Saturday, March 31, 2012

So This is How it Went...But at Least we Made it!

We got a late start this morning...taking two teen age girls ANYWHERE is always a late start, especially when suitcases are involved. We gassed up and pulled onto the highway.

We had been on the interstate for maybe ten minutes when traffic began to bog down. It was misting outside and I don't like driving in ANY kind of rain so I made sure to have plenty of distance between me and the other idiots on the road. I was in the right lane and the left lane was minivan to minivan with about five feet between each vehicle. I could see brake lights coming on up ahead of me and just soon as I remarked to Massey that traffic was backing up the left lane seemed to come to a stop. Three vans almost collided, the second van's brakes squealed in protest and seemed to not be working so well  and I thought for sure they would all wreck. There was a Toyota 4Runner behind the third van who couldn't stop fast enough either so chose to take MY lane forcing me into the emergency lane. I truly thought for sure it was going to be a five car pile up at the very least.

Somehow we made it out of that fiasco and the idiots in the left lane seemed to learn their lesson and backed off each other a bit. We got further down the road and a little black Honda filled with teens came screaming around all of us swerving in and out of lanes as if they had a medical emergency.

The rest of the ride was better until we hit Montgomery. Traffic once again slowed to ten MPH and I could see flashing lights up ahead on the right. Knowing there was a wreck in  the right lane I switched to the left lane. All the other idiots stayed in the right lane which was going a bit faster even though they knew they needed to merge left. That really ticks me off, especially when their lane finally runs out and they want sympathy from you with their left blinker pleading you to let them back over. I commented to  the girls in the car (which I probably shouldn't have) "Keep on going in  the right lane dummy but there ain't no room in front of ME Biotch!"

If accidents can at all be considered lucky I considered this one so. It happened maybe one minute before traffic slowed down and we were maybe fifty cars behind it. If we had left the house five minutes later we would have been stopped for hours.

We made it through the traffic as the fire truck and ambulance pulled across the grass from the other side of the highway.

When we passed the crash I just shook my head...There was the little black Honda who had screamed by us not thirty minutes earlier. Guess they got a medical emergency NOW! Not to mention they had taken out a pick up and  van as well.

We met my friends who were picking up the girls at the Arby's off the exit a mile or so down. I had to pee like a racehorse and so did Alyssa (who had slept through both crashes) and we jumped out to run inside and use the facilities. We opened the door and it looked like a line at a sold out concert. I motioned for Alyssa to follow me and we ran across the parking lot to the Pizza Hut that looked like a ghost town. We went in and I glanced up at  the menu like I wanted to order and said "Let's go to the restroom first."

 UGH! Only a single  restroom so I let Lyssa go first as I crossed my legs tightly and waited. A man came out of the men's room and with no men waiting to go in I chose to lock myself into it and squatted over their disgusting pee covered seat. AAH !!

Alyssa came out as I was coming out of the men's room and I pulled her out the exit door and we crept behind the building back to Arby's. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do! At least I wiped their disgusting toilet seat with  a wad of thirty paper towels before I washed my hands three times, turning off the faucet with another towel and opening the door with yet another one.

We all ate an extremely unhealthy meal with gross "Curly" fries and fake cheese . The girls transferred their luggage from my car to my friend's and I kissed them all goodbye. I took  the exit for north bound and they went south.

I got back up the interstate to discover the accident scene on the south bound side was still active and called Massey  to tell her. She said to clock how many miles traffic was backed up. For eight miles on the south bound side traffic was at a stand still. People were out of their cars and I saw two people out fussing because they too had rear ended each other.

If we had left the house five minutes later we would have been caught up in that eight mile long traffic jam.

Instead the girls are safe in  the hands of my the beach and eating at Dewey's in Destin as I  type.

If I ever have a normal day in my life I will begin to worry. Hasn't happened so far but  always gives me plenty to blog about!

My little Drama daughter is safe in paradise and I am left at home with four males...twelve legs between them all.

I started some laundry, read my book for a while and ordered a pizzawork and spending Saturday and Sunday on the beach too.

At least I survived the trip. At least we ALL did!

The things you do for your kids. Some people think it's crazy, I call it being a "Momma."

Til next  time...the dryer just buzzed,   COTTON

Friday, March 30, 2012

On the Road Again

Massey is headed to Destin for a week with one of her BFF's. They are staying with my high school friend who has a castle a couple of blocks from the beach. They were going to fly down.  Her friend's dad works for Delta so she can fly free and my sister was getting Massey a buddy pass. Seems everyone else had the same idea. I got off work tonight and called my sister...all flights over sold, even into Mobile.

Massey,  was to say at the very least extremely disappointed when I got home from work (my eighth day straight of working.)

Massey has been planning this trip since last June when she spent a month in Destin with my dear friends who spoil my girl rotten.

I can remember being a kid (believe it or not) and when something is planned it is a MAJOR bummer when things go awry.
I remember when we went to Panama City every year with our family for vacation when I was a kid. If they didn't take us to the "Miracle Strip" the very first night we (I, my sister and brother) all got worked up.

I contemplated driving the girls down in the morning...didn't want to but would.

I was sitting at  the computer when my friend from Destin called. She said Sunday was supposed to be great at the beach and she was off work on Saturday so how about if I just drove the girls to Montgomery (the halfway mark) and she would meet us there?

How I have such awesome friends is ALWAYS a mystery to me. I bumble my way through life, make mistakes on a hourly basis yet always seem to pull a proverbial rabbit out of my hat. Most magicians have ONE "lovely assistant." I have tons!

I was actually dreading having to drive to Destin and back on my only day I am excited about the much shorter road trip...even more excited that the second half I will be alone. I love my little car! It's older but there's nothing like flying along in a convertible Beemer with sun on your face and wind in your hair.

So my friend will meet us halfway, take the girls back to her castle and they  will fly back next weekend. The only loser in this is my friend... but she acts likes it is no big deal (one of the many reasons I love her dearly.)

