Gratitude 29September16 McD’s has an App

img_2136It is fall, and I am into all things pumpkin mode. I headed into McDonald’s drive-thru for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I like going to McD’s because when you buy one of their coffees, you get a sticker that you put on a card. After you get five stickers, you get a free coffee. It’s the little things in life that make you happy, right?

So, I get my coffee, and I am anticipating my pumpkin spice latte and — wait for it — my fifth sticker. I start to drive away and get to the end of the driveway, look at my cup, no sticker! I had a car behind me, so I drive around to the other side of McD’s to thoroughly search. Nope. No sticker.

Thinking this must be some mistake, I go thru the drive-in again by passing the ordering station. I get to the window, and this is the exchange:

  • Me: There seems to be a mistake. There is no sticker on my coffee.
  • Teenage McD Employee: We don’t have stickers anymore.
  • Me: Shocked. What happened to the stickers
  • TMcDE: We have an app now. You have to show your app every time.
  • Me: Where do I get an app?
  • TMcDE: (with a shocked look) Ahh, like, on your phone.
  • Me: Oh. Where on my phone?  (Car honks behind me)
  • TMcDE: Ma’am, (like I am some gray haired old lady, well, I am but .. ) you have to download it from the app store.
  • Me: Is it that apple store?
  • TMcDE: Nope. It’s like an app store. Do you know anything about your phone?
  • Me: (Indignant) I actively use Facebook and Tweet
  • TMcDE: (Rubbing non-existent chin whiskers) Do you have anyone who can help you? (cars honking)
  • Me: I will figure this out myself. (Giving him my best evil eye right eyebrow up look)
  • Me: What about my stickers? (I show him my saved card)
  • TMcDE: (Smiling) I guess you could come in and talk to the manager.
  • Me: Thank you, young man, you know my grandson works at McDonalds, too.
  • TMcDE: Great. Ma’am, people, are like, lined up.

Today I am Thankful

  • I had the best lunch and afternoon with a woman I love dearly
  • I am missing my Mom and Dad
  • It was all sunshine and blue skies today
  • I am once again finding a place of peace between my heart, head, and spirit.

I ended up paying for the order of the car behind me because I felt bad. And later I called McDonald’s to compliment the young man who helped me, despite the “Ma’am” calling. When did I graduate to the Ma’am stage? I now have the McD”s app loaded and ready for my next drive thru.

Never a dull day in my life of paradise.

affectionately yours, Laura

 

Gratitude 28September16 Skyped Medical Appointments

After 24 years with a national telecommunication corporation, I retired with a mental illness disability. I was fortunate to retire with the number of years of service I had and my level of management status. e173c29d6b1e74eb2f65b98457b17f39I, unlike many, was blessed to be afforded the perk of retirement with a disability with medical benefits. Not long after I retired, this became a thing of the past.

Mental illness and substance abuse annually cost employers an estimated $80 to $100 billion in indirect costs alone.1    [1] Finch, R. A. & Phillips, K. (2005). An employer’s guide to behavioral health services. Washington, DC: National Business Group on Health/Center for Prevention and Health Services. Available from: www.businessgrouphealth.org/publications/index.cfm 

With the rising cost to business America, any retired manager with a mental illness or substance abuse was “sold” to a third-party insurance company.

One major thing this change made for me, was the availability of psychiatrists, therapists, and mental health specialists who are willing to work with these third-party insurance companies.

After four years with my psychiatric medication specialist, she retired. I began the process of, what I call “doctor dating” to find a new provider. After a series of five appointments, I thought I had found the one. Excellent references, central location, and a woman which I prefer.

I arrive 45 minutes early per their request, and a clipboard with thirty plus pages to fill out. I am thinking “Wow, they are thorough.”  Also, I had five Release of Information forms they wanted me to fill out, which I refused, they aren’t happy. I always wait till after the appointment to release anything, and I know this is a “love match.

The consultation room is sparse.  There are several bookshelves on one wall, with a few books. Another wall had two chairs with a table between with a box of kleenex on it. One wall with windows.

