Sunday, March 31, 2013

Flying High!

This is the letter of recommendation my sister wrote for Massey when she filed for her college scholarship requests.

"I have never had a request for a letter of recommendation that was easier or more pleasant to write than this one for Massey Cotton, someone very worthy of your help. As a former high school teacher I can say that high school students with Massey's compassion are few and far between. She treats everyone with respect and is friends with students across all social, racial and economic strata. Kids with physical disabilities are just as likely to be smiled upon and treated as special by Massey as are the more popular kids, all of whom are her friends.

While her family has had financial struggles not of their own making the last few years, not only has Massey never complained or felt sorry for herself, but she has grown even closer to her family and is grateful for how hard her parents work. She takes her education seriously and works hard. I hope that she will be successful and make a lot of money doing what she loves. She hopes she can get an education so that she can be of help to others. How many seventeen year olds think like that? Massey is as unique as her name. She was given the maiden name of her grandmother who died at age 48, on August 19, 1977, the day Massey was born, 18 years later.

I thank you for your consideration of this most special girl."

You know, as a parent you sometimes get fed up with  your kids and all  that attitude they seem to get. Then  I stop and think back to the seventies when I was a kid. I was a selfish teen and put my Diddy  through the wringer after my own Momma died when I had just turned seventeen. He stood by me, paid for many of my mistakes and never stopped loving me.

 I was a little perturbed Massey wanted to go on a week long trip to Disney with  a high school friend for Spring Break  two weeks after getting home from New York but sent her on her way with minimal spending other words all the money I had after paying bills. Her park ticket was covered by  the  family who took her but I had to give her something to take.

I was broke and for two days it was like watching paint dry at  the restaurant. Then the dam broke and suddenly I'm not broke!

It  was like people were just handing me their wallets and letting me pick out what I wanted. I got the cell phone bill paid, bought groceries and had money for gas in both cars.

When you've been broke for a few years it's the little things that make you happy.

I worked at  the furniture store yesterday and felt like the biggest loser ever. Not one sale all day. Now I'm reconsidering how smart it was to let Massey go to Disney. Then fifteen minutes before closing a lone guy drives up in a new Mercedes. You know me, I'm a talker. I found out he had recently divorced and the ex  made out a lot better than him, furnishing wise. He was sleeping on a couch. Long story short, he bought over $2200 and coming back in Monday to seal the deal.

I was tired but since the furniture store was closed on  Easter picked up a shift at  the restaurant. Once again, God smiled upon me. It took over seven hours but I  walked out with Ben Franklin and quite a few buddies.

I came home to a silent house. Ham and Charlie were asleep on the couch and Ziggy was in his crate.

I logged onto Facebook and saw Massey had posted photos from Disney. She was having a blast!

It all makes sense now.

It's not her's ours and lucky for us she doesn't blame us. She's a great girl and yes has her low her room or following through on household chores. She also has her high  points, great GPA, not a party girl but a loving girl. College driven and may end up being my and Tim's way into a really nice assisted living facility one day.

I made enough at work today to take tomorrow off and "That's what I'm talking about!"

Then I think about it being Easter.  We always have Easter at my sister's house. I worked, Tim worked and Zach worked. Massey was flying high on Dumbo.

At least I talked with my sis and at least we all have a  roof over our heads. At least my girl had one final Senior spring fling.

Walter came into eat with me today at the restaurant. This is a photo of him with his sweet wife who recently passed. I say if you make it to ninety two, you've won the battle.  His kids brought him for Easter dinner and we opened a back emergency exit when he left so he wouldn't have to walk so far. As I literally held him up, shuffling along in his bedroom shoes towards the back escape route, he patted my arm and said "Your husband would kill me if he knew I was hanging on to you like this." I told Walter "He'd probably  pay you  to take me with you."

I woke up yesterday, no day off in over a week and then some. I was ill and angry. Tim has been working a lot, but that's what he I, on the other hand work a lot too but also do laundry, keep  the yards up, sometimes cook and always clean up. I basically screamed at him before I left for work. He had two days a row! I barked out that the laundry needed to be pushed through, house vacuumed and bathrooms cleaned.

When I got home it was like walking into a model home for poor peeps! All the laundry and dishes were  done. The kitchen was mopped. The bathrooms were mopped.

I went into work today and told Barb (my boss) about how much Tim had done. I said the only down side was he still isn't speaking to me after my tirade. She commented "Sounds like a win/ win situation."

So Massey is having a ball, as she should. I have a day off on I should.Life's getting better every day.

You just gotta keep on truckin...and I will!
Til next tine COTTON

Friday, March 29, 2013

Girl Gone...Again

Massey left again today for Spring Break in Disney World. This was a much more affordable trip, thank goodness. Two weeks ago she was in New York City in the she is in warm sunny Florida.

When she told me about this trip it was months ago and I readily agreed to let her go. She's going with a girl from school and her family. They had an extra park ticket for Massey and driving their camper down. I just didn't realize it was so close after the NYC trip.

I've had a bad week, no fault of Massey's  just had a bad run of luck. My car broke down and unfortunately  I'm even more broke than the car.

 She'd get up every morning and drive herself to school and while her car sat in the parking lot all day I sat stuck at home. I finally put my foot down the other day when in a particularly bad mood and set her straight on a few things. She stayed mad a couple of days but came around much  quicker than I would have when I was seventeen. She let me take her to school on Thursday, caught a ride home and had someone take her to school today so I could use her car again. I want to be mad at her but know what a spoiled brat I was at her age and how much lower my GPA was.

So I scraped together seventy bucks and sent her to Disney  for a week.  At least with her gone I have a vehicle to drive. If I have a great week at work I can make a deposit into her checking account, if I have a bad week she can drink out of the water fountains at  Disney.

I'm glad she got to go, guess I'm just a tad bit jealous. Here she is, traipsing off again while we all stay here working and scrambling.

It was my decision to not let her have a job  this last semester. She can babysit on weekends but HER job is to pass Trigonometry and Advanced Lit, keeping her GPA high enough to qualify for the Hope scholarship.

I love my little money pit and keep reminding myself that in five months she'll REALLY be gone.
I am  sure she's been embarrassed at  times by our poverty the last few years and been the butt of quite a few cruel comments  from a lot of the spoiled brats she goes to  school with.

