Monday, October 31, 2011

Day-41 Capitalization On The Homeless Market


I have to admit that I have learned a lot about homelessness since I have started blogging and joining the chat. Some good stuff, some bad stuff. One thing I have learned is that there seems to be a market for homelessness. Sounds kind of funny to me and even as I type this I'm not sure where I'm going with it, nor do I understand it. However, it seems to be there.

This thought came to me last night after I watched two fellow tweeters fighting. Over what, I'm not sure. It was either religion or homelessness (there it is again, I tell you the two go hand in hand). It occured to me that there seems to be much fighting on the web about both. The religion I understand. The homelessness I do not. For the focus of this blog post I'm going to keep it on the homeless portion.

So, yes, people everywhere seem to be fighting over homelessness. It's crazy! It's crazy for one simple reason: homelessness is simple! When it comes to homelessness there really is nothing to talk about. There is no need to fight. But here we are - people that just can't seem to get it right.

So I go over to this site and read about how this guy was homeless longer than the other guy so he knows better and therefore should be heard because he is more right. Another site is full of people arguing about how a homeless person stayed on a large billboard for two days to raise money for a trailer (which he got, 12,000 I believe). On another site, people are fighting about shelters. And on another site, people fighting about who gives more. On another site, people are fighting about the best ways to raise money and also the fairness of giving homeless people money. Here in Tampa we recently passed a law about pan handling, lots of fighting there. Even the homeless seem to fight about being homeless. It seems that the most witty sign that a homeless person can write and hold up will get him the most money that day. "See if you can hit me with a quarter" or "Need money for beer, drugs, hooker, hey at least I'm not bull shitting you" or "pregnant and homeless please help (that was I lie, I know her and she was just looking for drug money)" or a sign that reads "why lie! I need a cold beer" or "Wife has been kidnapped, Short 98 cents for her ransom".  This goes on and on. Once again, I'm also amazed when I hear about people that want to be homeless. I do believe this "market" has something to do with it.

So, why is this? How have we as a human race turned something like homelessness into something that is worth fighting over? Once again: homelessness is simple: its bad!

Well, I have a few thoughts. One, money (lets face it, money plays a huge part in this across the board); two, the limelight (some people just want to be heard); three, religious and personal morals and beliefs (once again people want to be heard)!

I'm gonna stop here and tell a quick story: I once knew a pastor named Tom. Tom is (in my opinion) one of the most influential pastors in America. He is from Southern California and I have no doubt that there might be people who read my blog some day and know who I'm talking about. Tom is a storyteller. Tom does not lie. I found this story to be true. I heard him tell it a few times.

The story goes like this: A young man and his mother lived together. One day the young man asked his mother "who is my dad and where can I find him?" The mother responded "well, if you want to find your dad simply go downtown." Continuing on, she said "when you get downtown go into the darkest street, you can find, then find the dirtiest, smelliest, most nastiest homeless person you can find and that will be your dad". Well, the young man did just that. When he finally found himself in front of the homeless man he asked "Are you so and so?" (that's what we will call him, so and so). The homeless man responded "no, but I know the man you are looking for! That's pastor so and so! You can find him at the church on the corner of here and there!"

So here we are fighting over homelessness, who? Because it is a market. Every single aspect about it is a market. The more homeless you are the more you need help. The more you give the more morally correct you are. We fight about it because homelessness is a stage. Its a platform for a society within a society and if you can be the frontrunner on that platform you will be heard. The more giving to the homeless you are the more money you will get to help the homeless. The more homeless you are the more help you will get to become not homeless. Because I don't look homeless and I'm no holding a sign means that no one is going to throw a quarter at me.

Just so you know, I admire anyone that helps the homeless people. I just don't understand the fighting about it. Even as I write this now I will tell you, I am no different! I am exactly the same. I get up and instantly start trying to get my two cents in. I don't ask for help but I look for it. In fact I have based my entire goal of becoming not homeless around the fact that I am homeless. What's wrong with me?

Recently I saw an interview with the CEO of Coca Cola. I was amazed by this man. When asked why Coca Cola has been so successful over the years the CEO said he had a different approach to things. He said that opposed to trying to take Pepsi out of the loop he supported them. He didn't fight, he supported. The CEO went on to say that he felt the economy was that same. Instead of the people in America and China fighting over the value of the $ and who was worth more, we should be encouraging each other. Why? because then instead of fighting over who gets the bigger slice of the pie we can focus on how to make the pie itself bigger.

I think this lesson should be applied to homelessness. Any step that a person makes to help a homeless person is a good one. That help should not be undermined, shot down, or overseen by a "bigger amount" of help. I know not everyone is like this, I also must add. But only when we treat homelessness like it truly is "a very bad thing", stop fighting about it, and begin encouraging each other all to help the problem, will we ever see light at the end of this long tunnel. No matter how big or small the help is. The people who help the homeless out of their own kind hearts with nothing in it for themselves are truly kindhearted. The people fighting about it will never be heard.

These are just my opinions! You don't have to like them. They probably don't make sense anyway. This is just me tossing in my two cents and trying to be heard.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day- 39 Homelessrob VS. God

I will loose! I'm fine with that. For those of you what have read any bit of my blog you know or might have a feeling that I am a bit religious.  I have try to keep that portion of my life off this blog, with the exception of the crosses I'm attempting to make. For the most part I don't talk about it too much. However, today that changes. For those of you that are not religious (I'm sorry!) just know that I'm still going to keep a focus on the subject (homelessness) at hand and try to keep the religious stuff down to a minimum. After all, you didn't google "homelessness" to be preached to.

Today my questions were answered. I almost didn't get up. Its like my alarm clock just would not die. I hit all the buttons but still every 4 minuets it would go off again. So, I got up...... and I went to a  church. Wow, writing that line is a miracle all it's own. If you go back a few blog post (or more) you will see a post I did called "Even Homeless People Get Lucky Sometimes". I told a story about how I was caught sleeping somewhere I shouldn't have been and was let go by a man that was religious under my word that I would never return to that spot (I haven't either).

