Friday, April 29, 2016

How the City Next to Ours Fixed their Homeless Problem Real Good

Title is sarcasm.

They simply got rid of them.  This is how a lot of cities deal with the homeless.  Sweep them into a camp by promising them help and aid, then tell them to get the hell out of town.  Destroying property, confiscating vehicals, taking away pets, etc.  They don't care if you are suddenly out of a job and out of a home after being a decent citizen all your life, they group you right in with the criminal element, which only increases the labeling of being homeless as a criminal activity.

I am done stressing out over this.  We are looking for housing, keeping our cat and our vehical, and not violating any laws they can use against us to drag us down even further and 'run us out of town' simply becaue we are too poor to pay the higher rent. We have researched and researched the 'mobile life' and know our rights, and how to stay clean and healthy as if we were just on a camping trip.  There is a difference.

We are not 'chronically homeless', we are going Camping, being financially responsible, living with in our means, and taking care of ourselves until we find a new place.  We can do this because wonderful people have helped us, and we are grateful and because of them will be able to stand on our own feet (if with a cane or on wheels) and not be treated like criminals.  We will work hard to get into low income housing and I will get back to work.  I am going to stop freaking out and continue to pack and get things ready for storage and Hubby is going to continue to look for the low income places that allow pets and we will have a list to go sign up for when we move out.  The police can go fiddle.  EIther that council thing will come up with help or they won't, but we are not counting on them.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Legal Aid for the WIN!

Hokay, we feel MUCH better now.  No call back from the police/community thing, so I left them a message at 4:45 pm. bascially just 'hey what up?' But I did get a call back from the Legal Aid person, who not only helped me hugely with the whole what the heck thing, but also said forget San Berdo, they only have 2 housing set ups (true, and we have both lists) but Riverside, which our insurance also covers, has hundreds!  And their shelters are more geared toward people in our situation, the economically run over and backed up on and run over again.  She gave me a lot of info; basically that we are third in line on every list, the first being over 60, second Veterans, as well it should be, and the percent we have been being quoted is wrong for SSI disabled.  It should be 30%, and we have been being told everything BUT.  She is sending us a packet of info including some business cards for legal aid, and we are going to put one on the dash board of the truck where anyone getting nosy can see it.  The police can not harrass us in public areas without our actually committing a crime, and if we are following civic laws, the old "you have bedding and clothing in your car, therefore you are vagrant" trick just does not work.  If I park in a store parking lot that is posted and we go in shopping and they target our truck, they can not legally do that.  They have to be called by the people in charge of the property after we have been there too long, not just stopped in shopping or to use the restroom.  If our head or taillights suddenly get broken, then they can give us a fix it ticket, nothing more, no towing and impounding.  No dirty tricks.  So yeah, I feel much better having spoken to a lawyer, and knowing that we will have access to a lawyer should any poo hit the fan.  But where is this call back from the community service officer re some help for us?  So tomorrow we are going to focus on Riverside county housing assistance.

And I did hear back from the management company of our current abode.  They are more than happy with the arrangement for our moving out, and are willing to pro-rating us out of the deposit for the extra days.  She just needed to know why, and I told her. Schools out, busiest moving time of the year, no rental trucks!  O_o  People got Memorial Weekend to move!  Major threat to our financial situation now over, no chance of even a backhanded eviction.

So like the lawyer said, we are now armed to deal with the nonsense.  The big pain in the behind in all this is that Hubby who worked on the road and had to be bonded to work police rotation for towing, knows ALL the rules and laws from their side and now he feels like he's on the other side by default.  We are going urban nomad temporarily, so suddenly we are the bad guys?  Talk about profiling.

We put the carpet in the truck bed and Tama was like, "Ohs, this MINES, how did it get out here?"  He sniffed it over and gave it a good bad cat clawing to teach it a lesson, then settled down to check out the view out the back window.   But he is still freaking out between the front door and the truck.  Agoraphobic cat is agoraphobic.

