Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Let The Party Begin

Made it home from work just after the stroke of midnight. Excellent way to start my birthday if you ask me!

Quick story about my ride to International today on the Sardine Shuttle. Working at the airport is certainly entertaining and there's never a dull day. Today was no exception.

I made it to the MARTA platform just as the train was pulling in and less than five minutes later was seated on the Sardine Shuttle. It was almost full but made it on. I took out my phone , checked my email and messages and sent a couple of messages as well. I could hear an Asian woman talking kinda loudly and her voice droned on and on as I was looking at my phone. I figured she must be excited about her trip abroad and was chatting with her fellow traveler. As we got closer to the terminal I closed my phone and drank all the water out of my water bottle so I could take it through security with me. I looked across the aisle from me and noticed who had been (and still was) talking so loud and animatedly in what sounded like Mandarin or "Chineekin."

The woman had on an airport uniform and was sitting right by the luggage rack. She was facing away from everyone else and seemed to speaking to the roof of the bus. The man next to her was simply staring at the floor of the bus and obviously wasn't with her. I noticed the young black girl (also an employee) seated next to me was trying not to laugh. I leaned over , whispered to her and asked if the woman had a blue tooth on? The girl started to giggle even more and shook her head no as the little Asian woman kept on ranting into the air. I asked who she was even talking to and the young girl said "Herself , she does it all the time."

You gotta be kidding me? We were almost to the International terminal, a twelve minute ride and she had been talking loudly the entire way, and still was.

I asked the young girl to move her purse off her lap so I could video this insanity. That made the young girl laugh out loud and quickly covered her face.

The older Asian woman was still chatting up a storm...with NO ONE!

Several passengers had also noticed and looked almost frightened.

I took out my cell again and put it on video. I held it straight at the woman (who never even looked at me) and she continued to ramble on in her native tongue.

I filmed for at least an entire minute before hitting the stop button.

The young girl next to me was literally cracking up and all the passengers were now just simply staring at the woman. It didn't bother the woman one bit, she continued to ramble the entire ride.

She had on a uniform for the the peeps who load food onto the planes.

I told the young girl sitting next to me, now wiping tears away that she could check in on Facebook in five minutes , I'd have it posted in no time on my wall.

We pulled into the terminal to get off and the woman was still talking loudly to NO ONE.

I've never seen passengers scramble off the shuttle so quickly.

The young girl and I walked in together and the she said "Oh, you'll see her on the shuttle all the time rambling to herself."

What kind of crazies are they hiring?

I know it doesn't take a rocket scientist to roll a cart of food onto a plane but would think her constant loud rambling would wave some kind of red flag.

I got to the restaurant and checked my phone in the back hallway.

Of course I hit the wrong button and only took a seven second video of my knees but trust me, next Wednesday I'll be looking for ole Looney Tunes on the shuttle and be ready to film it!

Work went great although ending up to be a really long shift and didn't get off til eleven.

Like the champ I now am, made the eleven twenty MARTA train back to the College Park station and was home by my birthday shortly after midnight.

So I'm now another year older.

Won't lie, it's been a tough year.

It feels good to be "Living" again!

Got home from work and Massey had cleaned my kitchen from top to bottom. (no small feat for MY Chica)

 She also bought me a huge bouquet of Sunflowers, renewed my Barnes and Noble membership card and bought me another Paulo Coelho book. (the author of 'The Alchemist')

So by now it's after one thirty.

 Doing what momma does. I'm folding one last load of laundry and having a drinky poo.

Headed over to my "Sista's" on my big day off for lunch with Massey and some of my sister's friends, then coming home and collapsing until Friday when  head back to Mama Lucia's for my weekly performance.

It feels wonderful to be loved!

Ain't THAT the truth?

So we haven't had a lot of money but have been flooded with love.

Guess that means we're RICH!

Thanks for following my journey and allowing me to share it with you.

I never thought at the tender age of fifty four would be starting over but am. At least I have Love backing me. That's a pretty powerful advantage!

Til next time...An Older COTTON

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Long Day...But Good

Got to the Marta station this morning and squeezed my borrowed little truck into a space pretty close to the station considering it was a week day battling "Nine to Fiver's" headed into Atlanta for work. I bet I pulled up and backed out ten times before I finally slipped into the spot....and was driving a little Ford Ranger.

I guess whoever designed the parking lots at Marta stations never drove a car bigger than a Ford Pinto. Finally feeling secure  I was straight enough into the spot got, out and made it to the train platform just as my next ride whizzed to a stop. Five minutes later I was actually allowed to climb aboard the Sardine Shuttle even though the "Suitcases" (that's what I call the passengers) were lined up fifteen deep behind me. Sometimes I think the lazier drivers want to leave them by the curb with their HUGE bags hoping they will turn around, go back into the terminal and take the Plane Train to the International Terminal while they take the rest of us over on the shuttle, never even having to get out of their driver's seat or lift a heavy bag onto the shuttle.  Works for me!

Yep, it's gonna be another good day.

Worked until three and then had to go to a Fifth Group orientation for new employees. I wasn't looking forward to it, between three and four thirty is when I make most of my money but was required to go. It had been slow and was beginning to pick up quite a bit but still made over $150 so felt better about having to go. The down side was the meeting was from three to six.

Jeez, I'm already a Brain Surgeon...were they going to make me a Nuclear Physicist now too?

The orientation was given by the executive chef of Fifth Group, a woman I met early on in my original training period and hit it off with.  There were only four of us in the three o'clock meeting. She had fried chicken tacos, guacamole, salsa, queso and tortillas brought in for us from The Original El Taco to eat and immediately felt better about it.

I love an "Eatin Meetin!"

Basically it was to familiarize us with Fifth Group's concept and "Vision Statement."

She's an extremely smart woman and not only was I fed (always love free food) but totally enlightened.

Their Vision Statement seemed more like "Words to live by" to me. (Literally)

Here's just a few which really struck me.

"We must practice honesty and and sincerity, by doing so, we honor the diversity in people and are respectful of others in our interactions."

