Quick(ish) Update

So, if you follow my Twitter stream, you probably already know that my retroactive UI checks DID finally show up last week in the P.O. box (wooooooot!)

Some of it went towards practical things such as paying bills, but I have reopened one of my old checking accounts (the credit union one, with the great interest rate) and shoveled the rest in there, to hopefully accrue and amass enough to buy a house.

Ah, there’s the other thing.  The house that I had been working towards was pulled off the market (not sold); I’m assuming due to the California 90-day foreclosure moratorium that recently took effect.

Oh, well  :(

Matt and I have found another house that we absolutely adore.  It is still a fixer, but it is in much better condition and it costs much less (Asking price is in the $190K range).  If we can just get a mortgage for this, we’ll be set.  I have a few thousand already; we’re on our way!  I’m not going to post pictures of/info on this house because I’ve started getting paranoid that someone else will see it, think “ooh, that’s a great deal!” and it’ll get snatched from under our nose like the last one did.  So, sorry… if we get it then I’m sure I’ll be posting pics galore!

Other than that, Matt returns to Cali on Friday evening and I can’t wait to see him.  He’ll be here for 3 months this time, which is awesome.  We’re going to be spending a lot of time with Fezzik, and taking on extra work to bring in extra income, because right now we are super-focused on this house thing.  It’ll be a major bummer if we lose it, so we’re really gonna be cracking down.  It’ll be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

~Bri

P.S.  I am wearing a pretty, sparkly, antique Edwardian/art nouveau diamond and platinum piece of jewelry on the ring finger of my left hand…  Hmmmmm…  What could that be?  Pictures soon, I hope.  Actually, I may soon go looking for an affordable Wal-Mart camcorder/camera in order to document my life with Matt, since the one on my phone sucks.

P.P.S.  “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” is holding open auditions.  I have decided that I should totally do this, because:

a) I need money for our house.

b) I have watched this show and have a hunch that I am at least as smart as a 5th grader.  Hell, I was one not too long ago…  Maybe 13 years ago?  And I was a smartass, too.  I was the kind of kid who looked down my nose at all the other kids reading fluffy young adult novels, because I was busy toting around “Gone With the Wind” and “Shogun”.  Hell, “A Wrinkle in Time” was my first novel.  I was 6.

Bragging Rights…

I know, I know, I’m sorry, but I can’t resist.  I swear in the morning I’ll go back to trying really hard to stay humble.  But tonight, two things:

First of all, BBC News blog Magazine Monitor has posted about Matt’s article this evening.  I found out when I checked my site analytics and suddenly there was a rush of people referred from the BBC website.  They’ve linked to my latest posting, “Bittersweet”.  Awwwww. *blushes*  I headed over there and found the blurb:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2009/06/web_monitor_30.shtml.

Needless to say, my reaction went something like this:

O.o

Matt LOVES the BBC.  In fact, much of his visit here was spent lamenting that American news stations don’t cover as much international news and topics as the BBC.  I think a little part of him died every time he saw a major news channel run something along the vein of Twiggy the Water-Skiing Squirrel when he was thirsting for more information on Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, etc.  So I just know he’ll get a huge kick out of this.  I’m frantically trying to text him awake and tell him, but I suspect his phone is off.  Still, it’s almost 8:30 a.m. in Scotland, so I imagine he’ll be up soon enough, and will get my messages.  Graaaaah, wake uuuuuuuup, Matt!!!!!  :)

Secondly… I just found out that I am the #3 search result on Google for the search term “homelessness”.  I freaked right out, let me tell you.  I’m right after the Wikipedia entry and the HUD (U.S. government department of housing).  I also discovered this indirectly through my analytics.

…When the hell did this happen?!  Oh my god.  Ohmigodohmigodohmigod.

OK, I’m done patting myself on the back for now.  Sorry.  Just got super excited.  Now if Matt will just wake up already so I can tell him!

Bittersweet

Matt is on a plane to Scotland as I type.  He needed to return home for about two weeks to sort some things out, and will be returning after that for a three-month visit (90 days is the longest he is allowed to stay in the U.S. at a stretch, per the visa waiver program currently in place between our respective countries).

I had a nice little breakdown at the airport.  Tried very hard not to cry, and failed miserably – burst out into huge, jagged, red-faced sobs (and Matt was quite a bit moist as well, which I found oddly reassuring).  I think we may have annoyed some innocent bystanders.  Our goodbyes were quite prolonged and punctuated by lots of kisses, hugs, sniffles, caresses, longing gazes, and other similar things that make strangers barf and wish that you would move the hell out of their way so they can get through the security checkpoint to the metal detectors, already.  I finally watched him head up the escalator towards the boarding area, until I lost sight of him.  He turned around many times to catch my eye and wave.  I know he misses and loves me just as much as I do him.  That is something completely new.  I am grateful for it.

