I AM A SURVIVOR of HOMELESSNESS.
In 2013, at the age of 44, I found myself homeless. Before my Mother passed away in Nov 2008 I always looked at homeless people and wondered where their families were, because I knew and felt secure that my Mother would never let me be homeless and I was right about that. But I was living and caring for my Mother when she passed away and was quickly kicked out of the house by my sisters, even though that was not my Mother’s wishes (but that’s a whole ‘nother blog) I found myself homeless for the first time in my life. But in late 2008 I was able to travel around for a couple of weeks, visiting friends and my Father who lived in Washington. While visiting friends I stayed with an old friend from school and he asked me to stay and help him with his new business. Win..Win. I needed a place to stay and he needed help. So, the first time I was homeless it was not a big deal. But fast forward 4 years and I find myself in a business that is losing money and I don’t have enough income to afford my apartment any longer. I looked for care giving jobs and I found a friend who needed help with her grandmother but she had already hired someone to stay there full time, so I was only the relief person who was there on the weekends. So below is my journal of from the time I had to move out of my apartment until she fired the other lady and allowed me to move in full time. I didn’t alter the journal other than names even though things are much better now and things are different but I didn’t want to change the truth, because that is what it was at the time. Now I am happily married to a man that I love more than anything and he is for sure my soulmate, so even though there are things in my journal that I said back then, I am glad things worked out the way they did.
I am very lucky for many reasons, some of them include, I always had at least a car to sleep in. I didn’t have to sleep on the actual street itself. I did have some money, not much, but more than others. I was only homeless for 30 days and only had to sleep in my car 15 days. (It felt like a life time) And I was so lucky…I mean SO LUCKY, that G welcomed me into his home. I will never forget his kindness and he will probably never know how much it really meant to me. Same with the lady who gave me free ice, she will never know what an impact she had on my life. So as often as you can…BE KIND!!! You never know how that little act of kindness could mean the world to someone.
Homeless Journey Journal
(If you can’t read the entire thing at least jump to the conclusion at the end of the page)
Monday, August 05, 2013
Day 1: 7 a.m. It’s all about to start. I am up and packing all the last minute stuff. Didn’t get much help packing. A friend helped a little bit. And a close family member helped some too but was not happy about it and it was like pulling teeth. I hired two guys to help with the move today using some of the $2000 my Dad gave me. Emotionally I have been pretty good. I stopped packing this morning at 3 a.m. and then laid in bed until 6:30 a.m., I decided to only take my Nortriptyline last night as the other meds would have made me too tired for the little amount of sleep I would get. Didn’t really sleep but rested with my dog Emma.
Well…off for the day, I hope to come back to this tonight to recap the day.
Tuesday, August 06, 2013 – Day 2
Day 2: My son came over after his work at 2:30 am to get some things for storage that wouldn’t fit into my car. He ended up breaking down and crying and told me to follow him back to his apartment but I told him it was ok. Neither my DD nor DS wants me to live with them even though it means I am homeless. Not sure why, I just don’t understand it. I cleared out the car and put down the egg crates and blankets so that I can sleep in the car. It’s pretty comfortable but I can’t lay on my side or roll over without pulling my legs all the way up. But I find it hard to sleep because I am always worried someone will find me sleeping in the car.
The moving went well, lots of room in the storage which is good because then I can get to things as I need them. Left the apartment around 3 am and tried to find someplace to sleep. Went to the hospital and found a good spot. Still no meds because I was scared that they might make me move. “Slept” in the car. I went to DD apartment during the day. I took a Lunesta at 11 am trying to get some sleep but even then, I only got about 1 hour of sleep. Tried to get things done. I met DS at storage to put some last-minute things in there. Saw my granddaughter. I decided to get a hotel for 2 days, I was just in too much pain and was not feeling well at all from not sleeping for about 60 hours. $74 for 2 nights.
