My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Cat got your home July 22, 2019

Filed under: Animals,Moving,Pets — blankenmom @ 11:27 pm
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This is “the black cat”.  Any cat that comes on our property gets fixed now.  After a litter of kittens were born in our bushes, we weren’t going through that chaos again.  So far this year we’ve fixed 9 cats.  Including this guy.

Handsome fellow!

We got him fixed a month ago and he was very not pleased.  He actually escaped the very large kennel we had him in for recovery.  That had never happened before!  And off he went.  And we expected it to be like normal and we’d never see him again.  He’d be out in some field near by hunting mice for me like the rest of the feral’s.

Two weeks ago he came back.  Skin and bones, with a scar on his nose and begging for help.  I made sure he had food outside and figured that would be the end of it since he wasn’t friendly.

Apparently being mean goes out the window when you’re hungry.  He figured out how to get in our cat door, or meow out front until he got in.  My husband was not thrilled.

With four cats already, two more than we had planned on, and a move to a studio apartment over a dental office in our near future, a fifth cat wasn’t happening.  And frankly, I am ok with that.  However, I’m not willing to just chuck him out either.

 

We contacted our vet and got several rescue numbers, most of which didn’t want him because he was about a year old.  I appreciated their honesty on why they didn’t want him.  (People don’t want cats, they want kittens.  They don’t have room for cats that stay that long.)  One did say to come in so they could look him over.

I went in last Wednesday to a small building behind several others.  Hard to find, but once I saw the kennels I knew I was at the right place.  I walked up to the door to my “appointment” and realized there were about 15 other people in the tiny front room.  The woman inside yelled “Come in quickly!”  So I did.

I found a seat and placed the carrier on my lap.  For an hour I watched the large woman wheel around the room in her office chair going between sick, tiny kittens broken up by an adult cat or two.  She’d sit at her desk, pulling them out of their kennels one-by-one to inspect eyes, noses, and ears.  Often giving medications to the ones they decided to keep.  Others were sent home to wait for pick up the next week.

Between each feline check, she would spray herself down with Lysol, filling the room with a thick fog.  Since I had never used Lysol, I hadn’t realized I was not compatible with the product.  As my throat swelled up, lungs started burning and voice started leaving, I wondered if I should sit out on the hot porch while I waited?

One woman announced to the room that she couldn’t make it the week before because she had a mental breakdown and couldn’t make it.  Fair enough.  Not something I was prepared for in this setting however.  They went on for about 20 minutes between talking about her breakdown and discussing how amazing the cat’s eyes were.  It was decided that he’d be on the next transport to the closest rescue.

A few more people later, and we were down to myself and another woman who was very pleased with herself and her abilities as a rescuer.  “I’ll go last.  I think we have a lot to talk about.” she declared to the person checking the animals.

“I guess it’s your turn.” the rescue worker said as she pointed to my kennel.  I moved the kennel to the desk and set it down.  Without even opening the door, she shined a light on him and said “I won’t even take this cat out.  He’s got ringworm.  Highly contagious.  It takes weeks to see if he actually has it, and weeks to cure it.  Take him to a vet and bring him back once it’s treated.”  I was a bit shocked, but that’s their rule.

I went home and made the appointment with our vet.  A few days later, he was in the kennel again headed to the vet.  He was loved on by all the workers because he really is pretty awesome.  The vet got out his light, and checked the scar in question, which was nearly gone by this point.  He went over the crusty nose issue with the light, and a swab.  Nothing showed up.  The vet was stumped.  “I don’t know what she saw?  There isn’t anything now?  I mean, maybe?  Could be?  It’s possible?” he stood there looking at the handsome cat in front of him.

“Ok, lets do it this way.  I need this cat to be adopted.  Would it hurt him if we just gave him the meds for just-in-case?”  He looked at me not expecting this response.  “Well, no?  And it would probably clear up the crusty nose issue?  It’s probably just some sort of cat cold he picked up in the wild, so I can give you the meds and it should clear everything up?”

“Excellent – lets get it going!”

I walked out with a healthy cat, but toting meds.  For someone who rarely uses medication, this was new for us.

