Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Griswalds Have Nothing On Me

So only two of the Clampetts got to go to Orlando for Christmas this year. Lucky enough I was one of them.

Massey and I bummed a ride with my sister along with my nephew's girlfriend and us four women headed down to my brother's house in Orlando early Christmas Eve.

It rained the entire ride. Bummer, but at least I didn't have to drive this trip. We originally planned on getting there around two but in true Cotton style got there shortly after dark.

We all climbed out of the car to go in his house through the garage when I spotted a cone for one of his two dogs on the floor. I told them to go on in without me and fitted the cone around my neck and went through the back door. The minute my brother saw me he shook his head and said "You're an idiot." At least he was smiling when he said it.

I climbed in one of his pups dog beds to have a picture taken by my sister...Massey refused the offer.

Welcome to a Cotton Christmas!

We were really excited to finally meet the two pups he'd gotten from rescue. They were awesomely laid back dogs.

We were even more excited to see the new addition to his kitchen! (besides being totally remodeled)

Let the good times roll!

And they did.

An hour or two behind us arrived my sister's sons and other girlfriend. We stayed up late and had a fabulous Christmas Eve Par- Tay; With tons of cheer, laughter and shared memories.

Pretty sweet place to spend Christmas if you ask me. Yep, that's his house at the end of the cat walk.
Here's the view from the end of his dock.
My sister cooked all Christmas morning. Chris bought a huge Honey Baked ham and Honey Baked turkey breast and Cin cooked collards, peas, rice, quiche, cornbread and all the trimmings. She  sent Chris a grocery list and he had bought everything needed for the meal Cin prepared in his kitchen. What a great brother!
I washed dishes and kept her company. What a great sister! (her not me)
The food was off the chain good and we ate like kings and queens. We opened presents in the early afternoon and continued the Par-Tay.
 My nephew and his girlfriend, Jamie had walked out to the end of the dock together when my sister told me Griffin was proposing to her today.
Chill Bump City!
We all gathered by the glass doors on the back of the house to watch.
 Literally the second  I said "I hope he gets down on one knee" Griffin dropped to one knee on the end of the dock and held out the ring to Jamie.
We all screamed and high fived so loud they both heard us inside the house from the end of the dock.
It was a beautiful ring for an even more beautiful young woman. It was a Hallmark moment!
Griff's marrying his Hawaiian princess who can swing a softball bat better than all the chicks in "A League of Their Own" put together multiplied by ten.
They were made for each other.
Thanks to social networking a co worker posted on Facebook they wanted to pick up a Friday shift and just like that I had an extra day to spend with my sibs.
The good times kept rolling.
I was initially worried about having to leave Tim, Zach, TJ, Chelsea and Zeli at home but as one of my nephew's pointed out "Uncle Tim is probably happy as crap with no one at home and football on TV."
Zach always hangs out with his Lost Boys and TJ was going to his mother's with Chelsea and Zeli.
It was a fabulous time. Chris let Cindy and me have his bedroom with the huge king size bed and woke up each morning with a spectacular view of the lake from our pillows.
We were supposed to leave the day after Christmas but Cin woke up sick as a dog. She sure didn't feel like driving me back to Newnan and I certainly didn't want her to have to so  called work and they gave me another day off as well. I have really awesome bosses.

We spent yet another night and all left early on my brother's birthday. We figured that was the best present we could give him after our extended stay and his absolutely wonderful hospitality. We have a great brother!

Cin's boys and their respective others left in their car and Massey and I left with Cin in hers. Thanks once again to Chris for providing us with the Sun Pass so we zoomed through all the tolls and at least it wasn't raining.

We made it as far as Lake City, the half way point and stopped to eat. The parking lot was packed but only had to wait about five minutes for a table. We all knew what we wanted to order before the waitress even came to the table so could be back on the road as soon as possible.

She was a cute young girl and took our order right away. She came back with our three sweet teas which turned out to be unsweet. No problem, she came to the table and apologized then brought back three sweet ones. Then another woman brought out our food and sat it down. We were all missing gravy on our hamburger steaks and each missing one of our sides, I was missing two. The woman was friendly and said they were out of mashed potatoes. She asked what other side we wanted and left with our order. We decided to go ahead and get started then noticed what was missing besides the bread they were supposed to have already brought.