Wednesday, August 07, 2013 – Day 2
Day 3: I took my meds last night and finally got some sleep. The hotel sucks but at least I got some sleep. The room stinks of cigarettes to the point that my eyes, nose, and throat burn. The bathtub has holes and cracks in it, 2 lamps have no light bulbs, and there was no shower curtain. I got a shower curtain but that was it, oh and some air freshener that didn’t really help. The room right next to mine has a smoker in it and she even called me from her room to ask me if I had a cigarette she could have. I even asked to change rooms but they did nothing. The area is kind of scary too. Today was ok, but this morning when I took Emma out to go potty around 7 a.m. I felt like I was going to pass out and throw up, not sure if I was just still too medicated or what, but it felt really bad but was fine after some more sleep. I will be staying at V’s over the weekend and should turn into a permanent schedule. Soon (Aug 13,2013) I will be taking care of GD after school until DD gets home around 8:30 p.m. So at least I will have a place to shower and cook regular food. I can’t afford to eat out too often. I spent $18 on dinner and a muffin for tomorrow morning and I just can’t do that. I think once school starts I will be able to get into a good routine. Now I just have to find a place to sleep. Speaking of which, I got to go to bed now. Check out time is 11 a.m. Gotta get some sleep. I hope to take Emma to the doggie park tomorrow.
Thursday, August 08, 2013 – Day 3
Checked out of the hotel at 11 a.m. Went over to DD’s house to work on the computer and relax. I don’t have a place to stay tonight, so not sure what I am going to do. I am in so much pain. My back and legs are killing me. It’s 5:30 p.m. and I need to get out of here before DD gets home. We are going to the doggie park and then to Wal-Mart. I am thinking about buying a tent. Not as safe, but sleeping in the car is killing my body, so we will see what happens. Also it’s about $10 a day to camp plus the $8 in gas to drive to the nearest camping ground. I bought some sun shades for the windows and speakers for the mp3 player, so I can listen to music when I go to sleep. It doesn’t work as well as TV, but we will see what happens, if it doesn’t work, I will have to see how long the lap top battery will last. The goal will be to fall asleep before the laptop dies. Fri – Sunday at 7 p.m. I will be at V’s.
- V is a friend’s Grandmother, I am helping her watch her Grandma to give her a break and it gives me a place to stay over the weekend.
Friday, August 9, 2013 – Day 4
Slept in the car last night, the speakers and my mp3 player lasted all night on battery. Slept in the hospital parking lot again, this time in the parking garage in hopes to keep the sunlight out, it might have helped a little but not really. I bought sun shades for all the windows and that seemed to help with not just the sun but with my paranoia with people looking in the car, and besides, this way, I don’t have pillows or blankets rolled up into my windows, which to mean just screams homeless. I think soon I will have this down to a science. I actually slept pretty well. After we got up and ready. I curled my hair in the car, thanks to a converter. J We went to get some lab work done, since I was in the area... hahaha
Then we went to two dog parks. I was looking for a place to recycle cardboard and try and get some money that way, but it was just dumpsters, how lame. Anyway, I finally went into see Dr. C. I should not have waited so long, but when I couldn’t even sit straight in my car seat, I knew it was time. Plus I have just been in SO much pain for a few weeks now (probably longer). I didn’t go in before because I didn’t have money for x-rays and I knew he probably wouldn’t make me pay but I wanted to have the money, just in case. And sure enough, he didn’t even do them. But he did a few things and I am going back on Monday, it is going to take quite a few adjustments to get me back to only having dull pain every day verses severe pain every day. We picked up a couple of things at Wal-Mart and then headed to V’s where we will be until Sunday at 7 p.m. It’s nice to have a place to stay for 2 nights a week but the smoke is making Emma sick, I need to find another situation, and FAST.
Emma has been a trooper and is being such a good girl, but you can tell she is depressed and confused as heck as to what the heck is going on. I just keep trying to reassure her that as long as we are together everything will be okay.
Saturday, August 10, 2013 – Day 5
Stayed at V’s last night, slept well. Just working on some business card designs for E today. Had a good day just relaxing at V’s. Took a shower last night and trying to decide to take another shower tonight or in the morning. Since I won’t be able to shower at DD’s until Tuesday. I have to think of these things and plan ahead. I think I am going to take my chances and take a shower in the morning to get the most out of it. Just down loaded a bunch of pictures from my phone. I was looking at my 365 day photo album and decided I really want to not just write about this journey but also capture it in photos. Now I just have to think of a way to publish it without going public right now. I might just sit on it for now. Maybe start a new FB, but that’s a pain, and I don’t think I am ready to just add a page. Hmm now that I think about it, maybe people don’t know I own the pages unless I tell them???? I will have to look into that. I am still in a LOT of pain. But I am sure after a few visits to the chiropractor will help.