You know what? I think it is a win/win. The girls get to the beach on time. I have a nice little road trip with some alone time that I NEVER have to myself and can still be home in time to pick up an extra dinner shift at work!

Things happen for a reason...I am a firm believer in that as well as Karma. Heading to bed and packing  the car when I wake up.

Road Trip..."Here I come!"

Til next  time...COTTON

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Can Anyone Multi Task Like a Woman?

When looking for a picture for my blog I came across this one and it made me laugh out loud...Mainly because when Tim and I first got married we had a lawn mower exactly like this and I used it for over two years to cut our grass. I had to hold the handle halfway down where the bars were broken with one hand and guide it along from the top of the handle with my other hand. Talk about a work out! Thank The Lord I was still in my twenties. I tried fixing the handles with duct tape time after time like any sensible girl from the deep south would do and quickly learned duct tape was highly over rated.  The next push mower I  bought was  $40.00 and a piece of junk that barely made it through two seasons of me wearing it out once a week after I brought it home but felt like riding a John Deere while standing up in  the seat and moving my legs one in front of the other and  was pretty happy about least the handle stayed up the entire time!

After years we finally bought a brand new house and after pushing almost two acres for a while bought a riding mower from Tim's boss. It was a Craftsman, older and only lasted a year before backfiring extremely loud in the front yard one day and never cranking it's ugly head again.

My brother in law saw a John Deere for sale chained to the fence by a house around the corner from my subdivision and called me. (Thank you Harvey!)
 Just like I do ...I went and made friends with the ole dude and asked the guy to let me post date a check and drove my baby home! Johnny has been good to me and once the check cleared we were engaged! (Huge pun intended)

I've had to replace three belts two blades one tire and some "thingy" under the seat but he's my baby and I love him!

I opened the restaurant today but got cut by one and had to be back by five. I turned into my driveway while unbuttoning my work shirt and was in shorts and a tank top five minutes later, cranking Ole Johnny up.

I cut the back and side yards, weed eated the entire back yard and  swept the back porch so  the mutts wouldn't track in all the clippings.

 My boss had sent me home with an empty five gallon oil jug from where they fill the fryers at work.  I emptied all the motor oil still sitting in the driveway from when Zach  changed Tim's oil into it...having to throw away my lemonade pitcher he had used after the oil pan container overflowed. BTW did you know that a Mercedes 320ML takes over eight quarts of oil? The guy at the auto parts store told me some Mercedes take twelve quarts. We're talking synthetic oil  and it ain't cheap!

 The jug wasn't full so I emptied all the glass jars I had in the kitchen stored under the kitchen sink. My Fry Daddy broke a while back and I was using old pickle jars to get rid of old grease. The jug was full by  the time I got through and I had ten minutes to get back to work. I took a towel and brushed all the grass clippings off my legs and feet. Pulled back on my tights  and skirt for work, put my back brace on and reapplied up my always minimal make up. I got into my car and put the top down for the drive back to work. Nothing blows grass out of short hair like driving a convertible fifty miles a hour for eight minutes!

I went back into work with no minutes to spare asking another co worker as I buttoned up my work shirt over my back brace if I had any grass clippings still in my hair?  My "Used" to be dear friend said "Only wait a minute that's just a white hair." Heck! She should have pulled THAT one out first!

It was slow at work and I was off before dark. On my ride back home (with the top up) I pulled a plug of grass out of my ear and flung it out the window. I didn't make much money tonight but it was awesome pulling into the driveway not seeing motor oil sitting in pans and how nice and trim my yard looked. That's worth a lot to me.

I may not be a lot of things. I'm not the greatest mom although I strive to be. I am a hard woman to be married to but a hard working woman,  which has so far kept my husband from killing me in my sleep. (thus far)

You know...I used to think I had it bad (which we did for a while) but somehow we made it.  Thanks to Help from above and help from around. You get what you give and that's why I am constantly cramming every possible task into every possible opportunity.

I saw a post today my sister in law from California made from Dr. Seuss and it just struck me once again how brilliant the man was.

"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?'

That's my mantra...and that's my goal.
 Til next  time...COTTON

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Recipe Time...

Had a long day but I love me some Tuesday through Thursday. I am off on Tuesday, only work a PM shift on Wednesday and a day shift on Thursday. Then the weekend starts on Friday morning..."ARRGHH." Seven shifts packed into four days on top of being an ole woman and still having teens at home is conducive to absolutely no rest for the obviously weary.... I looked younger than the above photo when I woke up yesterday.

Got all my yard work, the front of the subdivision (and my neighbor Mr. Slow-Lee's) done in anticipation of the forecasted monsoon and even managed to cook dinner tonight. Granted it wasn't ready til almost nine PM but at least I cooked.
 Had several readers wanting some recipes that I have so before I clock out for the night thought I would post them.

Asparagus Casserole: 1 pound cooked fresh asparagus or a 15oz. can (I use the canned...drained)
One teaspoon of white pepper
One two ounce jar of pimientos , drained.
Two eggs beaten.
One cup of Ritz crackers crumbled.
One cup of milk.
One cup of grated Mild Cheddar Cheese.
1/4 cup of butter melted.

Mix all ingredients (I do it in the dish I bake it in) 8"X 8" or close to it and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Absolutely yummy and is almost like a quiche!

Next is my Momma's BBQ sauce from the cookbook she got when she married my Diddy so many moons ago.

Hint...I never measure and always over pour ingredients. Letting it simmer for a hour makes it even better! This cook book is so old they even have a recipe for Mayonnaise!
I always double the recipe.

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon celery seed ( I usually chop off leaves from the top of fresh celery stalks)
1/4 cup of brown sugar (I add at least half a cup)
1/4 cup of vinegar
1/4 cup of Worcestershire
1 cup of  ketchup (I use more)
2 cups water
Few drops of Tabasco.
I add minced garlic,   minced onion and molasses.
Simmer for at LEAST an hour.

