covered with red Georgia clay. It has been so dry here that I seem to kick up more dirt than cut down grass. I dreamed last night that I owned this transformer in the above picture...could I cut some crap with that or WHAT?

 I drank a huge cup of water and went next door to cut my neighbor's front back and side yard. Fixed a bologna sandwich and felt revived enough to ride ole Johnny back up front to weed eat the huge ditches on both sides of the subdivision entrance. My weed eater ran out out line and I sat on  the ground to wind on some more. A car whizzed by and honked long and hard on their horn and I heard a  scream... "Get off yer ass, Cotton!"

It was one of the women I worked with over ten years ago when I was doing my stint as a "Lunch Lady" at my kid's elementary school. She's a pistol...from Alabama and reminds me of Peppermint Patty with  attitude. I cracked up when I heard her yell  as she flew by with her hand waving out the open car window.

Only in the south!
I wound  new line on, "Got off my ass" and finished the weed eating. I can't imagine women up north riding around honking,  screaming out their car window "Get off yer ass" which to  women in the south means "Good to see ya still kickin !"

Her pep talk got me through the task at hand. It was ninety four degrees outside. Add in my hot flash effect and it was a hundred and forty. I've been cutting the front of the subdivision for a couple of years and have had numerous drive by shout outs. One of my old managers from work flew by me one day and honked his horn scaring the crap out of me because I had my back turned to the road. When I got home I had a text on my phone from him "Looking good slinging that weed eater, Mama!"

I don't know why I like yard work so much...maybe I was an illegal immigrant in a past life or part of a prison work detail.

It kills me when I am doing it but is so satisfying to see my handy work when I am done.

Zach took me to work today and when we got to the stop sign at the end our street he remarked how nice it looked. I said I  missed a couple of weeds by the water meter but would stop and pull them up tomorrow. He gave the slow shake of his head that means "You are totally crazy" and turned out of the subdivision.

Don't think I won't stop on the way out tomorrow to snag those weeds...little buggers trying to make MY handiwork look slack. I'll show THEM!

My car got sick on Friday and is currenty in ICU at the car hospital. Why do things like this happen on a holiday weekend?

 On the bright side the check I kited for Massey's fundraiser on Friday won't go through either so it is a win/win situation. I have until Tuesday to make everything right and tight!

Hopefully ole TS Lee will cancel everyone's cook out plans and they will all decide on coming to eat at the restaurant I work for.

If my check for cutting the front of the subdivision comes in and my luck holds out  with customers at work showing me their love, it will all be okay.

You know what? It will be okay anyway.

 After the past two years,  I have learned a few lessons that will last a lifetime. Number honest. Number humble. Number three be grateful and most importantly... Number four, Always Pay it Forward.

My life has been quite the journey... and you know what? I look forward to what the future holds and can take anything it throws at me. I've made so much lemonade out of lemons with so much help from friends family and strangers that the rest of this trip oughta be a BREEZE!

"Get off yer ass, Cotton!"

I'm gonna have to send ole Peppermint Patty a thank you note!

Til next extremely lucky  lady!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Now I REALLY Hate Cell Phones...

So I already get gouged by my cell phone carrier...but who doesn't? I wish I didn't need one but I work all the time and still have two teens at home and a husband I see twice a week when we high five each other passing in and out the door when one of us is leaving for work and the other is coming home. It's hard to boss a husband around when you don't have a cell phone, we quit answering our house phone over a year ago because it is always someone wanting money and since we are in short supply it's simply easier to let the recorder pick up.
I kept the same cell phone for five was a rotary dial. One of the servers borrowed my phone at work one night to look up another server's phone number and  kept running her finger down the screen saver expecting the screen to move. I told her it was a rotary dial  and had to show her how to find my contact list.

Massey had a blackberry  Tim had gotten at his old job four years ago and we switched it to our plan when he didn't need it anymore( the only perk he got from THAT job.)  The blackberry lasted a heck of a lot longer than the job and after three years it stopped working. Massey insisted we do the free upgrade (of course to her benefit) and she got a new phone that didn't have internet but allowed her to post on Face Book and Twitter. Then I dropped my rotary dial cell one night pumping gas after work and had problems with it for six more months when Massey pointed  out Tim , Zach and I had never upgraded. Back to Verizon we went and after plopping down $53.00 with a $50.00 mail in rebate I took her phone and she got the one she REALLY wanted.
I still haven't learned how to use the key board. Who's fingers are that tiny besides Tinkerbell's? Of course she had thrown away the manual that came with it...

"Teens don't need no stinkin' manual...they know EVERYTHING."

Tim still has his rotary dial cell and is  learning how to text ...well at least how to ANSWER one. I have my sidekick, Massey who tutors me every day in "Cell phone 101." If I didn't have her I don't know if I would be able to call 911. She has taught me amazing things like "Cha-Cha" (it's like texting the wizard of Oz) and how to use 'word' when sending a text (more magic.)

She might be a slob around the house but she sure comes in handy when I need tech support!

When I upgraded and took her old phone I was most upset that I had lost my ringtone..."Creep" by Radio Head. All my contacts transferred , my pics were lost but most were on my computer anyway . I just missed hearing "I'm a Creep...I'm a weirdo."  It was my is was "MY' ringtone and  made me smile every time it went off.

When I had my OLD OLD cell phone my ringtone was "American Pie" by Don McClean. That's another fave of mine...The history of my childhood in a rockin' kick butt song!

I  never have my cell phone on anything but vibrate unless I am home but it still sounds better than that ring tone that sounds like my parent's wall phone ringing in the kitchen in 1965 or any of the other stupid ring tones that come installed on your cell phone.

It may sound crazy but as I type this  "American Pie" is playing on the radio in my kitchen... call it Karma, call it Fate or call it a Wonderful song.

Since I pay Verizon way too much money to keep in touch with my teens and harass my poor husband I just want my ringtone back. I decided to go back to American Pie. When I downloaded it six years ago it was simple and free. I spent two hours tonight searching for a free download...went through the first five google searches for free downloads. At the end of each was a button saying "Click to accept terms of contract."
Are you kidding me?
You rape me financially month by month but can't let me have "American Pie" as a ring tone for free?

Don't think I am letting this go...I feel like our congressman Westmoreland hasn't done anything in  years. He sure didn't email me back when my house was going into foreclosure and I emailed him twice. Maybe he will respond when I tell him I had to pay $1.99 for a ring tone.

What's a $1.99 when I have to pay $3.60 to fill up my  lawn mower gas can that only holds a gallon and we have been in Iraq for ten years? You do the math.

Til next time...COTTON