Cadmuss gave me permission to put the photo of her doll in the fairly outfit up on her blog post, so check it out.  I am just so smug over hubby's ability to digitize patterns.  I just hope he doesn't forget everything he has learned so far after a few months without.

Edit: Wow, I was so tired yesterday I did not make much sense.  Spelling, what spelling?  But yes, much less scared by the whole P.D. thing.  And still wondering what they intend to do with all the information they got from me.  I feel like I've been black listed for just calling and asking a simple question.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

And So, The Police

I read in our local paper online that there was a community group working to prevent homelessness, after someone had wrote a letter complaining about the homeless parking in the local park. I was looking on Google for free parking for people traveling in their truck or car, etc when this turned up.  I have read all the signs in all the parks around here, looking for places with BBQ sets ups, water fountains, and things like that that people go to parks for, along with the shade on hot days, and if we could walk Tama on his leash and clean up after him, no problem.  Park hours, and rules noted.  And there are some parks that are drug and gang loaded hell holes you really want to avoid, also noted.

Basically, I called the police looking for answers about what is legal and what is not.  It is not illegal to park on a public street, nor to spend an inordinate amount of time in your vehicle, but people will call the police for suspicious activity, which I fully understand having called them many times on people literally cooking up crack or heroin or whatever, and shooting up in front of our old apartment (they never came).  So yeah, I wanted to know what the rules were to avoid doing anything.  It is NOT illegal to be homeless, as long as you follow the civic laws. End of the matter.

However, I get shunted to this community group I had read about. No one answers, so I leave a message, and the police guy calls back, and asks me a LOT of questions and what we are looking for (NO WE WILL NOT GIVE UP THE CAT!) and yeah maybe we can get some help from this organization.  All I wanted to know was how we can be legal, and deal with our situation ourselves.  But yeah, maybe they can help us.  Though I am not all that impressed, because 7 year waiting list on low income housing in our city, and only 30 people helped in the whole time since November?

But the questions.  The whole 'would you take work if we could find you work?'  I have work, I am turning down work at the moment, because no electric, no work.  Where were they when I called in Dec 2013?  Yeah, I would like to work, but how to work and be here for Hubby?  I explained that I had a sewing business, what I needed was electricity and a roof over our head we could afford, and that any outside job would have to be part time, no more than 4 hours away from home.  I also made it clear that we were looking forward to living with in our means and getting hubby back to PT and staying in our insurance coverage area and that we have potential places we had lined up to apply for when the truck was ready to roll.  Basically, we do not need to be in a shelter; we have a shelter. We just need a freaking place to park safely some nights when we can't or don't want to pay for a motel or camp site.  It is not illegal to be homeless!  Lots of people spend some time living in their cars or campers to build up enough to make a down payment on a house, let alone the key money for a flat.

So yeah, now I feel like I have gone and done it.  Something does not feel right.  Something is broken. I feel as if I have made things a hell of a lot worse for us.  Maybe it's the whole police thing, maybe it is the feeling that we are about to be made examples of by some government agency, or religious group.  I don't know, but it feels wrong.  All the trouble we have had in the past two years plus with the Social Security Office and the Medi-Cal and everything has just really put me off this sort of thing. I mean I have had some really insane battles with Social Security that no one should have to put up with from people who are supposed to help vulnerable people.  And I still see the large groups of homeless people in the parks when I ride by to go shopping.  And why did they only take MY information rather than both of us?  That was very odd.  He never even asked my husbands name.

I hope this creeped out feeling goes away, but it has ruined my day.  I left our number with a homeless advocacy law center, just in case.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Officially on Extended Vacation Now

I shipped out Cadmuss' project today. Now I'm like, wow.  I can sit here and not worry about the business. (Loud Scream Here!)   Etsy is changing again and I don't have the inclination to stress out over it right now and I don't have to!