Maybe that story plays a role here. I think it might. Anyway, around that time I knew a man who was sleeping across the street in some brush. I believe I have talked about him before as well. Well, I started running into him at Day Labor a few weeks ago. One day he and I wound up on a "work ticket" together and we started talking. This is where I tell you that other homeless people can sometimes be a world of information. He told he about a nearby church that offered a shower and breakfast every Saturday morning.

Today I had the greatest shower I have ever had in my life. So, there I was, alarm going off, just trying to go back to sleep, when I was called........ GO! GO TO THIS CHURCH! I went! I do believe that move might have changed my life a little. I got the message.

I've been a  Christan for about the same amount of time that I have been homeless (the first time). I can honestly say this one thing about the two: I never feel closer to God as when I'm on the streets homeless! Its true. Over the years I have learned that God will lift me up. God will take care of me. God will provide. I have seen God put me systematically on paths that have even taken me off the streets. God has loved me, cared for me, and been with me through it all. I always know that rather sleeping on a public bench, storage unit, public bathroom alone, God is sleeping there with me. I know this. I believe in Him. I have witnessed His grace first hand.

The shame, is how much I forget these things when I'm not homeless! Today, I was told what a fool I have been. Now, someone might say about me: "he's only a Christian when he wants something from God" and honestly, that's how I feel sometimes. However, I have come to the conclusion that that just can't be true.  Its because I was being a "good Christian" in my hard time that brought me to these conclusions about God and what He was doing for me. Yes see, I could have given up on God. It took a long time before He lifted me off the streets the first time. I had many opportunities to toss my Bible away. But I didn't! I stayed in the Word and continued to build my relationship with Christ. Because of that I was able to see all the wonderful things He could do, and above all else, I felt his love for me.

But fall short I have! Its not that I forget God when I have a roof over my head. I stay in prayer - I just didn't go to church and stay in the book like I should have. That pattern has taken its toll.

So, today I'm at this church and I'm listening to this guy talking about "reinforcement". I wasn't totally getting what he was saying at first. Then it hit me. That was the first time I had been in church and listened to anyone speak in awhile. I was being told.... being told to reinforce my life with God. Look, I've been working on making these crosses for about 39 days now and have gotten nowhere. God told me to do this. Then God makes it hard to do it. It makes sense now. How am I going to go out into the world and give away crosses and talk about homelessness, expecting to reach my goal, without being sharp minded about God first? I need to reinforce, then get to working on the goal. Well it made sense to me.

Doesn't being homeless and faith in God go hand in hand? Watching a friend of mine (- very good friend of mine. One that actually walks the walk when it comes to God. Well, he does his best and it shows-) before I became homeless and I learned this: A smart Christian will not give a homeless person money. A good Christian will give a homeless person something they need like food, drink, blanket. Some of the brightest people I have ever known in the streets could spit Bible verses out with the best of them. LOL, I have found that looks can be very deceiving sometimes. In fact, the most beat down, washed up, soap deprived, homeless person I have ever seen wouldn't say a single sentence without the word "God" in it.

I forgot where I was going with all of this exactly. I just think its amazing! So, God says to me: "help bring the homeless into light. Prove to them they can make things better. Give them a story. And do it through ME. After your work is done you will have your goal reached". At least that what I think I've been hearing. It's like an echo in my head. I just have to have my heart into it first.

Thank You for trying to understand my scattered thoughts.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Day-38 Homelessrob Needs To Calm Down

I do! I'v got a lot on my plate right now. I'm trying to make a difference. Im trying to reach my goal. I'm trying to get something done! I've got to tell myself to "take a deep breath and relax". It will come!

I guess it makes sense. Here I am showing people a story about a homeless man trying to reach a goal. I should expect downfalls. I should expect to struggle often. That's the point! The question is "will I reach my goal or not"? Everyone goes through hard times trying to reach a goal and I should too. I have a choice right now: Things are hard. I'm not making a whole lot of progress and in fact I've even moved back a few steps. Will I continue to do what I feel is right for me and my goal? Or will I stop now and just consider it a loss?

Answer: Keep going! Work it out! Stay focused on the goal! Just don't give up.

I'm trying something new to be seen a little more. Twitter! I've never used it but I'm hoping I can start to get enough followers that I might get some support on a few things. Got to keep blogging about being homeless too. I have found some really cool people out there that are making a difference. I'm also finding a lot of groups that are helping with housing the homeless. I don't quite know what to think about that yet. I sure do see a lot of people helping though. People are caring and understanding. I'd like to make a difference someday like they are doing. But first I've got to get out of this rut.

My plan for my crosses is currently on hold. I've got to figure out how to make them. That's been a big issue and funding this project has been hard. Make crosses or go hungry, that is the question.

I'd rather make crosses but I just cant afford to make anymore mistakes with it. So, its on hold for the moment.

I'm gonna start posting pictures onto this blog. I hope you (the reader) don't mind.

Homeless Tip:
Start looking for a new pair of shoes sooner than later. Remember, as a homeless person your feet are the most important part of your body (ask any homeless person). If your feet are all blistered up your life is going to become much, much, MUCH more difficult to deal with. If you find a place that's giving away free shoes to the homeless you are in luck. The problem is finding a pair that fits you. The better the pair the more likely they won't be on the shelf long. Stay on it. Go to that place often and keep your eyes out. Grab the first pair that works for you and do it before the shoes you have get too old.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day - 37 Homeless Guy Swears In Church


Its true! I heard him several times before a volunteer came over and put him in his place (and believe me when I say it, SHE DID). It made me mad also. One, he did it in a church. Two, he did it because he wasn't getting his way on a sandwich, so he acted like a baby. Three, that sandwich was a charity done at a church, by volunteers, that donated the food and they do it three times a week. Its an honorable service. I wasn't happy when I heard this guy going off. H e could have handled it differently. I also understood his aggravation, but was not the way to handle it.

Homeless people really never seem to have things go their way. It just seems to be something that comes with the title. Its almost like you hear about a church that is giving away sandwiches for lunch that day. You are hungry and decide to walk the 3 miles to get that sandwich. However, when you get there they tell you they are all out of meat but are willing to make you a tuna sandwich. You are allergic to fish. I don't know why the guy got mad. But I can relate to his anger sometimes. To the woman that put him in his place all I can say to her is "sorry", but please just understand that in this world (the world of homelessness) the simple, smallest of problems to a "normal" person is a  mountain of problems to a homeless person.

