Plugging In

The sun is setting yet the air is still so thick you could cut it with a knife. You stretch out and fall asleep only to wake up in a couple of hours covered in sweat. It’s so hot that broken sleep is all you get. The city streets are for the most part quiet after 3 am so a few hours is better than nothing. Outside there’s a breeze but, not inside the camper. I leave doors & windows open in hopes a breeze will pay me a visit.

I pull in to a park and plug in. Relief is almost instant the moment the A/C goes on. The slides come out and it’s a whole new space. A living room & space at the foot of the bed. How different it looks now. Almost a home. Affordable housing for me until 4 walls comes my way. Time to heat up the water I’ve collected in jugs to wash the dishes that have sat in the sink for a week. I try to use plastic inbetween parks. Plastic is getting expensive.

It’s almost time to go and I don’t want to leave. To comfortable, so relaxed. It’s like having to check out of a hotel only easier to move. Check out at 2PM with no spaces available for this weekend, a holiday weekend. I’ll make it. It may be uncomfortable but, I’ll make it until the next time I get to plug in for a couple of days. Corrected the internet issue so, this next time in a park will be a working one. Made the decision to return next week. This heat is unbearable. Anything a shower did is removed within 24 hours of non stop sweat.

Entering the last phase before the ability to be in a park longer than 2 days is coming. I’m afraid something will pull the rug out from under us again. Transportation situation is getting fixed. The fridge that doesn’t work is being removed on Monday, a dorm style will replace it.

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What is Homelessness?

A friend asked me once “What is Homelessness?” I hope to bring some light to it’s meaning in this blog post.

Homelessness is of course, being without a conventional home of 4 concrete walls but, it goes deeper. Homelessness is learning to live without basic nessesities of life. Many times I’ve heard people say “Oh I could never live without that?” I think to myself “You could if you had to”.

Homelessness is lonely at times when people look away from you or ignore you when you ask for help.

Homelessness is a lesson in learning to know what is needed at that moment and what can wait another day.

Homelessness is preservering what you have and saving pennies for a rainy day.

Homelessness is dealing with the summer heat and the bitter cold of winter.

Homelessness is thinking outside the box to fix problems that come up.

Homelessness is learning from other homeless and making life long friends.

Homelessness is seeing your friends die a cruel death.

Homelessness is seeing the blessing in everything around you.

Homelessness is finding peace within your surroundings and knowing that one day it will end.

Homelessness is plastering on a fake smile in public while crying inside.

Homelessness is finding comfort and strength within your faith while it feels like life is falling apart around you.

Homelessness is finding the glue that keeps you together until you find a home.

Homelessness is getting over the anger that can comsume us.

Homelessness is getting over the blame of the goverment, state and local agencies thinking there’s more that should be done.

Homelessness is learning to hold your head high even when people move away from you because you stink.

Homelessness is knowing that you have more than others and still crying tears for those who have nothing.

Homelessness is an incredibly humbling experience.

Homelessness is understanding that this life has changed you forever.

Homelessness is feeling self pity but, not staying there.

Homeless is rising up and helping others around you.

Homelessness is lowering your pride and asking strangers for help while family sits by and watches.

Homelessness is going through life feeling far away from those you love because they don’t understand.

Homelessness is wondering if you died if anyone would really care.

Helping

I remember as a kid playing with marbles during the summer with the neighborhood kids. A huge circle of friends all trying to shoot marbles out of a circle. I won’t brag but, I was quite the marble player winning others marbles in the game. The next day no one came to play because I had all their marbles. I felt so sad and alone I ended up giving back all the marbles so, we could play again. After each game I’d give back the marbles I’d won and pretty soon I discovered that I had more marbles than I began with. I had found out that the players who lost, were giving me 1 of their marbles to keep. Pretty soon I had more marbles then I knew what to do with. Pretty soon I found out what to do with those extra marbles. A couple of new kids had moved into the neighborhood and they didn’t have any marbles. Feeling sad I shared mine with them creating a bigger game of marbles.

What happens when a new homeless person moves into an encampment? Feeling scared and unsure of those around them, the others start bringing food, blankets and helping them get setteled in, a lot like when a new family moves into your neighborhood. We bake them a pie a cake and welcome them with open arms. We introduce ourselves and get to know them. We help them out if they need anything and are very willing. These encampments that the homeless create are not what some would think. It’s not a place where drinking and drugs go on, it’s a place of welcoming in those less fortunate. It’s helping out your neighbor and giving back. Blessing others with what you’ve been blessed with. It’s helping. It’s paying forward. It’s what America has been built on since the time of the Pilgrims and Indians.

