Tag Archives: Homelessness

Challenges and thoughts about being homeless

Letting It Be

One of the things I learned through the 10 years I was with JC was that some times you have to let things play out. I used to make things happen, but there was no way you made JC do anything. Plus for the most part while we were together we were leaving it in God’s hands, we prayed alot and I drew alot of peace and strength from that. Since JC, I haven’t gotten the same sense of being at peace when I pray. Before I met JC I wasn’t a “nonbeleiver” but after I met him and his mother my belief grew very strong, and it has just been gone since things turned bad the last time we were together. You csn’t laugh at me but I actually thought God had brought us together and whenever we were about to break up my truck woid break down or he would get injured and circumstances (God) brought us back together. Naive eh? It took me 9 years to believe anyone could purposely sabotage someone’s vehicle or purposely injure themselves. I was always waiting for him, to go to the store, to go to Christmas dinner, to take me to emergency, you msme it I waited. When day after painful day I waited for my truck to be fixed I learned patience and I learned to wait,  it was out of my control; I had to let it go.

Yesterday I woke up and needed smokes so immediately got up and took a sleepy eyed Laila for a walk to the store. It was peaceful, the sun just coming up, me in my pj’s, macassins, sweatshirt and no contact lens in. Au natural! Poor neighbours!! I went in (couldn’t tell you who was in the store but it was crowded ) and the smell of bacon and eggs made my stomach growl. I got a cup of coffee and the newspaper and made some small talk with the little Chinese lady that consisted of alot of smiling, hand gestures and head nodding, then headed home.

I wasn’t looking forward to working and had $40 and 1/2 a tank of gas so didn’t feel panicked about making money so I sipped my coffee, ate the rest of an apple pie and read the paper front to back. I didn’t get out of the house until after noon with a “come what may attitude”.

I have been really plagued with indecision about what I should be doing with my life, whether I should give up on scrap; I am just not able to do the job the way I like. But I don’t know what else to do; work at Tim Horton’s or WalMart for $10 an hour part time? But yesterday I decided to let it go. My first pick up was one of my favorite customers, Symons Tire, I love those guys; and then I dropped my weedeater at another customers, Prospect Equipment and once again enjoyed some easy banter. From there I zipped out to a new customer I picked up last week, the distribution centre for MTF stores. They had 3 pallet jacks to be picked up. I was very proud of myself that I got one on the truck all by myself. It took a bit of doing and I was laughing out loud by myself as I struggled with the damn thing; but with a chain, a load binder and using my sides as a ramp I got the job done and it was time to head to the scrap yard. When I got back to Abbotsford I drove past Home Depot (also a customer) and saw they had some scrap out. I was loading it when a couple of guys yelled out loud”Hey! Lady Witha Truck, how are you doing today?” one of the guys was hanging out the window but I didn’t recognize him. I waved anyway and yelled back,”Great thanks”. I went back to loading and then heard a voice say,” It is you! I saw the pink sign on the truck door and thought it must be you”. I turned and saw a homeless guy I’ve talked to many times in the past, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten his name but I greeted him with as much enthusiasm as he had greeted me. He asked where my big truck and the crane went. I told him I had to get rid of it. He said,”wow, that’s too bad, you were really a force to be reckoned with, like you were my , well, you were like my hero. You were really doing it, better than the guys.”

Me: Shit happens you know?

Guy: Yeah, don’t I know that!.
Guy: I am so happy I ran into you, I’ve wondered where you were. Hey I have something I want to give you, you’re gonna be so excited when you see it and if you don’t mind I’d be honored if you take it. He pulled the lid off a rubber maid container he has strapped to a small trailer he pulls behind his bicycle.

Me: That’s a nice set up you have there.

Guy: Yeah its everything I own, a down sleeping bag and another one that I use as a mattress, a change of clothes, that’s about it.

Me: you’ve got it very neat and it stays dry and it looks good. The guy proudly pulled the lid with a bit of a flourish: Now you can see inside.

Inside the container his sleeping bag was neatly rolled up, his clothes folded and he pulled everything out to get a towel from the bottom. Wrapped in the towel was a pair of wire cutters he hands to me: They have a life time warranty at Canadian Tire. He says.

Me: wow! That’s super, I can always use wire cutters. Would you be offended if I gave you $5 for them?

Guy: I didn’t expect anything for them but if you want.

