My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Tragic comedy of being responsible August 27, 2014

 

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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!

 

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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

 

 

 

Two weeks time April 27, 2014

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Made by me,Pets,Sewing — blankenmom @ 2:50 am
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It’s been a few weeks, but I haven’t forgotten anyone.  It’s just been those kinds of weeks.

 

Our biggest excitement has of course been the fact that through much scrimping and saving, we were able to pay off our Sandy repair loan early.  *happydance*  I really can’t tell you how good that feels and how much it saves us paying it off early!  Not to mention helping in mentally recovering.  Just in case you’re wondering what we’ll do with our extra cash – we’ll be exciting and start paying down the loan on “that house” so we can get it the heck out of our lives!

 

The rest of the time we’ve been working with “Dean-a-sore” as we like to call him; one of the rescues we got in January.  The big lug could barely walk when we got him and had several physical issues due to the meth-heads inability to care for another creature properly.  His head never formed properly, his joints were in terrible condition, he was “fixed” improperly among several other problems.  None-the-less that boy was pretty awesome!

A morning greeting of chattering teeth and a high-five for breakfast and anytime we came back from somewhere.  His run (if we can call it that) when we’d take him for a walk around the property, would have made even the most staunch pucker-butt giggle.

A week ago he stopped walking all together.  We took him in to see if there was anything else we could do and did one last-ditch effort in assisting his motor skills.  The rest of the week we picked up his nearly 200 lb body and assisted him in walking and “other task” to give him a fighting chance at recovery.  Nothing.  As of Friday, after enjoying his chocolate cake, Deany-boy was put to rest after showing no progress.  He’ll have no more pain, can run with the best of them and is getting more love than even we could give him.

 

 

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We’re better people for knowing the big goof!  I’m glad we were able to give him a few months of the good life.

 

His sister has been searching for him through the house for the last few days and whimpering when she lays on her side of their bed.  Lady has never been without another dog before, so we’ve been giving her a lot of extra attention, including her first hike today.  3 miles – she loved it!  She also barely made it to the end.  We’ll have to do this more often to get her up to the 8 mile route.

 

And yes, if you’re counting, that’s 3 dogs in 15 months.  

 

My distraction, while choking back the tears, has been something I started at the last house.

 

 

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I’ve done so many different attempts at this skirt, I’m surprised it’s still in one piece?  I’ve tried sewing in a casing for an elastic or ribbon band.  I cut them in half and tried sewing them down to the underskirt.  I tried the knotting technique that’s all over the internet.  None of them looked right?  I wanted maximum *POOF*!

I sat and looked at it the other night; Tupperware cup of wine in hand, hulu in the background.  Bingo – work began!  I finally got it the way I wanted it and finished.

Tonight I finished up the underskirt (because flashing your tights-covered keester is not cool!).

Tomorrow I’ll  start on finishing the corseted top.  I’m thinking beading.  Sparkly beading!

 

…. with Lady’s assistance of course.

 

 

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In the end, we’re feeling good.  A loan paid off.  A dog given a happy ending.  A project restarted.

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It’s amazing what can happen in two weeks!

 

 

 

 

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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Wi-fi nigh September 10, 2013

Filed under: Boys,Family,Hubby,Moving,Places,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 12:23 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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!