Long before Trump held office this time honored tradition seemed to disappear. How many can say they know their neighbors? Not many these days when folks are afraid to even answer their door. Maybe instead of thinking that the goverment or even Trump needs to set things right, maybe it’s up to us to do the right thing with our neighbors and help them, welcome them and make them feel safe and secure.

Chasing The Hotel Room

There is a phrase in the drug world about chasing the dopeman. It refers to someone feeling anxious and wanting that drug before you totally run out, so if you’re down to your last bit you call the dopeman and chasing him down to keep the high going. Some may chase the almighty dollar while others are chasing the hotel.

Living in a hotel isn’t what some may think. Maid service and cable TV , laying on a soft bed for a good nights sleep. Then all of a sudden the phone rings. It’s the desk clerk asking if you’re staying another night. BAM reality sets in with a big dose of panic. How will you pay for another night? You can’t no money so, you start fundraising to try again but, no luck. You start packing up your car while sadness, taking over your entire body. Back to living in your car feeling like that $80 you just spent for a night was gone. POOF! You still try finding money for a room, again giving your sob story of hardship to anyone who will listen. Are you chasing the hotel room? That moment when you check in, feeling so good until the next morning, it’s check out time again? You keep repeating the cycle over and over again until you feel like a hamster running around on that wheel and not going anywhere.

I know I was there. I remember the feeling. I remember the sadness of moving out. It was time for me to pull on the big girl panties and get with it or I’d be doing the same thing for 50 years or until I died. In order to change our surroundings we need to change what we’re doing, we need to take a risk and try. If you’re waiting for disabiity that’ll be a long long 3 year plus wait. If you’re waiting on a white night to scoop you up and take you away, well it’ll be longer than disability. In order for us to get out of homelessness we need to make a list of goal and put them in order of importance. If we don’t then we’ll be doing the same thing and getting the same results. At some point the money will stop coming when the cries for money are shouted and fall on deaf ears.

I was recently in a situation where I had to ask for money for 2 tires that the RV needed badly. People, strangers answered by cries for help. It makes me want to work that much harder with my writing & selling of the paper. I can do this. I can support myself and have this RV as a home unless affordable housing comes through first. No I don’t want to live in Nashville, there’s so many people but, I also know that if a home came along I can’t refuse it or I deserve this way of life.

New Lessons Learned

Today I awoke and took the most wonderful shower at a bathhouse for the handicapped. A place to sit down if needed and many bars to grab on to if I lose my balance. What awaited me when I got back to the camper no one would of made me believe. No one.

Paul treated me, I guess becase of Mother’s Day to 2 days at a local campground. My goodness what a treat. Electric, water, showers and Faith being able to be outside, vacuuming, cooking and cleaning. I was delighted with the gift. Last night Paul mentioned that he was going out. He’s 25, he can basically do whatever he likes to. I enjoyed the rest of my evening and went to bed. His night took a very different turn and not for the better. He met up with a girl….the rest you can probably figure out. They went downtown drinking, Paul got drunk. The rest was unbelievable but probably more common than we think.

A dead phone he wasn’t able to call someone he knew and got seperated from the girl who brought him downtown. A man approached Paul saying he looked distressed. Paul the trusting kind, welcomed the help from the stranger. The man in his late 30’s appeared to call Paul a cab and waited alongside Paul waiting for the cab. The stranger said it was getting late after waiting, he said 40 minues for the cab. The stranger called a friend of his to ask for a ride for Paul. It would cost Paul $60. His friend arrived a short time later. Paul being to drunk to operate the ATM the stranger offered to help him. I know he’s way to trusting. He hands over his ATM card and provides the PIN #.

