My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Just finished! April 1, 2015




I’m finished.  Done.  Throw up my hands in so much not caring any longer.  Throw in the towel.  Finito.  Terminado.  Fertig.  Criochnaithe.  Fartik.  However you want to say it.  I’m finished


If you want me, I’ll be under my desk… hiding.  Possibly with some wine.  And a coloring book.



If the best part of your week is “Well, at least no one’s died so far.”, you’re not doing so hot.  Granted, the second-born’s oral surgery went well today and I did get to laugh at him a bit when he kept repeating himself, and petting me.  Not so funny when he keeps trying to open the car door on the way home.

With the insurance company coming out last week to “that house” to try to get us a bit more money from the water company’s insurance company, and saying “Well, we can get you more, but not enough.”, yeah, not cool.

When you’re actually excited one of the repair bills “doesn’t cost over $1000”.

Taxes due.  And in all new and confusing ways because of the new practice.

And when a close family member passed in a sudden and tragic way last week.  Definitely not cool.  Still working that one out.  Prayers would be welcome.


At a certain point you just look up and say “Really?  I mean really?”


But a slow progression to getting things done is creeping back in.  A small, but important one is the quilt I had been working on.  I finished it yesterday with its final ironing… and cat hair removal.  No thanks to the cat who then proceeded to lay on it again behind my back.






Quilting is not my favorite, nor is it what I’m best at.  But I will make them on a rare occasion for someone special.

Mostly done by hand, excluding putting the blocks together, all the quilting, applique and border were done by hand.  A labor of love.  Hopefully the recipients feel it when it arrives.  (The paranoid part of me hopes they don’t look at it and think “Seriously?  What was she thinking?”  But I’m squashing her back into her hiding place and sending it anyways.)  These people have been amazing to us over the last 5 years and I’d do just about anything for them.

She gave me her kimono before we left to see if I could fix it, but wasn’t able to repair the damage because of where it was.  In frustration she just said “Toss it then.”  Bought on a work trip to Japan several years earlier, couldn’t bear to since it was her favorite.  So I kept it all these years and moves until I figured out what to do with it.  And this is what I ended up with.  The flowers are from the kimono and the blocks are all the different shades from the fabric.






I wanted the flowers to move like they were floating in the wind, like the blossoms in Japan.  One stray even floated to the back.




Sorta wished I had moved it further down, but too late now.



With that finished and about 3 other sewing projects lined up to be mailed out, I’m able to move on to a few other projects on the less expensive end.  And a new gift from the hubby to assist in the home reno project will help immensely!  It’s not expensive, but it’ll help a ton.





The second-born was joking the other day that we should start buying and laying the floor a board a day.  He may be on to something there?

I’m hoping that with a few projects to finish, my heart will begin to mend the loss of my loved one and I’ll start to feel normal again.

And hopefully with some new renters in soon, the nightmare of the last two and half years with “that house” will finally be over and we can start to move on.


I know there will be a few more hiccups, hopefully with no more major losses anytime soon, and we can finally say were finished.  And smile.







Saying AMEN! Even when ice skating through the kitchen. January 17, 2015



snow 2




Things are settling into a groove for the new year here in our blankenworld.


My dentist man is working solely at his own practice now – even got a write-up in the local paper!   But I can wholeheartedly say it is a bit scary, but the man has never failed at anything, so between him and the good Lord, I’m not sweating it… too much.


The boys are back to school and staying ahead of schedule; even starting to talk about getting together with some friends.  Which is nice to finally hear!






Trim and more flooring is being removed… none being laid, but we’ll get to that someday.



neked floors



The only thing really not moving forward is “that house”.  It’s actually headed in the wrong direction.  I know – you’re shocked!  I mean really, when is it not?






While texting a very good friend out there who has been especially helpful after the eviction, a whole thought process started.