"We must actively pursue and embrace the progressive development of new knowledge, understanding and skills and not be reluctant to accept new times, trends and opportunities."

"We must be philanthropic by sharing our time, knowledge , experience and, when necessary, our money. By taking ownership and being self-accountable, we will  perpetuate goodwill with the people with whom we interact and the communities in which we operate."

"Passionately move people and provide the opportunity to experience joy."

Okay, maybe the really young girl sitting next to me didn't get it and thought it was hokey...or as my daughter would say "Totes boring" but fascinated me.

I came out three hours later, belly full and feeling slightly brain washed, but in a good way!

So I got a new job.

Sometimes, most of the time... it  is a pain in my butt getting to and from and a few of the TSA make it feel like I'm trying to sneak into the Oval Office with a rocket launcher or with a bomb hidden in the sole of  my Dansko.

But eight weeks after starting this new tedious gig, ALL our bills are not just caught up but rapidly diminishing.

Yeah it's great to have this chance to make Phat money but all my thanks go the The Big Guy upstairs. At times, I thought in the back of my mind maybe He was getting Alzheimer's too but turns out He just wanted me to realize nothing in life is guaranteed.

Take life for granted and you will end up sorely disappointed.

Take life by the horns, and although may be a struggle, will be rewarded... maybe not as soon as we'd hoped but we're not on our own time clock. We're on His.

Crashing into bed, can sleep til nine and then get up and do it all again.

Beats the alternative of NOT waking up and having another chance.

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, July 28, 2014

Leaps Tall Buildings in a Single Bound

Had an excellent day at work. Pulled into the MARTA lot and cruised past the entrance to the train station. Like a gift from heaven a TSA worker came out, walked ten feet to the first parking space and got in his car to leave.

BINGO!  It's gonna be a good day! Made it to the Sardine Shuttle with not only thirty minutes to spare but a friendly driver to boot.


Around five one of the server's came walking to one of my tables leading a man to it. She remarked "Look who I've got for you, Kelly!"

I kinda thought that was a strange thing to say but went over and greeted him. I got him a beer and took his order. I went to get some bread for him when the server told me he had asked for me by name. I had never seen this man before in my life! Then she said "I asked him how he knew you, because I'm nosy and he said he reads your blog."


When I took the bread back out to him I asked how he knew me? Seems he grew up in East Point where I did, went to a neighboring high school and in fact DOES read my blog. That's crazy!!

We have lots of friends in common and it was really nice chatting with him as he ate. He was headed for London and wanted to come by to check out the restaurant.  Super nice guy, left me a fifty percent tip and made my day even MORE excellent!!  I knew that TSA guy at MARTA was a good omen!

Yesterday I was talking with the young host at the host stand. He's a cute kid, probably only twenty or twenty one. I first met him during training when had to do a shift at the host stand. He has a good sense of humor and thinks I'm hysterical. (very smart kid)

I commented that it amazed me how many times when a customer is leaving and  say "Have a good trip" to them,  about every other one will automatically say "You too!"  They probably walk away and think what a stupid thing that was to say (at least I do) but is just a knee jerk reaction response.

I told the young host sometimes I feel like when they say it I should get a startled look on my face , take my glasses off, peer at them with eyes wide open in shock and say "Can you really TELL I'm Tripping...does it show?  Man, I just put some Visine in my eyes too!"

My buddy from the host stand thought that was hilarious...then again so did I. (I'm easily amused by my quick wit)

I was telling him the other day we should pair up and go on the road together, he could be my straight guy.

We were both at the stand out front one day when the PM dishwasher came in for work.

Number one, I wouldn't wish the job on my worst enemy. By the time they get there the AM dishwasher has been gone for an hour or so and dishes are sometimes piled up so high you can't even stack another dish.

I told my buddy at the host stand if that was my job, they'd have to drag me to work in leg irons and chain me to the machine back there . But this guy shows up every day, smiles and says hello to everyone then heads to the back for what I would call "My little corner of humid hell."  My buddy said "I know, right? And to think I hate MY job sometimes!"

I followed up with "Crap if he can take THAT job and still be able to smile about it, he should be a stinkin' motivational speaker!"

A few days later the dishwasher once again showed up for work, once again greeted everyone and headed back to his little corner of humidity hell.  The place I work is extremely professional, they have a rack of dry cleaned chef coats for all the kitchen staff, including dishwashers in the back hallway. The dishwasher usually ties a clear plastic apron on over it so they don't leave absolutely sopping wet after their sometimes ten hour shift.  The plastic aprons were all out and hadn't been delivered yet so he made his own apron out of a black plastic garbage bag and tied it around him. My buddy and I were in the back dumping off more dirty dishes when we noticed his homemade apron. I told my buddy it almost looked like a Super Hero cape!

I don't know how this guy does it. And to think I used to think MY life sucked!

My buddy agreed with me and interjected his long gloves even made it look even more like a Super Hero costume.

We started talking about what his motto would be...

"Faster than a Pressure washer, stronger than the chlorine fumes in his bleach, able to tackle stacks and stacks of dishes in a single shift!"

So tonight I mentioned to my buddy at the host stand, "Where's Captain Clean?"  About thirty minutes later our Super Hero walked in...again.

I'd have to be dragged back every single shift but he comes in like it's the greatest job in the world.

You gotta hand it to the guy.

I told my buddy I was going to take a picture to use in a blog about our Super Hero.

He was gone on break so couldn't get one. Hopefully he'll come back!

About thirty minutes later he got back but didn't have on his black cape.

About twenty more minutes went by and when dropping off some dishes noticed him tying back on his "Cape."

I told my buddy up front at the host stand  "He just went into a phone booth and changed back into his Super Hero costume!"

When it was slow went to the back with my cell phone and took a picture.

Heck, he even posed for me!

Here's the thing. This guy needed a job, found one and took it.

I'll never complain again!

I am and always will be grateful for the blessings I have and even for trials and tribulations we've been through.

It's made me a stronger even more compassionate person. Every time I see our Super Hero walk in, I think to myself..."He actually IS a Super Hero!"

So he's just a dishwasher.

