Accessibility, Vacation, and Motivation

WP Motivate
WP Motivate
Accessibility, Vacation, and Motivation

Michelle and Kathy talk about Michelle’s long birthday weekend with friend in Georgia, and how they made their home accessible for her needs. Kathy talks about motivation to work out at Cabo Press. And together they decide that neither of them will probably ever scale Mount Shasta.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] Speaker A: Start your week smiling with your friends Kathy Zant and Michelle Frechette. It’s time to get ready for some weekly motivation with WP Motivate.

Happy Thursday, Kathy.

[00:00:15] Speaker B: Happy Thursday, Michelle. How are you?

[00:00:18] Speaker A: Well, I’m kind of happy because I have a four day weekend coming up. Although I’m not happy about the fact that I need to be at the airport at like, four in the morning tomorrow. Because if you don’t know me, I’m not a morning person. I pretend to play one on TV, but I’m not a morning person. But, yeah, I’m flying through Atlanta, Georgia, tomorrow. And for those people thinking, oh, she must be going to WordCamp, Atlanta. Nope, I’m not. It’s my birthday this weekend and I’m flying to Georgia to spend the weekend with Mark and Casey Westgard and their boys. And Mark’s already he’s already sent me his groceries, like, pictures of the groceries he’s bought and the food he’s already started preparing for this weekend, which includes lobster, filet mignon, fish tacos, wine. I’m like, this is the weekend I need.

[00:01:08] Speaker B: Nice. That is so awesome. I love that you’re going to go get taken care of for your birthday. That’s just amazing.

[00:01:15] Speaker A: So I have a question. I want your honest opinion. Okay.

Yesterday I got my hair done. I sent you a picture. My hairstylist is one of my friends from high school. Like, we go back way long. And she gave me a tiara. You saw it. I’m thinking about wearing it on the plane. What do you think?

[00:01:34] Speaker B: I would go for it, right?

[00:01:37] Speaker A: The worst thing that could happen is people are like, who the heck does she think she is? And I’ll be like, the birthday princess, thank you very much.

[00:01:43] Speaker B: Yes, exactly. I mean, TSA is probably going to make you take it off, but they can that’s okay.

[00:01:50] Speaker A: It can go right through the scanner and then grab it back on the other know.

[00:01:55] Speaker B: There you go.

[00:01:56] Speaker A: There you go.

[00:01:56] Speaker B: Yeah, I would totally wear it. Why not? It’s your birthday, right?

[00:02:00] Speaker A: Exactly. Go, Shawnee. I am short, too. I’m only 5ft tall. But you know that we’re all the same size in a zoom window, the same height, I should say, in a zoom window. Right. But it also makes me think about something that you and I have talked about before, too, which is accessible spaces and when things like, sometimes doors are closed to us in different ways. Right. So there’s an event like WordCamp Europe 2022. I was supposed to go I was supposed to go with the stellar WP team we weren’t even sponsoring. I was just supposed to be there, and I was really looking forward to it. And then my dad passed and it turned out that was the weekend that was the best for his funeral. So I didn’t get to go. So the door to Word Camp Europe 2022 was closed to me.

