Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Went into work at three this afternoon and the madness began. I was one of the first servers to leave tonight and it was well after eleven. Stopped by Kroger for some milk and OJ and was home by eleven forty five.

It was the smoothest NYE I have worked in a while and  have worked the past thirty three. By the end of the night my feet felt like they were walking on little pointed sticks.

My first table today was a mixed couple. He was a total ass and she was a bee-otch....that's a  horrible mix. First off he huffed and puffed because we didn't carry any European non alcoholic beers. Whatever.  It was already getting busy and he ordered a steak well done and his friendly (not) wife ordered salmon well done. We were already filling up and  the  man asked where their food was? I said "Well done takes a while." I took them their dinner and stood at  the table telling them to both check their food to see if it was cooked enough. They  both said it was fine and I went on waiting on more tables. I was at  the host stand when he came up to tell me his wife's fish wasn't cooked enough. She THOUGHT it was but it wasn't. Heck it was almost a fish stick when I took it to her the first time but  smiled and took it back. I thought to myself "So this is the way it's gonna be. Crap!"

Whenever I have a bad first  table it sets the mood and I feel jinxed. It took forever to make them happy and I thought to myself "If you  get so upset over such  trivial things, what are you  going to do when they tell you you have cancer or your house has been foreclosed on?" What's strange is he tipped decent, I guess he just likes bitching. What a sad way  to live.

All tables I had after that were great and I was happy to break the jinx. I was a selling demon. Appetizers, bottles of wine, cocktails and desserts. Cappuccinos, Espressos and always ended with "Who's ready to start over?"

I did good. I reached my goal. I got my cell phone bill paid, picked up some groceries  and have some left for Ham's eye fund.

I left the grocery store around eleven thirty and was tooling down Poplar Road doing the speed limit when a brand new Dodge Challenger passed me on a double line going at least seventy. Kinda pissed me off but then the car behind him passed me too and I thought, "I'm not driving slow!" Then I noticed the second car was a patrol car. Sucks for the Challenger!

I got home. Massey had a friend spending the night.  They had ordered a pizza and were both sacked out. Massey babysat all  day for a friend of ours and has always been an early bird. Zach was at his friends mother's house for a family party (I like it when Moms are there) and Tim had just gotten home from work sacked out because he works again in the morning. It was just me and the favorite thing when I come home from work worn out. I can bitch to them and they all three seem to understand. Charlie and Ziggy  lose interest in me quickly and go into their "Gay-osity" mode, that's when  I tend to call them Siegfried and Roy. Thank goodness I'm not a homophobe  because they make Gomer and Liberace look  straight.

Ham , as usual stayed by my side and we discussed what idiots they both were. The fireworks went off at midnight and even Charlie heard them. Ziggy was cocking his little head from side to side at every boom. Ham just stayed my me.

I am looking forward to starting a new year with new job possibilities, getting away from a grueling schedule and maybe changing the direction my tired feet are taking.

I've been fighting and ignoring a cold for over a week. Woke up this morning around nine and snuggled back in...  watching all  recorded episodes of Modern Family and Parenthood I have missed since after Thanksgiving. Modern Family is hilarious but Parenthood is hands down the best show I have ever seen.

It's the little things that make me happy. Watching a show I love albeit weeks later. Having people love my Ham. Having family that for some reason loves the crazy person I am.

It awesome to be loved. It's awesome to be home on New Year's Eve before the ball drops. It's awesome to think that 2013 may change my life for  the better.

Like the old woman I am, I am heading to bed with a my fave wasabi almonds and a glass of water with lime.

Is it sad I am excited about filing down my bunions and both corns are gone off my pinkie toes?

As Massey would say,  "That is JUST gross."

 I would respond back in her speak "Most Probs but my hooves sure feel better."

I have survived  another year...and that is a good thing.

Til next  time...COTTON

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Here Comes 2013

I have almost made it through the insanity of another year during the holiday season in a restaurant. Tonight was no exception. Had a wonderful surprise visit though from a dear friend, Elizabeth and her son. I wish I had had more time to talk with her but it was flat out chaos for two hours. She was my late Diddy's girlfriend and is simply a delight to know and love.

Sometimes I wonder how I am still doing this after well over three decades of being a plate carrier? The dishes seem heavier and the walk to the tables longer.

I've been doing this for so long and crazy as it may sound am finally thinking about hanging up my least full time. I have a chance to try something new, something not so physically demanding and comes with a 401 K . Tim and I had a pretty nice 401 K  we drained when he was out of work for two years, but at least we had it. This job also offers insurance...another definite plus, not to mention  is a four day work week. I can still carry  plates for two days a week for a while and have one day off. I am more than a little nervous about it but at  this stage in my life have to explore my options.

I like waiting on tables but it  is extremely demanding (when you do a good job.) My legs ache constantly, I have carpal tunnel in my right hand (self diagnosed) and gross as it sounds to me and  am sure even more so to you, I have corns on my pinkie toes sometimes that hurt so bad the sheets on my bed make them excruciatingly painful.  Think how it feels when someone accidentally knocks into my tired ole tootsie! My back goes out about once a year and almost paralyzes me sometimes making it even hard to breathe. I get cricks in my neck and have  to walk around like Frankenstein for days. Add in the limp because of my bad knee and I look like Festus from Gunsmoke with an order pad and tray.

Most of the servers I work with are young kids who don't have a clue or college kids who think the job is a joke that will simply get them by until they graduate. I don't tell  them most of them will still be serving when they graduate. "It's the economy, stupid."

I've raised three kids with a server's salary and am grateful I have been able to do so. Now it's time to think about myself. If I continue to beat myself up physically, I'll never be able to dance at my kid's weddings. I'll be on a walker at best, in a wheel chair worst case or maybe just a basket case.

It's not like starting a 401 K at the age of almost 53 is gonna get us that condo in Jamaica but will help my  chances of getting a room with a view one day...or at least a room. I don't want my kids to have to take care of me. I don't want to be a burden to them...even though they have sometimes been a burden to me.

You know what? They may have caused me grief but have given me more pleasure than anything in life. Given the chance for a "Do-Over" I'd do it all again.

I may not have perfect kids but I am perfectly happy with the kids I have.

My decision to change jobs is simply to help save myself so I can enjoy whatever time I have left with my family, to be able to provide us with insurance and have some savings for the future.

I'm scared. I'm apprehensive. I feel like I am letting my current bosses down. But if a chance comes this late in life to better not only myself but my family, I'd be dumber than Jethro not to try. If it doesn't work out I can always be a double naught spy or a brain surgeon. Or a server again.

Hope everyone has a Happy New included.

I also want to thank every one who has helped us help my pup, Ham. He is the most awesome dog I have ever  owned or rescued. He is alive today because of other people. I wanted to help him but simply couldn't. Because of other dog lovers, he is still with us. Because of dog lovers he is (hopefully) heart worm free. Because of dog lovers he is headed to the specialist after the first of the year to get his sight back. Because of you all he is still wagging that nub of a tail and feeling stronger every day.

I almost feel like God blessed my family by knocking us to our knees. It has shown me how being a good person (I think I am) during good times comes back to help you  through the bad times.

It amazes me how many people just don't get. When times are it forward . When times are bad, accept help... be humble and grateful others love you. I am a firm believer in Karma...heck I am just a believer.

Live your life as a good person.  No one expects you to be perfect, no person is. Remember the Golden Rule and remember how to pay it forward.

I have so much to pay forward it should be a full time job but it can't. I have one child off to see  the world and couldn't be happier for him. I have two still at home and can't wait to see how far they will go.