I waited over the weekend, frustrated at the situation, and listening to a grouchy dentist man.

Today I posted him one last time on our local FB page.

I am happy to say, there are at least seven people asking to look at this handsome boy!  And one crazy man who keeps asking why I didn’t use that particular rescue.  There always has to be a crazy one.

Definitely a new experience for us, but he’ll be going to a fantastic home by this weekend.

 

Floored July 15, 2019

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If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know that we’ve been attempting renovations for the last 6 years.

We bought our house knowing it would need massive updating from its original 1979/1980’s interior.  It was a challenge.  It was made even more of a challenge when “that house” started to take over reality.

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Reality fought back for control and we’ve started to actually get things done!

The family requested floors first.  (If I had to do it over again, it would be far, far lower on my list… like after plumbing.  Seriously.  Do plumbing first.)

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For 5 years, we walked around on subflooring.  And I have to admit, it started to grow on me.  You could spill anything and it didn’t matter.  I even started toying with the idea of just sanding it down a bit and leaving it.

Yeah, I was getting desperate.

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But we got a break after I quite work and had a little extra money left over to finally buy some flooring.  It took about a year to get it in, but… it’s in.  And it’s fantastic!

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Let’s start with the fact that we have two dogs.  Two dogs that NEVER leave my side.  Seriously.  If I leave the house, when I get home, they are up my keester.  The big dog actually left a nose print on my “crack” last week after I got home.

So, I had to do the floors creatively.

We’ll start off with the boards.  8 ft by 8″ pine from Lumber Liquidators.  They were amazing through the whole process!  We paid in installments and when I came to pick it up in my old truck, they had me call when I got home to make sure I made it all the way (an hour and a half drive in a truck with a broken speedometer.)  We wanted lots of knots and weird marks.  I would have preferred just boards, but they came interlocking.  We rolled with it.

The “stain” is coffee.  We used free coffee grounds from the local coffee shop.  (We’ll also be using it for the trim now too because we can’t get a good color match with actual stain.)  The darker you want the color, the more coffee “brew” you “paint” on.  Our floor took about 11 coats.  (The trim is taking about 13.)

The final protective coats were Tung oil and Waterlox.  I was trying to keep it as natural as possible since the pets would be on it all day long and we’d be smelling it for weeks before it dried.  I don’t have babies any longer, but it would be safe for them also.  Tung oil is what they used to use to waterproof boats.  It smells yummy!  Like chocolate.  So when I used D-Limonene to “water” it down for the first few coats it smelled like a chocolate-orange factory!  Fantastic the first few days, not so much after a month or so.  And finally Waterlox for the final two coats.  It’s not completely natural, but it’s about as natural as you’re going to get for durability and shine (along with it’s waterproofness for the big drooly dog!)  My dentist man wanted it “super shiney” as his only request and Waterlox has that!

I spent 5 years researching.  I am very satisfied with my choices.

To be honest though, I didn’t want perfection.  I wanted cracks between the boards.  I wanted scratches to happen.  I wanted discoloration over time.  I could have put on a few more coats for perfect protection, but I really didn’t want that.  I wanted an old, lived in look.  It was going to happen with any floor we put it, so we might as well make it a feature!

I picked underlayment that was recycled, “slightly” natural and helped cut down on the noise between floors.  A huge issue we have.

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Because of the dog/butt issue, I couldn’t just put the floor down and then stain it.  No.  No that would have been entirely too simple.

So, instead, I did 15 stained/coated boards at a time, and then tilted them up against any available wall.  ANY wall, while they dried.  Boards were everywhere.  The family loved it…not.  But they could at least see progress.

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I am VERY satisfied with the final product!  They turned out great!  And other than a massive flood in the bathroom, they’ve done perfect!  The dogs drool all over the floors, new kitten accidents, leaking plants, a leak in the kitchen, it’s taken it all without any issues.

The only thing I’d change – I wanted nails for the “authentic” look, but should have just put the holes in for the look instead.

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Our final touch, before sealing everything up, was of course…

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I managed to get two boys to let me paint chalk outlines of them before laying the underlayment.  It’s awesome – love my boys!