I call the mans reaction to the problem a "homeless trip". I see it all the time. You can probably picture it in your mind if you think about it. This is when you see a homeless person suddenly snap. One second they are OK and fine. The next second they are in someone's face. It can happen in  an instant. From the outside looking in, a "normal" person might see a crazy person. You're not likely to get the reasons about the "trip" from the homeless person. So what you are left with is this sort of impression that's not quite right. You probably won't think about the fact that the homeless person just walked 3 miles for some food, wound up with nothing, saw himself walking back 3 miles and so he went on a "trip".

Now, there are different ways a person gets mad of course. I can't sit here a tell you I'm any sort of expert on human emotion or anything like that. I'm simply trying to make a point. The point is this: a homeless person will flip out over small things. If you are someone that is thinking about doing work for or around homeless people, you must understand that.

Me, I'm doing OK toady. I messed up some today though. I didn't hear my alarm clock this morning and I missed work. That wasn't good. My spot on that ticked got full and I'm probably not gonna get to go on that ticket again. That's how day labor works though. I did get quite a few working days in this week though so I'm happy about that. So, what did I do today with my free time????????

I got my grinder! YYYYEEEESSSSSSSSS! I got the grinder and even got it mounted to a board (thank you Ace Hardware store)! Now, I've got some work to do to get my crosses going. First I have to find an outlet somewhere where I can start grinding my nails. Then, hopefully I can start putting them all together and make my crosses. If it all works out I'll be done with "set 1" of my plan to reach my goal. So, this is huge for me. A big breakthrough day today! I worked my butt off to get this far. Tonight I'll be grinding away.

My tent thing is going OK too. I don't like the location though. Its so deep in the brush that it creeps me out. Sometimes I hear things, big things. It's creepy! I should move it. Maybe if I have time this weekend I'll do that. If I'm not on my cross thing that is.

Homeless tip (for the men) :
Keep a good razor or many cheap razors. Shave almost as often as you clean up. The longer you let that face hair grow the longer you will have to spend in a public bathroom. Unless you are like the man I saw today. He had a jug of water and a mirror. He shaved outside in the park (smart)!

Next part of my day:

MMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!! I don't swear often, but I want to right now! I'm so mad! I pent all this time working on getting this grinder, hoping it would fix the problems. I spent $40 on it and it has solved nothing. Nothing at all! I'm back at the drawing board with nothing! I cant believe this is so hard to do and I'm running out of the few options I ever had in the first place. The grinder turns the nails black, which makes the nails look bad. Also, I used the grinder on the pliers and still cant figure out how to make the loop at the top. Also, I cant figure out the measurements and that's bad! To top it all off I can't even figure out if the nails needed to be flat on one side. I thought they did, but now I'm not so sure.

This is becoming harder and harder. For a homeless person counting on getting a craft like this done it doesn't seem right. Why? Why? Why? Everything I have done in the last 37 days has been about getting these crosses made. I haven't even started. Hhhh! At this point I'm gonna start looking for help. I believe this is the right part for me! This is what I'm supposed to do. It's my mission, in a way! It's the thing that will make everything right in my life and bring me to my goal. I need help though. I need help!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day - 35 Homelessrob Thanks You For Reading His Blog

Thank you so much for reading my blog! I like seeing that people are reading what I have to say. It makes me feel so much better. I'm not wasting my time! And I'm not wasting yours for that matter, either! Thank You!

Got to work today and that felt good. I'll get to work in the morning also I think. I need the money so bad right now its killing me. By the time I get off and cash my check I should have enough to get my grinder. I'm pretty excited about that. I hope I can fix most of the problems I'm having with my crosses with the grinder. Then I'll be almost through phase one of the plan to my goal (kids, house, car).

I've got to get some clothes washed though. That's high on my list. For me, I smell ok right now. I've been washing up in every single sink I run into and its keeping me pretty fresh. I have a bottle of "Axe" body wash and a face cloth in the bag that I keep with me all the time so I don't have to depend on the public restrooms' supply of soap. I hate it when they are out of soap or towles. My way is also faster I think.

That's really all I got today - just me working on my the plans that will help me reach my goal. What else can a homeless person do?

Oh, but I do want to thank you all, again! It means so much to me - you will never know how much!

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day - 33 Homeless Rob Loves Fan Mail

Hey there! I don't really get fan mail, yet! LOL! But someday I hope to. Well, more like letters of encouragement. I think that would be better. I think I would have to keep them all until this is over for me and frame them if I make it. I'll show them to my kids. I'll show them how the world really is - full of loving, caring people!

I have to ask myself.... am I one of those people? I don't know! That's the truth. I think I used to be. Then this homelessness consumed me and I began to change. Now I'm someone that's looking after himself more than anything. I'm looking for anyway out. But I don't like feeling like this. I will change this.

This is my first letter:

Hello Rob,
  I'm not homeless, nor have I ever been, so I can't claim to truly understand your situation. I stumbled upon the homeless forum that contained this website link by mistake. I was actually doing a search for which beach is best for summer vacation, when I stumbled upon a google link where homeless people were talking about staying in beach towns. Out of curiosity, I read some of the forum, including your posts. I was really touched by your posts, and I can honestly say I felt very sorry for your situation. I have two young girls who I could not imagine going a day without seeing. I somehow felt compelled to let you know that someone out here in the world thinks that you're going to make it. I felt a strong urge to post something on here, like God was telling me to tell you that He is with you, and you are almost there. I know this might sound crazy, but I could not sleep after reading your story, and I prayed for you last night. Your blog is very interesting and I love how you leave tips for other homeless people. You have more talents that you realize, Rob. I hope you read this and you have had a good day today. Good Luck, Rob, and I will continue to pray for you. God will see you through, just remember to ask him for help. He'll never mislead you. GOD BLESS YOU! SMILE:) And this too shall pass....

I tried to post this as a comment on your blog, but it said my account didn't have access. Hang in there, Rob.!
This e-mail address is it, it's a long story, but was set up as my windows live account.