Started a FB page but haven’t published it, we will see what happens, it says if I don’t get any likes in 30 days it will stay unpublished, maybe I can get one or two people to like it. I can hear Emma in the next room, dreaming. I love her, she is being such a good girl, but I know she is confused.
Sunday, August 11, 2013 – Day 6
Last night at V’s, working on budget and finding a hotel and trying to figure out how many days I can afford to stay in a hotel. For August there are 15 days that I won’t be at V’s. I can afford 7 nights in a hotel at less than $50 each night, including tax and everything. I wish the camp site was closer. I start watching GD Tuesday so driving back and forth 5 days a week would be a pain. Okay let’s think about this…$10 a night + 8 in gas each round trip. (24 miles away, I think) 15 nights would be $150.00 for the month, plus 8 gallons of gas which is about $32. Plus, the wear and tear on my car and my time (about an hour or more each round trip) which is $182.00 for the month. 7 Nights in a hotel would be about $350.00 and I would have to spend the night in my car for the other 8 nights. (15 days in a hotel would be about $675.00)
I guess it will be worth a trip up there to see if it’s good for us. I have to save as much money as I can. I have just enough money from my SSDI each month, so no over spending. I have a little cushion because my Dad gave me some money. But with moving and paying for 3 months of storage, it’s almost gone. I was hoping to get some new shoes and a shirt and shorts but I don’t think that is going to happen, at least not yet.
Sleeping in the car isn’t so bad, the things that are the hardest is no TV, but I am catching up and DD should have cable soon, not being able to roll over at night, and the amount of pain I am in, but it’s not as scary or upsetting or, IDK , whatever as I thought it would be. It’s a lot of work, moving everything around each day and night, and bending over like I have to is really hurting my back. And I do have a car to live in and I am able to get showers and clean clothes on a somewhat regular basis. So I do have it better than some. The part that hurts the most is that DD and DS wouldn’t let me move in with them. They would rather me be homeless than have to live with me and I just don’t understand that. Couldn’t they have said; I could stay with DD 3 nights a week and DS 2 nights a week? When I ask DD to help me in anyway, she acts like I am asking the world of her and what an inconvenience I am to her. I asked to hang one shirt in her closet and she threw a fit. And when I come over to her house while she is at work she acts as if I am bothering her. She’s not even there! She treats me like some long distance friend she doesn’t even know. If things were reversed I would have had her move in or if it would be like me, I would give her a key and say “Help yourself to anything, come and go as you please, just consider this your house” She’s making me check in and giving me a hard time for wanting to hang out there during the day. That’s the part that hurts the most. The part that hurts second most is that E has a girlfriend, why aren’t I good enough for him? We are so much better together than apart and I don’t know why he doesn’t see that and I don’t know how he can love alcohol more than me.
