Friday, January 31, 2014

Finally Thawing Out

After the debacle of a snow storm in Atlanta and being closed in the house for three days it finally began to thaw today. Actually it began to thaw yesterday around noon and that's when our kitchen began to flood. It was an inch deep with water in the kitchen and garage before we noticed. Everyone was upstairs except one of the "Lost Boys" living with us temporarily. He came in through the garage and shouted "Whoa, you gotta leak somewhere!"

We had the kitchen faucet dripping just like we were supposed to and a space heater on in the kitchen to try and warm the ground floor room with three exposed walls. I checked under the sink leak. I checked the dishwasher next. Sometimes if you don't push the racks in all the way and try to start it, water leaks onto the floor. Not the dishwasher. I could hear water running from behind the refrigerator. Not a good sign. Tim came downstairs and pulled the fridge away from the wall. We cut the water off under the sink but the sound of running water continued.  By this point we deduced the pipe running to the refrigerator was busted. I couldn't really understand that since we don't have an ice maker. We had one with our last refrigerator though and like the detectives we are deduced once again the pipe had busted that used to go to our old ice maker.

We headed to the street to cut the water off there and thankfully the sound of water running stopped. I told Tim to go get towels since we don't own a squeegee and he came back down with an armload. Before I noticed, he was throwing down all the clean towels from the linen closet. For Pete's sake! I was nice about it though and said "Why don't you get all the ones out of the dirty laundry first."

Tim called his brother who does handy man work and he agreed to come down and take a look. Lucky for us it was $25 part. He put a cut off valve on the ice maker line and told Zach to go to Home Depot and buy some spray on foam insulation then patch the hole with a piece of plywood. Thirty minutes later we had water again..."Huge WHEW!!" Unless we ever want to hook up an ice maker, we're good to go. I'm okay with cracking ice trays and sometimes even bring a big bag of ice home from the restaurant. Ice maker is way down my list of priorities right now...being able to flush a toilet, take a shower, wash clothes or dishes and brush my teeth are pretty much on top of the list.

Work called as we were cleaning up the mess. I was off but they had two servers who couldn't make it in so told them I'd come in. It wasn't overly busy at work but walked out with a hundred bucks in my pocket and headed back home to a house with toilets that flushed.

I feel like we dodged a bullet...we're getting pretty good at that lately, just need to perfect our dodging technique with some financial cushioning. Sometimes I start to worry about it but remind myself that four years ago we were almost six months behind on the mortgage and depending on the charity of family and friends to simply survive.

"Broken pipe in the wall, I spit on your break and laugh in your face!"

Zach got a new job and TJ found one. Things are looking up around here. You have to keep things in perspective and I have mastered the art of always seeing the glass as half full.

It may sound crazy (most of my thoughts do) but having a house full again keeps me upbeat. I have more peeps to boss around, and if I cook for them they do pretty much anything I ask, sometimes with OUT asking. They've cleaned out my garage, cleaned my laundry room floor, caught up the laundry and even scrubbed a bathroom. While I was at work after the busted pipe got fixed, they not only put my kitchen back together but cleaned the crap out of it. That's what I'm talking about!

They washed all the towels used to sop up the mess in the kitchen and even dried them. When I went to shower for work yesterday after the flood I had to dry off with a hand towel.

Went into work today at four. It's Super Bowl weekend and peeps are having parties all weekend, Not overly busy but made almost a Franklin and back home before eleven even with a quick stop by Kroger.

Working Saturday night too then the brunch shift on Sunday. The owner (who has taken a huge hit this week due to the weather) decided to close after lunch on Sunday. Good call. Unless you are a sports bar it will be a ghost town. I couldn't care less about the Super Bowl other than the commercials and halftime but gonna make potato skins, hot wings and nachos for kind of grub! I bet the Lost Boys will enjoy it too.

They are predicting more snow for the Atlanta area next Friday. Gimme a break! I live in the south for a reason and snow ain't it!

Ready for Spring and hoping that freakin' Groundhog gets it right on Sunday!

Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Well They Finally Got It Right

This picture is from about fourteen years ago and the last time it snowed this much around these parts.

Last night all the weather guessers were predicting significant snow today. By "Significant" in the south means at least three inches. That's a lot when you rarely have it and are ill prepared for it.

Well they finally got it right. It started around eleven this morning, hasn't slowed yet and's almost dark outside. We've got well over three inches in our backyard and the pups are amazed by it. Ziggy can't get enough of it. He roots around with his snout deep in the snow and jumps across the yard like a gazelle. Charlie tries to keep up with him but a Bulldog's best qualities aren't running OR jumping.

I went by the grocery store after work last night just in case the "Weather Guessers" were right. Not one gallon of milk was left. I bought two quarts (should have bought four) and the usual...toilet paper and bread. I had a roast in my freezer, a pound of ground beef, canned goods, frozen goods and a bag of potatoes.

It's a good thing I went. Zach and his buddy left the house around one today to go somewhere in his buddy's 4X4 truck but were back home in fifteen minutes after spinning out twice. Downtown Atlanta was gridlocked by 2PM.

I sat warm and comfy at my kitchen table on the lap top watching all the posts about peeps stuck in traffic, at work or even worse, kids stuck at school after BOE members refused to cancel school. I cleaned out the kitchen cabinets, fridge and freezer and cooked up everything I could find. I have gas appliances but don't care much for cooking by candle light. Scared the power might go out or water pipes burst so I had plenty of food made up or cooked.

My  problem was currently am living with three grown men and they were eating it up as fast as it got ready. Finally got smart and quit announcing when I had something ready. I sneaked a batch of tuna salad into the refrigerator and secretly cooked a pork roast while they were eating the Hamburger Helper I threw together for lunch. I even cooked a huge pot of green beans. Then they finished off the Salsiccia Napolentana I brought home from work last and polished off everything else left over in the refrigerator from the past couple of days. I hid me a half gallon of chocolate ice cream in the freezer buried under a bag frozen okra. I made a nice Chipotle pasta salad and still have fixings for grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Made a gallon of tea and a pitcher of raspberry lemonade, washed up all the dishes then announced I was clocking out.

Bonus was, I was still wearing my PJ pants, favorite T shirt and bedroom shoes I put on this morning. The guys WERE good about taking the pups out back and letting them romp off and on all afternoon and taking the trash out for me every time it got full during my "Cook-a-Rama."

A friend of mine just posted on Facebook that she was on hour six of trying to get home from work. Lucky for me I was scheduled off today although the restaurant ended up closing anyway. We shut things down here in the south. I got lucky today, didn't have anywhere I had to go or be except the kitchen. Stayed home with the family, my pups, the neighbor's kid off and on and our "Renter".

