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Last Minute Valentine’s Day Date Ideas for Inter-Abled Couples

Let me start off by saying that for most of my adult life I’ve had a snarky little ‘tude when it comes to Valentine’s Day.

The boxes of cheap chocolate… the heart shaped diamond jewelry…

Not my thang.

And yes, on more than 1 occasion I have completely forgotten it was V-Day (I swear it always falls on a Wednesday – what’s so romantic about a Wednesday?) and decided to go out for a “quick” dinner. Ummm…nope. Not gonna happen in this town.

But 4 years ago or so, cupid pierced me with his gold tipped arrow.

And since then, V-Day is just one more welcomed excuse to spend quality time with my boo. This year, that means we are packing up the old Toyota Braunability Ramp Van for a snow filled adventure weekend over in Bend, Oregon. I’ll share a recap later, but please follow along real time (ish) by heading over to Instagram and following our pals at BACKBONES.

So TODAY is V-Day, right? And that means if you haven’t already crafted the perfectly romantic date for your sweetie, you’re screwed. Just kidding, guys, because I’ve got you covered with these sure to please last minute date ideas.

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Date Ideas For The Inter-Abled Couple (or anyone, really)

Idea #1 – Release Your Inner Artist at Sip and Paint

The concept is simple – you and your sweetie spend a couple hours enjoying a little wine and making a little art. But wait, will this work for the inter-abled couple? Of course, you silly! There is no need to be Intimidated because Sip and Paint classes cater to the masses and are all about having fun. So paint with your hands, paint with your mouth, paint with your feet, who cares! Or better yet, don’t paint at all and use the time to snuggle up close to your date and help direct the creative process.

If you are Portland based, check out these Sip and Paint Shops:

THE LOADED BRUSH wants you to eat, drink, and be merry. Sounds good to me! L.B. offers step by step water color classes for the beginners.

BOTTLE AND BOTTEGA offers Sip n Paint at their SW Portland studio as well as pop up venues around town. Bottle and Bottega aims to help you “discover the creativity that you had long forgotten or never knew you had.” Cool!

POP & PAINT is a women owned business offering Sip n Paint classes at pop up locations around Portland, hence the name.

VINEGOGH is located in the heart of Selwood. This is Portland’s OG Sip n Paint.

 

 

Idea #2 – Enjoy a Couple’s Massage Without Ever Having to Leave Your Home!

Mobile massage is legit, you guys. And that is totally awesome because for those with a physical limitation, massaging outside of the home can sometimes be more hassle than it’s worth. And for someone who hates the whole greasy post-massage body having to interact with the outside world thing (that would be me), I love that mobile massage allows one to transition right from massage, to shower, to bed, or to whatever the night has in store. Ya know what I m saying (wink, wink)?

Check out these Websites / Apps for In-Home Massage:

ZEEL offers the quintessential couples massage in the convenience of your house. It’s easy! Book online and then 2 massage therapists with 2 massage tables show up at the same time and place to rub you and your boo.

SOOTHE also offers a couples massage, but the logistics are a bit different. In the case of Soothe, you book 2 back to back massage appointments for you and your boo, and then 1 massage therapist with 1 massage table shows up to work out those tight knots for a couple of hours. This option might be just as convenient for some couples, though in the Poor house this just wouldn’t make logistical sense.

Tip 1 – if you or your partner need some extra time or assistance transitioning onto a massage table, consider purchasing a new or used table (craigslist) and get ready ahead of time.

Tip 2 – I personally have only tried Soothe and had a nice experience. That said I have heard great things about Zeel.

Tip 3 (Riley Poor Tip)- Ri wanted me to recommend that all P.H.L. readers take some time in 2018 and find a skilled massage therapist that will make regular home visits. Agree! Thanks, Ri!

 

Idea #3 – Have Some Dessert Delivered to Your Door!

Shoot. You waited until the last minute and now every restaurant in town is booked solid on Valentine’s Day. What about dessert? Surely there must be somewhere you can go for a little dessert. Think again, my friends. But thankfully, everyone loves dessert and a Rom-Com (Chocolat, anyone?) in bed. I am a practical gal, you see, and I say if bed is where you want to end up with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day, I say make life easy and do the whole dang date from that singular locale. Technology makes this a snap!

If you are Portland based, check out these places that deliver:

PIX PATISSERIE is a little slice of France in Portland. Decadent chocolates, cakes, macarons, eclairs and more. They deliver 7 days a week through CAVIAR.

THE PIE SPOT does pie, cookies, scones, and things of that nature + they have stuff for the gluten free crowd and they offer lunch and dinner options. This northeast Portland based shop offers delivery through AMAZON RESTAURANTS.

