bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Posts tagged ‘driving’

Note to Hollywood

It is been said recently (and often) that politicians are out of touch with the common man. I believe that is true of Hollywood as well.

For example, I know very few people that drop “f-bombs” as often as they use the word “the.” But, watch a few rated R movies, and I begin to think I am living in a fantasy world of candy canes and lollipops. I’m not naive. I know that people use “those words” daily. Just not the majority.

Then there are the driving scenes.  Some scenes are filmed with the actors actually driving a real car and the camera is right there with them. (I saw an outtake of an episode of “The Office” where Steve Carell was driving and actually drove to a cul-de-sac, and had nowhere to go. Now that’s real life!) But, more often than not, I see the driver of the car turn to the passenger either next to him or even the rear seat, and talk a blue streak. Now, those of us in the real world know that a driver would most likely either run his car off the road or crash into another car. (or at the very least run a red light or stop sign) Keep your eyes on the road, idiot! At least for the majority of the time. One of the worst offenders of this practice (and is actually the inspiration for this blog today) is one of our family’s favorite movies “School of Rock.” There is a scene where Jack Black is driving the van with all the kids in the back, and Led Zepplin is playing on the stereo. He turns around to the back of the van and sings along (in his Jack Black way) for quite awhile. It must be a mom thing, because no one else seems to freak out over those things, but in my mind I’m thinking, “They’re going to crash!” and then they don’t.  Hmmmmm.

I am not going to venture into the “leave the Midwest alone” subject. Everyone knows that the Midwest is hilarious. We all live on farms, have a hillbilly accent, and are dumber than a box of rocks.

Hey! Maybe that’s the answer! Maybe outside of the Midwest, people drive while looking backwards and shout out four-letter words like a bad rapper. Well, then, Hollywood…never mind.  I gotta go harvest the pumpkins and milk the cows.


Monday Web Site – Driving

For thsoe of us without a GPS, we still have to negotiate our way to a new location.  Yep.  The old fashioned way.

Many of us use MapQuest or Google Maps, but I’d like to tell you about a different site that really made appreciate the internet that much more.

Bing Maps is fantastic for someone like me.  When I was trying to get to a new friend’s house, I printed off the directions, and was pleasantly surprised to see a feature that the aforementioned web sites, do not include landmarks as part of their directions.  That is a HUGE Bonus to me.  It’s how I give out directions, but not necessarily (Past the QT, across from Dairy Queen). 

So, next time you are looking for a place, trying Bing Maps!

Fun with the Kids

The other night the kids and I were out, and just for the fun of it, I decided to drive right along the edge of Manchester and hit those “wake up strips” that are cut out of the side of the road.  Well, of course, it makes a loud sound and a vibration (as it is supposed to).  But, instead of pulling back onto the road, I stayed on the strip for quite awhile.  The kids really started laughing.  Then, I was laughing so hard my eyes were filling up with tears!  Because the people who would drive by us would really look, since it makes just as much noise outside the car for all to hear!  I was trying to keep a straight face, but it wasn’t working too well.

It was one of those things that is so stupid, it is funny.  And it brought the Farmers together and created another memory. 

This story didn’t translate well when the kids were telling Tom.  Guess you had to be there.

Help Yourself!

Today was not the greatest of days.  A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that my stomach hurt, supposedly out of guilt.  (which has yet to be proven, but we’ll go with that for now.) 

This morning, I thought I was going to jump out of my skin.  That is the best way I can describe it.  Anxious.  Teetering on the edge of a cliff feeling.  Then, my stomach just hurt.  Then, I worried about why I was hurting and then worrying about it.

I kept trying to tell myself that I am not going to be “normal” anymore.  What used to be normal for me is no longer going to be.  And, what was normal then was no picnic for those around me, nor for myself, because I would always crash after a period of normalcy.  Mental illness stinks.  Calling it mental illness stinks too.

So, I had to figure out what to do to make myself feel “better.”  My upper back has been hurting (there I go again, sounding like I’m 82), so I haven’t gotten much sleep.  (DING!  Trigger time!)  So, I popped a couple of ibuprofen and took a 30 minute nap.  Woke up and felt pretty good for about, oh, 3 minutes.

Then, Bam!  Back to feeling cruddy.  So.  Now what, Michelle? 

Can’t call your mom because she is going to go out to lunch with her friend.  And, two things would happen if you called:  1)  She would take time for you, and not be as ready as she’d like to be for her lunch and 2) She’d think about you while having lunch, therefore not enjoying herself.  Now, I know you are reading this, Mom, and believe me, I did this just as much for myself today.  How cruddy would I feel if I messed up your day?  Pretty cruddy.  Let’s look at Option #2.

Option #2:  Call and talk to Dad.  Great listener, but this was going to call for more than just listening.  It would require my going over there.  And, the timing would definitely still interfere with Mom’s day, so she’d know about it, and (see option#1)  My dad rocks, and would quickly suggest we meet somewhere for breakfast/lunch.  Normally, that would be reason enough to call him.  Yum!  However, I have really been watching what I eat, and going out to eat didn’t sound good at all, and might have been counter-productive.

Option #3:  Call Tom.  Tom had a big presentation today at work.  I really try not to call him anyway, because what can he do?  He’s half an hour away.  So, my calling him makes him feel helpless and causes him to not be able to concentrate on his job.  And, I don’t have to tell you all how important having a job is.  🙂

Option #4:  (Yeah, I really did think of all these.  My mind tends to do this.)  Phone a friend.  No not Regis Philbin.  One of my many friends that has said, “Call me any time.”  Well, you all are so sweet, but there were reasons I didn’t call each of you.  Too numerous to mention, and possibly too personal.  Just know I thought of you.  😉

So, I was out of options.  But, I persevered.  I decided to go to The Happiest Place on Earth.  I know.  You think that’s Disneyland.  Well, you are wrong.  It’s Wal-Mart.  Well, it was as close as I could get in under an hour to a pretty happy place.  Plus, I needed a few items.