 

 

A purrrrrfect way to end the summer September 9, 2018

Filed under: Animals,Family,Hubby,Moving,Pets — blankenmom @ 11:36 pm
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Among our other comings and goings of the summer, most of which all came in August, were a several sets of animals.

 

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Spare – the cat that adopted us, and helped ease out our much loved cat of 21 years, disappeared late last Spring.  Not uncommon where we live.  Coyotes, various eagles, large owls, skunks and other bigger, grouchier animals make it a dangerous life out here.  He was one handsome fellow – and an amazing hunter.

 

He is very missed.

 

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Sammie the Bearded Dragon – I was totally in love with this girl!  She roamed free around the house during the day.  Having a ton of windows paid off  with her – she sat in each one!  She got along great with the dogs.   And kept me company in the kitchen (not on the counter – lots of hand washing).  She came outside with us to do yard work and gardening.  Her favorite place of course was the open pasture outback of our house – where she was nearly impossible to find.  She was about 3-4 years old by the time we got her, and we had her about 6 months when she passed.  She died very happy I’d say though – running back and forth through the soaker hose out front.  Vet said is was just her time.

 

She is very missed.

 

Come August.  When we were scheduled to be gone every weekend.  (For people who rarely take trips other than to move, this was a crazy concept!)  A kitten popped out of our bushes near our house.  We looked for more, but none could be found.  We got ourselves a new cat!  One very brave little boy, about 4 weeks old, who adores the dogs, even if they don’t appreciate him quite the same way.  We had been himming and hawing over getting a new one; the cost, a 20 year commitment when the boys were going to be moving out soon, a smaller place in two years.  That sort of thing.  But we also had a major mouse problem thanks to the people behind us doing massive construction out in their field.  So, I prayed on it a bit.  Be careful what you pray for – God is a generous giver!

We left for a family reunion.  Big dog, little dog and new kitten in tow.

When we got back, we could hear at least one more little one in the bushes?!  And when I went to look – there were several bodies moving through the branches of our huge evergreen.  I bought a trap ASAP and first thing we caught was mama.  And BOY was she thrilled with this!  We didn’t intend to catch her first, but we rolled with it.

Mama cat will be getting fixed here shortly and released back into our yard.  Not friendly, but didn’t rip my face off either.  And she’s an excellent mouser, so we didn’t want to lose that.  She’ll be well taken care of as a “barn cat” on our property.

Two days later, two more kitties.  One boy and one girl.

Next day, two more kitties.  Two more girls.  One completely different than all the others, and the runt (runts are always my favorite).

That evening, the dad.  We’d never seen him in our yard before – stealthy big guy!  And we had no intention of catching him, seems as how we didn’t even know he was there.  But he was promptly fixed the next day by our awesome vet and released back into our yard.  Hey, we need all the help we can get with those mice!

 

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While all this was happening, we needed to leave again for the weekend.  The thought of spending two nights in a hotel room with two dogs and five kittens was just a bit much, and we couldn’t call off our trip.  We managed to find some poor kid at the very last minute to come watch the whole herd without so much as a plan!  “Just keep everyone alive until we get back and can figure out what to do with them.”  And he succeeded.  He even picked up the dad cat from our vet and released him for us, and found a home for one of the kittens.

One geriatric mastiff, one asthmatic pug, five 5 – 6 week old kittens, one ticked off mama stuck in our garage, and one probably not so happy dad.  All still alive and (mostly) happy.

Not bad for a 16 y/o!

I’ve never seen my husband become such a moosh before?  But really, five puff balls are hard to resist!  (Unless you have allergies.)

But if we’re going to be honest, four remaining cats is a bit much.  Especially when we move to our studio in a few years.  So we’re looking for homes for two.  In the middle of “kitten season”.  No worries – they will be taken care of no matter what.  Like I said, we need “barn cats”.

 

Instead of a mouse problem, we have a kitten problem.  Which is not too bad of a problem to have.

 

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Our trips are over.  School has started back up.  Pitter-patter of tiny paws can be heard all over the house.  And not a mouse to be found.

Not a bad way to end the summer!

