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McDonald’s New Exterior, Interior Design

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Old South Main McDonald’s in Adrian, MI

Have you seen the new McDonald’s interior and exterior design? You must have. (By the time things come to Lenawee County, they have already been through all the major cities and most medium and small ones.) I hate it.

Old South Main McDonald’s in Adrian, MI, shortly before destruction

I like the old exterior design, with the slanted roof and parallel lights. It sort of looked like an overgrown shack. You saw the building, and you instantly knew what restaurant it was and what kind of processed, sodium-infused goodness lay inside waiting for you. It seemed like they usually featured the colors red and yellow. Signature colors. Ketchup and mustard.

New South Main McDonald’s in Adrian, front (or back)

The new design sucks balls. (Is that a valid argument?) It is just like a beige box, with some yellow accents on it. My husband said, “You know what they are trying to do, don’t you? They are trying to make-it look like a sit-down restaurant.” And I believe he is absolutely correct. (More on my thoughts on the interior in a minute.) Except for one small detail:

There are now two drive-thrus.

But wait, you might be picturing the Rally’s double drive-thru in your head. Where there is an ordering speaker, menu board, and payment/pick-up window on both sides of the building. OH NO. McDonald’s had to half-ass it. There are two ordering speakers and two menu boards side by side. THAT MERGE INTO ONE LANE for the payment/pick-up windows!

Problem #1: In at least one location that I know of, the outer menu board blocks your view of the inner lane. You can’t tell there is a car in the inner lane until you move forward and hit it.

Problem #2: In at least one location that I know of, the outer menu board is set up so that you cannot see it from the speaker while ordering (a different location than Problem #1, but same city and franchise owner).

Problem #3: Where the two lanes merge it is like a construction zone traffic jam on the freeway. Except everyone is hungry. It has the potential to be road rage. Or hunger rage. Or drive-thru rage.

New McDonald’s lighting, North Main McDonald’s in Adrian

Enough about the drive-thru. Let’s move inside, shall we? The previous design was functional for families with litters of kids, old people drinking coffee while reading the paper, and for high schoolers to lazily half-ass clean. It was colorful and bright.

New seating in North Main McDonald’s in Adrian–both the booths in the back and bar to the right are pub-style high seating

The new interior is heinous. It is what I picture Starbucks to look like, although I have never actually been in one (I don’t drink coffee, remember?). One version I have seen had fancy light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. Another had partitions between the seats with wheat inside the glass–>wheat! The new thing seems to be darker wood and dimmer lighting. And having some tables pub-style, meaning higher than a typical table. Not safe for short young children or unsteady old people with hot liquid.

New partition between booths at North Main McDonald’s in Adrian (I guess it isn’t really wheat, but I still don’t like it!)

If I concentrate on one location, I can give more specific details. We will use the South Main McDonald’s in Adrian, Michigan. This location was probably a little unique because not only did the building get the new design, the old building was torn down completely and it moved down the street, past Bob Evans and the vacant Long John Silver’s. The new South Main location sits right on the corner of US223 and M52. Prime real estate. I believe the franchise owner wanted to make this move for years. Too bad the building looks like it was build the wrong way around.

Double drive-thru view of South Main McDonald’s in Adrian from corner of US223 and M52

I believe the South Main McDonald’s was built backwards. Sitting at the corner, waiting for the unbearably long traffic light, you should be looking at the front of the restaurant and thinking, “How fast and filling the food would be. Immediate gratification.” You shouldn’t be sitting at the traffic light thinking, “That food would be fast and filling, but the drive-thru is way too busy.” Which is what anyone who has driven past it has said. Oh! And having the drive-thru speakers aimed at one of the busiest intersections in the county makes it hard to hear and hard to be heard.

The old South Main had oodles of seating. So much so, that they blocked off part of it and made a separate room for kids’ birthday parties. The new location has less seating, even though it is now in a more prominent location (and I believe is busier). Much of the possible seating space is gobbled up by the children’s Play Place. Isn’t buying your kid a Happy Meal and then sitting in the play area just throwing your money away? Either your kid will play and not eat or whine that you won’t let them play and not eat.