SAINT CUPCAKE has the most darling cupcakes you ever did see. And they taste super yums too. Get yours through AMAZON RESTAURANTS.

 

I’m fresh out of ideas, so hopefully something in here will help create a little romance for you and yours! Thanks for reading, everyone, and have a lovely day! See you next time!

Drea

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We Don’t Miss Out On Much – A Backbones Blog Collaboration

Have you guys heard of BACKBONES?!?

This aptly named and totally awesome 501(c)(3) non-profit organization exists to “help people with spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D) and their families connect with their communities.” 

This girl right here (moi!) totally digs a mission of supporting community connection. Therefore, I dig BACKBONES and the refreshingly delightful stuff they get behind (take for instance their yoga discovery workshop for people with spinal cord injuries workshop this weekend in Tucson, Arizona – umm… why are Ri and I not going?!). After meeting founder and executive director, Reveca Torres, at the No Barriers Summit this past summer (remember that adventure?… click HERE to jog your memory), and instantly deciding that the rumors were true – she is wicked cool- I was stoked when she and I decided to do some blog collabs. Here’s a snippet of my premier post for the BACKBONES blog, and a link to read on directly from their site. 

We Don’t Miss Out On Much.

Part of the reason people are in a romantic relationship is to share hobbies and life experiences together, right?

So in my world, I am always pumped to explore some new something with my boyfriend Riley, who is a C5/6 quadriplegic. Of course, there are so many stereotypes about people living with physical disability, and when Ri and I first got together one or two of the naysayers in my life expressed concern over the things I would “miss out on,” simply by choosing to be in a relationship with someone with a spinal cord injury. I ignored those skeptics in favor of love, and over the years, we have (of course) honed in on how we, as a couple, seek fun. Here are our Top 3 Takeaways that might help others living a similar lifestyle to enjoy the adventures of life just as much as we do.

Itchin’ to read on? Click HERE to discover just what these 3 takeaways are all about.

And as always, thanks for reading, friends!! ~~Drea

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New Year and New Caregiver Conundrums

This last month has felt semi-dominated by the onboarding of Ri’s new care assistants.

And to be fair, part of that has a lot to do with how much I allow this process to infiltrate my headspace on any given day. But to also be fair, being down a few staff members means that I am the backup, which is only ideal for a limited amount of time. So in order to move me out of that role as quickly as possible and round out his team, Ri and I have both devoted a lot of the beginnings of 2018 to actively refreshing job ads, making phone calls, interviewing, hiring, training, and essentially spending our very early mornings and most evenings with people we don’t really know in some rather intimate scenarios that extend beyond our preferred girlfriend / boyfriend parameters. And we be tired, because change is hard, even though we know that these new changes will no doubt bring vibrant, capable individuals into our home.

So yesterday, I sat down at our kitchen island to cathartically write out my mind thoughts. Knowing that I wanted to blog candidly about the challenges that this complex caregiving topic presents, but also knowing that I wanted to be respectful of Ri’s perspectives, vulnerabilities, role as the employer, boyfriend, and, oh yes, the person actually requiring the care, I could not for the life of me figure out how to convey it all without editing my words through an elaborate filter &/or not, but potentially running the risk of coming across as overly emotional and a wee bit self absorbed. Yikes. That left my head confused and my heart a bit heavy as I wondered – even if I could wholeheartedly express my experience, who could possibly relate?

So I sat. And I stared. And my eyes caught on some smudgy old nearly illegible Andrea scribble schmeared across the dry erase board stuck to our refrigerator door. A quote or some random thought that occurred to me one day a number of months back read:

There is so much change in challenge. 

Ah, yes. So true. And if it were any other day that sentiment alone may have been enough to pump me full of positive vibes and set my head on straight as I very much believe in maintaining a perspective that sees change as auspicious and equates challenge with growth.

But I was tired, you see. I was tired of welcoming new people into our home with no guarantee that they would stick around. And I was tired of modeling hundreds of nuanced care steps because that meant I then had to watch on as unexperienced hands poked and prodded at my boyfriend. Shifting from being a girlfriend that helps with care stuff in ways that make sense within the relationship to a care assisting girlfriend, no matter how temporary, tugs at this delicately fearful place inside that never wants to put the overall health of our relationship at risk.

I was thinking about these things and perhaps shedding a tear or 2 as I walked over to the dry erase board, pushed the side of my fist against it, and somewhat aggressively erased and then ultimately rearranged the quote to read:

There is so much challenge in change.

Also a very true statement, and probably a big reason why people give up on change in favor of just doing whatever they be doing originally. I felt like I wanted to be a giver upper, just for a little bit. So I put a big X through my caregiver hiring task list for the day, hit the backspace button on my blog deleting the 3 sentences I spent an hour typing up, and went to meet up with a dear friend that I have known since middle school.