Here's a video of Zach's buddy who is staying with us for a while playing with Ziggy and Charlie out back today. I'm not sure who had more fun.

As long as the power doesn't go off we'll be just fine. If it does, we're screwed. My father in law gave us about ten cases of those Kroger fire logs a couple of years ago and I had them all stacked in the garage. Last year my sister's furnace went out and gave them about half the stack, still with plenty for us. Zach and his buddy cleaned out my garage a few days ago and although they did a great job, when I went out looking for one of the fire log cases the other night when it got pretty cold I couldn't find any. I asked Zach where they all were and he said " I gave them to Mr. Lee, next door."

My neighbor, Mr. "Slow"Lee burns a fire about nine months out of the year and has more firewood in his garage than the Redwood Forest. I asked Zach why he gave it away and Zach said "Well, it's been out there for over a year and you haven't used it. He builds fires all the time."

For Pete's I haven't used it yet. Maybe...just maybe I was saving it for a really important time, like NOW!

If the power goes out, I'll be over knocking on Mr. Slow Lee's door asking for firewood, don't think I won't.

The kitchen is clean again, laundry is washing and I'm headed upstairs to watch Game of Thrones with the boys thanks to my FB besties, Shirley and Wick.

The temp isn't going to be over freezing til Thursday but have to work tomorrow night. I'll probably get TJ to drop me off, bring Bertha Benz back home and park her in the garage to stay warm then come get me when I'm done. That's the least he can do for the head cook and I'm sure he won't mind.

Til next time...COLD COTTON

Saturday, January 25, 2014

It Had To End Sometime

I've been so lucky as a server lately that was rethinking it had been a bad decision of mine to be a "Lifer."

Last night wasn't my best but still had regulars coming in, asking for me and leaving me 25% tips. I thought tonight would, as Dr. Seuss said "Be your day." It wasn't and got thoroughly trounced. I went in early and had a few good tables, all 20% tippers. (my favorite kind)

Then found out I was on a party with one of my favorite servers, Little Frenchy. She makes me look fat if that tells you anything about her size. She is an absolute delight, with her French Canadian accent and wonderful attitude.

 She gave me a French/English dictionary a couple of years ago and use it frequently, especially when  sending her private messages on Facebook. I already sound like I grew up in Hooterville but when I try to speak French you can almost see her shudder. She'll shake her tiny head in dismay and say "I USE to think French was such a romantic language. When you speak it...not so much."

That only encourages me to speak it more often! She walks into work and I smile and loudly say "Bon Jour!" She went to leave one night and I waved at her leaving out the back door loudly saying "Arrivederci!" She shook her head and simply said, "That is Italian."

 Well at least we work for an Italian restaurant so guess I was half right.

Tonight we had a party of 23, possibly 25 for a retirement dinner. Frenchy had the room all set up while I was snagging my regulars and finishing up a couple of other tables.

Problem was, they booked a party room for 25 people and it holds 25 people. Almost thirty showed up. They wanted to spill out into the dining room but everything else had been reserved. Frenchy kinda looked worried, but I just went back and took over. I told them that's all the room we had reserved and since they were all obviously good friends we'd just squeeze everybody in, it'd be kinda comfy!

It was a tight fit but what could they say? You book a room for thirty on a Saturday night, you get a room for thirty. You book a room for twenty three to twenty five and you get a room for twenty three to twenty five. We squeezed them all in, it wasn't ideal but at least they all had a seat. Dinner went smoothly, all the food came out right, on time and together. They had a cake and we cut and served it.

Then they all started moving around and changing places. Fine idea if it's one check, horrible idea if it's twenty five separate checks.

Frenchy and I had our game plan and even had everyone's ticket separated when we combined the five tables together. This part my be a lot of mumbo jumbo to peeps who aren't servers but  is important when combining multiple tables who all want separate checks.

I had this part. It's isn't Frenchy's forte (let's throw in some Latin too) but am used to it.  I separated all checks, added a suggested gratuity and Frenchy gave them out.

I was at the computer station with two of the checks running their credit cards when about ten of them came up with their checks in hand wanting me to either change something or get them out quickly.

It quickly turned what the French call "Cauchemardeux" or nightmarish if my French/English dictionary is correct.

Money was passing hands, peeps were handing me  money saying "No change" and leaving. Others said they left it on the table and had a line of ten waiting for me to run their credit card.

Trust WAS "Cauchemardeux" and will remember THAT French word for the rest of my life.

All said and done, came up thirty four dollars short when I finally cashed out the party. Didn't matter then, they were all gone.

I'm not saying it was intentional but what I am saying is they made it quite chaotic. One of the people even went up to a server who wasn't even on the party and handed her a credit card. The server ran the credit card under her own server number, when it should have been run under mine.

It was, what we call in the server world a "Cluster Mess" to put it politely.

We should have made ninety bucks with the added gratuity but were almost forty bucks short.

Not Frenchy's fault but mine. I did the checks. Any other server would have been livid with me, or "livide" as they say in French.

Barb helped us out by adjusting our tip out and both made thirty bucks, but wasn't the fifty each we planned on.

Sometimes you roll big and Phat, sometimes you crap out. Tonight we crapped out and I felt terrible for it. I screwed not only myself but one of my favorite co workers. She was absolutely fine with it and thanked me for attempting to do all the checks.

To Little Frenchy, I am so "Mis'erable." In English that means "Unfortunately  I dropped the bomb and you went down with me." (if my French/ English dictionary skills are right again)

“Those who matter don't care, and those who care don't matter.” 

Thank you Dr. Seuss...My Frenchy still loves me and I love her. Whoever didn't pay or let it fall through the gap doesn't matter. Life is all about Karma and I got me some good MOJO going on.

Doing it again tomorrow, shaking it off and plowing ahead!

Til next time...COTTON

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I'm Getting Used to this

For the past few weeks I've only been working  five days a week. I didn't ask for it, the owner just gave me that schedule and hate to say it but I am LOVING it! Working six or seven helps out financially but my house falls apart and my attitude seriously suffers, just ask anyone who lives here. Not to mention they all eat soup out of a can, bologna sandwiches and frozen pizza when I work day after day after day.
Yep, I'm a waitress. The new politically correct term is server but I've been one so long I still consider myself a waitress. This was a pic of me one year on Halloween when I decided to go dressed as a Waffle House waitress, complete with a blacked out tooth. They cancelled costumes after this. I have total respect for Waffle House servers. They work for a debt free company and although they have to work 365 days have great benefits, insurance, paid vacations and profit sharing...every server should be so lucky.

