Sunday, March 30, 2014

Another Good Bye

So I look like a geek. Who didn't in 1978?

I went to the funeral of a dear friend's husband today. I have known her since elementary school , we graduated from high school together and have kept in touch for over three decades.

This is how close us Russell grads remain. The above photo is from the East Point Historical Society. It's a pic of my cheer-leading megaphone. My aunt did the artwork, always did for as long as I can remember.

My high school was and IS extraordinary. We were considered the Poor high school. My husband graduated from the Rich one. My other friends graduated from our rival, Headland High School.

The thing about Russell peeps is ties bind deep. We all still get together, sometimes several times a year. My husband who graduated from the ritzy high school in our town went to a reunion with me one year. He is two years younger than me but remarked when we went in, "There are people here who graduated from your school before I was even born."

Yep, that's my school!

We are a heartfelt and dedicated bunch. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.

Today I attended the funeral of one of my school mate's husband. He was only two years older than me. He was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease a few years back. Unfortunately it is a diagnosis equal to an ultimate death sentence. My friend and her sons took great care of him and gave him everything they could to make his life comfortable, or as comfortable as ALS gets.

 I had to work the lunch shift at work but  told both my bosses I absolutely HAD to go to this funeral. I left at the last minute but  got there in time to speak to my friend before the service.

The place was packed. We sat like sardines on pews but as I said, us Russell peeps are close anyway. I sat between my good friend from high school, Stella and another buddy, Mac Duff. Another buddy, who we always called Baby Huey was next to him with Stella's sister in between.

I looked around the room and saw my past. Dozens and dozens of Russell peeps, all there to support another fellow Wildcat.

It was a wonderful service. A funeral ABOUT the person, not just some preacher trying to get a sermon in.

I am so blessed to have gone to a school where people not only remember you but love matter what.

People who went to our high school didn't have a lot of money but were certainly blessed beyond the wildest riches with love, friendship and compassion. We love each other and always will.

I know so many people , my husband included who forget who they went to school with. He still has two or three good friends he keeps in touch with...I have hundreds.

My friend, who lost the love of her life was surrounded today WITH her life, literally.

I can't think of a better tribute.

Far too young to be trapped by ALS but uplifted today by everyone who loved and WILL love him for years to come.

I hugged my high school friend today as I came into the funeral with minutes to spare. She told me she had read part of a blog I had written about her earlier. It had been late one night and were messaging each other when her husband had been diagnosed. Her response had been "I'm just not good with this end of life shit." (pardon the expression)

You know what? Yes she was. She's always been an amazing person. She wasn't a cheer leader in high school or an athlete. She let her sister be the athlete. My friend was simply, and still is just a rock and roll chick with a heart of gold.

I guess we met in second grade. That makes us friends since around 1966. That, my readers is what friendship is all about.

People who went to Russell High School, MY school...are the real deal. It's been over thirty five years for me and a lot longer for others but a crazy kind of bond  I am lucky enough to have.

We were a school of white, black, average income and lower income. We had a couple of well to do kids, but in our world...THEY were the outcasts.

We were a unit. We were a family and luckily still are.

It's going to be tough for her but at least not for her husband anymore.

I have full faith in our classmates. We'll check on her, we'll bother her but we'll all make sure she is okay.

"Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other one's gold."

I have casual friends, I have acquaintances, I have close friends, new friends and  have old friends. Older is always better in my book.

When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand
and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I'll be there, yeah, yeah,
you've got a friend.

If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow,
keep your head together and call my name out loud.
Soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I'll be there.

Hey, ain't it good to know that you've got a friend? People can be so cold.
They'll hurt you and desert you. Well, they'll take your soul if you let them,
oh yeah, but don't you let them.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call, Lord, I'll be there, yeah, yeah,
you've got a friend. You've got a friend.
Ain't it good to know you've got a friend. Ain't it good to know you've got a friend.
Oh, yeah, yeah, you've got a friend.

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Feeling Normal...For ME!

I woke up this morning and felt wonderful for the first time since my head injury. Tim fixed some toast and my favorite glass of Nestle Quik. Being delivered in bed made it even better!


I had to work at three thirty but left an hour early for work. Today was the owners wife's birthday. If you ask her, she's the owner and her spouse is the owner's husband. Sounds a lot like me and Tim. Actually we have a lot in common. She is ten years older than me and her husband is two years younger than her. Tim is two years younger than me and I feel ten years older.

