Friday, June 15, 2012

Asking for More Help


Fixing things. There are things I can fix on my own and other things I know are too big for me. I called a mason about fixing our front steps. I was hoping that he was going to wow me with a low price. Yeah, right. Masonry. Not known for being inexpensive. Turns out that to do the job in the most inexpensive masonry way will run about seven grand. Wow. And it won't even look very good. It will just be poured concrete instead of the slate-topped steps we have now. Too bad that they are crumbling and sliding down the hill in our front yard pulling our front porch with them. So it goes.

After the mason left, I walked around the house trying to figure out what to do. I don't want to spend that kind of money on something I won't even like and I can't come close to affording the slate steps I really want. What can I do? What can I do? Well, I'm no mason. So it's not like I can go making my own steps that way. There has to be another way. And of course there are many.

So I'll talk with friends and see who knows a contractor who might be able to build some wooden steps. I might even see what it would take to pull the old steps out myself. I don't think I'm up to that task, but you never know. One way or another, I'll get it done, preferably before the steps pull the whole house off the hill.

I talked two nights ago about being able to ask for help. This is one of those times when it will be necessary and when I'm grateful that I'm doing that more and more.

I finished the task of revising my collection of poetry and will, early next week, run a few copies of it for people to read and select. I'm still working out how to ask people to read through all that. I'll figure it out. Or I'll ask for help.

Help comes in other ways for me too. I put my two girls to bed this evening and it wasn't the happiest time of our lives. My plan was to let them hang out in the youngest's room for a little and talk about the birthday party she had just gotten home from, but she started griping about even the smallest things. I could tell that she was going to fight me on just about anything I said and I knew that I was in a mood to fight and get angry about whatever she did. So I told her to just go to bed, told her older sister to go into her own room and read for a bit, and I came downstairs worrying.

I worry about whether I'm going to have a good relationship with my younger daughter who is very much like me. We battle much more than she does with her mother and I know that both of us suffer from the same problem: we're not sure that we're loved enough by one another. I came downstairs with all of that in my head and got help without even having to ask.

"She's tired," my wife said. "And so are you."

There was more, but those six words were enough to help me understand a lot and to feel a lot better.

And then my wife, who is feeling terrible with chronic stomach problems no one seems to be able to diagnose or treat, asked me if I could get her some Jello. I quit writing in the middle of this essay (I'm wondering if the break is discernible) and went to the store. (By the way, I didn't run, bike or walk there as I described last night, since she seemed to really need something and I wanted to get it as fast as I could.)

I didn't jump to it because she put pressure on me or to be a hero. It was more that I was excited to be able to do something for her. I'm not a gastroenterologist (though I have dreams), but I know how to go to the store and come home with a pack of Jello cups. That I can handle and it was a joy to do it. A gift from her to me.

I'm feeling as though tonight's essay is a recap or rerun about this whole asking for help thing. It is, but I think that's okay. It's a good concept and one I need to keep thinking about and doing. It's worth a second entry on this blog. It's a topic worthy of my catchphrase, write on.