Friday, September 30, 2016

I Was Afraid of This

My Lost Boy packed up his truck today and headed back to Newnan. It broke my heart.

No one talked him into moving here to Orlando with us, it was his decision. So was today's.

Our second day here ... said thought he had made a mistake. Said he'd felt that way since the minute we pulled out of the driveway of our home for twenty years, but I was following him in my car so forged along. Actually it was more like me chasing him. He did almost ninety the entire way. I thought he was anxious to start a new life but guess he just has a lead foot.

I asked him why the change of heart?

He said had left the best job he'd ever had.

I told him I'd just done the exact same thing, but how could you know if greater things were ahead if you didn't try?

Out of all my kids, he's the most like me. We're both stubborn, opinionated and always think we're right. It's a blessing and a curse. To live with him is to battle myself and neither of us likes to lose.

I lost today.

His old boss called the second day we were here and offered him the position of sous chef with a substantial raise if he came back. Didn't help they also offered to wire him the money to move back.

Zach had a couple of tumultuous late teen years. He made some bad decisions but owned up to and paid for them all, like a man.

He was the happiest little guy when around five or six. When his ADD was finally diagnosed, turned quiet and pensive on the only meds they had then...stimulants. It changed him into someone he wasn't. He began to make straight A's in school but totally lost his appetite. This was during my stint as a "Lunch Lady" at their elementary school and watched him spend the entire lunch period counting ceiling tiles and chomping his teeth together.

Screw the good grades, I wanted my kid back.

He went from chomping his teeth to being sulky ... and then some, but all phases every boy becoming a young man goes through.

His friend took the above picture of him a few years back. He called it "Three jack asses".

So guess my jack ass is following his heart just like I am.

That's my boy.

I'll be okay once I get a call from him, safely back in Newnan.

When your kid is twenty four... they're not a kid anymore and simply need to let them be an adult.

You need to let them learn it's okay to leave but also learn they are on their own now.

I've never hugged him more tightly or as long as I did today. It was the first time he let me kiss him goodbye in over half a decade.

Waiting for that text or call around ten tonight which will allow me to finally exhale (some of) my worries.

God Speed to Zach.

Til next time...COTTON

Thursday, September 29, 2016

This Too Shall Pass

So I've pretty much scratched off working at the Orlando airport from my list. I'm not sure what happened but have decided will be for the best. Nobody wants to work where they're not wanted, especially me.

Instead will always be grateful to have had the opportunity and and wonderful support from the ATL airport and simply just take my skinny old self back street side here in Orlando...and move on and up.

It hasn't been an easy transition for me but is what it is... a transition for us and the means to our end.

I've been pretty depressed since finding out I don't have a job waiting for me here, thought I would.

Not really sure why I'm depressed... didn't really want to work at Outback anyway, just wanted to keep all my insurance and benefits but seems they're gone now too.

After all we've been through and survived...that little chunk of cheese is moments away from us snatching it like a boss and need to remind myself of that.

I finally came out of my bedroom today around four in the afternoon. I think my brother was right when he told me last night to take some time for myself. I haven't done that in almost ten years but need to do it now.

It will be okay, we'll all be okay.

It's just something different, something we needed and had  to do.

Sometimes different is better.
Just takes some time to get used to it.

I've never been pretty unless awkward counts but always been a strong person.

I need that strength now more than ever. I may have to look through a lot of moving boxes to find it... but find it I will.

What doesn't kill you always makes you stronger.

It's a new adventure and is going to take some time for us all to adjust.

My biggest fault is patience and need to start working on that ASAP.

On the upside have our tiny temporary rental house looking like home in less than three days and finally starting to feel like myself again.

... A goofball.

Think I like being goofy.

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Home...For Now

Went to a debacle of an interview at MCO yesterday. Not sure who they were mad at but was certainly caught in the crossfire. Treated like a nobody when know I'm a somebody and somebody who has been a total asset to their company. (Not Fifth Group, they have always had my back).

Seems HMS thinks I'm a possible, maybe candidate to be considered to sling steaks at Outback. I just needed to wait thirty days to see if they want me.

Well, Eff them!

Took today off mentally. Stayed in my bedroom all day with the door locked. Thought about all that has happened and all that needs to happen.

I refuse to let this deter me. So they have great insurance. I prefer to be appreciated.

For almost three years I came in every shift except two, when had the flu.

I'm in Orlando now and have plenty of options other than you. Unfortunately Fifth Group Restaurants doesn't operate here but has given me the skills to succeed as a server.

I wouldn't work at the airport now for HMS if they paid me triple.

So what you're a global billion dollar corporation?