She's a hard one to buy for so I took the safe route. I bought her a nice card and included two tickets for tonight's Power Ball drawing, ten scratch off tickets and even a penny to help her get started. I addressed the envelope to "Margaret Drysdale." That's what I call her, especially when I need her to float me a loan, which I do quite often. Guess I should really call her "Milburn."

Her birthday celebration always starts a couple of days in advance. Customers and friends who can't be there on her birthday start dropping off presents days in advance. Barb keeps them all by her
Queen "B" bar stool. She had vases of flowers, gift bags with earrings, necklaces, balloons tied to her chair and cards galore, all propped up on the bar.

Here's the thing about Barb. She's a pretty tough cookie to say the least. She's very demonstrative when talking to you and her little head shakes like a bobble head doll. She can be telling you about a sale at Kohl's but to others it appears she's dogging you out. (which she is, sometimes)

She grew up very poor and has never forgotten her humble start. She could pinch a penny til it screamed, and does. She can't abide waste in any form and keeps tabs on all money coming in and going out of the restaurant.

She acts like a Big Bad Bear, and often is. She also has a heart as big as the Atlantic and always willing to help ones who help themselves. Oh she may give you some grief about it first but if you need something, all you have to do is ask. If you're a slacker you can forget about it but if you're a hard worker, she'll always help. Trust me, I know first hand. Since I have worked for her (and the owner's husband) they have helped us out time and time again. I will say I have always paid her back in a timely manner but has saved our butt many times. She jokes about what terrible luck we have, even commenting today  "I don't know if YOU should be the one buying me lottery tickets, you have pretty horrible luck."

In her birthday card I wrote "Thanks for all your help, hope you have a great day and remember if you hit it big, take me with you!"

By seven the bar was overflowing with presents, flower arrangements, balloons and gift bags. I made this observation to my fellow co workers:

"Dang, the bar looks like a memorial on the side of a road when somebody gets hit by a car."

My night started out crappy. Had five ladies who obviously don't go out much. They ran me to death, talked down to me and demanded something every time I went to the table. I smiled and kow towed. When you're  server you simply never know and HAVE to treat every table the same. Needless to say they stiffed me on an almost eighty dollar tab and even shorted me on one of the separate checks. As they walked out I bit the bullet and thanked them for coming in and told them it had been my pleasure.

Here's the way Karma happens. Every other table I had the rest of the shift took excellent care of me and walked out at ten thirty with Franklin and a couple of his buddies.

Thank goodness I told the crappy women to come back to see us and be sure to ask for me. "My name's Martha."  (I didn't do that but have before)

My old head's feeling better and black eye is almost gone. It's kind of like being a server...sometimes you get a shiner but sometimes you get a crown. I shrugged off the crappy table, concentrated on making everyone ELSE happy and it all worked out for me.

So glad I survived my fall it's not even funny. Feeling better every day and know the harder I try, the more blessings we will receive.

You get what you give...I'm a firm believer in that.

Til next time...Conscious COTTON

Friday, March 28, 2014

Impatient Being a Patient

So the eye is healing up pretty good, wish the inside of my head would. The dizzy spells only come sporadically now but just feel zapped of energy twenty four/ seven.

Yesterday was my day off. I woke up around nine and felt pretty good. I took Zach to work then went by the grocery store. I got home around noon and sat down to watch the news. I stayed on the sofa until four. I started out sitting up but by two was horizontal. Tim and TJ left for work and at least I sat up to say goodbye.

Around six I got up to make something to eat. Opening that can of Spaghettios and waiting the three and a half minutes for them to heat up in the nuclear-wave exhausted me once again.

Around seven I decided to MAKE myself get up and do something useful. I did some vacuuming and laundry. I even mopped the kitchen. By ten I felt like it was well past midnight.

The boys came home from work and I was snug in my bed with my pup, Ham.

This morning I woke up around eight and ate a bowl of cereal Zach brought me, still in bed. I stayed horizontal again until almost two.

I got up when I had to get ready for work. I went into work at four and by nine thirty was exhausted again.

I'm just ready to feel normal again. I used to come home from work close to midnight and stay up until at least two. I'd wake up the next morning and feel fine after five hours of sleep.

I've never had a concussion before and certainly don't want to ever experience another one. It depletes your brain power or at least that is the way I feel.

Hopefully I will start feeling back to normal. I feel like a lazy bum but simply can't shake the tired, worn out feeling.
This is the way I normally feel:

Lately I've been feeling more like this:

On one hand I DO feel a bit better every day. On the other hand, I'm tired of waiting to feel a LOT better.

