Thursday, April 30, 2015

Life...Controlled Chaos

My daughter is going to be a servers assistant where I work starting this weekend. Great job for a college kid. Short hours, pretty nice paycheck and cash in your pocket after every shift. Bonus points she can ride share with momma.

I've been in the industry so long have worked with all three of my kids at one time or another. It may seem weird to another family but my mine has grown up knowing all about the business and the transition is easy for us. TJ worked with me for a couple of months before everyone realized he was even related to me. Work is work to us and a totally separate life. Tim used to work with me when we first met for extra cash on weekends delivering pizza and have just always been able to switch to co worker mode when we punch a clock (as opposed to each other).

Last night work was (as my daughter says)  Totes Cray-Cray!

Delayed late Paris flight and waited on quite a few French talking folks. All I could handily remember amid the chaos was "Bon Jour"   (was almost ten PM) and "Je t'aime"... not real crazy about using that one with a husband while he orders for his wife in broken English.  Single women seem to confuse it with my haircut and think an ole lady with a hick accent is hitting on 'em.

I did a lot of pointing, smiling and gesturing, got off at eleven after going in at one thirty but had my best night ever. The French people were spreading their amar!

Wait a minute, that's Spanish.

I tend to get easily confused when running in my little hamster wheel called "Working in the weeds with peeps who have more money than I do hot flashes, willing to spend it but speak very little English".

I was going to pick up a shift today but got paid at midnight and was one of my better checks. Add in last night's haul and all seemed to equal "Take the day off".

I ran some errands after a late morning nap, came home and took another one. By seven felt as normal as I ever do and turned my attention to all the little things around the house I needed to do.

Massey is still away at school for one more day, Zach is over at his buddy's working on his car and have done everything and nothing around the house. All my sheets are washed, laundry is caught up, bills paid and house semi (almost totally) clean. Doing my nails, watching my latest obsession (The Walking Dead) while folding and putting away laundry. Thinking about unbraiding and shaving the winter hair under my arms, on my legs and looking forward to a late night snack of leftovers.

What a glorious day off!

Tomorrow will be back to the real world but for tonight, It's MY world.

If you'd told me thirty years ago a night like this would be exactly what I wanted and needed,  would have been the one who invented the word "Cray-Cray"!

I think from the above selfie  can all agree I've weathered life pretty well and learned how to always have a good hair day.

I gotta learn to smile more.

Til next time...


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New Beginnings

Massey was baptized today. What a great Mother-Daughter day!

I am extremely lucky she's always loved me and pretty much (most) of the time liked me!

I'll admit, I can be a lot to take a lot of the time. I find humor in the most bizarre situations and once something I say is funny, like repeating it over and over. To me, it gets funnier every time. My own mother was a pretty humorous person and also a "Repeat" offender like me. Then I think of something funny to say about the first thing I said funny... and the cycle begins again.

 Sometimes feel like my kids grew up often thinking they had a crazy lady for a momma. Seems my kids are pretty smart.

 Unfortunately Massey has always spent a lot more time with me than her two brothers have and knows I'm crazy.

I like being crazy. Call me a'd be right about that one too. At least I'm a good kind of weird and crazy (or at least like to think so) and can say with conviction am not a bad person.

This past year at college she started going to church on a regular basis and has really gotten the message intended. God ain't stupid, just waits for you to notice.

If my own mother was still alive, would be mortified I didn't have her grand kids in church every Sunday morning (night)  Wednesday evening dinner and youth retreats on weekends.

That's the way I was raised.

Every summer when my parents took us to Florida for a weeks vacation, my diddy got out the local phone book and that Sunday as a family attended Sunday School and morning services at the local Christian church nearest to where we were staying.

Granted those weren't real fun visits when you're a kid.

You get to go to the beach one time every year and have to take Sunday clothes packed along with your swimsuit. Then you get to waste a morning at the beach driving in the station wagon to a church you've never been to, split up from your sibs and sent to separate Sunday School classes with a bunch of local kids you've never met nor ever will again.

I remember one year after the brutal Sunday School hour (in a seemingly foreign land) we met our parents in the sanctuary for the morning service. At least we were all back together ( had felt like sixty minutes in  kids prison) could sit by each other while drawing on attendance cards with the tiny pencils and pass notes back and forth.