We talked for awhile about scrap prices, where he sleeps at night and I asked him if the cops leave him alone and he said yeah except to wake him up to make sure he isn’t dead.

Me: You know…..if it weren’t for the generosity of a friend who lets me live in his trailer I’d be sleeping in the bushes right along side you.

Guy with a wink: I wouldn’t mind and he giggled nervously and I just wanted to give him a hug.

Me: I had better get going.

Guy as he extends his hand: I sure am glad I ran into you!! You are a really special lady you know.

I shook his hand and thanked him.

Me: you take good care now ok? And we waved goodbye. I got to the scrap yard and as I went over the scale I hear, “You’re breaking the scale!!!” and turn to see a nice looking guy who haul scrap and we laughed. They called him back into the office and I yelled,” Your in trouble now”.

As I back up to the scrap pile to unload the owner Carlo gives me a wave and walks over to the truck: Hey Carrie, how are you today?

Me: Great! And you? Carlo looks tired and is covered in dirt but he flashes me a big smile of perfect  white teeth that seem brighter because he is so dirty: busy day but I’m good.

I unload and go over to the nonferrous section. I am unloading my nonferrous and hear,”Hey Lady Witha truck!” and look up to see another fellow scrap hauler and give him a wave. As I walk into the office another one of the regulars, an older guy I see there often greets me with: Hey smilie, you staying out of trouble?

Me: Of course! I’m too old to get in trouble.
Him with a snort: Too old.
Me as I pushed past him: excuuuuuse me, coming through. And everyone in the office laughed.I got $120 and it wasn’t even 4 pm yet. I took the dogs for a much needed pee and walk and then went to Shoppers drug Mart for some face cleanser. When the cashier rang up my order she asked if I wanted to donate to their cause. I asked what the cause was and she replied 100% of what they collect goes to help women who have been in abusive relationships. I told her to add $5 to my bill. She was squealing with excitement! “You get to sign a butterfly!” she explained $1 you get a leaf, $5 a butterfly and an acorn with $10 and she’s only had people donate $1 so far. I had a laugh and told her I was in an abusive relationship and we discussed how emotional abuse is much harder to heal from than physical abuse. She is young but very mature and I tell her about my blog. From there I go to the grocery store, there’s a guy a guy playing the guitar, he’s pretty good, has a raspy voice and is singing a country song that got me feeling like a dance. Just as I get to the door a guy is walking out, I don’t recognize him but he says, “Your trucks keep getting smaller Lady Witha Truck.” Me: ALOT smaller! And laugh.

I grabbed a few groceries, took the dogs for a walk stopping half a dozen times to let people pet them. Laila performs and gives high 5’s right on cue. A lady leans out as she drives past, “Hey are those Shar-pies? They’re beautiful.

Me: Dad and daughter” thanks yes they are!

We get back in the truck and as I drive past the guitar player I feel I should be giving him something but I’m heading home and don’t want to stop. I get to the first intersection and turn around. I pull up, stop the truck and throw $3 in his guitar case as he sings “You gotta know when to hold them. Know when to fold them. Know when to walk away and know when to run.” I smiled at him and said,” Have a good night”.

I think I got my answer today

http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/special/serenity.html

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change
Change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Yesterday I felt I was exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment in time and I was at peace. One day at a time.

Love to you all.

Knowing When To Fold Them

There is an old Kenny Rogers song that goes something like this:

“You gotta know when to hold ’em
know when to fold them
know when to walk away
and know when to run
Don’t count your blessings
while you’re sittin’ at the table
there’ll be time enough for countin’
when the dealin’ done.”

My apologies if I didn’t get it exactly right; its been alot of years since I heard that song but it has been playing in my head lately.

Hal really pissed me off the other day and I felt helpless to do anything about it. I hate, I mean really hate, being dependent on anyone, so really did not want to accept more money from Jim to get home that night.

It burns my butt to not be totally self sufficient and I can hear JC’s voice ringing in my ears,”See?! I told you you couldn’t make it on your own, I told you someday you’d realize all I did for you”.
But he was wrong, I see all the things he did to me not what he did for me.

When Hal started accusing me of avoiding him, demanding to know how much I was getting for the truck, and talking over me when I was talking and then getting angry with me for not shutting up and saying I was talking over him. I found myself getting frustrated because he was twisting my words and refusing to understand what I was saying. Then it hit me; I don’t have to put up with this any more from anyone, ever again. I know what is fair, I know what is right, and I know when I am being played for a sucker.

