Thursday, April 25, 2013

I'm Glad This Day's Done

Here's a picture of the first computer I ever owned. They gave me a whole box of them for free my first  day at Harris Street School in 1965. Back then it was called grammar school not elementary school but we always just called it Harris Street School.

Computers got really big (and I mean literally) in the early to mid seventies and some covered an entire wall. By the time I was a sophomore they introduced a reading lab at our school.

I never owned a computer until I won a lap top off a radio contest  seventeen years ago. Tim worked in downtown Atlanta at the time and picked  it up from the radio station. I opened the box and thought I had received the wrong package, surely this had to have been addressed to George and Jane Jetson,  not me.

One of Tim's friends came over and got me started. Seventeen years later and I'm still getting started.

This week I've felt (and looked) like the woman in the above photo. Starting this mid week manager job has stressed me out beyond belief. I'm great with the customers, talking is my number one forte'. I've gotten better at learning what they need and steering them in the right direction and have made a few pretty decent commission checks. It was great because I worked with  two seasoned employees who could help me with any problems. Now I'm on my own three days a week and the only thing that terrifies me is the computer system. I've never done some of these programs and am terrified of hitting the wrong key and doing something that can't be undone or fixed. Actually I have seen  the "Illegal Operation" notification a couple of times already and about peed my pants both times.

When I got my first computer I squinted at  the screen  for years before I learned I could make the font size bigger. That's how computer savvy I was.  I've learned a lot by trial and error and even more by hunt and peck  but that was on my OWN computer. Now I am a manager and working solo on a corporate computer. So far I haven't done anything that couldn't be fixed but it still makes me nervous.I did better today but when I was running closing reports at the end of the night got all confused thinking I had done something wrong and panicked. I picked up  the phone and called my BFFL at  corporate and left a message. I called the other manager at  home and asked him for help. Turns out I was doing things right, just freaking out. I need to have more faith in myself, slow down and take a deep breath. I am a worrier by  nature and the past few years haven't helped cure me of my flaw.

Tomorrow I am a server again and know how to do that with my eyes shut. Saturday I go back to selling furniture but will be with my two co workers and am doing every stinking thing that needs to be done on that computer while someone is there to watch me. I wasn't sure about this new job at first, but think now that it is something I could really be good at, I just have to step out of my comfort zone and apply myself.

Moving on... (I gots a busy life)

Massey had cap and gown pictures made today at  school as you  can see, and "No" these aren't them. She looked beautiful when I dropped her off for school. She's a good girl and although sometimes needs to  be taken down a notch usually takes her dressing down pretty well. She's still my BFF and I wouldn't have it any other way.

She chose a weekend trip to Destin with  a friend from school to stay with her aunts over going to the prom and don't blame her one bit. I was nervous about them driving down but spoke with them every few hours and they made it safely. I won't have to worry again until they drive back on Sunday.

Spoke with my sister a couple of hours ago. I wish Massey had a sister.

 My sister tried to make a fake call to the furniture store yesterday. I stopped her in her tracks once I  heard her fake voice. We have a thing called Klick Klacks. It's like a futon without the rails. When Cin came into the store for the first time she noticed  them and said she would love to have one for her home office. They are inexpensive and something I would buy for Massey's dorm room at college when friends visited.

Cin called me yesterday with her fake phone call and had it all planned out. She would say she just bought a home in an upscale community called White Water and only wanted to furnish her home with the finest furniture and wanted to know if we sold Klick Klacks?

She made  the mistake of calling when no one was in the store  and once I realized it was her, cut her off after saying "I just bought a home" and volleyed back "I don't give a sh*t where you bought a house."

I called her house tonight on the way home from work and left HER a fake message. I said I was calling on behalf of the Home Owners Association in White Water and she needed to get that Klick Klack off her front porch, it was a code violation.

It may not make you laugh but it made me laugh and made my sister laugh.

My point is...I'm still able to laugh. The opposite of laugh is cry and I'd much rather laugh than cry. I'm making strides here. I'm moving up albeit nervously but at least I am  moving in the right direction.

Shout out to my younger son, Zach. He has me totally hooked on his "A Game of Thrones" book. I have never hated and loved more characters in a book. It is a must  read and I am an avid reader.

So life is looking up and I need to quit looking down. As Forrest Gump said "I may not be smart but I know what love is."

I am loved by family, I am loved by  friends. I am loved by many and need to start believing  they are right. I'm an okay person.

Huge shout out to Vicki for getting me this new job and giving me this chance. I truly think it may be something I can be successful at...until I am discovered as the next  female David Sedaris !!

Til next  time...COTTON

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Simply "WHEW!"

