Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Crazy Cotton Christmas

Christmas Season will be in full swing tomorrow, the first day of December. How can that be when we just took this picture?

It was 87 degrees here today. I worked the day shift and just seemed weird hearing "The weather outside is frightful" playing on the music system. The only time I wear real shoes is when I work. When not at work am in flip flops, cut offs, a tank top and still hot.

It seems ridiculous to decorate the house for Christmas in the middle of summer weather. I feel like the tinsel would melt.

Also all my Christmas decorations are back home in the attic and garage. I've just decided to skip decorating this year. Number one we're in a temporary rental house not our 'home' and number two, will rock it out of the park next year when are in our forever home.

This was our house last Christmas.

This is our house this Christmas.

Massey and I decided to decorate this way, this year.

We'll buy tiny ornaments to hang on this plant with a tiny string of lights going around it. Above the plant (our tree) will hang my  favorite Christmas decoration ever.

It's a framed Christmas card from my  mother to her own mother when she was in her late teens. On the inside is her handwriting (which I always love to see) and says  "With much love, Ann."

It's taken a minute or maybe two months but finally getting it.

Change isn't easy but is what it is.

A change.

To be honest think we were all ready for a change.

One Christmas without all the fuss and fanfare may be just what we needed.

I'm so blessed it ain't even funny and funny is what I'm all about.

I'd much rather laugh than cry. My eyes never get puffy from it and my nose never snots up.

George Carlin put it best. He not only summed up life but makes you think about what you're doing with your own.

My total desire and goal is to add life to my remaining years.

If you try sometimes... you just might find you get what you need.

Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sometimes That Little Hamster Falls Asleep In The Wheel

Even though was filmed in my hometown, never watched The Walking Dead until I started at the airport and a co worker and I found ourselves alone on  the plane train with Norman Reedus. She whispered he was one of the stars of the show. I leaned over and said "He looks like some body's mechanic."

I still wasn't sure until she showed me his picture on her phone. Yes he had two small moles on his left cheek and yes a small star tattoo on his hand.


He was greasy looking but pretty handsome. We huddled a foot away from him the entire ride.

So I went home that night and watched episode one. An opening scene was shot right around the corner from where we lived. I bet I recognized ten different places in the first ten minutes. It mesmerized me. Once the story moved to downtown Atlanta was even more entranced.

I could have done without all the zombies but by episode two, they were a small part of a much bigger story.

I binged watched for days on end and by the end of the week was on season five. Norman Reedus lives in Coweta County (where we lived) about six months out of the year. You see him tooling around on his Harley or simply eating pizza with his son at the local pizza joint on the town square. He takes selfies with anyone who asks and think is what I like about him most.

They shot a lot of the scenes on the street my sister lives off of in Senoia and see numerous cast members all over town.

One of my favorite characters is the bad ass, Michonne who can swing a sword like nobody else.

So I'm at work one night and guess who sits down at one of my tables to have dinner?

Dang, she was smaller than me, and quiet as a mouse. I bet that sword weighs more than her.

Another favorite is the star of the show (unless you ask Daryl fans).

Andrew Lincoln aka Rick Grimes has worse luck than me...and that's saying a lot.

So about three weeks go by and guess who came in to have dinner with his wife and two kids before flying back to England?

Bonus points...guess what server had his table?

He was so nice and his wife was cute as a button. She was tiny with short spiky hair like mine! Their two kids were so well mannered and over the moon when I gave them Hersey Kisses as a goodbye with the check.

Too bad they didn't need extra zombies on the set long before I worked at the airport and let our three dogs in the back door late one night when it was pouring rain. I put beach towels on the floor so they could walk on them first (which they didn't) and slipped in the mud their twelves paws deposited around me. I fell head first onto the corner of our kitchen table and woke up five minutes later with Ziggy licking blood off the side of my face.

Zach went to CVS, bought a first aide and butterfly bandaged the outer corner of eye back together.


My country girl self came home from work last night and blogged for an hour or two. I couldn't go to sleep for the life of me, even though it was 2:00 AM.

I went in the living room and searched On Demand for the last episode of The Walking Dead. Didn't really matter about the time, I was off the next day.

I had missed the previous episode too but figured at this point in watching could pretty much figure it out on my own.

Plot Twist.

I'm a dummy.