I was frustrated, crying and angry but I took control of the situation.  I know he is bad mouthing me and you know what? I really don’t give a shit, I don’t have time for that kind of highschool bullshit. Yeah he’s got $350 of my hard earned money and I got the “shaft” (excuse the pun I couldn’t resist) Like I said to Hal that night, “If I wanted to get screwed over I would have called JC.  I don’t need to go looking for assholes. You knew the position I was in financially and you took advantage of it. I am done with you. You have nothing  to say that I want to hear and I have nothing I want to say to you.” Sure I sat in a parking lot in Langley crying my eyes out, sobbing to the dogs about how unfair life is and asking them ,”what do I do now?”

Then I saw the dumpster behind me and thought, “Nothing like digging in a dumpster to take a girl’s mind off her troubles.” I got a really nice vase, a tall one, you know they’re about 2 & 1/2 feet tall? the kind that sits on the floor with tall grasses in it. It has a $60 price tag on it and I can’t find a thing wrong with it. I also found the cutest Halloween decoration, a Styrofoam pumpkin head with a top hat that just needs a bit of glue, priced at $25. Three nice sweat shirts, 3 cardigans; a white one, blue one and a black one and they all fit me. A few blouses and a dress and jacket in an oriental design I haven’t tried on yet. I also got some really nice smelling vanilla hand soap in a pretty clear glass pump dispenser that I gave to my girl friend and she loves,  she also picked out a glass flower ornament that she liked.

When Jim called to say he was in Langley I was already asleep with my head on Laila, one good thing about really bad times; you know a night sleeping in the truck isn’t going to kill you. The worst thing that happens is you don’t have a toothbrush in the morning, your contacts are stuck to your eyes because you slept with them in and you kinda look like a raccoon because your mascara is smudged.

Sure I fell into a depression the next day and wasted most of the day feeling sorry for myself and when every one told me I should have called the cops and when the guy who wanted to buy it offered me $400 and said he had a tow truck waiting to pick it up I told everyone, “I can’t talk about it right now, I can’t make a decision right now, I will have to get back to you.” and I weighed my options.

I call the police;
I know Hal is an N and I know he’s probably already done damage control, I have a 50/50 chance the police will even listen to me, I have nothing in writing and neither does he so it will be a he said/she said scenario and the cops probably can’t do anything and will tell me to take him to small claims. It would prolong dealing with an asshole and I really don’t need that in my life.

As it is Hal has cost me $850 ($350 I paid him, $300 I lost in the sale of my truck, and at least $200 I would have made on the job in Port Moody I missed and someone else picked up) Plus I’ve wasted more hours on that man than can be calculated because he is always late and if I hadn’t bought the other truck I wouldn’t have been royally screwed because he took so long fixing my GMC and I wouldn’t have had any way to make money to pay him.  I shudder to think about it and it makes me really angry but do I want to waste any more time on the asshole? Do I want him in my life in any way? No!!

Some times doing nothing is really doing the best thing. I don’t want to feed Hal’s need for attention through conflict.

So if I am not calling the cops my other option is to find a driveshaft, buy it and install it myself but that means I have to sit on the phone trying to track one down. Not having phone reception where I live means I will be cutting into time I could be using to make money. I need to make money because I am dead in the water without it.

So like the song says, “I decided to fold and walk away.”
I called the buyer and told him I can’t accept $400 could he do $500? He said he’d ask his son; yes they would go $500. He got a tow truck to pick it up and take it to his place. I said I have to work to make enough money to buy fuel to get the registration to him and he said not a problem. I did a few pickups that I missed last week when my truck was down, now there was even more. So I had a good money making day and got $279 for 3 hours work.

I called Jim and said I’d have his $550 by the end of the day. He said not to leave myself short, he would be happy with $300. I said I wanted to at least pay the $400 he lent me to buy the 1974 Chev. I also owed my girlfriend $100 and wanted to pay her.