I looked at Massey and Cindy and said "Looks like it's eat with your hands day!"
Cindy went and got us some silverware and we got started. We got through with what we had then the other sides arrived. Our server was really sweet, apologetic and could tell she was what us servers call "In the weeds". That means she's basically so behind she can't get caught up.
While we were (trying) to finish our meal  noticed two older cougars at a table across from us. (and yes took a picture much to Massey's dismay)
 The one with her back to me was the older of the two. She had an old school hearing aide and a cane beside her chair by the wall. She had on a warm up suit and running shoes. I told Cin and Massey  I thought it highly unlikely she needed all this athletic gear considering she walked with a cane but good for her for still getting out and about. I'm pretty sure this will me a in a few short years.
The bread finally came after finishing our original plates, then missing sides then asking for bread once again.
Here's the thing. It wasn't the servers fault the bus guy (who she probably tips out) didn't set the table with silver after cleaning it. It wasn't the servers fault someone made sweet tea in the sweet tea urn and didn't sweeten it and wasn't the servers fault the kitchen ran out of mashed potatoes, an obvious staple on the menu. So maybe it was her fault about the bread but was the least of our worries. The place was packed, obviously understaffed and our girl was just trying to keep her head above the weeds. I bet she apologized seven times to us.
I left her a ten dollar tip on a thirty four dollar tab and told her to hang in there. I've been a server since 1979 and my sister was one for over thirty five years albeit at 30,000 feet and better benefits. Massey has grown up going to work with me and even worked at the last place I served. We all know how it is to have one of those days. Murphy's Law always applies when working in the service industry. If something can go wrong it will. You just have to make the best of it,  keep on keeping on and remind yourself...
This too shall pass.
I'm pretty sure we made her day, and that's a good thing.
We made it home well after dark and wore slap out.
This was us years ago at my house. No matter where we have Christmas, it's filled with love and laughter. We love and miss the ones who can't be there but just like that old song says
"If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."
I went back to work the next day worried about missing two shifts. The first thing one of my managers (the bad cop) asked was if my sister felt better?
How did I deserve this awesome job and why did it take me so long to take it?
Last night at work I asked one of my managers how I could get Massey through security to come eat at the restaurant? Every time she drops me off for work comments about how much she wants to come inside and see the terminal. I'll have to admit it's a beautiful and serene place to be, especially compared to the domestic side.
I decided to call a dear friend of mine who had worked at the airport for almost as long as my sister...but ground side instead of 30,000 feet up.
We formulated a plan, an honest one and this morning drove to the airport to implement our spectacular plan.
I had to go to Human Resources anyway about dropping my MARTA plan and getting my insurance cards. I had also been given an eighteen dollar voucher for food at any restaurant in the airport for going above and beyond on a particularly "Murphy's Law" kind of shift at the restaurant a while back and wanted to use it at the best place there aka where I worked.
We parked at MARTA, rode the train which had an almost ten minute delay to the airport (one of the reasons I'm dropping it) hopped on the Sardine Shuttle to the international terminal and picked out the friendliest looking person after scoping them all out. We were heading for the Asian looking guy who always had a smile on his face when the serious looking woman next to him beckoned us over to be helped.
I gave her my true story and after a phone call upstairs to the restaurant to verify I was an employee gave both of us passes to the concourse.
The executive chef was even amazed, and trust me is a hard guy to impress. We had a fabulous meal and Massey got to put faces with the names I often talk about. It was an incredible afternoon. We rode the plane train back and stopped by concourse A to buy cupcakes from "A Piece of Cake" she's eaten from but never been to.
It was a great day and even feel like I chalked one up as a pretty cool momma which is easy to do when you have a pretty cool daughter.
All in all it's been a stinking good Christmas and better than I deserve and is the season that keeps on giving.
We still have TJ, Chelsea and Zeli to celebrate with and will start the party all over again.
If the last five years have taught me anything it's been how wonderful it is to be loved.


