Monday, October 26, 2015

Getting Ready For "Winterization"

I was born in summer. I had all my kids in summer. I got married in late summer. I live for summer. I can cut grass in hundred degree heat and enjoy every moment. We had our Indian summer last week and just so happened on my last day off. I had to cut grass and my Johnny Dear was sickly so had to old school "Push". I sweated like a three hundred pound fat dude in a corduroy suit with the vest buttoned. It wasn't easy but even more rewarding to see my handiwork done on foot pushing a mower uphill over rough terrain...and survived to tell the story.

 I have six months to get Johnny running again before I need him. My neighbor around the corner I bought him from is going to try and weld the decking. He's a pretty handy guy and bet he can do it.

My life has kinda taken the same course. I was riding a mower for years and years and years. It was a piece of cake. Then life's riding mower broke and I had to push. After riding a mower, pushing seemed a lot harder, and was.

But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

After self pity didn't seem to help, I put on my helmet and chased the elusive cheese.

Once people noticed my helmet, they helped as well.

It's taken us well over half a decade...but are back on the road and doing better than ever.

Granted my husband is living a thousand miles away but has a great job and we will all be together again in less than a year's time.

To sum up what happened to us takes three words.

"We were broke." (for a while)

Over the course of going from sitting on easy street to almost living under a bridge (felt that way at the time) and coming back stronger and even better, have had time to reflect and think of things which have happened to ones around us; ones close and dear and ones not so close but also dear to our hearts.

We've never lost or had to bury one of our children. I can count at least ten of our friends who have.

We've never been without a roof over our heads. Hundreds of millions have and still are.

Our kids have been healthy. They may have wanted more at times than we could give  but never been devastated by cancer or life threatening illness. Many of my friends or people we know haven't been that lucky.

Our house never burned to the ground.

My husband never died and neither have I.

No one in our family committed suicide.

We've both lost jobs but always found another one.

My husband nor I have ever been hospitalized or needed to be institutionalized. (unless you ask my husband who would be right about me being just a notch away from certifiably crazy)

We didn't have insurance for over ten years but have great insurance now.

A lot of our friends have no family support system. I have the greatest brother and sister in the world.

I've always been a waitress and lucky for us, people always eat out.

Thanks to another dear friend of mine, I now have the greatest serving job in the world and make more money than I deserve.

I know now.

It took me a while so obviously am a slow learner but at least am a learner!

You get what you give.
If you're not getting, you need to be giving more.

There's always the exception to the rule but luckily we skirted around that one.

I was at work just tonight, talking with one of the cooks. He made the comment "I wish more servers were like you."

That's the biggest compliment I think I've ever gotten. (Thank you Rashaad)

Here's a man who hands down is one of  the reasons I make the money I do. More servers need to realize this.

Life is a food chain. (the zombies just represent my addiction to The Walking Dead)

Eat or be eaten.

I plan to survive and baby, we're surviving!

Sometimes you just gotta step up and step out.

Til next time...COTTON

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Almost Giddy

Five years ago we were lost in a sea of financial despair and constant, almost all consuming worry. 

I used to relentlessly coupon. I used to write bad checks to keep utilities on because was cheaper than the cut off and reconnect fee. I thought about trying to make strawberry frosting one time for a cake out of the strawberry conditioner I got for .59 (not really...did think about it and chuckled but you get the gist). My sister's Sunday School class paid to have our septic system pumped when it backed up. A customer at the restaurant where I worked paid well over a grand to have our A/C fixed one hot long, broke summer. We had friends and we had strangers simply give us gift cards or drop a cabinet full of food by in person.

I felt like I should be ashamed but wasn't in the least.

I was relieved beyond belief.

I was unbelievably amazed and we will all be eternally grateful.

Every lucky person needs a mid life humbling and I was way overdue.

I was also fortunate enough to have over a quarter century of fun filled, easy breezy years where my biggest worry was what to cook for supper.

I was even more fortunate in our downward spiral to have two wonderful siblings, countless friends... even strangers who simply helped in so many ways I couldn't keep count.

They all Paid It Forward.

It's a concept that could  (would) change the world.

It's like a reverse pyramid scheme.

