My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

The tale of two men October 4, 2013





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.







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.







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?




Wi-fi nigh September 10, 2013

Filed under: Boys,Family,Hubby,Moving,Places,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 12:23 am
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I must share a little story about our attempt at getting a bit of civilization dragged up to our newest digs.


First, I must share just how pathetically important the internet is to our household at this point.

USAA, a military only bank, only banks on-line (as far as I know??).  There are no Navy Federals in the middle of our state, since there is no navy base.  No water=no base, makes sense.  Our long-standing credit union from where we came from is 4 hours away and the bank account we keep open for “that house” is a block away from “that house, making a trip to cash a check a bit of a challenge.  That leaves us with two choices.  Open yet another bank account or get internet to do all our banking.

We also don’t have cable or dish.  After sitting in hotels for 2 1/2 weeks, we now remember why.  Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Crackle and various other outlets allow us to view what we want, when we want with out all the stupid commercials and nastiness that seems to exist on today’s television.

A lot of our schoolwork comes from off the internet.  I know – “it’s a little thing called a book”.  It’s a new age people – embrace it!

My dentist man and his off spring are huge gamers.  *hangs head in shame*  But lets face it, with nothing else to do until our furniture shows up, I’ve given them a bit more leeway on that one.

And lastly, I’m trying to buy a house and maintain another one from across the country – I need to have a connection.


Those reasons being said, we needed the hook-up.


While sitting in the hotel rooms, we started about a week before we got in the house, looking up various providers, none of which could find our house that has sat on top of this here hill since exactly 1980 (give or take a few months).

A few days before we moved in, we started calling.  “Ma’am, where is “S” again?”  “It’s right outside of “Y”, a major city in our state?”  “Yeah, I’m not finding that on the map?”

Once we moved in, I started seriously calling…. anyone and everything that offered the most remote chance of a whiff of “the net”.  (You have to say that in a deep, drug induced withdrawal type voice.)

We finally hit on a company that said “Sure, we know where that is!  We’ll have to check to see if we can service that house first though.”  What do you mean “if”, we’re not on the top of Mt. Everest?

We totally thought we were in.  I mean, all our neighbors have internet.  The house had a phone… shoot, it even had a cable coming out of the wall!  How hard could internet be?

Talking with another company later that day, hearing that their rival company could possibly offer us internet, they started making us deals.  “Sure, if (we’ll call them “Shmomcast”) can offer you internet, *we* can offer you internet!”  Whoa there buddy, don’t go offering things you can’t make good on.


Two days later, a day after “Shmomcast” was supposed to call to let us know what our situation was, I got desperate and called them.  “Oh, I’m sorry ma’am, the box is 700 ft from your house and we can only go 350 ft.”  *click*  That was it….. The thought of lightning fast speeds torn from my laptop-empty hands in mere seconds from a cold, heartless and apparently slightly lazy cooperation was breaking my heart!  I called their rival (we’ll call them “Shmenterylink”) in protest, only to hear “Oh, “Shmomcast” couldn’t quit make it up the hill?  Yeah, neither can we then.  Anything else I can help you with today?”  While the fact that they didn’t hang up on me immediately was heart warming, the notion that they could “still help me” after promising me the world and then walking away was cruel at best.


We tried “Shmerizon”, who could only give us 20 gigs a month which is laughable.  I couldn’t even bank on that much and it wouldn’t hook-up to our t.v.’s.

We tried various satellite companies all who could only offer a mere 4 mps and 20 gigs a month and that was “If” they could get a clear shot.  Each company attempting to find our little town.

At one point one salesperson was so apologetic, he offered to send us to a service that was supposed to help us find service in our area.  “Hold on ma’am, this service will help you find a company that will definitely work in your area.  But before I go, how do you intend to protect this new property?  Our company offers a great plan for security systems!”  “I buy big dogs that can eat people.”  “Oh umm, well thank you for your time.”  Side note here…. they can’t get internet up the hill, but they can schlep the security lines up?  Go figure!


“Hello ma’am, I’m so happy to be able to help you today.  I’m with “Shmomcast”.”

AAAAAAHHHHHHH *hair pulling, nail-biting and possibly a bit of screaming may or may not have happened at this point.”


After about 6 hours on the phone while I finished several loads of laundry.  Cleaned, folded and put away.  Ironing and dinner made all while talking, being put on hold, and in the end being denied by every company, I finally gave up for the day.