 

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Cleaning weekend away April 2, 2017

Filed under: Family,Knitting,Military,Pets,Places,Sewing — blankenmom @ 11:22 pm
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Last week, poor Lady was tripoding (walking on only three legs) due to her arthritis in a back leg.  Bad breeding from meth heads does that.  Along with bad genes, too many litters too soon, her body won’t last as long as even the normal short life of a healthily bred mastiff.  But we’ll love her anyways, all the way to the end, hopefully several years from now.  But… it will take a lot of work between now and then to keep her comfortable.

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Cleaning up other peoples messes, always does take a lot of work, doesn’t it.

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However, that doesn’t stop us from needing cleanings.  And when your dentist lives four hours away, you make a weekend of it.  Thank goodness my dentist man has an apartment above his practice, or we’d be sleeping in his dental chairs for the weekend!

We left her and her sister home with the second-born and pain meds, so she wouldn’t have to work the stairs while she’s in so much pain and over work that leg.  He now appreciates me being home and getting to pee by himself, and the girls are ecstatic that I was back home to stalk.

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While we were there though, we had a nice time relaxing, talking, trying some locally brewed cherry hard cider, a bit of a family Doctor Who marathon and a short trip to the cold, cold ocean.  And then headed back home again.  It’s always tough to come back after our trips, but it is nice to be home.

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He has reserve duty this weekend though, so we won’t see him for another two weeks  Glad we made the trip.

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In the four hour trip there, the four days we were there, and the four hours back, I finished knitting up a pair of gloves that still need to be felted, got as far as I could with a baby gift (waiting for more yarn) and only have a row left putting the quilt pieces together.  (The batting shows up this week – I will be showing that off next weekend – it’s pretty cool… or should I say warm?)

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A busy couple of weeks, but very productive and yet, relaxing.

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~ That’s a good life.

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Sitting…. February 18, 2017

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Family,Knitting,Pets,Sewing — blankenmom @ 8:16 pm
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After severely spraining my wrist two weeks ago, I was told not to use it, or at least as little as possible, for three weeks.  “No sewing, no knitting, no renovations, very little housework or walking your dogs on leash.”  (I was walking them when it happened.)

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Well why not just shoot me now!  Let’s add no breathing to that list too.  Sheesh!

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So… here I sit.  Bored out of my ever living gourd and driving my family nuts.  The two remaining at least.  Two went very happily to camp for four days.  The other two poke their head into my sewing room every few hours to make sure I haven’t started smacking my head against the desk in boredom.

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I give a shout out to the ladies put on bed rest for months – I am losing my mind!

All my plans for deep cleaning.  Getting back on track with the renovation and my sewing machine humming again.  Making the dogs a new fluffy bed.  Gone.  Here I sit.  Staring at YouTube, Pinterest and Netflix.  Window shopping yarn, fabric, pattern and remodeling stores.  I officially loathe them all.

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The grey soggy skies slowly melting the still foot deep, now slushy snow.  Not even the sun to cheer me up, or the sparkling clean snow to look at.  Just the repeated dripping off the roof.

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And on top of that – sitting apparently makes me tired.  Which then makes me even grouchier.

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I think I heard my dentist man talk about leaving to his practice early tomorrow?  And the second born has asked to go with him?  Pffftttt – wusses!

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Apparently I’m not a good sitter.

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…one more week to go.

 

Some sort of new year January 2, 2016

Filed under: Family,Pets,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 7:44 pm
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Happy New Year to everyone!  

 

Something we can all share in.  No religious, cultural, or ethnic differences there, we all experience the new year.  Like birth and death, we all experience it differently, but we all experience it none-the-less.

And in the same way, we look forward to the upcoming year in different ways.

Our last few years have been a little rough.  And my normally “Pollyanna’ish” outlook has become a bit less as of late.  In other words – I was dreading the upcoming year.  All I could see were more rental issues.  More military issues.  More teenager issues.  More… issues.  And another move and a lot of chaos where I’d rather have some peace.

And right as I was attempting to pull myself out of the funk before the new year struck, Travelers, the insurance company for American Water denied our claim (stating that the water issue was our fault), our van door handle broke, and my dentist man’s CRV’s wiring went haywire causing his front lights to go out randomly.  And the pug has a giant… something on her nose.