It was a very clear sign, obviously, that I needed to be with family instead of overseas. And some of the spaces are physically inaccessible to me as well. So I think I’ve talked before about, like, there were, in spite, the best intentions of people. So, for example, at WordCamp Asia this year GoDaddy pro So Adam Warner, he had an event. They did an event, and they invite people to their event around WordCamp, and it was a boat ride on the river there in Bangkok. And he had assured me, like, he’s like, Michelle, I just want you to know I made sure I found an accessible boat ride. I’m excited that you could come. I wanted you to know that I did the due diligence to do it. And then I get a phone call from him, like 5 hours in advance. He’s like, I went to the dock and checked it out, and there’s steps. And they’re like, well, can’t she just walk those amount of steps? He’s like, no, that’s the whole point where’s a wheelchair supposed to go, like, all of that kind of stuff. He felt terrible. And I was like, no, I appreciate that. You really tried, and it’s just a sign that I’m going out to dinner with somebody else tonight. I mean, it’s all good, right? Yeah. And I have friends who have houses that are very difficult for me to access, and most people’s houses have steps, and one or two steps I can manage, but a lot of steps is not easy. And Mark and Casey Westgard have not only given me the primary suite at their home, so they’ll be upstairs, and I’ll be in their bedroom because it’s all on the first floor with an accessible bathroom, et cetera. But they’ve purchased a ramp that they could move around from space to space so that I could actually get down to the dock and see the lake with them. I can get out the back part of their house on the deck. And because I have a wider bottom not that he stares at my ass, I don’t think he does, but because he’s seen me struggle to fit into certain different chairs. They actually purchased a love seat Adirondack chair for the backyard, which, I mean, they’ll keep forever, of course, but to make sure that when I’m out there having breakfast in the morning with them, I’m comfortable, and that’s creating spaces for people to be able to be with you. If that’s not a sign that I’m supposed to be in Georgia this weekend, I don’t know what is.

[00:05:03] Speaker B: Yeah, that’s beautiful. That’s really awesome that they’re doing that and that they’re really making it, like, home to you, right?

[00:05:11] Speaker A: Yeah.

So that’s so I’m excited about it, and it’s just going to be there. I’ve never met their boys in real life. I’ve met them on Zoom, but his oldest Harry said, hey, dad, can I go with you to the airport to meet Michelle first? I was like, oh, I’m so excited to meet their boys and see Casey again. I’ve seen her a few times and know, just have a nice long weekend, just chilling with friends. It’s going to be fun.

[00:05:41] Speaker B: That is so wow.

[00:05:44] Speaker A: Yeah.

[00:05:44] Speaker B: Very, very cool.

[00:05:46] Speaker A: Yeah, so I’m excited about that. But it really does make you think. You have had some vacations and you’ve been been you and I were in Phoenix. We were in DC. And I know that now that your husband is he’s on wheels too, that you have a mind for. You pay attention to those things, you see accessibility, and you are able to evaluate whether or not that would be someplace you could take your husband, right?

[00:06:11] Speaker B: Yeah.

We have a two story home, so he can’t go upstairs.

Doesn’t really want to.

[00:06:20] Speaker A: That’s where the kids go.

[00:06:24] Speaker B: The way this house is designed too, it’s like you could tell the people designed it for having teenagers because the master suite is like, there’s no upstairs to the master suite. It’s like, kind of built onto the side of the house, so no teenagers running above your head or anything like that. And actually, if noises upstairs, you just don’t hear them when you’re in the master suite, which is kind of nice. So that’s primarily where he hangs, but, like, there’s nowhere for him to go. Like, I could take him for a walk around the neighborhood. He’s not interested in doing that. I could take him outside, but it’s like you could just look out the window. He doesn’t want to really do that either. But when we were in Phoenix and we were tooling around and we were downtown, I’m like, he could do all of like, maybe that’s eventually what I do is move into a more like of an urban area that is accessible like that. You could go to the grocery store with me. There’s so much more that he could do if I was in an environment like that. But then I just got back from Cabo, and the resort that we were at. I’m like, oh, I can’t bring them here. Michelle would hate this because it’s, like, built into this cliffside. Like my room. The joke was I’ll be the first to go in a tsunami because you open up the windows and it’s like the ocean and these giant waves, like the Pacific Ocean’s right there.

And so there’s like, these hills. It’s, like, built into this. And so people got around using golf carts or walking, and if you were walking, you were walking up and down a lot of hills or taking stairs. There were a few elevators around the property that were helpful, but you had to kind of find your way. I finally found this little path, but still you would have hated it.

I thought about you and I thought about my husband a lot while I was there. I was just like, yeah, I know. This is not it would be beautiful. You would love it there, but getting around would have been challenging. You could probably still do it because I did find my secret paths, but it would have been challenging.

[00:08:30] Speaker A: Yeah. And it’s just a sign that, well, that’s not an event for me, and that’s okay, right?

