Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Nah, I Don't Think So

Re the church letting me have room to sew, I took a good look at the feasibility of getting my sewing out of storage, and it occured to me that not only would I have to lug it back and forth from the truck, but back and forth from storage as well.  If my nice armoir had not collapsed on itself (pressboard) and I did not need to buy metal storage shelves and redo the whole thing, I would give it a shot, but until that mess is cleaned up, I think I better stop rushing ahead and deal with one thing at a time.  The damp is not obvious but it is insidious and my pressboard bookcases and the 20 year old armoir have slowly soaked it up and the shelves sagged and one broke.  I have an impending avalance of boxed up books, so that is my priority for now.  Getting storage organized as planned, and then sewing on my own.  And with that mess organized better, getting my stuff in and out will be no more difficult than taking the sewing machine into another room at our ex-apartment.

We are still following our plan to make sure the truck is running right, and save up the money for either the new shell or the van.  Then the sewing will commence with a vengence.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Maybe Some Good News Eventually

At the Christmas Eve Dinner, one of the ladies in charge of the New Hope project where we were able to register the car and insurance for it told me she has been advocating for some space for me to set up my sewing machine and do some work. She said that since the project is supposed to encourage homeless people to work, it made sense to help me work.

My problems with it are that the project office is only open 3 mornings a week, 3 hours a day, one of which the hubby has his PT appointment.  I would have to have him babysit my work if I go the restroom or to get something I forgot from the truck.  I would have to buy a sewing machine cart/dolly thing to lug the machine and all my other equipment back and forth from the parkinglot over bad paveing and sets of stairs.  The place is frequented by street people who are violent, often starting fights with each other, and bragging about hiding from the police for warrents, or in the parkinglot (against the rules) trying to con people into helping them out with money or a ride, (and getting helpful people in trouble with the police because it's all about drugs or stealing your car) and the whole thing just makes me want to back off and run away every time we go there. The only reason we go there when the office is open is every 3 weeks (or you lose your mail privileges) to check our mail.  

The upside is hey, I get to do some sewing.

I need to think about this.  I need to see the 'space' they are going to let me use.  And hot weather is out of the question as there is nowhere to park in the shade and the cat is not invited.  And if we get the larger battery for the truck soon, I can set up my awning, folding table and machine and sew in the shade in the park.  So yeah, I need to assess the good parts of the offer.  But the whole thing just conflicts me.

The other conflict is between the place that did our gasket for the camper shell and a new custom shell for 1,800$ or a trade and $1000 for the Safari Van.  Both would need to be fitted out the way I would like it, so the interior is no issue.   I talked to our mechanic today and he said keep the Ranger because it's a solid beast and get the new shell, rather than take a chance on the Safari Van being a mess of problems. So the comprimise is, spend the 85$ to get the van checked over before we make any decissions on which to buy. When ever that happens.  At least we are now at the point where we can start saving up money, and when the weather improves, get some sewing done.  Right now it is damned cold in sunny California.  And that drought, we are getting dumped on by coastal storms at least half the week for weeks now.  Technically I should be getting a lot of hand sewing done, but yeah, not happening.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Christmas Everyone!

It's been a very strange year, and I hope that it will be a better year for all of us in 2017.  Someone has offered us a deal for the truck in enchange with a smaller amount of money for a Dodge 1991  Safari Van already set up with electricity, etc.  Instead of over a year that puts us at a year or less to get something more roomy and workable.  I am loath to give up the truck, but the Safari is 1.5 times bigger, and with the recent rains again, I would rather walk from the front to the back, than get out and go around and get in a slide in camper.  We will see what the coming year brings! 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Has it Really Been That Long?

The library only lets you use the computers for an hour and sometimes there are lines to use one, so we do tend to drop off the face of the earth now and then.  But I can use my tablet as long as I like on the wifi, if it behaves, like just now it is downloading huge amounts of junk for apps I never use and it is lagging like crazy.