Getting so hungry I'm going to make me a sammich and some sides.

BTW the potato salad is red potatoes boiled. Add mayonnaise, chopped celery, bacon bits and lots of cracked black pepper. Cook the taters in really well salted water!

I think I just gained four pounds!

Til next  time...COTTON

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Absolutely LOVE This Weather

I am so elated that Spring is finally here. Actually  Winter was kinda like Spring with a few cold and rainy days thrown in but I am thrilled that sunny days and extended daylight hours are back. I can sleep a little longer knowing that I have at least a hour or two of extra daylight tagged on to the end of my day and don't need coats or long johns.

I celebrated the season by painting my toe nails the other day...made me feel like a million bucks and inspired me to go crazy and shave my legs too!  I'm not a girly girl by any means and often wonder where Massey gets HER "Girly-osity?" Most certainly not from me, I don't even carry a purse but if I needed one she has thirty for me to choose from.

I started my gig again today at  the front of our subdivision. I cut it for the HOA once a month and don't ever remember starting as early as  March but will really like having that extra check!  I'm a no frills girl. I jump on Johnny in Daisy Dukes cut offs and a tank top...when it gets really hot I switch  to a bathing suit top. It's not like I have any kind of Hoo-Hahs to speak of and considering  my hair cut makes me look like a skinny boy from the back and a lesbian from the front. The cat calls from passing cars are usually few and far between. If I get one, it's always from a pick up truck and I am pretty sure they have all been drinking and anyway a  compliment from a bunch of drunk Mexicans in a pick up on the way from their landscaping job is good enough for me! I'm easy  to please and usually wave back to the amigos.

I'm just thrilled that warm weather is back. I cut grass for two hours and weed eated for one with no back pain at all. Just two days ago I was thinking about signing up for a "Rascal' or "Hoveround."

I'm a Leo so I guess it comes naturally. Give me a day in the nineties with full sun over a rainy day in  the low forties anytime.

Actually doing some Spring cleaning as well, which constitutes vacuuming and cleaning the kitchen floor in my little "Book of Spring Cleaning."

My weekends are packed with working but  have Tuesday through Thursday easy...only two shifts and  my  favorite three days of the week.  Had to quit weed eating the second ditch at the front today because I had to get ready for work but will finish it tomorrow morning after taking Massey to school and before  heading into work at 10:30. As an extra bonus I am off tomorrow night and believe it or not am cooking dinner again.

I'm thinking homemade BBQ sauce on chopped chicken sandwiches, potato salad with red potatoes, celery and bacon bits, and maybe an asparagus casserole. That may even leave me time to scrub a toilet or two and catch up some laundry afterwards .

Life may not always be what you want, but you always need to make the best of what you have!

Til next  time...COTTON

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

 So I finally had a day off. Since Friday morning I worked seven shifts (with a bad back) and when I clocked out last night hollered "Let the drinking begin!" My pup in the above photo was so happy to see me last night and we snuggled all night (back to back) with him sleeping on  Tim's side of the bed and me on my side with my heating pad. I took Massey to school this morning and decided to resume the position when I got back home. Heck the sun doesn't go down til after seventy thirty now...I got all day to get stuff done!  I picked Massey up after school and I kicked into gear. We stopped at McDonald's and got a gross but filling meal. I got a fish sandwich and she some other crap and we went to Auto zone to get some cycle two oil for my weed eater who has been in hibernation longer than Johnny. The last time I cut the front of the subdivision (in September of last year) I lost the button off the bottom of my weed eater. You tap it on the ground and it feeds the line. We went to Lowes to try and get a replacement. My itty bitty car is too small to hold my weed eater in the trunk and I had just cleaned the leather seats so I took the pole apart and just took the bottom half. The thing about Lowes and even Home Depot is that  employees are hard to find when you need their help. After harassing an employee into helping me he wanted to know the make and model. Crap...should had brought the part that had a model number on it! I couldn't get the old spool off and neither could the guy who I  commandeered into helping me. I told him "Thank you" and we went to the aisle where they sold tools. I found a pair of pliers still attached to  the cardboard and sat down to pull the old spool off.

 BINGO...just a small bruise later on my foot from the weed eater hitting my foot,  barely oozing blood  I had the spool off and we headed back to the weed eater aisle. Caught an employee off guard and asked for help finding a replacement spool. He handed me one that looked like it would fit but as I tried to rip open  the package to see for sure he said "You're really not supposed to do that...but I have a knife that will open it."  BINGO! My weed whacker was back in "Bidness."  I went home and cut my neighbor's front yard (Mr. Slow "Lee") as he hung onto the back of his truck watching me every turn of the way.

I told him I needed to borrow a rake to get all the grass off of my back yard that I cut two days ago and since I cut his grass all summer long he handed Massey one as I pulled Johnny into the garage.
The above photo shows why I had to borrow a rake. Mine had about four tines left and were all broken off. Zach used it as a poker for the fire pit in the back yard..."DUH" it's plastic!

Got my back yard all groomed and raked up, Thanks to Mr. "Slow" Lee.  Finished around seven PM and even cooked dinner. Massey was the only one in attendance, Zach was at work and Tim was sawing ZZZ's upstairs because he gets up at eleven for work.

All that matters to me is that I got my trusty weed eater fixed for less than ten bucks, finished my own yard, my neighbor's front yard. The bonus will be collecting a  check from the Homeowner's Association tomorrow when I cut the front of our subdivision. (which is no easy feat)

Massey made the comment that Johnny would be jealous if he knew I spent over a hour trying to fix my secret lover "Mr. Weed Eater."

All I have  to say is that I LOVE doing yard work...and getting sixty bucks for it. Minus the ten for the part is still a win/win.

