Friday, October 28, 2011

Taking a Much Needed Day Off for ME!

Taking this Saturday off. Haven't done that in quite a while and really can't afford to but it will be a day all my own and all for me!

Massey is going  to see one of her besties who is at Valdosta State and I am going to a baby shower in the AM for a former co worker who  is (ironically enough) having a baby! The boys don't care if I'm not around (they probably prefer it) and Massey will be with friends so I am doing the baby shower gig in the AM and going to a Halloween party in the PM.

The Halloween party is being given by one of my favorite peeps in the world. I grew up with her going to East Point Christian Church. Our families took vacations together when I was a kid and we have kept in touch via funerals since we've gotten older (sad truth.)

She is one of the funniest and most REAL people you could ever be lucky enough to meet...she makes ME seem like a stick in the mud!

I don't think I ever knew she was Gay when we were kids...or her either for that matter  . It was the sixties and early seventies... we were more focused on bashing  Blacks than Gays.

Heck , I never had a boyfriend..they weren't a pre requisite especially if you had a mouth or humor like she and I did. She was the life of every party or get together and  came by it honestly...her entire family is a hoot.

She emailed me an invitation to her "Halloweenie Roast" and my sister and I decided to take a night for ourselves and go!

My brother was supposed to go with us but he's a big wig fancy schmancy exec. and has to take clients out.  We'll give him a pass...he does really well at his job ( taking care of his sisters.)

I emailed my friend back and said I was excited to be attending and was looking forward to her "Chaz Bono" costume.

She emailed back  "What makes you  think it is a costume?"

I really need to work Saturday but I also really need to laugh and be foolish with life long friends and my big sis.

I am going as Peter Pan. I have the hair cut, lack of breasts and even the attitude...I don't wanna grow up!

My sister told me she had her costume ready but wouldn't tell me what it was.  I am hoping she is dressing as a "Designated Driver." Just friend has already said she had a room ready for us if we wanted to stay.

I am pretty pumped! I worked a double shift Friday and feeling guilty about actually having an entire day off for myself on Saturday. Came home and trimmed bushes for two hours between the lunch and dinner shift. Went back to work smelling like deodorant overload and got off after closing. Thought I would get off early but it was crazy at work (a good thing unless you trim bushes for two hours and have chigger bites to prove it.)

Still have to make a fruit tray in the morning for the baby shower AND get a gift. Massey is leaving at nine on Saturday morning so if I get up to see her off I have time to buy a gift and magically produce a fruit tray. Then I will have two hours to fine tune my Peter Pan costume (it is awesome and I will  post pics.)

Look at me! Having Fun...I can hardly wait, and hardly wait to blog about it!

Squeezing a few more chigger bites (feels good to mash 'em like pimples) applying the nail polish and heading to bed.

 It is SO right that my email address is "The Clampetts"

Stay tuned for Halloweenie Roast update...
Til next time...PETER PAN

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm Good...

Got up today and got into action. I cooked a full fledged dinner and had it simmering on the stove when Tim left to pick up Massey from school. I hopped on my Johnny Dear and cut my front yard my neighbor's side yard and weed eated both.

I jumped into the shower but was still picking grass out of my hair when I got to work. It has been slow the last two nights so I KNEW I would bank tonight.

Didn't happen. I was freaking by seven thirty. I had three checks hitting my bank account tomorrow and thought I  KNEW I could cover them.

Note to self: Tim is wise NOT to have a joint account with me.

My last three tables made it happen. Two guys left me a phat tip, had another table that tipped me over 30% and my last table put me in the black (for now.)

Had a table of a family. The mom and daughter got there first, waiting on the son and father. When the dad sat down I noticed he was handing out printed google maps to each of the kids. When I was in the kitchen another server said "I think the kids at your table are crying."

Yes they were. I know the family although they don't really know me. Our kids have gone to school together for 12 years but they live in an upscale subdivision that I dreamt we one day would. They know me because I am a waitress and they eat out a lot.

After serving them and trying to avoid looking into their teens puffy eyes the Dad asked for the check. When he handed me his card he said his kids were worried that I thought they were abusive parents when in fact he had just told them he got a promotion and the family was moving....pretty far away.

The daughter was distraught so I asked her what year she was in high school? She was a senior but her Dad interjected that they wouldn't be moving until she graduated. I told her "Heck you will be away at college and they will be visiting you more than YOU want!"

So like the big mouth I am I told the kids "They could have brought you here to tell you your Dad just lost his job and you were all moving into the Motel Six because underneath the bridge at Turner Field was full up!

Tim lost his job two years ago and we went from a six figure family to a family living off of the kindness of others and welfare at one point.

Life is always a perspective and always taken for granted in my book.

My last two tables left me a phat tip and once again I will be in the black...for now.

But that is all that matters. I struggle every day but as long as I struggle and God sees me trying, it will be okay.

The yard is cut, my checks are covered and I will wake up tomorrow and do it all again.

As God as my witness...I will laugh at these slim picking days years from now but always be grateful for how I made it through them.

Doing it again tomorrow and for as long as the Good Lord allows.

I'm Good...wouldn't trade my life, even if it was for  one of the Kardashian's. Beauty fades but resilience shines !!

Til Next time...COTTON

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Three Stooges...