Monday, August 12, 2013 – Day 7
Slept at the hospital again last night. It went pretty well, soon I will have this down to a science. Right now it takes me about an hour to get everything moved and ready for bed. Emma moved into the trunk last night and so I was able to sleep more sideways and I slept pretty well…I mean for sleeping in a car, that is. Got going about 10 a.m., I couldn’t find a place to get dressed and get ready where I could park in the shade, so I went to my storage unit, and that worked out great. I have a chair set up in front of the mirror. I changed my clothes and did my facial routine, then went to use the bathroom at the storage, went potty and then curled my hair since there was an outlet in the bathroom. That is what I am going to do every day that I can. If I end up camping someplace, those plans might change, but for now, this is working. Emma gave me the biggest hug this morning, it was nice. Went to the Chiropractor today and then to DD’s to set up the cable at her house. Starting tomorrow, I will be watching GD until just after 8 p.m. This will be good because I can take a shower and hopefully get into some kind of routine.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 – Day 8
Slept at the hospital again last night, but I didn’t really sleep much. At one point I got scared that Emma couldn’t breathe in the trunk and I was scared. I put my foot on her and I couldn’t feel her move, I even put my foot on her tummy and I couldn’t feel her breathing so that really freaked me out, so I talked to her and grabbed her and she was fine, it was just me. Today I am in just so much pain. I can’t even sit straight; my back is so out of whack. Got up early thinking I had a Dr’s appointment at 10 but as I was about to park, I realized the appointment is tomorrow. I went to DD’s house and took a shower. DD and GD went to the store while I took a shower, I am not sure what we are going to tell my GD about my living situation. I am trying to Google it but so far I haven’t really found anything. I am watching her now and soon I will have to pick her up from school in my car, so I need to figure something out. I went to Wal-Mart to get some bowls and spoons so I can eat breakfast in the morning. I picked up a cooler because the one I had did nothing really. I went to the Chevron station near the hospital last night to get some hot water for Emma’s food and so that I could go to the bathroom. I was going to buy a bag of ice, but the lady just gave me a plastic bag and said I could just get some ice from the ice machine for free. I thanked her 2 or 3 times but I am sure she doesn’t realize how thankful I really was. My money is disappearing VERY fast. You would think I would have all kinds of money if I don’t have rent, utilities, and etc., but the way things are I can’t even afford to be homeless. I have been thinking about trading my car in. The space is just too small, they make cars where the seats fold down and there isn’t that divider in the way. If I am going to be homeless for very long, I HAVE to find a place I can lay and not kill my back. The physical pain is just too much to bare and I can’t afford a hotel. But if I can find a better suited car with a lower car payment, I would be able to sleep better and afford a hotel more often. Because sleeping in the car really isn’t the problem, it’s the lack of sleep and pain. And I don’t do well when I have emotional stress and physical pain too. So far, though I am doing really well emotionally. The only thing I cry over is E having a girlfriend and not wanting me. It’s been two years and it still hurts like it was yesterday and I have no desire to be with anyone else. I want to be with someone, but the desire to be with anyone else just isn’t there. It’s 4:25 p.m. and I am here with GD while DD is at work and I am going to cook her dinner in a little bit, so I will finally be able to eat real food. I have a bag of food in the car and my marshmallows have melted, now they are just one giant ball of delicious mess. My Vit D melted as well, I had to throw that away. The ice was melted by this morning so it didn’t even really last 12 hours. I put the milk in DD’s fridge and will go get ice again tonight. I bought a small amount of milk, paper bowls, spoons, and cereal for breakfast. I also try to pick up a banana when I can and eat that too. Okay off to give GD a shower and get dinner going.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 – Day 9
Slept in the car last night, but slept better. It was really really hot when we got to the hospital parking lot and so I had to run the A/C for about 10 minutes to try and cool it down. It worked pretty well then it got cold in the morning but then got hot again rather quickly, with the sun beaming into the car. Got up and went to my Dr’s appointment and then went to storage to try and organize the car a little better but with the sun beaming into the storage it was just too hot. I am at DD’s right now (1 p.m.) watching GD until 8. I went to go buy ice last night for my cooler and it was almost $3 a bag. I can’t afford that, someone said to just go to a hotel and get ice from their ice machine. I will try that. DD’s work schedule got changed so now I am only watching GD on Thursday and Fridays. I am so tired, I need to just relax, but being homeless, you are just on the go, or at least I am. I need time to be quiet and snuggle with Emma. Since DD won’t let Emma in the house, it’s been hard on her being in her bed all day. You can tell she is depressed. Everything she knew is gone. No routine, no running into the room and getting on the bed when it’s nite nite time and waiting for her treat. We go to the dog park as often as we can but it’s not every day like before. Last night she started crying around 6:30 p.m., she knows what time it is, but we didn’t go. Sucky night. Left DD’s and I just have no idea where I am going or what I am doing. I can’t decide what I want to do and the later it gets the harder it is to make a decision, I really want to stay in a hotel but at this point it’s only for about 10 hours. Not sure if it’s worth it but my back is killing me. Just as I was about to sign off the computer, I read that Randee took her own life last night. That always saddens me. I think about it all the time, but GD keeps me here and Emma gets me out of bed every day. I just can’t imagine DD explaining to GD what happened to me, so I won’t ever put her in that position.