I need to count my blessings. I took a pretty hard knock to the head and at least am able to write about it. The first morning I woke up after splitting my head open, almost had my son call 911. I didn't experience dizzy spells, I experienced a feeling I've never had before and thought I may have reached the end of the road.

Lucky for me, I survived so guess I need to quit griping about how long it is taking for me to get back to feeling like myself again.

It's after midnight now so of course feel like it's four in the morning. Maybe this knock on the head was God's way of saying to slow down a bit.

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Slowly But Surely


 Number one, how do battered women hide their scars long enough for them to heal? And number two, boxing should be outlawed.

This is almost two weeks later AND with make up. I suppose it's a lot better than the first picture...
Although I looked beat up , my face was so swollen I looked at least ten pounds heavier (always look for the bright side) and that's a good thing.

The spins have finally pretty much gone away along with the dizzy feeling but find it hard to concentrate sometimes.

I was at work last night standing by the service bar. It was late and the owner was watching boxing on the big screen. Little Asian guy versus tall lanky Black dude. I would have bet on the tall guy thinking he had more reach. Third round and the little Asian hit him square in the jaw. The black dude hit the mat like I hit the kitchen floor. You could tell from his eyes he wasn't getting up anytime soon. (even the announcer said so)

It almost made me sick to think people do this for a living. My former brother in law started boxing when he was five and a Golden Gloves Champ by the age of seventeen. He died from Alzheimer's by the time he was in his early fifties. You can't tell me all those blows to his head helped.

I've been pretty lucky over the years. Ear infections, sinus infections, Strep throat...just the usual illnesses.

These past few years I've suffered from old waitress pain. Bad knees, bum shoulders and aching back. Nothing a hot bath or beer or two couldn't temporarily fix.

This knock to the noggin has thrown me for a loop. I used to come home from work and stay up til two in the morning putzing around the house or blogging. I'd wake up around nine and feel fine.

Since my head injury I can't wait to get home and simply go horizontal.

My brother in law laughed at me when I told him I had consulted a retired professional wrestler at work about my concussion. He comes in several times a week with his wife and is one of our regulars. I figured he knew as much about concussions as anybody...and seems he did.

He told me I'd be tired and sometimes confused, even after the dizzy spells started to subside for up to a month or more. He told me I may have migraines later on. So far his diagnosis has been Spot On.

Not looking forward to a migraine but at least feel like I'll live now.

It reminds me of when my daughter was about four and Santa brought her a medical kit for Christmas. She was all excited and wanted to use it so I volunteered as a patient. I lay on the couch as she crammed the plastic thermometer in my mouth and gave me a fake shot in the arm. She asked me how I felt to which I replied "Not so good Doctor. Will I live?"

She looked me straight in the eye as she took my pulse and solemnly said "Yes, you will live. You will live with your family."

I guess my daughter AND the former wrestler were right.

Patience isn't my forte but guess it needs to be for a while.

I actually cooked dinner tonight, something I haven't done since my fall.

As The Beatles sang, "It's getting better all the time."

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Fall From Grace (not)

It's been a long time since I haven't blogged in over a week, but here's my justification:
Last Sunday night I went to let the two big dogs in the back kitchen door. When it's raining or muddy out I leave a beach towel on the kitchen floor going from the back door to the rug by the table to try and get the dog's paws a bit cleaner, since they have yet to learn how to use the door mat. Guess who the door mat was last Sunday night?  They came bounding in swiping the towel to the side and got the entire floor sopping wet. One nudge on my back side from one of them and fell head first into the kitchen table. I woke up on the floor, saw the blood and knew it wasn't good. Tim came into the kitchen to find me on my hands and knees trying to wipe up the mess with a dish towel. Zach came in next and freaked out. "Mom! You're bleeding like crazy!"

I poo-pooed them both, trudged up the steps to the couch and collapsed. If I had to hear Zach say how deep the cut was one more time I was going to throw up. I held a dish rag on it while he went to the store for a first aid kit. (at least now we have one)

He cleaned it up pretty good and applied antibiotic ointment before closing the cut with two butterfly bandages. Within one hour my face was already swelling and my eye turning black. He got me an ice pack (at least we had one) and stayed with me until about five in the morning so I wouldn't go to sleep. We watched Breaking Bad, episode after episode after episode. Around dawn I told him to go upstairs and get some sleep.