I simply want to be around to witness their flight as well. People have loved our family and even loved our pups.

I am a lucky woman. I am a lucky person. I am a blessed person and hope everyone who has helped us reach  this point in our lives knows how grateful I am to have been shown love, support and encouragement.

It's what has gotten us through and will never be dismissed or forgotten. I have a good feeling about the year  2013.

I think thirteen is my new lucky number!

Much love and thanks to you all and hope to pay it forward in "Thirteen."

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, December 28, 2012

My Little Black Horse

Here's my pup, Ziggy sticking his head through the new gate his uncle Harvey built, complete with  a peep hole. We caught him slithering through it like a flattened out rat last week and had to cover it with chicken wire but he'll soon be too big to escape through it. That's okay, little Houdini has found a different way out of the yard every day. I think he has little trampolines in his paws because I have never seen such a little dog  jump the way he does. I can't wait for Ham to get his eyes fixed so they can be kangaroos together. Before Ham went blind he could jump over six feet with ease.

He's a devil in disguise but such a cute devil! Let's see what he's destroyed in his few short months here with us. He tore up a sofa cushion on a couch that luckily I got for free and when we came home it looked like our house had been raided by the DEA searching for drugs. Foam every where, Ham and Charlie sitting off to the side of the room with  faces that immediately said "WE didn't do it." Ziggy sat in the pile of foam pieces grinning happily swinging his head back and forth like Stevie Wonder seeming to say "Just LOOK at it... I did it all by myself!"

Same  thing when I came home and he had eaten an entire bag of Christmas ornaments. Ham and Charlie were both sitting solemnly off to the side as Ziggy  pranced around all the broken ornaments swinging his head like Ray Charles showing off his handiwork.

There have been three remote controls, two tubes of tooth paste and one tassel off the only nice pair of shoes Tim has. (had)

I'd say he's eaten at least half a dozen potatoes out of my potato bin, two loaves of bread...including the plastic bag they came in, but left the twist ties, and two plants in my living room leaving all  the dirt on the carpet. He's fond of gutter spouts in the back yard and even enjoyed one of Zach's razors carelessly left on the bathroom counter. I'm surprised he lived through that one.

He's tall and lanky and anything left on the kitchen counter is fair game to him.

We started leaving him closed in the spare bedroom upstairs when everyone was gone and that worked pretty well...for a few days. Christmas Eve we went to Tim's parent's and sequestered him once again. We got home three hours later. I went to let him out of jail and couldn't get the bedroom door open. When I did there was a four foot square of carpet and padding chewed up right by  the door Houdini tried to escape from. I looked down and was staring at the sub flooring. He looked up smiling and shot down the stairs to see his buddies, happy as a clam. The mess wasn't that big but the padding was missing so I assumed he had his fiber intake covered for the next year.

Christmas Day he  got a reprieve. Everyone came to our house and the little stinker's just so cute that he was loved to death.

Us women were all sitting around in the kitchen talking with my sons and nephews when Massey started counting how many vehicles they had all gone through.(and not in a good way) Between my two boys and my sister's two boys we counted seventeen cars, one being my own Passat and another being my sister's Honda. (Wrecked twice)

Kinda makes tooth paste, remote controls, cushions and even carpet seem extremely expendable. When I get mad at  my kids and finally blow up, they pout for a couple days. When I spank Ziggy with an empty paper towel roll, he scurries under the living room coffee table but ten minutes later is rubbing up against me like a cat still bobbing that head like a bobble headed doll with  that smiley face looking all happy. It just makes me feel good. It may sound crazy  and I know it is but what ever he does wrong he gives back to me with complete love and affection.

On Christmas my nephew (the family dog whisperer) taught Ziggy to shake. We've been trying since we got him in June and  finally  just accepted he was  "Rain Man/Dog" and destined for great  things in  the Canine Special Olympics. Casey  taught him to shake in less than five minutes.

It's like raising a kid all over again,  has been disastrous at most points but really gratifying at others.  Ham and Charlie like their new buddy and he certainly likes them. He was very sweet to Ham when he went through that horrible week after the first two heart worm kill shots. It's amazing how instinctive dogs are. Ziggy didn't jump on him but would lay beside him and cuddle up.

Speaking of Ham, he finished his heart worm quick kill yesterday.  Zach went with me. Ham may be sick but still strong as an ox.  Once again we waited in the waiting room.  (the parking lot)

I can't say enough good things about this vet who saved my dog's life. I was waiting in the parking lot for our turn while Zach kept Ham in the car. I was talking with a man who was a paramedic in our county, waiting to get his dog's free Rabies shot  and he remarked how great it was to have low cost care for the animals we love the most. He pointed to mobile clinic, humming away on it's generator and remarked, "The guy's smart, he loves animals but look at his overhead."

Dr. Marseli came out of his "Office" and saw me sitting on the curb. He cocked his head and asked me with his 'thumbs up' if Ham was still okay? I gave him a thumbs up back and had Zach bring Ham out of the car. He said the last shot wasn't as devastating and stuck a short needle into Ham's hip. He said my boy looked good and gave us preventative to start Ham on in two weeks. He told us to bring him back in twelve weeks and have him retested for heart worms. After that we have the go ahead for eye surgery.  Ham started to feel bad about  halfway home. (a ten minute drive)

The paramedic I was talking to in the "Waiting Room" had gone through the same thing with his coon dog and said it was much like chemotherapy for dogs. "It's poison and  hurts like hell but  beats losing your buddy."

Christmas is over, it was great. Ziggy is a mess but coming around. Ham is halfway there. My oldest son leaves  for Australia in a few weeks to live the adventure of a lifetime. My youngest son is on the straight and narrow. My daughter is full guns ahead for a college degree  and destined for amazing things.

The  giraffe she gave me for Christmas amazes me every time I look at  it. The detail is incredible.

After everything is said and done...I couldn't have a more perfect life. Looking forward to  the New Year and new opportunities.

My life is a jumble of love, kids, dogs and troubles.  In the correct order, I am one lucky woman.

Til next  time...COTTON

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Once Again...I Am Lucky

This is my family. This was my life. Why momma and her friend brought pocket books to the lake beach still makes me wonder but momma never learned to swim and never got in over her ankles so I guess she needed her purse more than a raft.

I had the greatest parents a kid could ever hope for. They were married to each other and there was no other option to them, they took their vows seriously and were still in love with each other the day my momma died. Our house was like a drew everyone there. The egg man who came once a week, Frank Reeves. His son is now well known on the gardening channel, Walter Reeves.. The man who owned the Gulf station (Herman Jeans)  Carlton Pierce, my Diddy's friend from  high school and the Navy. Peg, the  guy who used to come by our house and sell us fruits and vegetables off his truck. They called him Peg because he had one leg  and the other was a wooden peg.

Adults, friends of ours and even strangers felt (and were) welcome in our house. It was a house full of  love. My friends loved coming to our house. There was always something cooking or something going on. I was  the luckiest girl on earth.

To be honest what ever has happened in my life or how much people have helped me goes right back to my roots. They survived raising us three kids and didn't have a lot of money but had more love than any person could imagine or ever want. Love is all you need...the more you give the more you get.

This picture of my parents is dear to me. Diddy looks tired but still in love. I have all the trivets on the wall behind momma and they hang on my own kitchen wall.

I had the best parents. How can I not make them proud? I have faltered and we have stumbled but just like the people who loved my parents and flooded to our house day after day for a glimpse of the happy life ...I want to have a home like that.

