Monday, January 12, 2015

What A Weekend

Boy have I been having a lot of desserts lately.

We've had a cold snap this past week and temps have been brutally low especially by deep south standards. I got stuck in the parking deck after work Wednesday night when my car wouldn't crank. It was eleven degrees outside without the wind chill factor and wind was certainly blowing pretty hard.

Number one the idiot they call a a parking deck truck driver who's only job is to help stranded motorists tried for less than four minutes to jump my car, told me to call roadside assistance if I had it, got back in his warm truck and drove off.

I looked for my insurance card and finally found it but in the meantime had called Zach at his job and he had one of the Lost Boys coming to pick me up from Newnan.

I sat in the truck until I couldn't stand the cold anymore and went back down to the first floor and got on a shuttle headed back to the terminal. I figured I'd just ride the route until my ride got there.

Number two God sent me an angel. The doors opened and my favorite shuttle driver smiled and said "Get on honey you look like you're freezing to death."

I was.

I told her about my dilemma and she told me to go to the back of the bus where the heat came out and turned the fan on high.

Of course the Lost Boy had to stop for gas and antifreeze so it was going to be about forty five minutes before he got there.

My favorite driver of all time (Ms. Thornton) said there were three other shuttles lined up, it was getting really slow and she'd be just fine sitting there letting me warm up and keeping me company.

We talked about what high schools we went too, both of us were south side gals born and raised.

We talked about our kids, we talked about our cars and sometimes we just sat silently listening to the wonderful hum of her heater on high.

I got off work a little before nine and got home a little after midnight but at least I got home.

The next day wasn't much warmer and I called our insurance company to find out who to use for towing so could be partially reimbursed.

I called the number they gave me and told the guy where my car was.

IMMEDIATELY he said "my truck's too big to pick up in a parking deck, you need to call someone else." Then he hung up after giving me the number of someone in downtown Atlanta not covered by insurance.

Thanks (not) goofball.

They tow cars all the time at the international parking deck. If you leave your car too long they tow it...there's signs everywhere saying exactly that.

Lucky for me was off the next day and just had to leave my car sitting in the deck. Now I was up to $24 for parking instead of twelve.

The car has never been easy to start. Sometimes it takes ten minutes to get cranked. So much for buying an awesome car I sunk almost five grand into.

Lucky for me (not Tim) the next morning he had a flat, no spare and had to call out of work to get new tires.

My sister brought her husband's truck over for Tim to use to go get new tires and I left in Tim's truck in time for my night shift.

The car had to stay another night in the deck. I felt sick to my stomach knowing now owed $36 for parking to even get the car out of the garage much less back to Newnan.

One of the Lost Boys met me in the deck before I left work though and we tried for thirty minutes to get it started.

No Go.

My brother in law let us keep the truck for the weekend (thank you Harvey)  and drove his big ole pickem up to work on Saturday. I worked a long day shift but couldn't think of anything other than now it was up to $48 for parking.

My daughter had come home for the weekend, a starving college student without much food in the kitchen at her loft. She sent me a text saying Zach and yet another Lost Boy had rented a pull behind tow bar and were on the way to get my car.

I went back out of security to meet them at the departure entrance , give them the money to get my car out of parking and the keys. I had directions written down to the parking deck and level where my car was  parked.

Zach's buddy has a BIG truck and had the come along attached to the back. I handed them the money, keys and directions and took off like they were late for a Monster Truck show. The speed limit is fifteen MPH and cops are everywhere. They were doing at least forty when the truck disappeared from my sight.

I called Zach twice on my way back through security to work again to tell him to be really careful, it was a tight fit and please don't hit another car.

He got kinda irritated by the second call so switched strategies and sent Massey a text "Text me when the Lost Boys get back home."

That's all I could do. And I prayed.

My manager reminded me after getting back to work  they were twenty two and could handle the job. Heck, every twenty two year old thinks they are invincible. I at least had that on my side.