Lots of Luck,

LOL, I can't stop reading this! I think I've read it about 20 times now. I think in my heart this is the kind of response I was looking for. Not just because it was encouraging to me but because I realize that my story meant something to someone. I have to move on with the plan now. This letter has shown me that much.

I haven't talked to my kids in awhile. This to me is the worst part about being homeless. There is NOTHING else that brings me more shame than talking to them. That fact alone seems to be a twisted truth about homelessness. I should be a parent but I'm not! I can't help it! I can't help the questions my kids ask me. I can't stand dodging the questions. "Daddy, when are you coming to see us"?  "Daddy, where do you live"? "Daddy, just talk to your boss and maybe he will let you take some time off"! I hate it! I hate it when my little daughter laughs because I miss her. I hate it when my other daughter chokes trying to get the words "I love you to" out because I should have never let this much distance come between us. I hate it all. It never should have been like this for them.

Now, there is another side though. This is the side I hope to land on. Let's just say for a second I do reach my goal. Let's say I make it . Then I'll have a wisdom about life that I can teach them. My kids are very caring (ironically, for homeless people) and they don't know how I live. So, I think if I make it maybe I can offer them a view on life that's meaningful for them. Maybe I can say someday "I used to live like that and because of you I had a dream. And that dream lead me back to you and back to being a better person"! Well, that's what I'm hoping for at least.

My Tent:
I have found that by working day labor, I can buy a lot to build a comfortable tent. LOL, lots of cardboard, bubble wrap, and simple wrap. All items which I have recently used to build a floor in my tent. A not too shabby floor I might add. However, the bubble wrap is popping a lot. I kinda knew it would. But day labor seems to offer an endless amount of it. I don't think I'm going to add much more to my "tent life"! Maybe a few other things if I come up with some spare money. I was thinking maybe somethining to do some cooking, like a burner or something ( I saw them in Walmart when I got my tent). I was also thinking about a cooler. I could probably get a bunch of uses out of that. For now though, I'm good!

Day labor:
Work has slowed down a lot. They are saying its because of the holidays. This is not good! This scares me a lot. I'm reminded of someone a few weeks ago who tried to tell me that $120 a week was enough to get a place. And that even though it was going to be a tight fit it was doable. My response to that was that day labor wasn't reliable enough for that and that such money was harder than she thought and pretty much not even doable. Its looking like I was right on that one.

My plan:
I'm still working on my plan but have decided to move things up a little. I got lucky and was able to work yesterday. I work pretty hard so I tend to get "repeated" from the "ticket for men". I think that if I can just work Monday I'll have enough money to get my grinder and that should set about 90% of my cross problems free. I'd rather have that than food right now.

Let's say I get to work tomorrow but not again after that for awhile, I'd rather get the grinder and at least get my crosses going because I might be able to make some money out of that. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone but it does to me. However, it is a stretch. I'll just have to see what tomorrow brings first. One thing is for sure though - I'm going for it!

Homeless tip:
Clean up after yourself. Clean the spot you stay in. Clean up after any resource you use. For example: if you wash yourself up in a bathroom at Mc Donald's (as I do often) don't leave a puddle of water on the floor. If you brush your teeth don't leave toothpaste in the sink. It shows that you have no respect for that establishment after you use their stuff and there might come a time when they just get sick of you making a mess. Just be on the safe side whether you think they know its you leaving the mess or not. Clean up after yourself!

Thank You For Reading My Blog!

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Day -31 Homeless Man Last A Month

Well, I have survived my first month. I knew I would. I've been here several times. I've got a lot of work to do though. I didn't get to day labor much this week because of the rain. Today I was down to my last .60 cents before I finally got a work ticket. I was scared there for a second. I get to work tomorrow because the work foreman put me down as a repeat. Thank God! Now at least I'll get a few $ in my pocket to get me through the weekend. If next week goes well I'll be working on my crosses.

The next thing I need is a grinding wheel. I need to try to fix the nails I have and the pliers too. The plires need to be grinded into a triangle tip. The nails need to be ground down one side to make them flat. Both things are key to making these crosses. So, I need a grinder. I saw they are about $40 at Ace and the Home Depot, so, I'm thinking sometime around late next week I'll be able to buy one. That way I can get some money in my pocket. I cut it close this week.

After I get my grinder I still have two problems. One, I need a place to plug it in and do the work. Second, I need a way to make my grinder stationary so that its not moving around everywhere. Now, if I can do this and it all works I hope I'll be able to mass produce these crosses. I want a lot. My plan is developing in my head. I think I can reach my goal (Kids, house, car)! I have to stay focused though.

To top it all off, I 'm also working on this blog. I see I have now had over 100 views! Awesome! Somehow, I've got to put this blog and my plan together I think. Somehow I have to mix the two. For now I'm just gonna keep working on it.

I have a goal. I'm working on the steps to reach that goal. Little pieces at a time. Then somehow I think it will all come together. Somehow. Just got to have faith. I do!

Homeless tip:

This tip comes not from me but as a response to a post I put up on a Homeless forum. If you have read any of my blogs you would know I agree with this completely.

"Develop one skill other than panhandling that legally allows you to make money, and with this, check all applicable city ordnances as well. This can be anything simple and practical. I suggest as one option, since there are so many options, is Busking. I started and still make money doing a combination of clowning, miming and music (sticking to low cost, easy to use instruments such as a kazoo, jaw harp and some form of light percussion instrument is standard) plus a decent bit of costuming. But one can do other things like puppets, be a character (local superhero, a fictional character from movies), face painting (best for women who are presentable) or something else.

Simple crafts aren't bad, drawing or anything you can learn.

Flying a sign is becoming harder in places if not outright illegal so doing something else is vital. In addition, it is often respectable because a "street puppeteer or a bucket drummer or a street artist" has 1st Amendment Protections in place as artists. At least you can be doing something productive and that makes people happy with a long tradition behind it.

Libraries are great for this because there are ample books to use.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day - 29 Homeless Man Putting Together His Plan

So, I have the plan (kinda) and the goal (kids, house, car)! Now I've got to put it all together. Of course, that's the hard part. I'm not sure where my brain is going with it, but its better than nothing. I'm going on faith.