Excellent start to the new year already.

And this is where I had to make a choice.  Probably a choice a lot of us have to make.

How are we going to head into this next step?   How are we going to look at life and what comes at us?

I can’t just drop the last year and all it’s mess, life doesn’t work that way.  So I head into this new year tired, run down, full of dread.  But, I also head into it with a lot more wisdom.  A lot more knowledge.  And lot more faith.  And just as I was about to give up, and just let everything fall apart around me, I was reminded that this isn’t for me to carry.  I need to hand this last worn and heavy year off the Lord, and allow Him to hand back the new year.  Fresh and light.  And I’ll walk through it with Him, battle worn and marked with scars from all the years before, so that I can remember what He’s carried me through.

We shouldn’t pretend that we’re not affected and that we’re all ready for the next step.  It’s ok to admit when you need help to move on.  The important part, is that you do move on.

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So forgive me if I don’t say that I’m completely stoked for the upcoming year.  I can say, that I am excited to tell you about how I got through it.

 

 

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And I can’t wait to see watch how great your new year goes!

 

 

 

 

First month of summer…. June 29, 2015

Filed under: Home improvement,Pets — blankenmom @ 8:35 pm
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I don’t know about everyone out there, but over here, it’s flipping hot!  I didn’t move to Arizona for a reason.  I like summer, I don’t like Hades.  Right now, we’re teetering on Hades.  Over 100* for three weeks keeps me cooped up inside the house for far too long.  And the bag of cheese – curds I threw at my husband last night may be a good indication I need out of the house longer than to just water my plants.  And for those of you who live in hotter than that climates… my hat’s off to you.  I want back outside!

I’m still working on the house here.  I think it will be a looooong process, since the money we were going to use for it went to cover “that house”.  A “small” loss, in the mid five-figure range that the state has said is part of doing business with them.  The so-called “can’t lose any money” they touted on their paperwork turned out to be not so true.  Noted.  Don’t do business with the government.  Ever.  *cough* still waiting on military pay too!!

But the repairs are all done with and the insurance company is now slowly doing their part for the water damage.  No worries – it’s not like we need that money or anything?

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Camera’s are up – and are awesome!  I love being able to see what’s going on over there.

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Now – new renters.  Not sure if that’s said with excitement or dread?

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Our “Spare” cat is no longer spare.  Our 20-year-old cat, that we had for 18, developed a fast growing tumor in her mouth.  (I’ll spare you the picture.)  Not wanting her hurting any longer than she had to, we opted to quickly put her down.  There is a good reason she lived for so long – she was one ornery cat!  She has taken two trips through the dryer (one of those for almost an hour – thank goodness for cloth diapers!), had her tail slammed in a car door.  Was lost in a drug store for a week, the ceiling, and the crawl space.  She survived four boys, four dogs and a new cat 15 years her younger that she could still take down a few pegs.  She’s seen more states than most people can name.  It took 2 vet techs and a vet to get the IV in and two of the heart stopping shots to get her to go down.  And I was with her to the very last.

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That a’girl!

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(And if you’re keeping track, that’s 4 pets, in 3 years.  The others are starting to get nervous.)

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Can’t you tell? That’s the look of fear right there. Three very stressed out pets.

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But not one to sit around too much thinking about what I can’t fix.  I opted to take down a few things and to stitch up a few things instead.  Four babies in one week makes for a busy sewing schedule!  I also finally picked out the last thing for the house – the bathroom tile!  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I’m having a hard time with the ceiling paint.  Did you know that when you paint the ceiling the color is different from on the wall?  And… why can’t I find light tan paint?

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The slate matches perfectly with the fireplace – what we’re decorating around. If you can’t change it, use it!

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The paint on the far left is the same as on the wall?

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This is how I know my dentist man loves me. He comes home from his two-week tour to this and says nothing.

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No, these aren’t the hardest decisions in my life, these are just the minor distractions from the infuriating ones.  Let’s see what excitement the second month of summer brings!

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pug and spare