An hour later finally got the text all was good.

Now am just waiting to hear from the mechanic. By that I mean MY mechanic, a dude who has always treated me fair and square and used to let me post date checks for two weeks when were really broke and had car issues.

The sous chef at work is holding the car for Massey I was going to buy this week for two more weeks so can have money for the repairs to my own car.

We are so the Clampetts before Jed hit Black Gold, Texas Tea! (and's not a bad thing in my book)

We may not wind up in a Beverly Hills mansion ( most probably, almost certainly) but we'll be okay.

You gotta remember to simply keep on keeping on, take the good with the bad and it's okay to cry every once in a while when you're alone talking to one of your pups.

Then you wipe away the tears, get yourself a good nights sleep and if lucky enough to wake up the next consider it a good sign.

God's not through with me yet.

Till next time...COTTON

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Do You Ever Get Used To It?

I had to take Massey back to school today. Classes start Monday but had training for her new job tonight.

We stopped by my old place of employment for a "Johnny's Special" aka the greatest sub ever made. Two girls I used to work with were there working so Massey and I hopped onto two stools at the counter so we could chat with them while we ate.

I worked there for about fourteen years and is a huge chunk of my life. It's even where I met Tim. There's nothing better than sitting at the counter at the Virginia Avenue location.

Massey has only recently started going there with me and is always a fun visit. The girls remember her, Massey was too young to remember them but knows them now and is always a fun stop for us on the way back to her university just ten minutes away.

We were chattering away with June (one of the servers) when she asked if we had seen the Big Guy and pointed behind us. I turned around to see my old boss sitting at a booth talking with someone. He looked up, waved and said hello. I pointed to the now young woman beside me and said "Can you believe this is Massey?" He hasn't seen her since she was a baby. Massey waved to him and they spoke briefly.

We turned back around to keep eating and Massey asked who he was?

That was a shock to me. I keep forgetting she can't remember being in my belly or even her first two or three years.

Now she knows who he is too.

We left and not ten minutes later were at her loft. I took her by the grocery store first to pick up a few things since she's been gone for Christmas. She got out her debit card to pay and quickly swiped mine instead. She bought nothing but essentials and looked for every lowest priced item. If it had me as college student I'd be picking up spaghettio's and Little Debbies. She was so frugal with her choices it was my pleasure to pay.

She can wear me out and often does but always seems to amaze me even more.

I scored a front door parking spot for just two bucks...phenomenal luck parking on Edgewood Avenue! I usually have to dump her off at the door or pay seven or eight dollars to park just so I can go up with her.

Top right corner right under the penthouse is her room.

I took this picture after setting down the grocery bags on her counter. Talk about a room with a view.

Jeez, you can even see Stone Mountain on the horizon from her room.

In a few short months she'll be a junior on her way to a college degree. That is awesomely inspiring to a momma.

Rush hour traffic would hit in less than an hour and I needed to go. If you've ever lived in Atlanta you know how traffic is on the "Grady Curve" after four.

She commented more than once on the ride how it was hard to leave home again.

I told her home would always be there for her, and it will.

I love the way she drew with chalk on the concrete beams in the corner her room. The girl's got a very artistic flair.

I imagine she will continue to not only amaze me but amaze herself.

One more bestie selfie and I hit the road back to Newnan. She rode down with me in the elevator and walked me to my car out front. We kissed and hugged goodbye. I wanted to hug her longer but knew tears would well up in my eyes. I already felt 'em poking from behind my eye lids.

She's only forty five minutes away but arms don't reach that far.

She's coming home in a week or two to meet Darwin. Her Christmas/Birthday/Christmas present. It's a car she's already named. Her last one was "Finnegan". This one is a nineties model Maxima we scored for eight hundred bucks from a sous chef at work.

Guess what his name is?

That's Darwin in the white chef coat. We had this pic taken when we ate at Ecco last week.