She wears hand me downs my friends give her,  is always excited and grateful to get them and can accessorize like nobody's business. When I told her all I had was sixty bucks to give her for the Disney trip she was okay with it. Lucky for her, last night I had a great night at work and gave her ten more bucks when I came home. She even tried to refuse it but I can't send my kid off for an entire week and expect another family to pick up the entire tab. We may be broke but I still have some pride left. Thank goodness pride is free.

It actually will work out great for me with her gone all week. I have her car to drive and can pick up all  the shifts I can at  the restaurant. Tim and Zach will be own their own, I'll try to cook a meal or two but grown men with jobs should be able to figure it out for themselves. I still have another fifty pound bag of dog food left out in the garage my sweet friend gave me and have never heard of a human dying from eating Kibbles and Bits.

I've got the Verizon giants caught up and the furniture store is closed on Easter so I picked up a shift at  the restaurant. I may be able to make enough to get my lil beemer out of the shop and even have some left over to make a down payment on the car we're trying to get to replace my falling apart car. Our mechanic has another Volvo like the one he sold Tim but is newer. If I can get a grand together he will let me make payments on the balance. Then we will either trade my car in to him or if he gets it running pretty good will let Zach buy it for chump change.

Sometimes when I read what I write, feel like I should be embarrassed...but I'm not. Actually I'm pretty proud of  the way we have survived. We don't have a lot but we have what we need.

To go from living very comfortably to feeling very uncomfortable is not an easy pill to swallow, but when fortunate enough to have family and friends who love you  makes it much easier and teaches you a lot about lifestyles and what makes you  wealthy.

Lifestyle is defined as :  A way of life or style of living that reflects the attitudes and values of a person or a group.

This group (my family) have stuck  together. This family knows we don't have a lot. Our attitudes go up and down but our hearts remain full. We have each other...and to us that means a lot.

I mean it when I say if I didn't have this blog, if I didn't have a place to put it into print to read and reflect on from day to day, it would be much, much harder.

When I go back two years and see where we chasing the gas company guy out to the truck and post dating a check to keep  the power on after hanging a cut off notice on the front door  I refused to open...people bringing us groceries, my brother and sister helping , my friends  helping...

We've been pretty lucky with our lifestyle...which is Survivor Lifestyle.

I have a friend who's house is being auctioned off on the courthouse steps this coming Tuesday and it breaks my heart for them.

I think we've done okay.  I will admit it, we're poor. But I live in the south... we have "Poor" and "Dirt Poor." We are on the upper end of poor and I couldn't be prouder!

Not that one week can change  a lifestyle but feel pretty good about this upcoming week. I tend to baby Massey and now that she is gone  can strike while the iron is hot. Work like crazy and finally get a bit  ahead.

Whenever I get depressed I try and  think about the millions and millions living in famine with nasty flies lighting on their tiny sallow faces, too weak to even bat them away. I think about local tragedies  like little Tripp Halstead, I think about Sandy Hook parents and think about people living under the bridge by  Turner Field.

Makes my life look like a dream come true.

You know, I am one of the luckiest people on the planet.

Til next  time...COTTON

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Like Days Like This

It's eleven PM and I just got home from work...and we closed at  9:30. It's a good tired though. I got a ton of things done today. It was my only day off this week so I made the most of it. I took Massey to school  this morning so I could use her car. Came home and took a little nap with the pups and then Zach took us to Mother's Kitchen for lunch.

I guess I napped too long, she was out of collard greens and black eyed peas but asked if we would wait for her to fry us fresh chicken breasts. I also had mac and cheese and baby limas along with her wonderful cornbread. Best fried chicken I ever had! I clean my plate every  time we go. Zach had her daughter's sweet potato pie for dessert. (two slices)

Eating there with all  those wonderful folks not only fills your stomach but is good for the soul. Guess that's why they call it "Soul Food." I felt so good I didn't even mind stopping by Wal Mart on  the way home, a trip I usually dread.

It was a beautiful sunny day and  wanted to let the dogs stay out back for few hours but had a lot of things to do and couldn't keep  my eye on Little Houdini (Ziggy  the escape artist) so I bought a thirty foot cable run with an anchor you screw into the ground. We bought an extra twenty feet of cable so he can run all over the back yard but can't get within ten feet of the back fence he so easily clears when the whim strikes him. It's usually a bird, deer or squirrel he spots over the fence and with one extremely graceful leap he is up,  over and after it!

Zach messed around with my sick little Beemer the other day and got it to start so since we had Massey's car , crossed our fingers and he drove it to the doctor's office (AKA) as my mechanic, Dr. Mike. I told the doctor to just give it a check up. Start with an oil change and tune up  and only fix the crucial things. I can live with a car that has worn out shocks, a bad bearing in the rear wheel, no radio, one window that won't roll up and a rear end that needs to be replaced. That's all just window dressing if you  ask me!

We came home and low and behold, Ziggy was still in the back yard ! I also got to pick  up a shift from a server who had a test to study  for. (that's why I like working with college kids)

While on the way  to work my sister called  to see if I was working tonight because her high school friend and college room mate wanted to bring her mom in for her birthday. I've known her since I was a little kid. Once she got out of college  was actually the basketball coach and our cheer leading sponsor at  my high school. She now lives in Washington State and  haven't seen her in decades.

 She used to go on vacation with our family to Florida when she and my sister were in high school together. I was around ten years old and very annoying. They used to pay me a quarter to just  shut up. I made a lot of money on those trips for skee ball at the amusement park! It was when I was in my phase of speaking a language no one understood but me. I would randomly say very raipdly "Peri scooply ma dio  candito" and act like it meant something. Everyone pretty much ignored me, but being ten thought I sounded cool . We were eating in a restaurant at  the beach one day when a thunderstorm hit. A huge bolt of cloud to ground lightning made  the power go out, scared the poop out of all of us  and out of my mouth immediately shot "Pala screamo exoduso!!" For once I got a laugh.

Tonight she came into to eat with us at  the restaurant with her partner, her sister and her mom. (who looks fantastic to be in her eighties) Her mom is the quintessential southern woman. When my sister and Dotti were in high school (Dotti played on the basketball team) her mom would say "Dotti has a Bye -skit -ball game tonight, are y'all going?"  Her mom looked beautiful tonight, still has a sharp mind , good wit and it was a delight waiting on them.

 I introduced them to the owners and my boss, Len bought the mom a free huge slice of his triple chocolate layer cake for her birthday. I was telling them all how he made everything in house, from the stocks he cooks with to the crepes, salad dressings, pasta and desserts. I told them he makes all my kid's birthday cakes too.
It was a wonderful experience. (at least for me) They asked me what Len (the owner) could NOT do to which I replied  "Anything right, according to his wife."
Ba-da- BOOM!!
I think I heard a cymbal crash  too!