The episode started on a bridge (I knew exactly where it was in Coweta County). It was blocked halfway by a huge pile of sand. when they plowed through the sand, zombies (buried with the sand) started attacking. Poor Tara fell off the bridge into the water.

Commercial break.

Tara was dragged (unconscious) out of the water... seemingly on an ocean shore by a woman I'd never seen before and ended up in a beachside jungle with a hidden village.

What did I miss?

Where in Coweta County was there an ocean? They even showed sand dollars on the beach!

I decided it was a dream episode when she finally found her way back to the bridge (which I knew for fact was in Coweta County) a few miles away from the house I just moved from in late September.

At 4:45 AM, totally confused (and not even drinking) decided maybe we were both in a dream state and went to bed. I guess it bothered me a lot because woke up before eight.

Massey climbed into bed with me this morning around ten to watch an episode of "This Is Us" with me.

She asked me (during a commercial) if I had watched the previous TWD episode from two weeks ago?

Told her I hadn't, had skipped to this week. I pick back up to speed easily.

Then I told her about the strange episode I'd watched earlier that morning and wondered what it meant?

"Mother.  In the show at this point are almost to New York City. They just film it in Coweta County."

Baby I am growing like a weed!

I was just relieved wasn't losing my own mind. I don't have much to spare.

I am sane enough to know I am crazy...but in a good way.

I like being crazy.

Normal just doesn't fit me, but can do it when I have to...and have.

Webster's defines normal as "Conforming with, adhering to, or costituiting a norm, standard, pattern, level, or type; typical."

I've never been any of these things and not sure if I would want to.

I'd rather be Kelly.

Til next time...COTTON

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Grand Scheme

In the grand scheme of things, for the first time in almost a decade can say with confidence everything will all be okay now.

Looking back over memories on my FB wall from today back until 2009 realized exactly how far we have come.

We survived both of us being unemployed at the same time, with Tim being unemployed for almost two years. During that time had to use all of our savings and all of our 401k to simply pay the bills.

Tim got a new job and after six months of  menial grunt work got promoted and sent to Lubbock, Texas for almost two years. I stayed here (Georgia then) with our two younger kids and got a fantabulous job making money hand over fist.

Then Tim got another promotion and was shipped to Orlando in January of this year. I still stayed in the house with the kids and worked through the busy summer season at the world's busiest airport in the new international terminal.

Over the past three years we've missed birthdays, anniversaries  and holidays together. When Tim was in Texas, only came home twice for a two day visit and once for a week in the summer. It wasn't easy but gave us some much needed distance between us to let ill feelings, built up resentment and anger subside.

It literally saved our marriage.

Marriage was so easy for us for the first twenty years. It's easy to be happy when you never have to worry. Both our salaries continued to rise and our three kids had everything they needed and then some.

We bought our first brand new home and moved the kids to the burbs to raise them. We took them to Disney every spring with our tax return and to the beach for a week every summer.

Sometimes you begin to take life for granted and think nothing bad will come your way.

Not always so.

Life doesn't come with any guarantee. What you have this very instant can be gone before you take another breath.

We would have never survived without countless others helping us to but can also say we never gave up. We worried a lot but we never gave up.

My latest worry has been me going from raking in tremendous money to making average sometimes above money. Had the whole job transfer gone as planned would still have several thousand in savings.

Didn't happen and that was wiped out too.

What I have learned (mostly through writing this blog) is my story has helped to inspire others. A lot of others.

I've received comments, text messages, private messages and hugs from people I know and even people I don't know.

I've encouraged others and life simply can't give you a greater compliment.

Our life has been one step forward and sometimes two steps back.

The moving is what matters.

You'll never go anywhere if you remain in the same place.

Our season of failure is over and time to reap rewards of the seeds we've sown all these past years.

It's been a little tough lately, not gonna lie.

We've moved to another state and starting all over again.

So what I'm not making a sh*t load of money right now?

So what my car payment is two days late this month?

Five years ago we were six months behind on our mortgage and seriously close to losing our home. Now it will be paid off in full before spring time.

That is what matters. The good, not the bad.

I'm sticking it out with my new job. The money isn't amazing now but enough to get by on and see great things coming... sooner than later.

So thanks for letting me share my ups and downs. Thanks for helping me through my ups and downs. And thanks for telling me it's also helped you.

