Friday, June 28, 2013
The fire alarm system had detected something hot and alerted the county fire dept. At first I thought my hot flashes had done it. But when wrapping the two chairs for delivery while alone in the store, had un tucked my shirt and rolled it up underneath my size A bra. I tucked my shirt back into my shorts as three firemen came in the front door.
We walked the building together and nothing was amiss or on fire. They left and I rolled my shirt back up and tucked it under my bra again.
Went into work today and around noon heard not one little beep but several. I immediately called the 911 number and said "Do NOT dispatch a truck, it's a faulty signal."
Five minutes later a fire truck rolled up in front of the building. CRAP!
They are finishing Academy Sports next to us and had three different back hoes digging up the ground right next to our building. The fire dude said it was probably them either changing the water pressure or slinging up so much dust that our system detected the change and sent out an alert.
Dang...how many times am I have to un tuck my shirt from my bra? It's already almost eighty five degrees in the store and I'm trying to move some furniture!
With that problem solved I worked my way through the lunch rush... peeps on lunch break looking at furniture.
I had a lull around three and pointed a fan on my chair and finished my book three in the Game of Thrones series. Unfortunately I had forgotten to put on my deodorant after my shower this morning and that CERTAINLY didn't help. It's not like I'm a big sweaty pig but sure missed that dry feeling under my tiny yet strong arms.
We actually DO have air conditioning in the building but I only turn it on when I know I am about to have to load a bunch of furniture. It only takes about five minutes to cool the building off enough for me to finish the job without passing out. It amazes me how many grown men will stand idly by and watch me wrestle a recliner sofa onto a dolly , roll it off the showroom floor and out to the loading dock before they ever offer to help. Sometimes I feel like saying, "You look awfully familiar, is your name Dick?"
I sold a two piece leather sectional to a soldier in fatigues yesterday and when I rang him up asked who was going to load it? I told him he was looking at her. (It's amazing what you can lift and load when you work on commission.)
He chuckled, shook his head and went to move his truck to the loading area. I wrapped and moved both pieces to the loading area while he took a call on his cell but helped me load them in his truck and even took the heavy end. What the heck, he's serving our country. The least I can do is load a sofa for him!
I actually really like this furniture gig and think I am getting pretty good at it. I've made some friends and made even more sales. I've also learned it's a "Dog eat dog" world in the sales business and finally learned that if I sell peeps on something they want to come back and buy on a day that I am off to work them up a quote with my name on it so I get the commission. I bet I lost a thousand dollars before I caught on but that's MY bad and a lesson learned.
So I am now at the furniture gig 36 hours a week and the restaurant twelve. I still have a day off and that's all I have ever needed...one day for me.
My youngest just graduated high school and balls to the wall ready for college. I will make it happen, somehow some way. Yes we are broke but where there is a will there is a way.
Five years ago we were sitting pretty. Now we are living hand to mouth.
We're still here and hanging on by threads but are Cotton's /Leach's and determined to succeed.
I'm skinny but I am strong! Don't count me out.
Friday, June 21, 2013
I was on a roll and decided to add landscaper to my growing resume. Years ago before our fall from grace my yard was perfect every summer. I pulled weeds and had one of the nicest yards in the subdivision. Lately we've been lucky to just keep our house and paying work took precedence over yard work. The bushes had taken over our front yard and you couldn't even see our windows on the first floor.
Tim actually helped yesterday and trimmed back the bushes in front of the garage while I was at the furniture store. The kids were amazed at his handiwork, he's not much of a yard guy. Years ago when I asked him to trim the bushes with the electric trimmer he cut through all three drop cords while trimming and so never asked him to do it again. This time he successfully made it without sawing through the drop cord and I was very impressed with his work.
I got up this morning all pumped to finish the job. The bushes in front of our living room window were so tall you couldn't even tell we HAD windows. We had trees sprouting up behind the bushes, poison ivy, weeds and unknown sticker plants (for lack of a better word) sprouting out in all different directions.