Now I’m back at the motel where I will be spending the next few nights (I check out Friday morning and need to return to the trailer at Wal-Mart), and I’m trying to keep myself occupied with random things like surfing the Internet, catching up on “So You Think You Can Dance”, making dinner (ramen noodles), reading books – anything to keep my mind off the gaping hole in my life.  But nothing is working.  You see, it was hard enough being without Matt before he ever actually came out here.  I wanted to be around him in the worst way.  But now that he has been here, it’s about a million times worse.  I’m not only longing for something I’ve never had, I’m now missing something that has been here, filled my life, and is now absent.  It’s a very slight, intangible difference, but it’s there.

The passenger seat of my car feels empty.  My hand feels empty without his to hold.  The bed in the motel feels empty without him to cuddle with.  Everything feels kind of sepia-coloured and there’s a weight on my chest.  Occasionally I think I’m all cried out, but something like a half-finished carton of grape juice or a bag of Doritos he left behind will start me off again.  My pillow smells like him.  There’s still sand on the floor that we tracked in from our day at Newport Beach this weekend (he wanted to see the Pacific Ocean).  Perhaps I’ll feel a little better once I know his flight has landed and he’s arrived safely.  But even then, I know I can’t be completely top-notch again until he’s here with me, and we’re wrapping up all the loose ends to ensure that we won’t have to be parted again.

* * * * *

The “sweet” part of my bittersweet day came after leaving the airport.  I stopped by the post office to check my P.O. box.  Inside – oh, happy day! – sat 6 EDD claim forms.  That’s right, after months of waiting, phone calls, e-mails, and stressing…  I have received the paperwork to file for 12 weeks’ worth of retroactive UI benefits.  I mail them out tomorrow; the resulting checks are *supposed* to be returned to me within 10 business days, which means that soon I could be brandishing $5,700 (normally would be $5,400 but a stimulus program in place provides me an extra $25 per week, which sounds small, but obviously adds up over time).

So… woohoooooooooo!!!!!!  I have to be very careful with the money – hoard it up and get a mortgage all straightened out.  This is a huge step towards Matt and I buying our own home (which is good, since a place I was in love with was just sold to another interested party… I’m awfully torn up about it; I hope I don’t have to experience that kind of disappointment again).  I just have to scrimp and save and not blow it.  I am staying in the trailer for the weeks that Matt is in Scotland; once he returns, we are probably going to stay in a rented motorhome for $450/month.  It will be on the same property Fezzik is being boarded at, so we will be able to be with him full-time, and Matt can take him out for long walks every day and bond with his new dog.  The motorhome will also be hooked up with electricity and water, and we may even have cable TV and internet access included, which is obviously a vast improvement over Wal-Mart, and no facilities/utilities.  The downside is that the ranch is in Norco/Riverside area, so it will be a long drive to work and back for me.  With gas prices on the rise, that obviously isn’t super great.  Still, $450 is so little per month, we should save enough to more than make up for the fuel costs.

Once we are esconced on the ranch, I would like to look into selling the trailer, and into settling with Wachovia and selling my car as well.  That way, I can use the truck that I inherited from Bill, which is currently towing the trailer (and which is completely paid off).  Gas mileage is worse on the truck than on my car, but again, there’s the issue of not having to make any more car payments to Wachovia the crooks.

I think things are finally looking up for us.  I was a bit down this weekend because one of the tires on my car had a blowout, and I had to invest a lot of money in a new one that I hadn’t planned on spending – goodbye, paycheck!  But then my claim forms finally arrived, and it’s a huge weight off my mind.  Now, as long as my baby makes it home in one piece (and also returns to me safely in two weeks) I think things will be well on their way to perfect, or as perfect as imperfect, unpredictable life could ever possibly be for two crazy kids madly in love with one another.

Homeless Tales Article: Twitter's Transatlantic Homeless Love Match

http://homelesstales.com/2009/06/twitters-transatlantic-homeless-love-match/

Awwwwww.  How loved do I feel right now?  What a sweet man I have!  OK.  Mush-fest over, for a bit.  No, really!  I swear!!!!!  ;)

And Now, for a Bit of a Surprise…

Yes, I have been incredibly delinquent in updating.  I’m sorry!!!!!  I hope nobody worried too much!

The thing is, life has been somewhat action-packed for the past few weeks… I’m madly, head-over-heels, crazy-in-love; every cliché in the book I suppose, but it’s all true so I suppose it’s cliché for a reason.  My boyfriend/future hubby, it turns out, is none other than Matt Barnes (aka w0lfh0und) of www.homelesstales.com, whom I have referenced in past blogs.  What I was keeping under the radar (for the time being), was our burgeoning romance, which came somewhat out of left field and gobsmacked us both.