Heck. I'm "Just" a waitress.

We're all "Just" humans.

Not much difference in MY book.

We're all just people trying to get day at a time.

I got on the Sardine Shuttle today going to the International terminal and found a message from a sweet woman who knows me from Massey's days on the Guard in high school.

It read :

"Kelly, I wanted to tell you that I've been reading your blog and  am just amazed at your strength and your attitude. I have so much respect for the way you live your life, thankful even in times of struggle. Congratulations on your new job and your husband's new job and am so glad things are looking up for you. You are an inspiration."

This message spoke volumes to me.

I started this blog over five years ago when we were rolling Phat and just wanted to have a place to write.

The journey which followed was unexpected, unwanted but was my destiny so followed it, chronicling it all along the bumpy way.

Yes I got depressed and yes felt at the end of the rope many times and then some.

When you GET to the end of the rope, simply hang there swinging with all your might.

Live life right and Karma will always be your friend...and when it is, always "Pay it forward."

I have so many people to pay back it will take a lifetime, but that's okay too.

That, my friends is what inspires ME.

Til next time... COTTON

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Long Hot Summer aka Breath of Fresh Air, HEARD!

 The page has turned here at the Cotton Compound, and finally for the first time in well over four years is a better page.
My daughter Massey got home today from her summer long stint as a camp counselor. Next week we move her into a loft for her sophomore year at Georgia State University.
Last year this time was worried how we  would make it through (financially) her freshman year.
Once again, my family stepped in to help and thanks to my big bro she got approved for Sallie Mae.
Twelve months later the pages have flown by and are on the most exciting chapter of our lives.
It's been a long fight but the helmet God gave me worked!
I thanked God every day I woke up, even when deeper in debt. At least I woke up...and  must mean He had greater plans for us.
I worked day after day after day hoping it would get better, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. A dear friend contacted me telling me the place she worked for was looking for a server.
I said no.
 I always had the mindset "Oh so you think the grass is greener?
 Do you ever wonder if it's just a buried septic tank?"
I took the biggest leap of faith I ever have. I stepped out of my box and comfort zone, which was squeezing us to death with debt...and jumped!
We were at the point of losing our house, I didn't even have a car and my husband was out of work.
God stepped in.
I felt like I was too old, didn't have a vehicle to even drive TO the job and besides was an upscale, REALLY upscale restaurant which you had to go through a security check point for every time you even wanted to enter the Atrium where it was located not to mention deal with the hassle of MARTA.
I took the leap.
I was terrified and had so many mixed emotions, felt totally nauseous.
A Blog friend loaned me a car for me to go for the initial interview. After that my next door husband stepped in and has loaned me his little spare truck for well over two months...and then some.
I've stepped out of the box and into our financial salvation.
After my initial two weeks of training (don't even get me started on how hard THAT was) caught up the mortgage and every other bill in the first three weeks of me being on the floor.
I wake up every day now Thanking the Lord...and my next door husband who's still loaning me his little truck to drive.
They must be fixing  my soon to be new /used ride, which is paid off in a crock pot. For Pete's sake, turn it in HIGH!
It's all good.
I'm good. We're all good.
Absolutely HATE telling my old/ still current two days a week  job that I have to leave.
It's not about them. They have been wonderful to me and would happy as a pig in slop to stay there, eight minutes away from my garage door.
This decision was and is totally about us... My family .
It was MY choice, albeit unfortunately a necessary one
The feeling of being so close to being almost debt free and nearer to the point of being able to not only pay back but forward is all the inspiration this old girl needs.
After almost five years of close to daily depression have realized it must finally be OUR time.
Feels Great...don't pinch me!
Til next time...COTTON

Friday, July 25, 2014

This Computer is Spooking Me!

For the first time in quite a while, every bill is paid up to date and feel pretty good about it. The new job is still an effort but has blessed us beyond belief.  I still have a lot to learn but now feel confident I am up to it. I've never been a quitter.
Tim's also making decent money and has many opportunities to advance in his new job.
I don't buy much for myself but after a huge fight with Zach the other night over the computer he built decided I simply wanted my own. I bought the cheapest one they had. It was listed at a little over $400 and got it for $315. A dear friend of mine came in Friday night and left me a gigantic tip on an eleven dollar tab and refused to take any change back. I even followed him out the door of the restaurant trying to give him change. With the money I made at Mama's on my double shift added in only had to come out of pocket $100.
One of Zach's buddy's was at the house when I got home with it and helped me set it up. He was all excited to see it had Windows 8.1 which meant absolutely nothing to me except that the number was higher than the one we'd been using.
Boy was I wrong!
He helped me set everything up and plugged in all the wires then led me through set up.
Holy Crap! It's like I bought a huge iPhone that does everything except make calls.
Zach's buddy got all excited when the home page came up filled with colored blocks but simply just confused me. I thought I bought a computer but looked like I had bought a nuclear device or at the very least something containing the Davinci Code.
Here's my reasoning for buying it.
For the past four or five years have limped through life day after day after week after week after year after year.
My one release and escape from it all  has always been and remains to be my Blog. It's really just me writing but means MUCH more to me.
I can come home from work exhausted but will sit for two hours typing and feel immense satisfaction when I finally hit that "Post " button.
I may be old school but DO realize this blog is my modern day journal and will be around long after I'm gone.
We caught the mortgage up, paid all the bills and even paid a few people back. I started a savings account and even paid off my car which still isn't ready (although my big bro helped me with that one) and still have enough to begin to pay him back.
It was time to do something for me. I needed it. I wanted it...and I went out and got it.
Now if I just knew how to use it!
It took me two days to figure out how to make a call on my iPhone when I got it and still don't know how to use most functions but only cost me a dollar so I felt lucky.
I'm still working seven days a week and still getting ahead but just needed to pat myself on the back for once and my own computer seemed like the best way. We needed a family computer so Zach could move his own into his bedroom and cut out all the fights we've had lately over it.
So now I have a computer but don't have the faintest clue as to how to use it to its full potential.
Lucky for me, Massey comes home from her job as a camp counselor this weekend and has a week to teach Wilma Flintstone how to navigate her  Jane Jetson computer before we move her back to college for her sophomore year.
This new job has blown my mind away and my bank account up.
I got extremely lucky and was noticed by the big wigs at Fifth Group (our elite parent company) when I got shopped twice in eight days, making an almost thirty point improvement in  my score. I'm not just a number or vague employee to them. I'm Kelly Cotton and they know who I am! I'm the old granny they took a chance on hiring who got shopped on her very first day on the floor with a score of 78. Then eight days later knocked it out of the park with her next one.
I feel more secure now, still tired but if anyone deserved a new cheap computer, it was me so went out and got me one!
I haven't bought anything for myself in quite a while and felt elated when I actually could.
I worked two back to back double shifts here in Newnan at Mama Lucia's on my two days off from the airport and now have to be back at the airport by eight thirty Saturday morning to begin again there.
Yeah, I deserve this new fangled don't know how to use for squat contraption!
I planted the seed today at Mama's when talking with the owner after the other server who was supposed to work with me allowing me to leave early  called out and told him I needed to go down to just working Fridays because  was beginning to wear thin and needed one day off.
His demeanor immediately changed, and not for the better.
I guess I'll take that as an off handed compliment.
I am scared silly of quitting Mama's but a very dear friend told me this:
"You've been a good employee for them and yes they have been good to you, but this isn't about them's about you. Take care of yourself."
Yes it's a lot harder getting to and from work now and shifts are sometimes over twice as long but my money has doubled and often times tripled. I'd be a complete idiot not to go with it full time, leave the local job and have two days off for not only my self but for my sanity and still have a fifty percent increase in pay.
I'm making the choice, choosing my own direction and letting the cards fall where they may.
They'll either be happy for me or they won't.
That will have to be their choice.