I found these crosses back before I became homeless this last time. I saw that there was a handful of people that were selling them on the Internet. I had never seen one before. I liked the idea. I found that people were selling them for about 10.00 to 12.00 each. When I became homeless again about a month ago these crosses were the first and only thing I could think about. They were also the only thing I have thought about since. I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but this is where I am now.

First, I knew I needed something more. Something that was gonna make me some money on top of my day labor work. Something I could do in my down time. Something with a big profit margin. Something that people would like and care about. The money is important - I can't say it isn't (and I'll tell you my thought about the money in a sec). See, I figured that if I made $40.00 a day doing day labor and I could sell about 4 or 5 crosses a day, I would be making just enough money to climb out of homelessness. It makes sense I think. If I could sell them. Basically, what I'd be doing is adding onto what I make now. Hopefully I can get to the point where I can bring in about $400.00 to $500.00 a week.

So, I set out! The first thing I knew was that I was NOT going to be buying them from anyone! I had to make them myself from scratch. Here lies a huge problem. I found this to be a very hard tack. I needed supplies. Supplies that were not easy to find here in Tampa. The nails where impossible. The wire took a lot of looking around for. Because I couldn't find the nails I had to order them online, which became a problem in its own as I don't have an address. A friend allowed me to use her address for this one purpose. Then the nails got lost in the mail. Finally I found a "feed store" that ordered me the nails, but it turns out they were the wrong kind of nails. Nevertheless, I moved on! Now what I have is this:

- A small amount of wire in my tent that will work for now
- A box of wire sitting on someone's desk waiting for me to give them a P.O.Box address (Lord knows when that will be)
- A bag of supplies, at my tent, that includes: a pair of pliers (that are the wrong kind), a pair of grip pliers, a can of clear gloss spray, measuring tap, and a black Sharpe
-two boxes of nails that are the wrong kind

With what I had now I was able to make my first cross. However, It was very bad. No one would buy it, not even for a dollar. I would defiantly not try to sell it. It was very bad - mostly because I had the wrong nails.

But the plan must move on. I have decided that what I need to do is invest in a grinding wheel. Now that comes with a whole other set of problems. Like, where to plug it in, how to keep it stationary, and of course finding the $40 to get it (that's gonna cost me a day doing labor work but I'll do it)! I think a grinding wheel will fix the problems. I can grind down my pliers to better bend my crosses and the bunch of bad nails I have.

Now, I have some ideas about how to get rid of the crosses. I can't very well stand on the corner and sell them - I'll share with you later about that. So far I've been on this project for almost a month and have hardly started. But once again, I'm acting on pure faith here. I have come to believe that this is what I'm being called to be doing. Also, I need this to work. I need it to help me reach my goal.

I've spent three nights now in the tent. I don't like camping the way I am. I like the sleep and the fact that I can now rest when I need to. Its also warm. I don't like that I have to work so hard to get to my tent. I don't like running through brush all night. Doing that also makes me sweat a lot and tears up my legs. Clearly, there are pros and cons to urban tenting I'm finding.

I missed two days of work this week. Day labor ofter slow down on rainy days. I hold out as long as I can in hopes of getting lucky. But today I'm down to about $30 and I need the money bad. I need it to eat and I need it to continue my plan and make sure it keeps moving forward.

Today my body is pretty clean. I did have a few days there where I felt slimy. Mostly dur to the running around in the woods. But right now I feel clean.

Today a friend of mine told me about a church that donated showers to the homeless. In fact, its the same church I had in mind for a portion of my plan (I'll tell you about that also in time).

Today, right now, I'm about a month in and I don't feel so bad. I got a little money and my body is clean (for the most part).

A month in I did this:

No home or place to sleep to warm to having a tent and sleeping bag in the woods
No money but now a few bucks
I went from a simple thought to a plan in motion
Lugging my bag everywhere to having a stash spot (tent).

All and all, I'm making progress..... its just really slow progress!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Day - 27 Being Homeless Is A Sickness

Yesterday in a post I wrote that I wanted people to "suffer". I'd like to take a second here to highlight on that. I did not mean that I wanted people to hurt (as in pain). I simply meant that I want people to walk a mile in any homeless shoes. I went on to say that that frame of mind is the "homelessrob" coming out.

I think being homeless is much like being on drugs. It gets to you. There is one difference which is that most homeless people don't ask for it. Most homeless people just become homeless. Maybe it happens because of drugs. Maybe it happens because of a relationship that want wrong. Maybe it's because they gambled. But even these aren't reasons to become homeless. There are plenty of people who do these things and still have a home.

Homelessness just comes onto you. Homelessness is just there. Its like one day you are having it really bad. You are running around the streets all day making calls trying to get help. Then it hits you, you have no where to sleep that night. You are homeless. Then the wheels in your head start turning. The need to survive is in the front of your head. Its like a ton of bricks hit you in the face. You are homeless.

When people do drugs, or gamble, or refuse to leave a relationship that's destined not to work they still have a choice. They still have options. A Druggie can still quit (I know that's not easy). A gambler can stop before he looses his home. A woman can still leave on her own before the man tosses her out.

Homelessness just is. Now, I do believe homelessness is a lot like a disease. It gets to you. It makes you something you are not. It wears you down. It rots you from the inside out.

Now, I'm not trying to say that being homeless is harder then any other thing. What I'm trying to say is that homelessness tends to come about in a different way and that the effect still seem to be the same.

I once was a good man.
Before I wouldn't think of stealing......... I think about it a lot now.
Before I wouldn't have wanted to be in jail....... that sounds like a vacation to me now.
Before I cared about people who cared about me..... Its too shameful to make that call, now. I'd rather be left alone.
Before I was all about giving..... now I'm all about the taking (not more than I need, I still follow that rule).
Before I respected the laws........ now I can't wait to break them because my survival depends on it.

This to me is how being homeless can change a person. Like drugs, homelessness rots us from the inside out.

Me, I feel like I'm still somewhere in the middle. I think I'm still the old me. But every day I feel like I'm becoming the "homelessrob".

Have you ever heard a homeless person rant to himself? I mean really listen? Not just hear him, look over at him, then say to yourself "just some homeless person ranting", then walk away. I have done that, but recently I've actually listened to what they say. And what I noticed was that a lot of the rant made sense to me. I found logic and, at times, humor.

