Thursday, March 31, 2016

Another Awesome Day! (a girl could get used to this)

Cooked a big breakfast for me and the kids this morning, trust me it shocked them. I'm a night person through and through and it's usually them bringing me nestle Quik in bed.

The forecast was for bad weather tonight and since it's trash night, Massey emptied all the cans and wheeled the trash out to the curb after breakfast. It's nice spending time with them (especially when are getting along) and had a nice lazy morning together. I was getting ready for work when Massey came in with the mail. She came into my room upstairs and told me to close my eyes. I couldn't because I was putting on mascara, which also meant I had my mouth open. Ask any woman... it's impossible to have have your mouth closed when swiping on mascara. She told me the first of our packages had arrived. I found a really cool website last year which sells amazing clothes cheaper than a jug of Tide. Yes it's in China and yes a ten year old kid probably makes them but choose to consider it keeping them off the streets. Last year I saw a really cute swim suit for ten bucks but didn't come in a size smaller than medium so didn't order it.

This year it popped up again on my feed and had one in medium on sale for nine bucks so I ordered it. What the heck, if it was too big for me, Massey could have it. I guess China's medium is the new U.S. extra small. Massey excitedly said "Momma, this will totally fit you!"

And whadaya know? It did!

I may not have the large chest the woman in the photo did but the suit was padded like a crazy person's jail cell and fit like a charm. Massey had to lace up the corset for me (never owned a suit which requires assistance to be put on) but was quite pleased with what the little dudes had made me.

 I'm just too skinny for a bikini anymore, I look like an albino Ethopian so finally opted for a one piece.

Not bad for a chick well over half a century old.

Of course you know me, posted the pics immediately on FB saying had purchased my first old lady swim suit.

 I left for work an hour early because the monsoon was to blow in around three, my scheduled time in at work. It drizzled a bit the entire way but nothing like had been predicted.

I got off the escalator in front of the restaurant and one of our bartenders was standing at the host stand with one of my managers and another host. Pops (our senior bartender) is a really cute buff looking guy from Ghana who I have always liked a lot. He's smart, has a great personality, and one of my favorite peeps at work. His given name is Yaw but no one here in the south pronounces it correctly so when he first came to America with his family as a youngun (as we say in the south) was eating a bowl of Corn Pops one morning and decided "Pops" was a pretty cool name. So Pops he became.

He's always been extremely nice to me and is one of Massey's favorite peeps too, since she started working there. He's a class act, savvy guy who will go far in life and of that am certain. I just feel lucky I got to know and work with him before he moves on to his destiny of eminent greatness in his life.

I walked up to the host stand and Pops immediately shook his head and said "I can't believe you posted that picture of you in the bathing suit."

My reply:

"Dude, I rock that suit, especially for a fifty six year old woman."

He agreed, smiling which made me love him even more.

Ecco is an eclectic family, and  my family for a few more short months. Most of them am going to miss terribly.  A small few not so much... as it is with any family.

The ones I love, will continue to love and  keep in touch with forever. It's just the way I'm geared.

I was thrown into this place as a worried freaking out misfit, during the most tumultuous time in our life with the backing of a dear friend, Tia who I literally owe our rebound to. It allowed me to keep our family afloat while helping Tim move up and beyond, granted a thousand miles away.

I'm going to take all my fancy dancy high falutin "learnt" skills to Orlando and be able to relax for the first time in almost a decade.

All it's gonna require is five more months of  me working my butt off five days a week but think I can handle that.

I've found and learned my groove at Ecco and be forever grateful for having this opportunity to work for Fifth Group Restaurants.

If I was young enough to spit out another kid , would name it "Five".

We haven't had to worry about paying our bills on time in over a year, after worrying for six how the heck we'd make it until we found someone to loan us money to keep the lights on.

The lights are still on thanks to many and thanks to God.

Thanks Rocky Balboa!

Going to bed watching the weather just in case I need to put us all in the laundry room downstairs to survive again.

I can't say it enough. Fight or surrender, it's your choice.

Be a fighter!

It worked for me and can work for you.

Til next time...


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Love Me Some Spring Time

The last couple of weeks my days off have been sunny and beautiful, just the way I like them! I've been able to make some real progress in the yards both front and back.

After the rainy winter we had our fire pit filled with water and a sinkhole opened up beside it. It took  a lot of (wo)man power and about fifteen trips to Lowes but finally have it filled in and has been holding like a champ.

This is the before picture.

This is after I finished filling it in.