Boy was my second day on the new job was a lot different than my first! I had three times the number people come in to look and tried to familiarize myself with the computer system.  On the upside I didn't have to call anyone at  corporate until after 3PM. On the downside I had to call my buddy in  tech support at least five times after four.

A guy we'll just call "Job" (since he had the patience of a saint) came in with his wife and daughter and wanted to buy a queen size bed, dresser, mirror and mattress and box springs.

I've sold plenty of things since I've been there but none since I started opening the store by myself. I used to have a manager to rely on when I couldn't figure something out. Now I'm on my own and I'm a nervous wreck. The only time I am calm is when no one is in the store. When someone walks in I go into panic mode  thinking I am somehow going to screw up. So much for confidence! Hopefully it will come back gradually as I learn more and FEEL more confident.

Made a couple of fumbles processing the transaction and had to call tech  support. By this time I decided to be honest with Job and tell him it's my second day and he's my first sale. His four year old daughter seemed to like me so I chatted her up while sweat ran my back as I tried to finalize the sale. He wanted it all delivered tomorrow and I wanted to make sure we had everything he was buying in  stock in the back.

I rang up the wrong mattress which over billed him $100.00. No problem, let's just get my tech buddy (now BFFL) back on the phone. Let me say this guy at corporate is pretty  stinking savvy on a computer. He wasn't even near a computer when I called him the last time (well, the next to the next  to the last time) and he walked me through it instantly and clearly.

Since I did the bill of sale I have the man's address and am going to drop him a Thank You note in the mail. If it had been any other person I bet they would have walked out the door and said "Forget You! Ain't nobody got time for this!"

Massey stopped by after school  to bring me a spoon while I was finishing up "Job's" order. I had brought my lunch today (3 cartons of blueberry yogurt) and didn't have a utensil to eat them with. Maybe my brain was starving and that was my problem. Yeah, That's the ticket!

In the end the sale finally went through, they left and their furniture will be delivered tomorrow. I am  sure the minute they got back in their car  they looked at each other and said "What kind of idiot is SHE?"

As always, Massey boosted my spirits. After they left she helped me locate their bed, mattress and box springs and move them up to the delivery area so the guy could pick them up tomorrow and take them to Job. She made a good point "If you don't make mistakes, how will you learn to fix them?"

Tomorrow will be my last day alone this week. (Thank you Jesus) I feel more confident knowing that even though I needed help, I got it and everything turned out okay.

It's hard being almost fifty three and starting a new gig but I like it and think once I get it all down might be pretty good at it.

Funny story...Today before the whole "Job" debacle started the phone at work rang and I looked at  the number. It was slow and I had read six different training manuals and looked through the entire inventory list so I had settled at the counter by the front door to read "A Game of Thrones" for a while that my son loaned me, while no one was in the store. I thought it was my sister's cell number but to be sure I answered the phone like I normally do. Once I heard her faking a high voice saying "We just recently bought a house in White Water and wanted to know..." I interrupted her and said "Lady, I don't give a sh*t where you just bought a house I'm trying to read a book, can you call back?"

We both got a good laugh out of it. She was just calling to check up on me and give me moral support, which she constantly does, God bless her!

So I'm learning by  trial and error, seems the best way to truly learn anything. I'm hanging in there and feeling slightly more confident every day. You know, I thought working ten hours by myself would drag by but between learning the computer system and learning how to do everything else it's not that bad.

I think sending "Job" a Thank You note is a good idea too. How many people have ever received a Thank You note from someone they bought a mattress from? Probably not too many and he was so kind and patient he deserves it. Chalk one up for learning how to make a (hopefully) repeat customer!

Wish me luck...I need it!

Til next  time...COTTON

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it's you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all
You're gonna make it after all

How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl this time you're all alone
But it's time you started living
It's time you let someone else do some giving

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all
You're gonna make it after all.
When I clocked out tonight after my first shift as mid week manager, I felt like walking out in the parking lot and tossing my hat in the air like Mary Tyler Moore did every Saturday night when I was  kid.

Problem is, I wasn't wearing a hat and nowhere as cute as Mary Tyler Moore was but still felt like her, even though I really look like the woman behind her on the left in this photo.

I've been a nervous wreck over starting this job. I'm by myself three days a week so I have no one to help fix my goofs...and I'm sure there will be many.

