My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

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!

 

 

 

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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?

 

(No picture – I’m not letting  you peek yet!)

 

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

 

 

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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!

 

 

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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?

 

 

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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!

 

*BOOM*

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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~So giving I’ll do~

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

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quilt flowers

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I just finished another round of baby blankets.

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cat - blanket

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

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blankets-cases

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

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skating

 

 

 

 

Textile therapy October 26, 2014

Filed under: Made by me,Sewing,What's happening — blankenmom @ 12:01 am
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I don’t know what you do when you’re in a funk and can’t get out?  Usually I hide from all sewing, knitting and house projects.  And as a person who likes to constantly have two or three projects going at all times (much to the irritation of her ever patient dentist man), doing none of the former, isn’t a good sign.

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And if the house is super clean, run.

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We’ve been stuck in courtroom hell, held hostage by crazy people who, when last texted, “had the ear of the governor for their unjust removal” caused by them not allowing anyone in to make the state required repairs for six months, among numerous other issues.  Trying to do court dates over the phone, manage repair dates that go unanswered and having repairmen physically thrown out has been, well, a challenge to say the least.

What did I turn to in this time?  Are my toilet bowls sparkling clean and kitchen counters shining like usual?

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Nope –

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Instead of fuming over  the time it was taking to remove them and the constant nasty grams they were sending, I finally went out and bought the fabric for baby blankets for the clinic and pillow cases for the foster kidsboxes.  My absence for the last few weeks is due in part to a less than chipper attitude and a complete submersion in my tasks.  It’s been very therapeutic.  I think I’m almost back to normal – I even bought new costumes accessories!  (On discount of course.)

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16 baby blankets –

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And 32 pillow cases –

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Isn’t this just the most awesome fabric!

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Thinking about the little ones that will get these, who really need our help, was much more enjoyable to think about than the nasty things bombarding me day and night.  I went to bed feeling better.  Woke up in a better mood.  And can’t stop eyeing the baby fabric isle.

No worries, the youngest got two new pairs of pajama’s, so I’m not neglecting my own… much.

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*Tip for the day*  “One yard” baby blankets require two packages of pre-made quilt binding.  Buy them at the same time or they will not match.  *sigh*

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What do you sew, or do instead of sewing, as therapy?

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*The Embrace Foster Program is available in most states, google “Embrace (your state name) for foster kids” to find yours if you’d like to help out.  I’m sending these back home since my area doesn’t have it.

 

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…..

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head

 

 

 

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!

 

Wandering the desert October 28, 2013

 

 

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It’s strange how we can appear to be at the top of the world, by worldly standards, and yet still feel like we’re at the most bottom.  And while we’re there, feel the need to not let anyone know.

 

How shameful to feel that way when you should feel nothing but joy – look at everything you have!

 

For the last few months during the process of buying our “house on the hill”, I’ve been completely out of sorts.  Asking myself “How could I *not* be happy with this?”   “What’s wrong with me?”  “I must be completely selfish and spoiled?”  That’s when I saw the reminder of the one year “anniversary” of the flood.

 

On this day last year, I had a husband who was gone for his second 9 month deployment *of that year*.  A son recovering from two surgeries for a broken arm.  Two dogs with months to live.  3 kids and myself suffering from a severe flu (that would end up turning to pneumonia).  My “stomach issues” had finally, after 15 years, taken their toll causing me to *have* to get help.   And to top it all off, Hurricane Sandy took out the entire first floor and part of the second floor of “that house”.

 

Oy.  It’s been quite the year.

 

 

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My dentist man is home and settled in to the new practice.  The second-born is fully healed and back to his dare-devil self.  The dogs have been gone for several months and are sitting nicely on the mantle.  The pneumonia rattle is mostly gone, although we were nice enough to share a cold bug already.  My gut problems are much, MUCH better.  And “that house” is nearly finished, in spite of the (expletive), non-paying renters we have in there.

 

Ah yes.  It’s been quite the year.

 

For the last year I’ve been fighting for one of many things on a daily basis and some days all of them: our health, our healing, our pets, our insurance money, incompetent renters, mortgage companies.  It’s been one entire year of fighting.  None stop.  Sure there were days when the contractor didn’t wake me up with another “issue”.  There were days when the insurance company wasn’t calling to ask for more proof.  There were days when the mortgage company wasn’t asking for more paperwork.  There were days when I wasn’t waiting for a phone call from the vet/specialist/doctor/state worker/renter/realtor/my dentist man.  On those days I could just sit and wonder…. what’s going to happen next?

 

I’m tired.

 

Normally when I get overwhelmed, I go visit the ocean.  I can look out on it and see forever.  I can feel the openness and feel all the problems wash away, leaving with the waves.  Ironically, right now I’m in the desert.  I hate the desert.  I don’t think hate it too strong of a word for this.  I really do.