I worked the day shift today with my buddies "Hoke" and "Panic." Hoke is always fun to work with...we pick on him relentlessly and he takes it so well that we do it constantly, non stop. He has been having heartburn problems... either because of us or because of the fact that he eats like a machine at work. I nicknamed him "TW" (Tape Worm.) One of the servers had a part of a sub sandwich left and asked him if he wanted it to which he obviously replied "Yes" so she left it on our little counter in the alley where we all grub down. She didn't tell him, but told me that she had taken all the meat out of the sub as a joke. When he left the kitchen I  put four Rolaids in his sandwich from the bottle he has been keeping at work to help with his most probably ulcer that is most probably caused by working with us tormenting him on a daily basis. He finally got around to taking a bite of his sub and pulled a Rolaids out of his mouth and said to the new girl "Who put a Rolaids in my sub?" to which  she replied "Who do you THINK?"

When a prank is pulled I am always the first suspect and most always's part of my charm!

The other stooge I worked with today is "Panic." She is a doll and I love her to death. She is an actress and has been in many movies, small parts sometimes an extra but with the booming movie industry in Atlanta works several days a week on various shows and movies being filmed around the city. Barb makes her a nervous wreck and we all kid her about it. Sometimes we'll just say "Barb is looking for you" to see the look of sheer terror on her face. I had  regular at my table today who works for the local Chamber of Commerce and Panic was talking to her about her latest acting job. The woman asked her if she could cry on cue and I spoke up and said "She cries every time she works...she's cried twice since she clocked in." I love working with Panic and Hoke...they are both just "Good" people and tons of fun to be around.

Barb was on her perch at the bar going through tickets and invoices and had two new bottles of wine a distributor had brought her to sample. She poured the three stooges a taste and asked what we thought? She remarked that it was best to take a second sip and we all said "Of course!" After two samples of the first we all said we were ready to try the second! We were playing her and  she knew it but being the wine snob she is, gave us all a couple of snorts of the second bottle. She quickly cut us all off when none of us had read the literature she had left on the bar describing each wine and the region they were from..."BUSTED" but "BUZZED!"

When we like to REALLY get to Barb we call her "Babs." She absolutely detests the nickname (Which encourages us to use it as frequently as we can.)

I am totally bummed that Tim's promotion fell through but thrilled that I get to stay on a while longer with my Mama Lucia's family. We are a totally dysfunctional family of misfits but a family none the less. I have never loved a job more and had never had a job love me back so fiercely.

Panic and I had a party of seven women today celebrating a birthday. They came in early and decorated the table with Halloween treats and all showed up wearing witch hats, cat whiskers etc...

They were older women most in their sixties. One woman had a face that was flawless (and totally wrinkle free.) Panic commented "I wonder how much her husband paid for THAT face?" Granted it looked good but when she spoke it was like she was  a ventriloquist. Her lips didn't move much and it was hard to see if she was smiling or making a grimace. I told Panic we might have to shovel her lunch through that small slot she was trying to talk through. We had a good chuckle over THAT one and were immediately reprimanded by Babs.

Left work in time to pick up Massey from school and run a few errands before heading home for her to get ready for her first Chorus concert. They did an outstanding job and I took her out to eat pizza afterwards.

Headed back to work tomorrow for two shows...Lunch and Dinner. Tim may have been put on hold with his promotion but I get to hang around this crazy family at Mama's a bit longer and LOVE IT!

Til Next time..."Moe"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

WOW Is All I Can Say

I picked up a post off a relatives wall tonight on Face book.

 I have a lot of gay friends and  gay relatives as well. I don't have them because I am a Liberal...I have them because they are people that I love.

I think  most people who object to homosexuality have never met and loved a person for WHO they are and not for who they think THEY should be.
  Who would ever CHOOSE to be an outcast of society , banned in some religions and balked by millions?

I have a cousin who is gay. I have a BFF who is gay. I know probably twenty other people who are gay that I consider dear and close friends.

Do you think they woke up one day and thought "It would be really hip to say I am gay...I hear that is all the rage now."

Labels are so quickly put upon people. I have short hair and have had many people think  I am gay. Yes I am.

I am happy and carefree...regardless of the fact that we have been broke for over two years. When we first moved in our brand new house fifteen years ago ...the boy next door told my then four year old Zach that Gay meant "Sick love between two boys." Zach came hone and asked me what "Gay" meant and I told him "Happy and carefree." (And to stay away from the neighbors)

Who in their right mind would choose a life style that is bashed and beaten every step of the way?

People are born Gay just like I  was born straight..Heck Tim probably wishes I could switch teams..
Not gonna happen (sorry Tim)

Friday, October 21, 2011


Had my day off from the world yesterday and came back strong today.

I didn't do squat yesterday til after six PM but then kicked into gear and scrubbed all three of my bathrooms. When I clean as of late, I just do the bare minimum. That means I clean  enough that I'm not totally grossed out when I take a shower and swipe at the mirrors with some Windex. A while back Tim cleaned the bathroom in our bedroom and said the least he could do is clean the bathroom once a week for me. I held him to his word and that word simply vanished after that first full cleaning.
I stood my ground and only half way cleaned when his cleaning ceased. Yesterday I could stand it no more.

Barb had given me a bottle of wine she considered too old to sell so I poured a glass and took it and Mr. Clean, Comet and Windex upstairs to the master bath  and closed the bathroom door. Between all the bleach  cleaners and wine I got a buzz AND got it DONE!  I cleaned the light bulbs above the sink and worked my way down to the floor. I scrubbed the shower stall until it looked better than when we moved in (and we bought the house brand new.) I cleaned the garden tub til it sparkled and cleaned both sides of the glass door leading to shower stall til it was a clear view. I cleaned all the drains and scrubbed the floor from the baseboards out to the center of the room. I scrubbed the counter top til there was nary a hair or speck of dust. I continued on to the kids bathroom and did the same. All toilets were clean enough to drink out of (at least the dogs thought so) and once I was done it was amazing how good it felt.