Through this whole catastrophe, we have found we have some really, really wonderful people backing us.  For someone like myself who trusts no-one (I mean really, why would I?), there really are a lot of people to thank!  However having these three people (and their spouses), bending over backwards for us has been such an eye opener that there really are people that won’t let you down.  And through it, I’ve found that stressing does no more than make me ill, grouchy, grey, wrinkly and not very fun to be around.


And those two items all combined this week.


Tuesday, one of them discovered a skating rink on the first floor due to the water company failing to shut the water off when scheduled, before the big freeze.  He just happened to be checking in on the house when he found water gushing from two locations.  He climbed through snow and mud to turn off the water valve under the house to stop the gushing water, in his business clothes.  Another one’s spouse, rushed over to try and remove as much water (now frozen) from the floor, counters and filled sink as he could before work.  But the damage from a week of flowing, and freezing water was already done.  The final person, after hearing this, came over to assess the damage for me as soon as he heard.  He is the one who replaced all this just the year before.

And that’s when he found it.  The former renter didn’t think it was enough to steal the power meter (which is why we still have no power) and the baseboard heaters, but he decided to take the pipe that catches the excess gas that comes from the intake valve (or some-such jargon).  Which was fine for their family, since the gas company turned the gas off for none payment.  But had we turned the gas back on before we had found it, the house would have gone up!




Good for us – we’ve been begging for that house to go away!  Not so good for the gas man… or if delayed, the workmen fixing everything the renters had broken.  Or… our next renters and their children.

I am learning, through this “lovely” house, that God does things for a reason.  It may not be pleasant, but if you’re paying attention even in the slightest (which unfortunately I’m usually not), He is yelling in His loudest whisper, what we really need to know.


If we didn’t still have that giant money pit, I wouldn’t have learned that I can give, even when things get really hard.

If we didn’t still have that piece of crap, I wouldn’t have learned to trust Him in all things.  Like say, buying a new practice.

If we didn’t still have that stupid house, I wouldn’t have learned to trust people.  Well, not all people.  The renters proved that.

If we didn’t still have that freaking *&$, I wouldn’t have learned that sometimes, a seemingly bad thing, is really a blessing in disguise.


If the water lines hadn’t of broken, the house would have killed someone.   That is the last thing I ever want to happen!

The water company is paying for the damages and so far are being great about it.  I am taking a deep breath and taking it as it comes.  Stressing isn’t going to change the wet, warped floors, cabinets and walls.  Nor is it going to get the utilities hooked up or the gas line fixed.  It’s not going to make us more money or bring a renter in any faster.

And as I’ve learned this last year, through court dates, nasty texts, repair jobs, skating rinks and theft; the more stink that happens – the more I should give.  The more I give – the better life gets.  The better life gets – the more I want other people to feel the same way.


Yes, even the former renters.  (You know, once they stop stealing.)



~So giving I’ll do~




I’m smack in the middle of one of my friends blankets.



quilt flowers



I just finished another round of baby blankets.



cat - blanket



And I’m about to work on pillow cases for more foster kids.








I’m going to say Amen – and start charging money for the skating rink in my kitchen!








Tragic comedy of being responsible August 27, 2014




My dentist man is back from his camping trip with the Marines out in the field.  For my former airman turned sailor, it wasn’t quite as cushy as he would have liked.  But he’s a trooper (or a sailor I should say) and sucked it up and made it through.  Nothing like working on mouths that haven’t seen a tooth brush in two weeks to make you yearn for the luxuries of a ship!  Let alone his excitement over a real toilet again.


As for me, my callouses are beginning to heal and I look less like a losing prize fighter each day.  Must be time to work on some more linoleum?  


The day after his return, we enjoyed our 19th anniversary in style.  A movie you can eat in.  As I tell him – it’s a date for married people.  No chit-chatting over dinner, we already know what’s going on with each other.  And a nice action flick, no unnecessary romance, he already knows he’s got a sure thing waiting for him.  What – it’s been two weeks people!