Instead of encouraging others to join your plan, make them underlings while you profit... help ones who need it and hope one day they too will feel inspired to Pay It Forward.

I am feeling it...and have been for over a year now.

I had an awesome mentor...our service manager, Damir. I miss my Muslim buddy every day.

When I got my new job was absolutely and well deservedly petrified. I was a fish out of water and definitely a Clampett. Damir scared me as well. He's a true professional and was hard on me. At the time I thought he was picking on me but learned over the course of almost a year that he was only educating and making me change for the better as a server. Every single time he saw me do something wrong or the improper way, he'd correct me. I always countered with my standard "Yes sir." I get the compliments I do now about my service because of him.

I'm the server I am today because of this man and just adds one more thing to what I'm eternally grateful for. On his last day I gave him a blinged out turban with his nickname on it and a shirt with pork on it. (touche') He wore both out the front door of the restaurant when he left.

I purposely didn't work the last day he worked...I would have cried.
My daughter worked though and shot this video of his last speech to us all.

I know now what I have to sell... my self and all which makes me a good server. I've learned how to let guests experience joy, thanks to Damir.

Lucky beyond belief and ready to do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next!

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Getting Closer Every Day

We played the poor hand for well over five years and has paid off quite handsomely. All bills are current, both have great jobs with great benefits,  excellent insurance and getting closer every day to being together once again.

My husband is almost halfway done with his two year stint away from the family working in Lubbock and getting closer to home every day. I know he misses us terribly but stepped up, did what was best for the family in the long run and admire him for doing it...for us.

Meanwhile I'm here keeping the home fire burning and almost feel bad for how happy I am with my job here at home. The house is coming around nicely and every couple of weeks make improvements and fix things that have needed fixing for literally years.

Tim left in early February, came home for a week at the end of July and wasn't planning on coming home again until January.

His sister from California hooked him up with her frequent flier miles and he's going to be able to come home Christmas Eve and stay until December twenty seventh.


This crazy bunch will all celebrate and berate together this year. Trust me, it will be a day of much fun, many laughs and hugs and memories will be made once again.

Work has been awesome for me and go in every day grateful beyond belief.

I get to work with my bestie every weekend; who has turned out to be a wonderful young woman who works hard, paying her way through her third year of college and is loved by all. I asked her just today how she liked having a crazy momma and her coy smile said it all. We laugh every day, vent every night and is an adventure I tremendously enjoy.

Zach's doing great, working two jobs and making that money. TJ's doing just as well and starting a new life with his own little family.

 Then he went ahead and added another person for us to love.

My kids aren't kids anymore.

They are three young adults going forth and conquering life with a vengeance.

For over half a decade I've dreaded Christmas coming. Nobody likes to get excited about having to do their shopping at Dollar General using coupons.

This year I say "BRING IT!"

We're not going overboard, I never do but sure will be nice to have money to fix a nice dinner,  get the people you love something they need or want and see a sincere smile on their face when opening it.

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Too Close For Comfort

I started feeling bad well over a week ago. I attributed it to the fact I work too much, don't eat enough and have terrible sleeping habits. Last week on my day off I took a six hour nap on the living room sofa and woke up feeling not so much refreshed as more exhausted. My next day off I spent the entire day taking a nap with about the same results.

I'm my own worst enemy.

Finally made it through my Sunday day shift and collapsed into bed before six PM still wearing my work clothes. I told my daughter I was going to get up early and go to the doctor before work on Monday afternoon. I had a sinus headache the size of Texas, cold chills that wouldn't go away and my ears had started to hurt too. Not good signs.

I had to force myself out of bed Monday morning, changed out of my work clothes  into jeans and a heavy sweater ( 75 degrees outside) and drove to the Minute Clinic run by Emory at the local CVS. I thought about trying to get in to see my own doctor but "Minute Clinic" sounded a lot quicker and accepted insurance.

Only one of the four little chairs were occupied so took that as a sign I'd made the right choice and sat in one, shivering. I sat and sat and sat. Guessed whoever was currently behind the door must be having open heart surgery or a lobotomy but forty five minutes later emerged just looking like an old dude in overalls. The nurse practitioner looked at me, asked my name, looked at her list and asked if I had signed in on the computer around the corner?