Tim works hard but has two days off a week and brings home the same paycheck. I work hard too but if I take two days off I make a LOT less. I only make money if I work and when I have a couple of bad shifts I have to pick up more to  make it all even out. Granted this is the profession I have chosen.

I've been working too much lately and Tim has taken the brunt of my working day after day after day. He is as laid back as I am frantic forward. He is man of few words and I am a woman who's words are way too many . The other morning  I left for work to do another double shift and he had the day off. I left through the kitchen door leading to the garage barking out orders "Feed the dogs take the trash out and for Pete's sake keep pushing the laundry through, I get sick of coming home and  clothes are still sitting wet in the dryer..."  He shut the kitchen door behind me as I got to the words "For Pete's sake..." and  I heard him calmly say to  our boxer, "That's the way you do it Ham... just shut the door and wait for her to drive away." I screamed out "I HEARD THAT!" but went ahead and just got in my car and drove away.

We are complete opposites but have the same goal... just strive to reach it differently. We've had some knocks but we've had a bunch of blessings. We were at the bottom and have battled back to the lower middle and are destined to be back on top.

I had a crappy first part of the week at work but came back strong tonight. I had a party of ten that requested me. A former co worker from the Western Sizzler I worked for had her birthday dinner with us at Mama Lucias. She doesn't work at the Sizzler anymore but knows my history with them. They left me an over fifty percent tip and I set a new record. Waited on three tables and walked with Franklin and quite a few of his buddies, making up for the crappy days and getting my bank account back in black.

I hate that Tim's promotion got put on hold. I didn't want to move but was looking forward to the pay raise. God has a plan for us and I guess I jumped ahead of his.

We'll be fine here for now.

I have a job that I hated leaving anyway and the busiest season of our year is starting. Maybe God wanted me to bank one more time with the peeps I have come to love tremendously and that for some unknown reason love me too.

I bet when I leave at night... after I walk out the back door, the cooks say  "That's the way you do it...just shut the door and wait for her to drive away."

Til next time...LIFE IS GOOD.


Monday, October 17, 2011

He'll Open Another Window...

Total bummer of a day.  Like the idiot I am I didn't take a day off last week ... came home from work last night after a ten hour shift and collapsed into a coma. I dragged out of bed around two this afternoon and felt much better. Heated up some left overs and picked Massey up from school.

Tim called as I was leaving to pick Massey up and asked if I had gotten his text.
 Number one: he has never, ever sent me a text.
 Number two: I didn't know he KNEW how to text.

Seems the offer in Charlotte has been pulled off the table. He was at work and couldn't really talk but said the big boss was coming into town next week to talk with him.

Jeez, it took me a while to get used to the idea of moving but I was beginning to get used to it.

Went into work tonight and had the absolute worst shift I have ever had. Waiting tables is a crap shoot anyway and tonight I totally CRAPPED OUT. Two ladies left me a three dollar tip on a $77 tab (and they weren't even European.) Another lady ate a side of pasta and had a glass of I was up to four dollars. Had a few other small tables but all said and done it was a horrible night. I didn't understand...I even took a shower and washed my uniform! At one point I went in the kitchen and asked another server if I had a booger in my nose?

Len said at least it doesn't happen often. He's right, it doesn't. I just needed a good night desperately. Barb floated me a fifty to go buy groceries...Zach ate cereal with water today.

Our life is on the path back but we needed Tim to get this promotion. I'm hoping that they have even bigger things in store for him but we will just have to wait and see. I hate it for Tim. He is such a good man and was so pumped to be moving up. Poor Tim, being married to me is like being married to a skinny Rosanne Barr. I have a big mouth and never hesitate to use it.

We'll just have to wait and see what the meeting next week holds....hopefully it will be a royal flush!

Looks like I cleaned all that dog slobber off the walls for nothing.

Another window will open...

Til next time... Crossing my fingers COTTON

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One of My Better Performances

Last night was slow at work but I had a great lunch (another blog altogether) so it all averaged out and on the plus side I got home early.

Tonight was a whole different ball game. I went in at four and it started almost immediately. By five I had already made almost forty bucks and thanks to us being short a server on the floor I had extra tables in my section. I was in the kitchen by the front where you can look into the lobby and saw some of my blog readers standing in the lobby waiting to be seated. Twin sisters that went to high school with MY sister and they had in tow,  two more people and their brother who went to our high school as well. I absolutely love this family. The girls were great basketball players and have always been wonderful people to be around. Their brother was in the band with my sister and went on to become a band director for a new high school and implemented a very successful program.

 I love me a band program! Nerds, fat ones skinny ones handicapped ones jocks and cheerleaders...popular and unpopular all having the same love of music and all having each other's back. There is a bond in a "good"  band program and I was fortunate enough to be part of one , Massey as well.

They ordered a free appetizer (mention my blog at the restaurant and the owners buy you a free appetizer or dessert.)  The brother had brought his wife (it was her birthday) and the sister's brought a bag of tricks! The had a crown, a HIGHLY decorated hat and slotted glasses for her to wear for her birthday picture.  I have never met his wife but I believe she was relieved to have been seated at a table in our back dining room as opposed to  by the huge plate glass window in the front of the store.

After taking pictures of her (future FB posts I'm sure) They had a  meal of all excellent choices from our huge and varied menu.

Shortly after they were seated I got another five top, a two top, a three top and a party of four within the span of  five minutes.

 I began to go into cartoon mode (where I feel like I am in a cartoon  and when I walk fast I hear the bongos in my head that used to make the sound for Fred Flintstone when he ran real fast.)