And then a face pops up on a large screen against a wall I hadn’t noticed and said “Hi! Welcome. I’m (insert name) your new provider.

It turns out my new provider lives in Maine and works out of her home. I am experiencing the new trend, appointments via Skype.

As I sit there somewhat in shock. One, she is looking down at her screen, and I am looking up at the screen, which gives the appearance the whole 45-minute appointment she was talking to my breasts with no eye contact.

Add to that, at some point I heard a dog barking, and she looked to her left shaking her head. I am wondering “Does her child want a sandwich? Is her husband standing there? Her dog, Rover?

On the positive side, I like her. She was knowledgeable about my medications. I like that she was familiar with current studies as I am always seeking new treatments and reading about new developments in the world of depression. We “fit” nicely.

jetsonsI walked out feeling like I was George Jetson’s wife, Jane. I should be hopping into my spaceship to zoom home. It felt space age and somehow lacking that human element that is so needed, particularly with matters of human nature.

I wished I had the Jetson’s robot maid Rosie waiting for me at home with a glass of Go Go Red wine, a hot bath, and my flannel pajamas ready.

Today I am thankful

  • I am blessed.
  • A new book. Love it when I find a good trilogy to read.
  • I am missing my babies. I am so thankful for all of their pictures I have.
  • It’s fall, and I have started to go pumpkin flavored everything crazy.

It is scary to be pushed into the age of new technology especially when it comes to something as personal as your emotional well-being. Skyping is the new way of mental health care, and my care provider said I was her number one concern.

Let’s just say I didn’t sign the Release of Information forms on the way out the door and I believe that like I believe Kenny Chesney is going to call me and tell me to “Come over with tequila.”

affectionately yours, Laura

 

Gratitude 27September16 Ms. GPS

im-lostA sense of direction has never been my strength. The sun rises in the east, sets in the west? Nope. I still get lost. For some reason, I just have no sense of direction. I am one of those people you read about on the meme’s that turns down her radio so I can see better when I drive. That is me.

I have been called Miss Direction, lovingly, but not quite as a compliment. There was that family trip to Cragun’s that Aaron kept asking “Are you sure this is the right way?” and I kept saying “Of, course! Relax.” Meanwhile, we are playing games with the kids until Aaron says in his quiet but you are in trouble voice “Laura, we almost to the border of North Dakota.” Opps.

Now, my life has become so much easier with my friend and travel companion Ms. forwardGPS. Sometimes I key my destination in even when I know where I am going just to hear her. Yeah, I know. Don’t judge me. It’s just I  like to hear her say “Your destination is on the right side of the street.”

The best thing I like about her — is she does not complain if I miss a turn or go off course. She is not an irritating back seat driver. We all have one of those friends who will say “Well, I would have gone this way.” Ms. GPS will calmly say “Recalculating route.” and I smile thinking “Okay, we are taking the scenic route.”

Today I am thankful for

  • It has been a down day for me, but I am getting through it
  • My air conditioner is put away until next summer
  • This months paperwork is done and filed.
  • I am going to watch You’ve Got Mail tonight and drink wine

Well, Ms. GPS and I are off on another adventure. I am heading to an unknown destination with a certainty of a “recalculating route” on the way.

affectionately yours, Laura

 

Gratitude 23September16 Talking Smack

I’m sorry. For those of you who are die hard Trump voters, you might want to click your ESC button now. You can not talk smack about the President of the United States of America, correction – lie – about the President of the United States of America and then in 2 sentences make it go away. Without an apology. Five years of harassment and threats of investigations that never happened. And — Wait for it — Blame it on someone else.

I am going to let Seth Meyers do my speaking for me. He says it all.

Today I am thankful

  • I live in the United States of America
  • Thank you to those of you that call to check up on me
  • I am thankful our country is showing restraint in this time of turmoil

affectionately yours, Laura

 

Gratitude 22September16 Back to Life School — Hard Lessons

I went to a cabin last weekend with eight women I like very much.

silenceI relearned a lesson I learned in grade school, high school, and life school. A lesson I seem not to be able to understand its boundaries. A lesson I can not comprehend what the definition of what it means “to be concerned” or “to backstab” apparently.