There's a lot going on in this world today... which is a whole lot worse than anything any of us reading this blog could ever imagine happening to them.

Be glad it isn't, and pray for them.

Dan Fogelberg said it best:

I have these moments
All steady and strong
I'm feeling so holy and humble
The next thing I know
I'm all worried and weak
And I feel myself starting to crumble
The meanings get lost
And the teachings get tossed
And you don't know what
You're going to do next
You wait for the sun
But it never quite comes
Some kind of message
Comes through to you
Some kind of message comes through
And it says to you. . .
Love when you can
Cry when you have to
Be who you must
That's a part of the plan
Await your arrival
With simple survival
And one day we'll all understand.

I think I'm finally beginning to.

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, November 27, 2016

This Is Why I Sling Plates For A Living

So I picked up an extra shift at work last night. I knew it would be slow but wasn't scheduled anyway so was what I call a "Gravy Shift." Whatever I made was gravy on top of the taters I already had.

Only bad part was it was a closing shift so knew I'd be there til the bitter end, come what may (or may not).

I did reasonably well considering how slow it always is while peeps are still eating Turkey Day leftovers but by midnight was losing the zip in my zap. It was down to just me and another closing server, a super nice guy who I really like a lot. We close at one but go to a limited menu after midnight. Around twelve fifteen a family of six walked in from out of town. Mom, Dad and four kids, tweens and teens. Very nice family. They had already been told we had a late night limited menu and kinda went back and forth about what to order. I helped best I could with their limited choices and were surprisingly very satisfied. After they had eaten, I  asked how long they would be in Orlando? They said it was just a stop over after driving home from Thanksgiving in Michigan back to where they lived in south Florida and had decided to take in the Orlando sites for a day or two.

I went and got a full menu to show them what diverse and fantastic offerings we had before the late night limited menu went into effect and told them to return tomorrow if they had the time and explore all the other options. They seemed impressed with the menu and Dad asked for the tab.

It was $119.00.

He left me a ten dollar tip.

I went to the back, said "bitch, please" to no one in particular and returned to the table to thank them once again for choosing us (with a sincere smile).

Was it a bummer?

Yes... but at least they were nice people.

I've waited on ass wipes who've left me even less.

I was this close, I just knew it!

So I go into work today. I was the first server in after the opener. She got a table right after opening, then it was my turn.

And who do you think walks in next with their tweens and teens to be seated at my table (again)?

I briefly told my manager the scenario from the night before and said "Watch me WOW this table."

Flawless service, great menu knowledge and directions on what they might enjoy the most.

Took Dad the tab after offering dessert which  parents declined but kids really wanted.

On the top of the check I wrote "Great to see you again!"

Their check was even less than last night, $111.00.

When returning to the table after running his card, Dad commented they would make this a regular stop from now on.

After they left, picked up the check presenter off the table which I had pre bused to the max, cleaned and looked like they had just sat down.

He'd left me a $21 tip.

The elation I felt when seeing that made me feel like he'd left a $211.00 tip.

What he actually left was validation that I am pretty good at my job.

Bonus points, I like being (old school term) a waitress.

I enjoy getting to know people if they want me to, helping to guide them if they'll let me and meeting their every need before they even have to ask.

I've said it many times.

I have my Masters in Sales and Marketing with a Minor in Psychology. I feel like am pretty much one of the best in my business and graduated with no outstanding student debt and in total charge of my own financial destiny.

Do I miss the money I made at the airport (above)? Yes.

Can I make it somewhere else?

Most definitely...and will!

If I know me (and think I do) will be back up to this in a few short months.

Sometimes you have to be patient and wait for the goodness.

The biggest thing is to to be worthy of it.

I'm finally realizing if can hang on another month or two will be a top dog again. It's hard to start over and prove your worth, especially at my age, but if work diligently and consistently for a good company, they will seek you out to be one of their leaders.

Bitch had me at Hello!

Til next time...COTTON

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sure Ain't Like Riding A Bike

They gave me Thursday through Saturday off from work for Thanksgiving. I would have liked to spend another day back in Georgia but when your ride do too.

My brother loves us, in small doses.

He woke me up at 7 AM on Friday and five minutes later were zooming down the road back to Orlando. He's a no stop kind of guy so I kicked back and slept the first three hours.

