New York – I am in you!

It’s been a while since my last post, even though I told myself that I’d write more this year. This past month has been a total whirlwind in my life; some of it good, some of it stressful, but I’m dealing with it the best that I can. 

First bit of good news, we were able to get another vehicle, a very nice 2010 Mazda which makes me beyond happy. I’m a huge Mazda fan.  With said new Mazda we were able to make the trip halfway across the United States to our new home in New York. While we are staying with friends, this place still feels like home, a feeling that I don’t ever recall having before. When we got here we weren’t told, welcome to New York, we were told welcome home. 

Home.

It might not seem like a lot to some people,  but for someone like me who has always felt alone or left out…those four letters mean a lot. We are working on getting our own place, but I have this feeling the New York is going to be my home for a long time.   

Last night we had a get together for my family to meet the wonderful community here that helped us get out of Arkansas, and leave the crap we faced there behind. I had a hard time to start with, because of my inability to ‘people well’ I was sitting with my wife a bit away from everyone. I felt really bad because my social anxiety was starting to kick in and I was feeling overwhelmed. That mean little voice of self-doubt was laughing at me in the back of my mind. These wonderful people had done so much for my family and me and I couldn’t even interact with them. 

Then the strangest thing happened, a total first for me, people actually came to me a few at a time and I was able to fight past my anxiety ultimately and even spend time with a fairly large group of people. We played a music game, laughed, talked, and even sang together. 

I felt welcomed.

I felt loved.

 I felt like I belonged. 

I felt like I was part of a community. 

It was wonderful.

#community, #family-2, #new-york, #social-anxiety

Desolation

I’m so lost right now. I don’t know what to do or where I’m going or even if I’ll make it through the week at this point.

The driveshaft in my truck dropped out at a stoplight in rush hour traffic during lunch today and now all our plans for a new start have gone to hell. We’re effectively stranded where we and now have zero transportation.  Fixing the truck really doesn’t seem to be an option anymore as there is too much work and money that need to go into it. Just the rear drive shaft alone is going to cost over $500 when you include taxes. 

I want to curl into a ball and cry. This year was supposed to be better and it’s just gotten progressively worse. I dare say it makes me miss 2016. 

I’m homeless and now I don’t even have a vehicle to weather the cold winter in. I don’t know where to start anymore… I’m just so tired. 

Does it ever get better? 

Exhausted.

Exhausted, though this word doesn’t completely describe how I feel, it comes fairly close. Since the start of the new year I’ve been living in a hotel room thanks to some really great friends and my mother-in-law. It hasn’t gotten above freezing for very long for nearly the entirety of this week. It really would have sucked if we would have had to camp out in the snow in our tent for this past week.

We’re trying to make our way back across the United States to the East Coast, then our travels will lead us North, just how far North, I’m not exactly sure yet. We had tried to leave last Monday, when the tires on our trailer blew out, which really sucked, but there really wasn’t anything that we could do about it.

I had hoped that we would be out of Arkansas by now, but every step forward we take, we are shoved ten steps back. I’m heartbroken because we had to rehome Dublin, even though it is what was best for her in the long run, because of our homelessness, it didn’t make the decision any less difficult to make.

Every time I get a dog and start to get attached something happens and we end up losing it. No matter how hard we try, it’s always the same thing in the end.

This year has just begun and I’m already sick of it. I want to wake up from the nightmare that I’ve been living in for the past five years.

On the bright side, some really wonderful people have come together to help us out when we get back across the US to the East coast. With each passing day and additional bit of help they’ve offered I’ve found myself on the verge of tears more often than not. I’ve never even met these people, yet they are opening their homes and hearts to my family and I when we have so little. It’s a nice comfort in light of all the other struggles that we’ve been facing for the last month.

I just hope that 2017 starts getting better soon…

If anyone would like to help us get to our destination, you can find our GoFundMe here:

https://www.gofundme.com/Newyorkorbustoconnor

 

 

#arkansas, #east-coast, #homeless, #traveling, #united-states, #winter

Wells Fargo – Big Brother is Watching

With the exception of Wells Fargo, in all my years of banking never have I ever come across a bank that likes to not only limit how much of your own money that you can spend, but also where you can spend your own money.

