Upcoming Radio Interview and (Hopefully) House-Buying-Ness

Dwight is letting me crash on his couch again this weekend while his roommates are out of town – thanks, Dwight!  Love sleeping on a warm couch instead of a cold parking lot.  Tomorrow I’m doing a radio interview, which should be kind of cool.  It’s with Jennifer Westaway of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) – so soon 2 million Canadians should know who I am, even if very few people in America do, haha.  Seriously, though, that’s pretty awesome.  I LOVE Canada.  My grandmother and her seven siblings were all born and raised in Toronto – in fact, I used to spend my summers there as a kid with my great-aunt, who passed away when I was a sophomore in high school.  That was the last time I ever visited, but I still cherish the memories of the time I spent in that cute little old house at 19 Brad Street.  When my great-aunt died, I went to her funeral but didn’t visit the house, which was being slowly picked apart by warring extended family members.  I didn’t want to see it like that, so to this day I remember it exactly as it was – the walls all painted bright pepto-bismol pink (I thought it was sooooo beautiful when I was a little girl) and a huge basement full of old mementos and family history to explore.

Anyway, I’ll link to the radio interview for you guys once I find out when/where it’s going to be broadcast.

Got an e-mail from the seller’s agent on the house today.  He hadn’t heard from me in a bit, so he asked if I was still interested in the house; he thinks that right now I can get it for a REALLY low price (he didn’t go into too much detail, but I get the impression perhaps the family is running out of time to sell it… maybe the bank is thinking of proceeding with foreclosure?)  I’m trying to figure out the most tactful way of asking him just HOW low he thinks I can get it for, haha.  I sent him the contact info for the guy we’re working with to get the loan, and asked him to find out from him exactly what our status is on the prequalifying letter.  I DID find out from the broker we’re working with that Obama is giving all first-time homebuyers this year an $8,000 tax credit (woohoo!!!!!) which I can file an amendment for after purchasing the house.  In addition, there’s some other 6% seller credit I’m apparently entitled to as a first-time homebuyer, to cover closing fees and down payment.  All together, that’s a fair amount, if all goes smoothly I may have to come up with little or no money out of pocket at all  *crosses fingers*

Still quite a process, though.  I can’t wait.  I have grand visions of an exciting new life, should I manage to swing this house.  Of course, I’m sure the enormity of the work still to be done will all sink in once I have to buy the first several gallons of paint, or call the first contractor for bids/estimates on improvements.  However, I’m also looking forward to it all.  To taking something once stunningly beautiful (now a bit run-down) and restoring it to its former glory, stripping away one layer of the house at a time until I get at what it used to be.  I’m even reading a jillion home blogs that chronicle the efforts of homeowners to restore their Victorian houses, revelling in each tale of unexpected mishaps.  I so want that to be me.  I only WISH I could complain about having to decide between paint colors, or the woes of repairing century-old plasterwork.  I’d rather worry about things like that, than about living in a parking lot forever, or wondering when I’ll be able to pull Fezzik out of the kennel, and take him to an actual home again.

Sigh.  When you’re homeless, it’s good to have hopes and dreams.  Now, if I can just somehow make them come true for myself.

Below I’ve posted an aerial shot of “my” house, so you can see how awesome and huge it is.  It’s the house on the corner, that I’ve outlined in the rectangle.  There’s the main house, and then in the back, there’s a large garage that’s been converted to living space as well (I need to decide if I want to leave it that way, I may want somewhere to park my car, haha).  In my head, I’ll paint it kelley green with white trim (it might sound scary, but like those crazy party animal Victorians, I love love love love love LOVE bold colors, especially green!), and everyone will ooh and aah at the big, beautiful green house on the corner.  And once I get it, Aishwarya and I can start looking into getting a nonprofit grant to help renovate and start our own halfway house for homeless women and children.

Yes, it’s good to dream.

house-aerial

Fezzik and House Buying

Fezzik is boarded. It was difficult, not sure how big a fan of the boarding facility I am. I want to come and take him to the dog park on weekends (since they don’t allow their canine boarders to play together). They said that I can, but they “discourage” it because I’ll “depress” him… wtf?!?!?! So you’re telling me I should go without seeing my dog for a really long time?!?! That he shouldn’t be able to run and play at the park?! Screw that, he’s hanging out at the park with me on the weekends. Seriously, I’m not sure how much better this boarding thing can be for him, sounds like he’ll be getting less exercise and less interaction with other animals.  Plegh.