After the sermon the minister commented and asked if there were any visitors? Of course my diddy raised his hand, stood up and told them all who we were and where we regularly attended church. I was mortified and can almost bet my brother and sister were too.

At the end of the service, the minister gave some closing remarks and then asked boldly if his visitor, Mr. Frank Leach would care to lead the benediction?

I would have bolted when he said my name out loud.

In his Sunday suit, shoes and tie brought with us in a suit case to the beach along with his swim trunks and jock strap didn't hesitate but immediately stood up in an unknown congregation , gave the benediction and sounded as if he'd been attending that specific church all his life. I think I realized that morning for the first time how amazing my father really was. My momma picked a good one to be my diddy, that's for sure.

I guess Massey got their religious genes and am thrilled she did. My parents must upstairs with the Big Guy, watching and all are smiling!

In a church totally different from the one I grew up in but one where she feels the same kind of peace I was lucky enough to experience growing up, my daughter was baptized. It was a glorious thing to witness.

I felt tingles and tears mixed with triumph.

It was a great day.

Her short two minute baptism story knocked me down a notch but lifted me up a hundred.

It's been crazy and sometimes surreal but guess what?

We had faith, trust and can say with conviction that The Big Guy is pretty awesome.

Thrilled my daughter has caught His spark too.

It only takes a spark to get a fire going
And soon all those around, can warm up in glowing
That’s how it is with God’s love
Once you’ve experienced it, you spread His love to everyone
You want to pass it on
What a wondrous time is spring, when all the trees are budding
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming
That’s how it is with God’s love
Once you’ve experienced it, you want to sing
“It’s fresh like spring”; you want to pass it on
I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I’ve found
You can depend on Him, it matters not where you’re bound
I’ll shout it from the mountain top – PRAISE GOD
I want the world to know; the Lord of love has come to me
I want to pass it on.

Pass it on !

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, April 24, 2015

Don't Jinx Me

I stopped at the gas station a couple of weeks ago on my way to work. It's a twenty five mile drive up the interstate to the outskirts of Atlanta and can see the sky line on my short stint riding the Sardine Shuttle to International from the parking deck. The nice smiling woman behind the counter asked if I was having a good day?  I replied "So far so good...don't jinx me".

She laughed.

I crossed my fingers.

I was driving my third purchased (in one year) also used older vehicle and a nervous wreck every time I merged with traffic from the on ramp. I always start out in the "Cotton Lane" better known as the slow lane. It's much easier to limp a broken down vehicle from to the emergency lane and only have one solid line to cross. Chances are you'll make it from there without getting plowed from behind...if you're lucky in Atlanta traffic.

I bought (am buying) the car from my nephew who got it from an older man he did some work for. Old dude liked my nephew who didn't currently have a car so gave him the car, all it needed was a battery. My nephew had a lot of work done on it but old dude had taken excellent care of it and even had the owner's manual in the glove box with all the notations and sticky notes old dude had made and done concerning the car. It was almost like a history of the old dude's life while driving the little Beluga.

It's got more buttons to push and switches to flip than a space rocket. I still don't know what over half of them do. The speedometer goes up to 140 mph. Are you kidding me?

Just as with any car I've bought recently, has it's own little quirks. The driver's side door won't open from the outside so you have to open the back passenger side door, stand on the back seat and lean over the front seat to open the door from inside. I call it my free anti theft deterrent.

I opened the ash try the other day for the first time to plug in my phone and found an extra set of keys. Guess it's a good thing that driver side door doesn't open, I've been leaving the car unlocked at the airport five days a week with keys sitting in the ash tray.

I called my nephew the second day I had the car to ask him how to turn off the cruise control. I'd seen the switch on the steering wheel and must have pushed it by accident. I was coming home from work the first night on the interstate going seventy miles per hour and my foot wasn't even on the accelerator. After a bit it would slow down while I tapped my foot on the floorboard in time with tunes on the radio literally cruising to music.

Casey (my nephew) told me I hadn't hit the switch, the car seemed to have a will of its own so be sure and keep my foot on the brake at red lights.