Shame on you for not taking care of an employee who has represented your brand well and done a more than excellent job.

Guess I know who my friends are now... and you obviously aren't one of them.

Sucking in my pride and putting my best foot forward. Fortunately have landed in a tourist mecca with no down time season.

Don't bother to call me back in thirty days to let me know  you've decided to hire me to sling steaks with plastic forks and knives.

I will have moved on and up.

Totally YOUR loss.


Friday, September 23, 2016

The Shit Show

Still don't know how we pulled it off. I spent half the day at the credit union, post office and court house. Two liens on my credit report which were satisfied and cancelled in 2013 but still showing on my report. Thank you, slow ass working government pencil pushers.

Got home by four and half the house was packed, thanks to Tim, Massey, Zach and a Lost Boy.

Seems I didn't purge enough and felt like we needed a dumpster but have crammed it all in a corner of the garage. We're moving into a small rental house for twelve months and can't take three floors of crap with you.

We stacked and condensed. It's all in a corner of the garage to be sorted through or taken with us in a month or two.

I got home from the courthouse to find the last of my clothes packed into the U-Haul. Guess I'll be wearing this outfit and underwear until us Clampetts unload at the rental house.

I expected nothing less and knew we were throwing our shit together and in a truck at the last minute...Cotton style.

It could be worse... way worse. We could still be broke and me kiting checks to keep the utilities on.

Instead we've packed up and thrown it all together in less than one day. The U-Haul is packed tighter than a sardine can and still have Zach's truck to throw more crap in.

Ham is riding with me in my car, Ziggy is riding with Tim in the big truck and Charlie is riding with either Massey or Zach.

I told Massey today, people with dogs move every day and so will we.

I'm already thinking will be another complete shit show but in true Cotton fashion will getter done one way or an other.

Pray for us, we're a mess.

Have been for ten years but good things are on our horizon and excited to find out what our future holds.

I'm hoping it's a free moving dude who wants to help unload all our crap.

All that's left is two laundry baskets of just washed clothes and what I can pack into three coolers from the fridge.

Yep, my life's def a shit show but at least I have one!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Final Countdown

An almost ten year, really tough struggle has ended for us ... unless some God forsaken unexpected lost shoe drops in the next twenty four hours.

Our life has been a mess for well over two years with Tim living first in Texas and then Orlando while we were all still here.

Tomorrow we all load up together and all go to Orlando together. I've heard that's what families do.

This is what my  family used to do. Take photos of us three kids on the side of our newly bought used station wagon while looking like orphans...and smiling.

I'm leaving my sister tomorrow. I'm leaving my best friend. I'm leaving someone who has been my mother since 1977.

Simply put... am leaving half of myself.

I think this is the last photo of us three kids taken while both parents were still alive.

Here's the kicker.

I'm moving away from one of my Sib's and closer to the other.

It's a Catch 22.

When your sister was the Homecoming Queen at RHS in the Fall of 1970...  I knew as a ten year old they sure crowned the right one.

She's the epitome of perfection as a human being.

She knows me and still loves me.

She tells me when she thinks I'm wrong but loves me anyway.

She's come to my rescue a thousand times and never complained once.

Cindy is the most important person in my life besides my husband and kids but been in my life long before all of them. Oh, I love my brother too but he never had a menstrual cycle so he loses points for that.

How do you leave someone who has saved you mentally and emotionally?
How do you leave someone who has kept you going and made you smile in even your darkest moments?

We've put off the tears for as long as we could. I'm moving tomorrow and away from her.

She came over for dinner tonight and was as usual an awesome time. When I hugged her goodbye in our driveway, I held her as tightly as I could.

She knows it... I know it.

Our fifty six year run as besties living less than thirty minutes apart is done.

I've never met a person more good hearted, accepting and hardworking. Three attributes I daily strive for, thanks to her lifetime influence.

I'm sad but glad. I'm happy but worried.

I just hope she knows how extraordinarily grateful I am to have had her close by for all these many years, especially the last hard decade.

The beauty of it all is that at least I still have a sister.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

That's All Folks

The day I've been dreading and putting off time and time again has come and now gone. My employment at the Crazy House aka The Shit Show came to an abrupt halt late this afternoon when I handed my manager my security badge after clocking out for the very last time.

It couldn't have happened in a better way. Balls to the wall busy from the time we opened until the time I left, leaving no time for tears until the very end.

All three of my managers have expressed over and over again how much they appreciated and would miss my employment with Ecco. Makes an old girl feel proud.

Trust me, I already miss them, the job too and have only been gone two hours.

I took this picture from the parking deck on the way back to my car with four bags of gifts, food and cards in tow.