And then hope I get enough cooperation from the computer over the next month to get a lot of pieces embroidered that I want to throw in my hand sewing bin.  I have a large collection of freebie embroidery designs that would make cute quilt patches, and there are a few of our own we have been poking at in the process of learning to use the programs that make the stitch patterns.  So there is that to look forward too.  Once we have all the new way of living stuff settled down to a routine, I will get back to sewing at least by hand.

So most of the updates here for a while will be photos of on the road, cat photos, food Pr0n, and hand sewing projects, as well as any progress in getting back into a flat.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Very Busy

I am still working on Cadmuss's order, but we are very busy calling places and checking things out and trying to down size our possessions even further for storage.

After/if the truck is repaired, I hope to put some of that non-rent money into getting a portable power pack and solar panel to charge it.  Then I might be able to run my sewing machine for a few hours every other day.  The best one I could find was the Duracell 1300 and the recommended solar panel to go with it.  Pricey but in the long run, with our electric bill, I can't help thinking even when we have a new place, this will be a handy thing to have. Still, I will get a lot of hand sewing done and put things up on the Etsy shop via the library if they allow me to plug in my camera.  Otherwise, I do have a flash drive thing adaptor, they don't seem to mind flash drives.  We'll see.  The problem being that you need a residence address to get a library card, so we are going to be out of luck this month next year if we don't get a laptop and wifi.  I am still looking into that for the future when haha--we have no rent to pay.  I must say, it's a lose/win situation, as long as we can get the truck fixed!

I hope to get the 'cigarette lighter' plug in in the truck fixed along with the other problems.  It stopped working after all the work last year to get the thing to pass smog.  I have had a converter for ages for my laptops and having it not work now would be a right kick in the teeth.

Tama has been out to the truck twice in two days now and he hates it.  He spends all his time sitting on a piece of cardboard rather than put his dainty little mitts on the rubber mat in the back.  He did not react this badly to the apartment when we moved, but the truck, OMG.  Does he REALLY still remember going to the Vet?  After all this time?  Because he went to get chipped in his little stroller not the truck. He is getting used to his leash, though.  He walks forward when he can and stops when I hold him back, but that is only in the house because I don't want to put his flea collar on him just yet.  I need to let it air out for a day or two first after I take it out of the package.  But he isn't doing that rolling chewing frantic thing with the leash and harnass some cats do.

Frankly, I am a little insulted that he does not trust us to protect him and instead yells for help to the whole world. After nearly 9 years.  Ungrateful child.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tama Is a Couch Potatoe

I packed away the gang, except for the ones currently working or going to be clear coated for protection and in all the years Tama has tried to swipe the pleather sofa, today was his day!  He got on it and spent the entire day lounging around, until just a little while ago, when he sat up, yawned and called it quits.  Every time I came into the bedroom (which is a mess) I snapped him.  He was so cute. So here is a photo story of Tama's entire day.

I haz sopha.


Getting the hang of it.

Stop flashy thinging me...

Having bonded with the sofa completely.

Good lord is that the time.  Food!
I finally stopped being insane and got a nap this afternoon and got to work on the sewing again.  I need to make black out curtains for the truck.  The screens are in the camper shell.  Slowly slowly we are gaining on the getting things done part.  Hubby has a doctor appointment next week and then it's more applications for waiting lists.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Shutting Down My Shop

Wow, after all the hard work I did to build up my reputation, I am now sitting here closing my DoA commission post and putting my Etsy in stasis.  I will be putting hand sewn entirely stuff up occasionally, but wow.  Bitter much?

I was so over tired from yesterday, that I still have not gotten LilsGirls outfits on Karen for their finished photos, took all day to answer an email and am just wondering around like a zombie, looking for ways to stuff more things into boxes, despite the fact that we are not moving until June 1.  I like to be prepared well in advance no matter what.  I have to get back on track to do that and start working on Cadmuss' order tomorrow.  I just need another good night's sleep.

