My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Up in the air July 8, 2019

Filed under: Growing,Home improvement,Moving,Renovations — blankenmom @ 12:53 am
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A couple of years ago, I put in trellises for our raised garden beds.  My beds aren’t anything amazing, you can’t really get to fancy when you know you’ll be moving again, but for us, these are working pretty well.

I wanted something that even my 6′ husband could walk under, that was inexpensive and would accommodate changes.  With twine attached, this did all those things.

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However, the trellises were leaving something to be desired.  They kept flying away.

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We get pretty strong winds out here, and for the last two years at least one has been going down on a monthly basis.  Very frustrating.  After two flew away into the neighbors 20 acres and the 4th born and I had to run after them, I was done.

After constant repairs, readjustments, even bolting them down –  I needed to rethink the whole thing.

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These have been amazing!

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A little more than we had planned on spending, but, we can take them with us when we move and reuse them.

I’m very, very pleased with these so far after a couple of months of 40 mph winds – I haven’t had to catch even one!

If you’re looking for trellis idea’s for your garden, I highly suggest these.

At 4’11” I was able to pound the cattle fencing poles in rocky ground myself.  I was able to put the panels up myself.  The birds love them, and the plants are doing much better with these.

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How are your gardens growing this year?

 

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Time is relative July 1, 2019

Filed under: Church,Places,Random thoughts,What's happening — blankenmom @ 1:43 am
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This last weekend I helped a mom host a baby shower for her daughter.  She had never thrown one before, so I obliged, having thrown a few, and attended more than a few.

Keep in mind, I will give extra gifts to the expecting mom if she leaves me off the party list.  I genuinely do not enjoy these types of parties.  Give me a few friends, a quiet place and good food and that’s what I call a party.  I truly am not offended by not being invented if of course it wasn’t out of malice, in which case, you’re just going to get boring gifts – so there.

But I get her stress at trying to figure out the scheduling and invitations, and all that goes into one so I said of course.

Here is where things get more interesting…

Ok, the family is Mexican.  As in, straight up from Mexico.  And if you’ve spent even one event with a family of Mexican’s you already know, they’re going to be late.  And not like, 15 minutes late.  No, they’re going to be 1-2 hours late.  Usually two.  So when I was helping her get out the invites, I suggested giving them a two hour difference on their invitations, and she whole heartedly agreed specifically because we only had the room for two hours.

However, in all the chaos of the baby arriving very early, she forgot this step.

The baby shower turned into a “Welcome Baby” party, and the absolutely adorable 5 lb baby girl was adored by all!  Of course, mom arrived an hour late and new mom arrived an hour and a half late.  And all the guests arrived 15 minutes after that.  Leaving us with 15 minutes to swoon over yummy baby scent.  Thank you to the venue allowing us the room even after our time, since there were no more parties booked after us – that was awesome!

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I have a friend from Nigeria who is notorious for being 30 minutes late every where she goes.  During her cancer treatment, our bible study took turns taking her to her appointments.  Which in turn, also had the added benefit of getting her there on time.  “I’m on African time” she’d say in her thick musical accent.

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When we have parties with some friends out this way who are from various places south of the border, and a few of us North American’s, they will accordingly invite us all at different times.  We’ve had a good laugh over this –

White folks show up 15 minutes early.

Asians show up exactly on the dot.

Black folks show up about 30 minutes late.

Latinos show up 1-3 hours late.

Plan accordingly.

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For the first year we knew them we never met their family because we always left for church on Saturday night before their families even made it!  But once we got the schedules figured out, and we switched churches, those were the most amazing parties!

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The same was definitely true for the baby shower.  Once the waiting was over, for those of us who showed up 15 minutes early… or somewhere in between, meeting all their friends, trying out new foods, getting to hear their stories of how they know each other and them teaching about what their culture does with new babies, it was an excellent time.

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Every culture, and family, learns different customs.  It would be so boring to ignore them.  The more people I meet, the more interesting the world becomes.

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I was glad to be reminded of “African” time from my Mexican mom’s.  And see that time, is relative.

 

 

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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5 feet and several thousands under water May 13, 2017

 

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We get a lot of phone calls for “that house” from companies wanting us to renovate or do something new.  Our usual response being “Well, we hate the house, we’d like it to burn, but we like our renters and don’t want them dead, so… no, we don’t want (insert their product), thanks!”  Their usual reply is a laugh, “Gotcha – thanks!” and that’s the end of it.

The last company that called, all I heard back was “You don’t want your renters dead?”

 *EGADS*  

That’s all she got out of that?  I guess we won’t be using that one again.  I’m on some watch list now I’m sure.

