Saturday, September 26, 2015

I Miss Summer Already

It's hard to believe next week will be October. Where and how did summer go so quickly?

I'm okay with fall, actually love the seasons changing but know that after fall comes winter will and winter means cold weather until spring. I do hot a lot easier than cold, my hot flashes are proof of that.

Guess I'll drag some clothes out of the bins in the garage and get ready to layer up! Before that I have to contend with this...

Tomorrow (now today) is not only a full moon but a blood moon and  total lunar eclipse. That sounds like craziness for sure and already (scheduled for) work in a crazy house called the world's busiest airport.

Let the good times roll.

It was weirdly quiet tonight at work. Last night was balls to the wall and slam banging from beginning to end. Made incredible money and sailed out of work well before midnight.

Came home and went to bed by one thirty, early by my standards but was worn out. I couldn't get to  sleep, although Ziggy snoozing next to me on the bed seemed to have no problems at all.

I fell asleep around five thirty but woke up before nine. Had an awesome forty five minute nap around eleven and got up for work by noon.

Yep, full moon madness was in full effect and already affecting ME.

We don't have a restroom in our restaurant... heck all our food product and alcohol are kept across the hall located behind Starbucks in two locked coolers... linens, towels and uniforms included. Space is at a minimum in the airport. The travelers act shocked, dismayed and often ticked that they have to actually walk a hundred feet to a restroom.

Geez, think how employees feel when we have to pee and it's busy?

There have been times when I've walked out of the restaurant untying my apron as I (fast) walked across the atrium and by the time was hitting the restrooms had my belt undone holding my apron over the front of my jeans (already unbuttoned) ready to cop a squat because the more you think about having to pee the more you have to go...especially if you're fifty five.

At least they can go when they first get the urge.

A co worker had to go pee tonight and I watched her tables for her. She only had one and they had already paid.

Murphy's Law:

They triple sat her. I greeted the first table and took a drink order, did the same to next one and said hello to the third. When greeting the third table, told them their server's name and said I would help them until she could.  The woman looked at me and said (not kidding) "What's she doing, parking her car?"

Yep, it's gonna be a crazy crazy full moon.

What's even crazier is I'm kinda almost looking forward to it. Every day is a crazy one. Can't wait to see what Mr.(blood, full, total lunar eclipse)Moon has in store. Should be awesome to write about.

I came home and blogged. I also finished a load of laundry. I let the dogs out for a while. I think I'll sleep okay tonight but even if I don't only have a day shift to contend with. By six o'clock Sunday night will be home and can do as I please.

Til next time... COTTON

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Relief is a Good Feeling

I think I've finally stopped relentlessly worrying about absolutely everything and sometimes nothing. Tim and I both have had terrific new jobs for well over a year now and all bills are paid on time. Some weeks are tight but I'm okay with tight. We strived for "just tight" for over five years and feel blessed to be "just tight" but alright!

The airport slowed down for about a month but has really started to pick back up and am trying to make the most of every single shift.

I seem to make a connection with most every table, especially the english speaking ones and sometimes even ones where you have to point or even draw pictures to get the point across. I'm an excellent pointer and pretty good draw(er) so that's okay too. Most shifts I make well over two hundred and lately been closer to and sometimes over three hundred. I have no qualms in saying this job has changed our lives and all for the better. After a really busy night last week I got out a calculator and discovered that night made $81.80 an hour. That's insane money for me and am grateful to have this wonderful opportunity.

Some nights I do just okay and am just as grateful for it. Waiting tables is a crap shoot and nothing is ever guaranteed so when I have an off night it simply serves as a reality check and reminder of just how lucky I usually am.

Massey has started back to college for her third year after transferring to West Georgia and now living at home. She was working four days a week during the summer but dropped to three once classes started back.

We get along really well as work buddies and  know how to switch gears and not be mother/daughter but co workers. She's been working there since May and just last week one of the cooks told me he didn't know Massey was my daughter until someone told him. Trust me, that's a good thing when your kids work where you do.

She's done really well at the restaurant. It's the first "Hard" job she's ever had and has done excellent. Every once in a while the momma in me comes out and tell her something she needs to do or has done wrong but for the most part...she's got this.

She can spot a celebrity a mile away.

Ang Lee, award winning director of Life of Pi and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was eating with his film crew one night and she spotted him immediately. He just looked like a middle aged Asian dude to me but she knew exactly who it was and he was very nice, taking this picture with her and making her night!