Here's my thinking. If you're gonna buy a used car, buy one from somebody you work with every day and seems to like you. It will be a great little car for just what she needs. Tooling around while she's at home and a spare car if we need it.

From this

 came this.

If we can make it this far we can make it to the planet Pluto.

My inner voice tells me I'm doing okay.

My parents left me in excellent hands.

Till next time...COTTON

Monday, January 5, 2015

Guess The Holidays Are Really Over...with a Bang!

Taking Massey back to school tomorrow. Guess the holidays are really over now.

It's been nice having her around these past few weeks and believe it or not has been pretty darn helpful around here.

She's helped around the kitchen and done a great job with the piles of laundry we somehow amass. We got to take a girls trip to my brother's house in Orlando for Christmas and spent almost four days there. Then  got to have another Christmas here at the house with Tim, all three of the kids, TJ's fiancee and her four year old daughter. Even one of the Lost Boys came.

I really downsized my gift buying this year and didn't seem to bother anyone. I think they all know what they mean to me and you can't put a price tag on that kind of love. It would be way too expensive!

I spent the least on Massey. Tim got her a nice rain jacket, vest and a couple of other small things and I got her cracked iPhone screen fixed a few weeks ago.

Well over a year her little Ford Focus bit the dust in a big way and was sold for scrap. We had been using it here at the house while she was at school and the engine blew one day when I was attempting to drive it. bad.

She took the news a lot better than I thought she would.

Since I've been at my new job it's been really awesome to be making the money I am. We've gotten almost everything caught up and current. We now have medical, vision and dental insurance. We have disability insurance and even all have a life insurance policy.

I've been stashing cash away every chance I got in a little sugar bowl which used to belong to my own momma.

Sometimes I have to borrow a little from it but always put in more than I take out.

One of the Sous chefs at work mentioned a while back that he had an older Nissan Maxima for sale.

I talked with Tim and we decided to take my sugar bowl money and some money I still had saved in my bank account (which hasn't been in the negative in over eight months) and buy the car for Massey.

Yes I spoil Massey. Everybody knows it and most of them point it out.

Here's my insane way of thinking and reasoning.

When the financial bottom fell out it hit us fast and hard.  Massey was in high school and probably just felt embarrassed. I don't blame her, Believe it or not I was sixteen one time decades ago and know what it's like to be a teen age girl.

Thanks to many hours volunteered at ball games, events and through the kindness of other guard parents she got to participate in activities and feel she was a part of the crowd. And it was a good crowd.

 This was the team reciting The Lord's Prayer before a competition.

This was the team after nailing the competition.

I worked every summer band camp and actually enjoyed it. I made new friends and realized what terrific people they were.

I'll be honest, we were pretty bad off financially but this group of people never mentioned it and always made sure we felt like an equal part of the team.

She got serious busy about school her junior year and graduated with honors the next. Another parent even donated the money for her honor chords and tassel.

She's well through her sophomore year at Georgia State University. She's had a job on campus the entire time and rarely asks for anything. She worked last summer as a counselor at Girl Scout camp.

She has kept her grades up and seems to be blossoming into exactly the young lady I dreamed she would be almost twenty years ago as I held her tiny self in the NICU at the hospital.

You know what?

She deserves this car.

Lucky for me my other two are boys and never ask for or want one thing. They're men. They don't need or ask for a stinkin' thing. They got this. (mental eye roll)

It's a used car. It's a really older model car, but it's a car!

I've told her it comes with stipulations. If our luck goes south again and one of our cars break down, hers will be our spare. She'll have to buy the gas for it but at least she'll have a ride to come home in and tool around in while she's here.

It'll be tight for a week or two after this but in my mind is worth it.

It feels good to feel secure enough to make this purchase for her.

Merry Christmas in January, Massey!

I love your curly hair which you detest.

You have always been a princess to me.

Go gettum kid. Make your mark on this world and make a difference.

I know you will.

You will always be my shizzle.

