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,


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