Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I Needed This

Massey and I have been planning to go see our former manager for weeks now at the new restaurant he moved to. It started out just being us three then grew to six and by today had dropped back to just her and me. I text my old boss and told him it would just us and if he wanted to reschedule would be fine with us. I thought he may not want to meet considering other peeps from the airport had planned on coming but was thrilled to receive a text he was looking forward to tonight and would see us at the planned time.

Atlanta traffic at five o'clock is horrific at best and needed to go I-285 North from Newnan which is a double whammy. We stopped at Flash Foods in Newnan for my daily coke icee and headed out almost dreading the drive. I'm not sure if I would have made the drive for anyone but him.

In the short time I worked for this man  learned more about serving than I ever have in thirty six years and learned even more about what's important in living. Just as I first was, Massey was a little intimidated by him when she started working at the airport with me but quickly came to love him as a boss and person just as I had. I'll have to say us Cotton's are excellent judges of character.

We hit the highway at the worst time expecting a nightmare drive but traffic never slowed down once and made it to the restaurant in astonishing time. I took it as an omen. We were meant to go.

I rarely do anything but go to work or the grocery store, not because I can't but more so because I simply just don't. After five years of being broke, going out and spending money on myself isn't a priority and  have plenty of laughs and fun with my own family and even with my work family.

Tonight I needed a break and got one!

First with the amazing traffic flow and second with a two hour dinner with my daughter and former boss. We got there at the exact same time, Massey spotted him walking right by our car as we pulled in.

The place was great and could tell the employees really liked and respected him just as we had.

He just got a job in property management from nine to five and as four days ago didn't work for the restaurant anymore but they all welcomed him like a well loved friend. We had drinks (Massey had tea) and had a wonderful dinner together. Amazing calamari appetizer and delectable salads. Massey and my salads were with seared Ahi Tuna and his with steak.
We shared a Creme Brulee that was decadent!

We told him all about the airport since he'd left and had many laughs about the bizarre life of working in the world's busiest crazy house aka airport.

While we were chatting he said something to me which made my night...actually year. He said one of his favorite things about me was that I was a fighter for whatever I believed in; for my kids, my family or even myself.

I couldn't and haven't received a better compliment (unless he'd said I didn't look a day over thirty) but also made me realize if you can't change things at work you don't like rise above them, be the better person and ultimately a winner.

I needed to hear that.

He's exactly right. You can't change others but you can't let others change you.

Work is tough enough without letting little things you can't change bother you especially when you're fifty five.

I have a fantastic job with some fantastic friends and even have my bestie with me three days a week.

My cup runneth over, even if it's half full.

This family has gone from having a half dead broken twig

 to having a fully alive and beautiful tree.

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and yours. Be grateful for little things and big ones are sure to follow.

I'm not worrying about  presents I still need to get or who I may have left out. I'm not worrying about bills due or the fact this is the slow season in the International terminal. I'm going to simply have a wonderful Christmas time and so should you.

Til next time... COTTON

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sometimes It's Little Things

I took this picture when leaving work tonight. The control tower is decked out in red and green for Christmas and I love it!

We have a dishwasher at work who is one of my favorite people in the entire airport. He's about my age and grew up in the same area of south Atlanta that I did. He's very religious and has Bible verses written on a banner which he hangs up in the dish pit every time he clocks in. I actually did a blog about him last year. He sometimes rides his bicycle to Marta and takes the train to and from work. I believe he lives at the local YMCA. He comes into work and speaks to each and every employee. He has a great attitude regardless of the fact, has a job which never seems to end or be caught up. He works in a tiny dish area which is hot and humid to say the very least. Things get thrown into the dish pit when it's busy and is often sprayed with water splashed onto him when utensils get carelessly thrown into the soak water while he's standing there scrubbing away at pots and pans. He never gets angry or overwhelmed and comes in each shift with a positive attitude and a smile. He's a better man than me by far. When we were at our lowest point still had a roof over our heads albeit behind on the mortgage and when we didn't have a vehicle, had family and friends who loaned us one.

He inspires me each and every day with his excellent attitude.

Trust me, when we haven't had a dishwasher I've gone back there and pushed a few loads through myself. You get soaking wet in a matter of minutes.

He comes in, puts on the starched white chef jacket provided then covers himself with plastic bags front and back. He wears long gloves to scrub the pots and pans with his airport security badge on his upper arm like a badge of honor. He's my Super Hero keeping us supplied with clean dishes, glasses, pots and pans and everything else needed to make the restaurant run.