I put out four bags of grass seed and as you can see, took off like wildfire. There was still a little water left in the fire pit and was hard as heck to cut with the push mower and looks even better now.

The water is all gone now from the fire pit and the grass has grown even more.

I've worked a lot in the front yard too. For the last few years have let it go simply because I didn't have the time, money or energy.

Yesterday I cut the front and pulled a ton of weeds. I put more pinestraw down and going to line the front bed and walkways with more pebbles on my next day off.

It's still a work in progress but progressing I am! Our biggest accomplishment was cutting all the bushes in front of the house. Look how high they used to be:

I weeded the irises below my kitchen window and now they can breathe and grow again too.

There's no better feeling than pulling into my driveway and seeing how all the hard work has made such a significant difference. It makes me feel even better knowing I did it all without sitting on Johnny Dear but instead slowly pushing Mr. Murray each and every step of the way.

Hopefully Johnny will be fixed by the time summer rolls around. My mower surgeon works pro bono so  don't complain about how long it takes.

Over the long and wet winter focused more on the inside of my house and have it looking pretty good as well. Every closet has been cleaned out and purged of junk which has been cluttering it for years. I've washed walls and cleaned enough cob webs to decorate for ten Halloweens. I've donated clothes we never wear, coats the kids have outgrown and parted ways with things we haven't used in ten years yet kept moving from place to place. Did I really need that wok we got as a wedding present in 1990 and never used? Did I really need every work shirt from every restaurant I'd worked for the past twenty years? Was  Tim ever going to wear that thick  beige corduroy jacket with the leather elbow patches? (not if I had anything to do about it)

Why was I keeping tupperware which hasn't seen it's lid in twenty years? Why did I have strands of  outdoor Christmas lights so old they didn't even makes fuses for them anymore?

I kinda started worrying about being a hoarder when I threw away the first pair of  leather flip flops I bought Tim in 1988. I think one of them broke in 1991. I guess was keeping them in case he lost  the other foot in an accident and only needed the one.

I think the biggest purge of all was boxes and boxes and boxes of things TJ brought home on moving in and out three different times before it finally stuck. If he had wanted it surely would have come back or asked for it by now. Random speakers, wires that hooked up something I had no clue for and pants that haven't fit him since he was fourteen. I cleaned out my china cabinet which held more crap than china.

Next was our collection of bills and statements. Most were stuffed in boxes in our  garage. Others were crammed into the computer desk.We were audited  by the IRS (won the audit) in the early nineties and  have saved every receipt and  bill since. When I ran across bank statements from Tim's first marriage in 1985, sat for over an hour cutting them all up and putting  in separate garbage bags, just in case.
I went through every drawer in every room and took every random photo scattered amongst other things. I bought a big box from Michael's on sale and now have every photo which isn't in an album in one single box.

That's where I draw the line. Photos are priceless and never throw one away. Case in point...came across this photo from a family reunion shortly after my mother died in 1977. How could you not want to keep this photo?

It's me (with some meat on me) and my brother and sister with her two boys who are now in their thirties, their father (who passed a few years back) and my own father. What a classic photo!

It's spring and we're finally springing ahead.

I have twenty three more weeks of working an exhausting but overly well compensated job. I have the house down to the essentials, with only the attic to go. I'm pacing myself.

I feel and look older but know now,  are on the very cusp of realizing our dreams. All the hard work, all the bad times and consistently trying to Paying It Forward has come full circle.

I'm excited about our next journey yet grateful for the last.

Life is all about living and learning.
Sometimes you learn things about yourself and along the way may also learn things about others.

What's most important is learning to love yourself and all which your life may incompass.

We've had many bridges to pass. We've found and survived more than a few. We've cheated the toll on some but always tried to pay that toll forward.

Crossing the last bridge in Georgia but looking back with gratitude, a few tears but more smiles.

Looking ahead for whatever life may offer and be grateful for that as well.

Til next time...twenty three weeks left, COTTON

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sometimes Nothing is the Best Thing

I can go like a 95lb dynamo for weeks on end then just as suddenly need a twenty four hour recharge.

Today was that day.

Last night was the first slow shift I've had at work in weeks. Well the first half was slow but the second half came back strong and once again made more money than I deserved but took and was grateful for it.

I stayed up way too late blogging while pushing laundry through. Then I collapsed into my bed knowing at least I had the next day off. As Bob Seeger sang "I woke up to the sound of thunder" while storming outside my window around eleven AM. Zach had to be at work by eight so he was long gone. I heard Massey rambling around downstairs so knew she was letting the dogs out, allowing me to remain horizontal a bit longer. Rain was forecast for the entire day and was fine by me.