I went around the corner to wait behind a man who had come in thirty minutes after I had and put my name on the list. The nurse said I had nine people in front of me and called out three names. No one answered. She called out three more with the same non response. I considered that good luck except for that sneaky dude who already knew about the computer sign in. The one lady next to me went in next and sneaky dude went off shopping in the store with his wife. After the lady came out thirty minutes later another woman showed back up just as her named was called. The nurse said if no one else showed back up I'd be next. The woman going in patted me on my back and said "I won't take long at all, honey."

One hour later she emerged and  felt like asking her how her hip replacement had gone? She did at least apologize for taking so long. I said I was just glad she hadn't gone in telling me "This may take a while."

Sneaky dude was still shopping for bargains with his wife I suppose and finally after well over two hours got my turn behind the (operating room) door. My temp was over 101, not pleasant for an adult. My blood pressure was only slightly elevated (duh) and heart rate was good. Bad news was bronchitis, a sinus infection, ear infection and throat appeared to have the signs on oncoming strep.

Good news was I have excellent health insurance now. The office visit cost me twenty five bucks, three prescriptions and an inhaler cost me forty. I almost felt lucky to be sick!

By this time I had already called out for my shift which was just about to start so got my prescriptions filled and went home, not undressing again and tumbled back into bed. I sweated for twenty four hours straight, hacked my head off for at least eight but just felt better knowing I would eventually be better now. I was off the next day and planned on picking up a shift. Not the best plan.

I had to take the next day off too. I wanted to go to work but for the life of me couldn't lift my matted head off the sweat soaked pillow. I consoled myself with the fact my paycheck was already pending in my bank account and was a pretty hefty one. I work where some people call out for no reason other than they can . I've worked there for almost two years and haven't called out once. I figured I was due.

I didn't feel human again until late this afternoon. My sheets were disgusting. My side was covered in dried sweat and the other side in dog hair where one pup was always in attendance to make mama feel better.

My comforter is in the dryer and sheets in the washer. The kids were awesome at bringing me something to eat every time I had to take the powerful antibiotic and can see remnants of every meal in the sink traps in the kitchen sink. It doesn't rattle when I breathe anymore, my ears stopped hurting and think I'll be just fine by the time I go in for a day shift tomorrow.

Guess I'm not Superwoman after all but sure feel better after my bout of Kryptonite Krap!

One more night of rest and will be good as new tomorrow.

Til next time...COTTON

Thursday, October 8, 2015

To be a Leach

Celebrated my newly acquired niece's birthday tonight at my sister's house where she married my nephew a few short weeks ago. Welcome to our family, Elisa!

Here's the thing about being part of the Leach's awesome.

 We've never had a lot of money but always been filthy rich with love.

If you're a Leach, you're loved. (That should be our family motto)

We were hands down the luckiest family on the planet until August 19, 1977 when momma suddenly died in less than sixty seconds while out shopping with me and my sister. It was sixty seconds that changed our world. Her early departure instilled a fear in all of us to never let a second, moment or even day go by without telling your family you love them...and mean it.

We somehow carried on without her...or maybe because of her.

We added  grandchildren she never got to meet and the former family of five begin to grow larger.

(So did our love)

I laugh a lot, it's my nature, but never laugh more than when I'm with this family...MY family.

This is one of my favorite pictures of me and my brother. The picture says it all.

Our brother acts all crusty but is one of the greatest people you could ever be lucky enough to meet. I've never met anyone who isn't crazy about him. Thank God he never had children of his own...frees him up to help ours and certainly has (when not helping his sisters).

Then there's my sister. Without her life would be a whole lot tougher and not even sure if I would have survived but did, with many thanks to her as well.

Our relationship reminds of the line from Terms of Endearment when Patsy tells Emma "You're my touchstone."

She's my sister, she's my bestie and she's my touchstone.

Webster's defines touchstone as "A quality or example used to test the excellence or genuineness of others."

I'm lucky to be a Leach and lucky to have so many touchstones in my life.

I think I got this now.

I may be fifty five and a slow learner but still have excellent memory, remember where I came from and mighty grateful I do.