Anyone that has been reading my blog or paying attention to other social media venues that I use knows that my family and I are currently homeless, and trying to make our way back to Virginia where we may have a place to stay since the place here in Arkansas was a total bust and has ended up costing us more than it was worth. My mother-in-law was paid today tried to get us a hotel room for a couple of days so that we can finish gathering up what we have before making our way halfway across the United States. It will be the first night since Sunday that we have a warm and safe place to sleep. For the past two nights the temperatures have been below freezing and tonight will be no different, in fact the low for tonight is supposed to be in the mid to high twenties.

Now, because Wells Fargo has decided that they don’t want to give my mother-in-law access to her own money we are running the risk of being kicked out of our room for the evening. They even had the audacity to call my mother in law and tell her that they weren’t going to put they charge for the hotel room through, because she dared to spend more than Big Brother Wells Fargo said she could. Even though she begged them to put the charge through, they simply refused.  It doesn’t matter that she has over $500 in her account, it wouldn’t matter if she had $5,000 in her account her bank has refused her access to her money.

In all honesty, this really doesn’t surprise me, what should anyone expect from a bank that has a past of opening fraudulent accounts in their client’s name and then charging them fines and fees without their knowledge? Wells Fargo even backs the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project that a large majority of Americans do not want pushed through and have been fighting against with the Native American’s whose sacred tribal land this pipeline would desecrate.

Like many other people that are against the DAPL, I closed my Wells Fargo account a while ago and if I hadn’t, this would have been the deciding factor to close my account. Any bank that refuses their clients access to their money has no right being in business.

#bad-banks, #banking, #freezing-temperatures, #homeless, #hotel-room, #sleeping-in-a-suv, #wells-fargo

Chaos Theory

While most people settled down on Christmas eve with bellies full of dinner after a tiring day of unwrapping presents and spending time with family, my family curled up in the back of a 2000 Ford Explorer thankful for the mild night during winter. After having to leave the house we were staying in and moving into a hotel room, once again we found ourselves having to move, but this time without a place to go.

After spending a couple of days sandwiched into ‘Bessie’ we found a campsite that doesn’t cost anything, it’s just at the top of a mountain in the Ozark mountain range in Arkansas. It’s in the middle of nowhere and we have zero cellular service. We are miles from the closest town down a steep and winding road filled with rocks the size of chickens and drops offs that will make your heart skip a beat.

To say that we weren’t prepared for this feat would be a vast understatement. For the four of us we have one sleeping bag, one twin size comforter, a small throw, some fleece that I was going to make a cloak from, and finally a soft oversized queen blanket.  We do have a small Mr. Heater Portable Buddy that keeps enough of a chill out of our tent to make the cold manageable. We do have food and water, and if it comes down to it, I do have my bow and a hunting license.

When we first lost our hotel room my wife set up an emergency GoFundMe account asking for just enough money to get a hotel room until Friday. When I told people what was happening, I got the standard “I’ll pray for you,” bullshit response that people give when they want to feel good about themselves for saying something nice to someone that is going through hell. Since Christmas, I realized just how few friends I have, and our emergency fund still sits at zero.

I’ve had to set back my TESOL classes because we don’t have internet in the middle of nowhere, and I’m having to put off my other classes as well because our predicament. It’s difficult to worry about business management when you must make sure you have enough firewood for your outside fire to keep everyone warm until everyone retires to the tent for the evening to huddle together for warmth.

As if things weren’t difficult enough, we make it back up the mountain this morning after scraping together all our loose change for propane tanks for the heater to find out the front driver’s side tire on the truck has completely blown out. We do have a spare, but it’s in very bad shape and isn’t trustworthy to drive on for any long distances.

Now instead of being able to travel back to where our animals are to feed them and then come back to the campsite, we must completely pack up tomorrow (Thursday) morning and spend the day and night in the truck once again. I feel like 2016 just had to stick it to my family one more time before 2017.

Come Friday, we’re packing everything else that we have into storage and leaving NW Arkansas for good. The only time we’ll come back here is to get our stuff but that’s it. I was stupid to think that coming back would be any different than the first time my family lived here. Nothing has changed, and nothing will.

 

For anyone interested in sharing or giving us a hand our emergency GoFundMe can be found here:

 http://www.gofundme.com/housinghelpoconnor

Anyone that donates (and sends me a message with their address) I shall write them a lovely poem by hand (yes, it’s legible) and mail it to them. My writing is really all I have right now, and it’s all I have to offer other than my undying gratitude and tears.