As we’re getting ready for back-to-homeschool, I thoroughly enjoy walking past all the frantic parents trying to shop their schools list, I feel a certain giddiness.  Until I realize I need to buy the boys all new laptops because theirs won’t run any longer with their school programs.  (No raised eyebrows please, we get netbooks.  The cheapest ones we can buy.  I can usually get 2-3 years out of them.  Then we wipe them, and give them to another family or two.) 

I hear “Pfffttt – but your husbands a dentist, like this is a big issue for you?”

Normally no.  Even with our ginormous student loans, cost of being a doctor (insurances, required on-going learning and what not’s), we do fine.  I’m a saver, so we do fine even in dry times, however we’re experiencing the most bizarre financial issues as of late?  Normally I wouldn’t discuss such things, but they’re just too bizarre NOT to talk about!


Our renters out in “that house”, or as I’ve started calling it “Goliath” to remind me it can be defeated, broke a window, lost several screens, ruined the shower/tub area and…. couldn’t replace the batteries in the smoke detector, all without informing us, causing the state housing authority to deny us payment when they came to do their yearly inspection, until we get such items fixed.  


I want you to sit and grasp this for a moment…

The same people that CPS keeps leaving children with every time they come out,

can’t even replace batteries in a smoke detector…

did you catch that?


Ok, easy enough fixes you say!  True, that is, unless your window company stalls for a month and a half and then closes overnight and runs with all their customers money.  Yup.  That would be us.  We are now part of a class-action suit.  Can you feel my enthusiasm? 

Frantically we run to another window company.  They understand our situation.  We’ve already lost 2 months worth of rent because the people we were kind enough to share our home with, broke it.  

The window company lost our paperwork, and thought they had come out already.  They told me they’d call me when they were done.  One month later when I called to check on it, they were very embarrassed.  That makes 3 months without rent because the state encourages sad, pathetic behavior.  

After asking daily for two weeks for the renters to make an appt. to go with their schedule, we finally made it for them.  They don’t show.  And because it’s summer – the busy window season, we can’t get another appt. for another month.  That makes 4 months without rent because our renters have no respect for anyone else.

I hear you – “Why weren’t you doing more to make sure this didn’t take so long?”  Silly me thought I was working with adults this whole time.  And yes I’ve learned my lesson – if it’s going to get done right, I have to do it myself, or ride some backsides to make sure it’s done!!

Now, as we’re realizing how drastic this situation is getting, I start calling around.  Oh yay – my good friend that helped with the deck and fence is back from the South of France – the lucky SOB –  when he hears how bizarre this has turned out, he is stunned by the situation and is coming to our rescue by this weekend.  


The bathroom had already been repaired, but they broke it again (it took them one month), so he’s fixing the bathroom for them again.  Installing batteries.  Measuring windows for new glass and screens. 

And the jewel – He’s installing cameras.

Yup, I’ll be able to watch the property.  All.the.time.

Like apartments survey their property ya big freaks – I don’t want to see what they’re doing inside *shiver*!


Lest you worry about *their* rights – they are being made fully aware of the cameras.  They should love that!  What with the cops having been there 5+ times since December.


And to pay for our newly adopted family of five on the other side of the country, my dentist man is working his usual two jobs.  His weekday job and his weekend warrior job.  The latter of which also ins’t paying him correctly.  I know, you thought it couldn’t get any more comical did ya!  

Apparently someone dropped the ball several years ago when we left the AFR and didn’t give us our release papers.  So now the Navy is requiring *us* to track it down if we want to be paid correctly.  We’ve been getting nearly half the pay we should for over a year now.  And we’re still waiting for the bonus we were promised.  

And just make good and sure we’re feeling it, the coming two weeks will be the slowest possible at the offices he works for.  Between rodeo’s, parades, holiday weekends, fairs, and yes, another reserve weekend, we’re feeling the glorious pain!