I had a couple seated at my table that make reservations just to sit with me, seated next  to my friends. They are a precious pair...just dating and both well in their eighties. They have one cocktail  and split a dinner. She orders a Kir Royale which I haven't served to anyone but her in my thirty some odd years of being a server. They never mind or mention the $1.99 split meal charge on their check. The kitchen does a great job of splitting the meal and presenting it on two separate dishes evenly divided and looking  great.

I don't blame the owners for a split meal charge...especially in this tough rough economy. They serve a high quality product that isn't brought in on a truck frozen and slapped into a microwave. Everything is made from scratch even the stock used to create dishes. The pasta is made from scratch for our Manicotti and Lasagna. We make our own Crepes, soups and salad dressings. The Veal and Chicken are pounded daily  like a gang beat down and the Eggplant is sliced fresh every morning. I am pretty proud of the place where I work. I have never sold a more terrific wonder I have had such great success doing it!

They got to meet Barb...our Mama Lucia icon. I told Barb they read my blog so  they already KNEW her!

When I took the three different checks to my friends one of the sisters handed me a twenty dollar bill. I thought she was tipping for the entire table and was happy to see a big Phat tip!  I thanked her and ran the two credit cards and the brother paying the third tab handed me cash and said he didn't need change. I hugged all their necks as they left and thanked them for coming to see me. I was busier than a beaver and didn't look at the checks til they had left. After all was said and done they had left me an almost fifty percent tip. I checked on my other tables and ran out the front door to try and catch them.

Thank the Lord for former athletes! They hobble slow in their fifties. I caught them out front of the store and told them they didn't have to leave me that much. They said it was no problem and that they had really enjoyed the meal. I replied "That's great...can you come back tomorrow?'
Ran back into my cartoon world with my other six tables and plodded along.

Who am I to judge? They could be in the same boat I have been in, down on their luck and counting pennies just as I have.

I never mind meeting customers demands when they are within reason.

The cartoon part of the evening passed and I had time to crank up my routine!

My little friend "Frenchy" was working tonight. I always tease her and tell her "You're cut."  That means you are off the floor for the evening and won't be seated anymore. After the big rush the manager told me to find Frenchy and tell her she was cut. I did just that. She looked at me with that sweet little face and said  "This is real, yes?"

We have another new girl who has just recently started but has picked up quicker than most any of our latest hires...she's lasted longer and  puts up with my routine and actually encourages me.

Massey says that's my problem...  "I" think I am TOO funny!

She was looking at her slip of paper the manager hands out when you are cut telling you what you need to do before you can check out and go home. She is cute as a button and I have really bonded with her. She is divorced and  left her home in another state up for sale since her daughter left for college and  temporarily living with her parents til  her house sells.

She asked me what "Empty ice bin pan" meant? I told her we had a slow drip under the ice machine and she had to get on her hands and knees and pull the pan out from underneath , empty and replace it.
She quipped it had been a while since she had been on her knees ... at  the same exact time, one of the cooks (Mitch) came up  to the ice machine to get a pan of  ice to cool down food products.
I told her " Mitch says as long as you're down there..."
She started giggling so I added "Just keep  your eyes shut!"

We laughed for ten minutes...Mitch just walked away with his pan of ice and said nothing. (He's the silent type)

I said to everyone in the kitchen "You guys are going to have to hire a clown when I leave to keep up morale." Another server said "I don't think a clown would be as funny!"

Jeez I love this job.  I love the people I work for and with. I love the people I wait on and I love coming into work every day...It makes a huge difference when you work fourteen days in a row. Heck it makes a difference when you work part time.

To have a job (especially in these lean mean times) is great. To have a job that you love and loves you back makes life FANTASTIC!

"Don't get any ideas, Mitch...I don't love the job THAT much!"

Til next  time...  COTTON

Wait til I post about the woman who brought live entertainment with her for her birthday par-Tay. It was a hoot !

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Girls Gone Grown Up"

Two little girls met when one was four and the other one three. The four year old was bossy and has remained so.
 I remember the year it snowed after Christmas and they dragged the thrown out   Christmas tree someone had shoved into their garage... over the river and through the woods to the back of our property.
 I remember when it REALLY snowed and these two girls trashed all my cookie sheets by using them as sleds.
 I remember THIS "Pimpin" pic from a day when they were both obviously bored.

I remember two little girls that have  known and lived next door to each other for as long as THEY can remember.

They were both cute as buttons (where THAT term comes from I am still unaware of) and have floated in and out of each other's lives for almost thirteen years.

They both went through their awkward years...but came out the other side complete beauties, inside and out.

I'll never forget the time when they were about six and seven and Alyssa's parents  put in a  pool. Alyssa came over , knocked on my door and was so excited to invite Massey to come swim. Her Dad (my next door husband) was standing right behind her, still dripping in her little two piece suit . She had her little glasses crooked on her tiny face and both  little boobies were below her bikini top. I guess it rode up on the run over to my front door. Her Dad said "Pull your top down" she turned and looked at him like he was crazy and Massey burst out the front door with her wax ear plugs and they both bounded back next door.

Oh how I will miss living next door to these people!

They have been our best friends and  helped us out too many times to count. My next door husband has fixed my cars (time and time again) my oven, my dishwasher and even my umbrella on the back patio. Our kid's have grown up together and I almost have the same feelings as I did growing up in East Point ... A community of many but a tight knit family that cares about each other intensely.

All three of my kids have grown up in this house and I have too.

Leaving Georgia is still a strange idea to me. I know I will still see my brother and sister  but leaving my "Next door family" will be tough. It has been wonderful living next door to them and having them as not only neighbors but  friends.