I've been friends with Dotti through  social networking the past few years but haven't seen her in person in quite a while. She's a beautiful person and while waiting on her tonight realized how much she looks like my sister.

Her own family struggled with the fact she was gay which disappointed me, but delights me to know they have finally realized blood is thicker than sexual orientation. So it creeps some people out. Heck, it  still creeps me out to  think about my parents 'doing it'  and they were straight.

 Unless you are a perve, relationships are meant to be personal...that's why they call it a relationship. Webster's defines it as "Connection or association."

Meeting Roby was great too,! I've been friends with her for a couple of years on social networking  and they both read my blog.

Here's the thing. I 'm NOT gay although I could play one on TV. As I like to say..."It's just a hair cut."

Live and let live . Judge not, lest you be judged and above all...simply love each other. It's not rocket science, it's called humanity and acceptance.

Til next  time...COTTON

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gotta Stay Positive

I've been really bummed this week about my pup, Ham.They won't schedule eye surgery til he has a complete heart work up done. They are worried the heart worms may have damaged his heart and that he isn't strong enough for surgery.
I may not be a vet but I know my pup! He's a massive 80 pounds of  muscle and I just know in my OWN heart  that he is good to go! He's had no complications from the heart worm treatment, no coughing (one side effect) and poops nice solid stools. I think the specialist's are more concerned about liability issues and I understand  that,  but  have enough faith in  this dog who has proven to be a fighter that I am prepared to sign a waiver. I just want him to SEE again, even if just out of one eye. I want to see him leaping six feet into  the air again and chasing his tennis ball across the yard.

I talked to my sister last night and we agreed that either way, Ham's "Bowl" is half full. If Ham hadn't melted two of my blog reader's hearts, I would have never been able to  take him to be evaluated for eye surgery  to begin with. Once we had him evaluated and got  the go ahead I had to have all his shots updated. When I  took him to the low cost "Vet in a Van" for his exam and shots, they discovered he tested positive for heart worms.

Had the ball (small pun) never started rolling, Ham would more than likely be deathly ill by now, if not dead. Instead we caught it early,  had him treated after  many more of his human friends came to his rescue, providing for the expense of the quick kill method. The quick kill took thirty days versus the two year method of the slow kill treatment. It wasn't easy and took lot's of effort keeping him calm for thirty days with  two other dogs wanting to play  with their buddy but we did it...and Ham survived.

Here's the thing...I don't give up easily. In fact I can't ever remember giving up. If you  give up you never know what MAY happen.

They tell me the cardio work up is pretty costly. That's okay with me, Ham is worth millions to our family.

I'm emailing the foundation tomorrow that offered to help with his surgery before the heart worm  debacle. If they can't help...I'll simply make it happen. Worst case scenario, I'll be out some money to find out how strong or weak his Ticker is.

When you have and love dogs, you have four legged children. When you are a loving mother you will do anything for your children no matter how many legs they have.

I sit here well after midnight typing this blog. My other two pups have drifted to other parts of the house to sleep but Ham is three feet  away  from  me snoozing away. I think he WANTS me to keep on keeping on, and I will.

He beat the heart worms and as they say,  what doesn't kill you  makes you  stronger. He is only  six years old.  I think I want to roll the dice and try and let him have his vision back rather  than him  stumble blindly through seven more years of total darkness not being able to play and run with the other two pups without giving him the chance at seeing again.

If something happened during the surgery it would devastate me, but then again...he would only be gone from OUR world yet still be jumping high in Heaven chasing his tennis ball through the pearly gates.

And if the surgery is a success...I get  to watch him chase  his tennis ball in our own back yard for seven more years.

Half empty / Half full.

Looks like I need some help and input.

I noticed  tonight when I logged in that my  blog has reached over the 65,000 view mark. Okay readers...let me hear from you!

My car's still sitting broke as a joke in the garage and I'm still bumming rides from my daughter ... yet I am more concerned about this marvelous, beautiful loving pup snoozing away next  to me. A car is a car but my pup is the child who has never ever  asked for anything yet grateful for everything.

Although I have asked for your input, I know what I MUST do. Even if Ham's glass is half empty that  means mine is half full.

What I need now is your support and prayers.

I just feel like Ham is up to the task. I feel that if I don't try, I'd be letting Ham down.

Til next  time...A Dog Loving COTTON.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Still Truckin'

It's been a rough week. We've had  rougher so maybe that's an overstatement but it's still been  a doozy.

Talked to the doctor from GVS today about my pup's eye surgery. I was extremely bummed. They are concerned about putting Ham under anesthesia for cataract surgery, which is considered cosmetic/ elective surgery. They  feel he could live a healthy life being blind but the risk is too great for having him put under for the surgery. She said he would have to undergo a full cardio / pulmonary exam to see if his heart was healthy enough and mentioned it was pretty costly.

Ham has had so many humans (I call them humans instead of people because of the humanity they have shown Ham) help get to this point I just don't feel like giving up on the sweet boy. She is  going to work up an estimate on the cost of the full  exam and get back to me. It's been a  blessing having so many  love my pup and get him through all these exams, shots, vaccinations and heart worm treatments,  not to mention the gas they have bought me for trips to and from the vet and even supplying dog food. I could have never EVER done it on my own and will be eternally grateful for  the tremendous support Ham has received. It's been none of my own money and  have no qualms about admitting  that. My money has been spent on bills and helping to keep a roof over ALL our heads.

My husband just came home from work after picking up Zach from work since my car is sick too, sitting in the garage refusing to run. Tim's feeling is "Ham's happy and healthy thanks to all these people. Let's just let him be."

I'm a mother of three kids and three pups. "Just let 'em be" has never been an option for me, whether it relates to my kids OR pups. Maybe it should this time..I just don't know.

I'm contacting the foundation tomorrow which offered to help with the surgery to see if maybe they would be interested in helping with the cardio/pulmonary testing. You never know until you ask.

On a different note, Massey leaves on Friday for Disney World. It's spring break and a friend from school's family has offered to take her along with them and even has her a ticket for the parks. Needless to say there will be no souvenir money and she'll be going on a shoe string budget but with my car sick will be nice to have her car home and at my disposal.  At least she will have a nice Spring Break in Disney, drinking from water fountains when she gets thirsty. I think she's pretty lucky!