We're in a cold snap here in the deep south, and that is a huge understatement. I vowed last night when I got home from work I wouldn't leave the house before my next scheduled shift on Friday afternoon.

Zach got up early today and he and his buddy (our new boarder) cleaned the crap out of our disastrous garage while I lay in bed surrounded by pups, a remote control and reruns of Law and Order. Usually when Zach cleans the garage that means he pulls everything out into the driveway and sweeps the garage. Today they hauled everything out and loaded it in the back of Rudy's truck to dispose of. They burned an old love seat in the fire pit out back and all the empty boxes I had cleared out last week as well. (They made a video of the bonfire and glad I didn't witness it) They took all the bagged crap to Rudy's work and put it in their dumpster. They cleaned the cob webs and windows and even moved Zach's Beemer out to the driveway to make room for ole Bertha Benz in the garage so she would be easier to crank.

They inspired me. I knew it was going to be brutally cold tonight so ventured out around three and went to Lowe's. I bought a roll of weather stripping to put on our exterior doors which are so drafty they could put out a burning candle. I wrapped cleaning rags around the water pipes under the kitchen sink on an exposed outside wall and cooked up a huge pot of white chicken chili.

I even went one step further. Last time I made chicken chili I promised my boss's wife I would bring her some but all got gobbled up by the boys in fear of more bologna sandwiches. After I got through cooking tonight,  threw on a scarf, hat and jacket and drove to the restaurant to deliver her a still hot bowl. They were busy so just handed it to her and ran back to my car.  I had just cranked the car back up when she ran out and tapped on my window.

She had done a catering job in Carrollton earlier today and drove by one of our favorite BBQ places. She handed me a sandwich through the car window and said "I brought you a sandwich from Pop's BBQ."

That's the kind of place and people I work for and  why I go out of my way to take her a bowl of Chicken Chili hot off the stove on a freezing night.

Okay, I'm in for the night now and feels great without the wind whipping through the cracks under the doors. My garage is clean, now my kitchen is clean and all that's left is leftovers to eat and more remote control time with pups keeping my feet warm.

It may sound insane  but if every person were as blessed as us, it would be a wonderful world. I pray for others to be as lucky.

Tuck in tight for the night, put on thick PJ's and hope everyone has a warm place to be. If they don't,  it should be a crime in a nation this great.

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It's a Brutal Winter

As the days in January tick away, the temps continue to drop. I don't know how folks live above the Mason-Dixon Line. The wind was howling like crazy this morning and was still twenty seven degrees at noon. I personally don't like it when the temp falls below fifty.

I'm still sticking to keeping our thermostat set on sixty eight but had to bump it up a degree today. Three of our bedrooms are on the third floor and stays nice and toasty upstairs. I relented and let one of Zach's buddies stay with us for a while and's been assigned to Massey's room on the first floor for his short stay with us. He's a good kid, just a doofus (hence the "HE") and is already looking for a house to rent. He did vacuum the room and has it clean as a whistle. Since Massey's been gone we've just kept her door shut and have a space heater we use in the kitchen.  Our house is on a concrete slab and the first floor is always a bit chilly. The kitchen has two exposed exterior walls and a third is to the garage. If the dishwasher or oven is on it's nice but other than that, it's an igloo. I gave the man/boy a space heater to use in his temporary room at night. Massey's room is right off the kitchen and has an exposed wall as well. For Pete's sake, he's from El Salvador. I highly doubt they needed space heaters and lately the temps have been brutally cold. Of course it beat his option of having no where to live and he's been very grateful we have let him crash here.

A couple of years ago I let another one of Zach's buds live here for almost a year in a spare bedroom upstairs so he could stay enrolled in high school and graduate.

Here's my thing. We certainly don't live in a mansion, or really even a really nice house but it's ours and almost paid off. It's warm in the winter (if you're upstairs) has running water, heat, electricity and even Internet when we're current on the bill. They have a place to sleep and a place to bathe. They can wash clothes and usually fit right in with our dysfunctional little family. I feed them when I can and they in return pitch in with some money when THEY can.

We learned the hard way a few years ago what makes a family and it certainly isn't money. It's love and compassion, and we got plenty of that!

Tim has a lead on a job that would be an entry level position but a company which promotes from within. I'm doing amazingly well with my serving job, God seems to know I need the ego and economical boost. I go in every day with a positive attitude and walk out every night with a paycheck.

Today it was bitter cold before I left for work. The car we're borrowing from my sis seems to hate cold weather as much as I do. When it was six degrees a week or so ago, it flatly refused to crank for two days. I sent Zach out today thirty minutes before I had to leave to see if ole Bertha Benz would crank, so if she didn't I'd have time to call a cab. It took about five minutes but he got her crunk! (and yes I know that isn't a word)

I should have gotten off early enough to be cranking her up again before the temps dipped too low again but as luck would have it we were busy as crap (which I was thankful for) but got worried ole Bertha wouldn't crank to get me home. As soon as my last table left I went out back to give the ole girl a try. It's a painful sounding process. I have to turn the key for literally four or five minutes straight while continuously and furiously pumping the gas pedal. Two of my co workers were out back having a smoke and watched my attempt. It's like a ritual to me. I have to bop my head up and down as I turn the key and furiously pump the accelerator.  I've gotten pretty good at it and as they stood watching me... started to cheer for ole Bertha, saying "Come on, come on, we KNOW you can do it!" They were pumping their fists and yelling," DO IT! You're almost there, yeah that's it, keep it up, oh it girl!" When ole Bertha finally roared to life they both walked over to my car and said "That almost seemed like a sexual experience. Congratulations!"

Seems I'm not the ONLY smart a** working there.

I let her idle for a good ten minutes then cut the car off and hurried back inside to finish my work. Once you get her cranked, she's usually good to go.

I clocked out less than an hour later and let her warm up again. I decided to go ahead and stop by the grocery store since she was all hot and bothered. Picked up groceries for tomorrow since I'm off Thursday and now don't have to worry about Bertha til Friday, when it's supposed to be in the upper forties when I leave for work.

You know, you just can't make this stuff up! I got me a life that borders on the redunkulous and never leaves me without something to laugh about.

Laughter is truly the best medicine.

I passed depression a few years didn't help worth a flip. You charge ahead, you roll with the punches and you give life your best shot.

I'm just like ole Berth. May take me a while, but can get it done if I just try long and hard enough!

Til next time...COTTON


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I Need Some Global Warming

Enough already, Mr. Winter! Sunday afternoon it was nice and almost balmy. Today started chilly, the wind picked up like crazy and now it's dropping to twenty degrees tonight.

