Defeated Efforts

Today’s post comes to us from Crystal Bay.

I made a big mistake. I decided to paint plastic stackable lawn chairs to match my flower boxes, shutters, and screen doors. I spent three days painting them. They looked great and I loved having everything match. The first time I stacked them, most of the paint peeled off. I was disheartened after all of that work.

Not to be defeated, I googled “How to paint plastic chairs”. Off to True Value to buy a special cleaner, primer, sandpaper, a scraper, and a quart of paint closer to the color I wanted. Then, I set upon laboriously scraping paint off one chair. The first one took 1.5 hours. I decided that since these chairs only cost $5 each, I’d just order six more. $5 dollars aren’t worth 1.5 hours per chair!

In the background are 70 bags of cypress mulch. I’m still trying to find some guys to spread them. My age is catching up to me, and after 15 years of doing this myself, I really do need help! Spring on the lake is labor-intensive and I can’t keep on top of it anymore, hard as I try. I’ve learned to ask for help. This winter, I couldn’t find my cell phone in the house. My neighbors are all in Florida for the winter, so I walked out to the county road and flagged down a car. I asked the man to please call my number. I lost my car in a parking ramp, walked to the door and asked the first person out, “Are you in a hurry to be somewhere?”. She kindly drove me around until I found it. I guess that with age comes with people who feel good helping me?

Now, I’m looking for someone to shovel up a dead, maggot-filled raccoon on my yard.

Do you ask for help?

40 thoughts on “Defeated Efforts”

  1. My mother (Crystal Bay’s mother too, since we are siblings) was good at asking for help. One day she forgot where she had parked to shop in downtown Ames. After fruitless searching, she asked a cop for help.

    “No problem, lady. What is your license plate?”

    She didn’t have a guess.

    “Well, what year is your car?”

    No guess.

    “What about the model and make?”

    Mom wasn’t a car person. “I think it’s a Cadillac. Or maybe not.”

    “No problem, ma’am. What color is it?”

    “Light. Cream, I think. Or light green. Or maybe grey.”

    “What street did you park on?” (Downtown Ames had two streets, each two blocks long.)

    “I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking you.”

    The cop was silent for a bit. Then, speaking slowly, he asked, “Lady, do you think you could recognize your car if you saw it again? I could drive you up and down these streets.”

    And that worked.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. so if she had gone and looked it would have required she wal two blocks in on direction and move over a block and walk two blocks back?


    1. You just reminded me of other times I’ve recently asked for help. Last summer, I went to a huge tent party – a fund raiser in another lakeside township. I had to park blocks away. After the event, I couldn’t find my car anywhere. I walked for what felt like a mile. Frantic and not knowing what to do, I called 911. Unlike my mother, I knew exactly how describe it: a green Toyota with GOBAMA license plates. It was probably the most identifiable car the cops had ever looked for. They, of course, found it in about three minutes!

      Last fall, my Calico, Izzy, tunneled under the cottage in the crawl space for two days (I think I shared this story a while back). I actually called 911 that time, too. The cops were incredibly kind to this inconsolable old lady.

      Hmmm – maybe I’ll dial 911 to get rid of the dead raccoon in my yard?


      1. Just a suggestion, CB, you might want to consider adding the police non-emergency number to your speed dial. Calling 911 for non-emergencies is not a good idea.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. CB, if you were in our township, you’d call someone from the townboard to come and take care of that lousy raccoon.
        I’ve picked up my fair share of dead deer and other animals.
        I think I’ve said, it seems the deer belong to the DNR when they’re alive and they belong to the township when they’re dead.

        Several years ago, I’ve got my son bringing the truck to meet me on a hot summer day to pick up a dead deer. It was pretty ripe. We got it in the truck and he said to me, in his very dead-pan way, “I don’t want to do this anymore”.
        Yep, couldn’t blame him.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No! Just no. Disposing of dead animals on private property is not the responsibility of the municipality.


      3. go out there with a garbage bag and a pair of gloves and a shovel. open the bag push it in there with the shovel and carry it with the gloves to the trash

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I am not good at asking for help. I have a job jar full of to do items
    Yard work is ready to go. Out in the yard yesterday the bocce balls were in grass longer than I would have guessed.
    The warehouse has a new worker joining me this week
    We will see how that goes

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of my favorite utterances as a small child was “Do it myself!” I hate asking for help. Things are changing, though, and I have started to hire out things like window washing and tree trimming. I am too busy and too out of shape to do all this all the time.

    70 bags of mulch!! CB, your property must be enormous. I envy you the cypress mulch, though. It is hard to get out here and we usually use cedar.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My property’s less than 2/3 of an acre, and the areas to mulch are a fraction of that. What’s happening here is that, as more and more of the yard turns to dirt and weeds, covering with mulch makes it cosmetically attractive.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I am good at asking for help. I was raised by a mom who refused to ask for help outside the family, so the kids were expected to do things not really in the venue of children. Man, did that ever create resentment and rebellion. Kids have to play sometimes.

    Therefore I learned to ask for help due to a negative experience with someone who would not do that. Besides that, trying to do things I am not good at, I.e.bookkeeping tasks, is miserable!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I hate asking for help with physical things other than the obvious (lifting something more than 100 lbs by myself) but will do so as a last resort. One exception: we hired a crew to powerwash our house last week because I don’t think me getting up on the top of a 12-foot ladder is a great idea anymore. Probably because my dad fell off a ladder when he was trimming a tree when he was about 60 and busted his shoulder to pieces. Ruined his tennis game for years. I’m too much “like father, like son” to brazenly ignore that omen.