My little Beluga is a real "go getter", that's for sure.

Fast forward a week or so...

Our first grand child came a few weeks early weighing in at 5 lbs 9 oz but healthy with all ten fingers all ten toes and a tiny head full of hair. She's a little beauty and TJ is over the moon. She looks just like him with her fat pouty lip. I'm relieved everything went smoothly and everyone is doing fine.

It worked out pretty well, Tim was coming home on a buddy pass from my sister this weekend for Massey's baptism and can meet his new grand daughter, Juniper. It's a two-fer!

...Or so I thought.

I got a text from Tim while at work tonight...all flights booked up and he wouldn't get off work in time to make the last one tomorrow.  He has to drive six hours to Dallas to catch a flight. I kinda teared up when I read the message. Even worse it was during a busy time at work and had to fake happiness with the travelers who are paying my bills.

I immediately dropped a mental letter in my mental mail box, took a deep breath and somehow made it until eleven o'clock when I clocked out.

Dear God,
        I don't mean to sound pushy or ungrateful but could You start implementing more of the better ones, post haste?

                          Most sincerely and waiting ,

I keep telling myself how lucky we are and in fact really are but was kinda starting to get excited about us all being together again.

I can't even imagine how bummed out Tim was but pretty sure he felt like tearing up too, alone one thousand miles away from everyone he loves, his pups and even the wife he hasn't attempted to kill once  though often times somewhat  provoked.

In my defense, I didn't see ONE shotgun at our wedding. (just sayin')

When Tim got this great new job offer, we had to take it even though  meant living apart for up to two years.

I'm just two months in and already starting to feel stressed. I've always acted like I did everything anyway but now don't have him to gripe about it to (at) and have learned how hard it is to be the "Head of the Household."

I should have griped less and paid attention more.

I came across this quote and thought it fit my life perfectly about now.

It'll be okay, it really will.

I have faith this (best described as) totally exasperating half decade is now behind us and have nothing but sunny skies ahead. We just have to wait a tiny bit more.

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, April 17, 2015

Smile Because You Can

 Not that I look particularly good at fifty five but sure look better with a smile on my face. It makes me feel better too.

Four years ago was the roughest...and the best. I was starting over in a new job after almost fourteen with  my last one. My husband was out of work and we were out of savings. He found two part time low wage jobs and worked both while I plowed full steam ahead into my new one working every day of the week for months on end.

It's the closest we've ever coming to sinking but didn't, with help from many around us and a Huge One above us.

A few of us from my old place had a get together at my new made me smile. I was still ticked at my former company for firing me, sending us spiraling further into the red abyss but was wonderful to spend a night with all the peeps from there who really loved me.

"Love is all you need"

It's not a quote but a me.

We took the long and winding road but somehow someway with someone and plenty of others have finally reached the black again.

Looking back I don't feel embarrassed we were pretty poor, I feel lucky we were able to not only survive but thrive.
We're not rolling in dough yet but not chasing down the utilities man before he drives off after hanging a cut off notice on our door either and giving him a bad check to keep the lights on.

I've never been happier or more successful in a job than the one I have now and pretty much sure Tim feels the same way about his.

We have a thousand mile buffer between us for a year to let all ill feelings and pent up frustration go away. We talk more now than we did when he lived here and all conversations are pleasantly light and upbeat.

God had this in His plan for all of us.

We've learned humility and also learned how much we are all loved.

My kids all know the true value of a dollar now and just how quickly all can be taken away. They've seen their parents struggle and learned what commitment to a marriage  is all about. For all the hard times and all the tense moments we never gave up or never gave in. We're in it to win it and will do it together, every step of the way.

We can answer our phone again.

I think we went an entire year without picking up when it rang. We knew we were in debt and certainly didn't need to hear them remind us...that's a total bummer. Trust me, I thought about it twenty four seven and so did my husband.

With hard work and the determination of fire ants we fought the fight and have begun to win the battle.


I wake up every day now with a sense of accomplishment and total gratitude. I still have bad days, but pretty sure even the Kardashians have bad (hair) days too.

If I could change the last five years, wouldn't for a million dollars. (maybe a small exaggeration)

I don't need a "Do-over"... just the ability to "Do".