I once saw a episode of "cops" (Vegas) where the cops were picking up a homeless person. Mostly because the homeless man had a big mouth. He just would not shut up and it was getting him into trouble. At one point the cop offered the homeless man a deal. He said "if you stop talking for one minute I'll let you go"! The homeless man stopped talking. Then the cop went on a trip - he started talking, talking, talking, all about how even though the man was homeless he still had to respect the cops. The cop finally stopped with a question "do you understand?". The homeless man would not speak. LOL! The cop didn't know what to do. They all where laughing. The cops and the homeless person where all laughing together. They couldn't hold him after that. It was funny.

What made me think about this is what I thought about the homeless man at the beginning. When I first saw him and heard him give the cops a hard time I thought "here is one dirty, grumpy, miserable, homeless man. He deserves to go to jail". But by the end, he looked very different to me. Much more respectable - all of a sudden, I didn't want him to go to jail. I saw that he was witted, had a friendly smile, and his refusal to talk in order to keep him out of jail was just too funny. I realized that he wasn't a bad person at all.

People who become homeless change over time. Maybe they change for the better, but usually the change is for the worse I think. I'm changing for the worse. But make no mistake.... If you ran into me on the streets and started a conversation, I could have one with you. I might be homeless and I might be going through some mental changes but I'm still with it. I still have a chance to make it back to normal.

I know this post (much like some of my others) is very scattered-brained. And I don't think being homeless is any harder than being on drugs or anything else. People or drugs have it just as hard. If  I offended anyone in this post, I'm sorry. These are just my opinions and what I think and feel about how being homeless can change a person.

Homeless tip:
If you don't have a spot and you have not really thought about where you are going to sleep for the night, try to start your search right before the sun goes down. Believe it or not, its easier to find a spot in the dark than in the day. There are less people out at night and you are more likeley to find a place that's more secluded.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 26 Homeless People Need Breaks Also!

I thought I would take today off from blogging and posting, but I decided not to. However, I did get some much-needed rest this morning. I couldn't find my tent last night. That's how good I have it hidden. LOL, I was up all night walking through brush, getting all scraped up, looking for it. I never found it. I found out this morning that I had been close to it a few times. I had put some "x"s on the ground to help me find my way to it. But one of the "X's was off by about 10 feet. 10 feet is a lot when you are in brush, let me tell you. But, like I said "when one door closes another one opens" and this was the case last night.

After I couldn't find my tent I walked walked onto a path (an easy to find path) which lead me to the back end of an apartment complex. This was good news. I found a few resources there by sneaking around. I found a pool that I could get access to. Of course that wouldn't do me much good in the cold. But I do know that near a public pool you can usually find a shower. Nonetheless, I did jump into the pool. It felt good getting the sweet off me from trolling around the woods for 2 hours. LOL!

Homeless tip: If you decide to pitch a tent, make sure you can find it.

At the complex I also found the laundry room with easy access, a bathroom (which I slept in last night) and I'm pretty sure I saw someone using a complex WiFi in the back in a gazebo (which I have access to). All of these things I can find useful.

I get very mad sometimes. I need you (the reader) to understand that. I've been at this for some time now and it still hasn't gotten any easier for me. Sure, I have made it up before. But the falls that I have had after I've made it up make me think if I'm just destined for this life. I'm 32 years old and some struggle in life is understandable. But after awhile, it gets to me.

Everywhere I go it gets worse. And being around people with normal lives is hard. One thing that gets me upset is when I'm standing somewhere and see people in their cars. I always woulder "so many people with cars, why cant I have one? What makes that person so special? Whats the secret?"

I think like this often. It gets me mad! I used to have a car. I miss having a car. Right now I'd be happy with a scooter. Just being around people and knowing that I'm different is hard. I cant have a place to sleep, I can't have a woman, I can't do fun things, I can't even have what is mine (my kids). Normalcy is just a another word I can't even spell.

Sometimes when I get around people that don't know I'm homeless and deep inside my mind I just want them all to suffer because they have better lives than I have. That sucks because I know that's not really me. That's the homeless guy taking over. Its hard to explain. I just hate being around people and events where people are breaking up for the night to go home (church is a classic for this one)! This is where the questions usually come! "Do you need a ride?", "Where do you live?" I feel like everyone is just standing there waiting for me to say it: "I'm homeless". hhhhhhhh

I wish this all was different! But for the time this is the hand I was dealt and if I'm gonna make it out I just got to deal with it.

The weekend is over and I'm happy because I might get to work in the morning. I need the money really bad now. I got to keep working on my plan.

I apologize to you (the reader) for my bad attitude the last few posts. I jest get overwhelmed. And I'm doing everything I can so people can witness what and how I think and believe,  and what homeless life is like.

Homeless tip:
Don't have too many stash spots. I have one stash spot and what is now my new camp ground. Tonight I'm going to move my stuff to my camp. Having too many stash spots will overwhelm you to death. Its hard enough that you have to walk everywhere to get just the little things done (shower, food, a shelter). You don't need a bunch of extra walking to do because you have things scattered all over the place. For example, to have your towel, but the soap is in another place a mile away. Keep everything as together as you can and try to keep the walking to a minimum. Also, that will help keep your shoes lasting longer and you do need to consider that.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day- 25 Why Is It That Some People Want To Be Homeless?

The more and more I look around on the Internet the more I seem to find these people who think they WANT to be homeless! I don't get it. I don't get it for a single second. How could anyone WANT this life? At first I just thought it was just a person here or there that was just having a bad day. But then I started to realize that it seems just a little deeper for others. One guy said this: 
     "I am a professional single man living in South Florida. I have a Bachelor's and a Master's Degree. I'm tired of working and have realized that I simply don't want to work anymore. The modern employer-employee paradigm is a just a mutation of the master-slave paradigm of the past.

I want to experience adventure, travel, knowing interesting people... in summary I just want to live and work on my own conditions. I've a good educational background, intelligence, and so many abilities that I'm sure can be used to help other people succeed.

I want to work as an advocate for homeless and poor people, I want to help changing paradigms, I want to help stop oppression against less fortunate people, I want to help eradicating social and economic inequality.

