Day 31: Lots of good people

This last slice is going to be one that shows gratitude for many people.  I am grateful for the pleasant people that I run into.  My husband and I went out to breakfast.  While seated and waiting for our food the hostess made an interesting comment.  My husband and I responded to her comment and that led to a fun conversation.  It was a nice interaction with a stranger who is now a little less of a stranger.

During indoor golf this evening my best friend and I had finished up our session and sat down at a table to have some drinks and dinner.  We were seated near a bay filled with 4 guys having a really good time.  They attempted some risky shots.  We encouraged their attempts and they responded with humor causing lots of laughter.

I’m grateful for those in my life that are not strangers.  I’m grateful for my co-worker.  The school that I work at is filled not just with colleagues but with friends.  If it’s a tough day at work my co-workers make it a pleasant place to be.  When it’s not a tough day they make it a fun place to be.

I’m grateful for my best friend and my closest friend circle.  We share everything.  We make time for each other.  We plan fun trips, so we have that much more to talk about.

I’m grateful for my family, both immediate and extended.  I cherish the time we have together.  When we are apart, I count on the phone calls, texts, Snapchats, etc. that keep us connected.

I am grateful for this slice challenge.  Having to write each day really makes me think about what’s happening during the day and appreciate things in a different way.  I’ve enjoyed reading posts from others and getting to know so many just a little more.   Thank you all.

Day 30: A slice I waited to post

I wrote this slice a while back, not sure if it was something I was going to post. I decided today that I would….

My mother passed in October.  She had not been in the best health and her pain had been getting worse over the last year.  But, her death was still unexpected.  She went to her doctor’s appointments.  She got sick.  She recovered.  She was never 100%.  She was always in some sort of physical pain.  But, she was always coherent.  She always had her comments and opinions.  She was always here.  Then she wasn’t.

It was Columbus weekend.  This was the one rare weekend where everyone was either busy…or sick.  My daughter and I were getting ready to visit my oldest in Texas.  My husband was sick.  My son was working all weekend long.  My nieces were heading 2 hours north to participate in a breast cancer walk.  My sister was working.  I spoke to my mom on Thursday, before this busy weekend. She wasn’t feeling great.  She told me to have a good trip and I told her I’d be over as soon as we got back.

On Friday my husband took Courtney and me to the airport.  As soon as we got there our plane was delayed and then delayed again, and then 1 more time.  Courtney and I were still in a good mood.  We were light-hearted and having fun.  I was in the boarding group ahead of her.  I told her I’d save her a seat on the plane, she rolled her eyes (with a smile).  I literally stepped one foot on the plane and my phone rang.  It was my sister.  My stomach dropped.  I just knew it wasn’t going to be good news.  I answered and she told me mom was nonresponsive and the paramedics were trying to revive her.  I stood to the side. I had to wait for the others to finish boarding before I could exit the plane.  It seemed to take forever. I had to wait for my husband to come get us.  It seemed to take forever.  I had to drop him off at home because he wasn’t feeling well.  It seemed to take forever.  Courtney and I finally made it to the hospital.  It’s so amazing how things turn out.  If my plane had not been delayed, I would have been in the air when she passed.  Because the plane was delayed, I was able to be there with her.

My nieces adore their grandmother.  She was a huge part of their lives.  They had just made it to their hotel to prepare for the cancer walk that was to take place the following day.  As soon as they got the call that grandma was not doing well, they immediately turned around for another 2-hour drive.  They finally made it to the hospital to be with her.  We were all together, there at the hospital with her.  She waited for us and then she passed.  She was surrounded with sadness, but with so much love.  We are grateful she is no longer in pain.  And, wow she is missed!

Day 29: A short trip

It’s my second day on vacation visiting my family.  I usually find a quiet spot to write my slice and enjoy reading others.  This evening my husband is sitting next to me and I’m not completely focused.  I keep wondering if he’s looking over my shoulder and looking at my writing.  I’m wondering what he might think and it’s interfering with my thoughts.  But, I’ll just persevere.