Thursday, August 15, 2013 – Day 10
I can’t believe it’s only been 10 days, it feels like a life time. Ended up going to the Motel 6 last night and got some good sleep. Tonight I am at a friend’s house that I have never met before, but we have friends in common on Facebook, I asked C and K what they could tell me about him and K gave him great reviews, so I took a chance and came out to Acampo and I am going to stay the night and for the first time in a long time, I get to sleep in. J He welcomed me into his home, he gave up his bed and is sleeping on the couch. He has welcomed me like my kids should have. He told me to make myself at home and he told me to get here and he would be home later, he just let me into his home and he doesn’t even know me. I am very thankful for people like that. That is the kind of person I am, or at least I hope, I am. He has a yard and two dogs, so Emma got to play today, which is good, she needs it. This is just as hard on her as me, if not harder because at least I understand what is going on. Went to Dr. C’s again today and I got an ultrasound on my right neck, it still hurts but feels much better and I am glad I don’t have to sleep in the car tonight. Then tomorrow, I go to V’s, so I am good for a couple of days anyway. I got my hair cut today, shorter, just below the shoulders, I can’t believe I did it since my hair was the longest it had been since I was 13. But it’s cute and should be easier to care for living in a car. Okay off to watch some Netflix, Men of a Certain Age. I thought I would have all this time to kill and with DD not having TV, I joined Netflix again, but now I am not sure. I had the movies for about 3 or 4 days before I even watched the movie I had. I will give it a little more time but I just might cancel it. I got DD cable and internet, although she hasn’t hooked it up yet. I hooked up my Tivo directly to the wall and it seems to be recording things, we will see what happens when and if we ever hook it up. It will cost $50 for someone to come out and put in a jack where we need it. DD has a friend who can do it but who knows if she is going to call them or not. She is making a lot of bad decisions right now and is going through her own stress but still no need to keep me out of the loop or make me sleep in my car.
Friday, August 16 – Sunday, August 18, 2013 – Day 11-13
Not much to report, I have been at V’s all weekend. I cleaned the sheets in the car and decided to try sleeping in the front seat instead of the back. The seats lay pretty far back and I don’t think it will be any worse as far as being comfortable goes. And this way I can keep the back seats up so GD won’t see that I am living in my car. Once I realize I can sleep in the front, I will take all the egg crates and other things to storage. I have shades for all the windows so I think I will be ok in the front. I went over my budget and I am already in the hole $200 for this month, so no more hotels unless I earn the money by panhandling. I am way over budget for gas, last month was $124 and so far this month it’s $100…I might make it to the end of the month but I am not sure. I have to stop driving around, especially in circles. I need to make decisions and schedule my days better. I had $75 for gas as my budget. I still kind of like my hair but I am going to grow it out again, I do like it longer. I am going to start back up on Melaleuca vitamins, since both my Vit D and Vit B12 are low, so that should help my hair grow. As far as I know, I am going to leave here and go straight to storage, I was able to take V’s recyclables and hoping to get a few bucks for them. I wonder if people care what is written on the homeless persons sign? Does the sign make them give or not give? I ended up in Acampo again at G’s, he offered and he didn’t have to twist my arm to hard since my option was sleeping in the car. I will have to do that for most of the week because I can’t drive back and forth and I have appointments in Citrus Heights and things to do in the Roseville area. But it will cost me $8 in gas…so worth not sleeping in the car J
Monday, August 19, 2013 – Day 14
