Sunday, May 31, 2015

Another Lucky Day

We (Massey and me) rolled out about seven forty five this morning for work after closing the store last night around eleven.

I was a bit apprehensive about getting my daughter on where I work but have worked with all three of my kids at different times and all went well.

If I could just get her to quit calling me Momma at work it would be perfect.

It's an upscale, fine dining European/ Mediterranean restaurant and took me six months before I was making instead of faking it.

She started the job full of energy and limped home on blistered feet the first night exhausted and overwhelmed.

I got her some good Dansko shoes like I wear and have to admit the girl has knocked the job out of the park from day one.

She asks questions, a lot of them and has shown interest in every part of the job from learning wine varietals to knowing how to present and give brief descriptions of food she often delivers to tables.

It's a nice mix. We work (and ride) together three days a week and have opposite schedules on another two giving us a break.

They already asked if she might like to transition into a server in the future and would be a bang up job for a kid in grad school. Heck, she could pay tuition and live on her own with money to spare.

I say, go for a PHD!

I already have my PHD in BS  (says my husband).

We've finally reached the point of not only living pay check to pay check but having enough to get by comfortably. As Pink Floyd says, we're no longer Comfortably Numb but comfortable.

My husband comes home for his first visit in late July and seems like a hop skip and jump from now.

I'm a huge Pink Floyd fan. My hands no longer feel like two balloons waving frantically. In hindsight was just a pin prick and lucky enough to have  plenty of family and friends wanting to know where it hurt the most.

Til next time, an EXTREMELY lucky COTTON

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Gotta Use That Vision Insurance Soon

I can't read squat without my glasses on, the most expensive pair I have cost $1.99 (on sale) and even they're not really getting the job done anymore.

I got home from work tonight and saw a water bug in the dining room hall. I've had "Spray House" on my to do list for a couple of weeks now. I went out to the garage and got my big ole jug of pesticide and started spraying all around the baseboards immediately.

Me no like bugs, they creep me out.

Massey was in her bed on the first floor behind the kitchen and once she heard me kill a bug had no problems with me coming through to spray the baseboards in her room too. She's worse than me. When she was in high school and see a bug when I wasn't home, would put a jar or glass over it to trap it until I got home.

I started chuckling and told my daughter about the time when she was away at college and I came home late from work and sprayed over half the the house before almost passing out from the fumes, put my glasses on and discovered I had picked up the jug of weed killer in the garage instead.

Dang, I have great insurance now after almost seven years without and have yet to use it.

I've been living by the medical practice of "No news is good news" and got me this  far.

Guess I need to go hear the bad news too now that it's cheap to do so.

At least when they tell me I need to wear glasses all the time THAT won't be a shocker.

Finished my exterminating duties (with BUG spay) and feel better already.

I've never hired an exterminator, I spray the entire inside along every baseboard and in every cabinet and closet. Then I go out side and spray around the entire foundation. I do it three times a year and probably save eight hundred dollars. I don't mind killing bugs, it beats having them.

This handy wo man is turning in to work the early shift tomorrow, almost today. I hate waking up early for them but sure love being home with over three hours of daylight left.

I'm really loving life these days. I missed the upper lower middle class. It's nice to be back.

Til Next time.. COTTON

Friday, May 29, 2015

Rolling Along

Well, we haven't struck oil yet but we got a new ride and a second great used car. I'd say the Clampetts are rolling right along!

I got home from work tonight a little before midnight and got the bills out. Tim's paying the mortgage and insurance from Texas and I'm taking care of everything else here. It adds up quick. I pay the electric bill, water, gas, Internet, sewer, garbage pick up, Verizon and food for not only us but two hundred and fifty pounds worth of Pup. Not to mention shampoo, soap, toilet paper, every other staple a house needs and that weekly something which always seems to come up either empty, broken or needing to be replaced.


All paid and have enough to make it until the next paycheck.

Dang, I'd forgotten how good it feels to be almost there.

I'm now working a sane (albeit hard) forty hour work week but feel like am working a part time gig with two days off  and making more money than I ever have in my life. Bonus points, I love the job!

They say when you hit the bottom there's only one way left to go... so we took that route.

My daughter landed a job where I work and is making not only her tuition for next semester but plenty of money for insurance on the car we bought her and spending money to spare.

Zach is Zach but with a lot more wisdom and help from when pressed but sometimes even offered without asking.

I feel like Me again!