It's a good thing I'm off today. Got all my running around done by four and was back in the house with groceries to last us a few days. Cooked a big meal and doing laundry. I don't plan on walking outside until I leave for work tomorrow afternoon.

Oh how I wish!

I've been having great success at work lately and just hope it keeps going. I've had maybe one crappy shift out of the last twelve and that's a pretty good batting average for a server.

Last night started out slow but  hit the goldmine with a party of six. They all grew up in East Point, my hometown and several even knew and went to high school with my husband. Some of them went to East Point Christian Church with me as a kid and had a blast talking about our past.

When they left I told them to be sure to ask for me next time they came in. One of them asked how often I worked and replied I usually did five shows a week. There was another server behind us cleaning her own table and started laughing when she heard me say that.

One of Zach's friends had to move out of his house because one of his room mates did something stupid and like the idiot I am,  let him roost here for a while. I'm living with way too many balls around here. At last count there were twelve, then TJ called today.

 Seems like he needs to move back home for a while but at least was gracious enough to ask first. None of my kids need  ask. This house will always be their home.

Thank goodness Massey is snug in her dorm room, we're filling up quick around here. Zach's friend is only temporary, he's already looking for another place to move.

TJ can stay as long as he needs but won't be too long either, he's already planning to move abroad for another year. Wonder how many balls I can send overseas with him?

So last week I lived in a house with two empty bedrooms. Now we're all full up and then some. Guess I need to put that "No Vacancy" sign out front. (Huge sigh)

It's kind of nice having a full house, especially when none of them have homework or projects due. Been there, done that.

At least they are all grown now and chipping in for the bills. Beats having a house full of kids who need to be driven to school every morning and sometime have projects faked by their mom at the last possible moment. Hopefully I have made my last Diorama.

Made a fabulous dinner tonight and have tons of leftovers. I'm thinking I'll head to the one spare bedroom left before TJ moves back in this weekend and read my book, have a cold one and hope nobody bothers me. Tim will be home in a couple of hours and sure he is looking forward to watching Bonanza or Gunsmoke in our bedroom. You'd think he was looking forward to a new episode. If Braveheart is on, he'll be watching that.  God forbid The Rifleman is on... he'll be in heaven. At least he is easy to please. He always loves whatever I have saved  him for dinner. It could be a bowl of tomato soup or Hamburger Helper but he'll still tell me how great it is. That's one of the many reasons I love him, he's an easy man to please. I guess that goes without saying since he married me!

So life is chugging on around here, always a good thing.

 I read on Facebook today that a woman who had twins in the Afterschool Program I worked for a few years back just died from a short and vicious battle with cancer. She lost her husband to cancer when the twins were in kindergarten and now the twins,  fifteen or sixteen  (both with Cerebral Palsy) have lost not only their dad but their mom too.

 To think sometimes I feel like complaining makes me realize how lucky I am to be around to even worry about  the small things...and my problems ARE small.

Count your blessings, deal with the bad times and hope for better times. Always realize there are so many others worse off who would trade places with you in a New York minute. Hug your kids, even when you feel like strangling them for something stupid they have done. At least I am still here, and that's a huge bonus...for them AND me.

The good thing is my friend, Karen is whole again. She's with her husband again and both pain free. They will be over those boy's shoulders every day. My heart breaks for these two boys but  have a great family network to rely on.

Whenever you feel down, think about others who have it could have just as easily be you.

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Shut The Front Door, Winter!

I feel like we are living in this picture. Number one, I detest cold weather. Number two, winter isn't for skinny people. Number three, I'm skinny.

It just keeps going on and on and on. The wind is even worse. Number one (again) I detest cold wind. Number two(again) I have always had ear infection problems and number three, did I mention it was too cold?

Us southern peeps are chickens when it comes to any type of inclement weather. Tornado warnings terrify us, warnings of possible snow or sleet send us all to rape the shelves at the grocery stores. God forbid they forecast any accumulation.

I'm right there with the southern sissies, but don't run out to the store, actually I try NOT to run out at all. During these cold spells I leave the house when I have to go to work. I stop by the store on my way home from work and don't leave my 68 degree house again until my next shift.

Yes, I keep our thermostat set on 68. When it dropped to six degrees I did bump it up to 69 but has never been higher in the seventeen years we've lived here. For Pete's sake, put a sweater on, that's why we have them. Put on some thermals and layer your clothes.

When Jimmy Carter was in the White House, during a former energy crisis I remember him saying he kept the thermostat on 68 degrees and they simply just wore sweaters. That makes sense to me. It's not like my family is living under a bridge at Turner Field in a cardboard box. When it is twenty degrees  outside, sixty eight should feel pretty stinking good. I do get cold easy and hate to feel that way but think that is why they invented turtle necks and wool socks.

My big gripe time is when I have to leave work late at night. Number one (once again) I tend to skitter in the wind across the parking lot on my way to my ( sister's borrowed) car. It's only about fifty feet but feels like a mile. Then I get in and have to crank ole Bertha Benz up. She's a stubborn little sedan. When it's cold out , as Hillary said "It takes a village" to start her. Last night I was cranking ole Bertha up when the bartender was leaving. He got in his truck and his engine roared to life.

I was in Bertha turning her key and pumping the gas furiously. I knew she was gonna start but is kinda painful to hear. He started to pull out then stopped and rolled his window down to ask if I needed help?

Nope! I'm good I told him.

Crap, I'm borrowing a car from my sister I asked to use for two weeks and that was back in the spring. I'm embarrassed to still be using it, cranking it seems like the price I SHOULD have to pay. He sat there anyway and after ole Bertha roared to life, he gave me a thumbs up and drove off. Once the ole girl gets cranked and warms up, she's just like me...she gets the job done.

My sister came over yesterday to look at my kitchen, it's in dire need. I have a leak in my shower on the third floor that drips onto the refrigerator in the kitchen and another leak from the kid's shower that sometimes leaks onto the stove. She came in with all her tools and even had a box of groceries for us. Bleach, cereal, candy, zip lock baggies, dish-washing liquid and lots of other staples.

As I always say, "Here's the thing...I am loved."

We picked out a color for the kitchen, she's gonna paint over my wall paper for me and help fix the leaks. She's already loaned me a car for half a year and still comes over with a care package!

My brother has done so much for us it borders on the ridiculous. Lucky for us I was born a "Leach" and kinship means a lot to us.

If cold weather is all I have to put up with, I can do it for a few more months. I go to bed dressed in three layers with freezing feet. After two hours my feet thaw out then my hot flashes kick in. I wake up in a wife beater, undies and a pile of clothes on the floor by the bed.