 That gives me a week to work and save up money. My little car, that I love dearly has a bad bearing(sp?) in the back wheel. It has four shocks that are shot, two tires almost bald and the  rear end needs to be replaced. The  radio hasn't worked in over a year (I've enjoyed many a silent ride) and neither does the air  conditioner but is a money pit  which seems to have no depth or end and one I can't afford.

The guy Tim traded in his Mercedes to for his older Volvo and Massey's  older Focus has yet another older Volvo for me! He's gonna give us $500 for my little totally broken down car and when I can scrape together another $500 (while Massey is gone for a week and I can work every day)  let me pay weekly. (or as I like to call it Weakly)

Work has been funky too. I did great at  the furniture store three weeks in a row but bombed out this past weekend. Seems sales are the same, whether selling food or furniture. You have good weeks and bad weeks. So I have to kick in fifty bucks to send Massey to Florida. I get to use her car for a week and work like a demon to make enough to get me a new , used car.

It's crazy how life seems to work out. If you continually work hard, somehow, someway it somehow happens.

I've been doing it for over three years and have lived to tell the story. That's a success story in itself.

I think my new Mantra will be "Somehow, will happen if you work like a Mo Fo."

Glad to have two jobs. Glad to be able to give my kids some kind happiness, not that they earned it totally but are pretty good kids and if I can give them a little glimpse of the good life maybe it will make them all strive for more.

Still in a quandary about my Ham, but  just glad he is alive thanks to so many!

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, March 22, 2013

Random Thoughts

We had a good week here. My pup tested negative for heart worms and is headed to the next step in regaining his sight. I had a day off, which is always a bonus.  I found some six foot panels of wood at  the furniture store in the warehouse Circuit City left behind and think I finally have Ziggy penned in. It's been four days since he's escaped. Our back fence looks like a red neck concentration camp but at least it's keeping Houdini in.

Chatted with TJ on Facebook tonight in Australia and he has a job! As he said, "It's the worst job ever" but that always beats "No job."

On the down side,  my car wouldn't start today. Hoping to trade it in for scrap to  the guy Tim bought his and Massey's car from for an older Volvo.  Note to self: NEVER buy a car off Craig's List. Thank goodness Tim got booted to the night shift and we've been able to share his car.

Here's my next thought.  I buy gas at  Kroger because I save up fuel points. The people who buy gas there act like the gas is gonna run out if they  aren't the next one's to pump it. They  circle the pumps, pulling in behind one car  then backing out and trying to zoom in behind another car who finishes filling. Trust me, there's gonna be a shooting or at least a butt whooping at a Kroger gas pump one day.

Moving on...

Tonight at the restaurant it was one of our regular's birthday.  The guy is in several nights a week, always sits at the bar and works on his lap top. He's a quiet unassuming guy. I've been working there  three years and talk to him maybe once every week or two. They had him a cake tonight (which was nice) but when they brought it out to him began the worst, slowest rendition of "Happy Birthday" ever. Why do people do that? If you're gonna embarrass someone by singing to them, make it peppy and quick ! Ours sounded like a funeral hymn. I kept waiting for someone to say "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust."

 I remember when young and sitting in church, the minister of music  would say "Now turn to page 191 in your hymnal." and as we all sang "The Old Rugged Cross"  could see the pain in his face and more noticeably in his arms as he silently PLEADED with the congregation with his leading which seemed to scream  "Pick up the Pace Peeps!" The only thing worse was when they had us sing "Trust and Obey."

So we all sang Happy Birthday  to our valued customer and the song seemed  slower than watching paint dry.

If I had been in charge, we would have marched out with the cake chanting  "Go Go Go  Go Go Go , Shawty, Cause it's your birthday, we gon' party  like it's yo birthday. Sip Barcardi like it's your birthday!"

That's just me, but one of the reasons I like being me.

I'm through for the week with my serving job. Flipping over to a furniture sales person for Saturday and Sunday.

Who wants a  couch?

Til next  time.."Shawty COTTON"

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Great Day to Be a Dog!

Today was the day my pup went back to be tested to see if he was heart worm free. When we took him to the vet specialist back in November about having his cataracts removed and getting lens implants, thanks to generous benefactor's who are dog lovers (thanks Jerry and Dee Dee) we discovered he had heart worms and not a candidate for the surgery.

Once his story got out, the help flooded in. Other blog readers and friends on social networking pitched in and provided the funds for the quick kill which consists of three treatments over a thirty day period. The vet I normally used (when we had money) wanted over $1100.00 for the quick kill.

 The mobile vet I had recently discovered who visits our county once a week (we call him the "Vet in a Van") said he could do the slow kill (a two year process) for forty bucks but the quick kill could cost $500.00. Ham's eyesight had deteriorated rapidly and only being five years old just wanted to let him have sight again as soon as possible.

Then the blessings really started to flow. People sent us money with notes saying to use the money  for dog food, the heart worm treatment or gas to get him to and from appointments.

I mean, who could resist THIS face? Obviously not many. My sister posted my blog about Ham on her Facebook page and the word spread rapidly.I know I am leaving someone off this list but a few of Ham's benefactors have been Jerry, Dee Dee, Elaine, Kathy, Rhonda, Terri, Dennis, David, Ellen, Paulette, Tim, Kristal, Margaret, Kim, Denise and Jill. None of these people have ever met my dog but came to his rescue. He also had 72 friends on HIS Facebook page praying for and encouraging him. I had all the names written down but once I sent out thank you notes seem to have lost the list in the hovel I call my house.

The quick kill wasn't pretty and very painful for Ham. (and me) The first treatment seemed to almost kill HIM and didn't get up from his bed for almost two days. The second treatment was a bit better but still difficult.  Shout out to my younger son, Zach who  went to every treatment with us and babied Ham every step of the way.

The third treatment was a mere shot in  the hip and the "Vet in a Van" said we had to wait three months before having him retested to see if it worked.

Technically I should have waited until next  Thursday but just couldn't.  I woke up this morning and let Ham out back to pee before we loaded him up for the "Vet in a Van." I sat out back and noticed a beautiful red cardinal perched high up in a barren  tree. I don't know if I am right or just wishing but think I remember from when I was younger that if you see a red bird you  make a wish, shut your eyes and if the bird is still  there when you  open them, the wish  will come true. I wished like crazy for a good outcome and the little red bird was still there when I opened my eyes. I took that as a good sign.

Zach and I loaded up Ham and with fingers crossed went to see the "Vet in a Van." As usual we kept Ham in the car...the Vet comes to your car. Have I mentioned he is incredibly nice, not bad on the eyes and seems to genuinely love animals?  He drew blood and said to give him ten or fifteen minutes for the results.