It really is okay. And are there things that I wish I could do that I will never be able to do? Yeah, I would love to do things, like in my youth, which gosh, it feels so long ago now, but when I was like, I don’t know, 13 or 14, my dad took me on a trip to New York City and we actually climbed up to the crown of the Statue of Liberty.

I’m glad I had that experience. It would have been fun to be able to do that for with my daughter, but I can’t do that with my daughter. I could be like, all right, have fun. I’ll see you when you get back down.

But some of those kinds of things that yes, there was an elevator that will take you up to the Acropolis in Athens. But what I understood for people who’d been up there the day before is there’s really only like a ten x ten space area once you get up there, that you could actually be in wheels and that people who were walking actually fell and got hurt because of the unsteadiness of the stones and things that were there.

So I didn’t go up to the top, even though that was always a dream to be able to do that, because it didn’t make sense to get on a waiting list, take the elevator up, and then just be like, oh, okay, here it is. Yeah, pictures would have been fun, but I saw other people’s pictures, so that kind of thing, it’s all good.

[00:09:52] Speaker B: Yeah, well, it’s not just like a black and white type of thing.

Even me, I was missing Shasta the other night, and so we watched this video of these people summiting Mount Shasta, and there’s like, certain things where it’s, like, practically going vertical and you have to have your crampons and you’re climbing on ice and it’s dangerous, right?

[00:10:19] Speaker A: Yes.

[00:10:19] Speaker B: Am I going to do that? No. Would my kids do that? Maybe.

My husband ever going to do that? Nah.

[00:10:27] Speaker A: No.

[00:10:28] Speaker B: So there’s tons of things where it’s just like even though I probably could do it, I did the cable press workouts and survived twice.

[00:10:41] Speaker A: There was no opportunity of falling to your death, though.

[00:10:44] Speaker B: There wasn’t. But meaning to say, I’m not in terrible shape. I could probably summit Mount Shasta, but on the continuum of risk, I guess, is that something that I want to do? No, I’m fine sitting in my lovely meadow and looking at the mountain from down at 4000ft rather than exactly the top looking down. Actually, I’ve been pretty high up on some of those Mount Shasta, the old ski bowl, they called it. And there was, like, a place where you could ski up there, and I’ve been up there, and it is kind of a magical experience because it just kind of I don’t know if it’s because there’s less oxygen, but it feels like stuff slows down, but the view is just like, okay. Yeah, you can see really far, but it’s much nicer view to be down at the bottom and look up. There’s a funny joke that somebody who was it? It was like, okay, Ricky Gervais. And he had this guy, Carl Pilkington, and Carl was just kind of like a matter of fact, and Ricky used to make fun of him, but they had this show called An Idiot Abroad. They sent him on.

[00:11:49] Speaker A: I’ve heard of it.

[00:11:50] Speaker B: All of the seven wonders of the world. And he goes to someplace, and it’s, like, really magical. And Ricky asks him, Would you like to live there? And he’s like, no, I’d like to live across the street from that, because I’d like to look at looking out looking out from that place. It’s not that great. Like, the Taj Mahal. You don’t want to live in the Taj Mahal. You want to live across the street from it. So it’s a much better experience.

[00:12:14] Speaker A: That’s really cool.

I saw a TikTok the other day, too, about I’ve always been fascinated with the people who climb Mount Everest.

It’s literally a shit show up there.

They can’t get rid of the waste that’s up there, right. And they’re worried now. It’s actually affecting the groundwater because a lot of the water that feeds the towns comes from the ice melt off of Everest. And now it’s just, like, filled with feces and things. So it’s literally a shit show. But I’ve always just been fascinated. I’ve watched the shows. I’ve watched the movies. I read about it sometimes. I don’t know why. Like, Rainbow Valley intrigues me, the whole nine yards of the whole thing. But I saw a TikTok the other day of a guy saying he starts by saying, I watched I don’t know if a movie or documentary about a disabled man who summited Mount Everest. And all I can say is, if he can do that, why does he need a parking spot all to himself?