They slipped a flimsy little lead over his neck to take him back to the room. I offered her his Halti nose lead, since he’s used to it and it keeps him awesomely under control, just a little tug and he’s putty in your hands, since like all dogs, he follows the direction of his nose. She said no and took it off and took him back.

I signed the last form and turned to leave. All of a sudden, commotion, and then Fezzik comes HURTLING out from the back rooms DRAGGING this hapless woman behind him, trying to follow me. He did NOT want me to leave him, he is just such a velcro dog and wants to be near me whenever I’m in the room.

She took the Halti after that and he went along meekly. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.

* * * * *

House buying info (largely a copy-paste of a reply to a comment on my last post, since I’m lazy, haha): Dwight and I have completed our loan application, and are supposed to receive our prequalifying letter this week, upon which we can make an offer to the bank, woohoo!!!!!

Hopefully they will accept quickly, although there may be a counteroffer negotiation process. Closing will need to be scheduled for at least 75 days out. Short sales can take up to 6 months to process, I’m crossing my fingers for a quick and easy 75 days.

I am hoping to rent the cheapest month-to-month apartment I can find, as soon as I know the situation with the house offer. Due to the low price of the home, my mortgage will actually be lower than an apartment payment, plus I will have to expend a bit on down payment/closing costs. As a first-time homebuyer, I am apparently entitled to request a 6% seller credit from the purchase price to cover much of the down payment/closing closts, so much of these fees will be covered; however, I am trying to retain as much savings as possible in the meantime as a cushion in case there are still some fees I have to come up with.

Overall, it’s one of those “wait and see” situations. I also need to find an apartment that will allow large dogs, which can be tough in the area (especially on a month-to-month basis, most landlords are looking for a longer-term commitment). Depending upon these factors, I may be able to squeak into an apartment, or I may have to wait until closing on the house.

Either way, I am soooooooo completely stoked about it. Here’s some photos of the house, via GoogleEarth. As you can see, it’s quite ginormous, and very old (1904 Victorian). From the pics, I’m sure you can tell it’s a bit of a fixer-upper… one or two windows have been broken and boarded up, and will need to be replaced, and there’s a fair amount of stuff in the backyard that I’m hoping the current owners remove when they leave. And I would love to paint it a new color. But the bones of the house are fantastic… isn’t it beautiful? Just so much character. I can’t have a new house; I love things old, with history behind them; I just want to jump in and start making it mine. All those little nooks and crannies and discoveries waiting to be made. I especially love the octagonal room on the side – I want it to be my room. There are about 8 bedrooms right now, but I’ll probably want to scale that back a bit (although I want as many as possible, if I turn it into a halfway house for homeless women/children like I was considering). You can’t see, but there’s also a ginormous garage behind that’s been converted into a guest house. And a basement and an attic – you never get that stuff in Orange County, especially no basements!!! First thing, though, I’m getting rid of the plastic kids’ swing set (I don’t have kids, and if I did, I’d find a nicer set, haha). So… yeah. There you go. A little window into my head and what I love and what makes me tick.



Actual Sequence of Events

~I sit at Starbucks all morning waiting for someone to get my frantic e-mails.
~Dwight gets on gtalk around 1:00 p.m. and I fill him in.
~Dwight calls the gas station again for me to see if my phone has been turned in. No dice.
~Dwight comes to Starbucks to take me to Sprint to replace my phone.
~On a whim, we use his cell call my phone to see if the dirty bastard who stole it will answer.
~Aishwarya picks up on the other end of the line.
~General confusion ensues.

What happened was this: some nice guy (Richard) found my phone at the gas station restroom and was apparently answering all the incoming calls to see if I would call. Aishwarya didn’t hear from me in the morning like she was supposed to, started worrying, and called. Nice stranger Richard answered and explained what happened. He then proceeded to meet her at a local movie theatre and give her the phone.

Aishwarya still had no way to find me – she hadn’t checked her e-mail yet – so she went on to a barbeque with some friends, at which point Dwight and I called, and were very confused to hear her voice on the line.

So – yay!!! All worked out well.

Dwight took me to the Wal-Mart parking lot, at which point P. came out of his RV and mentioned that he had also called my cell, and the same Richard guy had picked up. He had left a note on my dashboard with the guy’s phone number.

