One morning I woke up to find myself homeless.
These words ring in my head more days than not. A series of unfortunate events including the crash of the housing and job markets in California led me to this nomadic life I now live. Traveling from place to place, with an ever-changing mailing address, my car is truly the only place I can really call mine. Sadly though, the post office won't accept my license plate or storage unit as a current address.
At 30, I'm what you might call a couch surfer, spending my days in the homes of friends or family until I wear out what little is left of my welcome. I haven't always been a bum. In fact, until recently, I would have been called pretty successful. Married for 3 years, I owned a home, 3 dogs and 2 cars, and lived in the heart of Silicon Valley, California. The fact that I am a social worker, and thus worked with the less fortunate, is not lost on me now. Irony and humor are two of the few defenses I have left.
How did I end up here, then, 30 years old and staying in my parent's home in Little Rock, Arkansas? Before I get into that story, let me clarify for the sake of my reputation that I am in no way from Little Rock, Arkansas, nor am I from any part of this forsaken state. It is simply where I am resting my head for now, with little choice of my own in the matter. If pressed, I suppose I would claim Texas as my home, although I was born in Ohio and lived in California for the last 4 years. But Texas is where I was raised and where I long to return. The all yall's and yee-haw's are thoroughly a part of my blood.
Now to the series of unfortunate events...
Last summer my husband was laid off from a company where he had worked for the last 5 years. We had actually moved from Southern California to Silicon Valley and bought a home less than 6 months previously because he had been promoted by the very same company. Thinking he had secured himself further in his job, working at the home office instead of in the field, we thought we had it made. We could not have been more wrong. The position he had previously held was safe, but his new position was one of the first to be let go.
Chins still held high, we didn't worry...much. And 3 months later before his severance ran out, he was rewarded with a new job. We breathed a sigh of relief and continued to live our lives, spending as quickly as the money came in. We were not safe for long. A short 3 months later, he was laid off from his new job, the company unable to get funding, decided to downsize and wait to launch their product until the economy improved. Now we began to worry. With little severance and no paycheck of my own, we had no savings to speak of. I began to look for work with my husband, but to no avail. By December, we were in serious trouble.
Thinking we would outsmart the economy and move somewhere cheaper and less effected by the ups and downs of the market, we decided to put our home on the market and move to Texas. The plan was to stay with my in-laws, until we were able to sell our home, find work, and get our own place. It was a temporary situation, and we could do anything for a few months, right? Shortly thereafter, I had a falling out with my in-laws and found myself living with friends while my husband and 3 dogs remained at the in-laws. My friends had no room for 3 dogs, but they would love to have me, of course! Again, we could do anything for a few months. So we lived on separate sides of town and saw each other whenever possible for date nights and the like.
I had fortunately found work quickly, but the paycheck didn't come close to paying our mortgage. Then just as quickly, I lost my new job. Our house sat and sat on the market as we continually lowered the price. When it did sell 5 months later, we found ourselves losing over $100,000. But we would be okay! American optimism, the home of the brave and land of the free, right? Besides, we're still young.
Eventually, my husband and I decided we could no longer stand living apart, so we packed up the dogs and the cars and "moved" to Arkansas to stay with my family. It's now June and like I said, at some point I finally came to the realization that I am truly homeless. I count my blessings to have resourceful and kind friends and family, don't get me wrong. It could be a lot worse. As a funny reminder, perhaps, my family bought us camping gear for Christmas, so that we could survive in the wild... or under the bridge.
Life makes me laugh daily, which is a good thing, because without the laughter, I don't think I could stand it. Friends tell me my story is a sad one, and that I deserve more than a few drinks, but I'm continually finding the humor in it all. And for now, I want to record the funny, strange things I see in my everyday homeless life, remembering the humor and enjoying what life has to offer.
I suppose as an intro, that pretty much sums up what this blog is about. My humor may be a little dry and the self-deprecation a little overdone, but it's my humor nonetheless, and no one can take that away from me... Can they?