I got out the little aluminum ladder my Diddy had given me for Christmas years ago and went to town. I cut as much as I could from the ground, then put the ladder in front of the bushes while Massey held it and leaned back against the ladder while reaching as high up as I could with the trimmer. The aluminum rungs were killing the back of my calf's but just kept on cutting. Once I got to the higher parts, I had to hold on to the ladder behind me with one hand while swinging the trimmer as high up as I could with my other arm. I am sure at least two of the neighbors across the street were laughing at me through their window or making a video tape of the crazy determined mighty might slinging away with one arm waving an electric trimmer around above her head. Massey was a nervous wreck and thought I was going to fall off the ladder at least ten times.
My sweet sister came over a couple of weeks ago and painted my front door for me. Next she is going to paint my shutters the same color and my house will begin to resemble a house again.
I'm tackling my front island on Monday. I have gladiolas, irises , day lilies, and brown eyed susans screaming for help from the weeds overtaking them as well.
My house may not look like a mansion, but is a mansion to me...just a neglected one.
I call our home "The house of hard knocks" but at least I have a house to name.
I went into work tonight after finishing yard work at four and clocked in by five. A co worker who I absolutely adore who reads my blog said to me "You got a crazy life and nothing comes easy, always gets effed up but you always seem make it happen."
You know, she is exactly correct. Life's NOT easy... but if you are a good person and try your best, good things happen. Sometimes you have to be patient and and a lot of times you have to pray.
As Zach once said to me when he was only about six years old "Momma, my prayer's came right."
My prayer's have "come right."
With so much help it's not even funny and determination, it's amazing what you can do.
I never get tired of saying it because it's so fantastically true...I am blessed.
Til next time...one tired COTTON.
PS I will upload a picture tomorrow of the bruises on the back of my legs from leaning against the ladder. I call them victory marks!
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Number one I should have known better. I also cut my elderly neighbor's yard for them and ALWAYS cut with the mower blowing away from the house so I don't damage their house with anything which might be flung from the mower.
With my own yard I'm not so careful...obviously.
I was on turn three around the yard when Massey came out the back door of the house shouting at me "Momma, you just shattered the dining room window"!
Unfortunately I didn't misunderstand her and looked behind me to see our double paned dining room window with a gaping hole and glass covering the ground. I cut the mower off and went inside. The dining room window is right in front of our computer desk which is twenty feet in front of Massey's bedroom. There was glass every where. On the computer desk, on the dining room table, on the carpet and even in Massey's bedroom. I immediately threw up a little bit in my mouth and asked Massey to go get the vacuum cleaner. The pups were inside...standing well back with a definite "What the heck"? look on their faces.
Yep, I'm a dummy!
It took us a good thirty minutes to get up enough glass so the dogs wouldn't get cut walking around the dining room. We spent another thirty minutes getting the shards off the furniture.
I went out back and cut the rest of the yard, with the blade blowing away from the house like I should have and always WILL do from now on.
Next I was concerned about losing my precious just newly fixed air conditioning flowing throughout my house. I went out back and duct taped saran wrap over the hole and went inside to finish cleaning up the shards of glass.
I went to Home Depot the next day and bought two pieces of plexiglass to duct tape to the outside and inside of our shattered window and just grateful it was MY house I damaged and not my neighbor's.
It's on the back side of my house. No one can see it but us and serves as a reminder to always cut AWAY from the house.
My air is fixed, the temp in our house feels great and only have one shattered window. As a bonus the back yard is cut!
I am probably the most blessed woman on the planet.
Tim has a great prospect for a new job, we're chilling again and once again am grateful for our many blessings.
My life has been full of knocks and challenges as of late but also makes me realize how much Karma comes into play.
I better live to be a hundred because I have a whole lot of Karma to pay back...and intend to do just that!
It's never dull around our house, sometimes it's a battle but is a battle worth fighting .
Thanks to too many to name ...we're making it!