It's getting closer...this move. It's starting to hit me. There are things I will be glad to leave behind and there are things I will miss....The Smrekar's will be one of them (Felicia included)

Thank the Lord Alyssa has learned how to keep a bathing suit top in the right place because she has turned out to be quite the beauty. Her sister is married and starting her own life with her husband in Hawaii. Their brother is going into the Air Force  and after watching them all grow up ... I know it is time for US to grow.

We will always (I am sure) stay in touch...we will be connected via Internet,  but I will always remember those early years..."The Wonder Years."

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, October 10, 2011

Two More Performances Behind Me, Counting Down to My Finale'

Last Halloween I was a Waffle House waitress at work...had the uniform and everything, even the kerchief to tie my hair back. I'm gonna have to start working on this year's..."Hmmm?"

That's another thing  great about working for a family owned business. The Western Sizzler wouldn't let us wear costumes. They did years ago but banned it along with having fun at work. The owners of my current digs encourage us to dress up.

I limped back into work this morning for another double shift. I like working Monday because I convinced the owner to let me fly solo on the lunch shift. It's just me and the bartender. We work well together and both make decent money. My first table was three women. The first woman asked how sweet our tea was? I replied "You know you're in  the South, right?" She smiled and ordered tea and the woman next  to her said she'd have the same. The third woman ordered un sweet tea with no ice then added, "I'm a Yankee" to which  I replied "No DUH."

In the South,  "Iced Tea" means a lot of sugar with a little tea thrown into a full glass of ice. We like it sweet and we like it cold.

 The women were really friendly and seemed to be enjoying my performance so I continued  with my show. They all LOVED their meals and when  clearing away their dishes one of the Southern women started talking about her Chocolate Lab. I hear a dog story and my ears perk know I love me some dogs!

The Yankee commented  she had a Dachshund...and pronounced it "Dax Shunn." I asked her to repeat what kind of dog she had and she did. I knew it was the correct way to say it but haven't heard it pronounced that way since Hitler was alive. I laughed and said "You ARE a freakin' Yankee!" She asked how we pronounced it to which I replied "Wiener Dog unless you live below Macon. Then it's a Weeny Dog."

We all laughed and I think they felt like applauding when they got up from the table.

My next table was just as fun! Two ladies and I thought I recognized one of the women. I told her she looked so familiar and asked where she worked? She said Bank of America and asked if I banked there? I said "No, I kite my checks through Bank of Coweta. My husband says I  helped them build two new branches with my NSF fees...  I think they have a plaque with my picture on it in every branch as their largest contributor." She laughed and laughed.  Another PHAT tip from new fans and I banked!

Came home and had one hour before heading back. Went to my bedroom and stripped out of my uniform, hung it on hangers and climbed into bed flat on my back so as not to muss my hair or make up and fell out for forty five minutes looking like Lily Munster taking a nap.

Massey screamed  from her bedroom on the bottom floor to Zach on the second floor who yelled to me on the third floor "Mom, it's five fifteen... time to go!"

I waited until five twenty (five minutes means a lot when you are fifty one)... brushed my teeth to wash away my snoring with mouth open breath and screeched out of the driveway.

Got back to work and Thank the Good Lord we weren't busy. I was running on fumes and in the black in my checking account. I was ready to go back home and finish my nap .

Had three businessmen who had apps, dinner, bottles of wine and after dinner drinks. I was ready to go after they left me a twenty percent tip.

Then I had the strangest couple sit at my next table. She looked WAY too young to be with the geeky guy she was sitting next to and her stomach said she was at LEAST thirty weeks preggo. He ordered for them and the first time I heard her speak it was in such broken English (even by Southern standards) that I immediately wondered HOW bad did she REALLY want to get to America? I hope the first English words she learned were "Let's just leave the lights off."

I told another server "I think her name is #7487 on page fifty two of catalog number fourteen from Slovenia."

I may be wrong...I hope I am.

I am so lucky to have been broke as a joke in the good ole USA and have a husband who loves me for  the crazy idiot I am. I have kids who drove me crazy quicker than I would have liked but  have more times than not, filled my heart time and time again with joy.

I have a job that I absolutely DREAD having to quit and has given me back my sense of worth as a server.

Life kicked me around a bit but at least it kicked me around living in a country where although we have obvious idiots in congress and Washington  pretending to look out for us  when they are actually looking out for their greedy ego inflated  selves... "WE" have the ultimate power to get rid of them. If we could only make every American realize the power of ONE SINGLE VOTE... it could change every thing.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

When You Wake Up...It's a Good Day No Matter What Else Happens

I had to work a double shift today. Woke up at 6:30 and rolled back over, woke again at 8:30 and thought "Jeez I got another hour to sleep and turned back over again." I woke up at 10:05 and had to be at work by 10:30. Nothing gets the juices flowing like sheer panic. I walked in the door only three minutes late and didn't stop walking...

I thought it would be slow. Columbus Day is Monday and the school's are out Monday and Tuesday. Four day weekend and most people head out of town. I guess the people that love Italian food hung around. I had to be back on the floor at 3:00 so I scrambled out the door around 1:50 after calling Massey and telling her to throw the Corned Beef brisket in the crock pot and put it on high. I told Zach to peel some potatoes and he called me back saying "Green things are growing out of them and they're  gross."

I left work and flew into  Publix to pick up more taters. I got to the check out and a young girl who I haven't seen in over two years was bagging. She is "One of my next door husband's daughter's best friends" (sounds like a messed up "Baby Mama story")  and although we chat a lot on line via Face book I haven't seen her in quite a while. Actually the last time I saw her she was a kid. She is now a beautiful young woman and I didn't recognize her at first. EVERYBODY gettin' old?