And that made me laugh.

[00:13:20] Speaker B: That is so funny. That is so funny. Yeah, that’s the thing, is, I think there are a lot of people who have challenges of moving around, but even though it might be, like, super hard, if you really want to, you can find a way, and there’s people to help. It’s just what kind of risks do you want to take, and how much effort do you really want to put into going to the Kroger?

[00:13:48] Speaker A: Right, right. Yeah, exactly.

[00:13:50] Speaker B: Make that easy.

[00:13:52] Speaker A: I had a friend over here the other day when my groceries got delivered, and they helped me put them away, which was super nice. Of them. And I said something about the automatic. He says, do you have to tip the person? I’m like, oh, it’s already built in. And they’re like, how much is the tip? I said, well, this grocery delivery, it was like $50. They’re like, $50? I said, as opposed to me trying to navigate, getting in and out of a grocery store, getting all my groceries, getting them into the car, getting them from the car into my living room or into my kitchen. Why did I say living room into my kitchen and then putting them away? I said, It’s worth it to pay $50, but it is not inexpensive to be disabled. It is incredibly expensive to be disabled, and people don’t think about that.

I pay for everything that I have. I buy my canes, I buy my scooter, all of those kinds of things. And I’m hoping that my next scooter will at least insurance will cover part of it. But insurance isn’t going to cover if I use wheelchair service at an airport that I have to tip the people that are put. They don’t have to, but who’s not going to tip somebody that just pushed their fat ass through an airport, right?

And who is going to deal with my emotions? Like in Phoenix when the Lyft driver took one look at me on my scooter and just pulled away and didn’t even stop and canceled the ride because he saw me, we made eye contact, he knew. Those are the things that are really difficult. It is not easy to be disabled, even though we get a closer parking spot sometimes. But all the rest that comes with it, it’s not inexpensive, and it’s not easy to navigate some of the things that other people take for granted.

But that just means that I’m willing to pay $50 to have somebody else do my grocery shopping. I don’t have impulse buys. I’m not in the grocery store going, OOH, I think I need ice cream today, because I just happen to wander by the Ben and Jerry sale or something, like know. So there’s benefits to it as well and the idea of understanding what is accessible and not and not being upset. Yeah, I wrote an article about inaccessibility at WordCamp US. Because those are places where we need to make sure that we are open to everybody but private events, things like that.

I’m just not going to go. And that’s fine. I’m perfectly fine. Staying home on my couch some nights. I’m not going to.

[00:16:16] Speaker B: Yeah, I pay for grocery delivery. Well, I have the walmart plus thing. Oh, yeah, I don’t have to go to Walmart anymore. I just go on the app and they just bring it and put it by my garage door and I don’t even have to talk to anybody. I will do that. I don’t have to go to Walmart. Have you been in a Walmart lately? There’s some like I don’t know, maybe it’s just my.

[00:16:41] Speaker A: People of Walmart is a thing all over the place.

[00:16:45] Speaker B: Not just in, just I live in the weirdest town. Somebody posted on our next door was that a naked man with a hatchet that just ran across university street? Like the main street that goes through town? And people are all like, was it by the murder kroger? And I’m just like, this whole thing. Hello, Denton. This is home. Welcome home. It was the weirdest town. We have a flat earth guy. Oh, we have a guy who wears a tiger head and plays he’ll post on the Facebook group and say, anybody give me a ride? And everybody takes care of this. He’s a younger kid. I think he’s got some disabilities, but he plays the keyboard brilliantly. But it’s like such a town with character. Sometimes just a little too much.

[00:17:36] Speaker A: I’m picturing Stars Hollow right now.

I love the Gilmore Girls, but I love to make fun of Stars Hollow. Like, oh, we’re going to have a town meeting, okay? The town that has like 5 million buildings in it. And the town meeting is 40 people in the local dance space. And they have a town troubadour. Well, Denton has a town troubadour. That’s freaking amazing.

[00:18:00] Speaker B: We have a town spider man too.

[00:18:02] Speaker A: There’s a spider man.