I drove back to Starbucks, and Aishwarya met me there in a few hours after her barbeque was done, and gave me my phone and Richard’s phone number. So now I need to call and thank him so, so very much.

The other new development is that starting tomorrow I am going to board Fezzik. The Sam’s Club parking lot is not particularly safe at all (P. mentioned that he had sent another RV-er out there to drive by and see if I made it there OK, and they had seen the jillion random men hanging around my trailer, and were concerned). Wal-Mart is in a much safer neighborhood and the other members of my little RV community are around to watch out for me (I’m actually really touched that they cared enough to drive by Sam’s Club). Anyway, P. told me to come back to Wal-Mart after a day or so and just try to leave every couple of days for a few hours, and then come back and park elsewhere. However, now I’m paranoid about Fezzik attracting attention, so I am going to board him. Dwight has been super-kind enough to front me the money for one month of boarding, for which I am eternally grateful. This way, Fez doesn’t have to be confined all day while I’m at work, and he’ll get to play with other dogs and have people loving up on him, but he can still come home with me when this is all said and done.

Sigh. It will stretch things a bit, but Fezzik is worth it.

Also, I want to give a shoutout to Matt from Homeless Tales, who made the front page of Digg TWICE in two days!!!!! How awesome is that? I say, pretty awesome.

Also, thanks to Danny from Take Part – Jon (Beat on the Street) from Street Seen alerted me to your post on me. Thanks so much for the boost, and for thinking I have something to say. I saw that you guys are linked up with the movie “the Soloist”, and that’s so freaking cool. I just bought that book a few days ago, can’t wait to read it, and for the film.

Anyway – don’t worry everybody, I’m OK! :)

Stranded. Well, Plegh.

Agh!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m stranded. Worst morning ever.

I had to relocate the trailer quickly last night. Got a text message from P. in the Wal-Mart lot. Some kids apparently were teasing Fezzik through the trailer window while I was at work and he started going insane barking and attracting attention, which is very very bad. So, the other RV-ers asked me to move, and I understand. I feel terrible.

So, I moved the trailer Sam’s Club a few miles away (texted Aishwarya who told me to call her in the morning and she’d take me back to Wal-Mart to pick up my car).

Big mistake.

First of all, Sam’s Club is located in a crummier town. And situated right by train tracks. This loud train comes through honking its horn, all night long… about every hour and a half. Which wakes me up every hour and a half.

Then, around 4 a.m., Fezzik starts barking nonstop and I can’t figure out why because he’s not much of a barker unless he thinks that a strange man might hurt me.

I finally get up, step outside, and there are about 50 Mexican immigrants standing around, cooking breakfast, etc. Apparently this is where they stand around all day looking for under-the-table work.

Well, fuck.

So Fezzik is going nuts because he doesn’t like the jillion strange men hanging around my trailer.

(But wait, it gets worse.)

I go to call Aishwarya, figuring that I can find somewhere more suitable to move the trailer, and then get my car. The problem is, I can’t find my phone. Nowhere in the trailer, nowhere in my purse. Since I used the GPS feature on it to find Sam’s Club yesterday, I know the only other possible option is that I left it at the gas station I used yesterday to fuel up.

So I walk to the gas station.

The guy working there says “no, you have to ask the night guy who was here when you came in last night, he’s the one that would know”.

Because apparently they don’t have a fucking lost and found box.

So I tell him it’s an emergency, and ask if he can just call the guy. He says, like I’m an idiot, “no, the night guy sleeps during the day. He’s sleeping”.

Well, duh. I know that, and I’m really, really sorry, but this is fucking important, I’m homeless and I’m stranded and it’s my fucking phone you asshole!!!!!!!!!!

(In my mind, that’s what I said. Not really.)

He said if I left it there, the night guy probably took it with him and told me to come back tonight. Great. Just great. It’s probably gone forever, someone probably found it and stole it, but fine. I’ll try back tonight.

So I walk back to the trailer, grab my laptop, ignoring dumbass whistles and catcalls from 50 Mexican immigrants, and walk two and a half miles in the other direction, until I find a Starbucks.

And here I am, frantically e-mailing Aishwarya and Dwight (please, please check your e-mail, guys!!!!!). If I can at least get to my car, then I’ll be OK for the day – maybe I can drive to Sprint and see if they replace stolen phones. Getting to my car is the fun part, though.

Sigh. I am so insanely, monstrously frustrated right now.