So yesterday I was able to buy a jug of oil for the truck, a new pair of work gloves, stock my cupboards with groceries and dog food, and even bought myself a pair of cowboy boots at Value Village for $20. ( For whatever reason wearing cowboy boots makes me feel more confident, when I was still with JC he told me that when I wore my cowboy boots I had an air of confidence about me, that can’t be a bad thing)

Now that I have walked away from the table what are my blessings?
1. I handled it, I didn’t let the bastard intimidate me, I didn’t feed his sick need for drama and attention and walked away with my head held high.
2. The guy who bought the truck got a good deal and I was out $350. Oh well, I really like the guy who bought the truck and guess what! he owns dump trucks and rebuilds antique cars; what does that means? he has scrap! and he is going to call me to come pick up within the next week.
3. I could have spent all day
looking for a driveshaft and then gotten frustrated trying to put it in and possibly had to deal with Hal again today and wasted another day I could have been working. Instead I made almost as much as I lost ($25 less) big deal and today it is all ancient history; I can close that page and move on. It was 10:30 by the time I got to Jim last night but I paid him for the truck and that felt wonderful!!!
I paid my girlfriend and by midnight I was sitting at my kitchen table drinking a ice cold Mike’s Hard Lemonade and eating a turkey tv dinner.

With that out of the way I can focus on getting my butt out of this trailer and I have a few ideas about how to do it. I’m quite excited about one idea but will save that for another post.

Once I am out of here and have an internet connection I have a new career idea I am excited about and could put all my experiences over the past 12 years to good use. But that is a post of it’s own also.

So that’s all folks!
Like my blog says; Playing with the cards I’m dealt, the best I can. This time I decided to fold and walk away. Next time? who knows; I guess we’ll see what I get dealt in the next hand.

Hugs to you all.
off to work I go……hi ho hi ho.

(written Tuesday morning and posted on Wednesday)

The Here and Now

I thought maybe it was time to give an update to where I am at as far as getting my life back on track, mentally, emotionally and financially.

I am disappointing myself lately; somewhere along the way I lost my “I’ll show them, no one can keep me down, F you all attitude” that has always gotten me through the tough times in my life. Does a person run out of that sort of resource? I literally look for it, try to will it back, but nope, not even a morsel of it anywhere. More times than not I just feel beaten down and like I am flailing in a huge ocean and no one is throwing me a life raft. All around me things are sinking, my business, people I thought cared, my health, and I am treading water helpless to stop it.

Where I live has alot to do with it,for me anyway, my home is my sanctuary and I always try to make where ever I live welcoming and a place I feel safe and secure at the end of a long hard day. I am ashamed of where I live. I know there are people who live in worse situations but it would be impossible to get too much worse without being homeless. I am thankful I am not homeless.

It isn’t the area; as much as not having phone reception, internet or TV is a pain in the ass; there are things that compensate. Like a few weeks ago I took little Laila for a walk to the corner store/gas station/restaurant /community meeting place. It was a warm summer morning, as we walked the only sound was the crunch of my feet on the gravel and the snorting of Laila (shar-pei’s sound like piglets). In the field beside us were people, some wearing big straw hats like they have in China, some draped in East Indian garb and one or two wearing baseball caps; picking blueberries.

Across the street there’s a pasture with a dozen or so beautiful thoroughbred horses fattening up for winter, grazing. Laila was very interested in checking them out and as we stood watching them they realized we were there and started to walk in our direction. Then one of the biggest, a grey dappled stallion came galloping straight at us. There is no fence just a narrow ditch and for a moment I thought it was coming over it but he screeched to a stop right at the edge only feet from us and snorted, and gave us the “evil eye” with one eye. I swear I could feel his breath and Laila and I got the message loud and clear to keep moving.

The grey dapple and another horse can always be seen standing under the same tree, head to tail; swishing their tails to keep the flies off each others face. Cute.

As we carried on the crunch of my feet on the gravel startled the frogs in the high grass along the road and they gave a little shreak and then we could hear the plop of them hitting the water in the ditch. Aside from that there wasn’t a sound. I stopped and listened; to silence. We carried on and the high grass changed into bullrushes/cat tails, probably an acre of them and they opened up to a pond where ducks were swimming; momma and her brood; some of them with their little bums poking up wiggling as they fish for food under the waters surface. There were lily pads; some in bloom with yellow and pink flowers, and off to the side, standing so still I almost missed him was a crane on one leg waiting for his breakfast to swim past.