 With all the blessings I have been miraculously given, with all the support I have been shown, I feel guilty for having a sweet sigh of relief.

But my Momma didn't raise a fool. If it takes the rest of my life as it well should, I will pay it forward. I will never judge but leave that to The Big Guy. I will help another or step in to stop an injustice. I will be thankful every  day for the ones who not only love me but have helped my family and pups.

In my middle age I needed help and found an outpouring of love. From my family, from my friends and even strangers who I now consider friends.

You get what you give. I was given an extraordinary childhood. I was given a great husband and three wonderful kids. I have three pups who are like my own kids and we have all been shown love beyond belief.

I have much to pay forward and look forward to it!

Love your God, family and neighbor. Love others and love yourself. I truly believe "Love" is what this world is missing and needs the most. I have been blessed . Wouldn't you like to feel the same?

Til next extremely grateful COTTON

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It Was a Good One

It just wouldn't be Christmas without my brother bothering one of the boys. This is an old photo...that's Massey on the right talking to my Diddy in the background. She was probably five. That's my nephew Griff enjoying a hug from his uncle.

I think this is the first year one of the boys... TJ, Casey, Griffin or Zach haven't been pinned down or wrestled to the ground by their uncle Chris. We have at least twenty photos of the boys all in various holds or contorted states. Chris must be slipping...the only one he pinned down this year was Ziggy. Then again, Ziggy was due.

Somehow it all came together. All those days working non stop from Thanksgiving to Christmas paid off. I got every thing bought and paid for with cash and even managed to get Christmas Eve off.

The family all came over to our house Christmas Day and I threw together dinner. Chris got there first and threw together some Bloody Mary's and the party began. My kids were all happy with what they got, I was thrilled with my bounty and blessed beyond belief. Family, friends , fun  and love!

The above is one of my favorite presents. Massey made it for me in her pottery  class. I got  lots of nice clothes and a great pea coat. I got shoes and other presents but the best present of all was laughter, food and cheer with my whole family and  didn't have to leave it all early to run to work or leave the house at all.

Ham was treated like  a King. He was petted and loved on and secretly fed chunks of ham and mac and cheese. Charlie was just happy his daddy TJ was there.  Ziggy was just happy...he always is whether he is bad or good, the boy is just always happy.

My nephew actually managed to teach  Ziggy to sit and shake. You would have thought he had taught Ziggy how to decipher secret codes from the Taliban I was so happy! Here I was resigned to the fact we were destined for signing him up for the K9 special Olympics and hoping he could win a bronze medal for "Cutest Circle of Dooky on a Floor" and now he was actually doing a REAL trick and even one I don't have to pick up with toilet paper!

We had a sugar glazed ham, home made mac & cheese, baked beans with bacon, asparagus casserole and potato salad. We had toll house chocolate chip cookies and rice krispie treats. We had fun looking up funny things on the Internet, YouTube and looking at old pictures and videos. We simply had fun...and a wonderful Christmas time!

I crashed on the sofa after all were gone and dishes were washed. Ate my  fave, a frozen pizza and watched Indiana Jones, the Temple of Doom and Office Space. I fell asleep on  the sofa to the sound of  Zach and TJ talking downstairs in the dining room together just being brothers. It was wonderful  to hear and lulled me into a deep sleep.

I woke up this morning still on  the couch and thought about how much I could get up and do. Then I rolled over and  covered up. I stayed on the couch til it was time to get ready for work at three. It was an awesome day. I watched movies and the news. I watched GH and ate some some lunch Massey brought me.

I went into work and came back home. Now I am off again til Friday morning...ain't life grand? Taking my Ham for his last heart worm shot tomorrow and doing the family thing again til Friday morning. I didn't realize how much I needed the rest til I took it...and it felt marvelous!

We've  come full circle and that is a great gift. It wasn't easy and certainly didn't do it alone but have done it none the less.

Come on 2013...Let's see whatcha got!

Til next  time...a much rested COTTON

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wrapping Up The Night

It's finished. I'm not leaving this house til I have to go to work on Wednesday afternoon. I've been more around the world today than Santa. Massey and I left the house around eleven in the morning Christmas Eve and got home around five. We went to  the Sock Shoppe in Griffin after meeting friends for lunch a few blocks up. We back tracked by Lowe's , Dollar General, BJ's and Kroger. Got home in time to unload and reload for a trip to my in-laws at six. Had to stop by  Flash Foods for the last gift. Nothing says Merry Christmas more than a gift from  the gas station!

It was a really great visit with Tim's parents and they seemed thrilled we came. I haven't been off on Christmas Eve in quite a few years and it was nice to go. They still live in a huge seven bedroom house for some reason...guess to remind them of the pain of raising six boys and two girls. Massey and I wandered into the library and hunted for books. Found an old Bronte novel and two more Massey  wanted to read. The room most probably has five hundred books in it. Filled with everything from Readers Digest condensed books to an original Marvel comics Star Wars edition magazine. Their kitchen is huge, has a  dining table and a booth off to the side to seat four more. Massey and I sat at  the booth and my oldest TJ joined us to eat.

Much to my surprise Paw Paw joined us at the booth with his plate and sat down. He usually eats at  the big table. It was delightful to have him all to ourselves. TJ talked about his upcoming move to Australia, Massey  talked about college and Tim,  from the table behind us  said "Dad, Kelly has an offer for a new job." We talked about it all. How smart TJ was to live life large, how proud we were of Massey and how I couldn't turn down this offer to try something new. Tim's dad is a quiet man but opened  up tonight.  I think this was my favorite  Christmas with them and  have been with Tim since 1988. He agreed that  if I didn't try I would never know and  thought I was cut out for the job.

When we left to go to the in-laws we sequestered Ziggy into the spare bedroom (nothing but a bed and a table with nothing on it) and shut the door.

We got home and Ham and Charlie were both laying in the dining room. I went upstairs to let Ziggy out. You would have thought I was there to release him from a Turkish prison. I couldn't even open the door because he chewed the carpet up, the foam padding up and was currently working on the sub flooring.

He flew out of the room bobbing his head with the happiest smiling  face I have ever seen on a totally destructive dog.

Here's my thing. Number one...Yep we gotta get him a crate. But it's Christmas and have raised three kids in this house. My kids have broken chandelier panes off the dining room  light with  boxing gloves. They have punched holes in closet doors during wrestling matches. They have broken three of my windows with golf balls and footballs. They have torn off my railing on the upstairs steps during another throw down with neighbor kids. They have wrecked their own cars and totaled one of  mine.

You had them.You own them, you gotta love them.

We are big balling this Christmas. Paid cash for everything, only have one check to cover and I work on Wednesday.

It's been a tough three years. It's also been an awesome three years.  That may sound crazy but in the past three years I have learned about old farts like me...It's the Golden Rule.

I am almost embarrassed by how lucky I am but can tell anyone reading this blog..."It's true in my book, what comes around goes around."

If the world could only learn  the Golden would be a better place.

Merry Christmas!!

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ready or Not...Here it Comes!

I quit trying to remember my last day off a couple of weeks ago. It was pointless, all my days have blended together. I just wake up and put on a uniform, go in and come home when they let me. That's the way it is during the holidays when you are a server. But if you don't work you don't get paid so I chose work. It's paid off and taken it's toll as well.

The kids have been pretty good about helping. I took three hours one day and knocked out their presents and have sent them out every day since with a detailed list for everyone else. I have maybe five gifts left to buy and was going to do  that today before I went into work at four.