Til next time...COTTON
Monday, June 17, 2013
My budget is tight but the things we find there are amazing. The people who work there are wonderful, helpful and friendly. It's my favorite department store! The thing I love the most is when you check out, they say "Thanks for changing a life". I dropped off a huge bag of clothes to donate and they seemed thrilled to receive them. I was thrilled to get them out of my garage. Their proceeds go to help people get back on their feet and even have a career center to help peeps find work
We left the donation door and went into the "Emporium" to shop for college clothes. Zach was in desperate need of work jeans as well so I got him three pair for $3.99 each. One pair had the colored tag of the day, which means half price and even picked up a pair of Levis with the $39.00 price tag still on them from Kohl's for eight bucks.
All in all we got four pair of new jeans, four dresses, four pair of shorts and four shirts for sixty bucks. Considering the jeans were marked for almost forty bucks from Kohl's we did pretty good.
That's one thing I love about Massey, she doesn't turn her nose up at shopping at Goodwill.
We came home and I jumped on my boyfriend Johnny Dear to cut my elderly neighbor's yards for him. We didn't tell Zach where the jeans came from and he actually seemed satisfied with them when I got through cutting grass and he was getting ready for work. He had on his new jeans and once again thought to myself, "Life is good".
My sister regularly brings us clothes from the thrift shop where she volunteers and are all great quality items.
I don't think I have been in a Macy's or even a mall in over twenty years. If I did go it would just to see the Christmas decorations.
I don't mind one bit the life we are living. It almost makes me feel like I am living life right for the very first time.
My dryer broke over four weeks ago and once a week go to the laundry mat to dry all the clothes at the same time. I have met fascinating people there, learned their stories, made new friends and picked up a lot more Spanish than I did in school. In between runs to the laundry mat I just hang my clothes on hangers in the garage.
Here's my thing... it's the small things that make your life huge.
When we are in desperate need, it somehow happens. When we have something to offer, be it cutting a neighbor's yard or driving someone somewhere, we do it. When you take care of other people, other people take care of you.
I'm a doofus, I'm a goofball and yes I fumble my way through life but if you don't keep trying, I think that's called giving up. I'll never give up until I give out completely.
Don't feel sorry for me, that's not my intention with this post. My point's that life is what you make it. Follow your dream no matter how many side roads you have to take or how much pride you may have to swallow. Be a good person and good things will happen to you.
From the time we spiraled and became broke almost four years ago I have finally realized the true meaning of life..."You get what you give ".
I simply wasn't giving enough.
Til next time... A contented COTTON.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
I work at a furniture store three days a week with no air, move and load furniture all day so it was kinda like being at work all the time. It would get up to around 82 on the first floor and as you climbed to the next floor in our house the temps climbed with you. Massey's bedroom is on the first floor and I had a box fan in her room so she was better off than the rest of us. I camped out in the living room on the second floor but had three windows open and a decent ceiling fan. Zach and Tim remained in their rooms on the third floor where it felt like a sauna by five in the afternoon. Zach was okay...he works at night, gets off around ten or eleven and usually sits at the computer on the first floor for a couple of hours. By the time he goes to bed it would only be around 86 degrees in his room once he stuck his box fan in his window to draw out the hot air.
Tim simply made do. He'd been working days AND nights, covering for employees on vacation and by the time he got home was so tired, just sweated himself to sleep.
We found out we needed a new fan so I used my networking skills and contacted a customer from the restaurant who can get parts for A/C units. By this time we were over a week without air but making do.
Then this past Tuesday hit. High of ninety degrees with a heat index of a billion degrees. If that wasn't enough poop hitting the fan, through absolutely no fault of his own, Tim lost his job.
My guy called and left a message for me to send him our address so he could have the fan shipped to us. Geez, how am I gonna pay for a fan, pay to have it installed and still pay bills? I was embarrassed to ask the guy but did anyway... via text. "How much does the fan cost"? I never got a reply.