He came downstairs to check on me around ten. I lifted my head to look at him and experienced the most bizarre dizzy spill I've ever had. Needless to say I've never had a concussion but sure know what one feels like now! It was like I was in an old reel to reel movie and the film got stuck. The room spun around me again and again and again, and all I had done was lift my head off the pillow. I almost told him to call 911 but when I lay back down the spinning subsided. Around noon I called work and said I didn't think I'd make it in three.

Needless to say I remained on the couch for almost two days. I was okay unless I turned to my other side. Whenever I did, the spinning started again. I think (no, KNOW) Tim and the boys were a LOT more worried than I wanted them to be but took excellent care of their chief cook and bottle washer.

Day three:
I had to call out of work again on Tuesday, I couldn't even function the remote control for the TV. TJ came home from work around nine and asked what I was watching? I said "Whatever has been on this channel the past eight hours."

They made me food, they brought me water with bendable straws and they checked on me constantly. Guess ole Momma done raised 'em right after all. That, or either they were terrified of having to fend for themselves after my funeral.

On Wednesday I managed to go back to work. It was a day shift during the week so at least was a moderately slow shift. I walked in the door at ten thirty to open. The owner took one look at me and said "Good for Tim!" Of course he was kidding and if it hadn't hurt so freaking much I would have laughed.

I got off around four, went home and immediately got in my bed. I was already scheduled to have the next day off and took it! For two more days I lay in bed trying to get my bearings and move as little as possible. Ham, my biggest pup stayed right by me on the bed, never moving more than five inches from me.

By Friday morning I felt well enough to actually put on clothes and sit upright. I still had dizzy spells  but were less frequent. Of course I should have gone to the emergency room on Sunday night when it happened but OF COURSE I didn't. That's all we needed, a freaking hospital bill. Zach got the bleeding to stop and anyway there's nothing to be done about a concussion except exactly what I did...Rest.

One good thing I discovered was it took me half the time to get ready for work, I only had to put makeup on one side of my face. The other side was plenty colorful.

Friday night was a bit hairy. It's a lot busier than a week day morning shift and was a lot harder to concentrate. I must applaud my co workers, they were tremendously helpful. I was walking out of the kitchen with only one small salad bowl in my hand and for some reason simply dropped it right on top of a rack of glasses. My friend, Catie said "Go on, I got this mess." My reflexes were slow and sometimes forgot what I was doing but they all helped me muddle through.

One thing is for sure, I've never had my clock cleaned like this before and hopefully not ever again. You know it's bad when I'm more worried about surviving than missing work shifts.

So look at me today, well over a week later! "Smashing" may be the more appropriate word.

Yesterday my niece got married and I was forced to go out in public without being paid to do so. I refused to be in the wedding pictures. That's just what I need, to look like this forever in someone's wedding photo album.

I let a few people take pics with their phones, with me coyly turning my head to the said like "Aw, shucks don't take my picture!"

 Look how good I did!
Lauren was a beautiful bride and I didn't know many of the people besides my own in laws so the stares didn't bother me.
I know Tim feels like everyone thinks "He" hit me. No wonder his smile looks so fake. I didn't post anything on social networking until I finally went out to the grocery store and saw several peeps who knew me. My daughter was in Destin for Spring Break and didn't want to scare her. When I posted a pic of my injury a lot of people made cute little comments about Tim hitting me. One of his golf buddies came to my defense with the comment "Nope, Tim's a Lefty."

Here's me with another Bro N Law. By the time we left the wedding I had a crick in my neck from tilting as far to the left as In could.
At least I got a good pic of TJ and Massey...notice no tilting!

Now here's a keeper! Left to right. Tim's brother, Andy, his brother, Joel (who obviously missed the memo about wedding attire) then my handsome husband (AKA wife beater) then his dad, looking pretty good for almost eighty. Then there's another of Tim's brothers, James (father of the bride) and lastly, my boy, TJ.

I was subjected to one more photo but at least it was far enough away. Maybe it just looks like shadows. This is Tim, Massey, TJ and me with my in laws. TJ looks like he wants to be a River Dancer, don't he?

I feel blessed to have survived at all this past week. I poo-pooed it when it happened but knew it wasn't "Poo-pooable." (That's just what momma's do)

I still come home from work and climb into bed. I still take it easy. I may be slow but I'm not THAT stupid.

Here's the real tragedy.

This is a photo of a girl I've known since early elementary through high school and kept in contact with Via reunions, get togethers and sometimes funerals.