Buying a new rake with my HOA check and hiding it. I'll just put it behind a basket of dirty clothes and no one in my house will ever spot it!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Making It Work (for me)

When I was a kid we had a crusty old neighbor a couple of doors down that had a beauty of a yard and  ruled it like a tyrant. We weren't allowed to chase balls into his yard or even step on his lawn. I don't remember if they ever even  had kids...they were old when I first met them and that was  when I was young... very young. I'm talking "Kinnygartin" as we call it in the south. Every year he would burn his entire lawn with gasoline and somehow it came back like thick lush carpet. Now that I am seemingly supposed to be a grown up, looking back it was a pretty impressive yard and maybe he was right about keeping all us hooligans off of it.

He cut it with a push mower and I mean a "PUSH" mower just like the one in the above photo. His back yard was even more spectacular. He had huge flower and vegetable gardens  that unfortunately backed up  to our house's own back yard with our clothesline , homemade baseball diamond and  dogs that were always getting out of the fence wreaking havoc on the entire neighborhood. The problem  was,   if we hopped HIS fence in the back of OUR yard we could follow the alley all the way up to the theatre and watch a movie for $1.35  and even stop off at  friend's houses along the way. The alley ran from our street four blocks up to Main Street where you  could see a movie or buy a Krystal hamburger for fifteen cents. If he caught you in his yard, our black rotary wall phone would be ringing to notify our Mother that we had indeed invaded and violated his yard. Thank the Lord there were no Home Owner Associations then.

We would plot our escape over his fence. If he was back there within sight we knew we didn't have a chance. He'd holler "I SEE you over there! Get outta my yard...NOW!"

The "Golden's" ... that was their last name and what they considered their yard, front AND back. Looking back I don't blame them at all.

 We were kids that dug three foot holes in our back yard and lined them with long thorns we cut off  bushes from another neighbor who also had a fantastic yard with  pebble lined gardens filled with exotic plants, trees and flowers ( He was a well to do lawyer) covered the hole with sticks and leaves and waited for the never arriving non suspecting enemy to walk into our trap...  They were old too and don't even think they noticed when we commandeered their Pine tree as a fort and place to hook up a wooden pulley running from the top of their Pine tree to the front of the balcony on our house across the street. That one was my brother's idea.

 This was back when we had actual "Garbage Men" who  went to the rear of your house to empty your big aluminum garbage can and haul it back to the street to be  condensed in the back of the big ole smelly truck. The garbage men hated us (rightfully so) and often rode on top of the truck when houses were far apart or a couple of them got lazy. My brother ran a wooden pulley from a line in the top branches of the Pine tree across the street from our house to the balcony of our front porch. When the garbage truck came by my brother gave the fatal signal and his idiotic friend zinged the pulley down the line from the top of the Pine tree. It clocked one of the garbage men sitting on top of the truck and then everybody scrambled. How no one got arrested is still a mystery to me but that dude  had to have had one Heck of a headache!

I used to be crazy insane about my own yard but the past few years have made me realize priorities.
At least I still HAVE a yard and at least MY kids are too lazy to come up with idiotic ideas like we did .

I see the picture of this push mower that the ole man from my neighborhood ran every week...manually (at the age of at least sixty) and finally realize why he was such an ole cuss.

Heck, I'm RIDING a mower and I get all sensitive about MY yard...Thank the Lord he didn't just kill us when he had the chance!

I have to work another double shift tomorrow but Tuesday I am off, spending the entire day in my yard and afterwards looking for any kids who look like they may have access to a pulley of any kind!

Growing up in the sixties and seventies is probably the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced...I'll have to Tweet my kids about it!

Til next  time...COTTON

Friday, March 16, 2012

Another Day...That's Always a Good Thing

Went into work this morning feeling either somewhat better or just getting used to being uncomfortable. My first  table was three old peeps, a married couple and another woman. I love waiting on older folks, even if they are grumpy. I  usually win them over and if I don't,  at least give them something to gripe about in their land yacht on the slow drive back home. It was only eleven in the morning but the temp was already in the upper seventies. They sat down and the man said "I should have brought my over coat, it's still kind of chilly. I'll have a cup of coffee." (I already had sweat stains under my arms and it was my first table)

 The gentleman brought up his dog in the course of conversation and I asked what kind he had? He said a Neapolitan Mastiff that weighed 147 pounds. Holy cow! (Pun intended) He said someone had simply moved out of a house and left the dog chained to a tree. He spent $800 at the Vet getting the dog well and had named him George. They were the sweetest three people and it was a wonderful way to start off my long day. After they finished eating I told him he needed to bring me a picture of George next time they came in, to which he replied "You know, someone just moved out of a house and left him there...chained to a tree. It cost me $800 to get him well but I did it."

The woman who was with them decided she wanted  Tiramisu so they split one.  I took them the check and the man pulled a million dollar bill out of his wallet to pay with. He said the only other money he had was Confederate money and asked if we took that? I asked him if he knew how to wash dishes and hollered over my shoulder toward the kitchen "Hold the dishes!"  He LOVED that one so I added "Do you speak Spanish? If you don't  you will soon."

He paid the bill and left me a nice hefty tip. I told them to all have a great weekend and be sure to remember that picture of George. He didn't pause one second before saying "You know I found that dog chained to a tree, can you  believe somebody would do that?"  His wife said (not in a mean way but slightly rolling her eyes) "You've told her that story three times."

This will "SO" be Tim and me in twenty years, with the roles reversed.

Lunch wasn't busy but all my tables showed me some love and I did okay. I was up front in the lobby sitting by Barb who was auditing checks when she asked how my back felt? I told her I thought it felt better but kinda wondered if maybe I was just getting used to feeling like crap?

She casually said "Are you sure it's your back?"

That got me "Athinking". As an almost 52 year old woman my body has changed tremendously in  the past couple of years. I don't have a regular cycle but when I do have one my back absolutely kills me for a few days before "It" starts. About three years ago I started having these weird feelings right above my stomach. It was a constant but dull pain and after talking with several of my regular customers AKA "my doctors" they mentioned I may have acid reflux or an ulcer and recommended Prilosec. I bought some and after the first dose felt immediate relief. Fast forward to now..