The next morning my search started all over.  I contacted our realtor to find out who he uses.  And with that, finally found a company that was in our area, had unlimited access, but crappy speeds.  “I’ll take it!”  I exclaimed in both exhaustion and excitement.


I call, since as previously stated, I have no internet.  And after 20 minutes on their awesome phone tree…. that keeps telling me to stay on hold and then hangs up, I finally navigate to a real, human – I was so excited!  I exclaim in my enthusiasm for a real voice  “Yes, I know I’m in the wrong “branch” of your tree, but all the others kept hanging up on me before I could find a person?  Can you help me get signed up?”  She proceeds to tell me…. I kid you not, to tell me to “GET ON THE INTERNET TO SIGN UP!”  WTHk?


“Hon – if I *had* internet…. would I be *calling* you?”


“Oh uh, well, did you try calling customer service to sign up?”  *head… banging… on… desk*  “As I previously stated in sheer excitement at reaching a human being.  ALL the OTHER “branches” told me to HOLD and then HUNG UP!  Yes I tried calling – that’s why I’m here, talking to a real human being….. that would be you.”  “Oh sorry ma’am, I don’t know what to tell you.”  *blink.  blink, blink*


It was 2:30 in the afternoon on a weekday.  I pulled out a mason jar with a handle, since a plastic cup just seemed to suit this situation properly…. poured some boxed wine in it and sat to soak in all the glorious stupidity of the situation.






Do we really need to bank all that much?  I mean, I don’t need to pay bills right?  I don’t need to be paid for “that house” right?  My children don’t ever want to play their games ever again I’m sure?


I pulled out my “smart” phone (we’ll use that term loosely here) and pulled up the same company as we last discussed, since at this point it was the only one who could find AND access our home.  I proceeded to order, something…. I wasn’t exactly sure what on my tiny screen.  By the time I set my phone down, I hoped I had ordered internet.  I had hoped I ordered the right plan.  I had hoped I didn’t just give my credit card information to a drug lord to fund his rooster fighting ring.


My dentist man comes home and says “We still don’t have internet?”  *Poured a second glass of wine.*


So, after all is said and done.  I did actually order internet.  I didn’t, as far as I know, fund any sort of underground hooliganism and our internet is working rather well.  And while I am quite aware that this is truly a “first world problem” it doesn’t make the craziness any less crazy.






Btw – I’m still getting calls from the satellite company trying to offer me a product they can’t get to my house.


Happy surfing!



…..aaaaand hold. June 11, 2013






I’m in a holding pattern… and I don’t like it.   While the school year has ended freeing my mind up from one more task and me up to get things done, it’s not time to get them done yet.  I’m stuck with nothing to do and a million things that will need to be done.  Soon….


I don’t like sitting still.  I’m a multitasker at heart, but I also have a short attention span too, so the major projects I’ve been working on…. for months, are starting to really wear me thin.  I want to move on, but again, here I am…. waiting.


My sewing is about to be put in a box.  My knitting is about to be put in a bag.  My tools are being packed up to be brought out at the next house.  No projects to distract me.


I’m trying to think of it as the calm before the storm, but that just gets me more anxious.


I am however finding some comfort in the thought that I know the Lords hand is in all this.


There are lessons I’m not learning so I need to stay here a bit longer and big things that need to be done, that can’t be, until I have a full grasp of what He expects.  And I tend to be a bit thick, I need extra time for it to sink in.


No matter what, things will be happening.  My oldest will be graduating next week and moving out at the end of the month.  We will be transferring to the reserves and attempting civilian life, again.  Moves and major life changes – it’s scary, especially when I’m already tired and worn out, instead of the usual excitement and anticipation I feel with change.


But knowing that it’s all got a bigger purpose than just me and that it’s handled by someone bigger and better than me (thank goodness it’s not handled by me!), is what keeps me hanging on in this holding pattern.  I have a feeling this particular landing may be a bit rough and may only be a lay over, but I’m going to learn what I can from it just like I always do and enjoy the scenery while I can.








It’s Done!! May 11, 2013








Yes – that house… is officially done!

Ok, one small detail, but other than a change of a hall carpeting…

it’s done!


New Image 105

Through tears, heartache, headaches, complaints, (possibly some yelling), cage rattling on my part and finally….. some sweat and hard work on the part of our contractor to get us to the end.  It’s been exhausting and it’s been infuriating.  6 months of hair pulling, listening to lies, excuses and being given the run around – and then being handed paper work, so the process can start over again.