She married her high school sweetheart. They had a family and great life together. A few years ago he was diagnosed with ALS. The past couple of years he lost his ability to walk, speak or take care of his own needs. My friend, his wife did it all for him. He died the other day. Not from a knock in the head but from a simple twist of fate.

My friend, Becky never wavered, never complained simply loved her man til death they did part. The nearest she ever came to complaining was in a private message to me late one night. It simply read "I'm no good at this end of life shit."

I beg to differ. She stuck by her man, she loved her man and had to say goodbye to her soul mate.

All I had was a knock on the head.

Once again  am reminded how blessed we are. So I took a licking and kept on ticking. My friend's husband didn't have that option.

Trust me, until it spills and evaporates completely, your glass is always half full.

Til next time, COTTON

Saturday, March 15, 2014

How Crazy Is This?

So I'm working on Saturday night at the restaurant. It's hopping and so am I. I started off with a bachelorette  party of fourteen at four and keep running all through the dinner shift. I had four older folks sit at one of my tables around seven.  Two married couples most probably in their late sixties. One of the men looked familiar but when you've been waiting tables in the same general area for over thirty years that's usually it. I asked him where he worked and replied he was retired from the GBI (that would be the Georgia Bureau of Investigation) but also said he has eaten in our restaurant often.

So begins another crazy server story...

I asked if he had worked for them in the early eighties? Yep, he did.

So this is me talking to my customer:

"I know this sounds crazy but there was a restaurant back in the seventies and eighties called "Steak and Ale." I worked at the one on Virginia Ave by the old Atlanta airport in 1980. We wore short plaid skirts with low cut peasant blouses and black tights. I was on the way to work one day and had a flat tire on the ramp of the interstate. I was only twenty at the time so thought nothing about getting out of the car in my uniform to change a tire, or at least attempt to. Cars whizzed by but finally a dark sedan pulled over behind me. A black man in suit and tie got out. He told me to move over out of the way and proceeded to change my tire for me. He was such a nice guy but chastised me for getting out of the car in my current attire. When  finished with the tire he handed me his business card and said if I ever needed help to call him. Sounds crazy but after thirty four years still remember his name, maybe you knew him. His name was Moses Ector."

My customer looked quite surprised and said "In fact I do know him, he's the reason my wife and I are married. He introduced us over thirty five years ago."

Number one, how crazy is it I remember a GBI agent's name after all this time and number two, how crazy is it I would be waiting on his friend thirty four years later and this conversation come up?

His wife had gone to the restroom but when she came back was just as shocked as us!

She even gave me more enlightenment about my flat tire hero. Yes, they were still friends with him. He had grown up in the small town of Hogansville about ten miles south of where we live. He was raised by a white couple who had literally found him abandoned in a wicker basket. They name him Moses, Touche'!

How ironic that our paths crossed yet again tonight, thirty four years later. I asked if he still stayed in touch with Moses and he does. I told him to ask Moses if he remembered helping a fair young maiden on the interstate one day in 1980!

I have a lot of aches and pains but the one good thing I have left is an excellent memory.

It is truly a small, small world. It's a world full of rage , dishonesty and despair but if you try hard enough can always find a silver lining...I found one tonight. I hope this couple comes back in to eat one night along with their friend; my flat tire hero, Moses. Wouldn't that be really cool?

Til next time... COTTON

Friday, March 14, 2014

Full Moon Fever

I'm a firm believer in Full Moon Madness. It brings out the crazy in people. Sunday is the official full moon but it's pretty close to being full tonight.

I had an awesome day. Started early and by noon had chores done and dinner cooking in the stove. Work was insane tonight. I was talking with the owner tonight after we closed. Sales for this night were up fifty percent from this date last year.

I had a party of thirty with another server, a wedding rehearsal. We work well together and it  went smooth as silk. The mother of the groom  was paying and seemed very pleased. She let us add an 18% gratuity and kicked in a Franklin extra for us. NICE!

I had a couple of folks who were flat out crazy but at least they tipped well. Had one table of Europeans...Rut Row. There's nothing a server dreads more than hearing a European accent. Overseas, servers are considered professionals and make a much higher wage. On top of that most places there automatically add gratuity . The bill was $136.00 and they left me eleven bucks. Of course they did say I did an outstanding job and made their night. Compliments are great but hard to pay a mortgage with. At least they were pleasant peeps. It's worse when they are horrible guests AND don't tip. Made it up on the rehearsal dinner but didn't walk out of the restaurant until after midnight, feeling like I was coming down with the ancient Chinese disease, "Dragon Ass."