Being homeless is unfortunate because society's oppression... but when I analyze it deeper homeless people enjoy so many personal freedoms that I want to enjoy to.

I think homeless people are good agents of change and for this reason the powerful oppress them by creating stupid laws against homelessness."
I'd like to know what this guy is really thinking. And what "personal freedoms" do we homeless people have that would make anyone else want to be homeless? He really doesn't understand...
I read another where a kid wants to follow his dreams... and another where a guy just wanted to escape his wife. It's hard for me not to go off. But its even harder for me to be understanding about people like this.

Therefore, I came up with a solution for these people.
If you are thinking about becoming homeless this is what you should do:
First, give all your money to a friend to hold onto for a week (as you will want it back later).
Then, collect some cloths and hygiene products and make up a good bag.
Then, take a bus out of state to a place where you have never been and don't know anyone (make sure you have hardly no money after the trip tho. You can have a little, you should experience how if feels to run out of money at a time like this).
Then, right when you get to your new home you should run around for awhile until you are hot and sticky.
After that, go find a dumpster and toss yourself into it (and all your stuff too).

There, this should be a good start. Let's see how long it takes you to get sleep. Let's see how long it takes you to get a shower and be clean. Let's see how you get money. Let's see how you eat when your money is gone. Let's see how you feel about all the "personal freedoms" that homeless people get after your little test run.

Then, when you get back home, you will realize what a completely stupid idea you had to try to make yourself homeless. You can thank me for my solution. Or, if you decide that this is the life for you, feel free to hit me up in an email and I'll trade with lives you.

Actually, that would be a good T.V. show. Like "Trading Places"! LOL! Someone, write this down. We will call it "Poverty Traders"! LOL! Someone, write that down.
Now, I'm not the type to ever put people down. All I'm gonna say about anyone thinking about becoming homeless is this: "you are a foolish person, and I can't understand you"!
This is my second bad day post in a row. I'm sorry if I'm coming out strong the last two days. However, if I didn't blog this stuff and share it with you I wouldn't be doing my job here. And of course, my job is to blog for people and try to show them what a homeless person goes through day to day. Also, you get to watch a story unfold as I try to reach my goal.
Really, today was a good day. I actually did something new as a homeless person. I mentioned it the other day. I got tired of having to deal with sleeping spots for the night, and last night was really bad for me. So, today I bit the bullet and invested in a tent and sleeping bag. I hid my stuff in the woods. I just hope I can find it later tonight.

But look, even on the good days a homeless person has it bad. I walked all over the place and spent money I didn't really have in the first place to get this project going. So, now I have a tent and a bag. I won't freeze tonight. That's good. The lack of sleep in the past week is making me grumpy I think.
I'm actually about to go jump in the tent right now. I need the rest. I'll be back Monday to tell you about how the tent is going and what I think about it. Maybe offer up some tips if I can. I need a little break!

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Day -24 This Homeless Guy Is Just a Little Aggravated Today

Just a little aggravated is my light tone. LOL, I've been working up to telling you (the readers) about the plan I have that I'm hoping will get me to my goal (kids, house, car). I've been working on it for almost the whole time I've been on the streets this time. Busting my hump to get this thing going and it has not been easy. I want to tell you about it but I'm a little afraid someone will say something bad about it and I'll have second thoughts. LOL, I'd still do it, though, but it's been a challenge.

Today I thought I had it done. Today was a HUGE day for my little project. But as it turned out I think I might have taken a few steeps backwards. I'm completely in shock and disbelief right now. I'm realizing at this very moment that I'm gonna have to not only continue to work hard at this but also its gonna take me much more time. Time I don't have right now. GGGGGRRRRR!!! I need to take a deep breath right now. I need some sleep! All in all I did manage to break ground, and that feels good. At least the work I did came around, even if it was all bad. That's got to count for something. I wont quit though! I must keep trying... no matter how hard it is. That's my only choice - otherwise I'll be stuck out here for the rest of my life I fear.


Homeless tip :
Cardboard is your best friend. The top five uses for cardboard that I know of:
1) Softer ground to sleep on
2) Sign making
3) A blanket. Wrap yourself into it. Cardboard is great in the winter
4) If you are tenting use cardboard as instillation if you can
5) Insulation for your body in the open - I have heard of homeless people that will wrap it around their legs, arms, chest, and stomach then put cloths on over it. I could see how after awhile of moving around and breaking it down a little that would probably work.

If you have to look around for cardboard just keep an eye out for it. And try to find clean cardboard. You don't want it if its wet and smells and is full of food stains. Look around companies that specialize in moving because they usually seem to have it. And just ask for it politely - will probably be your best bet as far as getting it without having to sneak around and go dumpster diving.

As for me, I have to try to get some sleep now. Had a long day and am not happy right this second.
Will I make it out of poverty and accomplish my goal ?

We will see I guess!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day - 23 A Fix To The Homeless Problem

Seems like everywhere I look people are looking for a fix to this problem. Lots of people it seems want some sort of quick fix or miracle solution. I'm grateful for that. Because I don't have a clue and at least someone is thinking. I have my opinions about how to do it, sure. Like if we had a sort of one-stop-shop that a homeless person could walk into, get every thing he (or she) needs, and walk out not homeless. To me that is a realistic idea. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

Today I talked to a guy who wasn't homeless (and didn't know I was) but he knew a guy that complained to him about how hard it was for him to get a simple shower here in Tampa Florida, because he was homeless. I have that problem also! With homeless people still struggling to get help for the simple stuff from any state (it seems) a massive idea like mine seems a bit of a fantasy.

I thank the people that do help though. I know it's not easy. Even the people that help seem to be driven down by homelessness. I've seen the look. A soup kitchen volunteer works for a week, then comes back a month or two later just to see the lines are longer and the a quarter of the faces are new. Its a look of disappointment and I think they feel that no matter how hard they try to help, the problem won't get better. The more they help the worse it gets. Of course, they still feel the joy of helping (thank god for that). These are just my opinions; please don't be offended.