It was a long fifteen minutes that stretched into over thirty.  He went back in his "Van" and didn't reappear. Of  course I am a worrier and kept thinking maybe the test came back positive and he was running it again to make sure.  Zach let Ham out of the car and walked him around to pee. I sat in the car praying.

Forty minutes later the van door opened and as he saw us sitting there, shook his head and turned back around. He  came back out with a piece of paper and me being the worried mom thought, "Okay, here it comes, bad news."

He came over to the car and apologized, twice. He had been spaying a cat and forgot about us. He handed me a piece of paper saying Ham tested negative and was good to go  for eye surgery!

I haven't been this thrilled in quite a while. He patted Ham and said to us in his Moroccan accent "He's a strong, sweet boy."

So  thanks to many, my boy is headed back to the specialist.  I went into work tonight (my day off but  picked up a shift) and although it was slow (Damn you  March  Madness) made enough to put gas in Tim's car for work and give  Massey  some money for gas  too.

We are a struggling family but  a blessed family.  We work hard, pray hard and are blessed beyond belief.
I have 100 pounds of dog food sitting in my garage  another friend brought us. I have a heart worm free pup who is good to go for eye surgery.

Life is good!

"To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world." (Dr. Seuss)

The gratitude I (and Ham) feel is quite simply "Immense and overwhelming."

Well the dryer just buzzed so I guess I gotta go for now. It's been a good day here. It's been an excellent day here. It's been  a fantastic day here!

Thank you each and everyone for loving me, reading me and living my life with me!

Hang on ...Hopefully it will only get better!

Til next  time...Contented and Grateful COTTON

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Made it Another Week!

Just got home from work and boy my dog's are barking, and I don't mean my three pups. I mean my two callused, bunioned and corn ridden size six worn out dogs I used to call feet many years ago.

Anyone who's been a server for decades like me can relate. Serving is rough on your body but brutal on your tootsies. I wear excellent shoes now,  which my sweet sister gave to me, and couldn't even imagine how my feet would feel if still wearing the Wal Mart work shoes I wore for years. The great thing about Danskos is they look good with jeans, a skirt or even a dress. They are my "Go To" shoes and of course with Ziggy my chewing pup around now, are the only shoes I have left. I used to have two pair of tennis shoes but have been missing one of  each pair for months and have yet to discover where he took them.  I have a couple of pair of heels but with feet in my condition, shoving them into pointed toe shoes which leave my bruised heels three inches off  the ground seems like and IS unnecessary added  torture and  don't mind being almost five foot four one bit!

Lately, especially after reaching the half century mark other parts of me have been falling apart as well. The arm I've used to carry dishes on for almost thirty five years is (as we say in the south) "Wore slap out." My wrist gives out all the time and my  finger prints burned off back in the eighties from  cooking pizzas while a manager with Johnny's Pizza. Thankfully I've never been arrested or booked but would find it hard to believe they could raise prints off my fingers. I still have scars up and down each arm from  slinging pizzas into an oven set on 500 degrees for fourteen years. Needless to  say I don't have any hair on my forearms either. I do have hair on my legs, but that's because I am lazy and the stubble helps keep my work tights up.

 I could shave my legs with my work tights on but don't want to put a run in my tights, they cost me a buck ninety nine at  the Sock Shoppe. Heck... I could cut 'em with scissors but they keep me warmer in  the cold winter months and skinny women need all the warmth they can get. I mentioned this entire line of reasoning to my husband one time. He sat silent for a moment and then simply said with a slow shake of his head, "Babe, you  really know how to turn a man on."

I am pleased to announce (which makes me look even sadder) the thing I thought was a tick, then a mole, then a skin tag on my upper shoulder turned out to be a zit. I was elated!

You just never know when you start to get older, how much the little things will make you happy. Tim got up  for work a few minutes ago  to head into work  and came downstairs to eat. I handed him my glasses and said to look at the spot that has been bothering me on my shoulder. He said, while standing in the kitchen in his underwear scratching his crotch... "Looks like a zit. It's got a head on it, just pop it" and continued to warm up some leftovers.

Getting older isn't pretty sometimes, but beats the alternative. Tim and I have been together over a quarter of a century. We started out dirt poor when TJ was two. We worked our way up to over six figures while having two more kids.  We had a great life for years and years, then hit the skids.

We survived the skids too, with so much help the U.S. government should have contacted us to see how we managed , wanting to incorporate our method of survival into their own.

In the grand scheme of things, I'm doing okay. It hasn't been easy but there are tens of millions and then some who have it a whole lot worse.

My marriage has taken a hit, my kids have suffered through the hit but both are things that can be fixed. Tim and I still love each other and are committed. One day it will be easy street again and hopefully will look back and both say "Remember when..."

Having this new job has eased my stress level tremendously. Two days a week I don't sling plates but instead sling my forte'.  (my PHD in BS)  I can talk like nobody's business and after thirty five years of selling food know how to talk to people and  make them feel good about buying a product from me.

Four days a week it's food, two days it's furniture.

I can't begin to tell you how much my tiny little body and worn out feet have enjoyed this change.

I have tomorrow off and what the heck, have decided to clean my house. It's more disgusting than my legs and feet. My thinking of late has been  I have a seventeen and twenty year old living here and if they don't mind living in  filth while I work two jobs, who am I to help clean the hovel?

I can think back years ago when I would clean the house. They were all babies.  I would bust my ass for eight hours and then sit back with a glass of wine and breathe in the smell of a clean house. It smelled and felt delicious.

That's my goal for my day off. To sit back tomorrow night, look around my house and not be disgusted.

I'm a realist...if I get halfway there it will be a total success!

Til next  time...COTTON

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Excellent Weekend

Friday night I made enough at the restaurant to make it through the rest of the weekend without waiting tables and Saturday morning woke up as a furniture salesman. I had a pretty  good day. Sometimes people walk in and you think it's a lost cause. Never judge and always give it your best. One man I thought would never buy  anything bought a $1200 mattress and a $400 recliner. I had another guy who bought two memory  foam pillows he saw there last weekend. Today a couple picked up  their $999 sectional I sold them last weekend.

Today started slow but you gotta keep  the faith. I was almost to my goal and the clock was ticking. I had less than an hour when in walked a young couple with a tiny baby.  Thirty minutes later I was ringing them up for just over $1000.00.