I say keep on blogging.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and maybe just maybe, my story will not only make someone laugh and sometimes cry but always inspire.
Here's to another New Year!
Every morning you wake up on this side of the dirt is a good one...try and always remember that.
Till next time and next year,


Monday, December 15, 2014

Guess I'll Give In and Get Started

I'm in the hard part of my work week. I close on Friday night and open on Saturday morning. Added bonus (not) I woke up this morning with a terrible crick in my neck and by the end of my shift tonight was walking around like I either had a neck brace on or was Herman Munster.

It did take my mind off my bum shoulder and the fact that Aunt Flow overstayed her welcome.

The good news is finally remembered to buy corn pads and my pinkie toe is "Corn Free" again for a while.

I know that sounds gross but if you're a lifer server like me, know the feeling. A tiny callus of skin on your pinkie hurts like having a baby if anyone even touches your shoe, not to mention are horrible to look at.

The bad news is the crick in my neck. I slept wrong and kills me to even turn my head. It almost made me wish the corn was still on my pinkie toe to make my neck feel better or at least deflect the pain.

The bad news is I didn't get home til after midnight and have to back by eight in the morning. The good news is Ziggy and I took a nice two hour nap before I went to work. There's nothing better than sleeping with a pup spooning you.

The bad news is Christmas is less than two weeks away and bought my first present yesterday. The good news is I get paid early on Christmas Eve morning and have the entire day to browse through all the crap early shoppers didn't want. Worse come to worse, there's always an open gas station and scratch off Lottery tickets available.

I still get in a funk every once in a while, especially if I have an off day at work. Serving is a total crap shoot and you have to learn how to budget for off days.

I'm getting better at it. I've always been a scrambler and even when that fails have two sibs who always have my back. I'm a really lucky person.

I finally reached the end of my probationary period at work and available for insurance. Tim's getting his through his company and I'm getting Massey, Zach and myself signed up through my work. We'll have medical, dental, vision, life and disability. I'll also have a 401 K again and options for other saving plans.

Maybe my neck hurts so much because I've been looking behind me.

Note to self: Always look ahead, you can't do anything about what's already behind you.

For some lucky reason I've landed (small pun) at the hands down best place to work in the entire airport which just happens to be the world's busiest.

It's not like next year they'll close up like a strip mall and be not only an eyesore but out of business. They are there to stay and will only continue to grow as Atlanta does.

...Several days later...

 The crick in my neck is gone and finally caved. It's time to look like Christmas around the house, so grabbed a Fraser Fir by the horns and dragged it home.

Last week Massey and I looked around for a tree at a few lots here in Newnan. They wanted seventy five dollars for a six foot tree, a hundred fifteen for a twelve.

I declined their offer.

When I got off from my day shift on Saturday I went across the highway from the airport to the State Farmer's Market where my parents bought every Christmas tree we ever had.

I talked  a guy down to fifty bucks for a twelve foot Fraser Fir that was absolutely perfect. It took three guys to put it on the roof of my station wagon and tie it down. I tipped them five bucks, I mean it is Christmas.

My living room ceiling is twelve feet high and when Zach and one of the Lost Boys put it in the stand, just scraped  but not much. It was perfect!

Until it fell.

We hoisted it back up, Zach and his buddy took off for a Christmas party and I admired my beautiful tree!

All I needed to do was turn it a quarter turn so the one bare spot faced the wall. I decided to wait for Tim to get home from work. I sent him a text saying I needed help with turning the tree.

He walked in the house around nine PM. He had left the house at six AM.

Need I say more?
The man was tired.

He walked up to the living room where I was currently on a ladder putting on the lights. He looked at the tree (I could see his eyes following it all the way up to the ceiling) and slowly shook his head.

"But I got a great deal on it!" I blurted.

He helped me turn it just the way I wanted and felt even more unsteady in the satnd.

Not a  problem. I took a length of the white twine they had tied it down with at the market and secured the tree to the banister. You couldn't see the twine and the tree was steady.

For added security I put a bungee cord from the bottom of the trunk to the bottom of the staircase.

Then I got busy. Tim went to bed, still shaking his head.

The ornaments weren't on yet and still had to add three strings of lights but it's my favorite tree ever.

Decorated the mantel and hung the stockings.