Last weekend I had to take a training course online. It took me three hours to complete the seven levels but I did it. At the end of the video they say you have graduated and even play Pomp and Circumstance in the background. They praise you on your level of achievement and ask for you to post comments about graduating the program. I wrote "First off I'd like to thank the academy...oops, wrong speech." I did go back and leave a positive comment because it actually did teach me a lot, I just like trying to be funny. (which Massey assures me I'm not)

Last week I did all the closing reports for the store with the manager there to watch me. The notes I took were so meticulous it made it seem like I had never logged onto a computer in my life but since I will be by myself I wanted baby step by step instructions. It's almost reads like this:

Left click open/close
F-11 right click
Hit OK
Find eye glass at  top of screen to left and double left click...cancel, cancel, close.
Click on Red X at right top of screen.
Go to third icon from  the left on the bottom of the screen and click.

I filled three pages of my notebook front and back just for doing the closing reports. I have about twenty more for everything from doing a layaway to financing and giving a quote.

I'm definitely a fish out of water.

The last night I did the closing reports for the manager who was training me I goofed up royally. It was a problem we couldn't fix and after calling a guy from corporate on his cell phone while he was trying to have dinner with his family on a Saturday night, told me what to do and told me to also email another person detailing what I did wrong.

My email went something like this:
"So sorry but I only ran one X report instead of two and when I ran my Z report my numbers didn't match, I'm off seventy  dollars. My bad."

Everyone has been so nice to me. A girlfriend from high school suggested me for this job, she's over the HR dept. for the company. The manager who trained me knows I am a fish out of water but has been extremely helpful. The sales associate I worked with for two months  taught me more in two days about selling furniture that I ever thought possible. Big shout out to my buddy, Snookie! She's from  New Jersey so I gave her the nickname the first day I met her.

This is a big step for me and could be a HUGE step. It's still sales, just selling a different product and know all too well that it is ultimately up to me to make it happen and I'll give it my best shot.

"Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all
You're gonna make it after all."

You know what? I just might!

Til next  time...COTTON

Monday, April 22, 2013

Yep, I'm a Doofus

I was supposed to be off today but picked up a shift at the restaurant tonight to have some extra money since I'll be selling furniture the next  three days and won't be bringing home cash every  night.

I agreed to cut the front of the subdivision again this year so I loaded up my gear around noon, cranked up Johnny and headed to the front. I was all prepared. Had my long picker upper stick Barb gave me last year, a plastic trash bag to put all the trash in and my buddy Mr. Weedeater across my lap with a full tank and long line of extra weed eater line in my front pocket.

Took me about one hour to finish  the cut but  have to weed eat both the ditches on either side of the road which takes twice as long. By  this time the chilly air was gone and I was sweating so I putted back home on Johnny and put on a tank top. I returned to the front and did the weed eating on one side and moved to the other side. It took another hour to weed eat the bigger side and picked up so much trash people had thrown out of their cars that it reaffirmed my decision to junk up my car before throwing trash out the window.

My spare weed eater line was starting to poke out of my pocket and should have known better than to leave it hanging out. I didn't notice how much it was hanging out but when the weed eater cut out suddenly, noticed that the weed eater I hold right next to my hip had sucked the spare line right into  the motor. Yeah  I'm an idiot. My weed eater was fried. He was on his last leg anyway, the guard was totally gone and he would only work on half choke. (Big Sissy)

I went back home and got my hedge clippers. I started clipping down the last ten feet of weeds but finally just pulled them up with my hands.

I got home with just enough time to get a shower and head into work.

Hopefully the HOA will drop me off a check tomorrow for the cut. They usually take a couple of days to pay me, which ticks me off especially when I'm broke...which I always am.

I headed into work and made decent money, enough to get me through a couple of days but my body was aching like crazy.

I'm super nervous about tomorrow. There is so much more I need to know but guess I can wing it til I do.

If Jethro thought he could be a brain surgeon and Gomer thought he could be a deputy sheriff, I think I can be a furniture store manager.

I have my notebook full of detailed instructions I wrote down and a good friend from the corporate office at my back.

What the heck! Let's give it a shot.

Massey seems to think I can do it. My friend seems to think I can do it. I guess the only one worried is me.

I've always been a worry wart.

Waking up tomorrow, going in and giving it my best shot! Let's hope I have excellent aim.

Til next  time...COTTON

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Looks Like Lucy is Moving up in the Candy Factory!

This is how I see my newest part time job promotion.

I've been working as a sales associate for a furniture store three days a week since the beginning of February. I'm still working at  the restaurant as well but after almost three years of working shift after shift, day after day it was beginning to drain me emotionally and physically. Waiting tables is no easy job if done correctly and  my tiny worn out body was screaming for relief.

A good friend from high school who reads my blog came to my rescue. She is head of the HR dept for a furniture store that had a location in the city where we live. She told her boss, the owner about me and suggested I might be a good salesperson for his company.

For  about three months I have been selling food three days a week and selling furniture another three. I work off commission and have  actually had some lucrative weeks. I've lived here for seventeen years, worked  for the school system for seven years and always waited tables . For fourteen years I was at  the dastardly "Western Sizzler" and the last three have been at my current restaurant so I know a lot of people  and a lot of people know me. It's been to my advantage at both jobs.