The next day was even hotter and lugged home two fans from work when I left. When I got home at eight thirty it was 87 degrees on the first floor and remained there until after midnight. When I woke up at six thirty the next morning it had cooled to a balmy 85 on the first floor and Tim came down from the third floor wearing a thirty two waist size for the first time since we married over twenty three years ago.
Even my dogs didn't want to be in the house. They said "We're good out back with bowls of water and a breeze".
The next day was even hotter and I brought home three fans from work. By the time I get home all the fans do is blow the hot air around but at least it was moving hot air. I went upstairs to take Tim a fan as he sat on the bed in his underwear watching sports on the TV in our bedroom. He looked like someone had opened a bottle of baby oil and poured it over his head. In true Tim fashion, he thanked me for the extra fan... before passing out from heat stroke. (not really, but don't know how he stayed up there)
My friend left me a voice mail wanting to know if someone would be at my house the next day for a guy to come by and trouble shoot the problem and measure the fan for an exact fit?
Here we sat, broke as a joke and sweating like Mel Gibson at the Apollo Theatre. I simply swallowed my pride and called my friend saying Tim had lost his job and not sure if we had the funds to get the A/C part. He said not to worry , we'd work it out later.
A guy showed up around early afternoon the next day, the kids called me at work. Tim walked out back and told him about the fan, and the guy started to work. He took the unit apart, and two hours later knocked on our kitchen door. Zach opened it and the guy simply said "You can shut your windows now."
I got home from work around eight thirty and it was already down to eighty four degrees in house. It hadn't been below that in almost a week. By the time I went to bed it was 76 degrees and felt like heaven.
Happy as I was about the fix I was fretting about the cost.
Here's the kicker.
We made it. We survived and once again were blessed. I asked my friend what we owed when I got home from work and called him. He said he had called in a couple of favors and knew some people. In other words, we were blessed beyond belief with kindness, generosity and friendship. I tried to give him some money the next night when I saw him but all he took was a hug and a kiss. He told me he was surprised we made it almost two weeks without air and acted as if it was no big deal. It was a HUGE deal to me and my family and made me stop and think of what a lucky person I am.
There is no shame in asking for help when you do your best, or accepting help when sincerely offered. If you live your life right and try your best, karma comes back around. It did when Tim and I both lost our jobs over three years ago and came around again recently on a hot sultry southern afternoon.
This friend, this person who is so unassuming, quiet and someone I rarely speak to because he is so private, took my own family's problem and solved it without hesitation with no need for thanks, recognition or acknowledgement.
That is the true definition of a friend .
My bucket list is full of nothing other than pay backs.
When we were sweating like crazy in our house I kept reminding myself at least we still HAD a house. I kept thinking about children squatting in squalor, flies in their eyes and no food in their swollen bellies in third world countries. I thought about people who would feel lucky to just have a room to lay down in with a roof over their head.
I thought about how lucky we used to be and how much we took for granted. After over twenty years together we finally made over six figures and everything seemed to come easily.
Just as quickly it was all taken away.
By the Grace of God and help from many, too numerous to name we are not only surviving but thriving .
You can look at the glass as half full or half empty. Negative is negativity and never helps, only takes away.
Stay positive, stay strong and never be ashamed to ask for help. Just be sure to pay it forward.
One lucky girl...one lucky family, living one lucky life!
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Til next time...COTTON
Saturday, June 8, 2013
We hit a lull at the store and she sat by the window while I crashed on a sofa to let them kick in. Twenty minutes later she said "Momma, here comes somebody". I felt a bit better and by the time I closed at eight my aches were were only twangs. Since I am the only person working Tuesday through Thursday, we loaded up two of the industrial size fans we use at work to circulate air and took them home with us. They worked great and Wednesday morning the house was at 70 degrees when I got up. Massey took me work and hauled the fans back in for me. I felt okay as long as I was pumped with the ibuprofen but found myself watching the clock like a junkie waiting for their next fix until it was time to pop two more. My cousin's hub came over and informed us we needed a new fan for our unit and that's all it seemed to be. That was a relief to me as I sweated myself to sleep again on the sofa, hoping for a hot flash to cool me down.