 I woke up at nine this morning after working  two back to back grueling double shifts and noticed immediately that my pillow and bed never seemed to fit to my body so exactly perfect as they did at that very moment. I decided to give it another hour. I knew I had to drive to Griffin about twenty five minutes away to the mill store my momma shopped at when we were kids. It's called The Sock Shoppe."  You can find anything there ridiculously cheap from towels to socks to undies to jeans  to hoodies to jewelry.

 Tim brought me two 500 mg ibuprofen and a glass of orange juice. I called the mill store  and they were open on Christmas Eve til three so I rolled over and settled back in. It was my Christmas present to myself and an outstanding choice if I may say so.

I went into work at four and the tipping gods thankfully smiled on me. Had a bonus, one of my old customers from the Western Sizzler I used to work at came in with a huge bag of Divinity his mother makes every year and sends me a bag. It was like crack...I couldn't get enough.

Then it got even better. Two dear friends from Florida came in to eat with me. They love me dearly as I do them but are "Team Massey" all the way. They have shown my daughter so much love and in return my daughter loves them to the moon, which with the domino effect makes me love them even more. There have been times when I couldn't do  things for her and they made it happen. They not only love her but guide her. By being mentors to my girl they are being the greatest friends I could ever hope for. As a bonus I had a bag of crack to share with them!

I walked out the door tonight knowing I didn't have to be back til Wednesday afternoon and  felt like the Governor had given me a pardon or at least a stay of execution.

I think about this past year as it comes to a close. I am older, I am grayer and unfortunately I am thin as a walking stick. I hate looking in the mirror seeing my gaunt gray self but then think it is a face of someone who has survived with the help of  many and realize I am  thin and bony,  but  by Webster's definition of  gaunt  certainly don't consider myself  "Bleak and desolate."

I am one stinking lucky woman.

We have all survived.  My husband and kids  should all get medals for putting up with my manic insanity. My family and friends have helped us through the dark side and  can see a light at the end of the tunnel. If it isn't a train, we'll be okay.

My pup who is blind and unfortunately has heart worms  has been taken care of by  donations. It may sound crazy to care about a dog this much. If my three kids needed help they would definitely be first but lucky for me they are all healthy just lazy.

I am blessed beyond belief. We have battled back from six months behind on our mortgage to eight weeks late. In this economy I consider that a miracle in its self.

It will be a good Christmas. Got a tree in the living room that smells great after I clean up Ziggy's dog poop. My friends bought it for us. It is wonderful to be loved.

It's crazy around here...and I kinda like it that way. It's been crazy so long it would feel weird to be normal which Webster's defines as " Conforming with, adhering to, or constituting a norm."

My family is anything but normal but deal with the cards we were dealt.

Kinda makes you want to  come to our house on Christmas Day doesn't it?  Come see the freak show we'll be here all day!

Come on down...There will be lots of laughs, lots of  food and lots of love!

"Come one come all....there is love for you all."

Merry  Christmas!  COTTON

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's Just The Way We Roll

This family photo of us was obviously taken after TJ moved out and when Charlie and Ziggy had escaped the yard and were out exploring the woods behind our house. Man I look young in THIS one!

I  did most all of my Christmas shopping in less than three hours yesterday. Zach only has one pair of shoes besides his work shoes and they are pitiful at best.  I was gonna pick him up a pair at  "Ross Mess For Less" but they didn't have anything remotely resembling something he would be seen in so I skipped to clothes. TJ needs work clothes so I got him a great pair of Calvin Klein  and a pair of Geoffrey Beene dress pants. Retail  price $165 but I paid $50. Got him a pretty sweater and a dress shirt to match both pair of pants. It's hard to find Zach jeans anywhere. He wears  28 X 30 and they are still "Busting Slack." He's my  "Mini (skinny) Me.  They had one pair so I snatched them up. I got him a couple of sweaters and a shirt that looks just like the other shirts he wears. He doesn't tend to drift far from his comfort zone. Moved over to Women's and it got easier. Found Massey two pair of really cool jeans and several tops  that looked just like her. Of course I always spoil  her so added a couple more tops and a beautiful sweater to the heap of clothes. Tim doesn't have one pair of jeans left that he could wear anywhere but a Hobo convention but his size is hard to find too. 33 X 34. Strike two. If I had bought  these clothes which were all name brand or designer at the mall it would have easily been over five hundred dollars...maybe more considering I haven't been to a mall in almost twenty years. I spent less than $200.

 Found Tim three pair of jeans at  Target and Zach two pair of shoes at Payless for under under forty bucks!

Here's the deal with "Ross Mess For Less" You have to scrutinize every purchase. Some things are sized wrong. Sometimes buttons and zippers are on the wrong side. Sometimes a hem isn't complete. These are  all things a Cotton rarely notices and if  they do,  will certainly let slide. It's just a nice surprise to be cutting actual store tags off brand new clothes instead of pulling off yard sale stickers.

Don't get me wrong.  My kids were all spoiled rotten for many many years. So much so  they  SHOULD all be good til they marry and  then some.  For the past few years the story changed  but to my surprise and great admiration for  them, all three have never complained. I'm sure they've felt like it...heck I have.  Massey griped a bit when it all went south but was in her last year of  middle school headed to a high school of over 3,000 students and a lot of them were spoiled beyond belief and any sane parent's comprehension. She's wised up quite a bit since then and now realizes more about life than any seventeen year old girl  I know.

She adjusted, with all  the love my family (that means my phat bro , incredible sister) and many friends showed her (and me.)

It was tough... a lot tougher than the kids knew but we made it.

Skip to This Christmas. The past few Christmas seasons have been total gifts of love. It was embarrassing to me but accepted and appreciated the gifts in the spirit they were given...lovingly.

This year..."I Got This!"

It's a marvelous feeling. We got off to a rocky start but when one of my dear high school friends bought us  a Christmas tree it inspired me.

Been working like a mad woman the past two gotta when you work as a waitress at  Christmas. So it's "Server" now...when I started it was waitress!

The ball rolled slow at first but has picked up speed . I've had two days off since Thanksgiving and was relieved to have yesterday off, before I realized a party  requested me on my day off. Number one they are fantastic people and take terrific care of me. Number two I live eight minutes from the restaurant and number three my youngest is's not like I am breast feeding or having to spoon feed three kids.

I came home  from shopping with a huge roast from BJ's and threw it in the oven. I told the kids (who never listen to me when I give domestic orders) I was going into work for one party and would be back in two hours.

Three hours later I got home to a roast almost burned in the oven and two starving kids. I made some gravy and a pot of rice. Massey wanted an open face sandwich on wheat bread with gravy (my favorite) and ate it up. I sat down at  the computer and started to blog. One hour later I asked her to make me one and she said all the loaf bread was gone. That's the way it works when you're the momma.

I told Zach to go to the gas station up the road and buy a loaf of wheat bread. All they had was nasty white bread but I settled for that. I got through blogging and went into the kitchen.  No bread.

I asked Zach where he left the bread? He hollered from his bedroom "On the kitchen counter." I looked. No bread.

I walked upstairs into the living room and Ziggy was purring like a cat fast asleep. Beside him was a small scrap of plastic bag labeled "Loaf Bread." There was a chewed up twist tie beside it. Not one bread crumb.

I just settled for roast beef  rice and gravy, whacked Ziggy a good one and went to bed. Have to work two double shifts in a row and work on Christmas Eve too.

I told this story to several co workers today and all responded..."That dog  is definitely a Cotton...he fits right into your crazy family." When I went back into work tonight the co worker who we got Ziggy  from listened to my story and just laughed. She said "He has lots of personality...I think he found  the right family."