I felt totally like a fish out of water at my new job but work with two incredibly helpful and nice people who "Know their stuff" and have helped tutor me.  The store is only open four days a week and gave me plenty of time to keep working at  the reataurant.

The owner of the furniture store contacted me a few weeks ago and said he was going to open the store seven days a week and asked if I was interested in becoming the mid week manager? I'd open and close the store three days a week by other words, I'd make ALL the sales and commision.

I went back and forth for a few days.  Geez, I barely knew how to be a sales associate and now they want me to be a manager?

Shortly after the offer we met my brother for dinner at the restaurant where Zach works. I tossed the idea to my brother (who is a successful businessman) and his response was "You won't know unless you  try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

Here's the thing.  Both my parents are gone and both my Sib's have replaced them. My sister and brother both thought I should go for it so needless to say, I did.

I've been taking notes like crazy. I've filled up half a binder. My serving job I can do blindfolded, this new position is like sticking Lucy on the candy line way too early...not to mention there will be no Ethel to help me.

Massey picked me up from work tonight, my last training session in which I screwed up doing  closing reports and had to call one of the bosses on his cell to let him know.

I'm a nervous wreck but Massey made a good point. "Momma, if you  think  you are going to fail you will. Think positive and positive things will happen."

I've prayed about and have just decided to take a leap of faith. If they had faith enough in me to offer me this chance, I should have faith in myself.

It's a lot to take in and a lot to learn but keep  telling myself "It isn't brain surgery but just energizing my own brain!"

If Jethro thought he could be a brain surgeon surely I can manage a furniture store three days a week as long as no one comes in and wants a lobotomy on the spot. It's not like I am  striving to be a double naught spy!

I work at the restaurant tomorrow and start as a manager at the furniture store on Tuesday. Yes I am nervous.

Guess we will see if you can actually teach an old dog new tricks . I'll never know unless I try.

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, April 19, 2013

Too Much Hate

"Been away, haven't seen you in a while.
How've you been?
Have you changed your style and do you think
That we've grown up differently? Don't seem the same
Seems you've lost your feel for me

So let's leave it alone, 'cause we can't see eye to eye.
There ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys.
There's only you and me and we just disagree.

I'm going back to a place that's far away. How bout you?
Have you got a place to stay? Why should I care?

When I'm just trying to get along We were friends
But now it's the end of our love song...

So let's leave it alone, 'cause we can't see eye to eye.
There ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys.
There's only you and me and we just disagree."

I heard this Dave Mason song on the radio tonight when I got home from work while I caught up on all the Boston news. The lyrics hit home to me.

The world is a mess of hatred. Some hate our President. Some hate and some love guns. Some hate other people's religion. (which is hypocrisy at  it's best) Some hate other races (which  totally fires me up) and some hate people for  their sexual orientation. (don't even get me started)

We just disagree. Can we not leave it at that?

 Webster's defines the word disagree  as "To have a different opinion." More importantly it also defines it as "To cause adverse  effects."

Can we not realize every person has the right to their own opinion? They may be right, they may be wrong but it isn't up to us to judge. Not everyone is Christian on  this earth but " Judge not lest ye be judged" seems a simple rule to follow.

Yes it was horrific what happened in Boston. Yes it was horrific what happened on 9/11. The courts may drag it out (almost a certainty) and money  may be wasted (already has been) but  the hate needs  to stop.

In order for the world to change, change needs  to start from within. Don't hate...Love!

I detest what these  two kids in Boston did but am not one to judge. They will meet their maker (be it God, Buddha or Allah) and have to answer for themselves. Can't people be satisfied  with that?

Does no one remember the saying "What goes around comes around?"

The hate needs to stop.

Til next  time...Cotton

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Blade on My Mower Goes Round and Round, Round and Round...

I wish my Johnny looked this clean. Then again, if he did he wouldn't be doing his part. Mine is mud splattered and covered with grass. My next door husband gave him a tune up, fixed his broken switch and bolted down all the rattling parts. He sharpened the blade, told me I needed a new one but I  happily jumped on him (Johnny) and started to cut.

I got my front yard cut but the grass was so high, at one point I hit a rock and the blade sound went up about twenty decibels. Not one to give up, I clattered along as I noticed blade marks in the lawn behind me. Luckily I was almost through and just told myself I was not only cutting but aerating  the lawn as well.

I couldn't ask my next  door husband for anymore favors (I like to save him for desperate pleas) so I simply parked Johnny in the garage and hoped that a good night's rest  would heal his wounds.

