Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Adventures in Homelessness Continues!

I've been dutifully void in my writing the past few weeks, namely because of the misunderstood pagan holidays, but also from working and it's related commute.

In mid-November, and the beginning of December, I posted about moving into a shared living space.

I want to say it was "very nice", because of the awesome Chinese foreign exchange student which I shared this home with.

I want to say it was "very nice", because I had a lock on my door, and they provided a bed.

Unfortunately, I cannot say these things with honesty.

The day I moved in, the landlord, a man in his early 20's, said that "The furnace just went out, but it should be fixed sometime this week." He collected the first months rent and deposit without giving me a receipt or lease agreement, which should have been my first warning.

As I work a solid 12 hours per day, at 5 days per week, as well as a 2 hour, each way commute via the public bus, spending 8 hours (or less) under the comfortable covers of my many blankets made me mostly numb to the fact that the furnace had not been repaired, well into days where the temperature inside the home was 40 degrees Fahrenheit. I had asked, more kindly than I should, more than once, for a lease agreement, as to hold the landlord accountable for the repair of the furnace.

It was only when I went exploring the home, again, admittedly after a month of living there, for the washer and dryer to clean a months worth of dirty clothes from work, that I had discovered the male landlords wife's hobby.

The basement had flooded a month before I had moved in, leaving the landlords to abandon their own home to stay with the male's parents.

The basement's walls, sheetrock, had been basically dissolved throughout the entirety of the finished basement, leaving 10" of studs every 18" along the whole basement, spare one corner.

Due to my inquisitive nature, I wondered why this room in particular was spared. I crept around, looking for the washer and dryer, and opened the door to what I initially thought were a pack of hissing snakes.

SNAKES!

Wait...  Nope.  Those are just cats.  Wait, again...  Cats?  Plural? Just how many cats are in this room??  I try to do a quick head-count in the dark. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 pairs of eyes...  TWELVE PAIRS OF EYES??

"Jibbers Crabst....  Six cats?!!?" I mutter to myself.  ...No...  there are more, but I'm just not seeing them.

I simply give up counting out of fear that one of these feral monsters may escape the room while trying to count them all.

I ask the lady-lord about them via text message... "Well, I was breeding them for sale?"

To myself: "Who in the sweet green hell breeds cats??"

The place which I attempt to call "home" gets worse.

Upon discovery of the washer and dryer, I discover several cultures of mold that would impress even the most amateur of microbiologist.

"Oh dear, Jibbers, what did I get myself into??"

I attempt to overlook the obvious biological hazards and try to focus on the amazing wireless internet access. 100 mbps can make a man do peculiar things, much like the promise of intercourse. However, Japanese game shows featuring girls blowing bugs into each others mouths can only bring a lonely man so far...

At Thanksgiving, I decided to purchase a Van from my previous bandmate, a 1992 Chevy G20 with 192,000 miles. Then the issue became recovering the van from Minnesota. Almost more quickly than I could plan for it in the month preceding while working 60 hours per week, I organized a trip to Minnesota.  I bought an airplane ticket from Seattle to Minneapolis for a surprisingly reasonable fare of $140, plus an extra $20 for "premium seating" to board first and get off first.

In the next week, I received a rather irritating text message at 1:30 am from the Lady-Lord.

"Starting NOW, you must no longer smoke cigarettes outside on the porch. You MUST smoke on the opposing side of the street. The new roommates are complaining of a cigarette smell in their room."

This was entirely irritating, of course, because the new roommates actually smoked cigarettes as well as weed, and were complaining over the previous roommates smoking in the room they had rented, as well as the powerful cat urine smell permeating the entire house. It was simply easier to blame me for another's actions.

This was the last straw, however.  Besides repeatedly asking for a lease, a receipt for the amount which I had paid, for them to fix the furnace, text messages at such an early hour of such a bitchy nature for something which was both clearly not my fault, and due to their gross negligence prompted me to make some more harsh choices. I quickly gave my notice and intent to move into the van which I had just purchased, sight-unseen.

My three hour flight was exceptionally and pleasantly uneventful to Minneapolis, as well as the 3 hour drive north to Duluth.

I had the foresight to mail a care package to myself, containing my toiletries, clothes, and a special jar of peanut-butter.