Massey brought me up a glass of Nestle Quik and a glass of OJ along with my vitamin and left them all on my nightstand. I heard her go back downstairs and thought to myself what a great kid she is.

I'm extremely lucky to have a daughter who has never distanced herself from me. She's always been okay with being my bestie regardless of the fact that I can be quite a handful to be around. I tend to find humor in every situation no matter how bleak or grim and according to her think I'm funnier than I am.

I just let her think she's right about that but know  better. The only person I know funnier than me is my brother and if you've ever met him would quickly agree.

I watched the boob tube for two hours after I woke up then decided it twas time to join the living again.

Massey took me to lunch then we stopped by the grocery store on the way home to buy all the Easter candy left for half price.

We came home and went to our respective beds again. She did some homework then napped, I caught up on Scandal, HTGAWM and Blackish then snoozed a little more myself.

Zach left for work around seven this morning and had to work until close so us girls just chilled with the three pups and had a grand ole time doing absolutely nothing.

Sometimes nothing is the best thing ever and just what your body needs.

I did get a small spurt of energy and vacuumed the downstairs around ten o'clock but besides that remained horizontal the rest of the time. Massey even pitched in and unloaded the dishwasher so at least we both did something productive!

...continued the next day...

I felt great when I woke up, felt at least ten years younger and bonus points: the downstairs was vacuumed and the dishwasher was empty. I decided to lolly gag an extra hour in bed after I heard Zach downstairs taking the dogs out to feed them. No reason to stop the boy from helping ole momma out without me asking. Zach can be a really sweet kid or he can be a pain in my keester. We are way too much alike and when we butt heads it's a battle like no other.

I came across a picture from years ago I had saved on my computer which describes the kind of kid he was exactly to a tee. He was probably around fuurteen and had gotten an identification card from the middle school for kids to have in case of an emergency. Number one, the picture speaks volumes but the way he filled out the back is all Zach.

Jeez, when he was fourteen only weighed five pounds less than his mother weighs now. I guess we're more alike than I thought!

I have so many funny and quirky things about Zach as a kid saved or put away than my other two kids combined. The kid's always been a hoot. I can hardly wait until he falls in love with the woman of his dreams and get to share all my collectibles with her on her first visit.

He was the sweetest little boy and always happy.

I could convince him to do anything and let me take a picture. "Hey Zach, put on your sister's dress up high heeled shoes and I'll take a'll be so funny!"


The above photo was from his executive phase. Notice where he clipped his clip on tie.

He's always been skinny but eats like he's in a contest.

Right before he turned into the rebel he still is today, his sister got a life size Barbie in a ballerina outfit for her birthday. I didn't even have to ask him to put it on.

Then his tweens started and someone swapped my photogenic do anything boy for a sullen fourteen year old who refused to smile...ever.

At least he's smirking a little in the above photo. My sister took him to DC for his birthday and asked the pilot (she worked for Delta) if Zach could sit in the cockpit for a picture. The pilot even offered Zach his hat to wear. I almost wish he'd been a barber instead of an airline captain.

Lucky for me Zach has either blocked all these photos from his memory or thinks I didn't keep them.

Oh he was a regular riot as a little kid, just ask my brother.

The above photo was from the year on vacation when my brother babysat Zach at the beach for me. He used a leg lock and fly swatter to keep Zach in line while I sunned on the beach with my sister.

I'll have to say out of all my kids, Zach has been the one who has always been most like me, when I was young or when I was fifty five.

My sister's friend couldn't believe the one below, when I was fifty four. Heck, the bone looked clean to me! This was taken at my sister's house and she's such a neat freak she probably washes her dog's bones anyway.

So I guess it's okay that I took goofy pictures of my kids when they were little as long as I still take goofy pictures of myself as a grown up.

I've lived an incredible life. Most of it was wonderful and some of it was terrible. The wonderful part was well worth the terrible part.

After all we've been through, good bad and ugly; we're all still here and even Zach has learned to smile again.

There are  billions of people in this world who haven't been lucky enough to live the life I have, even with the bad times we've been through. 

We are coming to the close of what seemed like a long a chapter in our lives and beginning another one. I can hardly wait to turn the page.

I'm finally on board with all the changes and looking forward to what it will bring. 

This wonderful family above has our back (always have) and we're moving to also be with the other part who luckily landed where we are headed.