Early today a custom bus pulled into the parking lot, taking up at least ten spaces. A dude who looked like a member of ZZ Topp got out and started working on the bus.  It was early and things were slow so my co worker and I watched them intently,  saying to each other "I bet that's someone famous." My co worker (who I call Snookie since she's from Jersey) said "Go out and see who they are."

I don't know if it's cause I'm new and follow all instructions or if I'm just bold but I strutted my little self out to  the bus where a guy with a beard down to his belt , gauges the size of a quarter and tatts covering both arms sat diligently working on the bus.  I asked if there was someone famous on the bus and he laughed. I said I didn't want to meet them but was curious. He said it was a heavy metal rock band from Germany, "KMFDM."  I'd never heard of them but could guess what the "F" stood for. The dude looked like a bad ass biker but was friendly enough to me. Several of the members of the band wandered around the parking lot as he worked on the bus and when the guy told me it was a busted muffler thought to myself "If tatts, Mohawks and gauges could fix a bus  they'd be back on the road in no time!"

Back inside I went. The day wasn't super busy but went by  fast.


 I met a famous heavy metal rock band, had a relaxing day and made some "Cha Ching." The great thing about working at the store is it's stress free and less physically demanding on my tiny frame and mind.

Tomorrow I am back to being a server. I am beginning to feel like a Jekyll and Hyde. Not sure which persona I like better. Maybe I like being a little of both!

Til next  time...Constantly Popping Cotton!

Whadda ya know...I did it again!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thank Goodness Spring is Almost Here, I need Some More Leaves!

Worked a long shift today. Went in at eleven this morning and it was like watching paint dry. I made enough to mail the rest of Massey's graduation invitations and buy some gas. At least I got off in time to go home and do border patrol for Ziggy. Why in  the world he wants out of a 3/4 acre fenced in yard boggles my mind. Sometimes he'll stay in the yard for hours...other times he's over the fence before you  can holler "NO!" I have the back pretty much  covered but little Houdini has learned he can put his front paws on the old wooden gate I propped up to cover the holes he dug UNDER the fence and once his paws are on  top of the gate simply propels his lithe body over without touching the top. My nails and  fingers are so chewed up from  putting up wire fencing and boards that now my hands match my wonder people call me "Sir."

 After border patrol, Massey and I went to the gas station in Tim's car to buy him some gas for his trip into work at  midnight. My debit card didn't work at the pump and the attendant came over the speaker and said "Sir,  try running your card as credit instead of debit please." I didn't hear them say that but Massey did and told me about it after I pumped the gas.

 Sometimes I just want to scream "It's a haircut people! I may only weigh ninety nine pounds but these babies I'm touting are a solid 34 A."

We bought some groceries for the house since I had to go back to work. Then the bombs started dropping.

 Massey said she and her Dad were going into Atlanta on Saturday  to have lunch with  Senor Bink, Tim's high school Spanish teacher who lives in mid town. I told her that would be awesome. It didn't seem so awesome when she said "Dad said  to leave us money  for lunch."

Zach had borrowed some money  from me last week. I would have told him no but had just sent Massey  to New York, and the entire time he was out of work never asked me for money once. He promised to pay me back when he got paid (yesterday) but of course he was off with his buddy yesterday  and spent the night at his house.

He called me  this morning when I was at work and asked if I needed that money?
Then he followed up with "Do  you need it all back?'

Here's the thing with kids.  I was totally irresponsible as a teen. I thought my parents were made of money even though I knew they weren't. At least Zach offered SOME money. I just told him to give me what he could.

Zach just got home from work (in MY car) and announced he put thirty dollars in gas into it. Granted he owes me thirty five more but I'm calling it a win.

Tim pays all the bills that come in through the mail. Mortgage, insurance and utilities. I am grateful for this but what the rest of them  don't seem to realize is I  DO pay one mailed bill, the Verizon bill.

 I also buy all the gas for the three vehicles although Massey helps out some with her babysitting money for her own car. I also buy all  the groceries  in  the house. I buy  all the staples from toilet paper to dog food. From cleaning products to shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and laundry detergent. When the kids get sick I take them to  the Doc in a Box and fill the prescriptions. I buy their underwear from the Sock Shoppe and endless school supplies. I keep  the yards cut, house semi clean and push through laundry they throw in to wash and think will miraculously finish itself. Basically I keep  the household running. I may not do a great job but I pay for the half ass job I do!

Do  they they think our printer just keeps printing and printing without those thirty dollar cartridges, not to mention  the paper they are printing ON? Do  they think the furnace  doesn't need  that expensive filter changed at least once every  two months? Do they think paper towels  grow on trees?

 Do they think about taking care of three dogs and their shots?

My guess is NO!

Now I know why my own momma was grumpy a lot of the time.

Not bitching...just simply making a statement.

I wouldn't change my life but sure would like someone around  here to every once in a while say  "Dang, you  DO do a lot" and not mean that I have diarrhea.

Just venting...I know they couldn't make it without me!

Through with serving tables til Monday and resting up for my furniture gig .

Absolutely fascinated with Jodi  Arias. She's knocked General Hospital off  the charts. Gonna watch  the updates on the psycho's trial and get up and do it again. Just felt good to make MYSELF feel good.

Sometimes a girl's just gotta do what  a girl's gotta do...

Til next  time...COTTON

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Just "Wow!"

Life seems  to  be getting back to normal, if it ever was. I couldn't even imagine having a normal life at  this point...I am just happy to make it from point "A" to point "B." I just pray no one includes a point "C."

We saved our house, only four years away from  being totally ours. Granted three kids and numerous dogs have taken their best shot at destroying it, it's still OURS!

My kids can wear me out,  but try to always remember what an ungrateful teen I was.  My own Momma dropped dead in front of me in under thirty seconds with me and my sister looking on as nothing helped. Not the CPR my sister administered, not the prayers I sent up while on my knees in the parking lot waiting on the EMT's. Not even the ambulance that picked her up to take her to the hospital where Diddy  simply claimed her body on paper with his signature and told us she was gone once we arrived.

A few short minutes ago she was helping me try on jeans and thirty seconds later she was gone...forever.

What my own family has been through these past few years pales in comparison to watching your Momma die in front of you  in under one minute.

It also makes you  grow up.

My own family had almost two  decades of steady growth and success. Then the hammer of life hit again.

I was ready (kinda) for it this time. I'll admit we had so much help it isn't even funny but that's what happens when you are loved...You are "Loved."