 They may hate me leaving but have a feeling they will always love me. I will certainly always love them!
Til next time....COTTON

Thursday, July 24, 2014

And Thought I Knew It All

It was a most excellent day with many surprises.

My next door husband sent me a text last night when he me pulling back into his driveway returning the free rental truck I've been borrowing from him for over two months now to get back and forth to work. He said he needed to get the emission testing done so he could get the new tag.. His birthday is three days before mine so I should have already thought of that. He was still up and out in his driveway so walked over and talked to him. I told him I would take the truck and get it done and pay for both the emissions testing  AND tag. That would at least make me feel a little less embarrassed about how long I've used his truck. He told me the only testing place he knew that took models older than 1996 was by the Racetrack gas station. I knew where it was, have used it before. The guy that runs it is an idiot and not too pleasant.

I had to renew my airport badge before it expires on my birthday so got up this morning, packed all my work clothes in a bag borrowed from Massey's closet and headed out shortly before nine.

Pulled the little truck into the line at the emissions place with only one vehicle in front of me. Two minutes later it was MY turn.

Captain Sunshine waved me in and I  pulled up. He waved me forward, I drove forward. He swung his arms to the left and I turned more to the left. He held up his hands frantically like I had just run over his dog and  flung his arms to the right. I maneuvered towards the right and stopped.

"I didn't tell ya to stop! Keep coming !"

I felt like rolling my window all the way down and saying  "You look really familiar to me, is your name Dick?"

He took forever and a day to complete the slush fund testing, took my seventeen dollars and griped the entire time.

All said and done, twenty minutes later I had the emissions done and won't have to hear his ugly attitude for at least another year.

I left and headed for the airport to renew my badge.

I just got a badge eight weeks ago but expire on your birthday so lucky me had to get another one.

Here's my thing.

If I HAVE a badge, that means I've already passed the FBI background and finger print check. Obviously I haven't raised any red flags or planted a bomb in the short eight weeks of being employed at the airport but had to start the entire process over.

Thirty minutes later I completed my customer service testing which was like a slap in the face of how much common sense I actually have.

After my "Exam" I headed back to the line in the security office to once again (for the third time) show my two forms of ID and get a number to have my badge renewed as I sat in a chair and waited another twenty minutes to be called.

Once my number was called I walked to the window and yet again showed my two forms of ID.

Stupid terrorists! This is all to due to their ASININE insane hatred of us. I know it has to be done and that's a pretty sad world but I have  a wonderful new job which has literally saved not only our house but entire family.

I've jumped through smaller hoops these past five years.

It was well after eleven when I left the badge office and didn't have to be at work til one thirty.

I drove the five minutes to my old stomping ground's of employment for thirteen years and sat at the counter enjoying  a yummy Johnny's Special while chatting with two of my former co workers.

Tomorrow was pay day and since was way on the other side of the airport, close to International decided to break the bank and park there, avoiding the entire MARTA debacle I face every day, albeit for next to nothing.

I knew the way, the Sardine Shuttle takes it every day.

I pulled in and followed the signs to hourly parking.

My co workers park there and it's sixteen bucks. Kinda pricey but get out of your car and are  clocking in at work less than five minutes later.

Sometimes they gripe about how hard it is to find a spot but  found one not twenty feet from the terminal entrance. Heck yeah, after all I've been through it was money well spent!

Got to the atrium early and had a text from a blog reader and friend who loaned me a car to even make the initial interview for my new job. She said she was at Ecco but I wasn't there. I text back would be there in one minute and hopped on the escalator.

They were leaving from the F concourse and had stopped by to say hello. I chatted with them for a few minutes since I got there so early then after they left changed clothes and clocked in.

It started out busy, they put me on the floor immediately. Calmed down around five and took my thirty minute break. I fast walked to the Plane Train and went to A concourse to "A Piece of Cake" for cup cakes with my employee discount. Zach wanted me to bring home two for him. I got two for me, a spare to share and one for another co worker.

Got back to work just as it started to pick up again. Got another rush, then another and finally walked out around nine forty five feeling all giddy. Number one because I had made incredible money and number two  only had a five minute walk to my next door husband's borrowed vehicle and would be on the road home in eight. I didn't understand why my co workers had a hard time finding a spot to park, I had pulled right in and found one easily.