So here was my thought for a general conversation post on DoA.  If you figured out the combined weight of all your dolls, how much would it be?  I was thinking, okay, fabric bins, dolls, seat them in the fabric, toss the fabric back in and yeah, that would protect them.

Except that six of my big guys in a box with fabric means a 60 pound plus box.  Nope.  Have to think something else up.  Especially since I want to be able to go to the storage unit and switch out dolls as I work on things on the road.

Ah well.

People might wonder why I have not just sold all of them.  Being raised in a family where you do not give up your means of making a living ever, I have not.  Everything is temporary.  We have no idea how long we will be in between housing, it could be months, it could be years.  But when that time has passed, I will be able to set up my sewing room and start work again, with all my equipment right there.  I may never be able to afford a collection like this again.  I don't have the data to make that decision.   I just know I would no more give up my gang than go without a vehicle.  It's not economics; they are family, my coworkers, they supported me when I could not find a job, they are the ones who put food on the table and bought me shoes when I needed them.

Thank goodness we did not listen to people who told us we could not afford to run a car so we should junk it or sell it. As if being 'poor' we should just sink like good little rocks.  We scraped by for two years, nine months of that with it in the garage for ages, but now it is our lifeline, keeping us out of shelters and the grinding poverty and exposure to crime that not having that independence can lead to.  And it would have gone into storage still, if not for wonderful people helping us get it fixed.  Now it will be going to be fixed June 1 when we no longer have to worry about rent.

The fact is, once we are out of here, and the truck is fixed, we will be living with in our means for the first time since my hubby's stroke.  Crappy thing is, we will get extra for being 'homeless' too.  Not only that, but we will more than likely get bumped up any housing wait lists.  It is a most stupid maze to run.

But at least now I can stop bitching about not having a dishwasher!

Friday, April 8, 2016

My On Going Disdain For the Bus Is Still On Going.

Summonsed to the Social Security Office for the Imperial Explain Yourself a week after the big rent bomb struck, and knowing how crappy they treated us the first whole year Hubby had been handicapped, the double whammy had me sick for two weeks running.

It poured on us.  Note that gas is around 2.75 a gallon in our area right now, and I saw one station at 2.59.  7.50 for two bus passes.  Sure we got to ride all day, but you know, 7.50 in the gas tank of our truck had it been running would have lasted us two weeks of shopping, appointments, quick jots up to the fabric store, yeah, economic my fundamental muscle set.

It rained. That sort of rain that makes Ireland well, irey.  Slow, thorough soaking rain, the sort of rain that makes your soul grow moss.  We spent 8 hours in various stages of either soaking wet, or steaming on buses and running uphill pushing the wheel chair.  The sidewalks are often busted up tarmac, or not at all in the area we had to go in, with a mix of broken glass, sand and the inevitable god knows what people were thinking medical type waste.  I had to put a hex screw back in the little front wheel of the wheel chair with my bare fingers because I had left my veritable chatlaine of keys home and hadn't my little finger nail clippers to make a make shift clamp to turn the thing or just jam it in and use for a wrench.  Good thing the wheel started wobbling before it came out all the way and we noticed it!

The big horror show of the Social Security Office, think Beetlejuice with out so much blood.  The blasted toilet was stopped up, as usual.  Never fails, government building, horror show in the toilets.  We get called in.  "I don't want to hear it, just answer the questions."  We answer the questions.  Any questions?  Yes, we are going to be homeless, how do we deal with you guys and that.  We plan to get a P.O. Box and what ever that thing with the homeless shelter is where you can have your DMV stuff and all that sent to it and be legal still.  Nothing, just let us know. But prices will be coming right back down again soon," the fed says.  He did think it was cool that I was at least running my own business, but yeah, not without electricity.

Advice: Get rid of the cat, and save all your receipts from the shelters.

But even if we got rid of the cat, we would STILL have to wait 2 years for a place, so what ever. And yeah, it's obvious we have not sold a yacht or won the lottery.