When Massey started working there too and met him, she instantly took a liking to him. It bothered her that his face got totally wet when scrubbing as we all seemingly flung things at him while bustling in and out of the dish pit during the peak hours. She suggested a face mask to at least keep his face dry.

Yesterday while Christmas shopping at Lowes for my brother's present and new seal for the bottom of our bathroom shower door I stopped an employee and asked about a lightweight clear plastic shield for your face telling him what I wanted it for. He was so helpful and told me he bet it would make my friend's day saying his own first job had been as a dishwasher when he was young.


For less than fifteen dollars I bought an adjustable lightweight face shield which I brought home and Massey wrapped in Christmas paper complete with ribbon, bows and  tag which read "To Richard from Kelly and Massey".

He leaves his "costume" hanging in the back hallway on a hanger at work where he careful puts it on every time after clocking in, often asking for help getting his security badge (which has to be displayed at all times) on his upper arm and sometimes takes a few minutes to don the outfit in it's entirety.

I went into the back hallway at work about an hour before he got there and tucked the present right by his gear.

He came into work through the back door of the kitchen and immediately said "Miss Kelly, ya'll shouldn't have gotten me anything, I saw Massey's name on the tag too".

I told him not to get excited, it was nothing special just something we thought he might like for work and to open it. Just as quickly and with a huge smile he said "I bet I know what it is" and gestured with his hand around his face.

You know what? I think that was the best fourteen dollars I ever spent. He was thrilled and wore it the entire time I was there once he started scrubbing dishes near our target zone.

When I was standing at the expo window tonight doing my check out to leave  he came out of the kitchen pushing a cart full of clean dishes and pans to put up, proudly wearing his new face protection. He told me to be sure and thank Massey too for his great present. I told him a picture was worth a thousand words.

He is one of the most decent humble and hard working people I know, who am proud and grateful to call my good friend.

This world needs more people like him. Maybe his job doesn't seem overly important to you but makes our entire restaurant able to continue keep on keeping on throughout the entire shift.

Used to think I was a pretty decent person until I met Richard. Now realize it's people like him who inspire me.

Merry Christmas to my Super Hero...literally.

It's not who's got the better house, education or better things. It's about how great a person you are.

Thank you, Richard for inspiring me!

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, December 11, 2015

Happy Christmas

I've been kinda freaked out the past couple of weeks at work. Last year the airport was packed with travelers from Thanksgiving until well after Christmas. It was a moneypalooza for me. This year with all the madness of terrorism in the world going on people obviously listened to government warnings about traveling overseas (which they should totally take into consideration) and been much slower in the international terminal where I happen to work for my livelihood.

The last two days that I've gone into work, the lines at security have gotten longer and longer as more and more people seem to have decided to not let a tiny fraction of  over seven billion people in the world dictate how they spend their holidays.

Good for them!! (and me)

I  have also noticed (and appreciate) added presence and extra scrutiny of TSA, Homeland Security, Atlanta Police and generally most every employee at the airport. I also appreciate the fact travelers with Holiday destinations have finally seemed to say "We're mad as hell, not going to take it anymore and going to enjoy the holiday we planned!"

With the sudden slow down at work I slowed down as well. I went into our attic and garage, dug out every Christmas decoration and lights we hadn't used in over five years and decorated like the crazy lady I am, spending maybe ten bucks on fuses and a drop cord.

We haven't had lights on the outside of our house in too many years to remember. Actually the lights are so old they don't even make fuses for them anymore so just downsized and used good fuses from unused strands.

It still looked pretty good with all the work Tim and I did on the bushes taking over the front of our house when he came home to visit for the first time at the end of July.

The inside was a piece of cake. A little dusting, windexing glass and sucking up dog hair with the vacuum. I had already replaced all the window treatments before it slowed at work and done it pretty thriftily. The biggest expense was candles for all my candle holders and cost less than ten bucks.

I'm thinking Tim will pretty darned impressed when his flight gets in Christmas Eve and comes home to this.

 I was getting worried about being able to afford a tree because I like a Fraser Fir and like it at least fifteen feet tall, we have a twenty foot ceiling in our living room. I'm going to the farmer's market on Sunday where you can wheel a deal like my own momma did every year when we were kids. Last year I got one for under fifty bucks.

I finally got smart and have bought several gifts ahead of time. I never go overboard but tend to get gifts which mean something and significant to the person intended.

I'm feeling better about Christmas, even sending out cards this year, first time in probably ten.