I got my sixteen dollars out to pay and cruised to the exit gate. I put my ticket into the slot and waited for it to display "$16.00."

"$32.00" came up on the screen and the attendant held out her hand. After throwing up in my mouth just a little bit said "but I'm an employee" to which she replied "Well you should have parked below with the other ones."

What! Where?

Seems I should have taken the down ramp and parked in the park and ride / employee lot.

No wonder I found a spot so easily! I was in the "High Dollar" lot.

There was nothing I could do but pay it.

 On the upside I had made almost four hundred dollars but on the downside had just wasted sixteen.

Okay, maybe I don't know it ALL yet!

I stewed and fretted about it all the way home. I should have just gone to the MARTA station and done what I normally do.

Another lesson learned.

Heck, sixteen bucks would buy a large bag of dog food!

I tumbled into bed around one, happy I could sleep until 9:45 and be at work by 10:30 with no commute or parking issues.

The alarm went off early but my body woke up late. Luckily Tim was off and ironed my shirt for me while I  stood in the shower hoping hot water would erase the feeling of working sixty days with two days off.

Got to Mama Lucia's ten minutes late but since I know that job like the back of my hand got everything done before we opened.

By noon I wanted to go back home, bury my head under covers, sleep for forty eight hours and THEN start over.

Didn't happen.

I got off around two, went to buy dog food at Tractor Supply,went by Michaels's to get some more peepers for my eyes because they were on sale for $1.99 and got home by three so greasy with sweat I could have fried taters with the grease on my face.

Today was my payday from the airport so went to make another mortgage payment online.

Holy Crap they make it hard to simply take your money. I couldn't draft it out of MY checking account because it could only be a Wells Fargo checking account. Then I went to the phone method. Three tries later finally succeeded in drafting the money out of my account and into their slush fund.

Went back to work at five thirty, still wanting to be at  home and burying my head into a pillow.

Of course Murphy's law kicked in and peeps streamed in the door.

The new  hostess who I have never met told me someone was waiting to see me at the front door. I didn't see any police uniforms up there so kept on working.

Five minutes later she was leading two peeps to one of my tables saying "I was wrong, they wanted to be seated WITH you."

It was one of my most favorite people in the world. He was / is a cook at the Western Sizzler where I used to work. He had his cute youngest daughter in tow. The older one was away at camp.

He reads my blog and has followed our journey. They split a pizza and while chatting with his daughter chatted with him as well.

I told him it was time to quit working two jobs since  had one that although was kicking my butt was also moving us rapidly ahead.

I just don't know how to tell this family,which has helped us get to this point that I don't need the job anymore. I feel that would be a slap in the face to them.

My dear sweet friend put it like this:

"It's not about not loving them but is about what's best for you."

For two years I worked seven days a week, both shifts...AM and PM. Then I trimmed down to about ten shifts a week.

It's time to bite the bullet. I'm killing myself for no reason now.

I will always love these peeps , always appreciate what they have done for me but I have to do what's best for me and my OWN family.

It's a tough call and decision for me.

Will they be happy?

 No, but need to save what little sanity I have left.

I'm going to do it the adult and right way. Be upfront with them and stay until they can fill my position.

Mama's was a great thing which happened when we needed it the most.

I will never forget that, or them.

I'm all about some KARMA.
I don't know which way to turn.
Til next time...COTTON

Monday, July 21, 2014

Another Day Another Dollar

Woke up feeling old as Methuselah and got out the door ten minutes late for work this morning but at least had a shower and fresh clothes on. I clocked in ten minutes late and still beat the other opening server by thirty.

There was new girl there for training, not knowing what to do so I helped her as she helped me open the restaurant. Around nine the other opener showed up, we already had the place ready to go so decided to go get some free grub from Atlanta Bread Company on concourse C.

The new girl asked me how long I had worked there and replied "Not long enough to teach you anything, except I Can show you how to get to Atl. Bread Co. on concurse C for some great free food!"

She joined me and we started our adventure.

Working on F concourse is like working in Egypt when you have to go back to domestic side.

I was all pumped with pride knowing all the short cuts my other friends had taught me and we landed on concourse C around nine twenty.It took us twenty minutes to get our food and get back to the Plane Train.

Crap, we could have crawled back to F on our hands and knees before the Plane Train finally took off.

Technical difficulties. (Ya dah ya dah ya dah)

We landed back on F five minutes before the restaurant opened. She politely put her salad under the counter with her purse for later but I sat at the bar and scarfed my Chicken Waldorf sandwich down like someone was chasing me.

I've learned shifts are usually ten hours long and this skinny girl seriously needed some grub.

One of the managers took her under his wing once we opened and I began my day.

Nine hours later I was starting my checkout after finishing all my closing duties.

Yes this job has long shifts but is hands down our saving salvation.

It wasn't crazy busy but thanks to another server not even showing  up at all for the day shift made over two hundred bucks after tipping out sixteen.

To a lot of peeps that's chump change but to us is life changing.

My feet were killing me as I stood on the MARTA train for the forty second ride back to the transit station.

As much as I hated it stopped by Walmart on the way home. Skinny girl was getting hungry again.

I bought fixings for chili, another pair of size one jeans for work on sale for thirteen bucks and a few other staples for the house.

Came home and my sister had dropped by bringing us tons of fresh vegetables from her garden and even stocked my kitchen shelves with lots of staples. That's the kind of family I come from and have, and believe me you am mighty grateful to have them!

Watched American Hustle with Zach in the living room when he got home from work and ate a huge bowl of chili with buttered crackers. We both fell asleep in the living room, him on the chaise and me sprawled on the sofa. We only made it halfway through the movie.

I had my cell phone set for six thirty on the coffee table and woke us both up early. He wasn't too thrilled, it was his day off but shuffled up the stairs to his room and collapsed again with our bulldog Charlie in tow. They were both snoring again by the time I went upstairs for a shower.

These past eight weeks have been just what I've been praying for.

An answer.

Tim just got his first paycheck from his new job and with all the overtime he worked was another kick in the right direction.

So we move on to yet another day and another dollar.