When the little hamster in my head started spinning on his wheel again I realized this young woman was the former kid I had known for quite a number of years and had blossomed into a grown woman.

She asked when Tim was leaving and said  "I am addicted to your blog." This young girl has been reading my blog and following my journey which I have willingly put out here for possibly millions to read. Her positive comments inspired me, pumped me up and urged me on.

I turned into my driveway on two wheels (felt like it) and started barking orders. I threw together the cornbread with sour cream and whole kernel corn and put it in the fridge. Chopped up some cabbage and flung it into a pot on the stove and turned it on low. The taters were boiling and the cabbage was cooking...time to go back to work!

I got Zach to take me back so he could go by Barnes and Noble to get Massey the novel she was writing a Junior paper about.

I got back to work and they were just as flustered as when I left. Business just didn't stop...peeps just kept on coming in. Another girl I work with is a few years younger than me but closer to my age than most of my co workers. She was lamenting that she looked in the mirror when she got up and was dismayed to see she had grown another chin seemingly overnight. In actuality "She's trippin" but I zoned in on the opp for a joke and said "It's been disgusting to look at." My other server friend who is WAY too much like me said "You're going to have to start wearing a scarf around your neck." I told her we could get her a "Dickie" to wear under her shirt. She asked  if I saw her double chin and I quickly said "You have more chins than a Chinese phone book."

The joke just grew and grew until we were all cracking up. I told her I had a new nickname for her "Dickie Two Chins."

I hated it when she left after her shift...less comedy material for me. We plundered on without her and I got my butt thoroughly beat. I called home a couple of times to make sure they hadn't burned the house down with me leaving them with four pots cooking on the stove.

Another one of my fave servers commented coming into the kitchen "The guy at my table smells like he didn't wipe his butt good or something." I told her "That's strange, his wife said he's the sh*t.!"

 I told her I knew him..."He's an okay guy,  I THINK his last name is Key but KNOW his first name's Duke."

We laughed about that for about twenty more minutes. We were both tired and   been there since 10:30 with me leaving for thirty minutes to "Feed the Hungry" aka my kids.

It was one of the longest shifts of my life. I expected it to be slow and when it wasn't I was caught off guard and thrown under the bus of life. We made it through...mostly by laughing and mainly through the immense camaraderie we have in our server staff.

When you work as much as I do... it makes it almost seem like a pleasure to go in day after day and see   smiling faces of  co workers , not only happy to see you but "Friends" that work together, get screwed on a shift together or have a great shift together...helping out another server  or another server helping  them out .

 I will miss my Mama Lucias' family. It has been the best restaurant I have ever been fortunate enough to work for and hands down the one I will miss the most.

Counting down the days...and trying to gain the courage to leave this wonderful place I landed...the place that helped save and rescue me.

What will "Dickie Two Chins" and "Janine" do without me?
 Bigger question....

What will "I" do without "Them?"

Til next time, getting nervous but still stoked about the future..."COTTON"

Friday, October 7, 2011

I Love My Life

I worked this morning lunch shift the dinner shift too. Lunch was easy , it was slow so I got off in plenty of time to get some things done (mainly FB and a sandwich.)

Went back to work dinner and for some bizarre reason it was pretty slow too. I waited on a couple going next door to a movie after dinner and a young family of four (split meals and kid fingers...only Dad ate right.)

I got seated a party of eight and was told I was cut. That means no more tables. I've been cut from the serving floor and won't be seated again.

No Mas ( at least that's what the dishwasher says when we walk in the kitchen with a huge stack of dirty dishes,)

They had appetizers and cocktails. They drank bottles of wine with dinner and stayed for dessert and coffee. I think the really old dude had a crush on me.

Came time for the bill. What to do? I could write a suggested gratuity of 18% on the check or take a gamble. I threw the added gratuity.

Some parties you KNOW you don't have to worry. Some you KNOW you have to Grat.

Personally I HATE to do that. I know if I went in a place, had great service and they wrote a "Suggested Gratuity" I would leave them JUST that. Had they not suggested what I should do with MY money I would have left them an even bigger tip.

"Come ON Snake Eyes!"


I Hit! They left me ninety bucks. Waiting tables is a crap shoot, I have said it many times before.

 I waited on them hand and foot while entertaining them with my PHD in BS. When I  took the check there wasn't one dirty dish, fork , knife or napkin left  on the table. All their food to go was nicely tied up in boxes and bags and I gave the old dude one more wink.

Came home and picked up Massey and we headed to  Kroger. Like a good working Mom of two teens still at home I loaded up on Pizza Rolls, cereal, lunch meat and cheese, kool aid and yogurt. Threw in some bananas and Chex Mix and picked up a huge Corned Beef and some fresh cabbage with taters and field peas (they gotta eat healthy SOMETIME.)  Add the dog food and laundry detergent and the money was gone but my house was full of food.

I just LIKE having a job where I kinda almost sorta feel like I am in control most of the time about my own financial destiny.

Some nights I bomb...who doesn't? Some nights it's great some nights it's off the chain and sometimes you are the bug on the windshield.

If I hadn't hit big tonight we'd be EATING the bug on the windshield.
Going to cook me some Pizza Rolls before one of those always hungry teens wake up!

Til next time...Grubbin' COTTON

Thursday, October 6, 2011

So We Loaded Up Our Truck and Moved to Charlotte NC...Hills That Is

Life is crazy right now...  in a great but bittersweet way. I am so beyond thrilled for my husband. I know it isn't easy being married to a maniac like me. Tim has gone totally gray in the past two years and I have aged him to the point of looking older than me even though he is two years younger.

He has hung in there,  let  me bitch when I needed to (and a lot of times when I didn't) and been the one to truly make it happen.