 

With that notice of the “anniversary” the laughable thought that I’m in the exact opposite place than I’d ever want to be, did not go unnoticed.  However, I think it may be the exact place I need to be at this very time.

 

I’ve said this before in Surfing life’s waves, I can best state it this way –

While we’re drowning in our own ocean of circumstances, carrying the weight of people saying what could have been done better tied on like a sinking board strapped to an ankle pulling us further down, the Lord is trying to field a rescue.  Instead of just letting Him pull us up however, we keep swatting at His outstretched hands like a drowning victim in a panic.  And after He does finally get a hold of our slippery little arm and drags our bodies to the beach kicking the whole way, He breaths life back into us once again.  Ignorant of our own inability to swim alone with all the exhaustion, and instead of just staying on the beach to enjoy the rest, we keep running back into the water to drown all over again, dragging the weight of the board behind us, hoping this time it will be different.  In His wisdom, He finally takes us from there, the place we love the most.  The place we feel most comfortable and places us in our own desert a spell, to finally get the rest we need, in spite of ourselves.

 

 

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Just as the Israelite’s were brought to the desert to learn to better rely on the Lord, I needed to have all the distractions taken away and be brought back to Him.  The life I had felt so comfortable with, just as the Israelite’s felt comfortable in their slavery, needed to go.  This may not be where I want to be, but it’s where I need to be.

 

“Why”, they shouted to Moses “did you bring us out of Egypt to die?”  “Surely we will die of starvation out here?”  And honestly, my heart understands this for the first time.  Definitely not starvation (as my butt can attest to), but surely the uncomfortableness and fear that they felt in their new transition.

 

While the mountains feel as though they are closing in on me and every fiber of my being wants to be in the wide open ocean, it may be time to go wander my quiet desert and find the rest in Him that I need.

 

Yup.  It’s been quite the year.

 

I plan on leaving it on the other side of the desert for what God has in store for me.  But please don’t mind the grumbling along the way.

 

 

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The tale of two men October 4, 2013

 

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This past two weeks, I’ve gotten a great view of two different kinds of people – in this case, both men.

 

The first man, a sluggard.  A liar.  A person who blames anyone and everyone but himself.

Ladies and gentleman, my renter.

 

 

 

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I was glad to be able to help someone who was part of a FEMA program for people whose homes floated away in last years storm.  I wasn’t able to be there to help out and couldn’t afford to give anything, so I was excited to be able to assist someone.

The man, his wife and three gorgeous little boys moved in excited to be in a new home.  Completely brand new.  With promises of taking grand care of the home and yard.  That is until it actually became time to do some actual work.

Finding out after a month that they didn’t have the utilities put in their name and given notice to do so – twice – utilities were shut off.

Imagine that – I didn’t want to pay for their utilities and ours.  Crazy I know?

He was livid and blamed me, the last landlord, the utility companies and anyone else he could muster.

On our part, in the middle of our own move and after the postal service lost our mail (and the paperwork) due to extenuating circumstances out of their control, we ended up buying an extra printer for the sole reason of getting this man and his family’s paperwork finished through email instead of snail mail.  Sorry postal service!

No home and no furniture, but we’ve got a printer!

At this point, three months in, the realtor discovered that they still hadn’t done their part to stay on the program and drives them to all their needed destinations.  Utility companies for proof and to sign a form saying they have no income yet.  That’s it.  That’s all they need to remain in the home.

Nope – couldn’t do it.  Btw – Who doesn’t have I.D. in this day and age?

 

So evictions notices were given.

 

 

The second man, amazing!  Works multiples jobs and is as honest as he can be.

This man knows everyone and I’m *pretty* sure he knows almost everything…. or at least where to find it out.  He’d bend over backwards to help anyone out, even if he didn’t fully like them.

 

 

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We met him through our oldest while he was convincing every restaurant in town to allow my son to sell his cookies there.  He then discovered that I sewed and sent over every kind of weird object to sew on, knowing I had never worked on it, just to let me learn.

Anyone you talk to will say the same thing.

I had been trying to get someone out to repair the fence and deck from the storm last year and either they won’t pick up because of our phone number being out-of-state, or they’re just still too busy.

You’d at least think they’d call back?

As a last resort before the insurance company came after me, I called this man.  He came to my rescue.  He does what he says and does it amazingly.

Mind you, he doesn’t do it for free if you can pay.  He know’s his worth and I appreciate that!

 

Two men.  One who takes and spreads nothing but blame.  One gives everything and expects the same back.

 

I strive everyday to be more like the second man.  After all, who would you want in your life?