Screw it, we are going camping. Just getting away from the apartment for most of the day had us laughing and looking forward to being capable again. Wheel chair crises and all, we basically had fun, survived, and even though the crazy older lady at one bus stop totally invaded our personal space, we ignored her valiantly 

I will pull myself together for the rest of the evening and then tomorrow, I will go NO WHERE, and get something done around here!   I need to get Karen dressed up for LilsGirls order and photos, but I have been too shakey tired to deal with that, and after Arita's crash, yeah, not when I am bone tired.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Slowly Getting Things Under Control Sort Of.

So, the title says it.  While it is not quite as bad when Hubby had his stroke, it isn't much easier to deal with.  I am just mentally adjusting to this whole camping out long term thing.  We have agreed on one thing.  My sewing equipment stays in the front of storage, and we can stop by to get things I can sew by hand.  I need something to keep myself busy.  Hubby is going to be studying Japanese.  If I get my library card renewed before we move out, it will be good for a year and I will be able to stop in and use the computer there until we can get a laptop.  OMG NO INTERNETS FOR HOW LONG!

I don't know if the library will let me hook up my camera to put up photos of the things I make by hand. I am going to be taking Karen along with for now, because the SID will be a good size to make OOAK things to sell on Etsy now and then.  So we will see.

Tama is getting used to his little harness  though he still thinks he is tied down when we first put it on.  He is not OMG THEY ARE TRYING TO KILL ME any more when I do put it on.  I have to photo him in it tomorrow when I finally get LilsGirls stuff ready.  We need to get him flea drops and start him on the leash soon, but he is agoraphobic and only goes outside in his stroller.  More stuff to miss about our neighborhood. The Vet is with in walking distance, like everything else.  Darn it.

We do want to thank everyone who has helped us.  I will make sure everyone gets special things for their dolls when we get a roof over our heads again, every one has priority, since in theory, we will be living under our income and I can return so much generosity.  This sewing business has been my dream since I was three years old!

You know, it just hit me!  Hand sewn little quilts!  That will keep me busy!  I will get everyone's address in paper book (ooh, strange and analog...) and make doll quilts.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Rough Week

We managed to find 2 places with a 2 year waiting list, and one with a 2.5 year waiting list. One of which you can have a cat if you have a doctor's paper stating the cat is a companion animal.  All the rest are 5-7 years and no cats.  And with the wheel chair, no elevator is a problem.

The way things look right now, we are screwed.  If we stay here, we are risking an eviction on that one month we can't quite make the rent.  My husband has set up a go fund me and we have emailed people asking them to spread the word, even if they can not donate.  Basically, we can not wait 2 years, but one place said sign up on the list, you never know what will happen so we are going to do that as soon as some doctor appointments and the hubby's annual argument with Soc. Sec. is out of the way.  If we can get the pick up fixed, and at least have the money to move our stuff into storage, we have a lot of hope for the future.  But that huge abyss between moving out and truck fixed is the problem.

So we are starting to pack things up and have to get the truck towed to the repair shop just in time for June 1 when he gets his SSI.  If we wait longer than that, we are taking too big a chance for both our nerves.  An eviction means no apartment in the distant future, let along being on the waiting lists.

Just when my little business was picking up the past, when we were actually beginning to see some relief, they hit us with a very unfair rent hike.  They are legally not supposed to raise it more than 10% in one year.  100$ is not 10% of 850.  But if they do a market thing and get a waiver because of local prices, they can hike it through the roof.  I have been told by county services quite a few times in the past week, this is illegal, but yeah, even 80$ would have done us in after a few months if I can't find work part time.

Too much stress, but we finalized our plan.  It would be nice if as one lady said, just sign up, you never know what might happen.

The sewing business will stay open until the last possible minute, but I will only take jobs I know I can finish in a few hours work a day.

Update: I was so tired I forgot to hit post on this earlier.  That pretty much is the sum of my week.

Must stop listening to dwight yoakam, but it's just so--ironic.