Disney Recap and Rant Against Supreme Court

Like I said, even the homeless can go out and have fun for free or on the über-cheap. I refuse to let my non-housed status, or any traumatic experience, define me. Disneyland was a nice change of pace for my birthday yesterday. I went on Space Mountain (my favorite!), Pirates of the Caribbean (of course!), the Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones (my other favorite!) and… Splash Mountain.

I concede that the decision to ride Splash Mountain last, at nighttime, in the cold (followed by ice cream!!!!!), was probably one of my less stellar brainpower moments, and possibly even conclusive evidence of legal insanity.

Soaking wet and shivering, I decided that it was probably time to head back to the trailer for a warm change of clothes. After careful consideration, I have chosen to post a photo of my journey down Splash Mountain, as my face is so contorted (even beyond it’s usual grotesqueness, haha!) that I doubt anyone would recognize me anyway. Sorry for the poor quality:

Still not sure which one is me? Well, in the sea of happy, shiny people, I’m the one whose face is about 82% tonsils:
Still, a fun day. Thanks to Dwight for going with me, and for the Jack Skellington plushie – just what I wanted for my birthday! Something completely impractical, frivolous, and squishy!!!

As you can see, Jack is now riding around swinging from my purse:

Huzzah! Anyway, on a more serious note, I want to step off of the homeless topic for just a moment and express how disgusted I am with the California Supreme Court. As of yesterday, it would seem that they are leaning towards allowing Prop 8 to stand (thereby banning gay marriages), although they will not void the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed last year, thereby allowing them to keep their legally married status. By the way, these are the exact same justices that legalized gay marriage last year, prompting the hasty passage of Prop 8 by California voters (by an incredibly tiny margin, I might add!)

So which one is it, Supreme Court? Some gay people get rights where others don’t? There’s going to be a two-tiered system in California for gay marriage?! Honestly, I can’t believe this whole mess. Gay marriage is a civil rights issue, in fact the civil rights issue of our time, it should never have been left up to the people to vote for or against at all. If women’s and black civil rights issues had been left up to popular vote, who knows how much longer it would have taken for them to be granted fully equal legal status, or even if it would have happened at all?

I don’t care what your religion is. Religious objections should never have been brought into it, and yet, the Bible is all I hear quoted from pro-Prop-8ers. Separation of church and state, people. If your religion doesn’t want to recognize or perform gay marriages, nobody is forcing them to. By the same token, it is absolutely unconstitutional to force your religious beliefs upon others who do not happen to agree. Homosexual individuals are harming absolutely nobody. They just want to exist, be who they are, and claim the same set of rights that the rest of us are granted (legal marriage confers over 1,100 more rights than a civil union)! More power to them. They aren’t trying to “turn” you gay, or impose their “gayness” upon you, they just want to live and let live. Hell, I personally have a moral objection to abortion – I think if I ever had one, I would find it difficult or impossible to forgive myself. Do I have the right to foist this belief upon others, deny them their legal right to choice? No. It is their legal and moral right to choose, according to their personal beliefs. I believe abortion is wrong, so I simply prevent unwanted pregnancy. Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t marry a gay person. Freedom of religon is a two-way street. You want protection for your personal Christian beliefs? Then you have to accept that the rest of the nation is protected as well, in that nobody is going to force them to accept your religion, or any religion at all, if they so choose. If your God is really so all-powerful and he has an objection, I’m sure that he will deal with it himself, in his own due time. So leave it up to him and stop interjecting religion into politics.

Look, I have a friend who is gay and in a long-term relationship, who has been counting the days until he can finally marry his partner. One of my little sisters is a lesbian. How could I invite them to my own wedding, walk down the aisle in their line of sight, taking full advantage of the rights I was granted and they were denied, simply because they were born with a different gene than I was? How can I look them in the face?

You make me sick, California Supreme Court.

Not Much

Very little to report today. It’s raining again, so I’m happy! It’s all nice and cool and refreshing outdoors, and I’m camped out at Starbucks in my snuggly plaid PJ bottoms and year-old Sweeney Todd sweatshirt, passing as just another college student.

I was called for an interview tomorrow, huzzah! This will be the one. I can feel it. Well… I hope so, anyway.