I've been really digging having two days in a row off each week. I can't remember the last time I did, it was probably when in my teens.

I've gotten my house so clean, can actually answer the door without peeking out the upstairs window first. The laundry stays caught up and little details usually neglected get done on a weekly basis. It's amazing how happy clean doors and baseboards can make you feel. My kitchen looks marvelous from the makeover my sister gave it and everyone in the house knows I'm a freak about keeping it spotless now.

I've been going room by room, detailing. Ceiling fans...used to just always keep them on so you couldn't see how filthy the blades were. Guess what? That's right, every one of them are clean now. I've been cleaning the junk drawer, in other words every drawer in the house. I've cleaned out closets and cleaned out under cabinets.

I even did my nails last night, something I haven't done in four months. I still haven't shaved my legs but the prickly hairs  help my socks stay up. I think the last time I shaved them was when we moved Massey into her college dorm last August. I'm going to need a chain when I do.

I've scrubbed walls and toilets. I've cleaned light fixtures I forgot were clear. I've cleaned every window sill in my house and washed curtains that were most probably feeling extremely neglected, because they were.

I've pruned my out of control rose bush and  the garage can now actually hold a car without having to walk sideways to the kitchen door. Pictures and bookshelves have been dusted and have even had the time to start reading again. I haven't read a book in three months and usually read one every week or so.

All three of my kids are gainfully employed and my two sons still living at home have started really helping us out, financially and physically. They have started cleaning  brush from the back of our yard where woods at the back of our property are trying to take over and shrinking our yard every year.

They kick in for a bill when hear me lamenting about something being late or overdo. Massey got a job on campus and makes enough we don't have to send her spending money.

All in all it is, as The Beatles said "Getting better all the time."

Tim's still looking for full time work but thanks to the tipping gods, my family and kids are staying afloat and Momma can take two days off a week.

I could still work seven days a week and lose my sanity but it's not like those two extra days will solve all our problems and the relief I feel when  Tuesday night's shift ends and know I have until Friday for myself is SO worth it, it's not even funny.

I've had horrible back problems for a few weeks but Tim has shown me how to stretch and feels much better. I just have to be consistent, do it every day and use the heating pad and ice pack alternatively. Another server (yes a young one) said "Don't you think going a chiropractor would help?"

I told her I was sure it would, but stretching every day is free and already own a heating pad AND icepack.

 I think about my life at the age of almost fifty four. I'm officially past middle age unless I live to be a hundred and eight.

Talk about depressing!

You know what? If I die tomorrow, will have died a happy woman. I have a husband and kids who love me. I have fantastic sibs and a great job....AND I have two days off a week.

I have the whole Full Moon weekend to work and are usually major banking days.

Even if they aren't,  feel so frisky and well rested  I really don't even worry about it anymore.

Que Sera, Sera.

What will be will be.

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Who Says You Can't Go Home Again?

My childhood home is on the market. My sister called me recently,  told me and sent me the Realtor's link.

It still looks pretty good on the outside, much the same as when my sister finally sold it almost twenty years ago. The virtual tour is quite a different story.

The house I grew up in was always busy with folks, friends and family. It was the "Go To" house in our neighborhood and everyone was always welcomed. Mama was usually always either in the kitchen cooking or on her sewing machine. She was a pretty great cook but a near professional seamstress.

My sister told me she had a hard time knowing which rooms were which in some of the pictures so I took a look for myself.

For Pete's Sake...what a mess. Click on the pictures to make them larger.
Okay, here's the living room. Looks like someone forgot to pick up before the photo shoot or move the bicycle outside,and what's that hunk of junk sitting in front of the fireplace? (next to the cheap patio table with the cheap egg crate on top)

I mean the room looks okay, seems freshly painted but have never seen a room in such disarray for staging a  house to put on the market.

Just wait, it gets worse.
Here's the other half of the living room, also known as "The front end of the bicycle." The hardwood floors still look nice but my eyes were drawn to all the junk on yet another table. The curtains in the background are hung in the small hallway between our living room and dining room with built in book cases on either side. I wasn't too sure why they curtained off the dining room until I saw what they had done to our dining room.
It appears Elvis IS still alive and living in the dining room of my former childhood home. Click on the photo to enlarge. Is that the Realtor's briefcase on Elvis' sofa or did they just think it made a homey touch? How about the weather stripping curled up on the arm of Elvis' sofa or all the loose wires under the end table with the huge urn? From the looks of the coffee table the shoot interrupted a tea party for the Queen. Don't even get me started on the random two mis spaced and crooked pictures over Elvis' couch.