Then she spotted Chris Evans before he even came in the door to the restaurant. To me, he was just a really nice looking young man. I've never seen an Avengers movie but she quickly informed me he was Captain America and once again the guy was happy to pose for a pic with my girl.

Just this past weekend I asked her to go across the hall to our supply cooler and get some linens. It's behind the Starbucks directly behind our restaurant and she came bouncing back five minutes later with the linen and a selfie she had taken with Sam Smith when she spotted him at Starbucks. He even asked if she minded him taking it?

I'm more the type who recognizes the old farts like me.

When I waited on Charlie Gibson I knew he was somebody but couldn't quite put my finger on it. When I took his credit card to run the payment it was like "Bingo!" in my head. He was with his wife on the way to Amsterdam and was an extremely nice man. When I took the card back admitted I couldn't quite put my finger on it but knew he looked familiar.

He said "Don't worry, I get that a lot. Some people ask if I was a network news anchor and some people ask if I bagged groceries at the A&P."

When I waited on Trent Lott and his wife, knew he was a political big wig but couldn't put a name to his face either until I saw his credit card too. When I took the bill back for his signature, thanked them both and told him to "Keep'em honest in Washington!" He smiled and said "I'm not a magician."


I've waited on Joe Biden's granddaughter when she was going overseas with a friend and her family. All the Secret Service guys kind of gave that one away but both attended the same school where the President's daughters go. I thought that was really cool, but what do I know? I'm an old fart...just like the ones I do recognize.

Massey made enough money over the summer to pay her fall tuition and buy books. I'm proud of her. She saw her father and me struggle for over five years and knows first hand how quickly life can (and did) change on a dime.

She has the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and every corner of the planet, and has. It's a great job for a college kid, and sure someone will come in one day who can help her attain her goals...and will. She wants to work with the military, soldiers suffering from PTSD and ones returning to civilian life. She is going to start volunteering at the USO in the airport one day a week.

Lucky for me, today was National Daughters Day and feel okay bragging about my girl a bit.

It's not always roses, sometimes you have to be the parent and isn't an easy pill for a kid to swallow but I've been blessed. My girl genuinely loves me, and I her.

We've been through a lot together. She almost killed me twenty years ago coming three months early and weighing barely four pounds.

She grew up quick, that's for sure.

I'm really really lucky. My daughter is twenty years old and still doesn't mind hanging with momma.

She keeps me young and in the loop. I try and keep her grounded.

I've thought about it a lot. How many women are lucky enough to land a life saving job at the age of almost fifty five, be able to work with (and enjoy) the company of their twenty year old  daughter and her seem to enjoy your company too?

God had a plan...and it worked. He tested me, he tested my family. We never gave up and sometimes laughed at the most ridiculous misfortunes and even at the lowest points. It didn't pay the bills but helped get us through!

My little beauty didn't say much of anything for four years but hasn't quit talking since.

Yep! She's my girl.

We gave her the best life we could and was great for almost fourteen years. She saw us struggle for over five and never (rarely) complained.

She saw us stumble and scramble and witnessed us survive.

This is my absolute favorite picture of Massey. I remember when the pics came in at her day care. Her teacher said before handing me the photos "Just want you to know, she's not really smiling in them."

No she wasn't... but she was thinking.

My girl is really going to fly and feel pretty secure in saying you can bet on it.

Do you know how awesome it feels to be lucky enough to raise and still have your best friend?

I count my blessings every day and every day they continue to grow, all three of them.

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, September 21, 2015

Life Really is a Gift

It really is. I mean sometimes it can be a not so nice gift and even at times be really crappy gift but it's always a gift and will never be a re-gifted one.

Mine's pretty much been all the above and that's okay too. Now that a lot of the crappy gifts are behind me, I can look back and find some nice things about all of them and are actually all  appreciated.

Tim's still a cowboy out in Texas and almost halfway through with his two year sentence (stay) in Lubbock. He travels all week which am sure helps and the kids call him a lot so we've all kept in touch. I'm not big on Skype or Facetime, can't stand the way I look on it but we text and talk on the phone.

The not so good gift of being in Texas for two years has been the gift that saved our marriage.

Tim's a lot nicer person than I am and pretty sure after the last five years of him putting up with me being right and him being wrong (totally not the case) feels as much relief as I do for a short stint apart.

He's always been an excellent father and Massey misses him most, the boys do too but boys are boys.

The boys are twenty nine and and twenty three now. They both think they're grown up.

A lot they know!