 

I have great news… sort of?

 

We’ve been told “that house” has finally broken even, which means we could, possibly, maybe, sort of, *shrugs* sell it?

It’s weird though.  For ten years, this has literally been on my mind almost constantly.  Sad, I know.  But when you’re losing more than the house itself costs, and you *cannot* afford to just walk away (plus, we don’t think that’s ok unless you **really**, really can’t keep it any longer), and your previous renters have been dirt bags to the extreme (they left people poop in buckets ya’ll) it becomes this looming beast over your head.

We got in touch with our favorite realtor man who gave us our most recent, most epic renters; I mean, they pay on time, don’t do drugs, don’t bug the neighbors and, as far as I know, haven’t stolen anything from the house – I mean c’mon – can you get better than that?  He says the market is slightly turning in our favor, even though the house is built 5 feet below sea level two blocks from the ocean (seriously, what THE heck!) and may be a tough sell.  Ya think!?

While I hate to do this to our amazing renters, we need this.  We need this so bad.

 

Here is my bigger problem.

 

I am developing a relationship with this house like an abused spouse.  Not making light of those situations, but honest-to-goodness it is the best comparison I can make.  Realizing we could actually be done finally.  I started panicking.  The thoughts of what could go wrong, how much will *this* cost us, OMG’sh I think I may actually be too beaten down to go through this!  (If you’ve ever bought/sold a house on the east coast… you feel my pain – it’s crazy!!)

What do you do when you’re so tired of something slowly killing you, that you’re too tired to even stop it?

 

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The realtor has been amazing so far.  He lets me freak out.  He makes sure the paperwork is done.  He talks me down out of my panic.  He may not fully understand, but he does a great job of faking it.  And right now, that’s what I need – just little nudges, or maybe a giant push, off the cliff to get things going.

 

Now to hopefully get our ending started…

 

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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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No excuses… July 16, 2016

 

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I know it’s summer, and I could easily use this as an excuse for why I haven’t been here.  I could tell you fibs that we’ve been away on amazing trips, or laying around reading, or out hiking the near-by canyons.

We haven’t.

We’ve been mostly home.  We’re poor.  We aren’t even having a “stay-cation”.  Poor people don’t do that.

Oh wait, my dentist man had his two-week-tour, becoming my sailor man while away at 29 Palms.  Just the vacation every man wants. (read sarcasm)  100* at night, 120* during the day.  Peering into marines mouths that haven’t brushed for two weeks, or bathed, or washed their uniforms.  Let’s just say he was a little more than excited to be back this year.

 

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I have gotten a few projects finally completed.  A child almost moved out, picked up a part time job (see above about being poor), and some projects for the clinic and the house.

I’ve also been “torturing” my children with continued math tutoring through the summer.  While we did end up taking July off so the tutor could take her needed trips, that still only gave them a month off, and she left work for them to do while she was gone. HA!

Ok, we did get a mini trip out to my dentist man’s practice for a few days, but mostly it was because we had dental appointments, and it was Independence Day.

Summer time is a slow time in the dental world, people vacationing, beautiful outside, and having fun makes them not want to be in the chair.  And so is our budget then, when you’re still paying off student loans and a practice… and repairs from your former renters… still.  And the renovations… oh the slow, slow renovations.  But we are making progress.

Here are a few things I’ve completed during my time away –

I do believe I’ve mentioned before that I volunteer at a medical clinic, where our mission is to just love every person who comes in to see us, no matter what.  I teach parenting classes once or twice a month, and was recently asked if I could help out with some updating.  While we’re still in the middle of updates, here are a few things we’ve gotten completed.

 

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All forty weeks of pregnancy up in our classroom.  So the parents who come in can see where they’re at.

 

One picture was taken by one of our new dad’s and the other was taken by my son’s girlfriend.  The boards on the adjacent walls were made a few weeks ago.  I didn’t even realize it until I saw them all up that the colors matched the pictures!

 

The rooms have been newly painted.  Pictures up on the walls.  New furniture and decorations and more to come…

 

And around here –

 

(No looking at the mess – I can either renovate or clean.)

I have the stained cabinets back up and the new lights finally installed!  Ok, I admit I did end up having to call an electrician when I couldn’t get the flexible drill bit out of the wall.  Once he came out we realized it wasn’t my fault.  There was a stray piece of wood left in the wall that neither of us anticipated.  His bit slid right passed it and within minutes, we had the cord up the wall.  He left the rest up to me.  Great guy – he’ll be back out for the bathroom fan during the winter when it isn’t 120* in the attic.