I'm looking forward to being with our son, TJ and his new family which spiraled me into unexpected Grannyhood.

I'm looking forward to not having to work so hard and looking forward more to being able to finally stop and smell the roses of the wonderful joy which is "My Life".


Guess I'll be wearing granny panties from now on.

Nothing is better!

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Just Another Night

I guess if you work as a server in an airport it may as well be in the world's busiest, and that's where I landed! (small pun)

It's been crazy busy lately (a good thing) but even after almost two years, see something or someone bizarre almost every single shift.

At the airport manager's meeting this past week,  had forecast a slow down for Saturday and Sunday. I was okay with that, my bones needed some rest and all my bills were paid. It was kinda slow when I went on the floor at three fifteen and regretted thinking it would be okay if it was. There's nothing which makes a shift longer than watching paint dry. It's just the way I'm geared and if I'm working  have to be doing something. All the younger staff doesn't mind doing nothing and quite a few excel at it.

I stocked and cleaned everything I could and then settled on folding linens. All the servers poke fun at me because of how fastidious I am about it. I fold the napkins for tables precisely and alternate them in the stack I fold so they end up being a level stack. Then I put them in the linen cabinet in the most perfect order. Four stacks across, all the way to the top and always with the top napkin with the folded side down. Then when the cabinet is perfect and full as a tick I go get an empty box and begin to fold more napkins in precisely the same way and fill it to store them in the bottom of the huge liquor cage we lock all the booze bottles in when we close. I folded over two hundred by seven o'clock and yes they all looked perfect!

It's crazy, I'm nowhere near a neat freak at home but when someone is paying me to do a job I turn into "Anal Lady". Everything has to be neat and tidy, in it's proper place and done the correct way.

By seven o'clock felt like it should have been at least  nine thirty but was still light outside so knew it wasn't even eight.

Big sigh...

They finally cut three servers from the floor as travelers dribbled in. I had my MOJO working and the few tables I had really liked me. I had an elderly gentleman sit at one of my tables speaking broken English. Heck, with my southern accent it was a hit or miss conversation.

"Beer" seems to be a globally known word. I ask if they want draft by acting like I am pulling the tap handle forward or bottle by seeming to pop a cap off.

He had a draft, and after going small or tall with one hand down and the other up going from four inches apart to ten inches apart learned he wanted a tall one.


He looked tired but after some small mixed language talk learned he had traveled half the globe in the past week. He had some cured meats and cheeses, one tall beer and paid his tab. I told him it was slow in the restaurant so to sit as long as he wanted.

Then this happened.

Old dude crashed like a freight train that jumped the tracks. Several tables were looking at him and chuckling.

After twenty minutes couldn't resist a photo opp. I really wanted to sit opposite of him and act like I was chatting away with him, boring him to death.

Then I thought about posting "Boring the Bern" but finally settled on this one. I would have never taken this pic if he had been smashed. He was just (as we say in the south) "Wore slap out" and after being given the go ahead from me to sit as long as he wanted simply crumbled.

At least I didn't take the pic when he semi woke up and simply put his head on the table and rested for twenty more minutes.

After that it started in earnest. Before I knew it had seven tables at once and all six tops or more. I waited on peeps from Brazil, Norway and Amsterdam. Before I knew it was ten o'clock and we were closed.

I truly love this job, it's beyond awesome but taxing when done five days a week at my age.

It starts from fighting for a good spot to park near the shuttle bus or elevator in the parking deck to getting through security quickly.

Working at International is a world different from any I've ever known but has been a hoot (as we also say in the south) and knowing I only have  six more months left make it much easier to deal with.

On top of everything else it's done for me has let Massey experience things and opened her world to the entire planet...literally.

Like I said before, if you gotta work at an airport, why not make it the world's busiest?

 One of our favorite shuttle bus drivers.
 Ang Lee, director.
 Our mentor, Damir.
 Captain America, Chris Evans.

 Who's the best momma in the world now?
Sam Smith!

It's been an awesome run and glad my daughter got to make it with me.

When a professional server like me, it's just sales and marketing.

Our mentor said it best on his last day with us.

I've finally found what I'm best at selling, and it's myself.

I may not be a Kardashian, a Real House Wife,  a Dance Mom or even Honey Boo Boo but a pretty decent person who thinks if I continue to  be,  will go far beyond my wildest expectations and at the age of way over half way done with my life feel pretty stinking good about what I've been lucky enough to accomplish with a little help from my friends.

Orlando bound.