I'm already getting nervous about having to quit my job in a little over a year. It was a huge leap of faith which turned out to be saving grace and hands down the greatest job I've ever had. It's totally seasonal work but after over a year have learned to adjust. Sometimes is almost embarrassing how much money I make and other times drops to just a really good night when worked street side. I've learned to save  during the Phat times and be grateful for the not so Phat times which are still way above what I used to make.

We had a slow period a few weeks back, knew it was coming and did. My paycheck dropped almost in half but was still enough to get by and pay all bills.

Then just as quickly it picked up again and my next check was the largest it's ever been. After a really spectacular night I sat and added up on a calculator what I made that night. Eighty eight dollars an hour.

If anybody in Human Resources really knew me, would go to their higher up and say "We pay that  old clown eighty eight bucks an hour?"

Yes they sometimes do and this old clown is grateful for every penny!

Whatever gift comes next, will...and going to be grateful for that one too.

Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Silver One...Just Like Our Hair

 It's been a quarter of a century. Sometimes seems like two years and sometimes two hundred.

Got a picture text from him today, he's traveling again. He travels about five days a week and don't think he was in NYC when he snapped this one. Bless his pea pickin' heart.

Massey posted a group message (which I detest and still don't understand) this morning to Tim and me.

"Happy Anniversary you two! 25 years and still going strong!"

Tim text back:

"Yes  25 years and your mother still puts up with me, even though she had to ship me to Texas to make it this long."

Massey text back:

"25 years and you still put our family first. We miss you daddy."


"I miss y'all too."

That back and forth text between my husband, father of our children and our daughter was the greatest anniversary present and group text this ole gal will ever (sometimes confusingly) be a part of.

I'd say we're doing okay and almost up to that being a tremendous understatement!

 Lots of little things in life build up and make it  huge.

If you think life sucks, you're missing its enormity.

Look again my friends.

Till next time...COTTON

Monday, September 14, 2015

Has It Really Been Almost Thirty Years?

I was twenty eight when I met Tim. I had me some wild twenties, I'll be the first to admit but in my defense was at least smart enough to know it was better to do it then than to do it later... when I may actually have responsibilities.

I met Tim at Johnny's Pizza where I worked. After our first date, it was a given. Hello Soul Mate.

We simply had fun and did everything together, with friends and family (incredibly enough both sides) and just seemed right after about a month; maybe even less than a month to never be able to think about your life without this person in it and simply just know you never will.

Heck, we got married less than two years later.

It's 2015 and I still love him, even more now for marrying me when I had that (now obvious) stupid hair cut. He'd better love me for marrying him when he wore a mullet on his head and a cheap Casio on his wrist.

Obviously we were a match made in Heaven. He rarely spoke a word but that was okay. I always knew what he was gonna say anyway and usually made it sound a lot funnier when I said it. (another reason I love him, he hasn't tried to kill me once, bless his heart)

The first twenty years were the smoothest sailing years of our lives. The only bad thing I can think of that ever happened to us is when my diddy died from the West Nile Virus.

Then just as suddenly; absolutely almost everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Then it kept going wrong again and again and again.

For years...

Tim lost his job, a really good job. I lost a job I had for almost fourteen years.

He couldn't find a good job, looked relentlessly for almost two years.

I'm a waitress, I can always find a job, and did.

I'm going to tell you one honest fact about a marriage.

After a couple of years struggling like we have never struggled nor want to again (although  now obviously know can) begins to tear apart the closeness of a marriage and flood it with distanced , unspoken resentment.

I'm gonna be brutally honest now.

I don't know who it was harder on...him or me!? I think it may be a tie.

At least we survived. That's something right there!

He's half a country away with a great job and I'm here at home with the same.

God knew we needed a break. He gave us both breaks.

I made the first sacrifice working like a speed freak for almost three years.

Tim 's now made the ultimate sacrifice. He's a thousand miles away, providing nicely for the family he has here.

People just don't listen to the vows in their marriage anymore. We've upheld and been through more of these promises than you could ever want to imagine.

I think I'll buy Tim a new Casio watch for our twenty fifth wedding anniversary.

I walked out of work a week or two ago and saw this rainbow. It was magnificent, it was awesome and the calm after a storm

Our marriage is a rainbow.

We're not at the end of our rainbow, but closer to than from. It's been great, it's been tough and sometimes got ugly but I know me and I know (often speak for) Tim.

We both signed up for it. Neither of us saw a shotgun pointed at us and after almost thirty years for some crazy reason still couldn't imagine not being married to him (and hopefully him to me).