It's been an awesome three year flight to financial security and made many friendships along the way. I've met and waited on people from all over the globe and made friends with all the "little people" who make this huge airport a success.

I didn't openly weep until I hugged this girl for the last time. Come to think of it...may have been the first time I ever hugged her and feel ashamed that I haven't done it before.

It took us a minute to bond when I first started Ecco...she's a tough one, but so am I.

It was destined for us to become friends.

I thought my family had been through rough times, then I met her...Bitch Sister.

The name comes from me always (lovingly) calling the other girls  "sister bitch" at work. She got flustered one night at work when it was cray cray and called me "bitch sister" instead when trying to thank me for helping her.

It stuck...and the perfect nickname for her.

If you've ever been hugged by a big woman (when you're tiny like me) must know how awesome that feels.

I was surrounded by and with her love and it felt wonderful. She told me not to cry today... as we cried together.

She gave me a card and instructed me NOT to open it until I'd left.

I opened it on the shuttle bus ride back to the parking deck and cried like a baby in front of twelve people I've never met.

For the past three years I've worked like crazy at a crazy house with crazy people everywhere.

If younger could do it and be retired by fifty but I'm way over fifty and found this job too late.

Instead arrived late to the party and feel lucky to just escape with my body still somewhat intact.

I left my Hersey kisses in every drawer at every computer station for the other servers today before I left. I stopped by Kroger last night after work to buy a big bag.

I hope these peeps remember me. I hope these peeps have learned from me just as I have learned from them.

Good things happen to good people.

Be a good person and Karma will always have your back.

 This (now former) job came to me when sinking like the Titanic carrying tons of concrete aboard.

I stepped out of my comfortable broke zone and into a crazy zone without even a vehicle to drive to the job. I gave it my all and the job gave it all right back to me.

I have no regrets only thanks for my almost three year stint at The Crazy House, Do-Do Dome sometimes Shit Show. It has served me well and feel like I did a pretty bang up job on my part.

This may sound even  more stupid but oh so true, if you own dogs. My three dogs think I am their Daenerys.

My three kids think I am Hazel, although none of then know who she is.

At least I am famous to old people and young dogs.

Left the best job ever today and hoping to find it's equal in Orlando.

And I will.

I'm starting to think I am the person my dogs think I am.

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Looking Ahead While Reflecting Back

Three days left at the greatest job ever. Five more days left living here in Georgia.
It's an emotional Catch 22 for me.
I don't want to live away from my sister but I want to live with my husband and kids again.

I was on my way home from work the other night, actually pulling into our driveway when a song came on the radio that have always loved. It came out in the eighties when music videos were all the rage on MTV and VH1. I think it's my all time favorite music video, guess I'm just an eighties gal and a sucker for nostalgia and animals.

Here's the weird thing about it.

I bet it's been twenty years since I've heard it play on the radio but have heard it four times in just the past week.

I find myself in a strange situation
And I don't know how
What seemed to be an infatuation
Is so different now
I can't get by if we're not together
Ooh can't you see
Girl, I want you now and forever
Close to me
I'm longing for the time
I'm longing for the day
Hoping that you will promise to be mine
And never go away

I don't want to live without you
I don't want to live without you
I could never live without you
Live without your love

I ask myself but there's no explanation
For the way I feel
I know I've reached the right destination
And I know it's real

I'm longing for the time
I'm longing for the day
When I'll be giving you this heart of mine
Believe me when I say

I don't want to live without you
I don't want to live without you
I could never live without you
Live without your love

No I don't want to live without you
I don't want to live without you
I could never live without you
Live without your love

Now I don't want to live without you
I don't want to live without you
I could never be without you
Be without your love

I don't want to live without you
Live without your love
Live without your love
You see I'm lost without your love

Without your love  

Everything Tim  and I have worked so hard for these past three years is finally paying off.  Seems even payoffs come at a price. My sister has essentially been my mother since 1977 when ours suddenly died. She's also been my best friend for fifty six years.

We're a lot alike yet in some ways totally different. We're the perfect combination.

I wish my daughter had a sister but at least has the next best thing, the world's greatest Aunt.

It's a done deal now, we're moving...and pretty dang soon.

It makes me excited for our future (and should) but makes me sad to think of all the people, things and places I'm leaving.

My manager at work was talking with me the other day about my transfer to Orlando and jokingly said "Now that will be in late October 2017, right?"

I go into work now and coworkers, from the front of the house to the back of the house to across the concourse and entire airport say "You're really leaving us?"

It makes me sad ...yet also feel good I seem to be someone who will be missed.