We're all in good health and now even have health care plans. We've started saving again albeit in baby steps but feels like a giant leap to me.

Take the good with the bad. Life doesn't leave you any other option. If you never have bad times how can you differentiate from the good?

I'm not worried about the other shoe dropping anymore. It dropped years ago and luckily only have two feet.

It's been a wild and crazy ride ... not one I necessarily want to get on again anytime soon but if had to, know which parts of it to cling on tight and how marvelous it feels to sail back into the station with both arms waving above your head.

I consider myself a waver now instead of a clinger.

Now THAT'S progress!

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, April 12, 2015

They Call It Another Day Because Each Is Different

I feel like I have been riding a roller coaster for almost five years. I love (am all about) roller coaster rides but sure ready for this one to end.

I started the ride with both hands above my head but been through so many twists and turns ended up holding on for my life and sanity.

My husband's working and living a thousand miles away from home and I'm home womaning the fort. My younger son still lives here and has turned out to be a huge help (except for the garage door fiasco) much welcomed and sometimes needed company.

Tim seems to be doing great with his new job in Texas and I'm loving mine in Atlanta more with every shift I work.

I get to somewhat mingle with people from all over the world, hear some pretty fascinating, amazing (sometimes ridiculous) stories and meet people I've only heard or read about until sitting smack dab in front of and talking with me. That's pretty cool to an old chica like me.

The other day I waited on a couple who were probably in their late sixties. When I first approached the table the husband asked if I would take a selfie of them with their phone... to which his wife

quickly corrected in her British accent wasn't a selfie if someone else took it but handed me her phone anyway and both smiled as I aimed and said "Cheese!". Maybe I should have said "Cheers" which seems to mean any number of various things to Brits. It's like you can't make 'em mad. They cheer you on with each response.

The husband said he wanted a picture of them having dinner on the last night of their trip around the world.

Shut up!

I was totally impressed. WHAT a Bucket List item to mark off and wanted to hear all about it!!

They had a leisurely dinner, drank two bottles of wine and conversation with them was fantastically interesting and yes I wrote it down.

At the first of January they left home from London Heathrow  and flew to Singapore. They stayed a few days then took a cruise around southeast Asia for over two weeks. The cruise ended in Hong Kong where they spent a few days. Then they flew to Bangkok  and spent another week. After that they flew to New Zealand and toured the north and south isle for two weeks. From New Zealand they flew to Honolulu and spent another week before flying to San Francisco, staying in Union Square. They drove to Yosemite, picked up route 66 and drove to Arizona staying with friends for a while (or bit) as they say continuing on to Santa Rosa and eventually Dallas. They caught a flight from Houston to Atlanta and were waiting for the flight back to Heathrow.

Heck yeah. That's on my to do list too now!

It's weird working at an international airport. Christmas time is slower while street-side restaurants enjoy Beach Season but when Spring Break starts in March the international airport is flooded with passengers traveling as street-side servers twiddle their thumbs and take time off as well. The airport continues to rock through the Masters golf tournament week. Next schools get out and will run full force ahead into the summer months of vacationing.

How did I get so lucky?

I'm approaching my one year anniversary so realize now you have to put back a little every Phat week to make up for the slow weeks but still making more in a slow week than ever did street-side in a busy one.

This is just what we needed to slow the roller coaster and eventually hear "Watch your knees and exit to the left."

I spent so much time worrying about everything gone wrong that almost forgot how to enjoy what's going right.

I can say with (almost near) conviction now that everything is going to be alright. It almost feels like taking a trip around the world!

 We started in a good place, visited a few rough neighborhoods and almost slept under a highway bridge but didn't have to.

It got worse before getting better but at least did and am grateful for the blessing.

My daughter has been coming home from college every weekend since her dad left. I think it freaks her out a little with her parents living a thousand miles apart while I just tell myself he's upstairs sleeping when I get home from work and somehow suddenly doesn't hear or complain about me vacuuming after midnight.

This past weekend she came home and we got to spend an entire evening together.

Girls rock.