Woke up feeling somewhat rested. My days are a still a jumble and rarely know what the day or date is, just know I have to be at work at a specific time and go from there.

I made great time today and even snagged an excellent spot in the MARTA parking lot from an exiting TSA guy. I learned early on to look for those bright blue shirts, even when they are sitting in their vehicles. Reached the train just as it was pulling in thanks to my handy MARTA app a friend turned me onto. (Thank you Diane) Reached the terminal forty seconds later and headed outside for the shuttle.

The Sardine Shuttle was empty except for four of us, all airport employees. No suitcases, no jabbering other languages and on the plus side had an excellent air conditioner.

Walked into the International Terminal and through security ten minutes later with almost thirty minutes to spare.

Most Excellent!

Wasn't crazy busy but well worth the trip.

What IS crazy was making yet another over two hundred dollars on a slow night.  Clocked out shortly after ten, gathered my things and hot footed it for MARTA using every shortcut and saying "Excuse me" to people I passed on escalators, elevators and stairs.

I didn't have to run, just fast walked and made the train with three minutes to spare. It felt amazing to not have my heart feeling like it was beating outside of my chest!

Still got home shortly before midnight after stopping to gas up my next door husband's borrowed truck.

Just as I left his truck in his driveway and tumbled down the slope to my own house got a text from him. His birthday is three days before mine, which is next week. He text he needed to get emissions done on the Ranger. I text back I would do it and also pay for the tag. Heck it's a 96 model Ford Ranger, it's not like I offered to buy the tag for Beyonce's new Rolls Royce and was at the very least I could do.

My next door husband has been absolutely wonderful to us. I originally asked to borrow his truck for a week but has turned into almost two months. I'm so embarrassed every morning when I sneak over to crank it up again. I feel like putting it in neutral and rolling it back to the edge of his driveway so he won't hear me cranking up his little truck AGAIN!

We settled on me paying for the emissions and tag. Small price for something which has made ALL the difference. Without his little truck I couldn't even be working this job.

My life has changed yet again but finally all for the better. God shut several doors on us before opening the right window.

At least it finally opened!

I am truly the luckiest woman on the entire planet...maybe even universe.

Til next time...COTTON

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Staycations Are the Best!

Oh I had all kind of plans for today. I was going to the airport to renew my badge early then stop by my old stomping grounds and former place of employment for a yummy Johnny's Special.
I stumbled out of bed around ten and actually think I heard my bones creak. I went into the kitchen for a big glass of Nestle' Quik and let our pup, Ham out.

I decided to go back to bed while I planned my day. I decided since I didn't have to work at the airport today it would be silly to waste the gas to drive up there to renew my badge and would just go into work early on Monday and do it before my shift. Lucky for me there are Johnny's Pizza's every where now and could swing by the one next to the grocery store. So I wouldn't see my old friends but would save ten bucks in gas.

After finally deciding to watch the back of my eyelids for four more hours instead, felt immediately better about my day.

Climbed into my rental truck which have been  renting for free ninety nine a day for over a month now and went to pay a couple of bills. Skipped Johnny's and went to Kroger to buy all the fixins' for chicken fajitas.

By the time I got home to begin all my grand plans it was a little after four o'clock so just decided to start with dinner instead.

Made Pico de Gallo and Guacamole, refried beans with habanero, japs and sour cream and sliced up five chicken breasts, red, yellow, orange and green peppers, onions and roma tomatoes.

Now I was getting somewhere!

Zach ate, twice and Tim did too when he got home from work. I'm eating a couple then putting everything up into tupperware for tomorrow and getting busy with tweaking the house. Tim and Zach have both been a tremendous help around the house but as any woman knows, that just means my job is halfway done for me. Hey, halfway means a lot to me!

The entire house is vacuumed thanks to Tim but told him I would mop the kitchen and finish up some laundry.

Having everything halfway done is HUGE and makes my job much easier. I LIKE being "The Tweaker." Makes me feel I almost know how to "Tweet" which I don't.

Ironing a work shirt for tomorrow's double at Mama Lucias and another one for the airport on Saturday morning.

Tim rolled the trash out for pick up tomorrow when he got home from work. Just got through emptying all the other waste baskets in the house and garage and added them in a big bag on top of the full can at the street. Once again, my job was half way done.

Just cause I'm feeling all frisky after my fourteen hour nap am gonna mop the kitchen and maybe even go crazy and match socks out of the always growing "Misfit Pile" on top of the dryer.

You know what? Nothing seems to bother me now.

I've always said money is over rated and is, but to be able to pay bills not only on time but in advance is almost making me feel giddy.

Tried to get "muh hurr did" today too but both women I trust to cut my hair were off. It's not like I needed to look good to cook and clean so will stop by tomorrow on my break between shifts. When you have hair cut as short as mine you need to be careful when getting a $14 hair cut. I mean what are they gonna do if they screw it up, shave me bald and start over?

For people who loyally read my blog and for people who actually know me, let me say  "Thank You" for following my journey.

Sometimes this blog was the only happy place I had to go to but you all listened and sent encouragement.

I sat and typed through the winter and finally found an answer. It was a hard adjustment and felt like I was out of my league but now understand.

God shut a window on us but opened a door. We just had to wait for Him to open it.

Signing off as the The most grateful COTTON in the world!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Terms of Endearment Fo Shizzle

Today was my Friday and actually get a day off tomorrow, my second one in fifty three days. They didn't need me at Mama Lucia's on Thursday so have the entire day to myself before working a double shift on Friday there. I'm kinda pumped about it!

It was really slow at the airport tonight and got off before ten but still managed to make $170.00 so I was happy.

Clocked out and had eighteen minutes to make the ten o'clock MARTA train. Used all my short cuts and moves to try and make it. Now that I knew I had another day off coming was all excited about getting it started!

The Plane Train seemed to take forever, had to wait 1:47 for it to show up at Concourse F for the trip back to Ground Transportation because I had just missed the last one. Reached Ground Transportation with four minutes to spare. Hiked it up the escalator and turned left. Got about fifteen feet when I realized I should have turned right, or so I thought. I turned around and flat out ran back to the left to make up for my goof. I reached the station entrance and realized I had taken the way which takes one minute longer. Took the escalator steps two at a time and reached the top of the stairs as the MARTA train left.