Since I am on the topic of McDonald’s and I hold grudges, I will take this opportunity to express my dissatisfaction that they no longer carry the flaky, crispy apple pies I used to love. I think they have been gone about 20 years now. Replace by those “baked” jokes for a pie they have now. (If you want a reasonable facsimile of the old pies, go to Taco Bell and order a caramel apple empanada. Yum.) I also greatly miss McDonaldland Cookies (shaped like McDonaldland characters) and Chocolatey-Chip Cookies (mini and crispy). And I miss that the Dundee, Michigan McDonald’s used to have an outdoor McDonaldland playground. Each piece of equipment was a McDonald’s character. I remember a Grimace shaped metal bouncy thing and Mayor McCheese monkey bars. There were more I can’t remember. I am sure that wasn’t the only one in the world. It has been replaced by an indoor playland:(

Dear McDonald’s,

You can make the inside of your restaurant look all hoity-toity if you want to, but you are still going to have a grandma in there begging her granddaughter to eat a French fry. It is the natural order of things. It is the American way.

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I Want a Jeep

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My dream car

In my youth, I used to see Jeeps in the TV shows I watched, such as Mork & Mindy and the Dukes of Hazzard. The first real life Jeep I fell in love with was one that was always parked outside the local bowling alley. I assume it probably belonged to the owner. I believe it was a brown Jeep C-J. I used to walk by it to get to the grocery store all the time. I always thought “when I grow up, I am going to have one of those”. Apparently, I am not yet grown up. *sigh*

Hot Wheels Jeep C-Js

I have two Hot Wheels Jeeps I have had since I was a kid. One I got from McDonald’s in a Happy Meal. (Mmm…McDonald’s.) The other I got from sending in UPCs from Frosted Flakes. The brown one is almost the same as the one that used to sit outside the bowling alley.

Jeep license plate

I have a Jeep hoodie I bought several years ago. But it is too big, so I hardly ever wear it. I also have a pink Jeep license plate I bought to put on my Jeep. That I do not have yet.

Jeep Stroller

As you may have guessed by now, my baby has a Jeep brand stroller. The cute one with the little steering wheel on it. It was the first purchase my husband and I made for our upcoming arrival. We bought it very early on too. What is it they always say about the about the first trimester being the one most likely for things to go wrong? As soon as I was beyond that window of time, I bought a Jeep, baby. A Jeep baby stroller. Correct. (I love my stroller. It is about three inches too wide sometimes, but we manage.)

I rode in a Jeep once. It belonged to my cousin. I was in the backseat. I was too young to really remember much about the ride. My husband always wants me to test drive one. But I always decline. If I test drove a Jeep and I didn’t like the ride, I would be heartbroken. If I test drove a Jeep and loved it, I would be in misery because we do not currently have the funds to buy one. So, a test drive is a lose, lose proposition right now.

Me & my Aztek when it was brand new, before all the miles and hail damage. I have cool black and highlighted hair in this pic.

Last time I bought a car (in fall of 2003), I wanted a new car because I had never had one before. I really wanted a Pontiac Aztek. I figured the car I would actually get and could better afford was a Pontiac Sunfire. A Jeep, due to price, was totally out of the picture. My husband talked me into the Aztek, and I am glad he did. The Aztek is an awesome car with oodles of space inside. (I am trying for 200,000 miles in mine. So far, I am over 194,000.) I am also glad my husband made me buy an Aztek because that is the last year Pontiac made them:(

“Tell me more about your dream car,” you say? I want a red Jeep Wrangler hard-top 2 door with automatic transmission, 4X4, fog lights, and an mp3 plug-in. I know a four door would be more practical. But not on my bank account. And it destroys the classic Jeep look I have found so darn appealing for so many years. I plan to drive it forever. And when the red paint starts to peel or not, I will have it custom painted in pink camouflage. How sweet would that be? Then it would totally match my Jeep license plate.