Anybody know of a great deal on an airline ticket from ATL to DFW and then to Lubbock?

Happy Twenty Fifth Wedding Anniversary Timbo!

Til next time... Mrs. Tim Cotton 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fasten Your Seat Belt

Thankfully 9-11 passed normally and quietly at the world's busiest airport. I noticed passengers seemed quiet and pensive on the short shuttle ride to departures from the parking deck. Can't blame them, it would have to cross your mind before buckling into the seat belt of an airliner on any post September 11.

Security was tight, especially considering I enter work through the international terminal. I made the comment to my daughter after retrieving our purses from the x ray machine that if security was just as diligent every single day, it may have prevented 9-11 from happening.

True that.

Later on that night after getting home from work I started thinking about the word diligence.

Webster's defines it  "Earnest , persistent application to an undertaking; assiduity".

I had to look up assiduity (don't believe I've ever even heard of the word) but meant "Persistent diligence;unflagging effort. Constant personal attention and often obsequious solicitude"
(with obsequious meaning full of or exhibiting servile compliance... and solicitude meaning care or concern).

That's a whole lot of meaning to get out of one pretty short word... and I thought about that a minute or two.

So pretty much it means doing your best and I mean as related to doing your best in everything and doing it every day. What a great world it would be if we all lived our lives diligently every single day.

I may not be diligent a hundred percent of the time, but am trying to get there and not doing too bad of a job if I may say so myself. The past five years certainly helped in that respect which backhandedly make the past five years good ones too. Now that's what you call finding a silver lining my friends. Sometimes you're simply just not looking diligently enough to find it.

I can say with pretty (almost) strong conviction that am a hundred percent diligent at my job. When a  professional server. is an awesome asset to have and most always determines your financial success and even sometimes your job security.

I've been in a diligent cycle for over five years now in my life. I've kept on when thought I couldn't go one more step. I'm in a vicious cycle. I work in the yards, work in the house and kitchen, go to work, pay bills, buy what we need , come home and start over all over  again.

It's a wonderful feeling, it really is.

Diligence. It's all you really need to succeed.

Til next time,   COTTON

Friday, September 11, 2015

Oops My Bad

Dang when I saw this selfie thought "Wow I look old" and was right. In my defense have on absolutely no make up and is the side of my face which bears the scars left when I cracked my head open on our kitchen table a couple of years ago. Come to think of it I don't look that bad after all.

I left the house this morning around nine thirty to go get my above haircut. When I got to the front of our subdivision discovered why all three dogs had been barking all morning in our back yard. Utility workers were finally burying the cable that has been running from one box to another trailing down our street for at least a year.  (must be union or government workers)

It finally all started to make sense.

For the past two months they've had little blue, yellow and red flags sticking in the ground at the front entrance. It's been a pain in my butt because the last three times I've cut the front of the sub div had to start by removing all twenty or so flags first. The even bigger pain was when I got through. After cutting it was hard to see the colored spray paint they had used to mark where all the different flags were supposed to go. Most of the paint gets cut out of the grass and I just kinda guess where to put them back.

Jeez, by the look of all that deep digging they were doing certainly hoped I was a really good guesser.

Oops, my bad.

They had a bunch of fancy trucks, hard hats, orange vests and cool looking power tools. They looked like professionals so I decided to just wait and see if they were. I turned out of the subdivision and went and got muh herr did. A woman has to have priorities.

When I got back thirty minutes later (I'm a low maintenance hair do) a guy was trimming limbs hanging over the power lines right near where I got attacked by yellow jackets a month ago cutting the front. I slowed down, lowered my window and hollered (what we do in the south) to him to be careful, there was a yellow jacket nest behind the wall.

He hollered back "Yeah we found that out about thirty minutes ago the hard way!"

Guess I was about thirty minutes late with that tidbit of useful information!

My bad...again.

On the (my) upside, when I got home we still had running water, power and no gas line seemed to have been hit or ignited.

Guess they were professionals!

This is my last summer cutting the front so imagine I can make it one more month without killing anyone in the sub div since cable got buried safely without much help from me.

Oops my bad, yet again.

I felt grateful for being a good (lucky) "flag put'r back'r" but felt bad for not warning the dudes about the yellow jackets when I first left.

I think (maybe) I was too worried about being responsible for the entire sub div being blowing sky high by a misplaced buried utility cable flag.

Hey, it's all good.

We all survived.

Til next time...


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Proud to be a Clampett

It's one of my top three favorite TV shows of all time. My other two are early Andy Griffith Show episodes and early Leave it to Beaver.