We spent hours going through old pics, cooking a fantastic meal together and fixing things around the house. I got "muh hurr" cut the other day and Massey even highlighted it for me, digging into my scalp for thirty minutes with the crotchet looking needle, pulling my short strands of hair through the ridiculous looking plastic cap.

You gotta pay to play.

Life feels like it's getting better.

I'm even having more good hair days and to a woman, that means a LOT.

Til next time, ( crossing her fingers) COTTON

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Crazy Life As A Single Married Woman

Let's take a quick inventory!

My husband is living a thousand miles away in Texas while I'm still here in our house with the three pups and our youngest son. Our daughter is finishing up her second year of college in downtown Atlanta and our oldest son is becoming a father in less than a month leaving me a grandmother as well.  The car I bought originally for three thousand cost me six grand and ran for two weeks.

At least I'm still smiling...most of the time.

I have a job I already dread quitting when my husband gets his next promotion and we transfer together. I've simply decided to enjoy the time I have working where I do now.

I'll admit am a bit overwhelmed at having to take care of all the bills, Tim always did that and ain't much fun as I'm quickly finding out. I pay as many online as I can but is actually kind of depressing to see in print how expensive it is just to have utilities, internet and cell phones. I wish we could live without the last two and could if forced to but such is life in 2015.

I feel like a Clampett born in the Flinstone years and somehow lived to the Jetson age.

"A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do."

I tell myself that every day, several times a day and so far has worked pretty well. I've finally decided if all the crazy stuff didn't happen there wouldn't be anything to laugh about so am grateful for it all.

We're in it for the good fight.

My life can be (is) exhausting but means at least am still breathing and's all you really  need to fight the good fight.

The rest is gravy.

Til next time..COTTON

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wore Slap Out

This is how I feel....wore slap out. The past week has been a real doozey (excuse me Mr. Spellcheck but that is a word) and glad it's behind me.

Then before you know it the next week starts and once again  sucked into its cycle. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to just be living it.

If I had a normal life wouldn't know how to handle it. Scrambling's my strong point and have perfected it these past few years. Every cloud has a silver lining.

If I watched a video of our last five years would laugh more than cry. That's a pretty good average (looking back) so must be doing something right more than wrong. It's our life and
as Jim Carrey said in Dumb & Dumber jumping on the hotel bed with a suitcase in each hand, "We'll TAKE it!"

The credit union I'm with called today while I was at work and told Zach they were crediting my dispute of fifteen dollars back into my checking account. That will give me a balance of seventeen dollars and payday is tomorrow.

We made it, again!

Granted all the utilities, cable and cell bill came in the mail yesterday and was kind of depressing having just two dollars in my account but tomorrow will all be paid. That my friends is progress any way you look at it.

I've cried and I've laughed as I fought back. I've been sad but happy more often as I continued to fight back.

Since Tim got his great new job with chances of another promotion (after his stint near Bonanza) and me lucky enough to land the dream professional server job here at home, within twelve months should leave all red behind and charge ahead in the black...without having to charge.

Tim will be home for his first visit in early July.

It's harder on Tim than anyone. He's a thousand miles away, knows no one.

Worse than that he doesn't get to see our pups every day.

 Our kids are now old enough we're used to not seeing them every day. It's different with the dogs.

The pups wake up with us, wait patiently for our return and absolutely thrilled each and every time we simply pull into the driveway.

It's unconditional love, given freely without any questions. Everyone should own a dog.

Our life has been pretty intense lately, that's why we own three.

Tim calls me on the phone several times a week, our kids too. He hasn't talked to the dogs once.

I have a page long list of things to do tomorrow and one of them is make a video of the pups to send to Tim. I think it will make his day.

He's doing something not only to make our day but help change all our days for the better. He's a good man who deserves a dog video and shall get one!

The insanity phase of our life seems to have ebbed. Time to let some love flow.

We're fixing the house up a little at a time maintaining as best we can and starting to remember things about each other which aren't  bad.

That in itself  is a huge step. When times are tough it's easy to point the finger and sometimes you have to.

What's more huge to us is sticking around to finish the dance called marriage.

No one forced you to accept the dance or even your partners hand so always remember the reason why you ever wanted to dance with them in the first place.

We'll be the couple on the left before you know it.

Til next time..COTTON