I got up this morning and attempted to cut my elderly neighbor's grass on the other side of my house. After mowing and plowing up his front yard on the first  turn I cut the blade off and went back to my house. I went to the John Deere store and bought another blade. I came home and my elderly neighbor loaned me his jack and attempted to jack up the mower. No go.

I called my brother in law, he came over and had the blade on in less than twenty minutes. I cut my neighbor's yard and went out back to cut the field growing behind my house. I took thirty minutes to scour the ground for rocks and dog bones. In low gear I mowed the back only hitting one tennis ball and one rock.

There is nothing more pleasing to me than mowing my yard unless you  count how much more wonderful it looks when you  go back and weed eat.

I spent five hours in the yard today. It felt great..I even shaved my legs last night for the occasion...not a small task after ten months of growth.I was starting to feel like my Spanish  teacher in elementary school. Note to self...don't wear pantyhose if you  don't shave your legs for a year. (we made fun of her)

Got my neighbor's yard cut, got my back yard cut and got all of it weed ate. (not the correct term but you know what I mean)

Ran my buddy Mr. Weed Eater til  eight thirty. The family had to wait for dinner but didn't seem to mind. It's not like they were going to scrounge around for  themselves. (wimps)

My toes are green with grass stains, my legs have so much  grass on them it reminds me of how they looked last night before I shaved them.

I'm a happy, tired and worn out woman. I can't wait to back out of the driveway tomorrow morning and see how neat and trim my yard looks....not to mention the old man's next  door.

If my new furniture gig and serving job don't work out... think I may start a lawn care "Bidness." There is nothing more refreshing and great to look at  than a freshly trimmed out lawn.

The down side is...there was a house behind all that growth.

Now that I have the outside looking good unless I hit the lottery  guess I'll have to run the vacuum inside too.

Does that suck or what? (Huge Pun)

Sounds crazy but going to bed whooped from yard work is one of my favorite feelings.

Still have tomorrow...if I'm lucky.

Til next  time...COTTON

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What a Week!

I've been meaning to blog but life has been crazy round these parts. Three weeks without a car has been a pain in my bony butt. Between getting Massey to and from  school, getting Zach and me back and forth to work and getting errands run and done I feel like an underpaid cab driver.

Zach paid for the repairs on the BMW (which weren't cheap) so we're letting him have it. He only has to pay  the insurance and upkeep. Tim balked at the idea originally but after two days of not speaking to me finally agreed.

We bought TJ a car  when he turned sixteen and granted we were still doing well financially but TJ started working when he was fifteen and paid for his own car insurance and his high school yearbooks, senior dues and gas for the car.

When Zach turned sixteen, I wouldn't even let him drive my lawn mower much less my car. He was a terrible driver. He didn't get his driving permit til he was almost eighteen and couldn't believe they actually gave him one then. He hit a rough patch around the same time and after a year of  breaking my heart, came to his senses in a big way. Yes he screwed up royally but also manned up and paid for his actions.

In the meantime when Massey turned seventeen and we were just starting to keep our chins above water, we sold Tim's car and made enough to get an older model car for him and a little older model Ford Focus for Massey...and she doesn't even have a job..

Don't get me wrong, she's a great girl and does terrific in school. She has a good head on her shoulders and is chomping at the bit for a college education. She doesn't deserve to have broke parents and hate  she has suffered from our financial misfortune. I remember being a  seventeen year old girl in high school. Peer pressure is brutal and ridicule is freely tossed towards anyone who is a "Have Not." It was embarrassing for her but even more so for me. It didn't help everyone at school knew about her brother's debacle.

I had friends who stepped up and helped Massey. I had family who helped Massey. It just bothered me  that "I" couldn't help Massey. I have a lot of family and friends to pay back.

The thing is...we gave TJ his first car, we gave Massey her first car. Why  can't we give Zach his first car,  considering he's paid well over a thousand dollars for the repairs and turned his life around?

I'm kinda ashamed to say he spent thirty days in the county prison but he did the crime and paid his time. He was in a work release program and strip searched every night when I drove him back after work. I know it was humiliating to him but was absolutely heart breaking to me. He never complained about it,  but every single night he got out of my car the last thing he said was "I love you."

That goes a long way in my book.

So now Zach has a convertible. It's a money pit but it's the start of summer and if it lasts til the leaves start dropping in the Fall, he'll have the best summer of his life. He deserves it. He's cleaned up (still has a smart mouth) but has made me really proud. He has a full  time job he loves and is on the straight and much so that some of his friends laugh  about what a straight up guy he is now. His friends laugh...I beam a huge smile!

Massey has been really nice about letting me drive her car and will be delighted to know that I pick up MY new/used  car tomorrow.