I thought about it in it's entirety today and felt like getting a pat on the back. Tim lost his job almost four years ago and ever since I have worked like a demon. Looking back, my husband would have and wanted to do  the same but simply  couldn't. He took minimum pay jobs and looking back  feel for the humiliation he felt. I think HE is the one needing a pat on the back.

We are family and as a family we grow, needing each other, needing and feeding from Faith, family and friends.

Just WOW! How have we made it this far? How are we still in our home?

The answer is simple.

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." (Dr. Seuss)

Feel better about battling tomorrow

"Bring it!"

Til next time.. COTTON.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Spring Ahead...Fall Back

Unfortunately this weekend is "Spring ahead." My least favorite Saturday of the year. I love getting that extra hour of sleep in the Fall and detest giving it back. My body has an automatic alarm clock. Even though we gain one hour every Fall, I still wake up at  the same time. At least I can roll back over for another hour before I start my day.

Today was an excellent day here weather wise. Full sun and balmy temps. Zach and I took Tim to "Mother's Kitchen" for lunch and were greeted like family the minute we walked  through the screened door. I had fried chicken, collard greens, macaroni and cheese and pinto beans. After lunch I went home and sat out back with the pups for a couple of  hours reading and the sun felt fantastic. Talked to Massey and caught up with her adventure in NYC and then headed into work. I was tired when I walked in the door (no day off  this week) but got into the groove and had a pretty  good night. One of my favorite peeps in  the world came in to eat with me. I worked with her when I worked for  the "Western Sizzler." She is a smart, amazing young woman who put herself through Georgia Tech, already has her Master's from Tech and is working on her PHD. She works there as well and is probably the most  "Together" person I know. What's even crazier is she thinks "I'm" smart :)

She offered to write Massey a letter of recommendation on her Georgia Tech letterhead  awesome will THAT look?

I didn't get home til almost eleven and after a brief chat with Massey am ready for my book and bed.

Tomorrow will be a long ten hour shift but I won't have to sling plates and carry  heavy  trays. I'll just try  and sell some furniture and wait for eight o'clock to roll around. Then I'll head to the airport to pick up Massey from New York, her flight lands at 9:33.

I love writing this blog, I love telling stories and  love the fact that it has been read  almost 64,000 times...I just gotta figure out how to make a career of it.

I've  already decided what I need to blog about next...Jodi Arias.  I am  mesmerized, I am shocked and I am confused. Who  thought someone would ever make Casey Anthony look good?

Til next  time..COTTON

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Start Spreading the News...

Got  the text  from Massey this morning at 9:46. "Just landed in NYC." I was thrilled and so was she. She called me from Times Square and was mesmerized by the scope and size. They toured Manhattan, Rockefeller Center and Fifth Avenue. Tonight they went to see "Wicked" on Broadway.

I haven't talked to her since early this afternoon but am just so relieved she finally made it to NYC.

I pumped some money into her checking account today and the tipping gods smiled upon me once again at work tonight so I can pump more in tomorrow. We do trips  "Cotton" style...just get there and worry about money later.

My work weeks have begun to run together again so I am pacing myself. I've been so stressed over getting Massey to New York but now she is there and I've been able to deposit some more money into her account, I'm gonna have a "Me" day tomorrow. I left for work at 5:15  and crated Ziggy. Charlie and Ham can be left in the house for ten hours and never move once.

Tim got home from work about twenty minutes ahead of me tonight around 9:15. He let Ziggy out of his crate, put his collar back on and let him out into the back yard. He said Ziggy  shot out of  the house like a rocket, ears straight back and ran the circumference of the yard twice in less than ten seconds. The dog is half Kangaroo half Greyhound....but the house didn't have one thing wrecked or torn up. Guess we solved THAT mystery when my friend loaned me the crate.

Going to the credit union late tomorrow morning to give my girl some more spending money and then  Zach and I are taking Tim to Mother's Kitchen for lunch. I feel like treating myself to a fabulous meal and want to let Tim experience "Mother's Kitchen."

I live in a vicious cycle. I owe, I promise, I pay. There are worse cycles to be least I am somewhat keeping up.

Got one more night at the restaurant and then I am back to selling furniture for two days.

Tomorrow I am having me a mess of greens for lunch and whatever else yummy Mother has cooked. The place is incredible and a MUST for anyone near the south side of Atlanta.

The two sisters who told me about the place came into eat with me at  the restaurant the other night and I told them the whole story about us going to eat there.
One of the sisters said "Well it seems  you made quite the impression!" I told her we went on President's Day when all  the county offices were closed and had the opportunity to get to know everyone...which we did. (Also Cotton style)

Massey and I were at Wal Mart last week getting pictures printed when Mother's daughter shouted out to us as we passed "How ya'll doing...Where's Zach?" We chatted for a minute and told them we tried to eat lunch there but a piece of paper ripped out of the spiral notebook they use for a menu was tacked to the screen door saying "Closed, roof leak." Mother's daughter told me the roof would be good to go the next  day. They are awesome people. As my parents would say "They are good folks."

Massey is in New York having the time of her life. I'm here in Newnan excited  about eating at Mother's Kitchen for lunch on Friday. I think we are about even steven . I think even Massey would agree.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Girl Gone...

This time tomorrow night, I will be at work and Massey will be landing in New York City. I am a worrier to begin with but every  time I think about this trip my eyes well up with tears. I am excited beyond belief  for her but worried about my own  sanity without my sidekick of almost eighteen years for four days. Massey and I are close.  We  fight like best friends do and we love like best friends do...we simply ARE best friends.

This trip seemed so far away when it was planned. Now it is knocking on the door asking for bags  to be packed.

They are doing so many amazing things ...NBC Studios tour, Rockefeller Center, 5th Avenue (please don't shop there, Massey) Manhattan, Gershwin Theatre, Broadway for a chorus workshop .Times Square, 911 Memorial, Lincoln Center, Central Park, Radio City Music Hall, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Carnegie Hall, Apollo Theatre and seeing Wicked on Broadway.

The wind is crazy here tonight. Blowing 20 to 30 mph gusts. I feel like they are blowing Massey  away from me. She's my youngest and the most ready to fly away. I know she is ready, but I'm not.

It's killing me knowing she is ready and am very unprepared  (mostly unwilling) to let her go.

I know I will survive but is a hard pill for a Momma to swallow.

Seems like last week I took this picture. Now TJ is living in Australia, Zach is thinking about moving out and Massey is moving ahead so quickly it makes my head spin.

When they are born you are excited but know you have made at least an eighteen year investment. I'm down to my last one but never thought letting go would be so excruciating.