This is Tim and me before we had three kids sucking us dry but on the verge of being ready to take it all on...

and did with pretty good results, only a couple of bumps and one court date.

We are a crazy eclectic bunch but wouldn't change one thing about my family or the past five years.

So my kids got a momma who wears a lamp shade on her head at a party. Is that really a bad thing?

So Tim got stuck with a total and complete opposite who sometimes (often, probably frequently) feels like a thorn in his side but has turned out to have a high tolerance for pain and mental anguish.

I'm calling this leg of the race a WIN!

They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and thinking maybe that has "Freakin' Kelly" written all over it, be that better or worse!

I'm just grateful none of them have tried even once to snuff me out and blame it on the dogs.

It's finally coming together for us and have even been able to pay a bit forward here and there but no where close to what I owe.

It just simply feels wonderful to go to bed at night and know everything will still be on in the morning.

It's the little things that make you see the big picture.

I'm blessed, we're blessed and need to remember that... Always.

Til next time, Cotton

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Warp Speed Ahead

I had a note up at work to pick up an extra shift today and got lucky. No one wanted off!

I had grand plans to work in the yards all day but The Chief Meteorologist upstairs decided I needed to cook and clean inside the house instead so I did.

Both the kiddos are at work (a good thing) and I'm putzing around the house and garage making everything tidy, neat and exactly where I want to find it.

I have a tiny bit of OCD about where I want things to be but the ancient Chinese disease I also sometimes suffer from (Dragon Ass) makes it okay if things get messy every once in a while. That also gives me someone to complain to and about (the kids)  when I feel particularly tired or grumpy.

Everyone should have kids! They're a great release for stress and usually unarmed.

I worked seventy sometimes eighty hours a week for so long that almost feels like cheating to work just forty but sure feels wonderful and certainly has made our house a much more desirable place to be. Go ahead and ring my (non working) doorbell and see if I don't answer. I ain't scared. (anymore)

It wasn't a lot of fun while happening but the past few years happened for a reason and can't change the past anyway. You can only learn from it.

I hope our learning period is over for a while.

 It's almost June and my husband has been living in Texas since February. He's coming home for a few days at the end of July. I think he'll be impressed at all we've done around and to the house.

It's not up for any awards from Better Homes & Garden but looks better than it has in years and's finally a work in progress as opposed to a house we barely kept by the skin of our teeth.

Hey, it's not like I was gonna fix it up so the mortgage demons could resell for a hefty profit but now in less than two years will be ours free and clear. Time to get busy!

Working forty hours a week feels like part time and can finally exhale. I feel like I've been holding my breath for almost five years waiting for this huge exhalation... and it's here!

I haven't bounced a check in well over three years.

Haven't had a utility cut off or even close to it in over a year.

I answer the phone or door now without hesitation or worry. You never know...(btw) is Ed McMahon still alive toting around that big check?

Just checked, he's not (2009)...but there's always Ellen!

The dogs are never out of dog food anymore and all current with shots and vaccinations.

I feel good.

I'm still alive.

All alone here for the night but still cooked a nice dinner for later on when the kids get home from work. My dogs like smelling food cooking and besides, it's not really considered drinking alone if you have three dogs around you while you cook is it? Anyway, it's my day off and felt like celebrating!

With all we've been through, is still nothing compared to what hundreds of millions endure on a daily basis for an entire lifetime.

I can say with complete confidence that with mucho help from The Big Guy , family friends and sometimes even strangers...

We done it!

Never give up, you don't know what lies ahead and it's a waste of effort not to see.

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Taking A Leap...Again

I tried to apply for a car loan the week after Tim left for Texas back in February. First I tried the car dealership and was just a bit more than extremely embarrassing, to say the least. At least I didn't know any of the people but unfortunately they all now knew me (and my lack of credit).

No worries.

I went to the credit union where I belonged and tried again with even worse results. I left the lobby making a mental note to always use the drive through or ATM from now on.

 The guy from the car dealership called me the next day with semi good news. If we could get our mortgage current thought he could swing me a loan.

Well, swing this! (I wanted to say)

Over the past five years we have gone from being almost six months behind on our mortgage to not only still making a payment every month but caught up to only being eight weeks behind. With bills still pouring in and both starting new jobs we managed the seemingly impossible (to us) and made four extra payments over the past year.

 Let me tell ya folks, that ain't just whistlin' Dixie as us southern gals say. Besides that I had bought and paid for two other used vehicles trying to get us all back and forth. Tim left for Texas in one and until I bought the other either bummed or borrowed rides for months on end. The third car we'd bought for over six grand still didn't run and had to be towed home from the airport when broke down on me after driving it less than two weeks.