It was so nice being outside without feeling a chill in my bones.  We started with a lazy morning in the house and then headed out to breakfast.  When I’m on vacation I usually have a taste for biscuits and gravy.  But today it was french toast with apples and cinnamon that caught my eye.  It was delicious.  We did some shopping and then headed home to spend time with the dog.  He is the most loving and energetic dog.  He gets so excited to see us.  I love that part.  We took the dog for a short walk and then let him rest at home while we went on a longer trail hike.  The park we went to had lots of wildlife statues to find.  There was a wild turkey that looked bigger than a bison.  I would be terrified if this type of wild turkey actually existed somewhere.

It was too windy for a fire, so we waited for everyone to get off work before heading out to dinner.  We found a nice little brewery that had tons of beers and really good food.  It was also trivia night, it was all Marvel trivia so we stayed and played.  The team with the most creative name got 20 extra points.  My family came up with lots of ‘creative’ names.  I will save your ears and not reveal that list.  We ended up knowing lots of answers but did not win.  It was fun anyway with plenty of laughs. 

I started this slice surrounded by family and as I end this slice everyone is heading off to bed.  I now have my quiet spot.  But I’m done writing.  So I’ll go read what others wrote.

Day 28: Finally in Texas

I finally made it to Texas.  My daughter made it out here 2 summers ago.  My husband helped my son move out here in January.  Now, I’m finally here.  It’s only for 3 days, but I’ll take it. 

My day started very early, 3am early.  My airport parking was successful.  I found a spot easily enough.  The shuttle was waiting for me as I arrived.  I got through security very quickly and the flight was a breeze.  It felt like no time at all before I was in Texas.

As soon as I arrived, I gave long hugs and then immediately headed out to the golf course.  Unlike Illinois, it’s warm enough here to play golf right now.  I play golf a lot, but not a lot with my husband.  He’s super good so when I go with him, I overthink it.  And today I didn’t disappoint.  I totally overthought everything for the first 9 holes.  I finally relaxed on the back nine and did pretty well.  On holes 14-17 I did really well.  And on hole 18 I was fantastic.  I made a long putt for par.  I was ready for more, but I was also starving so we decided to go for an early dinner instead.

My family loves Jake’s Burgers so that was the destination.  I had never been there before, and I was excited to try it.  We met up with my daughter after work and headed to the restaurant.  Her husband works a bit later and I just couldn’t wait much longer so I figured those of us that were home would go to dinner together today and he would join us tomorrow.  I didn’t realize that my daughter had told her husband that we would all have dinner today.  Oops, I kind of changed their plans.  I feel a little bad about that.  But, then again, he didn’t have to spend the evening with his in-laws (us) so maybe it wasn’t so bad.  Ok, I am just kidding about that.  He really does love us…I think. 

I’m looking forward to the rest of the evening being relaxing and hopefully not too windy so we can have a fire.  Day 1 in Texas has been a success.

Day 27: Ready to start my day at 6pm

Yesterday was fun.  I got family time during the day and friend time in the evening.  That evening lasted until the early morning.  Whenever my friend’s husband goes out of town, she has a girls’ night at her house.  We get a variety of wines and craft beers.  We get a spread of foods, snacks, and desserts to share.  We play cards and other games.  Sometimes we go in the hot tub, yesterday we did not.   

Yesterday’s wine was mainly red.  We each chose our own wine glass.  I prefer the one with no stem and a funky design on it.  There always seems to be an interesting wine that you would not think existed.  Yesterday we had a peanut butter and jelly wine.  It surprisingly tasted exactly like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I have no idea how that is possible, but it was delicious.  We also had a supply of mini red solo cups to taste the variety of craft beers.  We want to taste the beers, not get blitzed.  So, we sample each one in a mini red solo cup.  If you really like a particular flavor you sample it more than once.  The Guava Cart was particularly good.  The Ginger beer had a weird aftertaste.

Yesterday’s food was a variety of sushi, taco dip and chips, crab rangoons, trail mix, and cookies.  I love all types of sushi and I was dying for some cookies, quite the combination.

Yesterday’s games began with a mystery where you solve a cold case.  We solved it.  And I will say the evidence we used to solve it was way better than what the game said should have helped us.  We were that good.  But that game took way too much thinking.  The next one was True Colors.  You really get to know each other during this one.  One of the card games we played was Screw Your Neighbor.  It takes very little thinking and can be very fun for such a simple game.  I won the last round.  That $3 will go far.