While not getting into the specifics; a situation occurred Saturday night about one of the women at the retreat that upset me greatly and made me cry. 

 I went on a walk with one of the women Sunday that I have grown close to over the summer. She and I have development a relationship of trust and openness. I confided in her about the situation. 

On the ride home with a different woman Sunday afternoon, this woman shared my confidential conversation with her — who then — wait for it — called the woman I was crying about to tell her I back stabbed her. 

I wish that were the cream of the story. It is not. In amongst the weekend were tidbits of gossip caveats by everyone about everyone. With everything up for discussion. I was never so happy to get in a car to head home. 

shame-on-meThere once upon a time, a cabin I went to, that I would leave that cabin in tears because of the love  I was leaving behind. Maybe, that was the stark difference in this scenario. 

Needless to say. I have turned into the cruel person in this scenario. Not only am I a back stabber, I now qualify as someone who interrupts, ignores, and treats people inferior to herself. I am taking a deep breath. Mind you, these are women I like, respect, and had not a clue I had an issue.

The powerful lesson that has come back to haunt me over and over, that I can’t seem to comprehend, is if someone talks with you about someone, they will talk about you to someone else. The other issue I seem to have is reading people. Other than the obvious ones that ignore me, of course.

No matter what the situation. If you are in tears, devastated, worried, or the other end of the spectrum, vindictive. It all comes out the same. Do not talk about people to anyone but your therapist who is bound by an oath to silence. Alas, the people reading, I shake my head and make my world just a bit smaller. 

shame-2I am feeling shame. I know better. Other than asking how people are, I don’t take any pleasure in gloating over someone’s pain. As someone who has my shortcomings — I am always on the look out for the karma bus. It is a bitch to make a wrong judgement call, though. You have to own it. I own this one.

Today I am thankful

  • There is a God, and He loves me
  •  Summer is put away; Fall is out
  • There is always tomorrow and the next day

I am off to dance to the O’Jay’s “Back Stabbers” and praying this is the last time I have to learn this lesson.

affectionately yours, Laura

 

 

Gratitude 17September16 Dad and the Cat — Happy 93rd Birthday

Today would have been my Dad’s 93rd birthday. In his memory, one of my favorite Dad stories. I love you, Dad. I hope you are cruising heaven in your new car and if there are casino’s there, I am positive you are shaken your dice. Daughter #3

Dad and I at VA 23July14 © 2014 llpeltier All Rights Reserved

Dad and I at VA 23July14 © 2014 All Rights Reserved

Whenever my Dad begins a story with “Laur, You’re not going to believe what happened” it piques my interest. Not only because of the way he tells a story but, chances are really high the situation that happened will result in a good belly laugh. Here we go.

Dad: I’m watching Judge Judy, and there is a knock on the door. (I have learned the hard way, you never interrupt Dad during his Judge Judy time.)

Me: Were you using your Judge Judy coffee cup, too?

Dad: Will you stop that. Where was I? Damn it. Oh, yeah.

Dad: So, there is Margaret* with her fancy scooter at my door. She wanted to ask me about Tony down the hall. I told her to waltz herself down the hall to Tony’s. I was busy. No, I’ve got better things to do with my time.

Me: Does she have the hots for Tony now?

Dad: I don’t know. Just so it’s not me, as he points to himself. She’s a large girl, you know, spreading his arms wide. And she goes whipping around on that electric contraption. She’s going to run someone over.

Me: So, that’s it?

Dad: No. I stood blocking my door. I have this vision of a sentry guarding his castle. No one gets a peek in here. No, sir. Mind your own damn business. She has that thing pressed up close to my feet. He points to the floor drawing an invisible line with his hand. I pointed to Tony’s door and told her again; he’s over there. Well, Laur, she tells me “I can’t back up.”

Me: What do you mean she can’t back up? Is her scooter broken?

Dad: I don’t know, but, I tell her “Well you’re not coming in here to turn around.” I just vacuumed yesterday, and she’s wasn’t coming in my living room like some bat out of hell with that scooter being nosy.