 

#arkansas, #broken-down, #camping-in-winter, #crisis, #flat-tire, #gofundme, #homeless, #homeless-camping, #housing, #mountain, #nwa, #winter

Into the Fray

I hate the phrase “home is where the heart is” it, like most others, is just made up sweet words to lull people into feeling better about where they live. Most people that chant this mantra actually have a home. They don’t have to worry about where they are going to sleep at night, or how they are going to cook their next meal, or even how they are going to stay warm when the frigid temperatures of winter settle in for the season.

As I sit in my SUV with my wife and two boys watching the coming storm I can only wish that we had a home to go to, somewhere warm, safe and dry. It won’t happen though, our lot in life has been nothing by chaos and uncertainty. With just seven days left in this year we can all hope that 2017 will be better than the last two years. We can hope that the progression of dilapidation of our lives will cease, and we will be able to build something better than what we have now.

I think the only thing that I hate more than meaningless phrases is the utterances of people that feel the need to indulge in their self-righteousness all the while never truly understanding what someone who is having trouble is going through. All the “keep it up”, “sending you love and light”, and “praying for you” isn’t going to do anything for me or my family. They are just words to make someone else feel better about not being someone like me.

It’s a good thing too I suppose, who would want to be broken like I am? Who would want to have to worry about where they can park at night so that they can get sleep without being disturbed. Who would want to worry about their vehicle finally breaking down in a way that they can’t repair it leaving them and their family stranded. Who would want to have their so-called friends use them and then cast them aside. Who would want to suffer the discrimination, hateful words and lack of empathy that someone like me suffers. What a life to live.

The sad thing is, I used to think of myself as a good person. I would go out of my way to help other people, but when my family and I needed help no one is there. I have given total strangers my belongings because it made their lives a little dryer, a little warmer, or a little easier. I guess I’m not really a good anything in the end.

Maybe life and society has finally stomped out the last bit of wonder and excitement in my heart, because this world now isn’t something that I want to live in. Merry effin’ Christmas…

 

#christmas, #holidays, #homeless, #homelessness, #living-in-a-suv, #merry-christmas, #vehicle, #winter

No One Bothered to Stop

Driving in the winter really isn’t great fun if you living in a state that doesn’t prepare for the dangerous weather conditions in advance. This was the case Saturday evening when I was headed back to the house that my wife, two sons and I had been staying in. The misty rain that had been falling all day suddenly turned the highway into a treacherous black and  white path of ice, slush and snow when the temperatures began to dip below freezing.

We were approximately ten miles from our then home, when the rear end of my SUV began to lose traction and we start to slide, and in a construction zone! Bessie’s, the name by which we affectionately call our 2000 Ford Explorer Limited,rear end began to slide towards the construction cones which liter Highway 49 South, outside of Fayetteville, Arkansas. I was able to control the side enough to keep us from hitting the cones, but another patch of ice sent the beast of a vehicle sliding the opposite way towards the median.

I was almost under control in the slide when I felt the weight in the truck shift, and the beginnings of what I could only imagine would have ended up with us rolling the truck had I not reacted the way I did. I purposely slide the truck into the ditch to shift the weight and keep us from rolling side over side into the steep median and possibly the other lane of traffic. Meanwhile, my wife and eldest son were having fits, and understandably so, it was pretty nerve racking. I have to admit, I am pretty thankful for my obsession with drifting and the different methods of drifting as it allowed me to recognize the beginning changes in the center of gravity in the truck and correct it to keep us from “turtling over”.

We ended up in the center of the median, facing the same way we were going. Bessie had stalled out and the kids and wife seemed a bit terrified. What bothered me the most though, was as we were sliding off the road into the median a vehicle passed and didn’t even bother to stop. By the time we came to rest in the median, the rain had turned to snow and no less than eight vehicles (that were directly behind me) passed us and not one person bothered to stop.

Thankfully, my faithful beat-up SUV started back up with a little coaxing and we were able to make it back out of the median and to the house where we were staying. Bessie is beat up pretty good, I’ll need new tires for her rear end at the very least, and I’m beginning to have other issues as well, but my 2000 Ford Explorer Limited with 225k miles on it handled like a champ and my family came out of the incident with nothing more than an adrenaline filled ride.

#arkansas, #bad-road-conditions, #bad-weather, #car-accident, #driving, #explorer, #family-2, #fayetteville, #ford, #ford-explorer, #icy-road-conditions, #suv, #winter, #winter-driving