Then I get up, put it all back on and do it all again.

There are so many millions and millions worse off than us. It makes me wonder how they deal with their own difficulties when they don't have a fall back family like me to help them out?

Actually I feel a bit better now about this cold weather or maybe my hot flashes just kicked in.

Heading to bed in pants, a bra, a cami, work shirt,sweater, scarf and wool socks. Around three I'll start shucking clothes off. Around nine I'll start putting them back on to go to work again.

Yep, I'm one of the lucky ones!

Til next time...COLD COTTON

Friday, January 17, 2014

Great Day All Around

Well I hit a wrong button and my entire blog got deleted. So much for modern technology. Short version, had a great day, glad I took yesterday off. I got so much crap done it ain't even funny. My garage is still a work in progress but down to ten empty cardboard boxes and can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm a hoarder, one of the reasons we were able to beat being audited by the IRS ten years ago. I still had receipts they needed, school records and even mortgage statements dating back to the eighties.

Went into work today after showering and doing the makeup thing (which I never do on my off days) and had an excellent night at work. Every table was a pleasure and waited on several of my regulars (Thanks, Shawn)

I rolled big and was much needed. Around nine the hostess said the guy sitting at a bar table had requested me. Requests are good but peered around the corner and didn't recognize him. I wondered if he was was from the bank I kite with or from our mortgage company, Hells Fargo? He seemed nice looking and pleasant so  sauntered up to the table. He asked if I was Kelly and almost felt like saying, "Who's asking?" I bit the bullet and said I was.

Believe it or not, he was the hall director from the dorm my girl lives in at Georgia State University! He had to come to the south-side of Atlanta to pick something up and my girl had told him to come eat at Mama Lucia's.

My first thought was I was thrilled my girl wasn't embarrassed her momma was a server. My second thought was what a charming person he was! Handsome, easy to talk with and an on the ball guy. Being the bossy woman I am,  picked out his entree. He had Ted's Chicken Picatta. Pounded thin chicken breasts breaded with Italian bread crumbs cooked in extra virgin olive oil in the oven. Put the breasts over linguine, add the lemon butter sauce with capers. Then quarter, lightly dust with flour artichoke hearts and flash fry them. Add them to the dish and it's pretty amazing. He had a Mozzarella Caprese first, my all time fave. We use fresh mozz, vine ripe tomatoes, roasted red peppers, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and an amazing balsamic demi glaze with fresh basil, sea salt and cracked pepper.

I think he enjoyed his meal but what absolutely made my night, month and year was how highly he talked about my girl.
This little bit has grown into this young woman.
Then blossomed into this one.
I'm still thinking there was a baby swap but I'm keeping her.

He said Massey had been a pleasure to get to know. He said he felt she was destined to go far and had really found her niche in university life. As he said the words, my heart swelled and I actually teared up.

It may sound stupid but  know what all my kids have seen Tim and I go through these past few years and if she is making these strides, plowing ahead to make her own way and destiny, it certainly makes a momma proud. I did go into the restroom at work and cry. It was, as Oprah A-HA moment.
I have absolutely no doubt this little girl will go far.!
She already has.

Til next time, a proud momma COTTON

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Truckin' On!

Another great night at work. Kudos to my boss for giving me the three thirty shift...I even made it on time . I catch the last of the late lunch crowd and get the early dinner crowd before other servers get there for the night shift. It wasn't overly busy but the tipping gods smiled on me and made my goal. Getting closer every shift.
 I was talking with the owner  and mentioned that if Tim and I could work our way back up to six figures a year I'd be satisfied. He shook his head and said no we wouldn't. If we made more money, we'd just spend more money. I tend to think he's right but would love the opportunity for him to prove me wrong.

Here's the real deal. I'm well over halfway through my life, probably way over half if the Leach genes kick in. My brother always makes the comment "Us Leach's take the express checkout." Sometimes that can be a good thing, just depending on the circumstances. My momma died suddenly from an aneurysm. Had she lived, would most probably have never recovered and would never have been the same ole Momma. My Diddy lived to be seventy seven, healthy (and stubborn) as an ox until the last ten days of his life. A stinking mosquito with West Nile took him out pretty quickly. I now consider myself a lucky kid. I lost both my parents early and thought it was so unfair at the time until I have grown into my fifties and witnessed so many friends dealing with their parent's declining health, dementia, Alzhiemers, Cancer, nursing homes and hospice. Not that I wouldn't have done the same thing for my own. Mine simply saved me from the grief of witnessing them decline slowly. My parents went out with a bang. Momma died in under one minute, we were out shopping. Diddy thought he had just caught a bug but by the time we got him to the hospital, was beyond knowing what was happening. (A good thing when you're seventy seven and contract West Nile)

So how in the world can I complain about our current situation? I simply can't.

What I can complain about is being a fifty three year old woman. My hair is going gray, so what? I just keep it short. It's this whole menopause thing that gets me. You would think after carrying kids in your belly, getting fat and swollen, then squirting them out a small hole you would have a free pass for life.


Tim always worked long hours so it was me, who carted the kids to and from daycare, then to and from school. It was me who finished their projects at midnight when they forgot to tell me something was due at school the next day. It was me who worked the Fall Festivals and it was me who video taped chorus concerts and award ceremonies. It was me who took a job as a lunch lady when they  redistricted the kids for school.

Poor Tim probably wishes he had been able to be a stay at home dad. Instead he got to listen to me complain.

We finally got our last kid off to college this year so now he gets to listen to me complain about me. Nothing is good. I got a bum shoulder on one side, a bum knee on the other. I have carpal tunnel and way too much gray hair. My body has no happy medium when it comes to my internal thermostat. I sweat like a wrestler when I am sleeping, then five minutes later I'm freezing. I'm too skinny and he's too fat. I have to shave my face sometimes. It's disgusting being a menopausal women yet there are so many people to blame and blame them I do! Poor Tim.

Lately when he brings me coffee in bed, which he does quite a lot I'll ask for something else, like a back scratch after a night of soaking the sheets with night sweats or some yummy cinnamon toast. He walks off like he's ignoring me but always comes back with my request. He'll set my toast down, scratch my back or massage my aching legs and then stand up and say as he walks out of the room "Now go away kid, ya bothering me."

How stupid am I that until last night I didn't know he was quoting W.C. Fields? I finally asked him where he got that from and he just shook his head, walked off and said it again.

We started out together poor in our late twenties. We raised three kids and reached an easy lifestyle. We fell from grace and hit rock bottom. We weathered the storm with help from God and tons of others.