New Image 101

With the help of our former renters, contractor and some great people keeping us going through all of the process, we’ve got a beautiful house we’ll admit we own.

New Image 100


New Image 99

Is it nice enough to make us move back?  Heck no!

But for once we’re proud to own it!

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New Image 911352513518849

New Image 106


Anyone want a house?


Seriously? March 9, 2013

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Hubby,Military,What's happening — blankenmom @ 6:02 pm
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May I please take a moment to vent before my head pop’s off my shoulders and roll’s away from me….


Sandy (that b****) came at the end of October.  Our poor renters had only been in there two weeks and hadn’t even been able to fully unpack.


*SWOOSH* The whole first floor was gone and most of their belongings!


It’s now been 4 1/2 months: no rent, no insurance, the best we’ve gotten was a small check that can’t even be used because it’s too small to fix anything… and this is after numerous calls, pleads and emails.


We took out a small loan to get things started and were assured that we’d get that money back from insurance….. still waiting….


Our renters have finally left for their own safety and sanity, although anything they had on the second and third floor is still stuck up there because there is no first floor to walk on.


Today I received that small check back in the mail stating that my husband…. yeah, the one that’s been out on the ocean for nearly 2 years, needs to sign it also.  Oh, don’t get me wrong – they full well know he’s been gone this whole time.  This is after all the same insurance company that explained to me that they put us on the list of “second homes” after I explained we had it rented out because we’re stationed on the other side of the country.  I’m sorry – what?  Sure, I just fly my private jet out there every weekend to enjoy *that house* because military families really make that much.  So sure, I can sit on an extra mortgage payment every month, why not!


So now they’d like me to apparently swim out and get his signature too.


Ok, ok.  The reality is that I have to resend the check with his POA.  (Or at least I hope that’s all they’re going to ask for?)  But that’s not the point here.  This insurance company has been delaying a lot of people’s checks, not just ours, to get their homes fixed and putting a rental home as a “second home” is being even more dishonest.

They knew full and well that we wouldn’t be able to use that check.  I just am at a loss as to how they think this is justifiable?


This is the same insurance company that would remind me every time I called “That people were homeless and we were not, so we should feel thankful.”   My only replay was “You mean LIKE MY RENTERS!”


I think the part that really got to me was when the adjuster actually said to me, “How *exactly* is this affecting your husbands job?”

“Uh well, the poor guy is 5000 miles away and has no idea what is actually happening.  Knows we can’t afford a mortgage and rent.  Is wondering if we’ll lose the house, if we can pay the rent or pay for food.  He has no control over anything and knows that I’m over here alone, taking care of both houses, insurance crap, dying dogs, our family and preparing for the next move.  So you tell me, how exactly this would affect your job?”


4 1/2 months later –




– this is all we’ve got, with a check that can’t be used.

I really just have no words…..


A little perspective here folks! February 16, 2013

Filed under: Boys,Broken/Repaired,Family,Hubby,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 12:08 am
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Sometimes it’s nice, and necessary, to think back to times in your life when you really did think you weren’t going to make it through – and obviously you did, since you’re able to think back to that time!


I’ve had plenty of these moments and sometimes I’m even thankful.  Now that I look back on most of those moments they seem so small and not worth worrying about, but each one was a bit harder than the last, almost like a building block.  There are some that were more than minor and were actual life and death situations, so the worry was actually warranted, most however were not if I could have just kept it in perspective of what really matters.







Earlier this week, after a very long day, I was seriously wondering how much longer I could keep this pace, keep juggling all the chaos, keep arguing with the insurance company?  I ended up purging my entire long day to some poor, random woman at the third-born’s practice… that was until he came limping off the field injured and in a tears.

I thought my head was going to explode.  That would have been messy – and I really didn’t feel like cleaning that up!


You know you’ve completely lost it when you’re talking to yourself…. AND answering!  But hey – in the end, Me, Myself and I managed to muster up some perspective on the things that were happening and we’ve decided that we can handle it!


Me: “How exactly will we feel about this situation in 10 or even 20 years from now?  Will we still be upset?

Myself: “Of course not!’

I:  “Panty-waist!  Get over it!  (Sheesh – I is harsh!)

