Friday, January 14, 2011

The next step in asking for help

After I wrote my blog post about needing more help, the response from friends was wonderful. I was particularly surprised by the offers of help from people I didn't think would respond. Not that they're insensitive, it's just they aren't particularly "kid people" and have very busy lives. I was also surprised by how many people I just KNEW would write back with offers of help who didn't. Again, I don't think it's because they're insensitive (well, a few might be), I think it has more to do with people not knowing what they can possibly do to make any difference.

When you ask for help, no matter how much you wish it would just fall into your lap, you need to have a few specific ideas for people to know how to help.

Ummmm...  I'm still not sure how to answer that question.

I mean, we need help with everything: money, sanity, housekeeping, childcare, cooking, car maintenance, yard work, pet care... everything. But telling your friend who just offered help that they could clean your bathtub for you isn't a great way to foster a good support network.

So I've been working on a list of ideas, and instead of worrying about how people will react or how unrealistic some of these may be, I'm just gonna spell it out and see what happens.

Terena's Help List

  • Housework. No you don't have to clean my bathroom, but if you know any good tips, tricks, cleaning products or cleaning staff (inexpensive) who could lend a hand, let me know. 
  • Yard Work. Some strong hands to help my hubby and I catch up on the mountain of yard work around here would be great, especially since Spring is already trying to arrive.
  • Sanity. Send me an email just to say hello. Post a hug to my Facebook page. Call and invite me out for coffee or to a movie. Let me know when a party or event is happening. Rick and I have gotten very isolated up here in Mendo (really people, there is life above Santa Rosa!), so any little thing you can do to help us feel less lonely would be wonderful (btw, Rick could use some help just as much as me). 
  • Childcare. This is a big one. I know people get really nervous about offering to watch Queen Teen because she seems to need so much care, but she's actually pretty easy. Her favorite thing is to go for a walk in her chair and get a snack. If you just want to take her out for ice cream some time for an hour so I can grab a nap, that would be great. We have respite for the longer hours and overnights, and I'm looking into another agency to provide more support. Plus, Queen Teen gets just as lonely as Rick and I do. More people inviting her out on a Saturday for a short time would make her very happy.
  • On that note, the more people who learn American Sign Language the better. As her hearing has degenerated, so has her communication. Very few people in our lives know ASL, so very few people can chat with her. She doesn't know very many signs yet, but in time she will, and the more she can use her language skills, the faster she'll learn. Plus, her world will expand to include so many more people and friends. What a gift that would be.
  • Cooking. Made too much Beef Stew? Send it my way. I know my food allergies make it tricky, but if you have something Gluten Free you'd like to share, we'll gobble it up. 
  • Money. Well... if you win the lottery, you can pay off my house. 
Looks like I have more specifics then I realized. While I'm on a roll, I'll just throw out a few more ideas (which may be less reality based, but what the hell?)
  • Could someone tell that Ty guy that I need a new house? Mine is way too small and with Queen Teen's equipment getting bigger, we're about to reach a space crisis.
  • Or if not a new house, how about letting one of those designers on the Home and Garden Channel know that we need help making better use of the space we have. (ooh, I just saw that the dream house sweepstakes has begun.)
  • My car is about to die (a 1995 Honda Odyssey with 220,000 miles on it). I need a new one, preferably in red.
  • Rick and I still need a honeymoon. We've been married 11 years. It's about time.
  • A massage, once a week, for the next six months to get grad school out of my muscles.
  • A huge family with lots of cousins who live in California (rather than Louisiana or Texas, neither place I wish to move to. Sorry guys).
  • Queen Teen would like another trip to Disneyland... oh wait, we're already planning that one. 
  • Queen Teen would also like to fly, just like the little girl in the Tinker Bell movie "The Great Fairy Rescue." She believes that if she could fly it would change everything (I think she's right). 
Today, my orchid has even more blooms! The ones I thought were too small and would fall off have thickened until they've opened into gorgeous blossoms. I wake up every morning and look at this:

It gives me hope.


Rick said...

the winter yard work is about done. cross it off the list.

Confessions of a Closet Hoarder but you can call me Judy said...

Hi Terena. :)

I so wish I lived close enough I could help you out with something. In the meantime...

I do have an idea to maybe help Queen Teen fly, but I wouldn't know where to call about this, because I don't live near California at all, but...Maybe one of your friends or family who are familiar with your area can make some calls to an indoor skydiving place can call to see, if they would donate a session to QT? I believe they have someone in there with the clients at all times, so it's not like she'd be doing it alone, but it still may give her the opportunity to 'fly'. I am betting they'd either give you a massively discounted session or maybe even donate one, if someone explains the situation.

Your list looks like mine, and every single little bit of help means the world. I hope you get some of the help you need.


Terena said...

that's a great idea! I think right now the noise will scare her, but when she's older we'll give it a try.

I suspect most people will have a list similar to mine. Maybe this list will get the conversation going for others

CC said...

Awwww hugs!!!! I'm offering some to you from a little north of you. I wish I could help out. Maybe we could share in our needs together? I've got the ASL covered for you though. I keep recommending Signing Times even to adults I know. It's amazing how many basic signs you can pick up from that kids show!

TherExtras said...

Overcoming the rejection of Texas to say what a good post! (I do understand. I wouldn't consider moving your way either.) 'Tis good to like where you are.

My winter yard work is yet to be done. I miss the exercise of it.

I suspect you are well on your way to receiving some of that 4-letter word. Have a great time at Disney. We are aiming for Harry Potter World.

Signing-off this comment. ;)

Terena said...

CC, thanks. I have a Signing Times CD and I just discovered they have an iPhone ap, so once I'm done with grad school (March!) I can concentrate more on learning signs.

TherExtras, there's a Harry Potter world? No way! Where? Let me guess... Texas

TherExtras said...

Nope - we will be traveling east where HPWorld has been built at universal studios adventureland. Here's the website:

Lots of animation - get on a computer with lots of bandwidth.