I suppose the whole thing really started when my friend “Dwight” suggested that I promote tGGtH on Twitter.  I had vaguely heard of this Twitter thing, and I’m not gonna lie… I thought it sounded kinda inane.  I didn’t really “get” it at the time.  But he assured me that it’s a great place to promote new blogs, etc. so I figured… what the hell.

The aspect of this whole scenario that I continually find the most romantic is that Matt was the first to “find” me, and in a way, he saved me… or at least helped me to save myself.  Matt monitors keywords on Twitter, among them those pertaining to homelessness.  Within an hour of my first Twitter post, he had skimmed my blog and added me – my first follower.  He liked my writing, and invited me to post on Street Voices.  Happy for the additional cathartic outlet to while away the time while I searched for job and home, I accepted.  The two of us also struck up a seemingly platonic e-mail correspondence, and I found myself checking my inbox several times a day hoping for a new message.  Eventually, this led to IM-ing, and at some point I suppose we both just figured it out.  It was one of those revelatory “a-ha!” moments that you hear about but never quite imagine happening to you.

From the start, I found Matt to be highly intelligent, noble, devoted to his cause, adorable, funny, sweet, caring, nurturing… everything I had ever dared to dream of in a man and in a partner.  However, despite the instant crush I developed on him (which I desperately attempted to hide), it never occurred to me that there might be anything that could come of it.  For starters, I had promised myself not to get involved with any men for a while after my last godawful breakup, and especially not while homeless – what business did I have starting a relationship while I couldn’t even boast a job and a home?  Secondly, Matt lives in the U.K. – England-born, living in Scotland following his own bout with homelessness.  Little did I know that Matt had an insta-crush of his own.  For a couple of weeks we weaved awkwardly around it, each of us occasionally dropping the slightest of flirtations, then quickly backing off, feeling like any idea of reciprocation could only exist in our minds.  To an extent, we were both terrified of making fools of ourselves, and that our feelings were misguided and unrequited.

However, once we started hitting the 10-hour conversation mark (daily), the reality of the situation became difficult to ignore.  Things finally clicked and we realized and admitted how mutual it all was, and the depth of what we had discovered in each other.  And now, after a couple months of that…

here we are.

Matt is in California with me at the moment.  He came out just over 2 weeks ago, May 20th.  The hour waiting at the LAX international arrivals terminal  (his flight was delayed) was the most agonizing hour of my life.  Panic set in – would things be completely different in real life?  Could e-mail/IM /phone conversations possibly measure up to the real thing?  Would it all crumble the moment we saw each other?  True, we had photos (and in his case, video footage) to go off of, but would it change in person?  Without going into too much detail (some things are better left private and sacred and beautiful) I am happy to say that the moment I saw him, I knew that the love I had felt for him online was in no way diminished, but could only increase a thousandfold.

For now, we have pooled our resources and are staying in a tiny motor lodge; however, we may need to go back to the trailer for a week-ish until I am paid again.  Things are a bit tight for me financially (my hours and pay were cut at work), and we are having trouble accessing some of Matt’s paychecks, which are generally mailed to his home.  He flies back to Scotland on June 22 for a couple of weeks, and will be returning to CA following that for a longer stay… hopefully 3 months, the maximum allowed on his visa waiver program.

There are plans in motion for Matt to stay in the U.S. with me permanently… relatively soon.  These are, of course, fluid at the moment.  Kinks need to be finagled and ironed out.  For instance, somewhere to live would be fantastic, haha.  We also need to deal with various legal issues and such.  International immigration, marriage, those kinds of things… are obviously not quick processes, especially in the United States (may I just say, red tape sucks).

But, the important things:  I am safe.  I am supremely happy, happier than I ever thought I could be.  I am happier homeless and living out of a trailer and a motel than I ever was housed, or trying to gain acceptance and approval from my whacked-up dysfunctional hell of a family.  I love Matt more than I knew it was possible for me to love anyone.  I can’t wait to build a future with this man, and prove my love to him daily, for the rest of our lives.  For the first time, someone has looked at me, seen me at my very best and my absolute lowest, and loved me anyway, and reminded me so over and over and over until it makes me want to cry; I am so happy and fulfilled.

I love unconditionally, and I am unconditionally loved.

It’s so fantastic and mind-blowingly awesome that I almost don’t know what to do with it.  Just writing about it is making me a little misty-eyed and my heart feels kind of weighted, like it’s going to throb open.  But it’s so, so super beautiful.

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! :)