Here's my mama's breakfast nook where we ate all our meals. Not sure what they did to the wall but  could have moved the Happy Meal bag and popcorn bowl off the table. Maybe they could have put it underneath with the water bottles.

I'm not saying the house looks bad, it just looks messy. My house is messy a lot of the time but if I was trying to sell it would be spic and span and everything put away, or at least hidden in a closet.

The kitchen has a beautiful black and white tile floor but for some reason there is an Oriental carpet covering most of it. I'm not sure they could fit one more box on top of the refrigerator and for Pete's sake, put the dishwashing AND dishwasher liquid under the sink please.
We spent a lot of time in this kitchen as kids growing up and was nice to see it again but my mama kept it sparkling clean and neat as a pin. Not too sure what she would say about all the clutter.

Now it gets interesting.
It took me a while but finally figured out this was my parent's former bedroom. I think the Pelligrino bottle on the headboard is a nice touch, not to mention the reflection of the photographer in the mirror, in desperate need of cleaning. If we had made our beds this sloppily as kids she would make us do it over...and we weren't staging the bed for anything other than us to get back in it that night.

Okay, you gotta be kidding me on this one. It's my brother's old room which turned into a den when my sister got married. Are you telling me the Realtor didn't say "Can you pull those towels off the closet door and maybe throw a comforter over the mattress with no sheets after you clean all the junk off the bed?"

Here's the way they advertised my old a storage room for more junk. I find it hard to believe a professional Realtor would have even taken this picture, and what is the huge white contraption leaning against the window on the right, behind all the piles of boxes and crates?

This USED to be my parent's bathroom. Once again we see the photographer in the mirror. Maybe it's to keep your eyes from the hair dryer on the toilet seat or all the electrical wiring hanging from the shelf which is above the toilet  with the bottle of cleaner on it. And here's a tip: if your shower curtain is missing hooks just push it all to one side so it's not apparent. Sheesh!!

Moving on to us kid's bathroom. Looks like we're out of toilet paper and somebody forgot to put their washcloth in the hamper again. Doesn't look like the floor got scrubbed but guess the toilet did, leaving the scrub brush on the window sill.

This was my sister's upstairs bedroom off the finished attic. Not a particularly clever way to showcase a large bonus room...unless you are a hoarder. But wait a minute! Look on the chair! There's that missing roll of toilet paper we needed in the bathroom  downstairs, what a relief.

Could there BE any more junk in this picture and what in heaven's name were they thinking when they took it?

Here's the one good shot...the built in book cases between our living and dining rooms. There is one on each side of the hallway.

Here's our now pink and brown original mantel and fireplace. I like the brown but looks like they needed some painter's tape and what the hey are those lights strung across the fire screen?

I always loved our big front porch, still do. My mama would be so mad the flower boxes are peeling. We had four massive boxes made of concrete, two across the front and on each side.

We grew up on a quiet peaceful street and at least that doesn't seem to have changed. All in all the house looks great, just in need of some organization and cleaning.

It's almost like this guy doesn't want to sell it from the look of these pictures. I have a friend who is a REAL Realtor and going to make an appointment for my sister and me to go look at the house. My sister has the wild idea of buying and returning it to its former glory.

Guess I better go buy that lottery ticket!

I'd love to save the house, and who knows what the future will bring? It was amazing growing up in that house, so full of love and laughter. Now it's just full of junk.

Who says you can't go home again? We'll just see about that!

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Wonderful Weekend

Had all three kiddos home again this weekend. When the above ages they fought like cats and dogs but now genuinely like each other. This pleases a momma.

My kids have been through so many different stages. TJ was just a toddler when I met Tim. This is TJ two years later at our wedding, dapper in his little bow tie.
I didn't have Zach til TJ was about six or seven so practiced on TJ for a while to get my momma feet wet. Sometimes I did okay and sometimes it was an epic fail...see picture below:
You'll have to click on the picture to make it larger to see the look on his face. We went to Florida with my sister and her two boys who were a couple of years older than TJ. I thought it would be a great idea to have our picture taken on the balcony of the condo. We were only on the second floor. Seems TJ didn't really take a shine to my idea and was terrified. It looks like I am choking him but assure you I wasn't. TJ was a very sensitive little kid. He would cry when his man "Got kilt" while playing Nintendo's Mario and Luigi. That used to make Tim so mad. He was always a sweet kid  and thankfully survived my lack of parenting skills as well as harassment from his two older newly acquired cousins, who were rough and tumble as they come.