We're back to where we started, poor but happy.

Boy can I think of a lot worse scenarios. I have a husband who is out of work but does any odd job he can to help us get through. He comes home every night. He spends hours on the computer every day looking for work and listens to me grip.

I have a brother, sister and brother in law who help us out continuously. I have two bosses who help me out any time I ask and often do. I went into work today to buy some heavy duty trash bags for cleaning out the garage. If I put my flimsy bags out on the street, coyotes and dogs rip them apart by morning. I was leaving out the back door when the bosses' wife walked in. I call her Margaret Drysdale when I need some help. (the banker's wife)

I asked Margaret if she could help me out and immediately she said "Certainly." I left with a hundred bucks in my back pocket to help pay our car repair bill and five heavy duty bags to clean out our disgusting garage.

Thanks to Margaret we're closer to getting a car back and can still pay the power bill. Thanks to my brother in law, the car they loaned us is running again and can quit bumming rides home from the peeps at work.

Here's my question? Is your glass half empty or half full?

Our cup runneth over and sometimes simply need to remind myself of that.

I was fretting about having today off, I feel if I'm not working I'm not doing my part.

The great thing about my life is everybody is doing their part to help us. I'm the luckiest girl on the planet.

 I got so much done around the house today and even threw together dinner.

If you live right and try your best, good things will happen. Trust me, my life is a testament to this theory.

Now if someone could only help me with the night sweats, sporadic facial hair, skin tags and corns on my pinkie toes.

I wouldn't trade my life for anything in the world. You live, you learn. You help others and others will help you. You keep your wedding vows. For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do you part.

Nobody ever said life would be easy. If it were could you really appreciate it to its fullest?

The dryer just buzzed, the last load is done. The house is clean and I'm counting my blessings.  Think I may need a calculator.

Til next time... the kid that won't go away from bothering Tim!



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Good Day, No Matter What

I was off today. A good thing since I am still car less. I went to the store before Tim left for work (in Massey's car) and picked up dog food, some ground beef and buns. I got busy around the house. It's amazing what Comet and a sponge can do for a kitchen sink. It started there and spread. I swept the kitchen then cleaned the floor on my hands and knees with Mr. Clean and several cleaning rags. Zach asked why I didn't use the mop? A mop is good but scrubbing is always better. I cleaned out the refrigerator, washed the tupperware and took out three bags of trash.

Massey got a necklace for Christmas, an angel wing pendant which holds ashes from a loved one. My Diddy wanted to be cremated and like the hoarder I am, kept a bit of him for myself after we scattered his ashes in Blue Ridge, where he always wanted to be.

He stayed in my closet on a top shelf for over ten years. When Massey got the necklace this past Christmas  was sure I could locate Diddy. Seems like I did some moving and suddenly couldn't find him.

I'm a hoarder so  knew he was around here somewhere. I looked through boxes in the garage until I was sure he wasn't there. On the up side, I bagged up over five bags of nothing but useless trash and clothes that don't fit. I used to donate to the Kidney Foundation once a month but last month they asked me to donate and  left out two computer modems, a vacuum cleaner, speakers, two space heaters, wall fans, and tons of clothes. They never picked up and  all got soaked by torrential rain the next morning.

I knew going through the rest of my crap in the garage that Grandpa wasn't there. I may be a doofus but knew I would never get rid of him.

I went through the china cabinet in my dining room. I got crap from when the kids were in pre K stuffed in the drawers. Low and behold I found Grandpa in a gallon ziploc baggie. Inside the gallon bag was a smaller bag with ashes and  a card which read "Certified remains." My Diddy was born on September fourth, 1925. He died on September sixteenth, 2002.

Yep, I'm a freak. When we scattered his ashes my sister and brother thought all was done and gone. I've held on to a small part of him for over eleven years. Sometimes you just have to hold on to a small part of history. If you don't, all that's left are memories.

This woman,this beautiful woman married my Diddy.

They had three kids. Probably only wanted two but I came along late in the game and lucky for me they kept me.
I have always been loved unconditionally by my sibs. I know there have been times when even I would have walked away but they never did. Yes they make fun of me and  should. I was the slow learner.

Now that I have three kids too
my heart totally goes out to my parents. At least momma knew how to sew all our clothes, I just knew how to kite a check.

I've made it this far and feel pretty good about it. My kids may be embarrassed by me at times, but with my Diddy's finally found  ashes as witness, I'll make it happen. I'll make it work. Diddy wouldn't have it any other way. I can hear him now..."Good night a livin' know what you gotta do. Just DO it."

Til next time...COTTON
My parents left me in excellent hands.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Rain Rain Go Away

This is what we deal with when it rains...times six. We have three big dogs and have to wipe twelve paws every time they come back inside the house. We leave a beach towel by the back door for them to stand on while we wipe their paws with another one. We use beach towels more in the winter months than we do in the summer. That's just the way it is when you're dog lovers and hope to keep at least a semi clean kitchen floor.

I had to be at work by three thirty so sent Zach out to crank up the older car my sister and bro in law are loaning us. It runs great but have to let it warm up for about ten minutes on the first crank of the day. It's a small price to pay for someone loaning you a free car for months when you asked to borrow it for two weeks. It has a small radiator leak but  always carry a gallon jug of water in the back seat. Today I came out and water was pouring out of the front of the car. No Bueno!

I cut the car off and popped the hood like I knew what I was doing. (NOT) I immediately did what you aren't supposed to do and opened the radiator cap. Thank goodness I'm a quick "Jump Backer." The radiator spewed all contents left and pretty rapidly. It was like a vehicular Tsunami. Zach was off in Massey's car going to a job interview and luckily answered my call. He came back and carted me to work, fifteen minutes late. Luckily they love me and know what horrible luck we have with vehicles and besides that it happened to be slow at the restaurant. (Finally some good luck)

It was a rainy chilly night, therefore all peeps hunkered down in their houses like it was a big deal. I've said it before and will say it again, JawJun's are scared of ANY inclement weather.

I got lucky and walked with over eighty bucks before eight thirty.

One of the other servers gave me a ride home. She's my buddy, a sweet girl who I call Lou Anne Poovy. (Remember her from the Gomer Pyle show?)  She's been wanting to meet our Bull Dog, Charlie and  can't much blame her, he's one ugly but cute pup!
I'm off tomorrow so at least have twenty four hours to figure out more car arrangements. When I walked into work really late I told the owner, "Us Cotton's got a lot of luck, it's just all bad." His reply was "Welcome to the real world."

I'm not sweating it, why should I?  It doesn't help anything but more gray hair and I have PLENTY of that.