Me:  “So in several years, the fact that the third-born runs like Quasimodo, that the second-born refuses to wear his headgear and we may need to glue it to his face, that the fourth-born has used the ENTIRE case of the months worth of chicken broth and then left it out on the counter over night and that the first-born has only a few months left in the house and has no idea what he’ll be doing when he leaves, won’t matter?  Is it really that easy?

Myself:  “Yup!  Think about it – are we still panicking over our two-year-old climbing out the second story window?  Or about how we’re going to pay for the next car payment?  How about the hubby graduating?  Nope – we’re not!  It’s over with, and this will soon be too!”

Me: “You’re right?  Hmm – I like this!”

I: “And yes, we still may own “that house” in 20 years and yes, it *still* may not have a first floor.  But hey – we have two homes, don’t be a cry baby!”  (Wow – I is really mean!)

Me: “Hmm – again right.  But now I don’t seem so stressed about it?”





Oh – you know you do it too!


Yup – I’ve completely lost my mind.  But at least I’m in a good mood and putting things in perspective.  I’ll see you in 10-20 years!






Surfing life’s waves January 27, 2013

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Family,Hubby,Navy,Pets,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 10:00 pm
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I’ve been trying to blog for a week or so now, but without sucking everyone down with me into the weirdness that has been our life these last few months.  As things drag on with “that house”, the upcoming move…. the loss of the dogs…. and the appliances…. and the renters…. and doctors appt’s…. and now an unsure date for the return of my dentist man, I’m starting to even ignore myself.


I can either succumb to what seems like overwhelming circumstances, become bitter, mean and grouchy or I can do what the good Lord is intending and learn from all of this making me the awesome imp He’s been working towards for thirty-some-odd years now.


We all know that I’m dying to learn to surf (ok, maybe not dying but I *really* want to) so a surfing analogy works best for me to describe what has been going on in my head for the last month or so…. follow me please as we take a walk through the pictures in my brain.








I hold on to my board while the waves get bigger and faster as they come to me, knocking me off each time.  It get’s harder to pull myself up and out of the surf with the weight of the water and salt sticking to my burnt skin.  My tired muscles from pulling myself up over and over and the usually friendly sun, suck what little energy I have left with each wave.

With one last-ditch effort I pull myself up on my board and lay on it for a while, feeling the still frequent waves pass under me while I catch my breath during a lull in their strength.  I turn to see others in the distance still being knocked over, going under, walking away, leaving.  I could do this too.  It would feel so good to just walk away, mumbling under my breath that it’s all too hard.  I’m tired.  This isn’t fun any more.  The sun is too hot, the water too cold.  The salt is hurting my eyes.  There’s too many people.  The boards too heavy.  I have no one to help me.  There’s too many waves and they’re so big that I can’t see passed them.

I turn my head to look out into the surf and see someone riding a huge wave – they’re amazing!  Totally wish I could do that too – AND make it look so easy.  As they come in, they see me sitting up on my board watching, probably looking like a half-drown kitten.  They yell something to me, but I can’t hear them over my own discouraging thoughts and the waves crashing in around me.  Swimming over to me, they ask if I’d like a little help? 

Well ya!  I want to surf that way too!

We swim out to where the waves start.  Holding my board to keep my feet steady and shouting out just the right advice that seem’s to be exactly what I need to hear, the next wave comes.  With them holding on to me, this time, I glide – it feels so perfect!  All of a sudden the water feels satisfying against my salted skin again and the sun gives me energy like it did before.  I still shake, and wobble, even fall, but I hear their words behind me that tell me what to do next, to keep steady and holding out their hand when I need help up.  Not only do I have their advice – but they’re encouragement too!  They point out what I do well, what I could improve on.  They remind me how great the water is again.  

From this, I become more steady on my own, with each passing wave I feel stronger and more confident, but always referring back to those words, to this friend, to this time.  Knowing how to ride out the big waves makes the little ones seem so easy now and seeking out the next big wave, exciting – so I can learn something new.  

It wasn’t the waves, the ocean or the sun that had changed, it was me.  Becoming stronger and better able to see through the sting is what makes the ride worth while.

Knowing what I know now, when I see the others around me falling, struggling, going under, I will be able to swim to them and show them how to be steady through the strongest waves.  I can cheer them on.  It’s no fun to be on the water alone; I want to stand as many people as I can on their boards so we can share the fun back on the cool beach when the sun goes down.  With a beer in our hand, a fire in the sand and music in the background we can share our stories like warriors of the past.







Surf’s up!