This little girl who came into the world weighing barely four pounds is ready to spread her wings and fly. I want to stop her. I want to hold her back. I want to keep her...but I can't.

When applying for college scholarships my sister, being a former teacher wrote a letter of recommendation for Massey which truly says it all:

"Dear Sir or Madam,
I have never had a request for a letter of recommendation that was easier or more pleasant to write than this one for Massey  Cotton, someone very worthy of your help. As a former  high school teacher I can say that high school students with  Massey's compassion are few and far between. She treats everyone with respect and is friends with students across all  social, racial and economic strata. Kids with physical disabilities are just as likely to be smiled upon and treated as special by  Massey as are the more popular kids, all of whom are her friends. While her family has had financial struggles not of their own making the last few years, Massey never complained or felt sorry  for herself, but has grown even closer to her family and is grateful for how hard her parents work. She takes her education seriously and works hard. I hope that she will be successful and make a lot money doing what she loves. She hopes she can get an education so that she can be of help to others. How many seventeen year old's think  like that? Massey  is as unique as her name. She was given the maiden name of her grandmother who died at age 48, on August 19, 1977, the day Massey was born, eighteen years later.

I thank you for your consideration of this most special girl.
Cindy Leach Hall"

 Okay. I'm not gonna cry anymore. Massey and I have been doing the dance all night. I am anxious  she is going to the world's biggest city and she is upset I am a worrier.

I am throwing caution to the wind and letting her go. How ironic is it that we are under a "Wind Advisory" tonight?

How hard and long can you hug a girl? Guess I'll find out in the morning!

Til next  time...COTTON

Monday, March 4, 2013

Never Pre Judge...EVER

The weekend is over. I'm back to being a server for the next five days. Massey leaves for New York on Wednesday and can already feel  the lump building in my throat.

Worked at  the furniture store on Saturday and Sunday. It was slow Saturday but at least I sold a couple of things...better than striking out completely. I thought it was cold Saturday and like an idiot forgot to wear an extra pair of socks. Massey brought me some at lunch but by then my tootsies were already popsicles and refused to thaw. Sunday was even colder but I wore my sock tights and two pair of socks.

 It started out slow and sometimes you just feel like you're never going to sell anything when some random person  comes in and wanders around telling you they just want to look around. I let them wander and give them space but make sure I am near by in case they WANT to buy. Some simply make one walk around the store and leave. A young couple came in and meandered around the store. I thought to myself..."Here we go again" but smiled and greeted them warmly. They stopped by  the mattresses and started looking in  earnest. I wandered up and told them to give one a test drive. They went over to the biggest most expensive mattress we had, a king size memory foam. They both settled back onto it and I gave them my best sales pitch...which is weak at best,  in  this early stage of the game of my furniture career.

Guess what? They  bought it!

Then another random guy came in saying he was just killing time while his wife was in a meeting. We have a lot of fake palms and tall plants in wicker baskets that we mostly just arrange around the furniture as decoration. He went straight to one after making a full circle around the store. He asked if they were for sell and I answered yes. He said he owned an event center and the plants would be perfect for his facility. They were $49 a piece and he picked out five.


Here's the thing...when you are in sales or even if you're not, never pre judge. I read a comment in the local paper a while back. A guy wrote in and said "If you want a good tip don't treat me like a bad tipper."  He was exactly right.  So I'm kinda getting the hang of this new job and feel much more relaxed at my old job now that I have two days away from it.

I was at  the restaurant tonight when Massey called and said I had a package from Amazon delivered to the house and could she please open it? I had no idea what it could be but as long as they didn't ask for money when they dropped it off, told her she could open it.  It was from a blog reader. Eight pair of toe and foot warmers. The note included read "To keep  your feet warm while selling furniture!! From Jerry and Dee Dee."
How awesome is that?

 Tonight was slow at  the restaurant but had a few regulars and walked out with ninety bucks to put in the bank.

I've never been a server who judges customers. Some servers detest waiting on blacks, some detest waiting on rednecks and some detest waiting on people of mid eastern descent. To me a customer is a customer and all deserve the same service. If you do your job and win them over with great service, product and a feeling that you genuinely care about their experience, nine times out of ten it works in your favor.

Now I realize this also transcends into any sales market.

So I'm in sales and marketing, whether selling food or furniture and mattresses. You have to give it your all, give it your best shot and hope to come out on the upside of the gamble of being in sales.

I'm digging my new job and kinda sorta am almost doing good at it! Maybe not raising the roof but representing!

I am getting a lot more sleep and rest. I am feeling human again and my family has noticed and appreciated the change.

On the panicked side of life I am letting Massey leave on Wednesday without me to head to New York city. I paid for the trip but told her she had to raise her own spending money. Wouldn't you know it...she raised the money and now I have to let her go.

 My boss at  work tonight didn't make me feel any better when he said "You know New York makes Atlanta look like Newnan." (The city we live in)

Just like a seventeen year old she has spent some of her spending money on things to take with her. Just like the thinker I am have solved the problem. I told her to leave me two deposit slips for her credit union. She has plenty of money for the first two days and I am working at the restaurant every day this week. I will deposit money into her account on Thursday to give her a little more money.

This is the chance of a lifetime for her. Going to one of the biggest, busiest cities in the world. She has paid her dues, struggled  along with us through our financial difficulties and hasn't complained as much as I would at the age of seventeen.

Life seems to be taking an upward turn around and that in it's self is a great feeling. My brother and sister have helped and I would hate to see  the tab I have run up with them but hope they know how much  they both mean to me AND my kids.

My oldest is on the other side of the world, my younger son has  finally smelled  the roses and doing great. My youngest is a best friend and it's hard to let her go but I will.

I will go to bed tonight knowing I have one more night with her tomorrow. Then she will be gone as I work a double shift at the restaurant. Zach is taking her to breakfast and dropping her off at school on Wednesday while I head into work for a double shift.

I am sure she will be fine, and have the time of her young life but it's hard for a momma to let the chicks fly out of the nest.

How did I get so old so soon that my youngest is ready to flap away?

This is a pic of Massey and Zach on Halloween. I wish I could send Zach in his Ninja suit to New York to take care of my princess but I can't.

I'll take a leap of faith, I'll trust everything will be okay.

Dang, being a momma is much harder than I planned. Makes being a salesperson seem like a walk in the park!

Have fun little girl and take lots of pictures. I'm already thinking about when I wrap my arms around you when you get back!

Til next time...COTTON