I even got smart at work. I always bring treats for my co workers but added bags of Hersey kisses (on sale) which I bought in Christmas colors that I take to work and give every customer as I take them their bill. I say "Merry Christmas, have a happy Holiday Season and will be back to take care of this as soon as you're ready." So far nine times out of ten I get added gratuity. My two dollar bag of kisses made me over eighty extra bucks tonight and made a lot of people smile for a server going that extra step.

Yep...we'll be getting that tree, thanks to the travelers liking my added little touch.

Not bragging but truly strive to give the ultimate service experience when people dine with me. A Hersey Kiss is simply icing on the cake and an end to my means...a big ole Fraser Fir and the most perfect Christmas us Clampetts have had (and finally deserve) in quite some time.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and are able to spend it with the ones you love. I'll be lucky enough to.

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, November 30, 2015

Much To Be Thankful For

With all the craziness that is world, I am blessed to have a wonderful family who constantly add life to the years.

We've started having Thanksgiving at my brother's house in Orlando every year. Number one it's an expensive holiday when you host it and number two he has a really nice house on a beautiful lake. He buys all the groceries, a plethora booze and my sister and I cook. Actually Cindy does more of the cooking and I tend to be more of the clean up person and funny sidekick. It works out really well...at least for Cindy and me!

All we have to do is show up and sling one meal together to put on his huge dining room table while drinking up all his booze. As Chic Fil A says "It's our pleasure!"

All three of us Leach kids have aged pretty well if you ask me. On the other hand (small pun) it's pretty sad when a brother's hands look better than his two sister's. I laughed after taking this picture of my hand and Cindy's side by side while we were cooking. I had a cut from work healing up and she's obviously losing a thumb nail soon...not to mention the road map of bumpy veins on both.

Zach had to work until close on Wednesday and work early on Friday morning so he didn't get to go. Tim is still stuck out in Texas and Cin's husband didn't come but everyone else made it including TJ and his new family.

 We laughed every minute of every day. It was a vacation I really needed and certainly didn't disappoint.

The weather was spectacular and so was the company.

There was no fancy table setting. We used paper towels as napkins and just got up and grabbed what we wanted. It was awesome!

My brother is always the ultimate host. The beer and wine never ran out and  has a fully stocked bar he let us trample and stumble through.

The lake he lives on is beautiful and even owns a twenty five foot boat always at our disposal.

The sunsets are breath taking.

He's an avid golfer and keeps a basket full of balls to hit off the dock and my nephew Griffin showed us just how it was done!


Naturally I posted this to Facebook immediately and last time I checked had almost 300 views.

It was the most relaxing time I've had in quite some time. I even shaved my legs to celebrate! I haven't shaved my legs since Tim left for Texas last January and was tired of french braiding those wiry things.

I certainly wish I had this view from my own back yard but at least have a brother who does.

It was an awesome time with awesome people. My cup runneth over (another pun).

The first night it was just Massey and me there. We got there around eleven at night. We walked in and the first thing I spied was some fancy dancy looking scales my brother had. I dropped my bags and went to step onto them to weigh my tiny self when Massey stopped me and said "Mother, that's a vacuum."

Looked like a set of scales to me but what do I know? Obviously not much...

Massey and I had to work on Saturday afternoon at three so we loaded up the night before and bounced at six AM. My sister hitched a ride back with us so was another fun trip even though were leaving paradise. We got home in time to drop off luggage and change into work clothes. Worked until after ten thirty and got home close to midnight but was well worth it.

It's hard to beat being with my brother and sister. I'm one lucky sib, always have been.

The youngest is now fifty five and oldest sixty two but we're still the kids in the above photo.

Trust me, we're brother and sisters and pretty pumped about how lucky I got!

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Getting Our Eat On

Having Thanksgiving at my brother's in Orlando. Everybody but ole Jed / Fang will be there but would much rather have him home with us at Christmas for three full days.

I bet it's hard for him, being married to a woman who is a mix of Phyllis Diller and Granny Clampett.

Guess I better keep him, and thank him.

I decided to pick up two double shifts in a row to make up for taking two upcoming extra days off for Thanksgiving. The first one ran smooth as silk and was well compensated and just ended up to be almost thirteen hours.

When in my twenties, thirties and even forties I could work seven days a week fourteen hours a day and was a piece of cake....almost laughable.

Guess we see where that got me , but at least it got us here.

Got to open again at work in the morning, moving into my scheduled mid shift and hopefully be off before ten.

 I'm gonna be a 95lb pile of exhaustion on the floor they could sweep into a dust pan. But if survive will be off until Saturday afternoon.

Pray for me...I really want to eat at that fancy eatin' table.

Til next time...COTTON