Now it was beginning to look like Christmas. Once I got started it felt pretty good and was almost sorry I waited so long to jump on the Holiday Train.

I still have two more strands of lights and ornaments to put on but this silly tree has put the cheer in me.

It's finally Christmas around here.

I've still only bought one present, two if you count the tree. Everything else will fall into place, it always does somehow.

I think people tend to care more about presents and not enough about the reason. Of course that's easy to say when you're me but makes me realize how the past few years have enlightened my way of thinking and living.

I will be kissed, hugged and loved by family and friends. Who could possibly want more?

Hoping everyone is as fortunate and if not...keep on keeping on and give it your all.

You get what you give and God will never let you down. He may make you wait but maybe He's just giving you time to think.

Merry Christmas.

Til next time COTTON

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

And Just Like THAT...

Had a horrible day yesterday and like an idiot went to Walmart to return some batteries. My head began throbbing as soon as I pulled in the parking lot and waited at least four minutes behind a car with it's back up lights on  for a parking spot to no avail. I just went around and parked further away.

I should have turned around and gone back home to the sofa again for another grape juice bar then but instead continued on from my parking spot at  the far end of the lot and walked past the car now ready to pull out and go.

Pay day wasn't until tomorrow night and was flying by the seat of my pants. I had seven dollars in my bank account, I was out of gas and the dogs were out of food. I took the batteries back because they were the wrong size and cost six bucks. I found an old lottery ticket Zach had given me for loaning him five dollars, it was worth seven so was going to cash that in too and be golden til pay day. I could buy gas for work and a small bag of chow for the pups.

There were two people in front of me at returns and one woman being waited on. It was ten til five. At five the young woman behind the register had to call someone over to help her help the woman currently at the counter.

At this point the man in front of me turned around to slowly roll his eyes and wipe his hand down the front his face.

He looked at me and I said "I feel like shooting myself in the head from the time I pull in the parking lot."

Finally they got the first customer all figured out and refunded, then the next person stepped up.

After two more calls for help from someone the next person got served and was gone by ten after five.

The eye rolling man was up next and had to explain to the young cashier twice what she was doing wrong (and he didn't even work there) before he returned his one item and left at five twenty.

Don't get me wrong. The cashier was nice, very young but obviously new or maybe just a little slow.

My gripe is that about five employees (in Santa hats) were all milling around doing absolutely nothing right behind the service desk area while this girl struggled with every return as people piled up behind us original three like a herd of wild animals with somewhere to go or be.

I felt like screaming by the time I left for the long walk back to my car. Next stop was to cash in my lotto ticket at the gas station by Kroger and then bought the pups some food.

I got home, fed the dogs and collapsed on the sofa from the sheer emotional exhaustion I had endured.

Heck, I used to live like this day after day, month after month and actually year after year.

How on earth I did it is anyone's guess except that I truly  know how I did. We had so much help from others it's borderline embarrassing.

Thank God being embarrassed isn't a crime, I would have put away five years ago.

I stayed on the sofa while  chomping down another grape juice bar then just gave up, went to my bedroom and watched three hours of recorded "Parenthood" from under the covers of my king sized bed with the dreamy Beauty Rest pillow top mattress and box springs scored for forty bucks when  I worked for a mattress store and bought it from a nice wealthy older couple who I sold a new set. I doubt they did the wild thing on it all that often.

My sister had come by while I was at Walmart having a breakdown and left me a twenty for gas money. I was good, although now I could forgo Marta the next day and park at international saving myself well over two hours of time. Plus pay day would be at midnight and could pay her back.

It's getting better all the time.

If Aunt Flow hadn't shown up all uninvited I would have been fine. Throw in the hormonal freak show after nearly a year's absence and almost felt suicidal...or maybe like killing someone.

Yeah, That's the feeling!

"I ain't going no where, but a lot of you are really getting on my nerves, standing in the way when I happen to be way over the halfway mark in this rodeo. Do I really have to choke a bitch?"

Yes! That should the motto of any woman who (has worked like a fire ant for five years, suffered hot flashes for three, worked two jobs for a while) finally eleven months curse free...and then BAM!