Yesterday’s girls’ night lasted a little longer than usual.  I didn’t get home until after 3am.  My internal alarm never shuts off, so I was up by 7am.  I got up and ran some errands.  I was feeling sluggish so I didn’t get as much done around the house as I would have liked.  By noon I was resting on the couch and getting a little nap in.  It’s 6pm and I’m finally feeling ready to start my day.

Day 26: No plans for today?

My family asked about what I’d be doing.  I told them I had no plans for the day, and I then hopped in the van to drive to the airport.  I’m not going anywhere today, but I am on Monday.  I have never parked overnight at the airport before, and I wanted to be prepared for it.  So, I drove around the economy parking area to figure out what I will need to do Monday morning.  Now I’ll have no more plans.  Oh wait, I need to get back in time for my 11:00 hair appointment.  Then, I need to get over to my sister’s house.  My niece is in town with her 2 children and I definitely don’t want to miss out on seeing them.  But I can only stay there for a few hours because my friend is having a ladies’ night at her house this evening.  I have no idea why I told my family that I have no plans for today.  Now I tell them I have no plans for tomorrow.  We’ll see if that stays true.

Day 25: Is it really spring break?

It doesn’t feel like spring break.  I’m not quite sure why.  You might think the weather has something to do with it, but the weather always seems to be cold, rainy, and windy during spring break.  So it’s not that.  I always look forward to spring break and count the days until it’s finally here.  That didn’t happen this time.  I had to keep reminding myself that today is the last day of work for a week. It was a nice surprise each time it happened.  I have to keep reminding myself that I have a flight early Monday.  I might need to start thinking about that.  Starting to pack would be even better.  I usually get a very relaxed feeling when the final bell rings.  I usually get anxious to leave work.  To get home and enjoy every moment of spring break.  That didn’t happen this time.  I left work feeling happy it’s the weekend, but the fact that it’s spring break still hasn’t hit me.

I’ve started spring break on a good note.  My niece and I got mani-pedis. My nails are vibrant and sparkly.  I love them.  Tomorrow I will get my hair done and spend the evening with friends.  Sunday I will organize and pack.  On Monday I will be in Texas.  Maybe then, when I’m in another state in the beautiful warmth and not at work, maybe then it will feel like spring break.

Day 24: Interesting Experiences at McDonald’s

I’ve had a few interesting experiences at Mcdonald’s.  But really, I’m sure many people have.  One day, on my way to work I stopped for a caramel iced coffee with light cream.  I drove up to the window to pay and the worker asked if I had caramel iced coffee with extra cream.  I told her ‘no’.  It was light cream.  She tried to make that change so I would get the correct order when I pulled to the next window.  They had a new computer system.  She pressed a variety of buttons for 5 minutes.  I kid you not, 5 minutes trying to figure out how to press the correct buttons that show light cream.  It was taking so long that the passenger in the vehicle behind me got out of her car, knocked on the drive-up window, and asked if everything was ok.  The worker said yes, yelled to the other worker to make that light cream, not extra cream, finally took my money, and let me make my way to the next window.

Another time I, yet again, stopped on my way to work.  It was pouring rain.   I’m sure you can picture the drive-up window.  There is that little overhang to give a little protection from the weather or something.  The rain was coming off that overhang just like water being dumped out of a bucket.  I pulled up to the window with my van positioned just so.  My automatic wipers were on and that water dumped on my windshield over and over again.  The worker opened her window just in time for my wipers, at the highest speed wipers can move, to push the water directly in her face, and then push it back at her again.  I panicked.  I laughed and I panicked.  For a few short moments, she couldn’t figure out how to close her window.  I couldn’t figure out how to turn off my wipers.  So, she got hit a third time.  It was shocking.  I felt so bad for her.  I hoped her boss let her go home and change after that.  I was cracking up, but I really did feel so bad for her.