It may sound crazy but I still consider us lucky. It gives me plenty to think about and plenty to be grateful for.

We're a dysfunctional down on our luck family unit who never give up and never will. I may be skinny, I may be broke but got so much positive MoJo going on around me that it inspires me to keep on keeping on. Wealth is over rated and love is underestimated.

I got more love than all the hippies at Woodstock thought they were experiencing. The difference is MINE is the real deal.
We are THIS close!

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sheesh What A Day

Had to open at work today, I'm not a morning person unless you count how late into the morning I stay up at night. I blogged til after one then started watching a CNN special on The Uni-Bomber and other serial criminals. Then I watched the last half of Psycho with Anthony Perkins. I fell asleep around four (had some crazy dreams about bombs and "Mother") and actually woke up thirty minutes before my alarm went off for work. Guess the less you weigh the less sleep you need.

Today was TJ's last day here so treated him and Zach to brunch (Barb always gives me a nice discount) where I work. The boys know how to eat. Let's put it this way...they each had three eggs scrambled with cheese, a heaping of home fries, three strips of bacon and two gigantic fresh blueberry pancakes. It was busy but they stayed a while and we all got to chat.

 I didn't get off until after four thirty and had promised Massey I would drive up and see her at school to drop off a few things she left here. Made great time on the highway but it makes me a nervous wreck driving into downtown Atlanta...the drivers are insane to say the very least. No one uses blinkers they simply swerve, zig and zag in front of vehicles or semis when ever they think they can get wherever they are going just a bit quicker. They'll cut you off, they'll ride your bumper or get so close next to your car you could reach out and knock on their window...all while texting or talking on their cell. It's downright frightening. I got all flustered as two cars shot in front of me to make the International Blvd exit and missed my own exit at Edgewood. I had to double back to get to Massey's dorm but at least I was safe and sound (and shaking.)

She needed a half gallon of milk, creamer for coffee, sugar and fruit cups. She had left her hair dryer and mirror behind so I had everything packed in the car. I took the top off a small cooler and filled it with ice and stuck the milk and creamer down in it. When you go visit Massey, it has to be a drive by pick up, parking next door to her dorm costs $7 sometimes $8. I know she'd like for me to come up and visit, and I have on several occasions but number one that's a lot to pay to carry up groceries and say hello to her friends and checking in to see her is like getting into the Pentagon...not that I am complaining, I like the fact that security is so tight. I called her when I was one block away and told her to step outside the lobby when she saw me at the light. Lucky for us the light was red and no one was behind me.

We went cheap for dinner, The Varsity. I'm surprised I'm still alive. Here's what I had eaten so far. I clocked in at ten thirty and started a pot of Kona blend coffee. We have awesome coffee. I had four cups and a hot peanut butter cookie the owner baked for me. Then I had another two cups of coffee and opened my jumbo roll of Sweet Tarts. They were gone in under an hour, but DID give away all the blue ones if that counts. Then we opened our BIG bag of candy.

 One of the cooks asked me last night to stop at Kroger and get us a bag of candy for work today. He's a hard working dude and it's not like the price of a bag of candy would pay off all my debt and keeps me a favorite of the cooks (and owner) who like candy. We were well supplied during the holidays, everybody was dropping by to bring us candy, cookies and treats. We're all in withdrawal and next Christmas is a long way away.

I started with the Baby Ruths  then switched to the Butterfingers. By three o'clock I was buzzing like a chain saw! Left work, went home and changed clothes, loaded up the car and headed to the ATL, still buzzing like a bee.

I picked Massey up and we headed to The Varsity for a quick Lube job... I needed some real food and if you grew up on the outskirts of south Atlanta like I did, The Varsity is as real as it gets!

We walked in and the mag pies were all squawking. I swear when they are all screaming "What'll Ya Have?" at the same time it sounds like an audio clip from the Hitchcock movie, "The Birds."

We sat and watched TV for a few minutes and chatted while we ate. I had two chili steaks with mustard ketchup and raw onions, a large Co-Cola (as my momma always called them) and split an order of fries and onion rings with Massey. What a dietary nightmare of a day!

We wound our way slowly back through downtown Atlanta, a truly beautiful city especially at night. I pulled into the Greek housing parking lot right next to her dorm, which you aren't supposed to pull into but can see her walk into the front door of her dorm from there, faking a back out like I had made a wrong turn. I had all her stuff in a grocery bag and she grabbed her milk and creamer out of the cooler in the back seat. We hugged, kissed and just like that she was out of the car and gone again.

I miss my girl, she's my bestie but what's best for her is to get an excellent education and go as far in life as she wants; and if I know Massey,  will be far and beyond!

So I jump back on the highway to hell one block away, merging as cars zoom all around me and head back to the country. The Grady curve is the worst (if you're from Atlanta you know what I mean) and once you pass I-20 it's easy sailing. I was bopping along with my greasy innards and made it to the airport in under
six minutes. Twenty more minutes to the house!

Hit the Coweta County line and ignored an overhead digital highway sign which read
"Accident at Collinsworth Road exit, delays expected."

You know I actually thought about getting off before then but thought, how long could the delay be?

Guess what...

I sat with my car in park for over forty minutes on the highway before traffic even began to crawl again. It  moved ten feet and people started putting blinkers on to change lanes, like THAT would help. An eighteen wheeler was backing up the exit ramp next to us and peeps were pulling over into the emergency lane for a quicker escape.(I hope they all got ticketed) Here's my thing, if we're all stopped because of an accident up ahead , changing lanes isn't gonna help anything unless you're a magician and obviously no one was because it just caused more chaos and delay. IDIOTS!

Two hours later I pulled into my driveway from what should have been a forty minute trip, tops.

At least my kid was happy and I was happy to have made her happy...the things a parent will do!

TJ is headed up to his mom's house but we had a great three day visit. Got to see my girl and spend some quality time with her as well.

Nothing is simple when you are a COTTON,  learned that years ago and I'm just fine with it. Things could always be worse and remind myself of that on a daily basis.  I wouldn't change my crazy life if I could...well maybe I would but I know I can't so why sweat it?

I have the most patient husband on earth, the best family a girl could ever hope for and more friends than I can count. I have three great kids who for some bizarre reason think I'm pretty okay. What more could a person ask for?

Til next time...a Contented COTTON

Saturday, January 11, 2014

When It Rain It Pours

Boy was that a big one last night... Storm, that is. It was storming when I went to bed after two and still pouring at eight this morning. What made it even better is that I had nowhere to go or be before late afternoon.