After arriving back after a lovely shower I suggested to Paul 1/2 asleep to transfer the money for the tires so, I could take care of them Saturday while he’s at work. What do you imagine he noticed when he pulled up his card balance? Yep you’re right….cleaned out. First of all I’m not the kind of mother that will coddel him. I sugget he file a police report and try to remember every detail while I go over the very things his father use to do when he got drunk. I make him own up to his responsibility in all of this. Ownership of what he did wrong and accept the consequences for his actions. He should of never gone downtown Nashville on a Friday night first with someone he’d just met, getting to the point of being an easy target and unable to see what’s really going on. He knows the money is lost and he also knows that he’ll have to make that up out of his pay the following payday. What else does he need to learn? When you do dumb things only bad things happen. So many other options he had. I’m not paying for his mistakes anymore, he will be paying for them himself, no longer me.

A lesson learned, I hope so. Was he being targeted more than likely by those crooks that look for tourists to play this game on. This time they saw Paul and he had a target on his back called Alcohol. 2 withdrawls of $60, 1 withdrawl the amount they were asked to help with for the ride home not 2, and 1 withdrawl of $200, not autherized by Paul. He’s glad he wasn’t shot or stabbed. This man took a total of $310 from him. That night Paul lost 32 hours of his life. It would cost him 32 hours of work to get back what he lost. A lesson learned.

We Want to Believe

The homeless are very trusting people. We need to trust in order to get what we need for daily survival so, when someone says “Yes I can help you” we believe it. When the help doesn’t arrive we feel like we’re knocked down once again Feeling like a fool for believing but, over time the trust doesn’t come that easily. We’ve fallen for this scam time and time again when someone says they can help it it’s more of a “well I’ll believe it when I see it” kind of thinking. Some people may get a big laugh out of it that anyone would help us, the lowely, the gullable and the needy. However it’s no laughing matter. I too have been at the end of these “scams” of the hope that help will arrive. I know especially during the summer months while selling the paper there would be a group of kids in the car with a window rolled down and a bill being waved at us and as we walk over to the car they drive away laughing. Promises of work only to be ignored as soon as payment is expected. Being homeless isn’t all sunshine and roses. It’s a very ugly and almost ruthless life to be in. We want to believe because we need to believe that there are those who really want to help but, alas we are laughed at and joked about. With hopes and dreams of one day being able to become self supporting within our own disabilities we try not to let it bother us outwardly but, inside crying every tear we have stored up. As a writer I’ve been scammed with this belief time and time again. Writing my heart and soul out only to wait for payment that never comes. I’ve been given many offers over the internet of writing jobs only to find out they’re false. I guess what my daddy said is still true today “If it’s to good to be true it probably is”. I joke a lot about common sense and maybe I should be pointing the finger back at me. I must of lost my common sense.

Goals

I’ve tried to pride myself on having goals, no matter how small or large they may be. I’ve always felt that having goals is important in my homeless life. I personally believe that it’s important to not only see how far you’ve come but, to also to continue moving forward. I try to set weekly goals. Small steps forward to help improve myself. Since the stroke I’ve been noticing changes, subtle changes, that have made me increase my self esteem, such as my speech. During Bible Class on Sunday the instructor, Kim, asked for someone to read a couple of passages from the bible. I quickly read over it silently and thought I can do this and raised my hand. I saw the fear in the Kim’s eyes but, she eventually called on me. I read it!! I read it outloud and didn’t stammer through it like she and myself thought would happen. Having small goals and meeting those goals makes anyone feel better about themselves, not just the homeless.

My next goal I’ve created for myself is to finally get my laptop fixed so, I might increase my writing ability and create more income for myself. It’ll be a goal of $202 to get it fixed but, I’m learning to invest in myself and see others invest in me also. It’s one of those larger goals that I can and will achieve. A smaller goal is to purchase a battery operated fan to stay cool this summer. Staying one step ahead of the seasons is a valuable lesson I’ve learned through my time being homeless.

Be kind, be considerate and show love

Adapting

The night was short but, the morning finally came, although I really wanted to go back to sleep, I had appointments for PT, OT, and speech. All for evaluations that needed to be done. The bus was late so I missed the PT evaluation but, made the OT and speech. I’d been doing them all through YouTube videos and thought I’d made excellent progress on my own, only to find out that I needed more. 12 weeks, Tuesdays and Thursdays, of all three to help me get back to where I was or atleast some part of it.