You know, they are all right. I'm a sucker for pups. They cost less than kids and love me like nobody's business. They never ask for anything. The older two are perfect (almost)...Ziggy is just keeping me young or will kill me trying.

Christmas is done. Made enough tonight to finish last minute shopping and have a feast on Christmas Day. Life is good.

Take the good with  the bad. Roll with the punches and come out swinging.

Christmas is covered  and silly as it may sound, so is my pup Ham.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and to all a good night.

Thank you all for loving me and thank you all  for believing in me. I think I am even starting to believe in myself again!

With a full heart and much to pay forward...

Til next  time...COTTON

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Twelve Paws of Christmas

It rained all day...well at least all the hours I was out in it. My dogs see it raining and just stare at me when I open the back door seeming to say "Are you serious?"

It stopped for about ten minutes before I left to go shopping and shoved all twelve paws out the back door. Ham pooped, Charlie pooped and Ziggy just sat and watched them both. I've never had a mentally challenged dog but believe I just may have one. I left them out til it started pouring again and brought them back inside one by one, wiping all twelve paws with a beach towel. I left with my list. Zach decided to stay home and clean the house and that was just fine with me.

I had just left the bank when my cell rang. Zach said "I just vacuumed the living room and then Ziggy took a dump in it. This dog just ain't right." I told him where the carpet cleaner was and said "Good luck!"

I knocked out all shopping for the kids and Tim in less than two hours. I went to BJ's and bought dog food and a roast for dinner. Came home and put the roast in the oven. I was off today but a family who always asks for me made a reservation for six tonight at six thirty and requested me. I had spent my budget and still had a few presents left to get so I told the owners I would come in and wait on them.

Roast in the oven, dogs fed, presents bought and work shirt ironed. I walked into work and it was insane. I went up front to the lobby and there sat a good friend of mine from the Western Sizzler where I used to work. She said "They told me you were off today." I told her I was off but came in to wait on a party of six. She asked if I could wait on her party too? I didn't want to take tables away from another server since I wasn't even on the schedule but they were balls to the wall so I took them too.

Two hours later I walked out with the money I needed to finish my shopping and dinner was ready at the house.

Let the dogs out back when I got home and for some freaky reason Ziggy actually took a dump in the yard. He must have been confused.

Opening the store in the morning and also working the dinner shift. Repeating the process on Saturday. I don't have to be at work til four on Sunday so will finish shopping and buy groceries for Christmas dinner before work.

It's all worked out just fine. I tend to work better under pressure,  guess that's why I work so I can get stuff done.

I won't lie. The past four years have anything but easy but guess who made it? This ninety five pound gray haired wrinkled woman!

My family has survived too. No thanks to me but thanks to family, friends and friends of friends and some times even strangers. My pups are all good...with the exception of Ziggy. He's just a bad boy but I love him anyway.

This is gonna be a good Christmas!

I know there will be a lot of people who will have a sad Christmas, not only in Connecticut but across the globe and my heart goes out to each and every one of you. I hope some of that money I threw in the Salvation Army bucket reaches you. I also hope someone reaches out and makes you at least smile once. I hope your life will one day get back to normal...which may be learning to live with the grief of losing a child or partner or learning to live with hunger and praying the help keeps coming. I hope this world rises up!

It's the have and have nots. I used to be a have... then I was a have not. Now I am blessed beyond my wildest expectations. It's my turn again now.

I might just stop by  that Salvation Army store tomorrow on my break and see what they need the most. Cash would be great and save me another trip to the crazy  stores!

Hug your children tight, pet your pups. Tell your spouse you  love them without including "Did you unload the dishwasher like I asked you?"

Think about kids starving here in our own nation and millions more starving around the globe. Think about drug lords ruling not only cities but countries. Think about our own politicians who can't get their own heads out of their ass to do something productive or at least try and work together.

Remember  the Reason for the Season...and think about the rest of the world too. You could be living in a haunting hurtful place but if by The Grace of God you aren't...there are millions who could use your help.

Love and you will be loved.

Til next  time COTTON

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Why do I always do this? I've had two days off since Thanksgiving. I have tomorrow off but work a double Friday, Saturday and work Sunday and Monday. I haven't bought the first present. I will have to admit I am getting better. There have been years when I haven't shopped til Christmas Eve. Guess I'm getting somewhat better. I had a last table that sat forever tonight and paid a co worker five bucks to clean and reset it. She refused the money but it was truly helping me (thanks Dayna) and stuffed the five into her apron. I went to Big Lots and bought a couple of stocking stuffers and some tins for baked goods.

I have my game plan for tomorrow all mapped out and written down. I'm using my two hundred dollar bonus from work and making it happen come hell or high water. First on the list is the store I call "Ross Mess For Less." It's a disorganized mess and you have to hunt for  right sizes which are always misplaced but  a great bargain store.

All my kids are old enough to know we ain't rich and there ain't no Santa. That helps tremendously.

The kids are getting clothes. Zach is getting shoes...his one pair look pitiful and are actually ones I bought at  Ross LAST year!

I don't say any of this to sound pitiful because we are far from it. I say it to inspire others who have been in the same place. Keep fighting!  Two years ago we WERE pitiful. We were six months behind on our mortgage, both had been out of work and were on food stamps.

This year we are only eight weeks behind on our mortgage and current on most all bills. In this economy...I call that a WIN! It's been tough road, but to  catch up from six months behind to only eight weeks seems phenomenal to me. I have a great husband who is now totally gray headed but still good looking and for some crazy reason still loves me. I still have three kids. I still have a house. I have a dog who would have died without help from many generous friends. I have family that helps me time and time and time again. I am lucky and blessed person.

We have many mirrors in  the restaurant where I work. I see myself in them as I am taking orders  and see an old, tired woman. Yes it's disheartening to see how thin I am and how much I have aged...but at least I am aging. The alternative is very unappealing...face up in a box six feet under.

Here's the real deal about Christmas. I give money  to the bell ringers from Salvation Army every time I see  them. On the way into store and on the way out. I'm no saint, far from it but give myself a rating of seven on a scale of ten. I will have all three of my kids here this Christmas. My sister and her husband are coming along with her two sons and their girlfriends. My brother is coming...probably reluctantly and I don't blame him but he likes my cooking and he is in charge of Bloody  Mary's.

I made enough money  tonight to buy a ham and fixings! We're having ham, potato salad, deviled eggs, my famous macaroni and cheese, asparagus casserole and baked beans with bacon. Making yummy Jalapeno squares with artichoke hearts and parmesan cheese. Toll house cookies and Rice Krispie Treats.

No one is getting a car or a fur coat. My brother would get both if we could afford it. We are simply going to have a wonderful day in usual "Leach"  style. Making fun of each other, enjoying a great meal and telling stories about our crazy  family...who I love with my whole heart.

Christmas will be just fine, I have no doubt.

I do, however think about how Christmas will be in well over twenty homes in Connecticut. We don't have much  money  but still have each other. What they lost is priceless and can never be replaced. My gift to each and every one of them (small but heartfelt) is  they are in my thoughts and constantly in my prayers.

They will never get over it but simply have to learn how to live with it.

"Charlotte, Daniel, Rachel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Dawn, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jessie, James, Grace, Anne, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Lauren, Mary, Victoria, Benjamin and Allison ... Rest in God's Arms and know you are in all our hearts."

Getting up and doing it again!  COTTON

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My life is Destined to be a Sitcom

So I go into work at ten thirty to open. Balls to the wall right off the bat. We had a party of ten sit down, then a party of  five, then a twenty top. It was insane. Can I say I am tired of seeing Christmas sweaters?

