The "Get Out Of Your Car!" Fund

Friday, June 26, 2015

No house, no problem (not for me, anyway)

June 24

This month I have been staying in my old condo with no electricity. There's no point in turning it on when I will need to turn it off any day now. In fact, I'm supposed to sign my closing documents tomorrow and drive down South. The buyer will sign his documents later and I hope all goes smoothly. 

In my devotional today, I read about what problems teach us about ourselves and God. This was from Pastor David Jeremiah's magazine Turning Points (March 2015).

When it comes to my housing, Idon't see a problem. (Do you have a problem with that?)

He writes "Problems say a lot about our character, our strengths, and our weaknesses."
I hope my housing "problem"says that I
-am grateful in every situation
-am focused
-believe in my self and am self-reliatn
-trust in God's ability and willingness to protect and provide for me


June 24
Yesterday at Kenya's house, I met one of her friends, Ismael. He and his wife are separated although he hopes to recondile with her. In the meantime, she has kicked him out of the house. He slept in his truck two nights ago. Because it was hot, he had the windows down. He heard a sound and opened his eyes i time to see 3 young men running off with his wallet, phone, and keys.

Kenya and her husband said Ismael has a good heart and works well and is talented. They believe if her were around the right people, he could really flourish talent-wise and maybe financially.

Because it has been so hot at night lately, I offered to pay for a hotel for him for the night, but he politely declined and said he was sleeping in the garage where he works. He stayed with Kenya's family for a while, but the arrangement was not a good long term solution since they have kids. They also couldn't sublet the basement to him because their lease forbids it. Kenya's husband didn't feel like he would be a good friend offering to let him sleep in the driveway.

I went ahead and told Kenya that I slept in my car for a while when left my Uncle's house. She was in disbelief that I didn't tell her at the time. But I told her I needed the money to pay down debts, so Icouldn't pay any friend rent. I didn't tell her that it is a big sacrifice for people to let you live in their homes, as they learned by trying to help Ismael, so I didn't want any friends to go through that for me. I know it would make people uncomfrotable if I slept in my car in their driveway. While I would love to be able to do that, I know I couldn't ASK anyone to do that favor.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dog Sitting Weekend

This weekend I am dog-sitting for a friend. She live in a spacious house less than 5 years old. Everything feels so new. Some of the furniture and plants still have tags on them. I am pretending this place is mine.

I have air conditioning, a bed I can stretch my legs out on, and a refrigerator to store food when I can't finish it in one setting. It's AMAZING what you learn to be thankful for when you make financial sacrifices.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

I can legally sleep in my car

June 3, 2015
I finally got the question answered that I’ve been wondering about. I teach Engish in the evenings, and tonight an attorney, a public defender, as a guest to the class. He mentioned that if you have been drinking and you fall asleep in your car, you should not leave the keys in the ignition. I told him after class that I have a friend who is staying in his car to pay off debt and he heard that it is illegal to sleep in your car. He said confidently several times absolutely not. He said if your car is parked legally you can sleep in it in the state of Maryland. He actually didn’t seem surprised that someone would sleep in his or her car to pay off debt.
I wasn’t very concerned about being arrested anyway. It just makes me nervous to run into cops period. I don’t want to get in any trouble. My plan all along was just to explain to cops why I’m sleeping in my car. They will probably suggest some reousrces, such as homeless shelters. If I get caught on hospital property, I’m sure I will have to leave and never return. However, publics streets are open game.

June 13, 2015
update: I went to a community forum this week and spoke to a public official who is an expert on local parking issues. He laughed when I asked if it was a problem for someone to sleep in their car to get out of debt. Like the attorney, he said as long as the car is parked legally, sleeping in it overnight is not illegal.

Back in the condo

On May 31, I slept in the condo for the first time in 2-3 years. It was filthy at first, as I expected it to be. But I immediately got a carpet shampooer and vacuum and cleaned the carpet from 8:30 to 9”30 that night. I was tired and hot. I thought abut pausing and resuming in the morning, but I persevered instead.  Then I took a shower in the dirty shower. The tenant left a couch, which I covered with a comforter, then I slept there and had a good night’s rest. It felt good to sleep with my legs spread out. My ankle swelling was gone in the morning. I think I’ve had poor circulation in my legs and that’s why my ankles are swelling. Drinking water appears to help.

The next day I planned to shampoo and vacuum one more time after work, but when I returned the power was off. I thought that would happen. So I didn’t get to clean the carpet a second time. I didn’t get to clean the kitchen and bathroom while there was still light. That’s ok. I don’t plan to use the kitchen and bathroom much anyway. I just need a place to sleep at night that’s clean, and the living room is now clean. I’m not even there during the day during the week.

Also, praise God, the weather has been cool – even in the month of June, I’m using the heat in my car again sometimes. In the apartment there is no heat or AC but I keep the window open all the time to keep it cool and fresh smelling, and I use a comforter at night to keep warm. I love sleeping with an open window. Not to mention. I just feel very safe sleeping in a building at night.

The plan is to stay here for 3 weeks and travel for 8 weeks during the summer. When I return I will need a place to stay. I can stay in temporary housing for professionals. 

Making the Envelopes Electronic

June 3, 2015

I’m going to try something different instead of envelopes. The cash is building up in my hair and clothing envelopes because I don’t spend much in those categories. I don’t like having all that cash in storage or in my car. So, I started a checking account in my online bank. I’m going to use the check card for all envelope expeneses (food, clothing, hair, household, fun money). I’ll use cash for gas because gas stations offer discount to cash customers. Instead of taking out a few hundred dollars every payday for the envelopes, I wi;l transfer the cash to a checking account.

I just need to remember to log every transaction in the right categeroy in Evernote so I keep an accurate account of where all the money goes.