    However, when it comes to customer service issues over the phone, I ask for help in THE NICEST possible way. Try to get the CSR on your side as an ally to solve a problem rather than demand that they “Fix it!” immediately.

    Mostly, I like the challenge of doing something myself; the problem-solving aspect, as well as the self-sufficiency. I’m sure as I get older and weaker and less able, I’ll ask for help more often.

    Chris in Owatonna

    *Don’t forget, I’ll be at Main Street Day in Hopkins this Saturday from 9-4 selling and signing copies of “Castle Danger.” My booth is on the north side of Main Street between 10th and 11th Aves.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I just asked our internet service provider why our internet wasn’t working this morning – then put him on with Husband, and they worked it out (needed a new splitter for phone cords). Now I’m late, so will think of more and be back later.


  7. Yesterday I had to find a replacement scew to reattach the stairs on the toy fire station in the play therapy room. I needed a screw that was longer and fatter than the one that needed to be replaced. I find those drawers for screws at hardware stores hard to navigate, but a nice young fellow found what I needed, and now the stairs are firmly reattached. The screw cost a whole 11 cents. I also repaired the crank elevator on the play room hospital. Small details that drive children crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It is very important in the play therapy room to not do anything for the child that the child can do for him/her self. That is the hardest rule for me to follow since I like to be helpful and it frustrates me to see people struggle with things that I can do quickly.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I have a screwdriver that they were using, but the hole had enlarged and the screw wouldn’t bite into the wood. Fixing it was frustrating for them, since it wouldn’t work. Now it is fixed and everyone can go about their play.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I am in most ways the classic I can do it myself male, especially since I was raised by parents who did do it themselves. But I was raised i the grange culture, neighbors getting together for harvest, building, sharing skills etc.
    Apparently I asked for too much help at my [physical this morning. Seven appointments as a result.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. In European based cultures the parable of the Good Samaritan teaches that you should help anyone no matter who they are. In Africa it is seen as teaching that you should accept help from anyone no matter who they are.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Because of my age and various medical issues, asking for help is complicated. On one hand, it is easy, and people generally knock themselves out being helpful. I apparently look pathetic doing some things, as strangers sometimes rush up to offer help. I now live with the conviction that I can get an enormous amount of help just by asking.

    The danger is that it has become too easy to ask. It is good for me to try to do difficult things. I’ve begun walking to the mail room each day. My daughter was doing that, but I’m so weak now that walking just a few yards is tiring. I need to challenge myself to do the little I still can do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Do you have a walker, Steve? If not, it might be a good idea to get one, that way you’d have someplace to sit down and rest if you venture out on a longer jaunt.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Somebody gave me one. I haven’t used it yet on the theory that it would be good for me to do as much as I can on my own as long as I can. But if using a walker would get me out more often, I probably should do that.

        At some level, I’m dealing with the painful symbolism of using it.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. my mom uses a walker sometimes and a cane at other times byt the combo she seems pleased with is the pair of walking sticks. 20 bucks on amazon

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Get a tread mill and a standup desk. Spend what time you can getting in shape.
          I remember the aha moment when I was transformed from what will people think of me to
          People don’t really think about me all that often. I can do stuff that’s a bit embarrassing and not worry too much about it


  12. I’m okay about asking for help. It’s just that I usually only ask for help with something that I really really can’t do for myself. And luckily there aren’t too many of those so I don’t have to use up any good will I have on account with my loved ones and neighbors.


  13. Being a feminist in the early years of the movement gave me a bit of an aversion to asking for help. I tried learning to do things like the points and plugs on my VW, do minor fix-its around the house. Then I met Husband, who was better and faster at many of these things, and I let us fall in to the more traditional roles – it was just more efficient! I got to the point that I don’t care what gender or age someone is – the best person for the job gets the job.

    At this point, I ask for help plenty, esp. with technology, and heavy work in house and garden – I’m not going to wreck my back over pride.


  14. Hi–

    I’m not afraid to ask for help– if there are people around to help. I work alone so often that usually there just isn’t anyone around or it’s inconvenient to try and get help. That doesn’t mean I DON’T ask, just that it’s harder.
    A theater mentor years ago said something to the effect of “If you think about it long enough, you can always find an easier way”. My caveat to that is “Leverage is your friend”. Usually what I need help with is moving or loading something and that’s when leverage is useful.

    Last week, dealing with commencement, I picked up the rental lighting and it came in three large road cases. One had to be stacked on another in order to fit them in the truck. As me and another guy watched the warehouse chief push them to the truck, guy #2 said ‘”Will those go in like that? (Down a short ramp into the truck bed). And the chief said “I’ve done dumber things…” and pretty much just shoved them down the ramp and into the truck.
    But when I got back to the college and was ready to unload them, I knew using the lift gate on this double stack alone was not a good idea. Just because I’ve done dumber things myself doesn’t mean I wanted to try it here again. Besides, I wanted these lights to work for the week. So I got someone to help secure it while using the lift gate to lower them.
    Same when re-loading on Friday.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. i am good at knowing what i can do and i am also good at figuring hiow to lern some of the other stuffbut some stuff forgetaboutit. taxes… heading a committee… brain surgery…. leave it someone better equipt. i can fake it and learn on the fly at some stuff, not at others
    cb. you need a hey boy who can help. 75 bags of mulch because the ground is bare? snow on the mountain, hosta, daylillies ferns. all better answers that fill in nicely in a year or two.

    Liked by 1 person

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