Me: Now laughing as I picture the scene “Dad, did you push her and help turn her around?”

Dad: Hell no! I can’t push myself around. She started backing that thing up a few inches and it would “beep, beep” then she’d go forward a few inches, then back up a few inches “beep, beep.” I stood there watching her. I couldn’t believe my eyes! In the meantime, a blur goes flying by! I see that damn cat whip around the corner and go into my apartment!

Note: A woman “The Cat Lady” who lives on his floor lets her cat wander up and down the hallway. Drives my Dad crazy because it will sit by doors and meow loudly.

Me: Where did the cat go?

Dad: As he throws his arms into the air, he tells me “In my bedroom!” I slam the door and go in to get that damn cat before he can get on my bed. I just did my laundry. No way, Nope. No cat in this place.

Note: My Dad will be 91 in 2 months and is not as quick and nimble as he once was.

Me: Now laughing hysterically holding my stomach. Ahh, there is nothing like a good deep belly laugh and my Dad did not disappoint with this story.

Dad: Laur, this is not funny. It’s serious. I’m looking at this cat, and he’s looking at me. I’m telling it “shoo-shoo” trying to get it out of my room. I took a dive for it, and it runs to my bathroom. I go to my bathroom; it goes back to my bedroom. I am wondering “What in the sam hell is going on here?” I’m getting exhausted going back and forth after this cat.

Me: You should have gotten water. Cat’s don’t like water.

Dad: Rolling his eyes, I’ll tell you. I couldn’t hear that “beep beep” outside my door anymore. So, I propped my door open with my rug. I went to the kitchen and got my yard stick. For effect, he goes over and gets the yardstick to show me.

Dad: This cat is now sitting in the hallway looking at me. I started toward it, and back in my bedroom, it goes under my bed. I used that yardstick, you see, as he waves it back and forth like a samurai sword in very slow motion, under my bed. I must have given him a good swat because he came flying out of there and ran out of the room.

Dad: By the time I got up from kneeling and got into the other room — he was long gone. I showed him who was the boss.

Me: And Scooter Lady?

Dad: Well, she’s Tony’s problem now. Poor guy.

Me: I am now reaching for Kleenex to wipe my laughing tears. You handled that well, Dad.

Dad: Standing a bit taller. Damn right I did. He’ll think twice before he messes with me again. Shaking his head, I missed all of Judge Judy though.

Later that afternoon when I brought Dad home from hanging out — sure enough — that cat was sitting in a chair, they have across from the elevators. He took one look at my Dad and took off down the hall.

Dad looked at me with a smug nod. See, I told you, Laur. He won’t mess with this guy again,  pointing to his chest. I laughed all the way home.

*Names changed to protect the innocent

Today I am thankful

  • Memories. One day, my Dad will end his journey here, yet, stories like this will live on.
  • I wrote the above “thankful” on the 3rd of August 2014. On the 7th of June this year, my Dad ended his life journey. I am so thankful for this memory. I can remember it as if it were yesterday and I laughed just as hard. Despite the challenges, I will never regret the time I spend with those I love.

My wish for you is to always take the time to make memories.

affectionately yours, Laura

Gratitude 14September16 Senior Yoga

I just came from my yoga class and still can’t stop giggling. For some reason today, everyone had gas. It’s not unusual for someone to pass gas every now and again, but today was crazy. Add that to my favorite guy who half way through class just lays down on his mat for a nap and starts to snore — it is pure entertainment.

yogaIt started with our stretches, then accelerated with the Warrior position and by the time we were on our mats for Cobra, we could have been an orchestra. In class, you never laugh, of course, because the strange positions of yoga will cause unusual body sounds. And being a senior yoga class of which I am the baby, it is just bad etiquette.

But today was flatulence city. Everyone must be making kettles of chili to welcome fall.  I barely made it to the door to leave before I started to laugh. It made my day.

Today I am thankful

  • It is a perfect Minnesota fall day
  • I have a roast in my crock pot
  • Thinking of my children and what a blessing they are

Enjoy your day and my wish for you is that you find something today to make you belly laugh. I forgot how wonderful it feels.

affectionately yours, Laura