No I'm not a soccer mom but could play one on TV with this car!
So now I have a car payment again.  Only $200 a month and must be getting old cause I kinda like this wagon!

Lucky for me, Massey has landed under the wings of many people who love and do for her when I can't. Do I feel  embarrassed? That would be a big fat yes but having your kid be happy is worth it.

I don't forget that I also have three pups in the mix. People hands down saved my oldest pup, Ham from heart worms. I'm battling with the vet specialists about having lens implants for him. They call it elective surgery  but I call it "Let's do it surgery." I'm having my vet call the specialists and tell them they think he can survive the surgery.

So I still have my house. I have given all three kids cars. I have given my pup (with lots and lots of help) a healthy life.

I'm starting a promotion at one job and keeping the other. You can never be too careful.

Who would think that at  the age of over half a century I would have so many new things going on? Not this Chica!

Wait til I blog about my Johnny Dear tomorrow night!

Til next  time...COTTON

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Mate!

That's TJ with  the red bag walking through the doors at the airport in Atlanta leaving for Australia.

Here's a picture of him right before Tim and I married. He may be my step son but will always consider him my first born. Over a quarter of  a century later he is living on the other side of the world and doing what I wish I had done...explore the world and all options life has.

He's always been a good kid. Yes he stumbled but what kid doesn't?  You know what kid doesn't stumble? The ones afraid to  step out of  the box and  take a leap of faith whether it be right or wrong. Those kids simply follow the plan but may  miss out on adventure or whatever else may be out there. It's a big world.

Now they are all three grown. Now they are all three able  to choose  their own paths.

I am extremely proud of TJ taking this leap. I can't imagine moving halfway around the  world alone but he did it.  It's the first time since he turned two  that I haven't been able to see or  talk on the phone with  him on his birthday.

You know why? Because he is busy living a dream. He is busy throwing caution to the wind while he is young. He is exploring all options and leaving his life agenda wide open.  In other words, he's smart.

Yes we miss him  but are all in awe of him.

Both my nephews said "I didn't  think he'd really go and live there."

Well guess what? He did, we miss him but think it is the most awesome thing he could have ever done.

I hope he had some shrimp on the barbie for his birthday.
I can't wait to hug his neck again, shake his hand for stepping up and taking the leap.

Happy Birthday TJ.

You make a step mom proud!
Hugs and kisses from us all over here. Can't wait to see your face again!

Til next  time COTTON

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Happy Birthday to The Best Sister Ever

Oh my sister will just love I chose this picture to start my blog...NOT! Believe me, I could have found worse ones. Us Leach kids were a motley bunch when we were little.

I guess I  turned out okay, my brother got big in his middle age but is still handsome and witty.  Cindy turned into a beauty by  the age of fifteen and has grown more beautiful with each and every year.

What could be more exciting when you were ten years old than to have your big sister crowned Homecoming Queen at  the high school football game?  Not much.

We all got a good start in life from two amazing parents and grew up  together in  middle class heaven.

I took my own kid's by  the old homestead a couple of years ago. It looks smaller than when I was a kid but not too shabby. It was wonderful growing up in  that house.
See what I mean about Cindy? Chris looks like a stand in for one of the Brady Bunch boys , I look like I may have been adopted  and Cindy looks beautiful.

Fast forward almost four decades and she's STILL looking good!

Cindy  and I weren't particularly close when I was a little kid and think it's mostly because I was loud, obnoxious and usually always had a booger in  my least that's the way it was with MY kids when they were younger.

As we have grown up we have become closer and closer.

 We are now both married with grown children (well almost for me) and simply put...Best Friends.

The picture above is my own Momma when she was little. She had a younger brother she doted on but never had a sister so she grew up , married and gave me a sister and a brother too!

Both our parents are gone but we still have each other.

The stories and memories we have are priceless. I laugh more with my sib's than any other people on earth. I can honestly say I have never met anyone who has something negative to say about either one of them. They have both helped me out time and time and time again and still love me for the idiot I am.

Cindy and I have that female bond thing...which is kind of like a secret society. There's just a huge difference between  the sexes. I think Jay Leno put it best: "The basic difference between men and women is  all men think the Three Stooges are hilarious and all women think they are idiots."

If I didn't have a sister, well a sister like Cindy...I honestly don't know if I would have made it this far in life. She's beautiful inside and out. She gives more of herself than you could ever imagine. She pretty much raised  two boys on her own and never heard her complain about it or talk bad about their father. She is the strongest most honest woman I know, always makes me smile and often makes me laugh  to the point of tears.