I love the Fed-Ex man because he's a drug dealer and he doesn't even know it.  *smiles*

I enjoyed the sweet leaf like no other...  In fact, it was far too potent, even by my own standards, a seasoned seasoning smoker for the seasons. It was within the first two hours upon my arrival into the twin ports that I partook in pretend parsley inhalation, and, again, relieved the few-month migraine which had been building behind my occupied ocular cavity.  Sweet relief, the sweetest of leaves.

As I visited my closest friends, I was immediately reminded the reasons why I left the area. The 10 degree weather had much to do with it, besides the lack of work and the mentality that "not much is subject to change".

Ignoring the holiday which surrounded me, I made my way to each friends home, spending about 6 hours with each, the entire time attempting to wedge in room to visit even more people I have long known from the area.

I must say that I regret not being able to see Evil Jeff, who ranked high upon my list of "Long-Time-Friends-I-MUST-Visit", but I managed to see my aging grandmother and her new boyfriend, as well as tape a 3 hour long video interview of her, asking her all of the embarrassing questions which I've always longed to ask her. Per her request, I won't dare publish the interview until she's laid in the ground a full 10 years, as it was a condition of the interview.

Upon being seated into my new van, which grossly resembles a retired FBI surveillance vehicle, with the lack of windows, and it's broad white sides, I was rather pleased that it was in such great shape, spare the heater fan which was completely inoperable.

To combat this issue, which I initially deemed as 'minor', I purchased a cigarette powered electric blanket. However, I should have upgraded this issue to "medium" to "major" when taking into account that I fully intended to drive this American made beast 1,800 miles to my new state.

I withdrew $300 in cash from an ATM the day I stepped off the airplane, as well as an additional $300 to spend on seeing the new Star Wars movie, and stuff my son's pockets with in lieu of a holiday gift.  It's a rather good thing I did, as I tried to fuel the monster van leaving the state to find my debit card was blocked.  I guess $60 in fuel looks suspicious?  So the heavy cash withdrawals were a saving grace for when I started the very long, very cold drive back to Washington.

The drive took me a total of 40 hours, just shy of my co-bloggers record of 38 hours to this area, which I think is still rather impressive. The average temperature for the drive was about 15 degrees. The worst part of the drive was just east of Seattle in the Snoqualmie mountains, where the road was completely invisible.  The van would regularly bounce off the drifts of snow, careening at a steady twenty miles per hour in attempt to follow the previous vehicles pair of cow-path tracks left in the snow.

White-Knuckle driving, even for a professional driver, for certain.

I arrived home on the evening of Christmas, praising Jibbers, the Fire-Breathing-Lobster, for a safe return.

Nearly immediately after a long winters nap, I began to prepare the van to make it much more livable. I made a large nest of blankets, ingraining the electric blanket in one of the many, many layers, as well as stringing a forty foot LED light in the ceiling of my portable domicile.

While smoking the fine Washington stuff, I had a moment of inspiration...

"OFFICE SPACE!!"

So, upon my return, I inspected an office space for 1/2 of the cost of the shared living space!

REALLY???  $300 PER MONTH??? HEATING, AIR-CONDITIONING, ELECTRICITY AND MAID SERVICE INCLUDED?! Shared breakroom, shared bathroom, private mailbox and 4 parking spaces.

Well,...  Hell!  I work 12 hour days.

I quickly filled out the application and paid the deposit on the 16'x16'x10' room.

I plan to set up my computers, microwave, toaster oven, mini-fridge, and all of my 'office equipment' like filing cabinets, printer, and other business related equipment in this office space. I also purchased a gym membership at the adjacent "Workout Center", which has a shower and locker-room, and is 24 hours.

Work 12 hours, gym for an hour or two, office space for an hour or four, and retire to my van in it's reserved parking.

The grand total for this? $4,200 per year. Breaking it all down, I pay about $380 per month for all of my living expenses, (besides the storage unit to hold things which don't belong in an office) while netting nearly $3,000 per month.  This makes me smile like a Cheshire Cat.

"Are you homeless?"

"Kinda..."

2 comments:

  1. The 38 hour record to the West Coast (or actually back) was in a Mercedes, not a full size van... And it was dry and above freezing the whole way..

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    1. Still, it wasn't in 38 hours... I probably would have tied your time if it wasn't for a few feet of snow through Snoqualmie. The cold weather without a heater certainly pushed me to drive, or I might have taken my time.

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