Well, you know how it is.  When you aren’t feeling well, things just don’t go right.  I couldn’t find my car keys.  I was sitting on them.  And, that was before I even left the house, obviously.

I hit Wal-Mart, and stuck to my list, for the most part.  Just getting out did help a little.  And, I was proud of myself for not hitting the chocolate aisle, just ripping open a package, and sitting in the middle of the aisle looking like Augustus Gloop. 

I then drove down to Lion’s Choice.  Ordered a sandwich, NO FRIES, and a diet Dr. Pepper.  Then I drove to/through Greensfelder Park and enjoyed the scenery and weather.

But, what I did next was what made me turn the corner.  Get out your notebooks, kiddies.  On my .mp3 player, I watched an episode of “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”  And, laughed and laughed.  Right there in my minivan.  After it was over, I realized I felt much better. 

Huh.  That “laughter is the best medicine” thing may have some merit after all.

The Little Engine that Could

“I think I can.  I think I can,” was what I was saying in my mind today as I was trying to find the Amtrak station downtown.  Then, I started saying other things that should not be printed here.  But, again, in my mind, because my children were in the car.

First of all, let me explain that our family is going on a train trip to Dallas later this week.  Everyone is very excited to visit family and friends and to take the Texas Eagle, one of Amtrak’s nicest trains.

We would be able to just go to the train station and pick up our tickets on the same day, but my husband suggested that we get them beforehand, just in case there were mistakes or something like that.  I agreed with him, and said I would go and get them.

Another point that needs to be made is that I just don’t drive downtown.  Heck, I don’t drive inside 270!  I’m a West County girl and do well to get around here.  I don’t need to go downtown except for Cardinal games and Tom is almost always going with me, so I don’t even have to drive there.  I have driven to the stadium, however.  But, I only know how to get there.  I know I’m exiting on the correct ramp when I see that guy with the weird eye selling peanuts at the corner.  Oh, and when Tom used to work for Famous Barr, I knew how to get to his building to pick him up.  (One time I dropped him off in the morning, and could NOT find my way back home.  I had no idea how to get to the highway, so I just kept driving west, hoping I’d hit something I’d recognize or a sign for the highway.  Yeah.  That didn’t happen.  I finally called Tom and asked him where I was.  Pathetic, I know.  I think I was taking Clayton in all the way.  I’m trying to block that day out.)

So, I hit Mapquest and charted out my route.  Now before any of you start rolling your eyes about Mapquest, let me just say that the address was on Market Street, so I figured Mapquest could get that right.  I put Mark in charge of reading the directions to me.  The S. Kingshighway exit was closed, but it gave us a detour via the Jefferson exit.  We handled that just fine.

Then we got on Market and the rest of it went downhill quickly.  The address was 800 Market.  We found Union Station, the shopping area, very quickly.  It was in the 1200 range, I think.  So we kept driving east.  Could NOT find 800.  Circled a couple of blocks.  Still no 800.

Finally, we were on Clark and saw an Amtrak sign with an arrow pointing straight ahead.  Yeah!  Well, that was the last sign we saw and we ended up at Union Station again.  We circled again, thinking we missed another sign.  Nope.  We finally pulled over on Market and I called Amtrak’s number.  No answer.  Nice.

We have now been in the car for over an hour and a half.  My patience is wearing thin.  I mean we are taking as thin as Kate Moss.  I said, “You know, you’d think we be close to the train tracks.”  Karen says, “I have an idea.”  At this point, I’m thinking a 10-year-old would probably have as good as or a better chance at finding this place as anyone, certainly better than me. 

So, Karen says, “Take a right as soon as you can.”  This young lady has already figured out, from her mother’s frustrations, that there are one-way streets that we can not use to go south.  I’m already impressed.  Then we turn right and pass Clark.  This is the first time we’ve been south of Clark.  We keep going.  Sure enough, there’s an Amtrak sign telling us to go straight.  Cool.  Then we cross over the train tracks and Mark notes that there is an Amtrak train sitting there.  Sweet!  Then, another sign telling us to turn right.  I want to stop the car and hug Karen so tight she bursts.  But, I resist that urge and keep driving.  We saw a stained glass looking thing crossing over the tracks.  Mark and Karen agree to keep looking at it so that we can find the station.  I explain that I have to watch for one-way streets.  They agree.  Sure enough, ANOTHER Amtrak sign telling us to turn right again!  The kids see the trains!  Another sign telling us to turn right again, and there we are.  WAHOOO! 

This station is so small.  (How small is it?)  It is so small that when you are sitting in the waiting area, your elbow is in the Ladies Room.  But, that aside, we are elated!  We entered the small building (which, by the way, has little parking because of construction), and printed our tickets and left.

I had Karen write down how to get out of there, so we could tell my dad how to actually take us there when we leave.  Turns out that if we had continued down Poplar (on the east side of Union Station) just past the parking lots, we would have seen it.  Oh well.

Then, once I got home, I decided to check what the Amtrak page had to say about the station.  Heh.  Address?  551 S. 16th Street.  No mention of Market.  Not even 800 16th Street.  Thanks a lot, Mapquest. 

So, Pollyanna is playing the glad game now.  I’m glad that Karen was the one to help us find the station.  It really boosted her confidence.  I’m glad that Mark went along because he helped me get to the right part of downtown.  And, I’m glad that it’s finally over.

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