But here are our new lights!  We’re actually thinking of changing them to brown bottles.  I’ll keep you posted on that.  But they’re up and working and the was the main issue!

And just as an FYI, clear bottles cut the easiest, followed by blue, brown and green very. dead. last.  I have no idea how red cuts.  Couldn’t find them anywhere?

I also learned that I don’t like champagne on this project.  After six bottles of it.  Bleh!  (Not in one sitting.)

And finally –

 

Today I managed to get the spare bathroom counter and sink finished.  From the 1980’s to the 21’st century… except we’re going for an old pub look, so… I’m not sure how that one works out?

During any down time, I’m still plugging away on a dear friends memory quilt.  You know, it’s only been a year.  But I did warn her that I was very slow, so hopefully she didn’t think I was exaggerating.

As for the remainder of the projects, I have taken up a part time job in the natural food dept. at the local grocery store to help pay for said projects, while my dentist man pays off the remainder of the repairs for “that house”.  (Yes, we’re still paying off repairs two years later – that’s how bad it was.)  Together we might get this life thing tackled.

 

Someday, we’ll take an actual vacation.  But now is not that time.  For now I’ll take my quiet, morning bible studies with the fur-babies.

 

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Flying time December 21, 2015

 

 

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Do you realize how long it’s been since I’ve sat down here?  I don’t mean to write, I mean, just to sit.  I’ve even been standing to eat the last few weeks while I attempt to fit every last thing in.

If it’s not Christmas related, it’s school related.  If it’s not school related, it’s drivers-ed related.  If it’s not drivers-ed related, its youth group.  If it’s not youth group, it’s renovation related.  If it’s not renovation related, it’s “that house” related.

I’m so tired of relations and we haven’t even seen the real ones yet!

Christmas presents have been bought, knitted, sewn, made, and wrapped (or shipped) and were even under the tree for a few nights before being sent off with the big man himself.  Yes, that’s right, my dentist man.  I sent them off today in his big red, all wheel drive sleigh since we’ll be over on his side for Christmas, and we couldn’t fit the gifts and the dogs.  Our tree is a bit saddened by this, but the quiet will do it some good.

 

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The boys have two weeks off, which so far the one day they’ve been officially off, has been pretty awesome!  We’re one of the few places in the country getting snow this year I hear, so the boys spent their day sledding down our hill.  No tutoring this week.  And no youth group.  Just a really long drive to the “wet side”.  But, they both get drive time in, under snowy conditions, so I guess it’s still school time?

 

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I’m taking this week off from renovations.  It’s a short week for us anyways since we’ll be gone, but the feeling of not working on it tonight is actually throwing me off a bit.  I even worked on it the former Saturday, like I said I wouldn’t, so my dentist man wouldn’t come home to a pulled apart bathroom.  So far the cabinets are the exact color I want, I just wished the laundry rooms were also?

 

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This Saturday was spent cooking, baking cookies and watching Christmas movies.  (Ok, yes I do hate cooking, but a magical thing happens when you do it.  Your children pop out of all sorts of nooks and crannies and talk to you and help and watch movies with you.  It’s worth the loathsome act of cooking.)  Seriously, could life get any better than that?  It was a small reprieve for my overly stressed out brain.

 

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Two weeks ago we found out that one of our student loan bills would be going from $400 a month to $1800.  That means we’ll be paying about $3000 a month total.  That’s about $2000 more than we have to pay them.  But you know what – we could have had that payment go up while dealing with the renters and losing $3000 to them, so, God *is* good!  *I keep repeating to myself as I try to figure out how to pay the new payment*

Today *I* spent the day standing out in front of an insurance company that sells Travelers (not to be confused with travel insurance) insurance with a big sign in protest of them not covering last January’s burst water pipes at “that house”.  Why yes… I have lost my mind.  Thank you for asking!  Claiming that it was our fault for not being there when the water company *didn’t* shut the water off as promised.  I stood out in below freezing temps, in the snow, on a street corner with my sign and fliers.  I even handed out candy canes when people would stop at the lights.  It is the Christmas season after all.

 

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When I got home, there was a note informing me that there is a letter waiting for me at the post office for me from said insurance company.  It’s either the check they owe us, or a court order.  So tomorrow will either be spent paying off repairs and sledding with the boys, or standing out front of another insurance company.  As long as I tell the truth, they can’t tell me to stop.

 

So neener.

 

I guess time really does fly by when you’re having… um… fun?

 

But this Christmas looks to be a good one, with snow and family.  Can’t beat that.  I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Wonderful Hanuka, Festive Solstice or just a plain old Happy Holidays!

 

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