I got off around four and called home. Massey answered and said Ziggy got out of  the yard again. I told her to put Zach on the phone and he said he walked the yard twice and couldn't find a hole. I told him I had to go to the bank and get gas but then we would go to Home Depot and get SOMETHING. I wasn't sure what we would get but I gotta keep the little sh*t in the yard.

I got home and let all three pups out back. Two minutes later I heard Ziggy scratching at the kitchen door leading to the garage. I let him back in and out the other door into  the back yard.One minute later he was back around to  the front of the house . I told Zach I thought he was getting out through the peep hole my brother in law  put in the new gate so we got the staple gun and covered the peep hole with chicken wire and let the idiots out again. Lasted five minutes. I went out back and saw Ziggy in my neighbor's yard. The chicken wire had been  pushed to one side. At least we knew now where Houdini was escaping. Zach went to the outside of the gate and stapled up more chicken wire. At the same time Zach was stapling up the wire I was in the kitchen watching Ziggy running to the back of the yard and leaping nonstop like a gazelle over the back fence. We have a six foot privacy fence around both sides of our back yard put staked up hog wire across  the back. In the summer the woods grow through it and you can't even see it. In the winter  the dogs trample it down and Ziggy (the inquisitive one) has discovered every weak spot. A big tree fell in the woods last spring during a storm and the hog wire sags in one point where the tree hit it.

My brother in law had replaced my gate but left the old one in my yard. Zach and I carried it to the back of the yard and propped it up over the weak link in the hog wire. Unless Ziggy can jump over six feet....which is a possibility at  the rate he is growing, he's fenced in, for now.

I let all three pups out back and Ziggy streamlined for the back. He got there, looked at the big six foot wooden panel  over his escape route. He turned around and as he slowly headed back I could swear I heard him say "Well crap!"

Work is wearing me out. My dogs are wearing me out. My kids are wearing me out.

Then I think about Newtown.

I am lucky to still have things to bitch about.

Last night at my daughter's Christmas concert,  the chorus teacher asked for a moment of silence for all the victims of the Newtown tragedy. I spent my moment bawling like a baby.

We've had a tough few years but have never had to bury  a child. The thought of doing that is beyond what what my tiny mind can comprehend.

We're having a slim Christmas...but are all here to enjoy what we do have. We have our health, we have family and friends and we have The Big Guy. What more can a person ask for?

I can't even imagine how it feels to lose a child. I've lost both my parents and THAT  almost killed me. My kids have all three tried unknowingly. That's just part of being a kid. (been there done that)

I am a lucky,  lucky woman. I have been blessed beyond belief. And not just me but my family and my pups. My oldest dog is alive because of the kindness of friends and strangers.

We have a beautiful tree in the living room...thanks to friends. I put money into  the Salvation Army pot every  time I go into the grocery store and dump my change back in when I leave.

It seems to me people have forgotten the Golden Rule. It seems  to me people have lost initiative .

Here's the way I think. You get what you give. Make someone else's day and it will come back ten fold.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas...I know we will.

Till next rime...COTTON

Friday, December 14, 2012

I Am Highly Upset

It saddens me deeply to know  kids who watched this movie "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" were excited about Santa coming next  week are now dead. They were kids for Pete's sake. What did they ever do to deserve to die?

So  the gunman is dead...big deal. The less I hear about him the better...don't give him anymore spotlight or attention, he certainly doesn't deserve it.

I have three kids...still do tonight by the Grace of God.
How do you go on when  your child is gunned down by  an obvious mad man (boy)? There must have been warnings or at least signs.

Humanity can be wonderful and kind...a co worker got a hundred dollar tip on a twenty dollar tab at lunch today simply signing the charge slip "Merry Christmas.". Then the flip side occurred and I heard about the shootings.

It was was unimaginable. As if  war isn't bad enough, we have people killing innocent children...lots of them.

They were children and adults who took care of those same children. That could have easily been my own children. It could have been kids at the high school my daughter attends. It can obviously happen anywhere.

"Come on people now, smile on your brother try to love one another right now."

I still have three kids and the words keep resonating in my mind. These parents don't. Their kid's are gone...forever.

They are looking at Christmas presents  bought for their little boys and girls. They have packages hidden waiting to spring them out Christmas Day like Santa came. They had plans for an awesome Holiday but are all now planning a funeral.

How can people be this wicked without anyone seeing some type of sign or at least  a warning flag? I'm not blaming anyone but tell my kids that is why I am so paranoid. If I see something out of the norm...I am the first person  to call them on it. If you feel something isn't probably isn't.

Obviously when you are a parent in this messed up world you can't afford to be a Monday morning quarter back.

God bless all these children, parents,  husbands, wives and co workers. Life can be cruel but it should never be this brutal.

To sum up this blog...I am pretty pissed  all these families are going to have the worst Christmas of their life and  remember it every year because of one senseless act and in my opinion...the act of a coward.

You could have asked for help. Now WE are asking for help.

You parents will never see my blog but if you do... will do anything to help and you will all be in my prayers.

It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. My heart is heavy and my condolences sincere.

It's a messed up world.

Til next  time...COTTON

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Everyone's on the Mend...Finally

It seems I have averted having to use this headstone...once again. It's a good thing I got it cheap at a yard sale. I'm sure it will come in handy one day for me or Tim and even if it doesn't I just think it's a great "Touche' monument!"

 Woke up this morning and took Massey  to the doc in a box here in Newnan. Fifty bucks for an office visit the first time, forty bucks for future visits. Prescriptions are only four bucks. Luckily this was Massey's second trip  so I saved ten bucks right off the bat. She has been complaining about her throat and lately coughing like a day person with a two pack a day habit so I broke down and took her today.

Here's the thing with teen age girls...they tend to complain no matter what so sometimes it's hard as a momma to know when it's legit. I have to work six shifts between today and Sunday night so I knew I'd better take her this morning. She came out to the waiting room with a note to stay out of school for the day and two prescriptions to be filled. The doc calls in  the scripts next  door to Target and from past experience  know it takes well over an hour for them to scrape twenty pills into a bottle.

We had some Chic Fil A cards thanks to my dear friend, Jess and went through  the drive through in the same parking lot and I took the patient home.  We all took a nap then Massey went back to the pharmacy OVER an hour later and still had to wait thirty minutes...I guess they count pills really slow. Thank  goodness it was just a sinus infection but that is something that could have turned into bronchitis so I'm glad I took her.

She took her meds and I went to Lowe's to buy more chicken wire to patch up yet another hole Houdini found at  the back of the yard. In the summer the brush grows up thick and lush and the dogs can't even see the back hog wire fence. In the winter when the tall grass dies they can find a tiny hole and squeeze  through.

Massey now on meds and the mend after a nap took Charlie (with Zach to hold the strong idiot) to the vet in a box at  the mobile clinic that  comes every  Thursday. I thought about taking Massey there first, with all  that curly hair she has I could say she was a really big poodle. (Totally kidding)

I got back to the house first and put up enough chicken wire to keep Colonel Sanders and his thirteen secret spices in  the yard.

The kids got home with Charlie who had his exam, got all his shots and unfortunately tested positive for heart worms just like Ham.

I can't  say enough good things about this mobile clinic and the wonderful vet who  lets people like us be able to afford health care for our pups. Zach said the first  thing he said when he saw him dragging Charlie over for his exam was "How is Ham?" For seventy five bucks Charlie got an exam, all shots updated, Rabies shot, heart worm test and slow kill for the next  year. If life keeps moving in the direction it has been maybe I can afford the quick kill for him in a few months.