I knew my back was hurting but it just didn't feel right. I have terrible eating habits (which Barb not so politely pointed out.)  I sometimes go all day without eating but before bed will cook a big pan of Totinos pizza rolls or have a big bowl of chili with japs and Habanero cheese. During the lunch shift today I was hungry and fixed me a mater samich loaded with pepper and mayo.

When I got off I went to Dollar General and bought some Prilosec. Eleven bucks for fourteen pills...are they proud of their product or what? It said  take one tablet with a full glass of water before eating. I had already eaten the most acidic thing possible, a mater samich but had a full cup of water with me in  the car so I popped one into my mouth. By the time I got home I was feeling some relief.

I washed my car did two loads of laundry and felt pretty stinking good. My back still hurt a little but most of my pain had disappeared.

My back is till sore but NOTHING like it was. I told a friend of mine "Here's the thing..skinny as I am my stomach is only about an inch from my back. Maybe I confused my symptoms."

 I'm almost fifty two and falling apart... but little by little day by day I am learning how to cope with it. Raising teens, dealing with stress and taking horrible care of myself ain't helping but realizing symptoms and changing habits will. I'm all excited about taking my Prilosec in  the morning before I eat anything and see how I feel.

Massey is spending the night with a friend, Zach is still at work and Tim is leaving for work.
It's just me... two pups... three baskets of clean laundry waiting to be folded and put away and one dishwasher waiting to be unloaded.

No wonder I have an ulcer!

Til next  time...COTTON feeling MUCH better!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Day Off

Today was my lone day off. Like an idiot I let Massey talk me into signing up to be one of the chaperone's for her Chorus field trip to their Festival in Hampton...a town mostly known for being the home to Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Yesterday wasn't really a banner day for me. My back's still hurting and I had to get up early for a field trip with Zach, my youngest son who is nineteen seemingly going on 14 with the mind of Bill Gates but the motivation of a slug when it's really tired. He made some  bad choices last year and although I was tremendously disappointed,  I still love him just the same...maybe even a little more now. He was forced to own up to his mistake and I had to switch to my tough love mode and let him sit in jail overnight although it nearly killed me. With our "Gran Pa" of a swift justice system his court date has been put off for nearly a year. Last week I got the there at 8:30 on Wednesday for arraignment.

I was going to just let him take my car, my husband wasn't going he said "The boy's nineteen he should have known better. Let him grow up." I was worried they'd lock him up and I'd be without a car for work that afternoon so I took him. We screamed into the parking lot one minute before he was due there and people were lined up outside of the courthouse like they were going to a concert. From  the looks of the line we were attending a Snoop Dog concert with Hank Williams, Jr. as the opening act. It was the most despairing group of people I have ever seen. Once ushered through the metal detectors we were all herded into a court room intended to hold maybe a hundred people...there were over 300 of us there to see the show. Zach was standing against a wall that was already three people deep when a woman asked me as I entered if I needed a public defender?  I said "Maybe" and went to ask Zach if he had signed up for one. He said no so I shoved him back to the table where all the "Concert" goers were signing up for free legal assistance.

After almost a hour I spotted one empty seat  in  the middle of the room and scooted between the Crips and Bloods, homeless vagrants and obvious totally red neck scums of the earth and took a seat. My back was killing me. It was embarrassing number one because I was even there. It was embarrassing number two because a lot of the lawyers in the courtroom come in to eat at  the restaurant where I work.

Almost three hours later we got a court date and an attorney.
The things you'll do for your kids. (As Massey would say SMHS.)

Today was a better day although I dreaded it as well. My one day off  would be spent on a bus carting forty screaming girls to their chorus festival. School buses are not known as smooth riding vehicles and I had foregone wearing my back brace. I already LOOK old...if I was going to wear a back brace I may as well have worn a sign around my neck "Massey's mom's an ole fart."

We got to the Festival site and as the girls milled around out front I found a nice sturdy pole to lean against pressing my shoulders to it for some relief. Another mom that went was cute as a button, at least ten years younger than me but we quickly became friends. The place was crawling with teen age girls all with their fancy hair do's and all tucking their cell phones into their bra as they entered the door. I mentioned to the other mom "When did bobby pins become a hair accessory or decoration?"

When I was a teen you did all you could to hide bobby pins. You placed them where they would never show.

Girl after girl after girl walked by us today with bobby pins all over their heads. Some in Cris Cross designs or in patterns on their head...all for the world to see. Had there been a metal detector on THIS field trip the line would have been longer than the one at  the courthouse yesterday. They were using them like they were a bow or a cute clip they picked up at Claire's with their mom's money. It totally baffled me!

The girl's knocked it out of the park and got straight superior ratings. We loaded the rickety ole bus for the ride back home and to my amazement were even louder than they were on the ride there.

So I'm a mom. Not a mom of perfect kids but I'm a mom none the less. I have kid's that have floundered and I have kid's that seem to flourish. It's a nice mix . It's called "Life."

You take the good with the bad. You try to forget the bad times and relish the good. Regardless of how it goes you simply love your kids and try to be there for them. Some times you feel bad about the situation they are in and sometimes you are proud to be there  to witness it.

The important thing to me is that I will ALWAYS be there for my kids. They make me proud and sometimes disappoint me.  They worry me to death and they are most probably the reason for most of my aches and pains but I wouldn't have it any other way and even if offered a "Do Over" from a magic Genie...I'd turn the offer down.

I've done my best. (at least I hope so) I have seen them stumble and  falter, seen them succeed and have stuck by  them either way.

It's not like "I" got it right the first time, not even the second but I kept on keeping on and had support from amazing family,  many friends and mentors.

To my kids and  the rest of young people the words of Dr. Seuss:

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”

Til next  time....COTTON 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Forward? I Duwanna...