This friend and I talked about a lot of things, one being our mutal shock that next year is our 20 year high school reunion (irrelevant, except for the fact that being this old didn’t help my mood). After deciding that we still kinda sorta look the same as we did back in 12th grade and have accomplished some ok stuff between then and now, I listened in as she gave me a detailed account of just what it is like to be a working mom of 2 young kids + 1 new puppy. I was momentarily sidetracked by a cute little side story about her little one and thought to myself – oh my gosh a baby – Ri and I should totally have a baby (!!), but came to my senses when she explained just how limited her alone time (and even more importantly, her alone time with her husband) had become. Her life sounded damn difficult and chock with its own set of obstacles, but also completely wonderful in a way that seemed exactly right for her. And what a relief (and by relief I mean I broke down crying in the middle of a crowded restaurant), because I could totally relate to her life challenges, despite the difference in the details. Just connecting (and shedding my tears) with this friend of mine who was also stretched a bit thin and wearing one too many hats made me feel so much lighter, capable, and ready to push through this wave of change.

I spent some time reflecting today, and the truth is that for approximately 28 days each month, I am 99.5% in love with my life. That is some good living, y’all, and I ain’t got the time to forget that fact. It is clear though, that I need to reach out and talk to the people in my life when I need some support. I can be quick to assume they won’t get where I am coming from, but they always do.

In regards to the care stuff, Ri and I may always have a bit of an inner struggle with the fact that I sometimes need to step into that role unexpectedly. But I believe in our ability to work as a team and it seems that moments like these enable us to constantly improve our systems and make positive changes in our work home/work environment. And that helps all of us realize that while this caregiver stuff can sometimes feel like a conundrum, it is actually a truly wonderful gift. In my follow up post, I plan to talk more about some practical changes we have implemented over the years, and what changes may be on the horizon, so please check back in.

 

 

Thanks so much for reading, everyone. And HAPPY 35, Ri!

Drea

 

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Who We are and Why We are Here

Written by Drea 

Poor House Love is a blog about, you guessed it, LOVE!

Andrea and Riley met a few years back and have been building a life together ever since.

Riley is paralyzed from the chest down, though you might not realize that right away because he is impressively agile. He uses a wheelchair for mobility and has caregivers assist him around our home with their extra set of hands. While our love is extraordinary, our life is, well, actually quite ordinary (in a good way). So we often wonder- Why is it that so many people, perfect strangers, even, love to ask us questions about this love life of ours? People seem SO curious!

So, here we are. Baring it all on the world wide web! By sharing bits and pieces of our story, we aim to show that love comes straight from the heart, and has neither rules nor barriers. We are here to share the joys and the triumphs, as well as the hard times. We are here to be real and in between all of the talk about wheelchair/paralysis stuff, you can find posts sharing our love for accessible design, cooking, nutrition, gardening, action sports, and more.

Thanks for checking us out! Please Like, Comment, and Follow us on our journey!

riandi

 

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True Life at the Poor House

Source: True Life at the Poor House

Written by Drea

Hi! Allow me to introduce my family. We, (Riley, Andrea + Quill- cutest. dog. ever. seriously.) are the Poor’s.

We are a mid 30’s couple living our life of Riley (do you see what I did there!?) in our ever evolving/always a little bit under construction wheelchair accessible ranch home in Portland, Oregon. This blog is our love story and all the real life stuff that goes along with it.

Here is a little background to set the stage-

Ri and I took a leap into love a few years back and we have been totally stoked on our life together ever since! Now, it just so happens that Riley is in a wheelchair. Ri had a spinal cord injury 8 years ago and as a result, he is quadriplegic. Perhaps I will explain the specific physical implications of that in a later post, but for now, google can provide endless information about spinal cord injuries for those interested parties.

I, personally wouldn’t say that our life is much different than that of any young couple. We have all that normal stuff- wake up, go to work, feed the dog, cook dinner, watch movies…And we also have all that fun and exciting stuff that comes with being in love (use your imagination for that part). Of course, there are hard times too :(.

People often ask- How does paralysis /wheelchair life /stuff that comes along with Ri’s spinal cord injury affect your relationship? 

If I had to be honest, which I promise to do so henceforth, I would say that truthfully, it touches every square inch of our life together in some way, shape or form. Ri’s physical needs surrounding his injury define how we move about in this world as a couple because they are the non changing variable. Put differently- they set the beat, but together, we write the rhythm. And my life with Riley is absolutely music to my ears.

Poor House Love is a blog about Living and Loving. We thank you for reading and hope you will Like, Comment and Follow along with us!