Talking with the OT specialist make me realize how much I’ve adapted my life to this stroke, like I had a choice. Take for instance my furbaby, Faith. She recommended that I get rid of her because of her power and strength. With tears in my eyes I replied with “Over my dead body.” We went on to discuss this and she quickly realized how important Faith is to my well being, how important she is to my over all health and what she means to me. While talking with the Occupational Therapist I soon began to realize that I was adapting my life around my circumstances just like being homeless. The homeless find places to call home, ways to keep warm in winter and cool in summer without the use of electricity or conventional sources. I’ve found a way to be productive with the current abilities I have. We as humans adapt and evolve with the changing conditions or we die.

One thing I’ve discovered that while I resist change on a very high level it’s something that has to be done in order for my survival. I can do this and will do what needs to be done in order to keep moving forward. Forward to new surroundings, forward to new experiences and forward to a new way of life.

Solutions to Everyday Homeless Issues

I’m not sure what happened but I’ll fix it or repost this piece. Sorry about the inconvenience

I like to think that a part of being homeless is having difficulties and finding creative solutions to them. At one time my RV, everything worked like it was supposed to. Then over time this broke, then that. I discovered that both parts and maintenance were expensive. I found ways to work around them. I could list many more, below are just typical problems with my solution and suggestions for the homeless.
No power. The generator isn’t working. How can I charge things like my phone, powerbank and laptop? The laptop isn’t big so, one full charge can last all week. I conserve the power and shut it down when not using it. The place where I’m able to park lets me use an outlet or 2 to keep things charged up. When I can’t access the inside, my son helps me out along with other friends. At night I’d use battery operated lanterns. Batteries can be expensive so I shopped around. Found the grocery store brand of batteries to be the most economical.
No running water. Fill up gallon jugs of water at friends houses or one or 2 at a quick mart you are well liked at. It takes care of the sewage and it’s water for Faith. I can even heat up water on the stove when I have propane to wash dishes with or even take a hearty sponge bath.
No heat. Last year when the heat went out because of an expired propane tank and a worn down house battery, finding someone to fill it was complicated. I did some googling and found out about Mr. Buddy propane space heaters. The initial cost of the heater was more than I wanted to spend but, in the long run it was a great investment. I started with using the 1# cylinders but, found that to be very expensive only providing 2-4 hours of heat. Again I returned to Google and found out about an extension hose that would connect to a 15# tank and would save me a fortune. Everything cost $180 but, money well spent. Bit down hard on the bullet but, I made it and stayed warm this past winter. Another money saving thing I found was at night shut it off. You’re buried under 7 blankets and toasty warm so why run the heater. Another way I saved money.
Out of Food Stamps and hungry. Food Stamps aren’t made to last all month so, you’ll need to supplement them with local food banks. Find the nearest ones to you and develop your favorites.
I’m losing hope. Pray. Pray hard and often. Your faith will get stronger and you’ll find out just how strong you are. “Be still and know that I am God.” It means to give your worries over to God and He will take care of it. Keep doing what you can and He’ll provide the rest. I use to call this my fishing trip. I’d cast out my line, giving it to God and then try reeling it back in to do it myself. It never worked well. Stop stressing you will get through this.
I need a shower. Join a gym locally. Many have $10 down and $10 a month membership fees. Using it on off peak hours will keep you under the radar. DO NOT charge your stuff there. Clear red flag that’ll get you outed. Use a gas station bathroom to wash up. Bring in a small bag with a washcloth, small towel and soap. It really is refreshing and keep the odor down. Baby Wipe baths work in between the gas station baths.

We’re smart and we know how to come up with solutions that we can do or get help with. Homelessness isn’t eating out every night and a lot of times is PB&J, but, it’s something. I’ve sworn when I get a real place I’ll never eat a PB&J again. I’m not saying that this is the way to live because it’s not but, it’s a way the homeless get by until that day when we have a “normal” home.

No refrigeration

I’ve heard many homeless like myself saying that a hot meal is everything to them but there’s no way to keep it cold until they heat it up. Yes MRE’s are great but I’ve found 2 things that can get you by.

Hormel Compleats can be stored without the need for a refrigerator or freezer. They can be microwaved in 1 minute, using quick marts during off peak times. Meat and potatoes, hot meal I find them on sale for $2.00 a piece.

In the summer when it’s so hot or anytime this makes a great snak and it stores well. Everything included and no refrigeration required. I get these for $1.25 each. They also carry a larger size but I haven’t tried those yet.

These items can also be placed in a Blessing Bag for that over the top blessing.