I get all excited in Fall when we gain one extra hour of sleep. I get really ticked when time wants it back in the Spring. I get home from work late anyway and like the couple of hours I have to myself to diddle around on Face book check emails and blog. I've only been home for a little over a hour and it's five til one. In another hour it will be five til three!

I like having the extra daylight in the evenings but boy do I hate giving up that ONE precious hour of sleep!  I get a hour older and  didn't even do anything wrong.

I piddled around on the computer when I got home from work, did some dishes and threw some clothes into the washer and took out the trash. Cooked a frozen pizza and changed the clocks because I had to be at work at 10:30 AM. Last time I looked at  the clock it was 4:15. My back was still hurting but I fell asleep before five. Got to work early believe it or not.

 My back starting hurting about thirty minutes into my shift. It's a dull ache but a constant one. It's been hurting since Friday and by the time noon (really one) rolled around  it was slow at work (I suppose because of  the time change) and  I asked if I could go the the drug store across the street and see if they had a back brace? I left and got into my car once again gripping the steering wheel so I wouldn't scream out loud. The drug store had absolutely nothing. Since of course I haven't been to see a doctor I didn't know if I needed a "Hot" patch or a "Cold" patch. They had no back braces so I looked for an ACE bandage thinking I could just wrap THAT around my back. When I put my hands on my middle back and push in real hard it feels wonderfully normal and pain free, but I guess they have discontinued ACE bandages because I couldn't find even one.

I went back to work and made me an ice pack... kinda helped but I think it may have been wishful thinking. Either it was really slow or my bosses just got tired of the grimace I couldn't keep off of my face and cut me around 1:15. My little co worker, "Frenchy" suggested that I go to Lowe's or Home Depot and buy a back brace. Stupid me...hadn't even thought about THAT!

I went straight to Lowe's and asked the woman behind the service desk where  back braces were located? She referred to an index card in her pocket and said "Aisle 65."  I walked the length of the store to find out there were in fact 24 aisles. On my way back I stopped some dude with an apron on and asked him where aisle 65 was and he took me straight to an aisle clearly marked "B."


The guy asked me what size I needed and I said "A Zero please, unless you have one smaller." He gave the smallest one they had that looked like it would fit two of me but since it was only $14 bucks and there was only one left I took it.

I went home and Massey helped me with it. I told her it had to go underneath my work shirt because number one I am a woman and we are vain and number two nothing screams "Ole Lady" like a back brace over the outside of a shirt. It had shoulder straps that once adjusted to the shortest position still sagged  off my little shoulders but with the huge Velcro tab on the actual brace I could pull it tight across my abdomen. Massey pulled the straps down to fit and safety pinned them. She admired her handiwork and said "Look! It pushes your boobies up."

I took the brace off and laid flat on my back for the entire break between my shift on the heating pad. When it was time to go back I shuffled into my Kevlar vest pulling it as tight as it could go and went back to work. PRAISE JESUS, it worked!

No spasms and although I felt worn out from three days of constant pain my back felt okay. I was getting worried that it wasn't back pain at all but something else. My boss (who is ten years older than me) commented that it only takes one wrong turn or move to throw your back out of whack and usually takes at least six weeks to heal..."Thanks for the positive thought!"

I was just grateful that I finally felt normal. I also realized that working six days a week for 33 years holding ten pounds of dishes on the same serving arm day after day after day will most certainly take a toll and throw your back and alignment out of sync. I was just so happy that no one could see my hideous contraption.

So I lost an hour's sleep...lost at least two hours from my lunch shift by leaving early but have learned that I have a new BFFL.

I wish they made back braces in "Mini Me" sizes but thankfully as usual it all worked out. I may never take it off again, and besides...Massey says it makes my boobies look bigger!

Working another double shift tomorrow...putting on my Kevlar and doing it all again!

Til next  time  "Padded COTTON"

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Back's Killing Me But My Broom Did a Trick

 So I go into work this morning at 10:30.  Around noon my back started hurting. I know the sign all too well. About once every year or so my back goes out for a day...sometimes two. It kills me when the spasms hit. By the time I left for my break between shifts I was gripping the steering wheel like a vise and trying to sit as straight as possible in the seat of the car. I went by and paid two of the giants I detest the most...cable and cell phone.

 I just didn't have it in me to argue with either corporate giant as previously  planned so I just threw both some money  to shut them up and went to pick up Massey from school. When she got in  the car I  threw it in gear and came home to find the heating pad.

 If I could manage to do  the excercise in the above photo I  think I would be okay but I can't so I did what old women do, apply a heating pad and pray while flat on my back for thirty minutes. When Massey hollered from her room that it was time for me to leave for work I convinced myself that my back felt better as I left with eight minutes to spare to get back to work. After a cup of coffee, probably my seventh of the day I said outloud to no one in particular..."Yeah, I feel a LOT better now."

By six thirty I was sweating...from coffee, menopausal hot flashes AND the back ache.  Somehow I made it through and luckily was cut by 9:00.  I did my side work, cleaned my section of tables and was looking around for a bullet to bite on by  the time I clocked out. Zach had to go in earlier than me and had driven Tim's car to work so I drove it home to put gas in it and have it back at  house for him to take to work leaving my car for Zach to drive home when he got off. For once the hard booster seat behind my back felt GREAT and I treated myself to a six pack of cheap Natty Lights after I gassed up his military tank of a car.

I came home and sat down at  the computer (bringing my heating pad with me.)  Stupid heating pad has an auto shut off so I have to keep turning it back on but am feeling better. May be the heat may be the Natty Light but at least I feel better. Tim got up for work and I got up  to see if the Spring Solstice  thing was right or a lot of hooey. Everyone has been talking about how during the Solstice your broom can stand up by itself. I hated leaving my heating pad but just wanted to see....

I'll be really worked! I was so impressed that I actually took a picture of my own kitchen broom. Maybe it was just wanting to run away from  the hovel I call home but dangit the thing stood there by itself !

I felt like David Copperfield with a bad back!