"Remember me? Your Aunt Flow! It's been so long. Bet you didn't expect me, didcha?"

I called the day a wash. I gave up.

Then I woke up this morning after a twenty four hour pity fest determined to make it a better day...

And it was.

I got to work and the whole place was happy. From the lady who drove the shuttle from the parking deck with just me on it to the TSA guy who let me keep my jacket and scarf on through security. There was a trio with a great sax playing Christmas music in the atrium below the restaurant and just like that...

Everything changed, yet again.

The peeps loved me again, and again and again. I waited on the musicians from below and every one else spread their cheer with me as well.

I have enough cash to make the house note check we wrote today good, pay Verizon and on top of that will have my pay check deposited at midnight.

I wasted an entire day being sad because of hormones and worries over money.

Money is way over rated, hormones are not.

Guess that gives me half a "Get out of jail free" card.

I'll take it!

This one's just for some Christmas fun and  special shout out to my nephew's cute Hawaiian princess girl friend, Jamie.

It'll all be okay. God told me that and I believe Him.

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, December 8, 2014

Reality Check...Again

Feeling a little down tonight, that's why I headed to my blog. It's my happy place.

Work was officially a bust today when I needed it to BANG.

Payday is Wednesday at midnight. I have about thirty bucks left to my name, the dog food ran out today, I only have one day off this week which is tomorrow and my car has to be in the shop all day. I have tons to do but won't have a car. Then I thought, why did I need my car if I didn't have any money?

It's like  money controls everything.

It doesn't.

Trust me, I've learned this.

I had to stop, make myself think back over a year ago when borrowing from Peter to pay Paul just to keep the utilities connected.

And ours is. I know this now.

Yeah yeah yeah, so it's seventeen days til Christmas. I don't need a reminder.

I have a husband who expects nothing and would never, ever even think about asking one of us for something much less anything.

See? I am lucky!

I have three kids and around ten other people to buy a gift for. I've decided to be a minimalist.

The always wise Dr. Seuss sums it up perfectly!

I should be out buying fabulous gifts for peeps left and right. Everybody and their brother (including my own and his older sister) are who've got us through these past few years.

To my tiny mind seems that should be reason enough to celebrate and be happy.

And happy I shall be!

I can afford a book of stamps (also outrageously priced) but love writing (even with an actual pen) and lucky for me use pens on a daily basis as a waitress. (waitress makes me sound younger)

Yep, I'm "Old School".

My sister gave me a bunch of  Christmas cards from her church the kids there made. I have about twenty other random cards and envelopes.

If Christmas means so much to you, what better way to express it than with thought feeling soul and as an added bonus be in the form of your own handwriting?

Would you really rather have some junk something from Big Lots or Dollar Tree with no thought behind but pretty paper and a bow around?

I don't think so. I think I know you all better than that.

I'm thinking after fifty four years have finally found the perfect present!

No worries we're still struggling albeit much much closer.

Closer is better. It's much better.

Along the seemingly long road have been enlightened and discovered what I think life is all about.

It's about "Living" and being "Loved".

It's about being grateful for what you have not for what you want.
It's about treating others like you want to be treated.
It's about getting what you give.
It's about knowing what goes around comes around.

It's about finally getting the entire picture.

Guess I already got my Christmas present!!

Love is all you need. Give some and promise, will get more than you deserve.

Guess I'm a slow learner but was depressed when I first sat down to write and now I'm not.

Now I feel humbled and embarrassed to have even thought we had a reason to feel depressed.

Luckiest woman in the world telling you all to have a Merry Christmas instead of buying one.

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Tomorrow's Just A Future Yesterday

Yesterday is behind me and tomorrow is ahead of me. You know what yesterday was like, you never know about tomorrow. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that.

I came home from work tired but was exhausted by the time I went to bed. Zach and his buddies were getting on my nerves as I was cleaning house trying to listen to the Ga. Tech game over them playing a video game. I politely (maybe not ) asked them to leave. Massey was home, Tim was still at work and deemed it "Estrogen Night".

Massey and I hung out a bit and she left to go hang out with a friend. Fine by me, I'm rarely home alone and kind of like it.

I had stopped earlier between doing laundry and vacuuming to pee with the door open and discovered what resembled a small crime scene in my underpants.