At least now I had twenty more minutes to get my heart rate back under control. After five minutes of hyperventilating I took my badge paperwork out of my nifty clear plastic purse and filled it out. My badge expires on the last day of the month and can't get through security without it. Even though I've only worked there a few short weeks, your badge always expires on your birthday and mine is at the end of the month. My manager was nice enough to pick up my paperwork from HR when he was there for a meeting today, saving me a forty five minute trip to HR before heading to the security office for my badge renewal.

The train finally arrived and  clamored aboard immediately huddling against the far door to be the first person off at the next stop, College Park where I park my next door husband's still borrowed little truck.

There were two young men huddled right by me too so figured they were thinking the same.

Here's the thing about riding MARTA, especially at night  and especially from the airport. Most are employees and seventy percent of them are black. Twenty percent are either Asian, Latino or Middle Eastern descent. Ten percent are Whitey's like me.

I was apprehensive about riding MARTA late at night when first started this job but have NEVER felt threatened or scared but usually just tired like the other riders wanting to get get home.

These two young men were both talking on their cell phones, one more loudly than the other. For Pete's sake you would have thought he was using two tin cars tied together by a string instead of a cell phone. They were both tatted up with sideways cocked hats, pristine sneakers and fake Rolex watches. The fish hook through the eyebrow was a nice touch too. They seemed harmless and really not so bad but the one loud talker had me trying  hard not to laugh outloud.

His conversation (I promise you) went something like this while surrounded by mostly black people around my age or even older.

"Sheeet, I told that nig*a I was bouncin' ova to the crib tonight soon as I could get off this GOT dam train! You know em, he's a good nig*a but can't wait for pop. Remember that nig*a we met with the cute youn thang wid da squeeky voice? Yo, that's the one! NAWW, she got a girlfriend but ain't all dyked up, just kickin' it fo trix."

He went on and on and on using the "N" word minus "ER" but adding an "A" and was talking about people he LIKED and  considered friends! All the while surrounded by at least fifty black people old enough to be his father or mother. None of them looked up or at him but seemed to just ignore him and his comments. I kinda felt sorry for them. Here this young guy is using the worst racial slur I've ever heard in my life like it's nothing.

I wanted to say "Nigg* PLEASE! Have some respect, you're insulting not only me but your OWN people!"

But since  were both obviously getting off at the first stop with me,  just shook my head and stared at the floor like most everyone else.

What are these young kids thinking or better yet, ARE they?

They didn't MEAN to insult or disparage and actually talking about people they liked, just in the most politically incorrect manner I've ever heard... over and over and over in a train packed with folks who obviously weren't their "Homies" because not one person slapped them on the back or offered a high five.

Dang young people are stupid sometimes and don't mean just these two black guys.

They (young people) all seem to feel entitled instead of responsible for their actions.

So I exited the train with them both still talking on their phones, oblivious to what all fifty of us had just heard.

What made me feel a BIT better was when one of them let me go through the turnstile first on our way out of the MARTA station.

Looking forward to my day off tomorrow and don't tell my fam but after a day of getting bills paid, yard work done and Muh Hurr Did (as the guy's girlfriends on MARTA would say) am planning on making fajitas with all the homemade trimmings. Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, refried beans with sour cream and jalapenos and Spanish rice.

It will be an excellent day off. This girl is getting used to being happy and feels absolutely wonderful!

Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Trial By Fire!

It was bound to happen, just been waiting for it to. I've been feeling pretty good about how I've handled this new job and so far have managed to "go with the flow."

The "Go" overflowed today, big time!

I'm all about omens and had a  bad one first thing this morning at six thirty. Like an idiot am still using my cell as an alarm and without my peepers on this morning hit "Off" again instead of "Snooze." I woke up and it was seven fifteen, when  am supposed leave at seven twenty. I washed my face and hair in the sink, brushed my teeth, put on some deodorant and was out the door by seven twenty five. At least all my clothes were clean.

Traffic bogged down a bit on the interstate but clocked in just nine minutes late after luckily snagging a spot in the parking lot at MARTA, flat out running to the station and easing into the train as the doors shut. I had my makeup with me in my nifty clear plastic purse.

Another opening server was already there, the other one never showed up.

We knocked out getting everything done and by nine fifteen both clocked out to go to Atlanta Bread Co for our free food.

You have to clock out with your card, tell the system you are taking a break and it shoots out a little chit you take with you for your free meal.

We got on the Plane Train to go to concourse C when my friend asked if I had my chit with me?

Bad omen number two.

I could still visualize it sitting on top of the printer at Ecco waiting for me to tear it off.

Luckily I had stuck a ten in my back pocket in case I ordered over my $9.00 limit. Heck, they got great sandwiches, but all kind of pastries and fresh fruit too. A ten hour shift makes a skinny girl hungry.

I gave her my ten and let her buy me a sandwich when she ordered her own meal.

We got back and through eating right at ten o'clock to open the store and bad omen number three showed up.

She had gotten there first so got the first table. I looked up next to see ten women waiting to be seated with me. After that it never stopped.

The other opening server never showed up so just she and I ran the entire restaurant, with Murphy's Law kicking us in the butt the entire day.

On top of that several of the big wigs from Fifth Group came in for a meeting with our new manager in training and sat at a table out on the patio, in plain view of all that was going on.

I thought we could fake/make it until the "Mid" person came in at one thirty to rescue us. One thirty came and went and was still just me and my buddy.

By two o'clock I had so many tables I had a hard time keeping them straight.

Then it was time for the Paris flight to board. Suddenly everyone needed their check. I'd take them their check and they'd sigh and say they needed separate checks.

I made a MAJOR goof and ran a card on the wrong table. Luckily the other table paid cash and was only eight bucks difference between the two tabs. I simply split it off onto another tab and decided to deal with it later. I'd have to pay the eight bucks but just felt lucky I was still standing at this point.

On top of this I have a table of Fifth Group people watching me.