Massey is totally freaked...what junior girl in high school wouldn't be?  I told her we could stay here and continue to struggle or move and have the life we did three years ago immediately with the chance to have an even better one.

It's not like I am crazy about moving either...but I AM crazy about moving UP!

My bosses at work have been absolutely fantastic to me. Before this offer for Tim came through, I had decided this was the job for me. I get to work for people that are even crazier than I am and seem to be crazy (no pun intended) about me.

Barb was on a cruise when the deal went down. She got back from vacation and found out   #1 Tim got an offer   #2 He took it   # 3 I'll be gone. I waited until half the evening went by her first night back thinking she would mention it. She didn't so I finally said "Did Len tell you about Tim's job?"

She rolled her head slowly away from me with that "Barb- roll" of her eyes and looked in the other direction like she smelled a fart and said "Yes."

Knowing Barb for fifteen years... I took it as a compliment.

We didn't talk about it much after that and we still haven't.

I feel TERRIBLE about leaving Mama's. They took me in when I was at my total worst... Heck, even Len didn't yell at me for over a year. I screwed up at first and it took what seemed like forever for this old dog to learn new tricks but I did.

Then I hit my stride. I made new regulars and a few old ones from Western Sizzler found me too. Since I'm an avid blogger and FB addict, I helped them with their FB page and have probably had at least thirty blog readers come in to eat with me. While I did that they sometimes  helped me keep the utilities on and have helped me out too many times to count.

 Massey absolutely LOVES Len (she's never seen him blow his head gasket) and has even catered for us. She knows every one there and every one there knows her.

I was totally nervous for the entire first year I worked  for Ralph and Alice Cramden,  but now see so many similarities in our marriages....except that Tim and I turned into Ed Norton and Trixie on a skid of bad luck.

Barb and Len are living the American Dream. They own their own business. They are in charge. They have no one breathing down their necks except this horrific economy. In their favor, they sell a product that is so wonderful and so is inspired and always a true  culinary creation.

I thought Barb was mad at me but tonight during the dinner rush she came into the kitchen as I was cracking a joke to another server and the server laughed and said "What are we going to do without you?' Barb with another almost unobservable shake of her head said quietly "It just won't be the same."

At that moment it hit me... I am leaving.

I'm not worried about Massey too much. She is a girl who has a heart as big as the Pacific and more solid gold than Fort Knox.

I'm worried about ME! I  work day after day after day after day and don't dread going in. I love it there, but I'm an old fart and have worked for a corporate place and know how much better this is.

I feel like I have done a pretty decent job and THEY have made me feel like one of the family...THEIR family, a great family to be a part of and a family I will miss.

Cleaning more dog slobber off the walls tomorrow morning and headed back for another double shift.

Til next time...A Getting Choked Up Cotton

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Momma

Happy birthday to my Momma!

 It's hard to believe  34 years have passed since I saw you last. It's hard to believe I have made it this far in life without you. It's hard to believe that you never got to meet your grand kids. They are all spoiled and had you lived they would be rotten to the core!

I am thankful to have had you in my life for seventeen years... beats having never had you in my life.

I think I am a lot like you. People tell me I look just like you and  always take it as a huge compliment. I know I have your habit of repeating yourself. I am funny like you were (so they tell me) and a funny story NEEDS to be told more than once!

I miss you and Diddy on a daily basis but  thrilled that you are finally together again. Does he still have athlete's foot and do you still squeeze your legs together when you sneeze? I do now...

You were a wonderful mother and a person  every one loved. You are missed by us all. I guess you are okay  surrounded by so many others that loved you too. You have Diddy, Kenny, Mr. Wyatt, JE Tyler, D Fowl, Mr. Pierce and Clyde to keep you entertained so my guess is you have been laughing.

You have a grand daughter named Massey, your maiden name. She was born eighteen years after you the day. You have three grand sons and two step grand sons.
Time has kept on ticking  and I married a terrific man. He puts up with and loves me. He provides for  and has taken care of us. You would love him too.
I miss you every day of my life but  grateful to have been lucky enough to call you Momma for seventeen years.
Didier got there the other day, have you seen her yet?

I miss our house on Bayard Street. I miss going to The Varsity on Friday nights. I miss seeing you at your sewing machine with your glass of iced tea in a styrofoam coozie. I miss seeing you in the kitchen on Sunday after church cooking in your slip. (we have central air now)
I miss everything about you.

Save me a seat. I hope to join you one day!

Still have  lots to do down here but looking forward to seeing you again one day. Thanks for all you did for us while you were here and thanks for being over my shoulder every day and in my dreams at night.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY  "Ann Massey Leach"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

When You Hit Fifty Reality Slaps You Around

I've been slapped around quite a bit for over two years now but at least I am alive to feel the sting.

Attended yet another funeral today. You know you are in your fifties when you go to more funerals than weddings. Most are for parents of friends, some have been for fallen soldiers and today was for my sister's dear childhood, high school, college and life long friend. Her life ended way too early but it was time to end her pain and suffering..."Only the good die young" and she was right there at the top of the "Good" list.

It was good to see many of my former Russell "Wildcats" (our high school mascot.) I went to the same high school that my father went to. He graduated in 1942. My sister from there in 1971 my brother in 75 and I graduated in 78.

When my sis went there,  a neighbor of ours was the captain of the cheer leading team and her family actually owned a wildcat  they brought to games on a leash and kept  in the "cheer leading pit" with the girls. I think it was actually an  ocelot. They kept it I guess in a cage at their house and brought it out only on game day. I suppose this was before PETA.