I'm a crazy person and love to watch me some crazy folks. That's probably why I enjoy working at the world's busiest airport so much. No short supply there!

With God as my Witness, we are so much like the Clampetts  have no doubt we're on the verge of Black Gold...Texas Tea.

We don't need or want the $24 million , we just wanna breathe and the air gets clearer every day.

I haven't chased a Utilities man to his leaving truck in our driveway with a bad check on cut off day (in my night shirt and underwear) in over almost two years.

That my friends is progress!

You know  when it was all happening (our financial meltdown) I was stressed beyond belief but still (mostly) managed to find the comedy. I NEED to laugh.

YOU need to laugh.

We need to laugh.

Crying rarely helps. (and makes your eyes all puff up)

We're gonna make it, I'm almost kinda certain now.

It's a good feeling... but for those of you reading this, still seemingly drowning remember one thing:

"This too shall pass".

...and it will.

Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Toothpicks Matter

Well it's after Labor Day so summer stuff is cheap now. Time to shop for that beach vacation I'll be going on in just a few years. Found this cute suit for $11 which might actually look good on my stick figure even though the boobs don't come with it. Guess what? It doesn't come in small. Third time I've found a great deal on something but doesn't come in my size. Who do I call or contact? This has to stop. "Toothpicks Matter"

That  was my latest status update on Facebook (or as Massey says Oldstersbook) tonight.

I got off the computer and cleaned house for an hour or so after posting. I stopped to switch the laundry. The laundry room is right outside Massey's bedroom door so randomly asked if she thought my post would get bashed for seeming flippant about things.

She didn't even stop or look up from her homework, just said with raised eyebrows "'s Facebook."

Here's what I actually meant (albeit metaphorically) and stand by it.

This sums up not only the way I was raised but who I am today:

So toothpicks matter? 

Yes they do, and mean not only the wooden but plastic ones too. I mean the plastic ones that look like little swords. I also mean the round ones and the flat ones. Don't forget the ones that have little umbrellas on  them or frilly cellophane tassels. I include the colored ones as well as the neutral ones. I also mean the sometimes deformed plastic swords (always a few in the box) and broken wooden ones rolling around the bottom of the box, which will probably get tossed out as trash and never used for their intended purpose.

It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like or what you do. It doesn't matter what you have or what you don't have and certainly doesn't matter if you're flawed or imperfect. It doesn't matter if you're  broken or even useless.

Toothpicks matter.

We (meaning) each and every single living being are just toothpicks in a box called life and we ALL matter.

Til next time, COTTON

PS sorry about the weird font, happened when I copied my FB status and Massey is already in bed. Guess I am an Oldster!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Learning to Count... Yet Again

I've worked in the restaurant industry since the late seventies and worked in some pretty great places. I've also worked in a couple that weren't all that great but helped ends meet so will always be grateful for even them.

About a year and a half ago I hit the server lottery...and just in the nick of time.

Yes it can be (and is) a logistical nightmare getting to and from but from a Lifer's perspective, finally hit the jack pot.

Yes it has its moments (and usual one or two weak links) every restaurant does, but all in all
is a pretty wonderful job. The great thing is... the more of yourself put into it, the more you get out of it.

I go in every single shift and show up on time ready to work. I do the best job I can and more importantly strive to constantly be a better server. I literally learn something new every week if not every day.

I work with a crazy eclectic bunch and sometimes wait on the even more eclectic. Some days are hard and not as financially productive as I would hope but other (most) days I walk out well (if not amazingly) compensated for my efforts.

You can have some slow shifts. Problems may arise and sometimes tempers may flare but we're a family. Yes we're a family with a couple of odd balls or nuts but every family has them whether you want to admit it or not.

The bottom line is YOU control your destiny in the serving world.

You can call out, not show up and make no money... or come in with your game face on "passionately move people, provide the opportunity for them to experience joy" and when done properly  is a pretty awesome feeling and can be an incredibly large pay off.

I'm lucky I'm old school and a firm believer in this:

All negative things that sometimes may or sometimes do happen can... with any job or in any line of work. It's up to you to try your best and spin it to your advantage. Let the negatives roll like water off a duck's back and simply do your best, every day...every shift.

I'm even more fortunate this job is in the world's busiest airport. It's not like it's in a strip mall or deteriorating part of town.

It's most probably only going to grow busier and bigger.

Counting my blessings again and thinking I may need a bigger basket to keep them in!

Til next time...COTTON