I've had a lot of jobs over the years, some okay and some pretty good. The job I'm leaving now is hands down a life changer in more ways than one.

It's not only changed and boosted our financial stability but also allowed me the opportunity of a lifetime as a "Lifer" in the serving industry.

I've met people from all over the globe, been able to listen and learn from their stories and sometimes even tell them mine.

Although am walking away from (finally now) familiar and (has been) fantastic, look forward to even more fabulous, simply in another place.

I've promised myself I won't cry when I leave my sister, my job, my friends... but don't hold me to it.

My co workers and friends from my last two jobs gave me a wonderful going away party last night and was a heartfelt evening.

The Blog is already in drafts. One thing I can tell you is, feels pretty wonderful to be loved by so many awesome people.

Always pick and choose friends wisely, and will always have an army behind you. Every single one of them helped us win our battle.

Til next time   COTTON

Friday, September 16, 2016

When The Downside Looks Even Better

Today makes twenty six years I've been married to Tim. Technically it's now yesterday  but work nights, stay up late and still consider it today until I go to sleep. Actually we didn't even talk to each other today. He did send me a text, but was about paperwork I needed to fill out and fax back to him for the rental house. How romantic...still playing hard to get after all this time.

I'm totally kidding.

I used to think I had a crazy life but the past month has proved me to be a total under estimator. Both us working full time and me way overtime while living in two different states, trying to coordinate the move and finalize plans has once again reassured me "I can throw some shit together."

It was impossible for us to find exactly the right house to buy with me here working and him there working. We wanted it to be everything we deserve and want to own for the rest of our lives. We decided to rent for one year and get settled into all being together again, look around together and choose together.

All I want to do for now is get through the next eight days (still working five of them) and end up the eighth one in my and Jed's own bed in a rental house in a new city... with all our kids under ten minutes away from us and each other.

 I'll probably never be able to retire in my early sixties but sure have come a long way in my fifties.

That's a good thing, right?

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, September 12, 2016

It's Almost My "86" Time

Anyone who's ever been in the military or worked in a restaurant knows what "86" means.

It can mean multiple things but the basic bottom line is always   "No More, Not Gonna Happen".

Just came home tonight from work which leaves nine more shifts, then will literally  be "86" at the  world's busiest crazy house aka world's best job ever.

Getting ready to move has been a much needed distraction. I work as hard if not harder when I'm at home these days but have made some major strides this past week. Every closet, drawer, cabinet and counter top has been emptied, purged then packed.

I've really worried about leaving the nicest house possible we could for our renter's.

Instead of brooding over my soon upcoming "86" status, will share with you how I (as my kids always say) can throw some shit together.

We're down to bare living essentials and can pack all that's left in three big boxes. Don't ask me how, other than the fact my daughter really got the moving ball going. I joined about a week later and is pretty much now a done deal. Everything is boxed and been toted out to the garage. The only things left in the house are beds and furniture.

I had an unexpected two days off in a row, highly unusual for me so started working on the house and yards instead. I got all the yards done but my upstairs shutters ruined it for me. They are twenty year old battered shutters which are crumbling in a few places.

You have to look close and am sure (hopeful) bothers me a lot more than my neighbors. I couldn't afford new shutters right now, maybe in a month or two but just wanted it to look pretty (although faux) when our renter's moved in.

I climbed onto the roof in 95 degree heat and covered each busted shutter from top to bottom with white Duct Tape.

It looked awesome...especially from the street.

Even both the kids said how good it looked.

Who's the bomb? I'm the bomb!

I stayed up until almost three getting things done and feeling accomplished. Massey poked her head into my bedroom around nine to say she and her brother were going to breakfast together. My six hour nap was about done away.

I heard the kitchen door shut then heard the garage door opening. Then I heard them back out of the driveway.

Then I got a text on my cell... rather a picture from the kids.

I was so irritated.

The overnight moisture had ruined (and made obvious) all my crafty hard work.

No worries, I had plenty more white Duct Tape left and a bottle of Gorilla Glue.

So I'm on the roof (again) putting up more tape but this time urging it to stick with dollops of Gorilla Glue.

Day three and still holding strong. Gorilla Glue is a puss looking foamy glob close up but totally invisible from the street.

That's my  kinda glue!

It'll be the last thing we pack.

I'll re wrap them several more times and before you know it should be thick enough to even paint!

I've learned one thing over the past decade.

Band Aids sure come in handy.

Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dragging Towards The Finish Line

Between working and packing, my days and nights are wearing me slap out. Thanks to lots of help from Massey doing the packing as I's getting done. Nine more days left at work then five more days of finalizing the last few boxes then moving it all into a truck. Then all left will be a seven hour drive to Orlando with our three vehicles following behind with a dog in each car.