At the store there was a couple of Harleys parked and the two riders wearing black leathers were on the veranda having a smoke and coffee. The smell of bacon and eggs frying wafed from inside as did the lively conversation of the same 6 men that congregate there every day. They sit in the same corner, actually there is only one table in there, drink gallons of bitter coffee and solve the problems of the world. As I walked in I overheard one of the old timers say, “Yep, that’s when the world went in the crapper; that’s when it all started.” followed by the others mumbling their agreement. Then they fell silent and all looked at me as I smiled and got myself a coffee. I guess the tiny bell ringing as I walked through the door alerted the little chinaman that owns the place because he came running out of the kitchen. I told him I was just getting a coffee and he nodded his head, waved his hands in the direction of the coffee pots and scurried back to his eggs and bacon. I bought a paper and my coffee, nodded at the bikers as we passed and Laila and I made our way home. All in about 1/2 an hour; I can’t think of a better way to start a day. Doesn’t it sound like a little piece of the 1950’s was somehow forgotten? The twilight zone, the town that time forgot. It could be heaven on earth if I didn’t have to make money and if I had running water, sewer, and wasn’t living in a 23′ holiday trailer where I bang my head 15 times a day, the dogs have to be in bed when they are in it because there is no room to walk. It is a great holiday trailer; I can envision a family making memories to last a lifetime in a little trailer like it. But at the end of two weeks mom and dad would be longing for a nice hot shower and the luxury of laying on the couch, mindlessly watching tv and telling the kids to go outside and play in the traffic. And they would have had water and sewer.

I can not tell you what going to the bathroom in a bucket does to your self esteem, and I will spare you the details. But it doesn’t stop there because then you have to dispose of the bucket’s contents! I have to pack water, I finally started getting it from the river down the road instead of driving down the hill; it saves me $10 in fuel and an hour in time. I probably shouldn’t be drinking it but what the hell; live on the edge I say. I have to boil the water to do dishes, wash etc and some days I get home too late to get more water or I’m just too tired to lug it up the hill so I give what water I have to the dogs and do without. The holding tanks are full so when I fill the sink with water to wash it drains into the tub, so once a week or so I have to bucket out the moldy water from the tub. I made my little outside shower and it is better then sex when I can get it timed right to have a nice hot shower. Even a cold one is better than nothing; the theory behind the shower is that the person using it is on vacation and will be available when it reaches its desired temperature. If I get home after the sun sets I have missed my opportunity for a hot shower.
I feel like Ma on Little House on the Prairie; without Pa.

As for my health; I was working at getting my teeth fixed and I’m about 3/4 done, I have about 4 more teeth to get pulled and then I get my partials, but when the scrap prices dropped I stopped going into Surrey with my scrap because it was better prices locally (I will cover work in another post) my dentist is down there and I just didn’t have the money to throw into driving down there. PLUS I am a big chicken and the last time I went alone I was in tears as the receptionist held my head and he had both hands and a foot in my mouth pulling my tooth. Ok so I’m exaggerating a bit but I was traumatized ok?!

So anyway, now I have had an absessed tooth for over a week; my ear aches, my throat is sore, and I am having chest pain. (When I had my heart attack I had an absessed tooth.) I know they won’t pull it while its infected so I got some antibiotics; they looked familiar but I couldn’t remember why until I started taking them; I am allergic to them and they cause excruciating pain in my chest and yesterday I thought for sure I was having a heart attack, then I got a urinary infection and then it dawned on me; I can’t take those antibiotics, they made me violently ill last time. So now I am waiting for the effects of them to wear off. I have to work today to make enough money to pay for more antibiotics I can take.

Not going to Surrey has been a good thing and maybe that is why it happened that prices dropped, my truck broke down and it was better to stay local. I have gone to Surrey once in a while just to keep that door open and almost every time I’ve been in the area I have seen JC, one day 3 times. I know it was fluke, he didn’t even know what I was driving until he saw me that day and I could tell he was surprised. He was on his bike and pulled over; I don’t know if it was to talk to me but I kept going and then he passed me on the freeway going home. I know her dad lives out that way so he could have been heading over there and it was just a fluke he passes me again. Either way it is a nice feeling to know I am not going to run into him at any point in my day and I find myself getting way more tense and reminiscent when I have to go into Surrey. I actually dread having to go down there but I have work in the area and money wins every time.

As far as James (that’s his name; I never called him JC) is concerned, I will cover more about him in another post also. For now I must boil some water to wash and go to work. Have a great day all. Hugs Carrie