For Pete's sake...I thought all my dues had been paid and was a certified old lady member of the "Through With Menopause" club.

Seems I'm not...dammit.

And just like that my mood shifted. Zach said something  that hit me the wrong way and I kicked them all out. Massey said something to me that hit me the wrong way and I unloaded on her.

Sometimes you simply have to unload.

I have great kids and love their friends but sometimes need to remind them who you are and what all you do. I'm sure some things they notice and some they don't but sure would be nice if they would mention the ones they do.

After my meltdown and the house was once again spic and span tumbled into bed, still in my work clothes.

Tim woke me this morning. He asked if I had to work today and as usual asked him what day it was? He said Sunday and I answered yes. I asked him what time it was and when he told me eight o'clock bolted out of bed. I was supposed to be there by eight thirty, but was still in now wrinkled and crime scene stained work clothes.

I ran for the shower as I asked him to iron a shirt for me.

Here's the thing. My husband is my complete polar opposite. He came back upstairs with my ironed work shirt and a cup of coffee after I finished my three minute shower and was on the phone calling work while slapping on some make up.

He said "You're late, there's nothing you can do now but make the best of it...here's your shirt and some coffee."

He was right. I've been late maybe twice in the last seven months and at least I was going to show up.

The executive chef answered the phone and told him I had way overslept but would be there within the hour. He said it was okay and would see me when I got there.

I told Tim to call TJ (who was opening with me) and tell him I was running late. Done.

Knowing TJ was running on time and had my back made it a little  less painful when I even had to stop for gas before getting on the highway for the airport.

TJ had everything done by the time I got there. Dang I love that boy!

I clocked in and clocked back out to get a break slip and we both went and got some free breakfast.

Yesterday ended up tough, today started out worse but just like that...everything was okay.

The other server opening with us was a no show so TJ had opened the entire place alone. He didn't complain about, just simply said "Let's go eat" after I clocked in and apologized. Maybe he's more like his dad than I thought.

It's usually snoozeville on Sunday mornings until drink thirty.

Yes it's the busiest airport in the world but can't serve alcohol until twelve thirty on Sundays. Idiotic law if you ask me.

Welcome to the backwoods south.

Today there were over ten people waiting for us to open the gate to the restaurant at ten o'clock. They streamed in and they kept on coming.

Five minutes after we opened TJ and I both had five tables a piece and more peeps coming through the door.


It got hairy but we all worked together and one hour later the place was empty again. Ten minutes later more peeps started filing in and had a terrific shift.

Every single person I waited on today was a delight. I chatted with them all (I'm a big "Chatter") learned their travel destinations and stories. They loved the food and all complimentary on everything from the decor to the service.

I clocked out at five almost two hundred dollars richer on my next paycheck and had seventy extra bucks to take home in cash.


When I finally clocked into work this morning at almost nine fifteen feeling panicked and furious with myself... saw TJ had everything done.

My oldest boy just smiled at me and said "Let's go get breakfast".

Am I the luckiest woman on the planet or what?

I was on the shuttle back to the parking deck after work and randomly checked my email. There was an email from a name which sounded familiar and the subject line read "Jethro".

I opened it and was an email from two customers I waited on yesterday. We had chatted about how times were different when we were young which led into a conversation about how great our childhood was which led into a  conversation about how great old TV shows were. We discussed Bewitched, The Andy Griffith Show and my personal favorite, The Beverly Hillbillies. I told them both I even used 'The Clampetts' as my email address.

This guy and his wife sent me this photo while on the first day of their vacation.

How awesome is that?

It simply read "From Dave and Skipper at the airport".

I don't want to brag, or maybe I am...but this is the second couple who have emailed me after dining with me at the airport. I don't know the actual stats but seems like a good sign.

Who doesn't like to make a new friend?

I came home last night tired and went to bed feeling like an unappreciated and unasked blood donor.

I woke this morning feeling like a loser for over sleeping.

I got to work extremely late but worked hard from the time I walked in til the time I walked out.(after my immediate free breakfast)

How did I get so lucky?

Why did I get so stressed last night?

Why do I worry about things out of my control?