We got back to Orlando a little before two in the afternoon. I got some things done around the house and enjoyed time with Massey and her visiting bestie from Atlanta.

Seemed silly to take Saturday off too so offered to work if anyone wanted off. I picked up a closing shift. I didn't have to be there until six but also had to stay until closing at one. I like picking up on my days off. Even if the shift sucks it's still more than you'd make sitting at home painting your nails while drinking cheap wine.

It wasn't overly busy but once it started getting busy, felt like I hadn't worked in six months. Plus by then everyone else had been cut and were trying to scurry out, wanting me to stop and check their side work so they could go home... or out with friends.

When I got seated with an eight top on top of my five other tables I kinda fell apart.

Nothing major and some of the  goofs not my own fault but still stressed me out. The General Manager came up and half jokingly said "We give you a couple of days off and you fall apart. No more time off for you, we'll need you working every day of the week."

I settled back into a groove by ten and the last three hours were a piece of cake. I didn't get off until after 1:15 AM but had lounged around the house all day so I was good.

I'm a creature of habit. Take me out of my habitat for more than a day and need training wheels to get started again, especially being this new on the job.

It actually felt weird in a way, going back to Georgia for just a day. I felt like an outsider, even with people I've known for decades. It felt like I had abandoned one life for another.

It began with my two Sib's at 2545 Bayard Street, the middle included all others I met in Georgia and my end will be in Orlando.

Sometimes when change is good for you, also seems hard to take...for you and them.

I have quite a lot of adjusting to do, and so do they. My take on it is "Home is where the heart is, and I have two."

No matter how much longer I do live, will be the shortest chapter from now on. That's kinda scary but what can you do about it?

Here's what I plan on doing.

Make every day count.

Make sure I am an honest, decent human being.

Love others...even ones I don't like.

The only thing I will ever truly hate is Rutabagas.

Pay it forward every chance I get.

Work harder than necessary so I'll stand out as a motivator...and hopefully motivate others.

Be prepared if I die with the next breath I take, will be fondly remembered by all who ever crossed paths with me.

Always wear clean underwear in case the one above happens.

Beginning again at (almost) fifty seven sounds like an oxymoron. Guess I'm beginning my end.

I want to end with a bang...and will.

Til next time...COTTON

Friday, November 25, 2016

Conflicted And Striving To Be Content

So spent a whirlwind twenty four hour Thanksgiving back in Georgia at my sister's house. My brother picked me up here in Orlando at 6:30 AM on Thanksgiving morning and drove a least ninety the entire way, not stopping until we got off at our exit in Griffin. Fueled up and headed across Hwy 16 to Newnan.We got there before noon. I feel like we took a rocket. We got there so early stopped by where our parent's are buried right off Hwy 16.

It's the oldest Christian Church in Georgia.

We only spent about ten or fifteen minutes walking around but found one headstone of someone born in 1799. That's pretty cool.

We headed on to my sister's and spent the day there. It was a small group. Us three sibs, my bro in law, Cin's two sons and their step brother (Harvey's son) along with his girlfriend in from LA. Zach came after he got off work around seven. The food, all cooked by my sister was fantastic and had a nice time all watching football and chatting.

It was awesome to be around my sister again for the first time since September and wonderful to spend a few hours with my Lost Boy, Zach.

He and I sat out on the front porch alone together for a few minutes. We talked about things and how each of us were doing. I think we're both conflicted but  both too stubborn to admit it. I ended our talk with "You'll always have a home with us if you ever need it and want you to know I never knew I'd miss you this much."

My brother and I slept overnight at my old house now my nephew's new house. They have really done a nice job painting and making it look even better.

I will say when my brother turned his car into the the driveway of my former home of  over twenty years, tears welled in my eyes. I raised three kids in that house. I have so many great memories there and even a couple of bad ones but will always seem like home to me.

It's hard stepping out of your comfort zone and blindly into the unknown.

Immediate thoughts and questions are did you make the right decision? Will you ever be as happy again?  Will you ever have that content feeling again?

I've certainly felt awkward and  very uncomfortable but every person needs to grow and maybe this something new is what I've been destined to do and attain.

I haven't been the best and far from it but have and will always be there for my kids. They may not need me now but whenever they do  I will be there.

Just call me.

Lean on  me any time, just as long as I can lean on you as well.

You get what you give.

Til next time...Cotton.