TJ is here for one more day then he's headed north to his mom's house for a visit. We just got lucky being first since we are so much closer to the airport but it's been nice seeing him and Zach enjoying each other's company.

Had another excellent butt whoopin at work tonight. Went in at three thirty and didn't slow down til after nine o'clock. I'm nervous, two great shifts in a row and another tomorrow. When you are a server, always be prepared for that fall from tipping grace. Sundays are usually good shifts for me so I'm keeping the faith!

Tim's car with the blown head gasket is finally ready to pick up. All they need is $1040.00. Looks like we're back on the payment plan. My sweet Bro N Law went by and paid $250 a couple of weeks ago for us and I sent Tim up there with $200 yesterday. I made enough at work to make another $250 payment on Monday and still have some left to pay the bills most critically due.

This family is a work in progress but as long as "Progress" is made, even with baby steps we WILL progress! I used to worry myself sick over bills but have learned it is wasted effort.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I have a job which allows me to pretty much control my destiny with a few hiccups when the tipping gods don't smile. Not to brag (but guess I am) I enjoy being a server and the line of work suits me. When we need extra cash (like now) I work extra shifts and step up my service. The economy is tough and even peeps with money like to feel  they get their money's worth. I joke with the ones who want me to, I kow tow to the snobs who want to feel  they are entitled to being waited on hand and foot no matter if  right or wrong.

 Case in point: tonight I was getting my ninety nine pound butt handed to me when they sat me another table of three. I made eye contact with the wife who was already looking at me with a disgusted look. I cleared dishes from the next table and stopped by to greet them. I apologized for having two armloads of dirty dishes but asked if I could bring them back something to drink? My buddy(not) the wife looked at me and said "We're ready to order everything now."

You know, I felt like saying "Okay, do you mind holding these five dishes and letting me set this empty wine bottle on your table so I can reach the pen in my pocket and write down your order on a cocktail napkin?"

If you are impatient, short on time or in a hurry, it's not a good idea to go out to a popular restaurant at eight o'clock on a Saturday night. (Just saying)

But knowing we need Tim's car back and need to pay the power and water bill, I stumbled all over myself and apologized yet again asking if they had time for me to go put the dishes down? She huffed out a sigh and slightly rolled her eyes but had no choice. I went to the back, deposited my dishes, griped to another server and came out smiling. That's the way you play it, kill them with kindness.

It was my only sour table and won them over enough to eek out a barely fifteen percent tip. I got off before ten thirty and home from the grocery store by eleven.

Heading to bed feeling pretty good. Got lots of things to do and have done but know it will happen. It may not happen tomorrow, may not happen the next day...but it WILL happen!

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 So Far So Good

Do these new glasses make me look fat?

A lot has happened since I blogged last. The new year started and I limped through it sick as a dog. I finally went to the Doc N the box, got on antibiotics and it's like a whole new ballgame. I'm pretty lucky and usually only get sick about once every year or so. This time I let it go too long and felt like a pile of Ziggy's doo doo.

I'm eight days into my ten day course of antibiotics and feel like a whole new person. Yep I'm still skinny but feel so much better it isn't funny.

My oldest son came home from Australia after a year of living down under. He stopped off in LA and made it back after a few connecting flights.

Here's the thing. Now that the boys are grown, Tim, TJ and Zach all sound the same to me on the phone or even in the house.

Last night Zach left to go over to a buddy's house, Tim was gone so it was just me and the pups. Massey had left to go back to college on Wednesday. I was in our upstairs bedroom with Ziggy, the trouble maker. Ham and Charlie had free run of the house. I was eating chocolate ice cream out of the half gallon carton (finished it all) and watching yet another Law and Order marathon. I heard the front door open. Well, I didn't hear the door open but heard Ham and Charlie acting like a gaggle of cats had just run in and knew someone had come inside. I hollered to Zach to quit making the dogs bark when I heard "Hey it's me, TJ!"

What the hey! I knew he was back in the states but had told us it would be a while before he came to visit.

It was awesome to come out of my ice cream marathon and hug my boy's neck!

I had done laundry earlier and found a twenty in the dryer so I ordered Johnny's Pizza (still my favorite) and we sat and caught up. His bulldog, Charlie was as thrilled as he ever gets but knew who his daddy was and it was a wonderful reunion. TJ looks great, a bit scruffy but is still one handsome kid. I text Zach and told him his brother was home and he showed up as we were eating pizza. Zach made brownies for dessert and it was a night mommas live for.

We all watched a movie, Argo (highly recommend it) and was nice to have both my boys home.

I'm on the mend, TJ's back from down under and all's right with the (my) world.

Tim got home around eleven and once again I was happily surrounded by the testosterone I married and raised, with six dog's nuts thrown in for extra credit. I know Massey was ticked not to be here but she's off doing what she needs to do...making her own way in the world by getting an education.

What an excellent way to start my weekend!

Slept late, still not up to snuff and came downstairs to Zach and TJ together in the living room watching another movie together. Left for an early shift at work. TJ came into the restaurant to eat after dropping Zach off at work and it made me proud to introduce him to all the peeps I work with and told about him for the last year.

Had an excellent night at work and walked out with two Ben's in my pocket.

Came home late but both the boys were  watching some stupid movie (all super hero movies are stupid to a 54 year old woman)  and enjoying each other's company.

Life is good.

I know TJ will leave after the weekend and  may be a while before he comes back to visit. After all, he is my step son although he has been in my life longer than Zach or Massey and never consider him a "Step."

I know his own mom wants to see him too and have settled that battle years ago. TJ is lucky, he has two moms. I'm the one who didn't have to squeeze him out a hole the size of a dime. (Thank you Deann)

I'm lucky, I have three kids and a network of love that reaches far and wide.

The frigid weather has passed, my sickness has passed and  have all chicks back in the hen house albeit one is in downtown Atlanta.

As I read the news and think of people who live on the streets (the low was six degrees the other morning) I realize how lucky we truly are.

My kids used to complain about me keeping the thermostat on 68 in the winter. If you lived in a cardboard box under the bridge of an interstate, sixty eight would feel like the Caribbean.

Welcome to Club Cotton!

We're an all inclusive resort. Love is abundant, money is not. We do our best and Karma always comes our way. We get knocked down but God, family and friends always see us through. We keep on trying and are always rewarded. Sometimes we have to wait for an answer but the answer always comes, sometimes right in the nick of time.

I am one of the lucky ones...I am loved.

The rain is falling outside, thunder every once in a while. It lulls me to sleep and reminds me of Jackson Browne:
Loving the thunder, appreciating the rain and living for the rainbow.

Til next time...Cotton