I remember one time we were doing something together and was chanting old high school chants and cheers. I started "U-G-L-Y, You ain't got no alibi, You UGLY, yeah yeah, you ugly!" TJ immediately started crying, sobbing through his tears, "I am NOT  ugly!"

 For Pete's sake, I was just kidding. My bad.

Seven years later, enters Zachary. I always loved this pic of him in a bubble bath. He had a totally different personality from TJ's and always marched to the beat of a different drum.

I remember one time when playing a Spy he had on the funniest outfit, and yes I took a picture. (telling him he looked so cool)

Notice where his tie is clipped! TJ never caused me a minute's worry when he was a little kid.  Zach was constantly getting stitches or getting into ridiculous situations. He has a sense of humor like mine but a brilliant mind I WISH was like mine.

 This was the time he took the outfit off Massey's My Size Barbie. Boy, that one made Massey furious!
Zach's always been a thinker. He hasn't always made good decisions but can tell you anything you want to know about pretty much most everything. He built his own first computer. He knows tons about history and science. He knows the components for an atom bomb and can weigh in on most any conversation. I left for work one day when he was younger and my next door neighbor who worked for the FAA stopped me. He said he was washing his car the day before and Zach came over to talk. He said "Your boy knows more about the Airbus than I do, and I work for the FAA. He's a pretty smart kid!"
I wish he used that fascinating brain a little more often but will come in handy for sure!

Then along came Massey.

On the morning of August nineteenth I arrived at the hospital by ambulance at four AM. I think she was born at four twenty. I should have known then I was in for a lot of drama with this one! After a two week stay she came home with us and has been ruling the roost ever since.
For the first four years she was so quiet I thought they had given me the wrong baby. She was the prettiest little thing with adorable curly hair and everybody doted on her. 
My sister's oldest son adored Massey and had all the patience in the world with her. He was probably about  thirteen or fourteen at the time. We used to all go on vacation to the beach together every summer. Casey (my nephew) was sitting in a chair in the living room of the house we rented one summer watching ESPN  when little Massey wandered over and climbed up in his lap. He put the remote down and started talking to her in a sweet voice asking her questions and making a big to-do over her. After a few minutes she simply got up and wandered off to another part of the room. Little Zach was probably six or seven and a wiry little monkey. He noticed the vacancy Massey had left and ran over in his little Power Ranger briefs to climb up in Casey's lap for his turn. Casey abruptly shoved him off by smacking him on the chest and roughly saying "Get OFF me BOY!" Zach just turned and went elsewhere. Yes, Massey was the princess and Zach was the court jester.
For the most part they all got along pretty well.

TJ was a good big brother to Zach and Massey had everyone else wrapped around her finger tight as one of her curly locks of hair.
TJ is six years older than Zach , which is a big gap when you're kids. TJ left home after his freshman year at college and they started to all drift apart.

For a few years Zach went through a rough patch and often wondered if he'd make it. He did but it wasn't easy...for any of us and especially him.
He made some mistakes but paid for them. What's even better is he LEARNED from them. The past two years he has turned his life around and is making tremendous strides.
TJ moved to Australia for a year and doing what I wish I'd done when in my twenties. Explore the world and travel. He's heading to New Zealand  in December for another year abroad.
These three kids have given me so many sweet memories, funny stories to tell and yes even a few tears but  wouldn't change a thing even if I could.
It seems like last week I was taking them to skate night or the tee ball field. Children are an incredible adventure, investment and reality check. When you have kids, perspectives and values totally change all for the better if you do it even remotely right. You'll go through tough times, everyone does. You learn about yourself when you have the responsibility of raising another human being.

I've never been the best parent but have always loved my kids and think I've done okay. At least they are all still alive. I'm not being funny but totally serious. I bet at least ten friends of my kid's aren't. Some died from cancer or other illness. A couple died in car accidents. One was murdered. A few fell into battles with addiction and lost. Things like this simply didn't happen when I was a kid and if they did were an extremely rare occurrence.

 Being a parent, especially a mother is a privilege. Your kid comes out of your body a clean slate. It's up to you what to write on it and to teach them how to use it in a positive way.

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be...

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I'll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me....

And if, by chance, that special place
That you've been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love.

I know, how ironic to use lyrics from a Whitney Houston song...but are pretty spot on.

I had wonderful parents and an awesome childhood. Just hope my kids look back one day and feel the same way.

Til next time...MOMMA COTTON