I was sweating like California Chrome crossing the finish line but no where near done with the race.

It got me totally flustered when I flubbed up and took me thirty minutes to somewhat regain my composure.

My manager (bad cop) told me I needed to slow down and take my time when using  the computer. I simply said "Yes Sir, you're right." (which he was, but I was freaking out in a big way)

My face was hot from humiliation. Yes I screwed up but they BEST be glad I didn't break down in tears and cry for my momma. I was a wreck trying to keep it together as the tables continued to pour in as the Paris flight people exited.

A little after three o'clock the "PM" servers started to get there and the "Mid" server decided to show up.

I had sweat running down my back and arms but my only big screw up was the credit card goof. That was still on my mind but would either figure it out or just pay for it out of pocket later.

As things began to calm down one of the women from Fifth Group looked up as I was cleaning a table near them and said "That was pretty crazy."

I was in the back dumping some dishes in the kitchen when the new manager in training came up and commented "You guys did good handling all that."

You know, that's all you need sometime... a verbal pat on the back!

We got the place cleaned up and the PM shift took over.

I was absolutely dreading talking to Bad Cop about my big goof and had already sent up several prayers I wouldn't be fired on the spot.

Dang, I was THIS close to having all our bills caught up and threw it all away with my own careless screw up!

I did everything I could besides talk to him about my goof up. I helped get everything cleaned up and ready for the next shift best I could.

Then there was nothing left to do but "meet the maker." I asked my manager I needed him to try and fix my goof, if he could?

He's not Bad Cop anymore, he's my saving grace!

It took him a while and was very patient with me. He saved my skinny doofus self and fixed it all. He remarked I hadn't added gratuity to the check but told him that was the very least of my worries.

I call him Bad Cop but is actually a wonderful man. He has a very easy way about him, never gets flustered (unlike me) and makes everything (like today's shift) look like a walk in the park.

So I got my butt trounced thoroughly today with all the big wigs from corporate watching.

Not a good feeling.

But when all was said and done, I did okay. Heck, I've worked there a little over eight weeks but if can survive today, can thrive in the coming weeks, months and maybe even years!

Yep, I had my butt handed to me on a plate today. (ignore the 08 reference although  think that's pretty funny too)

I was walking out of the concourse today after clocking out exhausted when ran into one of the cooks on my way out. He's older, not as old as me but close. He said "You done good today girl."

You know what? Not only was that extremely nice of him to say, but he's right!

I'm gonna do better tomorrow and even better the next day.

I am so extremely and profoundly grateful to have this job, which in a few short weeks bailed us out of a hole and has us peering over the edge of it.

 I used to be broke and kinda sad. Now I am an empowered person with the ability to move not only on but upwards.

BRING IT!  I'm ready.

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, July 14, 2014

It Really IS a Small World After All

Made excellent time today on the way to work. Pulled into the MARTA station and right by the entrance was a guy pulling out of a spot. Yes please and thank you!!

MARTA was obviously still on a weekend schedule because I had to wait twenty minutes for a train which is supposed to run every ten. Thanks to my luck finding a parking spot had plenty of time so just checked emails on my phone and called Mama Lucia's for my work schedule there this week

Got on the first Sardine Shuttle but the driver was busy flirting with another co worker and seemed like it took forever for him to take off. Guess they were on the MARTA schedule too.

Clocked in early anyway (no thanks to them) got all my duties done and started taking tables around two o'clock. Once again the tipping gods and people leaving for Paris smiled on me and had a lucrative night.

One of my last few tables was a couple heading home to Montreal who's flight had been delayed. I thought about asking them if they knew my friend, Little Frenchy from Mama Lucia's who grew up there but thought that sounded lame. It would be like me being in an airport in Montreal and my server saying "I know a lady in Atlanta, maybe you know her!" The odds would be slim to none.

The couple was very nice and easy to talk with. After they finished their meal and bottle of wine decided to ask the obviously stupid question anyway.

 I told them it may sound stupid but had a dear friend who grew up in Montreal and maybe they had heard of her.

I told them had been her matron of honor at her wedding a few months back and met all her family at the wedding and were all delightful people.

I told the woman I was horrible with French pronunciations so wrote Little Frenchy's last name down for her. "De Repentigny"

The husband smiled and said that was in fact the name of a town they knew of. His wife then said she knew a Ginette De Repentigny who was a travel agent in Montreal.

Get out of town! Frenchy had a sister named Ginette I met at her wedding and could almost swear she had told us she was a travel agent, while swinging my son, Zach around the dance floor at the reception. She was a cute little tiny thing and took up most of my son's time dancing with him all night. They had a great live band (the groom was a musician and friends of his performed) and was hands down the best reception we've ever been to.

It was starting to slow down at work and told the couple I would step out and call my friend to ask for sure.

I called their house and the groom (now husband) answered. I asked if Little Frenchy had a sister Ginette who was a travel agent in Montreal? He said in fact she did!


How crazy is that?

They had used their sister's travel agent to book their trip and had been Ginette, Zach's dancing date from the wedding.

It really IS a small world we live in!

The woman commented she couldn't believe she actually ended up knowing who I was talking about, Montreal is such a huge place.

I can't wait to talk to Little Frenchy and tell her I met someone in the Atlanta airport, waited on them and ended up with us having friends in common!

That just made my night and on TOP of that got off by ten and walked out over three hundred dollars richer.

My apprehension about this new job is quickly falling to the wayside but being replaced with an apprehension of how I can be so lucky to have a new job which is pulling us out of debt and fear of losing our home?

I need to have more faith in myself...

It's called Karma my friends, and finally for once haven't had to bite my nails raw waiting on her to come back around our way.

Tumbling into bed for a day shift tomorrow, on a week day which isn't easy. The highway will be packed with early morning commuters headed into Atlanta and the MARTA parking lot will be as we say in the south "Slap full."

On the good side I'll be home again by seven tomorrow night!

I'm not too sure what I've done which is all that great to deserve all this happiness, but guess I'll just keep on doing what I've been doing. It's worked for me so far!

Til next time...Contented COTTON