It's wonderful to be able to breathe again financially and mentally.

I have a wonderful family, network of friends and am truly a blessed person.

I got this!

Till next time...COTTON

Saturday, January 3, 2015

We Made It !!

Well we not only survived but just beginning to thrive! I just got home from work; It's a little past midnight and groceries are put away, ready for New Year's day dinner.

I couldn't believe how many people fly on New Year's Eve, especially international flights. The tipping gods smiled on me once again.

I was riding home down the highway tonight (well last night now) thinking about how much has changed in my life this past year.

Number one I am now a brain surgeon. Well not technically but after going through training for my new job feel I should at least be qualified as one.

Tim has a good steady full time job with lots of potential for advancement.

Massey is almost through with her sophomore year at the university and has stayed on track to success.

Zach matured and has turned out to be a pretty amazing kid. He just came downstairs, hugged me goodnight and said was going to bed...and it's New Year's Eve. (Smart kid)

TJ is engaged to a wonderful girl and I'm gonna be a granny fo shizzle!

This time last year was wringing my hands wondering how we'd make it another month.
This year I feeling like clapping them!!
 I finally have a car after two years,  it's paid for and so far running okay. We bought Tim a truck from my next door husband. It's a 1990 but runs like a champ and is also paid for.
I tried the couponing thing but just don't have the time to do it right. I'd end up buying things I really didn't need and spend more on stuff we'd never use. Half the time I'd forget to take them with me to store anyway.
I've slowly started to pay back and even pay forward. The people I owe the most to are my sibs and they  probably wrote it off when they loaned it to us. It'll be baby steps and a hundred bucks at a time but need  to. Do you know how many millions upon millions wish they had wonderful sibs to rely on?
I've learned humility and the true power of prayer. I've learned that people besides the ones related to me really love my family.
I'm one lucky girl.
I have a new job which I absolutely love and just recently can start to feel myself excelling toward my full potential as a server. I never thought I could make this much money being  just a server but is rewarding, thrilling and almost intoxicating.
I'm a lucky girl.
My older boxer is still blind but healthy, heart worm free and not only hanging in there but hanging close to momma thanks to well over a dozen people.
I still have two other dogs and isn't one brain between all three but  love them. Pups are the greatest medicine in the world. Instead of giving prescriptions for depression meds, docs should give people pups. Trust me they are truly mans / womans best friends and never complain or talk back. (thus far)

My sister painted my kitchen walls, table, chairs and stool.  One of my dearest friends decorated the walls and windows. Then my younger son and the Lost Boys not only installed a new floor for me...but even finished it! If I ever feel myself slipping into slight depression I go sit in the kitchen. The room exudes happiness!

We're still living paycheck to paycheck but sure beats when we couldn't.

For the past few years I've felt like we were just spinning our wheels. Feels good for them to finally have some forward traction again.

I can finally say with almost near certainty will be laughing about these past five years pretty soon.

Well, at least sooner than later now.

Here's some things I  won't miss:

Running out in my PJ's to give a utility worker a bad check after they hung a cut off notice on the front door, knocked for five minutes then headed back to their truck.

Going through the far drive through window at the bank in case they bellow over the speaker I was in the red.

Thinking about how I can make a meal out of canned tomatoes and loaf bread.

My kids always wondering if momma was gonna make good on a promise.

My dogs not eating for a day but never complaining. (I know they felt like it)

Not knowing if we were sinking further into the abyss or simply treading extremely murky and seemingly toxic water.

Now I know.

If a blind man could see it, why couldn't I?

That pretty much says it all and if  doesn't...this does.

Don't be hating on me because it's two African American videos back to back.

When it comes to people I  am colorblind. Shouldn't we all be?

I attended a high school where was  pretty close to being a minority by the time I graduated.

I am lucky to have gone there. It opened my eyes to the real world.

Bias and judgments  make me shake my tiny head.

We're all humans. Let's love each other.

Till next time...COTTON