[00:18:04] Speaker B: This guy, he goes and rescues animals all the time and then also shows up as spiderman to kids birthday parties and stuff. So it’s really special. If you see the Spider man truck and the tiger head guy in the same scene, it’s like like Denton is what Austin used to know. Keep Austin weird. It’s like, sorry, Austin. You’ve become the home of Tech Bros. Denton is where all the weirdos are now. But it’s like a college town.

[00:18:34] Speaker A: And they had to migrate somewhere.

[00:18:36] Speaker B: They had to go somewhere. Well, they’re here.

[00:18:38] Speaker A: They’re here.

[00:18:39] Speaker B: And then Denton has it was like in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, like when they were at the cemetery at the chapel when Brad and Janet are singing to each a sign in the back. It says, Denton, the home of happiness. And there was a sign here.

I have a friend who sends me packages says Kathy’s aunt, Dr. Franken Furter’s castle, the home of happiness. And then my address.

It’s the weirdest. I did not realize. I had no idea. My husband’s like, this is the house. This is the house. I love the office. This is the house. And then I’m like, where the heck did you just bring me?

[00:19:24] Speaker A: Shades of Eerie, Indiana. Do you remember that one season?

[00:19:33] Speaker B: So anytime I don’t have to go to the I am I am in a good place.

[00:19:39] Speaker A: So here’s the funny like, I actually love tooling around Walmart and just looking at the clearance and looking at clothes and just kind of just seeing and that kind of stuff. But I don’t get to go that often unless somebody goes with me, but I had my bathroom painted this week, and so the handyman’s a friend of mine, right? So he’s like, well, let’s go to walmart and you can buy the paint that you want. We’ll look at the colors, everything. But he didn’t want to hang out, so I could just tool around walmart. So it was almost like giving me a taste but not letting me have the meal. So now, like, I really want to go to walmart next week. So when I get back from Georgia, I’m going to be like, who wants to go to Walmart? I need to go to walmart with me.

It’s okay. It’s all good. It’s all good.

Anyway, well, I’m glad that you had a good time in Cabo, in spite of having to be goat lady that climbed all the spaces.

[00:20:29] Speaker B: I am in such good shape right now. I’ll just say from the two workouts, I was only going to do one workout, but then I walked too close to the workout on the third day and everybody waved at me and then I was just like, I guess the horse.

[00:20:41] Speaker A: I got too close to the sun.

[00:20:43] Speaker B: And now I’m in orbit.

I’m going to go work out again. But I’m glad I did. It was good, even though I sweat my butt off the whole time.

[00:20:52] Speaker A: Well, it’s better to be in orbit than icarus that you get so close you just crash and burn. Right? So that’s all.

[00:20:57] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:20:58] Speaker A: Yeah.

[00:20:59] Speaker B: I would have crashed and burned if there wasn’t a place to sit down at the end of was it was a little tough.

[00:21:05] Speaker A: I love it.

[00:21:06] Speaker B: But it was good. It was a really good experience.

Chris llama really does put on an exceptional event. There highly curated content that’s really less about WordPress and more just leadership and marketing, lots of leadership and serving your customers more.

And those types of things are my jam. So I felt very much at home there. It was a good experience.

[00:21:30] Speaker A: That’s awesome.

I’m trying to think of something pithy to close this episode out. I got nothing.

So we’ll leave it at that next week. We’ll talk to you after. I have a birthday weekend away. Level 55. I’m leveling up and I will say thank you. I did post on twitter, x, whatever, that I’m not looking for gifts. I’m not looking for accolades. I’m not looking for any of that stuff. I just want people to be kind to each other. Do something for this is the challenge. Do something for somebody this week that helps them in a way that you might not have thought to do. So if you can help somebody this week, that’s a gift to me, too. So we’ll see everybody next week. Yeah, we’ll see you next week on WP motivate. Bye.

[00:22:15] Speaker B: Bye.

[00:22:17] Speaker A: This has been WP motivate with Kathy Zant and Michelle Frechette. To learn more or to sponsor us, go to