As I’m trying to keep up beat and find the good in all this, trying to learn to praise in all situations, I found myself actually coming up with the smallest of things.  The day he came back from his two week tour.  After cleaning the sheets for the 4th time that day because the pug felt the need to relieve herself only there (yes I closed the door – she’s freaking magical?!), I found myself thanking the good Lord that at least it wasn’t the big dog doing it!




I had someone ask how I keep a good sense of humor through all this – 

You can laugh or cry.  Or cry till you laugh.  Which ever, it’s not bringing the money back.

And feeding your own family is over rated right?



 In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:18




Liar, liar – my heads on fire! April 9, 2014

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Family,WTFr — blankenmom @ 10:00 pm
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I’m not sure if the above statement is *really* true.  It’s more like…. I’d rather set it on fire, run through a gasoline factory naked, while in labor.  It would be easier, and maybe then the state would pay attention?



I know I’ve talked about “that house” before.  The house I would love to fall to the ground (while it’s empty of course).  I would add by meteorite, but then insurance wouldn’t cover it.

We had an aircraft carrier, two coastlines and several people in between hoping it would go down in Sandy, yet no.  The stupid thing lives.


After a year of no rental income, we were finally able to get renters back in – if you want to call them that.  FEMA in all their wisdom, placed people supposedly displaced by the flood into homes that were newly finished due to the flood.  We thought we were helping someone out.  Shame on me for trying to help – that’s the last time that will happen!


Since July, they have violated every line on the rental contract.  EVERY LINE!

Plus a few extra’s.


It’s lovely.


We took the long, drawn-out and costly steps to eviction after the final straw of leaving a cat to die under the house.  Last week  we were told by the judge that all the violations, on the contract they willingly signed, don’t matter because they have three kids.  It doesn’t matter that they, among all the other violations, don’t have insurance (in a flood area) to cover in their words, a dog that may bite that isn’t on the contract.  It doesn’t matter that they disturb the woman behind them with two kids of her own.  It doesn’t matter if the house falls down around them because we can’t finish our work from the flood because they won’t let workers finish.  Nope – they have three kids.


Never mind our four kids.  After all, we work.  We pay our utilities, loans, mortgages and taxes.  My husband works two jobs to make sure we can cover their needs, on top of ours.  A judge decided that their kids took precedence over our kids and the neighbors… and yours, because they’re on state aid.  Because they’re unwilling to work a real job and pay their own way, we have to cover for them.  We’re not talking, they’re trying to work and are having a hard time – nope.  I’d love to help with that!  Find me that family!!


Does that mean we get out of the contract?  No actually, it means they may get to stay in for six months longer than the contract because they told the judge they can’t find a place to live in the three months remaining.  REALLY?


Nope.  When you live on state aid, only you matter.  Not the tax payer providing your rent, the person who owns the house or anyone around you.  State and judge condoned…. and apparently encouraged.


Never mind the fire – my head just exploded…..






Lest you think I’m a cold-hearted person who would throw children out on their ear…. it’s the kids that made me wait so long.  It’s the kids that kept me from shutting off their utilities when they didn’t pay them.  It’s the kids that kept me from kicking their backsides to the curb when they (unbeknownst to me) lied about how much the state would give them for rent and accepted less!


A slight insight into the “Y” chromosome brain June 21, 2013

Filed under: Boys,Family,Hubby,Random thoughts,WTFr — blankenmom @ 9:38 pm
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This won’t be scientific or even a lecture on men’s brains.  It’s merely an insight into some of their more bizarre behavior.  Actually, one recent incident that makes it glaringly clear – the difference between XX and XY, in the most general of terms.

For Father’s Day this year I gave my dentist man, his father and my step-father all the same thing, hey, don’t mess with me on originality – Father’s Day fell on graduation, I was a bit preoccupied!  anyhow… I gave them each this nifty little item.




An electric bug zapper "wand".

An electric bug zapper “wand”.