Another time I stopped at McDonald’s in Wisconsin after I had to bring my son his contacts while visiting a friend.  (I mentioned that in yesterday’s post).  I had a 1 ½ hour drive home so I figured food would help pass the time.  The line was a little long, but I wasn’t in any hurry, so I waited.  I made my way to the speaker and placed my order more quickly than I anticipated.  I pulled forward and I was about fifth in line to pay.  This was going well.  I got my wallet out of my purse and I was ready to pay.  I waited to pay, and waited, and waited.  I hadn’t moved even one more inch.  After 8 minutes I couldn’t wait anymore.  This particular drive-thru is set up in such a way that you are trapped.  Once you are in, there is no way of getting out.  There were cars behind me so I couldn’t back up.  There were still 5 cars in front of me.  I was done with this place.  What is a person to do?  This person called the McDonalds and told them I was trapped in their drive-thru and I needed out!  Miraculously we started moving.  My son would have been mortified.  Good thing he was still with his friend because I couldn’t take it anymore.  I needed to get out.  He would say I was too impatient, that I needed to relax.  I call it resourceful.  I am now very aware of which Mcdonald’s traps you and which doesn’t.

Day 23: How many times can you drive to Wisconsin

My son’s best friend moved to Wisconsin.  We live in Illinois.  My son has made the drive to visit him many times.  Each time has given us some sort of adventure.  The first time he ran over a very large nail in the road and his tire punctured.  We instructed him on how to take the tire to a facility to have it repaired.  That facility tried to take advantage of him and overcharge and be just plain ridiculous.  We bought a $15.00 Fix-A-Flat kit, made the 1 ½ drive, and fixed the tire ourselves.  Another time his car was broken into and the idiot person, I’m assuming tried to hotwire it.  They were unsuccessful…good!  The car was still drivable, so we didn’t have to make the trip out there.  Two other times he got into an accident on the way home.  Those were 2 of the worst phone calls ever!  He was ok both times.  One time the car was still drivable.  The other time it wasn’t.  We had to make the trip to the garage where it was towed.

During the most recent visit, he forgot his extra contacts and his glasses.  I gave him all kinds of advice about going to JCPenney Optical or Lens Crafters or Vision Works, showing his prescription, and seeing if he could buy one of the trial packages they usually keep in stock.  That was a no-go.  It was Sunday.  Several places were closed.  Others were not helpful.  So, I headed out again, making that 1 ½ hour trip to give him his contacts so he could see while visiting, so he could see when it was time to drive home.  We didn’t need another accident.  Needless to say, we cringe a little each time he goes to visit his friend in Wisconsin.

Day 22: I can do anything on a Tuesday evening

I love Tuesday evenings.  I can relax a bit more and breathe a little easier on a Tuesday evening.  My tea seems spicier, my drive seems shorter, my house seems cleaner, life seems happier on a Tuesday evening.  I feel like I can do anything…or nothing on a Tuesday evening.  I have nothing scheduled on Tuesdays.  I have late plans on Mondays.  I have to rush out of work for my responsibilities on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Fridays are hit or miss.  Tuesdays are all mine. 

There are several contributing factors to this love of Tuesday evenings.  First of all, my Tuesday workday is completely hectic.  My schedule is filled with one group after another.  I feel like I’m running around all day and there is no break.  Once the dismissal bell rings, I can finally sit for a minute and feel accomplished.   I have an immediate feeling of pressure being released from my shoulders.  I made it through another hectic Tuesday. 

Wednesday is my meeting day.  Any and all types of meetings happen on Wednesdays.  For me, this is less hectic.  Any paperwork that needed to go home went home the Friday before.  So, I feel absolutely prepared for those meetings.  For the other meetings, there is an agenda.  I know what to expect.  I don’t have all of my groups on Wednesdays.  I don’t have to plan and prepare for 9 different sessions.  I don’t have to track every therapy minute for my service log.  I don’t have to take constant data for progress reviews and Medicaid.  I have a team on Wednesdays.  I’m prepared days in advance for all that is scheduled for Wednesdays.

The time from the dismissal bell on Tuesday to the arrival bell on Wednesday is the time when I feel the most tranquility, a real calmness.  The time when I feel like I have the time to do anything I want.  The time when I don’t feel stressed about getting something done for work because it’s already done.  All that stress and hectic craziness is saved for the other days, but not for Tuesday evening.  That time is all mine.  I can do anything on a Tuesday evening.