With all the car repairs, we were not able to reach our goal of getting back to some sewing in time, obviously.  The biggest problem other than the truck itself has been the shell.  It is not a slide in camper but what they call a topper.  The Brahma company went out of business ages ago, so this thing must be as old as the truck.  Before we moved out, I put in curtain rods, and caulked everything.  We finally found out that when they painted the shell and the truck, they did not put a gasket back in.  This is no problem in summer, but in winter, you might as well be inside a cooler.  We found this out just after we got our little butane heater.  So that was taken care of at a place I found by accident, but I think when they fork lifted the shell, the window cualking cracked and we still have to tarp the truck when it rains.  Other than that, yeah, a few more blankets thrown on.

There are a lot of ups and downs about this lifestyle.  The good parts are being able to see a lot of the outdoors we had no time to see before.  No gawd awful neighbors to drive us mad while we are trapped at their mercy.  Mostly we have made new acquaintences and some friends.  There are inconvieniences.  It's making and breaking camp all the time if we want to save money and cook our own meals. 

Then there are the real problems.  The people who prey on the homeless seem to think we are an easy mark.  They want money, rides, food, hot water, just because we are homeless and have something.  The drug addicts always have a sad story, but who to blame but themselves?  We call the police, or we tell them we just don't have enough to share, I mean seriously? 

But you have to not make yourself a target with some people.  We actually have some homeless older creeps pimping drugged out teen girls who hang around in the library and make it their business to make sure no one uses their space, the lounge area near the bathrooms. I have reported them, and the library staff seem reluctant to do anything about them or the more offensive crazies so now I just call the police.

One of the biggest things that upset the street people, as opposed to the just plain homeless (a lot of whom have jobs they go to and have to hide their situation from their bosses) is that they think you are one of them: that you will be interested in drugs for favors or prostution.  Then they get mad when we tell them to get lost.  They get incensed when we call the police, because somehow, it's playground rules with these nut jobs.

One woman tried to convince me that I had forgotten being 'good
 friends' with her and her husband and had given them a ride to somewhere south way out of my knowledge.  Absolutely told me I had to have had some accident because I could not remember her and she would tell me all about it and give me gas money to give her and her man a lift again.  I pointed out that there are only two seats in my truck and my husband was handicapped, where exactly had everyone sat on this long drive before?  She then told me I had a different car at the time.  I asked her what made her think I would go get said car now, being homeless and having only the one car.  This totally bollixed her, but apparently I am the one brain damaged, LOL!

Learning to accept help was hard, we had to go to church pantries, and dinners, and all the running around doing so ate up time, and gas money. You spend hours in line for very little.  They cater primarily toward the hispanic community, and I have never eaten so much 'mexican' food in my life!  We finally determined to say no thanks and shop where there are smaller portions of meat for sale, and stopped running ourselves ragged.  Too much of the food the churches get is salt and sugar ladden or past expiration. People get food poisoning on a regular basis.  The good side is they give out free flue shots (we get ours through insurance anyway) and sometimes they have the vet students look at pets for free.  But we are looking forward to not having any more repairs that we know of in the coming months to be able to fend more for ourselves again, and save up some money.

The two year wait list may be getting shorter, but we still have to save up the key money in time to get a place when it becomes available, if ever.  The shop where we got the gasket for the shell makes custom campers for our size truck for a lot less than we have seen used ones for sale.  It is just a blank shell and very well made.  If we save up and the shell price is met before the apartment, you can bet we will buy a new shell.  Big enough for a bunk bed and a work counter, with cab over storage space and no more kneeling.  My guess is that we will have this before we see an apartment, unless we go east when the weather improves.  That means loosing our insurance for health and automotive, but much less cost of living.  And I can attend the doll cons with the camper after we get a place.

In the meantime, I hope to stop running around in circles with all the holiday dinners and get back to my hand sewing!  I was hoping to get some of the projects I cut out before we moved out done in time to send out for Christmas, but yeah, who can plan?