Well it’s been two weeks now. Today was so-so. It’s really hot, it was 106 today and now at 10:47 p.m. it is still 86 degrees out. Too hot to go to sleep. I am running the A/C now while I do this to try and cool things down. Not really a good idea but not much else I can do. Went to DD’s for a little bit today to do some orders for E. Went to the Chiropractor and then to the doggie park. Emma didn’t run too much because it was just too hot. I went to storage today and took a lot out of the car. Now just about everything fits into the trunk with the seats up. I figured it was worth the risk, because the front seat can’t be any worse than the back. And if it turns out that sleeping in the front is not something I want to do, it will only be one night. Right now I am just killing time since it is so hot, but I am really tired. My right neck/shoulder was feeling better since the ultra sound but today when I took Emma to go pee, she pulled and now it hurts a lot. G offered me over $20 for gas money, but of course I didn’t take it. But just 4 days ago he said he was late on his rent and that it was due again in two weeks. And he is offering me money. I wish he lived closer or I didn’t need to be in Roseville or that I could afford the gas to commute, but I don’t like putting him out on the couch. I took V’s cans to the recycle place and I got just over $19.00. That won’t be a weekly thing because that was more than one week’s worth of cans but every little bit is going to help. I still want to find a place that will pay me for cardboard. Well it’s 11 p.m. and my neck hurts, I am going to get the car ready and blast the A/C.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 – Day 15
Hotter than heck. Watched GD and now I am going to G’s again. $16 in gas but worth it. And I don’t have to get up too early so that makes it worth it too.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 – Day 16
Didn’t do much today…YEAH! Slept in a little and watched TV at G’s. I went to the Chiropractor and picked up GD, just trying to relax, I am so tired. I have to head to storage in a few minutes and get all the padding and sheets and stuff. I will have to make the bed up again which is really hard on my back and then put it away again before getting GD tomorrow. Hopefully it will cool down tonight. It’s 88 degrees now at 7:15 p.m. The only thing I have going on tomorrow is watching GD and I will need a shower, so I might go car shopping at some of the smaller lots tomorrow. I need to get rid of my car payment and I need a car I can sleep in, but one that is dependable too…Not going to be an easy task on my budget.
Thursday, August 22, 2013 – Day 17
Slept in the car again last night at the Hospital parking lot. Was in a LOT of pain all night. I crawled into the trunk this morning just to see how I would fit and I fit better, it’s still creepy but I am going to try it tonight. The trunk has a failsafe latch and I will have my keys to pop the trunk if I get freaked out, but still it’s weird just to think about it. Everyone wants me to get rid of Emma and storage. No one understands. If I get rid of my storage how on earth am I ever going to be able to afford to rebuy all that stuff? Plus I have a lot of stuff that is irreplaceable, such as things from my Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa. And as far as Emma goes, there is just no way, she is the only thing that is keeping me sane and she is the only one who cares about me. Getting rid of Emma is like telling me to stop taking my meds or like asking someone to get rid of their kid. Went over to DD’s today to take a shower and her pillow and blanket are in the chair in the living room, if she is gonna sleep on the chair, she could at least offered me her bed. She also was saying that she needs about $200 more a month…well let me stay here, silly!
Friday, August 23, 2013 – Day 18
We got the cable hooked up at DD’s and I wanted to watch Big Brother and I forgot I had to go to storage to get my night things. DD remembered and offered to go for me and she called me when she got there and grabbed my things but when I got to the hospital all my shades were missing. So DD said to just come and sleep in her recliner in the living room, which I did. It was almost as bad as sleeping in the car. I was in a lot of pain all night and still am this morning. I can only do my hair for about 2 minutes before my shoulders/arms go out. I have a Chiropractor’s appointment today and then I am off to V’s and then to G’s, so at least I will have a real bed for 3 nights in a row. I talked to DD about how much money this is costing me in gas and told her there was no reason I couldn’t stay here and DS’s. We will see what happens over the weekend, I told her we had the weekend to figure things out.
This is where my journal ended. I was able to move in with V full time and I lived there until I moved out to move in with my then boyfriend, my now husband. I couldn’t be happier with my life. Emma has a beautiful big back yard to run around in and has two pesky brothers that we love very much. I am the happiest right now than I have ever been in my life. I have kept this story to myself for 6 years because I didn’t want to upset my children but I decided I wanted to share my story. I don’t hold any hate or resentment towards them at all. I love them with all of my heart and I would and do anything I can for them.
DD = Darling Daughter
DS = Darling Son
GD = Granddaughter
Miss Emma Dawg - Click Image to like her FB page.
Me & My wonderful husband on our wedding day!