Work was crazy tonight. Of course I work for crazy people but the crazy  worked out to my advantage tonight. Last night sucked but tonight Cha Chinged!

Every server I work with except one is at least ten or twenty years younger than me. One of them commented the other day when I picked her up for work because she doesn't have a car..."You're all about some Karma aren't you?"

I told her in fact I was and if she was smart would live her own life the same way.

I was watching the news today while getting ready  for work and heard about the meteor shower tonight. Over one hundred shooting stars every hour? Think how many wishes I could make?

I was driving home from work tonight when I saw the first one. I was on the phone with a friend who had a rough night at work and immediately said "I just saw a shooting star and  made wish  for you!"

I got home and Zach had mopped and cleaned the kitchen...and I didn't even wish for that! I took the pups out back and sat in the hammock. I saw four shooting stars in  less than five minutes. On the first one I wished good things for my marriage. I know Tim and I will be together forever but God knows it ain't easy being married to someone like me. Another shot across the sky and I wished Massey a full recovery.  Not one minute later another shot across and I gave that wish  to Ham. Here came another one and I sent it Zach's way. I came back and started blogging.

I took the pups out again after Tim got home from work and resumed my position in the hammock. The next shooting star went out to Charlie. The next one went out to Boss, my sister's boxer suffering from  the same thing my Rosie did.

The stars kept  shooting and I kept making wishes. I think I made over fifteen and have most of my loved ones and people who have helped us covered.

Here's the thing. Wishing on a shooting star may be bunk but to me watching stars fall from the sky is amazing. It's nature at  it's most beautiful. It's God giving you a sign he is listening.

When my Diddy died from West Nile in 2002 it devastated not only me but my entire family. I took ten days off to be with him as all three of us kids watched him die a quick death... compared to Alzheimer's or cancer.

I went back to work the day after his funeral. It was too soon but financially necessary. I left  work that meteor shower in the forecast but as I drove up the hill from work a falling star darted through the sky. I thought it may be a signal from  Diddy  but just in case thought silently "If it's you send me another sign."

Not one second went by and another beautiful star darted across  the sky.

I live in a small city. I live in a pretty big county and am lucky enough to live in a great nation. The universe we live in is immense, so much so that it boggles the mind. God let me know that Diddy was okay.

Call it Karma, call it living by The Golden Rule.

When  this enormous,  huge universe sends you a signal you need to listen.

I have wished on over thirty stars tonight. That has never happened in my almost  fifty three years.

I don't know if it is God telling me how lucky I am or God telling me how lucky I am to be loved. I'll take either and be grateful for both.

Christmas isn't about buying presents....I haven't bought the first one. Christmas is about being in a hammock and seeing stars shooting through  the sky and giving those wishes to others. Christmas is about having your family healthy and well. Christmas is about love and how grateful you should be to simply be alive and that others love you for who you are.

It's gonna be a great Christmas around here and I hope you all have the same. It's not the amount or price  of presents you's about the  love you give. Love is free and the greatest gift of all.

Not worried one bit...I think our Christmas will be just fine.

I am loved!

Til next  time...COTTON

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Two Outta Three Ain't Bad (Literally)

I was off yesterday. It was my first day off since November 26th. The days had started to blur, the weeks as well but I finally had a  day to myself. Went to a funeral in the morning (we'll  come back to that) came home ate some lunch and took a nice two hour nap. It was a rainy day here in JawJa...not a good thing when you have three big pups. They went outside early before I went to the funeral but were stuck inside most of the day.

I got up from my nap after Massey got home from school. The dogs had napped right along with me.  Massey was going to babysit and I headed out for the grocery store.  Massey was going to put the ornaments on our tree but ran out of time so she left for her babysitting job. I contemplated putting the dogs out before I left for the store but would only be gone half an hour and it was still pouring outside. Zach was next door with his buddy so I just decided to leave the pups inside. How much harm could they do in thirty minutes?

I found out as soon as I walked in the kitchen door. There was a chewed up baking potato out of my potato bin on  the kitchen floor.  He hadn't eaten it...just gnawed on it. All  the chewed off parts were in a pile beside the tater. I walked in the dining room  and it looked like the DEA had been there to search  for drugs. One of my sofa cushions  was in the floor with foam padding EVERYWHERE. Next I saw my lip liner pencil and lip gloss  I had left on  the downstairs bathroom counter when I left for the funeral that morning...the liner pencil looked like it had been fed through a wood chipper and the gloss tube had more holes in it than my kitchen colander.

I went upstairs into  the living room and saw the chewed up tube of toothpaste I had bought at the Dollar store and left on the bathroom sink just yesterday  for Massey in the bathroom off her bedroom.

Then I saw the REAL crime scene. Massey had gotten the bag of ornaments out of the living room closet to decorate the tree but ran out of time. Did she put the bag back in the closet? Of course not...the bag was ripped apart and the living room floor was covered with broken ornaments. There wasn't one left in the bag. Then just as a calling card, The empty bag had been peed on.

I looked around the living room and saw Ham and Charlie  both sitting in a corner with looks that totally said "WE had absolutely NOTHING to do with this!" Then I saw Ziggy on  the other side of the sofa looking up at me with that happy face he always has, head bobbing like a bobble headed pup and smiling away as if to say "Yep, it was all ME...I did GOOD didn't I?"

I put all three pups out back and called Zach on my cell and told him to come home and help clean the crime scene. He walked in the front door and said "Oh My God." Then he got to the steps leading down into  the dining room and used some really colorful language as he started  to help me clean up all the mess.

I picked up all the big pieces of broken glass ornaments saving the hooks for ones that survived. Zach  stuffed all  the foam padding in the dining room into a trash bag and came upstairs to help me with the ornament debacle. He went around the other side of the sofa and said..."That's classy, he left another calling card over here."

 There was a nice little pile of Ziggy doo doo curled into a heap.  I told Zach I would get it up with toilet paper and flush it down the toilet. When I picked it up it was held together with strands of the holly printed wrapping paper he ate the day before when the kids got Christmas stuff out of the attic.

Someone remind me why I love this dog so much.

Let's bounce on to my next story of the day. I went to the funeral of my dear friend and customer earlier the same day. She was over ninety one years young and fought the good fight. She only had two bad months and I call that a win.

She was Catholic so I blocked off three hours for the funeral. I was raised in East Point Christian Church. Our funerals usually consisted of  a scripture reading, two hymns and the eulogy.

Not to diss the Catholic faith at all and remember this is just a blog...but I just don't get all the pomp and circumstance. I've said it before, "I'm not smart enough to be catholic." Stand up. Kneel, cross yourself (is it left to right or  right to left) and they all know those sayings back when the priest says something.

I met Barb at  the funeral (the owner's wife of our restaurant). She was raised in  the Catholic faith for her first twelve years. As we walked in I told her we needed  to sit in the back in case it ran into overtime...this wasn't my first Catholic funeral. She agreed and we sat at  the back. Number one the funeral started twenty minutes late. Number two we both knew the priest, he is a customer at the restaurant. Number three...he can clearly see us both on the back row from his pulpit, or whatever they call it.

This is going to sound crazy (and remember it is just a blog) but my closest affiliation with the Catholic church is movies. I felt like I was in a Godfather movie and someone was getting whacked while we all sat there giving them an alibi. I know that is totally wrong and I's just me trying to be funny.

It dragged on and on but Barb seemed to suddenly remember her roots and was mesmerized  She even pulled down the kneeling thingy at one point. There's two things I hate doing...having to kneel down and having to get up.

