My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

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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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!

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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
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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!

 

 

Helicopter rescue? August 21, 2013

Filed under: Boys,Church,Family,Moving — blankenmom @ 12:52 am
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I’ve been called a helicopter parent before, which is fine.  People have called me worse.  But the same person, after watching me parent longer, took that back.  I, like most parents, will bend over backwards to help their children succeed but like most, also recognize that at a certain point, they have to do it on their own.

It’s all about background support – when what you really want to do is make it all go away.

This week, as I sat in our hotel room listening to the stupid roosters 10 feet outside our new hotels window crow at 10 pm (after starting at 5 am)….. and telling the boys to quiet down so their dad could sleep for work tomorrow.  Several hours away from him, my first-born informed me over FB that two days ago he walked into a Wasps nest and was stung all over his legs and abdomen.  “OMG’sh!  Are you ok?”  “Yeah.  I itch though.”   And then today he came on to tell me that he lost the new job he had recently gotten due to a misunderstanding.  He didn’t say it was their fault, he said it was his.  His boss has a very thick English accent and he didn’t understand her instructions for his work schedule, didn’t confirm what he heard and didn’t show up.  He’s never lost a job before?

He know’s he screwed up.  He feels terrible, especially since he loved that job.

As a parent, all I want to do is fix it!  I want to go down and explain, fight to get the job back or in the least, buy him ice cream and give him a big hug.

But I can’t – he’s a big boy.  He’s a man.  He’s an adult!  And as much as I want to fix this, that doesn’t help him.  All I can do is be here as a safety net and offer some advice if he asks.

I sat and let him vent.  As we talked it through, I got to see him take a major step forward.  He see’s the Lords work in this.  He understands it’s a door closing to make the transition easier for the next door to open.  He grouched and kicked himself, but he moved on and got ready for the next plan.

Had I stepped in, I would have missed watching his progress, his faith, his ability to become who he needs to be.  He would have missed out on being able to make those steps and the important lessons that allow him to become more responsible.

It’s about background support.

We’re here man – if you really need us.  But go ahead and screw up.  Make mistakes now.  Fall.  From over here, I’m seeing one step back, two steps forward.  And at 18, now is the time to make those mistakes and learn from them.  What a great future ahead of you, when you understand and accept you’re own mistakes and use those to grow on!

 

Great men, make great mistakes, while building great plans.

 

By the time our conversation was over, he was ready to apply to a few new places.  To focus more on his new young adults ministry he is helping to start and lead at his church.  And to work twice as hard at his first job.

 

As for his welts – his girlfriends parents are both in the medical field and were able to take *excellent* care of him in my absence.  Have I mentioned how much I like his girlfriend and her family?

 

He’s ready to move on, even if his foot is still kicking his sore and cortisone covered backside a bit ~

All without any helicopter rescues.

 

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 –

 

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

I really just have no words…..

 

Hey, hey, hey – good bye! January 2, 2013

Filed under: Family,Pets,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 2:12 am
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Na, na, nana.  Na, na, nana.

Hey,hey, hey – good bye!

 

 

 

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I am so glad the year is over – 2012 sucked…. rocks…. big time!

However, I did learn a few things…..

~ Bad things don’t always come in 3’s.  Sometimes they stockpile and gang up on you all at once.

~ Just because you try to make it a great time, doesn’t make it a great time.

~ Traditions can be broken.

~ Sometimes it is ok to cry.

~ Dog’s really can be sad.

~ Just because a town called “Highlands” doesn’t mean it’s above flood level.

~ Cleaning is very therapeutic.  So is alcohol and sex.  Neither of which I have gotten any of this year, so I guess it’s back to the cleaning.

~ Kids grow up faster than you can figure out how to raise them.

~ Being quiet is nice sometimes.

~ Turning the phone off for the day, can really mess with people’s heads.

~ Paying the bill and thinking you paid the bill are two different things.  Always check.

~ Deployment curses are real and evil.

~ Take kindness from strangers.  But don’t take their issues – we have enough of our own.

~ “It’s about quality of life.”

 

By working so hard to keep the girls around for Christmas, I had forgotten why I wanted them around for Christmas.  The piddling, the groaning, the seizures, the meds, all were starting to get to me.  The vet had said this last quote about 20 times, I’m quite sure he thought I was a complete dunce.  He finally gave me the look of “Hello!” and said it again.  OH…. you mean MY life, not theirs!  I was sacrificing my quality of life, to keep them going for a few more weeks.  And why?  That’s when I had to decide if it was worth it, and if it was – hush.  If not, let them go.  I decided to hush.

 

It was worth it.

 

How many times do we do this with our lives though?  Try so hard for something, that the meaning get’s lost?  Keeping the fancy car, the bigger house, the nicer clothes, but missing our family, working to keep those things.  Is it worth it?  Is the homeschooling worth it if it’s driving me nuts or do I just need to hush and enjoy it while I can?  Is keeping “that house”, this house, the carpets straight, the car clean, the grass perfect, and my hair brushed worth it?

 

Sometimes.

 

This was a big lesson for me.  I think this is what I’ll choose to carry into the new year.

 

“It’s about quality of life.”

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And just to let you know, the girls did both make it through Christmas, being the good girls that they are!  

The old lady dog passed on the 26th.  She’s in a far better place where her joints don’t hurt, she doesn’t piddle, the big dog isn’t there and the squirrels are slow.

The big dog took a turn for the worse after her sister passed and won’t be with us by next week.  She too will be in a far better place where there is no cancer, the water bowls are higher, couches are bigger and the squirrels are huge.  

They will be terribly missed.

 

 

 
 

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.