I felt more like screaming obscenities and sometimes did .

With a stroke of (our style) luck, Zach had backed into the beam between the garage doors and knocked the supporting beam a good half foot out from the house. State Farm cut me a check after getting my first estimate. I shopped around until found a guy who could do it for quite a bit less and found myself left with money for an extra house note and then some! Granted he didn't paint but getting the mortgage finally caught up was well worth it.  Remind me to send Zach a Thank You note (not) but  all worked out for the best in the end.

I went back to the car dealership with proof our mortgage was current and BAM, I got approved for a loan!

I bought the cheapest car on the lot but was brand new, covered with all kind of warranties and got great gas mileage.

I never even asked to see the car or ask what color it was.

knew what color it was.

It was the color "New" and all that mattered besides the low monthly payment.

When I went to sign the papers in the credit office I didn't even want to know the interest rate with our messed up credit. We used to be in the high seven hundred range but were currently lucky to be batting five hundred. I was shocked when (my instantly new bestie) told me it was 3.9 percent...and Thank You Jesus!

The salesman was maybe (hopefully) a bit older than me but a wonderful "Ole Codger" and extremely nice and polite. The guy actually acted like I was a person with money to spend and appreciated feeling like that again!

We ain't got a lot of money but at least we got enough now.

I call that truly blessed.

After all was said and done, Ole Codger finally took me out to see my brand new, gas filled and shiny red little quadrangle of a car.

He sat in the passenger seat and I sat in control central aka the driver's.

He first told me about how the car had blue tooth so everything  could be hands free including text, Internet searches,music and phone.

I kinda liked that.

I got some good kids. It's not like they are perfect but they aren't hooked on crack either.

They instead hold crack almost twenty four seven in the form of cellular devices. I've come to terms with it when we're at home. It's like they've discovered the first hand held AM transistor radio that could even swing from their wrist. Massey is really hooked and Zach would come in a close second if he remembered to charge his phone.

So the Ole Codger hit a button on the dashboard of my new little car and screamed "PHONE!!!" so loud I jumped.

"There's your voice command" he said. "Who you wanna call?"

I chose home since no one was there.

"HOME!!!" he screamed again but I was ready that time. I just smiled.

My techno savvy kids would figure this out in no time with no instruction and was all that mattered to me if they were gonna drive this car.

I came back home with my new Lil' Car and continued what I'd been doing. Cleaning Ivy off the far end of my house. It turned into Kudzu a few years back but on the far back burner for about five years.

Not any more!

Almost half gone, found an old propane tank, shook my head and kept on going.

Had to saw down three trees we never planted in the first place but dad gummit you could see the house (and gas meter) again! Side note: got a letter from the gas company saying they had a hard time finding the meter to read.

Well read it now bitch!!

Zach hauled all the limbs and ivy to the back fire pit today (after seeing what his ole momma did with her new fancy dancy fifteen dollar saw and thank goodness  was also smart enough to  clean out)...

Trust me, it's full now and ready to roar!

It's been a hike and sometimes uphill battle but we've made it almost back to where it started.


I keep waiting for that twentieth shoe to drop but think about it less and less.

That in itself is progress!

The chips fell and had to actually scramble for a few of them but made it.

All said and done and even looking back, I've had a pretty decent run.

It's always better to be seen than viewed and have never been one someone forgets... whether it be good or bad.

Just make your mark in this world.

Try your best to be the type of person who brings a smile to someone's face when mentioned and make sure you deserve that smile.

All the rest is gravy, trust me.

Til next time and beyond,


Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Purge

I'm hoping the garbage man is in a really good mood tomorrow. We've cleaned every closet and drawer and tossed stuff that's been holding my garage hostage for years. Why keep a broken ironing board for three years?

Trust me, this is a MAJOR improvement.

I weeded my flower beds, covered with pine straw and added a new layer of pebbles around the edges. I trimmed the bushes overtaking the front of our house and found out we lived in a blue house. It's not the Biltmore House but then again, none of us are Biltmores.

All ten of my nails are broken and smell worse than the dogs did before Massey and Zach bathed them today.

It's not done but a lot closer to being done.

I even rode ole Johnny Dear up to the front of the subdivision and cut there too. I'll have to admit weed eating around the dead possum carcass in the ditch was disgusting with a billion flies around and on it but at least it's done now. The possum seems to be about halfway done too.