None of us grew up and became rich financially. Well, Chris has done pretty well but doesn't have kids sucking him dry...just sisters. Sisters are a lot cheaper than kids or ex wives and we cook a lot for him on holidays and never ask him to help clean up...just bring the Bloody  Marys. We are rich beyond belief with love, caring and support...things money can't buy.

My Momma was one amazing woman, ask anyone who knew her. My sister is a close second and that's pretty astounding.

We grew up together as kids but bonded as sisters through the years.

She turned sixty today, making me the luckiest fifty two year old sister on the planet.

These two people in the above photo fell in love in the 1940's and married. They had three kids. They both died way  too soon but left us in good hands....each others.

These three little kids are all over halfway through their lives now. These three little kids are closer now than they were when this picture was taken. A lot of families can't say that.

 Cindy, you've done an amazing job raising two boys...and ME!

Happy Birthday  to  The Best Sister Ever. You're my rock. We've had so many laughs (and tears) together. Thank you for every one of them.

You inspire me, you encourage me and you enlighten me. I am the luckiest sister ever!

Til next  time...COTTON

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nice Way to Start the Week

Week three without a vehicle started out pretty good. Massey is back in town so I lost my free car. Zach's buddy (with a car) called around one and said he was hungry so Zach treated all three of us to lunch at Mother's Kitchen. Zach's friend had never eaten there.

 We got there late, almost two and Momma sat alone eating at the table she has by  the register for her family and friends. We all three joined her after ordering and ate with her. The lady is crazy about Zach and so is her daughter. (who gave Zach a free piece of her sweet potato pie)

For once she wasn't sold out of mashed potatoes and  admit they were the best I ever had. I also had fried chicken with gravy, black eyed peas with chopped onions and tomatoes on top and corn bread. Zach's friend didn't say two words while we ate. (he's the silent type)

Zach invited Momma out for dinner on Saturday night, his treat. He's off and wants to  take her to Texas Roadhouse where he works for dinner. Her response was "You know, I just might aim to do that!"

When we left,  Zach's friend commented "I didn't know they knew you all like THAT!"

I had to bum a ride to work from Massey after she got home from school and then she had to take Zach to work. My car should be ready Wednesday so  only have one more day of bumming rides.

Work was excellent. Slow but extremely profitable. Waited on four tables and stood out back with Ben Franklin in my pocket waiting for Massey  to pick me up before nine.

I have a big chance and change in front of me. Too early to comment but if all works out, life will begin to be MUCH easier and way more profitable for us. I have my fingers crossed and prayers sent up.

We had a birthday party  for my sister yesterday. She was definitely surprised, considering her birthday isn't til tomorrow. That's the easy  way to surprise someone!

I will blog about that tomorrow and it will be a pleasure. She is the most amazing woman and sister I have ever known.

So  this week is starting out pretty good. I like that! Maybe my long awaited recovery  train is finally pulling into  the station.

We shall see!

Lots more to write and blog about but it's my turn to pick Zach up from work.

Til next  time...COTTON

Friday, April 5, 2013

When It Rains It Pours...Good And Bad

Almost midnight. Just walked in the door from work. Through being a server til next week, now just have to sell some furniture for a couple of days and my work week will be complete. It's been much easier on me having the two jobs and  get a lot more rest.

Massey comes home tomorrow night and I'm looking forward to a big hug and hearing all about her trip to Disney. Special shout of thanks out to the wonderful  family who took her with them on their own family vacation and made her feel like a part of the family. It's been a great spring break for her and gave me lots of time to work and get some bills paid.

I got to spend some extra time with Zach, something I don't do nearly enough and enjoyed the time with him. We are too much  alike...WAY too much, and frequently butt heads but usually just agree to disagree since each of us always thinks we are right. (I'm almost always right, unless you  ask him)

He took me out for lunch several times this week...always to his favorite place (Mother's Kitchen) and every meal was delicious and always an uplifting experience. The people there make you  feel welcomed and you leave full in the belly AND soul. They have really taken a shine to Zach and simply call me "Zach's Momma."

Zach had me really worried this time last year. I now feel nothing but pride for how far he has come. He's working hard, saving his money and keeping on  the straight and narrow. Couldn't ask for much more. Well, I could but it ain't gonna happen so I'm happy with what I get.

I woke up last night to go to the bathroom and found Zach on  the computer at 2:30 in the morning. I asked him what he was doing and he said "Talking to TJ on Facebook."

I went back to bed smiling.

My little Beemer will be ready by Wednesday. We got a loan to pay off the repairs and Zach is going to pay off the loan and have a nifty 1995 black BMW 325i convertible as a first car. Tim and I are buying a Volvo station wagon from the guy who sold Tim his and making payments on it. Looks like we'll all have a car soon and that will make my life even easier.