Thursday was busy at the store (Murphy's Law) and it almost "kilt" me as we say in the south. I had to help load a sectional, a full size bed , a sofa table and a full size mattress and box springs. Some peeps were working my nerves coming in on their cell phones and not even acknowledging me when I threw up my hand and welcomed them with albeit fake friendliness. They would ignore me and continue walking. I'd give them a minute or two then would say "Can I help you with anything?" Once they would hold their hand up like I was bothering them, simply crashed onto my stool and waited for them to end their obviously extremely urgent phone call. People can be so rude when they are on their cell and to be honest, I felt so horrible it was a real effort to not tell them I had a 102 fever and felt like choking them out. When Massey picked me up from work I went straight home and immediately resumed my position on the couch in a tank top and undies.
Friday I was off and stayed on the couch til it got too hot. (around three PM) Massey said I needed to go to the Doc, which I did but hated wasting forty bucks on myself. We went by the restaurant to pick up my paycheck which is usually only fifteen or sixteen dollars but was floored when the check was for over eighty bucks. I told Massey I would wait til Saturday and if wasn't better by then would go by the doc before going into the store on Saturday. We swung by the Doc to see what time he opened on Saturday. They had a note taped to the door saying they would be closed Saturday and reopen on Monday. I asked Massey for a pen to jot down the hours and make a shopping list when she said she didn't have one. I said "What person doesn't have a pen in their car"? to which she replied "This one". I told her to pull over and drop me off at the door and went inside to check in while she parked. The way I felt, I'd be going to the emergency room or morgue before Monday.
I signed in and the woman behind the desk asked for my forty dollars. When I went to sign my debit card receipt, noticed a cup of pens with their logo on them and asked if I could take one? She said "Sure" and when Massey walked through the door after parking her car, turned and said to her "I got you pens for your car, they're having a sale...two pens for forty bucks"!
I just felt better being there, doing what I should have done on Tuesday. The Doc N The Box wasn't busy so the woman took me straight back to a room. She took my vitals, told me my blood pressure was a bit elevated ...to which I responded "I wait on the public for a living." She smiled and asked how much I weighed and when I said a hundred pounds she said "I bet you do."
The doc came in , took a look at me, wrote four prescriptions, phoned them into Kroger and told me not to wait so long next time I got sick.
I knew from experience the scripts wouldn't be ready in the hour he had promised so we swung back by the house to take care of the pups and give them fresh water.
Massey took me back to Kroger a hour and a half later. If my blood pressure was elevated at the doctor's it was boiling by the time we got into Kroger. The SUV in front of us spied a suddenly open space but was past it. He jammed his car into reverse and tried to pull in forward. He had traffic so backed up he couldn't pull in forward so he decided to try and back into the seemingly only (NOT) vacant spot in the lot. It took him three tries and on his third try when his wife looked at me through the passenger window I flung up my arms in an obviously "WTH" gesture. My nerves were shot, I was sick and tired and simply wanted to go home and melt on my couch again.
We bought our groceries and swung back by the pharmacy. The pharmacist was typing on his cell phone and the girl told me it would be a bit longer..."DUH" !!!
I told Massey to go load the groceries and would call her to pick me up by the door. Ten minutes later the young girl said my prescriptions were ready and I stepped up to the counter. She asked if I had insurance and told her no, but my Doc N the Box calls in $2 generics so I wasn't worried. She started ringing me up and paused, saying that one of them could only be picked up by someone over eighteen and believe it or not asked me if I was over eighteen? I wanted to jump the counter and throttle her but replied, "No, I'm not eighteen I am fifty three". Then she asked for my driver's license. She put on her glasses and began typing the info off my license. Hunt and peck she went, typing slower than slime. She had to record ALL the info off my license and after almost five minutes I said as sweetly as I could. "Baby, why don't you turn around and simply put my license in that printer behind you and just make a copy of it"?