I'm a happy (wo)man...or at least striving to be with pretty good results thus far. Sometimes I just need to slap myself and say "Don't be stupid, be grateful".

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Simply Wow.

It started out a typical day for a tired mom. I had started the dishwasher last night before going to bed and had the kitchen looking spic and span. Tim leaves before six in the morning and is supposed to let Ziggy out. He didn't.

Ziggy had to go.

At least it wasn't runny.

Tim also cooked breakfast and left all his dishes in the sink. I hate dirty egg pans that haven't been scrubbed.

Zach got up complaining about Ziggy so I complained about Tim. I think I won. (in my mind)

I cleaned house and closets, did laundry for four hours last night plus cooked dinner and put it all away then went to bed with an aching shoulder. My bum shoulder kept me up most of the night and wasn't an especially happy camper when I got up at nine to dog poop, a  loaded dishwasher that was clean but still loaded, dishes in the sink and egg crap in the trap.

Then I get a text from Massey with an attachment of a photo of the most bizarre rash on her neck and face.

I told her to go straight to the health clinic and waited for the diagnosis.

She has Shingles. Insurance hasn't kicked in yet (naturally) and knew she needed meds immediately. I left for work early and deposited enough money in her account for prescriptions.

The doctor or whoever was pretending to play one at the university clinic told her it was most probably stress related. She's currently in the middle of exams and I know how much she stresses.

Luckily a friend of mine from high school sent her the message "When you apply for a job after graduating they just want you to have a degree. They won't check your grades to see if you ever made a C."

I've never had the Shingles but have heard about them. I decided not to tell Massey everything I've heard. I took the easy route and told her to get every prescription filled they gave her.

Work was okay, not super busy but just the kind of night I needed after the day I'd had. I made fifty bucks extra after the 18% added gratuity and called it a win.

I got a text from Zach as I headed for the shuttle back to my car around nine. It included this picture of my kitchen which had crappy almost twenty year old linoleum when I left this morning.

You know what? My kids aren't perfect and neither are the Lost Boys but all love me almost as much as they have tried me.

I came home expecting debris and mess everywhere. I was impressed even more to find the kitchen put back together and only one strip of flooring to finish.

So what Tim's dishes from early this morning were still in the sink, now covered by lots of others?

The dishwasher still wasn't unloaded but was so taken with my new beautiful floor 99.5% complete and not even a mess, saw or tool to move out of the way that even the egg particles from this morning now stuck in the traps like glue didn't matter.

These boys can drive me crazy and often do but all know how to make me happy and did tonight.

They are going to finish tomorrow morning and lucky for them is my day off. I can't wait to cook them all dinner in  my new kitchen!

Massey needs to quit stressing as well.

Guess I may need to swing into the ATL to take my girl out for some pie while the Lost Boys finish up here.

When you feel like nothing is going right, just keep on keeping on and hope Karma remembers you.

Once again, I'm one of the lucky ones.

We have a chalk board in the kitchen my dear friend Lisa made us. I have written on it "If you want something you've never had, then you've got to do something you've never done."

I got home from work tonight and after about an hour of admiring my new beautiful floor noticed one of the Lost Boys had changed the chalk board.

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, December 1, 2014

Still Learning New Tricks

So we had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my sister's house yesterday with very little thanks to me. My sister did all the cooking for a house full of people. I made two pies and brought a crock pot of green beans.

It's the first year since 1977 that I haven't done at least half the work with her and felt kind of guilty about it but didn't have any days off until Thanksgiving morning and took my sister up on her offer.

My brother provided a very full bar.

It was the most relaxing day I've had in years, especially after the first bloody mary.

We hadn't even been there five minutes when I posed for the above picture. My sister owns a somewhat seemingly special needs  but adorable boxer who is afraid of everything including her own fart.

My sister's husband bought Zola (yes that was my grandmother's name as well) a new dog bed but the dog wouldn't go near it. The cat liked it so guess Zola thought he had claimed it like cats seem to demand and claim anything they want.

I told my sister Zola just didn't know how great the new bed was and this was the way to show her. My sister snapped the pic with her phone and turned to the others in the kitchen and said "And she hasn't even had one drink yet!"