I'm taking my heating pad and vacuuming a small spot of the carpet free of dog hair and plugging in my new BFF (the heating pad) and sleeping flat on my back on  the floor.

If my broom can stand on it's own... so can I tomorrow (hopefully.)

It's sucks getting old but at least I am alive to enjoy my suffering!

Til next time...COTTON with the magic broom!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fighting the Giant(s)

That's me in the red shorts as you can tell by the hair cut!

It's been a long and tumultuous two years here at our house. Somehow the red pants have done me justice and we are still hanging on to the giant's leg and begging for mercy.

The people that currently hold our loan are "Hells Fargo" and have been about  as helpful  as the the Black Panthers would be  to the KKK.

We have six years  til our house is paid off. It WAS four years but when my husband lost his job and then I lost mine we got behind for the first time in fourteen years.  Then the Mort"gouge" vultures began circling and began screwing us to the wall. I even wrote our congressman "Do nothing Westmoreland" twice but never got any reply. We tried for over two years for a loan modification to no avail and finally had to declare bankruptcy so they couldn't take our house. Most houses they aren't really interested in taking...a house four years from pay off had their greedy mouths watering. I just pulled up my red shorts, sucked in my pride and declared bankruptcy.

The day after our bankruptcy hearing our mortgage company called to see if we were interested in starting over on a loan modification? I gave them a pretty severe verbal lashing and told them if I EVER bought a house again it sure as heck wouldn't be through them. We couldn't even catch up on our mortgage yet had to pay $300 to file chapter 13 to just keep it! After making on time mortgage payments for almost fourteen years we had been given the run around over and over again and received absolutely NO help at all from them to keep our house, yet OUR tax dollars had recently bailed ALL of them out ! I'll have to say I felt pretty  good after that phone call and they have never once called us since...and if they did I can guarantee you  they wouldn't make the mistake of asking for "MRS."  Cotton again.

On to my next big battle. Once again it's me in the red shorts and my cell carrier with the red and black "V" logo with the check mark.
"Check this out" I'm sick of you TOO!

If it weren't 2012 (The Jetson Age) and I didn't have two teens driving I would probably get rid of the cell phones too, but in this day and age unfortunately cell phones have become a necessity rather than a luxury. What kills me is when they pester me to death because I am late on my payments. HELLO????

At least I am MAKING payments AND paying late fees. Hmmm, let's see who is getting the better end of THIS deal? I paid them fifty bucks on Friday and fifty more on Sunday. Today they call me and leave a voicemail that I still owe seventy five dollars or the phones will be cut off!

Tomorrow I am hiking up my red shorts once again and going to have a "Come to Jesus" meeting with them. I'm asking for the branch manager and don't care how long I have to wait. You  can't tell me that my seventy five dollars is going to bankrupt THEM! They already have me on a terrible plan that includes WAY too many minutes since my teens and I usually text and Tim is the only one using any minutes and they are a bare minimum. They  can change my plan, stop harassing me or I am DONE with them. Tim's cell phone is so old it is has a curly cord attached and is a rotary dial (not really but  is an antique by  today's standards.) Massey uses a Blackberry that my brother gave her and I use the phone SHE had.

I'm tired of being run over by the giants...heck, I'm just TIRED!

In the words of  Howard Beale from the movie "Network"
"I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore."

Add insult to injury I just got home from work and had that shift that fortunately I only have once every blue moon. It was slow anyway but  just had all  the odds stacked against me. People preferred a booth over my table (guess the food tastes better when you  can't scoot up a chair up) and my first  table paid with a credit card and took their copy AND mine.

At least I stayed in a good mood and by seven was making jokes about my misfortune. When I finally got another table and they had the common sense to leave the charge slip  they write the tip on I pranced back to the kitchen and announced "I'm on the board with $8.00!"

It was exhausting.  I hung in  there til  the end and my last table left me a $22.00 tip which left me making $38.00 all night. That's just the life of a server...never count your eggs before they hatch!

So what? Tonight was a bust.

This past weekend I got my daughter, two friends and me into a sold out concert for free and my girl was on the front row and had her picture taken with a famous recording artist and had the night of her life.

I had yesterday off and took a fourteen hour nap that left me with bedsores that hurt so good!

I have a great job that only fails me once in a blue moon, and always has an extra shift to pick up if I really need to. I made enough money to buy gas for Tim to get to work in his "Tank" of a car and me to get Massey to school before I go back to work where I can almost bet I will bank big(er)!

You have to take good days with the bad.

I (mostly my daughter) had the greatest weekend and I was lucky enough to witness it first hand.
I had a day off that I maximized to the hilt... feel refreshed and ready to take on the world (and the giants) again!

For the first  time in my adult life every person in my household is working...including all three kids. I wish every family in America was as lucky!

Doing it all again tomorrow and feel blessed to have the chance!
Til next  time "Red Shorts" COTTON

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Karma is my Friend !

 I've been planning on taking Massey and two friends to a concert for a couple of months now. It's a group of three brothers that got their big start on YouTube. A friend of mine at work first turned me on to them and Massey and I quickly became big fans. I kept putting off buying the tickets because there was always something more pressing getting in the paying bills,  buying gas and groceries. As the concert got nearer I started to get nervous. One of the girls going was a classmate of Massey's and had already given me the money  to buy her ticket.

 Last week I finally had enough in my checking account to buy the four tickets and sat down at the computer to purchase them. It kept kicking me off the site and I finally just called Center Stage (the venue) to see what the problem was.

The problem was...They were SOLD OUT. I got a sick feeling in my stomach and waited a day or two to break the bad news to Massey and the other two girls. One was a classmate of Massey's and the other is a young woman I used to work with at the Western Sizzler. She was in a horrible car crash and spent quite a while at The Sheperd Center in Atlanta for a brain injury she sustained. Massey and I went to visit her on a regular basis (see former post.) She made a truly miraculous recovery and it was a hard road for her and her family. She was a fan of Boyce Avenue as well so we were all going together (so I  thought.)