She said she would just have to enter it all into the computer anyway when I reached my final breaking point. I told her I wasn't going home to make crack or cook meth out of it but was sick as a dog and by the time she got through typing could be at home finally getting better.
Massey commented on the way home she had never seen this side of me and told her, I hope she never has to again.
I felt better today, not much but certainly not worse. I struggled through a shift at the furniture store, took off a hour early and came home for thirty minutes before heading into the restaurant. I was sweaty and worn out but went in anyway. Thank the Lord it was slow, they cut me first and was out by eight.
I know I will feel better tomorrow, it always takes a day or two before you begin to rebound, especially when you are a doofus like me and wait too long to go see the Doc N the Box.
Lesson learned. Working again in the morning and look forward to waking up and feeling human again.
Til next time....COTTON
Sunday, June 2, 2013
It was good to see TJ's face and hear his voice. He seems to be doing well and has a nice little room which I had a video tour of. I'm not a big fan of all this modern technology, it seems to dehumanize us but when you have a kid living halfway around the world comes in really handy. As I was getting through talking with him, Zach hooked up on skype from his friend's house and I left the conversation for my two boys to continue.
Things are settling back down around here with Massey finally graduating. A few more short weeks and she will be gone too. Zach's doing great as well and I have no complaints...other than my aching back, night sweats, daily hot flashes, chigger bites from working in the yard and really gross hairs that sporadically appear on my chin. How do you not notice a hair sprouting out of your chin til it is a half inch long? For Pete's sake, I can't keep my reading glasses on 24/7.
Yes, I have somehow wandered, and or stumbled into "Old Lady Years." My eyes are terrible, I can't read a book without my cheap dollar store glasses. I can't read a credit card number or name at work without them and certainly can't type up a work order at the furniture store without them.
On the up side, I can load a king size mattress onto a truck , move a sofa and loveseat by myself and still work circles around most all the young kids I work with at the restaurant. I'm calling myself a winner.
I have one kid living halfway around the world doing what I should have done when his age, live life to the fullest when you can. I have another headed to college in a few short weeks and yet another who bottomed out, paid the price and is making not only me but himself proud. Yep...I'm a winner!
Tomorrow is my day off. I only need one. Give me two days and I don't want to go back to work. I have a date with my Johnny Dear. That's my therapy, being in the yard riding my lawn mower. When I'm riding I think about things and figure out solutions. I think about where we've been, where we are going and how to get there...and all the while make my yard look inviting and a nice place to see every time I back out of the driveway to go to work. The chigger bites simply remind me how much I itch to do better.
Massey and I took Ziggy over to my sister's house today after work to try and socialize her new boxer pup. She's named Zola (after our grandmother) but seems more aptly named Zoloft. She's the most nervous pup I have ever met. Let me put it this way, she's terrified when my sister gets out a broom to sweep the kitchen. We took Ziggy out into their side yard where Zola was nervously waiting. I had to let Ziggy off the leash because he was about to tear my arm out of the socket. Massey said not to, Cin was kind of with Massey but I thought it best to let dogs be dogs. Ziggy took off like a speeding bullet but Zola had at least a twenty foot lead on him. Ziggy caught her in under five seconds and she immediately turned over in the submissive position. She got up and took off and they chased each other around the yard for thirty minutes non stop. After thirty minutes they were both frothing at the mouth and panting like they had run a marathon. Zola warmed right up to my "Good Bad Dog" and was smiling with that boxer smile before we left.
Massey took a video of them and I will upload it onto this blog tomorrow.
We may be moving soon, but not counting the chickens before they hatch. Been there, done that.
All I "Do" know is we are making strides here, got three kids making their marks on the world and making me feel really old.
Stumbling through a new job, cruising through my old one with the cut in hours and pretty much enjoying life for the first time in almost five years. Got three kids on track for success and one day off to boot!
Life could be a whole lot worse.
Til next time...COTTON