The one downside to owning a Jeep will be my husband. He likes to take things apart. Everything. So, I know there will come a day when I am like “Honey, it is raining outside. I need to go somewhere. I really need you to put the doors back on my car for me.” But I will smile when that day comes. Because that will mean that I finally have my Jeep I have always dreamed of.

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The Vicious Circle

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Life is a vicious circle. This can be demonstrated graphically.

This a doodle I created in middle school. It is based on evil Fry Guys (you know, from McDonald’s? Used to hang out with Ronald McDonald before he tried to be healthy).

From my personal collection.

It is a doodle with a deep meaning. This would probably make an awesome collage using yarn. I should make it sometime. Except my blog takes up most of my spare time. Am I rambling now? You know, doodles are just rambling thoughts that come out of your fingers instead of your mouth.

OK. I think I am done now.

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OMG, who is going to read this? What are they going to think of me? Is my blog just totally lame…

Anxiety: 1. the state of being anxious. 2. concern about an imminent danger, difficulty, etc.
Anxious: 1. uneasy in the mind.

I have anxiety. It often changes how I go about living my life, but I do the best I can to not be beat down by it. For people who don’t have it (or don’t have it in large quantities), it is probably hard for them to imagine what it is like.

My most recent example is that I wanted to buy two $5 gift cards from McDonald’s. I was afraid they would yell at me for not buying food too. Then I was afraid they would yell at me for only putting $5 on the gift cards. I ended up deciding to buy only one gift card, and I bought it at Meijer while I was already there so I wouldn’t have to face the anxiety of McDonald’s at all. (Of course, in all this I forgot that the people at McDonald’s aren’t paid enough to care about anything. That is a dig at McD’s, not at the employees.)

I have dealt with anxiety all my life. When I was younger, if I felt overwhelmed by anxiety, I cried. Which is why I got picked on in school (creating more anxiety, creating more crying, etc.). The prescription drug company commercials used to make me think I had depression (which I have had twice in my life), but that is not what I have every day. My friend had pretty serious anxiety too–maybe even more than me. But she went on prescription drugs and now that is no longer one of her biggest health issues. I don’t want to be a slave to doctors & pharmaceutical companies. I don’t want to deal with side effects. I don’t want to have to take a pill everyday for something that may only hit me a few times a week. Now, if there was “FAST-ACTING ANXIETY NOSE SPRAY FOR URGENT RELIEF”, I would be all over that. The most common time anxiety hits me is when I am trying to fall asleep. I have anxiety attacks about how I don’t want to be dead one day & cease to exist. Ugh, it is making my chect tighten & my stomach churn just to write it. Nose spray would really come in handy at these times.

Here is an excerpt from an old journal I recently found which provides a nice example:

Last night at the casino the food court was more like a cafeteria and I was scared to tell the grill guy that I wanted a cheeseburger. Then I was too scared to go up and get a refill. I just feel like everyone is always going to yell at me.

And no one has ever yelled at me for such things. Here is a poem from around the same time:


I worry about things
I know about
I worry about things
I know nothing about
I worry about things
I have never done before
I worry about things
I do every day
I am beginning to feel
that I worry

My husband doesn’t understand when I ask him to do something for me because I just cannot do it myself. This usually manifests as asking for help for something in a store and having to talk to a sales associate. Or giving my son a bath. I know that when I start the bath, if he starts crying or bumps his head or something, I can’t freak out and leave him in the bathtub naked. I have to finish the bath, no matter what, all the way through to putting on his PJs. And I find this scary. And too often I let my husband give him a bath because 1. he likes to & 2. I don’t have to overcome my anxiety to do it. Anxiety is probably one of the things that kept my mom at home throughout her twenties.

Sorry. Just felt like venting. I have been cleaning my house & unearthed some old poems/emails/journals that got me on this line of thinking. I wanted this blog to be a mish-mash of my life. And this is a big part of my life, even though many close to me do not know it.

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