I felt terrible and kept trying the website to see if any tickets may become available as the concert date approached. I got panicky and even wrote their record label telling them I didn't want a handout but just needed tickets and could even pay more if they had some. I checked my email about five times  a day hoping to hear back from them but  by Friday still hadn't. Massey finally told her friend we didn't have tickets and I had her money for her.

I told Massey to still have the girl come over today and told my friend the same. We left here a little after five and I drove us all down  to Center Stage to see if I could pull a rabbit out of a hat. I told them it wouldn't hurt to drive down  there early and see if any tickets had opened up. We got there and there were at least a hundred people already in line with huge signs posted "BOYCE AVENUE / SOLD OUT."

I told them it didn't look good as we pulled into the parking garage but decided we had already driven to Atlanta, so it wouldn't hurt to give it a try. The attendant said it was ten dollars to park so I told him we just needed five minutes to go see if any tickets were left. He gave us ten minutes free parking so we all tromped out.

The line was growing longer by each passing minute and I told the three girls to stand on the side walk.  I sauntered up to the door where a huge black security dude was holding the crowd back. I tapped him on the back and asked if I could speak with him a minute? He was checking people in who had paid thirty extra dollars for the "Meet and Greet" with the band before the show. I stood there for about a minute and he said while still checking people's ID "Go ahead, I'm listening."

I told him I was wondering if maybe a few tickets may still be available after everyone got in...standing room was fine for us, we needed four tickets...actually three and a half I was just pint size and wouldn't take up much room. He said to just stand there and wait and he would see. I stood there patiently for ten minutes and remembered my car was in a ten minute parking spot in the garage. I peeked back around the corner at  the three girls and motioned for them to join me at the door where I was waiting patiently by my new huge BFF (big security dude.)

I told them I hadn't gotten a "NO" and asked them if they thought we should go ahead and pay ten bucks to park the car? We decided we had come this far so Massey and my friend Danielle went to pay and park the car. They let in all the "Meet and Greet " people and my BFF followed them all inside and shut the door. At least we were all huddled by  the door and out of the wind so we decided to just stand there and see if he'd come back. Forty five minutes passed and another big security dude came to unlock the exit door we were all huddled around. I saw another opportunity and seized it.

I pushed open the exit door he had just unlocked and asked to speak with him a minute. I'm a touchy feely kind of gal and grabbed his arm and held on tightly. I told him I had spoken with the other security guard asking if tickets may still be available to purchase and he told me he would check , to wait there. I asked him to tell my friend we were still waiting and didn't care if we were the last ones to get in...just find us four tickets to buy. He said he would tell his friend and went back in. Another forty five minutes passed and  my BFF came back out and said "Here's the deal, they oversold the show and there isn't enough room."

Never one to give up, I said "How about two tickets for my daughter and her friend? Danielle and I will wait outside for them." I had forgotten Massey's friend was just a freshman and her mother had only met me two hours earlier. Caleigh spoke up and said "My mom wouldn't want me going in without you."  Then I pulled  out my big guns and started shooting (verbally.)

I said "Here's the deal...I had no idea the show would sell out so quickly. It was pay my mortgage or buy concert tickets so I chose to keep my house. My daughter and her friend desperately want to see the show and this is my friend who I haven't seen since she got out of the Shepherd Center recovering from a brain injury sustained in a car crash. We won't take up much room...I barely even count, look how tiny I am! Please just see what you can do."

He sighed and said "Let me go see somebody else, I'll be right back. What's your name?" I  told him my name.

We waited another twenty minutes and they opened up the door and started letting people in. I told the girls we still had a chance. Once everyone else got in surely they could let four more in!

Not five minutes went by when my friend Danielle said "Look! He just came out the door again on the other side and I think he's holding tickets in his hand!" He cut through the line piling through the open door and came over to where we were  still standing. He held out four tickets and said "Enjoy the show." He didn't ask for any money just said "Go on in." By  this time there were hundreds of people lined up waiting to get in. I asked him if he wanted us to go to the back of the line but he waved us through  the crowd and we were among the first fifty people in the door after all four hugging his neck as we passed through. We got third row seats right by the stage but Massey and her friend opted to stand in front of the stage not five feet from where the band would perform. Danielle and I opted to sit in the third row, Massey and her friend weren't even ten feet from us. Second Hand Serenade was the opening act and before he came on I went out in the lobby and ran into the second security dude who grinned when he saw me. I said "Look who got in!!"  I told him "You just never know what you can get til you ask...and what can it hurt to ask? Tell your buddy he made the night for two young teen age girls, they think they are in Heaven!" He smiled and said "You  gotta try or you'll never know ...and I'll be sure to tell him you said thanks."

Look how close to the stage we were!

Danielle posted this pic of us on Facebook saying "Look where Kelly's big mouth just got us this time...into a concert for free!"
Second Hand Serenade was really good and Boyce Avenue didn't disappoint either. I just couldn't believe our luck. I never even thought we would get in much less for free and on the third row!

On the way out I spotted the guy who is Second Hand Serenade sitting at a little table in an alcove type section of the lobby. I told him he had put on a great show and he even let me take a picture of him with Massey. We got one of him with Caleigh too!
When I got up this morning I felt terrible that I had let everyone down. I didn't mean to, but you  gotta have priorities and the bills have to come first. I did the right thing and paid my bills and responsibilities first and my ole friend Karma took care of the rest! The girls were still on could nine when we got home and are still talking about the night in Massey's bedroom twenty feet behind me.

 Life is good. Live it right, take some chances and never give in or give up!
I never really  thought I'd get them into the show, I had the hundred dollars for the tickets but thought it was too late. I went ahead and tried anyway and gave it my best shot. I ended up not only getting the girls less than five feet from the stage for absolutely free but having their picture taken with a famous recording artist and firmly establishing myself as the mom for at least a week or two.

Feeling pretty good...
Til next  time COTTON