Massey and Zach went grocery shopping for me this morning and even paid for them. Then they came home and helped in the yards, bathed all three mutts and Massey even cut my elderly neighbors yard. I usually do it but she got no argument from me and did a nice job.

I cleaned up all the clippings from the yard and added them to the already redunkulous pile of bags by the street.

Zach grilled out steaks for us. I made a big salad, sauteed some mushrooms and onions, cooked some rolls and fried some crinkle cuts.

Dang, I should have had six or seven kids! Imagine what I could get done with a whole pack of 'em helping me. Then again, if I had that many they would probably band together and turn on me in a united force of protest.

I'm running the hottest bath I can, adding a pot of boiling water (our hot water heater ain't the greatest) soaking in my garden tub and calling it a excellent  day.

When I came across the above post it was like an epiphany to me.

Life may be tough but even on the toughest days always beats the alternative.

Live, love, laugh.

Till next time..COTTON

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Oh Yeah Baby!

Actually the above photo looks more like me than the #tbt picture I posted on Facebook, and that one was pretty close.

Seems that after five long years I've also got my MoJo back.


Last year this time I was studying hard to seemingly become a brain surgeon in a new job where was totally  a fish out of water and totally overwhelmed. It took me a month to just figure out how to get to and from the job without getting lost or disoriented. I was a nervous wreck my entire first six months on the floor at work. After seven months of riding MARTA to work I was making enough to drive all the way to the international terminal, park and ride the shuttle two minutes to the front door, breeze through a much shorter security checkpoint and walk into the restaurant one minute later.

 I still shake my head about the first time I parked at international. It costs twelve dollars a day but can sleep an hour later, leave the house forty five minutes later and be home an hour earlier. Well worth it when you're a fifty five year old tired skinny woman, still working six days a week and still learning how to perform a lobotomy the correct and proper way.

I was all pumped the first time I parked there and remember the feeling of satisfaction when I walked back to my car the first night. I didn't even have to ride a shuttle, just walked across the breezeway to my car sitting ten feet away. I tucked my twelve dollars into my shirt pocket before driving off and approaching the booth to pay.

The woman who took my ticket said "That will be thirty two dollars". I quickly told her I was an employee and only had to pay twelve (feeling puffed with pride) to park in the deck. She (even more) quickly told me I parked in hourly parking, not the twelve dollar lot. I threw up in my mouth a little but gave her twenty more dollars. Ironically enough was the first time I'd ever made over four hundred dollars on a shift and although was painful to pay still had almost four Bens to take home.

You live, you learn.

Sometimes you have to learn the hard way but at least if  lucky get to live as well.

We're not rich by any means (other than blessings) but have fought our way back and knocking on a door which says "Almost Middle Class".

Dang, I wish it had a door bell, I really want back in!

If my job and Tim's hopefully continue to be what they are now we should easily be able to retire when I'm only eighty three.

I'm going to have to tell you, I'm pretty pumped!

All kidding aside (for a quick second) also feels pretty wonderful to have not had utilities cut off or worried about paying them in almost a year.

THAT my friends, is progress!

You are born, then eventually learn (if lucky) to walk. You take baby steps but somehow get to your destination.

 You spend (if lucky again) the next two decades without a care in the world and nothing but happiness...even if you do look like a boy and have horrific hair.

Before you know it suddenly (trust me is the blink of an eye) are almost middle aged, raising kids who you watched learn from baby steps.

The cycle continues...once again. (if you're lucky)

Here's the thing.

Tim and I had to start over five years ago. We were flat on our backs clawing desperately to simply just "Get up" but we did.

Family, friends, even strangers held us up and encouraged us to take another step, paving and sometimes (often) paying the way.

We would've never made it if not for my crazy sometimes (almost, well always) over the top family but a group of people I'd pick in a second if had to be stranded with seemingly no way out.

There's a "Survivor" episode in the jungle of life for ya!

It would be called "Leeches can't even stop a Leach".

Looking at all these pictures make me smile. I am fifty five years old but a really lucky girl.

It all goes back to the beginning.

Life is essentially just  baby steps, from your first step to your last. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other every day of your life and hope it's a long walk, even if some of the walk is up hill.

I may be going out on a limb here (and never know how strong limbs are) but think we may just have sorta kinda recovered ... almost.

I feel fabulous, we feel fabulous and PLEASE nobody wake us up, but if you do at least now know we can handle it.

It takes a village and it takes a family. We were lucky enough to have both.