I used to think my life totally sucked, and for a while it seemed like it did. I used to think "Who would want our life?"
I got the answer in a most unusual way.

The picture above is Tim and me taking our vows at our wedding. The guy behind Tim is his best man. They were best  friends in high school and have remained close throughout the years.

When I first met Tim and his best friend, they immediately reminded me of Bill and Ted, trying to have  an excellent adventure. Our future best man was Ted and Tim was Bill. Trust was a close comparison.

Ted ended up doing a lot better than us financially. They have a really nice house,  rental properties and two kid's who both went to college, one graduated and another currently attending Ga. Tech.

Why couldn't that be us? They seemed to have everything. They are a great couple and have always been good friends of ours, but sometimes I wished we had their lives instead of ours.

Then my husband got the call from his friend last week.

Their son had just been diagnosed with Hodgekins Lymphoma and scheduled to start chemotherapy immediately.

I mentally smacked the crap out of myself on both cheeks, sent up a prayer for Kevin (their son) and thanked God for having three kids who may at times, not had a lot and certainly at times tested me  but have always been healthy.

The revolution of my whole world did a did theirs.

 “When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad...
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you're really quite lucky!
Some people are much more...
oh, ever so much more...
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!”  (Dr. Seuss)

I am praying so hard for this kid. I am praying so hard for his parents. I am praying hard for his sister.

It makes me ashamed I ever griped about my own life.

I've had almost 66,000 hits on my blog. If each of  you just send up one prayer for this young man that would be awesome.

God answered  many prayers for my own family these past few years and were just paltry requests compared to this one.

I can't imagine how they feel... well I can but it makes me sick to my stomach.

God Bless Kevin and his family...and we're behind you 100% !

Til next  time...Cotton

Monday, April 1, 2013

Has Time Really Gone By THIS Fast?

How did my life go from this:
To this?
Where have I been? Obviously in some kind of a demented time warp.

I've gone  from having three kids in school, running around destroying my house with their friends here helping to eat up all my food, to sitting here alone. At least I still have three pups standing (well laying) by me. My kid's are scattering  away from me way too fast.

My oldest is living on the other side of the world in Australia. My youngest is in Orlando on Spring Break and my middle one is in Texas. (Not really, he's just at work at Texas Roadhouse) but he's still not here and saving up money to move out next.

When you hit the skids in a bad economy, it takes twice if not three times as long to recover but I'd say we're way over the halfway mark. I'm proud of our progress and prouder of Tim. It isn't easy  for a man who has always been  the provider to be a man working  two jobs for minimum wage but he did it and  we survived with the help of God and many others.

We are THIS close! I'll admit I have enjoyed these past two quiet nights alone but can't even imagine what I will do when they are ALL three gone.

Seems like just last year I was going to TJ's tee ball games while pregnant with Zach. Then Massey came along  and the years simply flew by.

Now I am over half a century  old. How the heck did THAT happen?

After all my family went though, my oldest pup went through his own debacle and once again the love came pouring in. Ham is healthy now, thanks to many friends and dog lovers. If he hadn't had  the outpouring of help he would probably be dead by now. Instead he is curled up by my feet every night while I blog. He's still blind but he's healthy. I'm still working on the eye surgery but just grateful  to have him still around.

For over two years I worked ten, twelve and sometimes fourteen shifts a week to make ends meet. I'm not meaning to sound like a hero but simply a mom  that does what a mom has to do.

I got offered a job  two days a week from a high school friend selling furniture. It's much less physically demanding and is nice to have a break from  the physically demanding job.

So my crazy life has come full circle.I started carefree and  young. Paid $225 a month for my first  apartment including utilities, spent everything else on myself and had money left over.

Now I have  three kids who have grown up (without my permission) and a husband who has stuck by me for some unknown reason but appreciate the fact he did.

Looks like I was right to believe in Karma. "What goes around comes around."

I feel like my next move will be the nursing home but hope I can put it off a few more years.

I was supposed to do housework tonight but after changing two light bulbs and dragging out a bag of trash my friends on facebook told me I had done enough so I decided  to blog.

It still hurts to realize all three kid's will be gone in a few short months. For  those of you with young children, enjoy every minute, even the bad ones. (The bad ones can be used as ammunition in their teen years or when they want to move back in...and trust me it happens  more often  than not)

You know... we've  not had it easy these past few years and I'm down to under a hundred pounds but still swinging and if I had it all to do over again wouldn't change a thing. I have learned lessons and had many blessings. My kids have learned early that life doesn't come with a guarantee. I think it's the greatest lesson we could ever teach them.

Only time will tell.

Housework be damned...I'm headed  for the couch with some spinach dip and crackers!

Til next  time...COTTON