Piece of cake!

I am glad decided to extend my stay at work one more week. Busiest September we've ever had in the three summers I've been there. It's really padded our moving funds.

I went into work today feeling beat like a drum, with snare drum spasms going down my spine. I had two double espresso's and somehow powered through.

Here's the kicker.

I didn't even want to be there, had a mile long list of things I needed to do running through my head while feeling like an elephant was standing on my back.

My first table, some old dude with a much younger wife and ten year son in tow spent handsomely, were very low maintenance and left me an additional forty bucks. Second table was a couple who asked which bottle of cabernet would I recomend?

I was honest, told them we had a great wine list to choose from... so told them about our entry level cab, $36. I told them we also had a very nice mid priced cab from Napa Valley, $56. I also told them we had a fantastic complex cab from Alexander Valley that was by far our best, $84. They had two bottles of the best, ate like royalty and left me twenty extra on top of their forty added grautity.

Next table,  two British guys... ate like kings and left me thirty bucks extra.

And to think I actually thought about calling out today?

It wasn't even busy but God gave me the most excellent tables ever. Not one person ordered the dreaded sandwich and everyone was so pleasant I almost felt bad for feeling bummed about coming in at all.

No wonder God is my favorite Host!

I know most of my back ache comes from the stress I'm going through. I'm kinda freaked out right now... but if I concentrate can will my back muscles to relax. I do it every morning before getting out of bed and believe it or not, it works.

I'm bumping up that moving fund and even better, going out on top at Ecco.

I put my game face on with every single table tonight. I'd greet them and ask how they were doing? When they would respond and ask how I was doing as well would say "Great and thank you for asking."

It's little things when you're a server which mean the most.

It's going above and beyond. It's anticipating needs and making them happen flawlessly without the customer ever having to ask.

On second thought, maybe I am a rocket scientist.

I came home and lugged five more  packed boxes down from the third floor of the house. I'm going to my bedroom now to watch the boob tube for a minute and fold two baskets of laundry. Gotta keep that laundry going because everything else I own is packed away.

Another guy from HR came by work tonight. He told me was blown away by my recently uploaded resume for Orlando.

I got this.

We got this.

We deserve and will get this!

Posting with eight days now left to go at the Crazy House aka My Saving Salvation.

Not bragging, but think I will be missed. I certainly know I will miss it.

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Clock's Ticking

I worked over sixty hours this past week. Woke up today, my day off and my back was hurting more than Donald Trump's hair do.

I went to lunch with my daughter and afterwards bought ten more plastic tubs to pack up more of our junk for the move, went back home and purged for what seems like the tenth time. I told Massey after thinking about what to keep and not to keep decided to go with "When in doubt toss it out".

My sister sent me a text that her husband was cooking gumbo and to come by for dinner.

We did some more packing then headed over around six. I took the above video when leaving her house. There's nothing sweeter than being out on country roads in Coweta County around sunset.

Well maybe there is.

We spent a couple of hours at my sister's house, walking around the place on a nice cool night...talking and laughing.

Massey, now twenty one has been swinging on this tire since the beginning of middle school.

The entire place is nothing but serenity.

We had a fabulous meal with all fresh veggies from their garden in a gumbo her husband made. We all laughed and talked, even looked through old high school yearbooks.

My sister's house has always been a place I love to visit. I'm determined to visit as much as I can in the next three weeks.

If we weren't moving on and up in such a luckily blessed way, would never leave here.

But we are and will be in less than a month's time.

I'm moving away from one sibling but to another.

We three have always been pretty close. The older we've gotten the closer we've become. It's a lot easier to be close when you don't all live in the same house and fight over what the other one's done or taken from your eight track collection or borrowed from your closet without returning. It was usually (always) me.

We lost momma in 1977 and diddy in 2002. But we at least still had each other.

And we still do.

You've got to be kidding me... literally as I type this post now sitting at my desk at this exact moment, this song comes on the radio.

I'll never forget after going back to work the very next day after my father's funeral. I was sitting in my car after a weepy shift. This song came immediately on the radio when I cranked the engine. I started to cry and asked God for a sign all would be okay. At that exact moment, driving through the parking lot of the Smoky Bones next door... a shooting star streaked across the sky. I went ahead and tried for reassurance. Is it really going to be okay? If so, I needed to know.

Just that like another shooting star darted across the sky.

I've never experienced such a cosmic moment as that one.

That's how I know everything will be okay now as well.

We're blessed and covered by The Big Guy upstairs.

That's all the insurance we need.

Til next time...COTTON