Never in my wildest dreams did I think this little item would be the hit it was.  I gave it to my father-in-law at graduation and he proceeded to show it off proudly to my brother-in-law.  My step-dad gave out a hearty “Hey Cool!”

Once we got home from said festivities, my second-born proceeded to place the provided batteries in his dads.  And that’s when that darn Y came into play.  I could see it in his eye!  The tongue began to emerge and the racket came closer “SON!”  Now… being the mother of boys is also realizing that you can curb stupidity, but by not allowing a certain amount of “experimentation” (aka: stupidity) only worse things can happen.  “Son.  You may touch it with your finger, but NOT your tongue…. or your brothers.”  Satisfied with this, he proceeded to touch it.



“OUCH!  That freaking HURTS!”  Duh.


Within minutes the three youngers found a poor misguided bug that had been tapping at their playroom window for quite a while, in bug terms that is.


*ZAP – SPARK* …. fizzle….

“WHOA – COOL!”  The hunt began.


Having found several more bugs outside and the sun coming down, they decided to head in, but not before I hear….



“OUCH – that really DOES hurt!”  from the third-born.  Duh.

(I just hope he didn’t lick it?)


The next night, after all bugs dumb enough to wander in had been hunted, my dentist man couldn’t resist.  It’s my fault really, I did leave it next to him after all.



“Man, that really DOES hurt.”  Duh.


Yesterday…. my first-born, spying this item for the first time was intrigued.  New toy?  His newly graduated brain asks.  And here comes the tongue again.  “Son!  Finger, not the tongue…. or your brothers.”



The zapper goes flying and girlish squeal comes flying from his mouth.  “Crap!  That really DOES hurt!”  Duh.


And just today, the fourth-born comes into our room to hide from his older brothers while I’m folding laundry and see’s his opportunity.  No one has let him have a turn at our newest acquisition, and again, here comes the tongue.  “Son.  Not the tongue.”  (I don’t need to worry about the brothers.)  “Does it really hurt?”  “Uh, yeah!”



“Oh – that really DOES hurt!”  Duh.


My point here is… not only would you NOT see those of us carrying twin X chromosomes wanting to lick various items – especially those that have been used to exterminate any sort of animal…. save bacon, but if we had actually been knuckle-headed enough to touch it in the first place, we’d share the experience, believe the other person and avoid repeating it!  Mind you…. that hasn’t stopped procreation somehow.  Some things you just don’t learn I guess?

As I explain this phenomenon to my boys, as best I can explain even to myself, that boys have this instinct so as to protect those XX’s around them.  It’s a good thing as goofy as that sounds.  As boys will attempt something painful more than once just to make sure it really does hurt the second time because hunting, fighting for your family or various other manual tasks that may cause pain wouldn’t happen if their brains told them to stop after the first time.  If they saw the men around them falling in battle and that Y wasn’t telling them “It can’t hurt THAT bad”, battles may never have been won.


Hey – it’s all I’ve got to explain this bizarre behavior.  Give me something!


Still doesn’t explain the licking…. for that I’ve got nothin?



BYOG December 7, 2012

Filed under: Hubby,What's happening,WTFr — blankenmom @ 4:42 pm
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Bring Your Own Gown……

This is probably a TMI moment, but I haven’t had that “girly appt” since my last son.  That would make it nearly 11 years – I’m a little out of practice.  When you sit there, after this much time, things go through your head.  Not the least is why they can’t afford the bottom half of the paper “gown”?

I’ve been babied, I admit it.  All my former appointments were with the midwife for the boys, so I got the nice, soft, long fabric gowns with a little, warm sheet to boot.  So when they placed the paper on the table next to the piddle pad and said “Suit up”, I was a bit confused?  Adding to my confusion was the fact that when I attempted to place the paper on my shoulders and couldn’t find the remaining 3/4?