That's pretty much me in a nut shell.

I like being a goof ball. It makes me still feel like a kid at heart.

It's been a long couple of years but finally feel like my (old) self again. I've even managed to learn quite a few new tricks.

I still actually can't believe I managed to not only get my new job but end up being pretty good at it in a few (or seven) quick months. It's a job where  I can learn and grow as a server and continue to do just that on a daily basis. I like it!

I have a great family, great dogs and a great job. Who could ask or want for more?

Not this goofball.

The noose I felt around my neck for so long is gone,  replaced by the lasso I now hold in my hand ready to capture life and propel myself forward hanging on for the ride.

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Christmas is less than four weeks away and don't have a care in the world about stressing over the holiday.

I've decided on one nice (hundred dollar range) gift for each of my three kids and will be something they need, like but not necessarily ask for.

I thought long and hard about family and have come up with a great idea for nieces, nephews and their significant others. It has thought, love and something they cherish. That's the real reason for the season if you ask me.

I had two really slow shifts at the airport over the Thanksgiving holiday but picked right up again once travelers began their journey home.

Our executive chef cooked Thanksgiving dinner for all the employees on our concourse working Thanksgiving day complete with turkey and dressing. Everyone else brought side dishes or desserts and heard it was fabulous.

Today the other sous chefs made us all turkey paninis with the left overs and were delicious! They treat the employees great where I work and can't imagine working anywhere else in the entire terminal, domestic or international. I never thought I would work for a corporate restaurant again after the Western Sizzler (not really the name) treated me so shabbily but find myself liking this new job more each and every day.

I rode MARTA for almost six months with my employee pass and free parking but have finally reached a point where I can drop the MARTA pass and simply park at international every day for twelve dollars, be through security and clocked in at the restaurant  five minutes later. The twelve dollars I'll pay to park closer means I can leave the house forty five minutes later for work each day and be home forty five  minutes sooner each night. I'd say that's worth six bucks each way. No more Sardine Shuttle, no more being put off the shuttle to make room for passengers and have to wait for the next one. No more scrounging for a parking space at the MARTA lot and no more thirty minute trips back to my car after my shift. No more worrying about whether MARTA  will run on time.

I think I've earned at least this concession! I bet some women spend a lot more than that on new shoes and a manicure. I'd rather have old shoes and nubby nails I do myself and  have almost two extra hours back in each work day for myself.

I've finally earned full time status , eligible for benefits and eagerly awaiting my enrollment forms in the  (snail) mail.

For fifty dollars a week now I'll have medical, dental, vision and life insurance for Massey and myself. My unlimited MARTA pass was $47 a month which means my insurance will seem even less out of my paycheck. I also have the option to add Zach to the plan and just let him pay me his twenty five bucks a week and have the same coverage. I'll also be enrolled in a 401 K plan again.


As dumb as it may sound will kinda miss all the nuts and even nice peeps I've encountered during my seven month experience relying on public transportation five days a week.

God Bless the Commuter. It ain't easy... by a long stretch. Been there, done that.

I think the night I finally decided to give in and park at international was the really cold night some dude was wondering around on the train wearing ten feet of blue plastic tarp wrapped around each foot with electrical cords.

Yep, I'm one of the lucky ones and think about it each and every day.

Oh yes I'm a lucky person. If I die tomorrow, I'd still have been lucky.

I have had it so much better than millions and millions and millions of others I should feel ashamed but instead feel eternally grateful.

I'm an old dog who had to learn new tricks.

It was hard, not gonna say it wasn't and still is but if you force yourself to put one foot in front of the other every day as soon as you step out of bed, keep on keeping on and never forget who's not only helping you get there but cheering you on as well will realize

you're a lucky and loved person and the past few years were simply a kick in the butt to make you realize exactly that, scars and all.

Smile at someone when others would look away. Never judge, because you may not know the whole story. Try to be an example not a statistic.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say...

For the first time in a number of years can say am excited about  Christmas.

It's not about fancy gifts bought and wrapped up in a box... it's about receiving the gift of life and making the most of it no matter what happens.

If you wake up on this side of the dirt...it's a lucky day.

Til next time...COTTON