The young alter girl, who I wondered why wasn't in school handed the priest  the swingy thing filled with incense and they blessed  the box with my friend's remains.

Then we got to the final phase. The priest (who unfortunately knows me from the restaurant) asked everyone to come forward for communion. Barb grabbed my arm and said quietly "Let's go." He invited non Catholics to come down and be blessed,  signifying  with crossed arms they weren't of the Catholic faith.

I told Barb I wasn't going. She tugged at my arm and physically tried to pull me. We looked like Lucy and Ethel in an episode of "I love Lucy."

She huffed and puffed, stalked down  the aisle alone and received her communion and blessings  from the priest. It meant a lot to should. She is Catholic.

I stayed on the back row thinking once again "Dang it IS hard to be Catholic."

Our friend is gone but I am sure I gave Father Dan lots to laugh about.

Til next  time...Protestant COTTON.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sweet Relief

How in the world did I work twelve sometimes thirteen shifts a week for two years? No wonder I weigh ninety five pounds. I slacked off and dropped to nine shifts a couple of months back. It was like an unpaid vacation. Then the holiday season started and if anyone has ever been a server they  know that  after Thanksgiving it's like tourist season at a beach. You got six weeks to make six months worth of pay.

So here I am again, in the Holiday trenches day after day after day.How much longer can I do it?  Not much more says my tiny body. I work, come home. Get some things done around the house and collapse into bed until forty five minutes before I have to clock in for my next shift.

It was great when I was twenty five years old. Now...not so much.

Then I think about how much people, so many people have done for not only me but my family and even my pups. That is my inspiration...if they can do all of this for me I can certainly do my own part, and then some.

In the words of John Lennon "So this is Christmas..and what have you done?"

I'll tell you what a LOT of people have done! My oldest pup has been assessed for cataract surgery, treated for heart worms and  on the road to a full recovery. I have thank you notes with Ham's picture on them to send out to all the people who have helped him. I have dog food and rabies tags on all three pups.

I have a Christmas tree in my living  room and it's a beauty.

I have tomorrow off thank the Good Lord above. I can sleep til 9:30. Going to my dear old friend's funeral at  10:30. She was Catholic so nothing is planned for me before one in the afternoon.

I had a halfway serious talk with  my husband the other night and said life was just killing me, in a joking way. I told him I may make it through but if I didn't,  have no qualms about leaving my body in the morgue uncollected. I'd be gone by  then anyway and what a waste of money THAT would be.

My instructions were that I wanted a disco ball above and a keg of cheap beer by the door. A cover band would be nice if they played seventies tunes. I want my brother, who is the funniest person I ever met to emcee my funeral. The only tears shed should because the stories about my life are so funny they make you  cry.

Not saying I am going anywhere soon but when I do...It better be a party. I want all my friends to show up and speak. I want all the stories of my life to be told...and I have a lot of them.

Stealing this one from my sister (who will be the co Emcee) but the Battle Hymn of the Republic would be nice. I'd also like "American Pie" and "Creep" by Radiohead. If they play "Amazing Grace" I will rise from the morgue where Tim was instructed to leave my body and haunt you all.

When you reach the half century mark you gotta start thinking about these things.

Here comes Christmas, ready or not. I've already had my Christmas. Ham is doing GREAT, we are still in our house and I am loved beyond belief. My brother in law came and finished the fence for my pups. I have a great job opportunity coming up in January and once again...I am blessed beyond belief.

If I die tomorrow I want my headstone to read "She was all about some Karma."

If I live to be a hundred it won't be long enough to pay back everyone who has helped me, my family, my kids and my pups.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Til next  time...a tired worn out old woman who is grateful feels blessed beyond belief.

Merry  Christmas!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Life Goes On

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep.

My dear friend, Ruth fought the good fight but lost the battle on Thursday. She was ninety one years young. Until three months ago she was doing great. She fell in her house one day and simply never recovered fully. They discovered cancer when she was admitted to the hospital for her injuries. She was moved to a hospice and given one month to live. She got a bit stronger and was able to move into the assisted living facility with her dear husband. Although they were in separate rooms at least they were in the same place and her husband could walk over and visit her. The doctors then said she could possibly live at least another year.

Massey and I would go visit and take them food from the restaurant...they were very loyal customers until a few short months ago. They were fascinating to talk to and delightful to know.

I was going to visit them on Thursday but Ham's procedure side tracked that. I planned on doing it another day but now she's gone. I've said it before...Life is but this very instant.

Does it sound bad  I am relieved she has gone on to her reward ? I'm glad she didn't suffer for years with cancer with her husband having to witness a slow and painful demise. She had over ninety one great years and twelve bad weeks...I'd call that a win.

I had a couple of hours between my shifts today so I went and visited her husband. I knocked on the door of his apartment and as usual he yelled "Come in." He isn't very mobile and suffers from Macular Degeneration and  legally blind. He's still got a sharp mind, but his wife was his eyesight and now both are gone.

He was slumped in a chair watching (listening) to  the television blaring away. Just like a man, he never muted  or turned it down so we sat and hollered at each other for a few minutes. I told him how sorry I was but that she was in a great place now and free from pain and illness.  He shook his head slowly in agreement but just looked lost...and I am sure that's exactly the way he feels. Lost...

"It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all."

On a different note, when I came by  the house after visiting my friend to check on Ham,my oldest son came over for a visit. He is twenty six.

Massey adores him. Zach used to but they drifted apart once Zach started drifting. Now all three of my kids are one close bunch again and it melts my heart. He came down and took Massey and Zach both to see "The Life of Pi."

We were all in the kitchen  talking and TJ simply said out of the blue "I came to tell you first  I am moving." I asked where to and he said " seven weeks. I already have my passport and visa." After I picked my jaw up off  the kitchen floor, I thought to myself...You know what? I wish I had done something like that when I was his age! He is unattached, smart, good looking and there's a huge world out there waiting to be explored.

People in their nineties sometimes , more often than not die. Kids grow up fast and if smart enough, expand their horizons and see just how far they can go.

I am grateful to have just made it this far.

I have three amazing kids, all amazing in three totally different ways.

I have three dogs left  to raise because number one I love them and number two they love me. I'd be lost without them. My kid's are all flapping wings and leaving the nest. Some learned to fly quickly, some needed more help. That's what a Momma's for.

Ham is feeling so much is actually amazing. Charlie and Ziggy seem to know he feels puny and have both left him alone.

The one who has not been left alone is me. I have survived  the past three years with the help of so many people. Family, friends (new and old) and even strangers.

I have learned lessons in humility and learned lessons in Karma. I have learned lessons of life. I have learned more over the past few years than I have  being on this earth for over half a century.

Here are just a few of the things I've learned along this journey.

You get what you give.
You reap what you sow.
Ask and you will receive.
Do unto others as you  would have them do unto you.

Another lesson I have learned:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.
Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann c.1920

I am a lucky person. I am a lucky wife and a lucky mother.
  1. "When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
    When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

    • Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
      And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
  2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
    Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
    Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
    And you will keep singing as the days go by.
  3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
    Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
    Count your many blessings—money cannot buy ..wealth can never buy
    Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
  4. So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
    Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
    Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
    Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
  5. I have all three of my kids home tonight. I have a pup on the road to recovery.

It's been a long road but one I had to travel.

I am blessed beyond belief and so is my family.

My comfort zone is my blog. I simply put it out here and over 55,000 people have viewed it. Love me or hate me...

I'll still love you!

Til next  time...COTTON