The doctor coming in and smirking at the fact that I am now wearing my sweater around my waist and the paper “gown” on backwards so the opening is down my back, was less than encouraging.  As she’s explaining how I’m actually supposed to be wearing this glorified dental bib, I’m thinking “Why even bother with it then?”  Front open, no bottom?  It’s like paying to be the stripper in a horribly lit strip joint – only instead of money in your strap it’s pokey things in nether regions.  Do I know how to party or what!

As they tell me to scoot down, I make an attempt at grace while doing the “Scoot… scoot… further… further… ” game.  Not realizing they had removed the center slide-out board between the stirrups as I tried to put my right foot down to balance myself off of my long ago-broken tail bone, causes me to nearly launch forward off the table, with the left foot still being held up.  As both the doctor and nurse watch in horror before I catch myself and then fling back – literally in all my glory.

As I’m laying there, trying to redeem myself, hearing her tell me “This might cramp a bit.”  I’m wondering why they don’t decorate the ceiling?  You know, pictures of rubber duckies, boats, a nice landscape scene maybe…. or maybe a nice, half-neked sailor-man, all built up and nice looking!  Heeheehee – just a thought… oooh cramp!

As she informs me she’s done and I can (attempt to) sit back up, I make my best effort not to feel violated by this stranger and her sidekick who’ve both seen more of me and my acrobatics than my dentist man in the last year.

After all this, they inform me that the blood tests that were scheduled (and the real reason I was there) can’t be performed because no one called to let me know not to have those two sips of coffee I had in the morning on the way out the door.  Oh joy – I get to come back….

The saddest part of this whole thing, is that I did my hair, shaved, picked an outfit – and had the appointment not been at 11 am, might have had a drink before hand, as this is the closest to any form of a date that I’m going to get for months to come.

doc appt.

Next time I’m bringing my own gown –

– it could possibly have glitter involved.


Just call me Debby Downer November 2, 2012

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,What's happening,WTFr — blankenmom @ 7:59 pm
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Manhattan dark – it’s very eery!



Not to sound like a complainer, Debby as we know her, but this has been a pretty crappy few months!

Why do I say this… again.  We are now the lucky owners of a soggy house on the east coast.





This is a house in a neighboring town – this is pretty much what our town looks like.





You’re jealous I know it!


I refuse to stop there though –

WE are one of the lucky few from the little town “that house” is in.  “That house” survived.  Not that we really wanted it to, but there are people who actually like their houses, live in them and lost *everything*!  We have friends who lost entire business’, houses and cars.




A friends bakery. They will not be reopening.

One of our favorite restaurants/bars to knit at. They will be reopening.




















I am very thankful that no one I know passed away from Sandy – the wench!


On top of this, our great new renters who hadn’t even gotten the chance to unpack yet, have been so incredibly wonderful about the whole thing.  Why shouldn’t they be you ask, since it’s not really our fault?  This is the second time this year they’ve lost everything due to an east coast storm.  And they’re still so chipper about it!


I have to admit, that really helps my mood, not to mention my stress level.


I don’t have pictures yet of the mess that was left at “that house”, but I’ve been told by several people already what’s there.  While my dentist man and I are hoping it get’s knocked down and rebuilt or bought out, I think the best we can hope for is a new first floor.  Water made it at least 3 feet up our walls, of an already raised house.  7  1/2 feet of water is what I’ve been told.   Plus a tree that took out our fences, shed and deck.


But again, we’re one of the lucky ones!  I’ve seen pictures of houses completely collapsed and these are homes people loved!


So, while we’re feeling the sting of yet another kick in the pants, our hearts really go out to our friends and “neighbors” who were truly hit hard by this.



Nearby town.



So hopefully I won’t need to keep the nick-name Debby.  Maybe just Deb, since I’m still holding out hope for the upcoming year.


For now I’m taking this as life experience –



I'll post pic's of our actual house and more of the town once they come through.  
Some photo's by Mark Vetrini; all others are uknown.