The high school I went to was "the" A great band program and a football team that was feared with good reason. My sister's future husband was the star quarter back, a Golden Gloves champion boxer and she was the Homecoming queen, Valentine queen and pretty much the queen of the high school (not in a snobby way...I just have a really terrific sister that is very hard NOT to love.)

Russell people keep in touch. We have reunions like people our age have blood pressure checks. We have band reunions, we have all year reunions and we have FB reunions online. We have sites to join about not only our school but the area of the town we grew up in.

When you grow up in a close knit community you remain close knit...even if it means having to pick up a phone or put a stamp on an envelope

 In this age of outlandish and mentally overwhelming technology it amazes me what the power of a click of the  mouse can do.

I have met and re connected with so many many friends. They have followed my journey which I have willingly put  into cyberspace for possibly millions to read. If you are ashamed of your life,  THAT is a shame.

I welcome comments and suggestions and have been helped time after time  for putting MY life out here.

I am lucky to be a child of the sixties and seventies. I am lucky to have grown up in a time when  front doors weren't locked and all the windows were left open. If  only the world was still as trusting and honest, we would be moving forward. Instead our doors are locked and we are battling each other for political and religious reasons.

It is time to take back our lives. To return to moral values and hopefully run every current politician out of office. It is time to say "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."

It was a good day...I woke up on this side of the dirt. I saw a friend that was an amazing individual, mother, wife and HUGE Braves fan go before me.

What can "I" do to make a difference? That should be the question  every person asks themselves every morning when they are lucky enough to wake up.

Rest In Peace...


Monday, October 3, 2011

Looks Like We Are Moving...

I went into work today as Tim went into his meeting.

I had a sick feeling in my stomach. Had I gloated too much and jinxed his chances at the promotion?

I went to work and got my 99lb butt thoroughly beat by five tables. It was a record night for me and one that I desperately needed. Made enough to cover my craftfully kited checks and be able to pay a couple more bills.

I  didn't get off til almost ten and called Tim on the way home.

"DING DING DING DING!!" We have a winner and it is my husband. The meeting went great and they are paying for our move.

It is a bittersweet feeling .

I have a job that I love and a family of bosses and co workers that have seen me at my worst (and regardless of that)  have supported me every step of the way. After thirty three years of being a server I have found a restaurant that suits me to a tee. They love me for my qualities as a server help me when I have  needs as a mother and motivate me as a person when I need it.

It may sound crazy (like all the people I work for and with)  but leaving Mama Lucia's is the one thing I dread the most. I have been doing at least ten shows a week there and  have gained quite a following.

This restaurant has become  my second home and a place that I love to go. My closest family...which now consists of a sister and brother have the means to visit me whenever they want when we move.

It's hard to believe that at the age of fifty one I am starting a new chapter. When I was a kid I thought when I was fifty one I would be in the islands learning to play golf... my knees hurt too much to play tennis.

So it's official, we're moving.

We are uprooting Massey and plunking her down in a new state. I know my girl well and have watched her mature quicker than I ever did. She will be fine. She is resilient and a force to be challenged.

It is scary and it is joyful. It is a new beginning and it is a means to the end.

This is what we have prayed for and this is HIS answer.

It is up to us to make it work.

Til next time..."Scared" COTTON

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Holding My Breath...Again

Had a great day. Massey let me sleep til ten thirty. She is an early morning riser and I am a late go to beder. I switched a shift this week which took away my only day off so once again I am running my work weeks together. She had a girlfriend who spent the night and I took them both to the Sock Shoppe in Griffin. My mother went  there when I was a kid...I know now why she never took me but made me give her a list of what I wanted.

They started out selling socks seventy years ago. They added towels and washcloths while I was still young and I can guarantee you every  towel and sock in our house came from there when I was little.

It was so exciting! Every year before the school year started you got to give Momma a list of the color of knee socks you desired. As a bonus she brought home undies too.

Now they sell everything from jeans to tees, shorts, shoes and jewelry. You can buy Cannon over sized plush bath towels for $2.99 and even pick up a pair of Crocs.

I got ten pair of underwear fifteen pair of socks four bras and two pair of tights for work for under forty bucks. "True THAT!"

Got home in time to jump in the shower and head to work.

I am nervous about Tim's promotion. What if our curse comes back and he doesn't get the job? I won't feel right until he meets with the big wigs on Monday and everything is signed and sealed.

At work it is already buzzing around..."What will we do without YOU for entertainment?'

I can honestly say  this restaurant has been my saving salvation to what little pride I had left when the Western Sizzler kicked me to the curb. They welcomed me with open arms and hearts. They seem to love me for some unknown reason and it will be hard when I leave. They are my second family but a first rate restaurant. It is run by crazy Italians...and when things go wrong tempers don't flare, they IGNITE!

I have enjoyed working for this place and they have made me feel part of the totally dysfunctional but well oiled machine of a place that loves or hates but pulls together for a common goal...SUCCESS.

I will miss my brother and sister, the only immediate family I have left. My sister and I are closer than close but only see each other face to face maybe once a month. My brother is my new "Diddy" but I see him maybe three times a year. My sister can fly for free and my brother can fly at free will.

What am I going to do without this group of people who took me in at my worst and have urged me on every step of the way and let me be who I really am?

I know that this is the move we need and have wanted to take for over two years but leaving these people will be the hardest thing I have done in a while.

Who's gonna make fun of  crazy situations and crazy customers if I'm not there?

If this job goes through for Tim,  I am behind him 100%. I am just sad to leave my work family. They have brought me back from feeling like I was NOTHING to making me feel like I am SOMEBODY.

Waiting until Monday when it is all said and done.

Til next  time...COTTON