Random Lighting Tip: If you are living in a car or an RV without electricity hookup, you can have enough light to read by at night. Purchase one of those bigger flashlights (the really chunky ones!) and stand it on its end. The light will reflect off of the ceiling and illuminates far better than candles (safer, too – candles can accidentally set stuff on fire). Plus, the batteries in those suckers last FOREVER. I have been using mine all week, and still running great!

Fezzik isn’t a fan of the rain. It means no park visit for him and he’s gotta stay in the trailer :`( Poor boy. I woke up this morning to a giant, droopy, sad-eyed face peering dejectedly over the side of the cot, as his tail thumped out a funereal mantra. He knew. Sigh.

So yeah, not much today, and tomorrow is going to be crazy busy with multiple errands, and Friday is my birthday; I’m taking full advantage of Disney’s new “free admission on your b-day” policy, so I may step off my soapbox for a day or two, and just drop in the occasional quick update. I don’t know that I have many readers just yet, so probably no psychostalkers out there, but if there are, now you know my exact location on Friday – Disneyland (where I would never actually pay to go, I used to work for The Mouse via subcontractor and hate them with a passion… but who am I to pass up an opportunity to mooch free stuff from them?) Anyway, if you’re a psychostalker looking to chain me up in your dungeon and make me your unwilling sex slave, good luck finding me among the other 20,000 people there! *sticks out tongue and blows raspberries in the face of danger*

Actually, that was probably unwise. *hastily takes back the raspberries*

* * * * *

Edit: My pal Dwight just texted to me that he got a new job!!!!! Congratulations, Dwight! Here’s to being well-paid in this crap economy! Now let’s go out tomorrow and get that house! We won’t take “no” for an answer!

* * * * *

Edit 2: Oh, man. I so wish that I had patience for working with people who hate/scream at me. Because I could see this being an incredibly interesting job:

http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/npo/1060413314.html
http://dreamlifeguardian.com/employment.html

Alas, probably not my area of expertise. But still, can you see a job like this ever getting boring?! It’d probably be like working in the Winchester Mystery House!


So Far, So Good

Fezzik and I are now firmly ensconced in our Wal-Mart parking lot. I spent my first homeless night sleeping peacefully. No one bothered me (or if they did, I slept right through it!) Fezzik didn’t make a peep all night, no tickets/notices on the dashboards of my truck or car in the morning, so I’m assuming there was no trouble with anyone knocking on the door, or asking me to leave.

Now, if I can just have a few more weeks like that…

I am currently in the process of trying to purchase a home. I know, trying to buy a house while homeless/jobless. How novel, right? In any case, I already have a friend who would like to be my first tenant (I’m not giving out names or vital info, so he has requested that I call him “Dwight”. I assumed that this was a tribute to Dwight from The Office, but he informed me that it is, in fact, Clive Owen’s character from Sin City. Sigh. Men. Anyway, Dwight he shall be). Dwight is currently the only friend that I have told about my homeless state, I would prefer not to impose upon anyone, or be caught up in the stigma. We are working together to get the house – it is a huge, turn-of-the-century Victorian with two floors, several rooms, a double parlor, basement, attic, etc. It is beautiful – needs a little fixing up, but the bones of the house are good. I have a great love for all things old, historic, and nostalgic. It has always been my dream to buy my own old house and restore it to its former beauty, and now I finally have the chance. Because it is a fixer-upper, and because the current owners are being foreclosed on, the price is VERY affordable. I could afford the mortgage even on unemployment.

However, with my jobless/homeless state, I probably couldn’t qualify on my own. So my friend/tenant/business partner Dwight is attempting to help me out a little. The home is a short sale, however, meaning that the purchase process could take anywhere from a couple of weeks to 90 days (or even longer, depending on the bank, who has approval on the final purchase price). It’s not likely to take the full 90 days, from what the real estate agent said. The lender is Countrywide, and they are really quick about getting back to buyers, they just want to get the home off their books.

In any case, I am proof positive that there is always another approach. If one door is closed to you, look for another option. They are out there. I’m living in a parking lot and buying my dream home, a home the size of a bed-and-breakfast hotel with mostly-original architecture and features. There is always a way. Bend the rules to find it if you need to. Just don’t do anything blatantly prosecutable, haha.

This is a pretty quick, off-the-cuff post, there are a couple of errands that I need to run to get myself more settled. If anyone out there is reading this and cares (I’m not sure, this is still a really new blog!) just know that I am OK and will be back tonight or tomorrow with more homeless survival tips.