As for me, I'm beginning to take a new approach. A self improvement approach. See, I will not blame the government for my problems. I blame them for not being as supportive as they could be. But the government did not make me homeless. Here in Tampa they are about to pass a law that says no homeless people can panhandle, EXCEPT OF COURSE on Sundays. The reason is because of the traffic (or so they say). All I will say about that is that the traffic here will be just as bad after the ban passes. Try, just TRY, to cross the street here in Tampa on the cross walk, with the little blinking man, with the right of way, and not get plowed down. It's safer to J-walk, trust me.

Sorry, I'll end that rant now!

Yes, self improvement. I wasn't always homeless. From age 16 to about 28 I did very well for myself and my two little girls. Very well. But I had problems. I was careless. And I wasted a lot of time being careless. I didn't save my money right. I didn't watch my credit. I spent money on things I simply did not need. I had the things I needed but did not set goals to get the things I should have needed. A house! Retirement! A new car! Maybe a better education in the field that I was good at, manufacturing! Tie all that together with just a little bad luck and you have the beginning of my story.

Since I have been homeless I have noticed that its even worse. Because now I know I can make it alive without any of that stuff. I remember that after 3 months without even a single dollar I landed $40 in my pocket. I had found a phone and returned it. The first thing I did was to go to a very nice bar. I had the best sandwich a human being could ask for, and I helped myself to some beer. The next morning I was broke again. The thought of spending that money on, nothing, maybe a bunch of bus passes never accrued to me. Or maybe a trip to a place where I could print out 100 copies of my resume.

Now, this isn't totally my fault. My point here is this. I think that after someone has been homeless for a while they sort of get used to it and forget the important things. I can see why. After I spent my $40 and was broke again I want back to the mental thinking of survival. That $40 was a much needed break for me. I had just spent 3 months thinking NON STOP about how to get out of the situation. I was drained! And the longer a homeless person is out there on the streets the worse it gets.

Imagine what we could do if we got help to every homeless person on day 1 - before they begin to sink into a world where survival and getting by is the only thing on there mind. I'm not gonna worry about getting by any more. I've been on the street on and off for 4 years now. I think I have learned a little about survival. I'm gonna start thinking about how I felt when I was doing good. And how to get back to normal, and take care of the things that I care about Then getting ahead!

Thank You for reading this. It makes me feel better.

Homeless tip:
Have fun in your down time. I know this sounds funny but I do believe it is something you must do. Time for homeless people is a little different than the time of an average person. However, homeless people wind up with free time (usually on the weekends). And I say there is no harm in doing something for you as long as its not going to make your situation worse. Read a book! Go to church! Maybe see a friend or family member if you can! Make a phone call to a loved one! Hit the beach if possible! What ever it takes to free your mind from the stresses of being homeless and makes your free time go faster for you, that's what you should do.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day-22 Even Homeless People Get Lucky Sometimes

Every morning I get a chance to watch the news. Recently I say a segment that introduced a new caricature to the T.V. show Sesame Street. I can't remember her name. I think it might have been "Lola". I'll just call her Lola. Anyway, Lola was a sweet muppet. She found her way to Sesame Street because she was raised in a poor household that was having problems getting food. Lola felt she needed to talk about it to other kids her age. Personally, I like this idea. But there was one point in the interview where something from Lola's friend (a producer of the show) said something that stuck out to me. It was something like this: "people in the food lines don't want to be seen by our cameras". She also went on to say that the reason they don't want to be seen is because they are embarrassed. This all makes sense to me.

There are two kinds of homeless people (in my opinion). The kind that don't want you to know and do everything they can to hide it; and the kind that do want you to know and can't stop boasting about it. I think alot of those people are actually bums looking for the handouts and public sympathy. This is just my opinion....... don't get mad, please.

Me, I'm the first kind of homeless person. I try to keep it to myself. However, when needed, I have mentioned it.

Now, you're probably thinking "Well, if that where true he wouldn't be blogging his life". The truth is that I have no idea why I'm doing this. I might have several reasons. One thing I did know before I started doing this was that I needed to be real. No made up stories. No lies (typically I don't lie anyways. But I'm the king of avoiding things. "Where do you live?" "Oh, just down the street"). I have to be as honest and open about who I am and what I do day to day as a homeless person as possible. Even the bad parts! If I can't do that for you (the reader) what good am I to you or to myself?

I'm going to tell you two stories now. I'll try to make then quick.

First story:
A little over a year ago I got off a bus in Portland, Maine. I had my bag and nothing else. Once again I was homeless. I knew no one and had no idea what was going to happen. This is usually how I step into a new place. Portland, Maine is a very homeless friendly place (as I've stated in the past). And with some hard work and determination it didn't take me long before I was working full time (call center) and had my own place, an efficiency apartment.

I'm my heart I knew it was time to do something big. I never sought it out but I was keeping an open eye.

One day I was working and on break. Outside I saw a co-worker talking on her phone. She and I where both pretty new and we had not talked much to each other at all. I will not use her real name - I'll just call her "D". D was on the phone and I could tell she was very upset.  After she hung up I walked over and asked her if she was OK. This was our first real conversation. I don't think she knew my name. D told me that she and her daughter had recently wound up living with her family. And she was stressed because her living conditions were bad. I never asked how bad but I could tell she was almost in tears. That night I went home and thought about it. The next day I saw D. I walked over and asked if she would like to take my apartment for a while. LOL, I'll never forget the look on her face. Of course she couldn't take me seriously. The next few days I spent trying to convince her I was serious. I constantly wrote notes that said things like "the location is great for you, everything you need is near by", "the rent is paid three months ahead" (and it was), "I'm not crazy (and I'm not)", "I'll never bother you there (and I never did), "it will be all yours" and balled them and tossed them into her work area. LOL!

Finally, I got her to agree to come over and see the place. Standing inside my apartment she asked me "Is this for real?" I said back "if you drop your bag right now I'll give you the keys". I think what made her say yes was the bathtub. I think she had no way to wash her child. No one gets that excited over a bathtub. Anyway, she said yes. Then something happened - complete turn. She told me her story.

As it turns out, there was a man in her life. The father of her little girl who I will call "LG". About 3 months prior to that moment in my apartment, he had died. It was a tragic accident. He wound up drowning in a hot tub. This info rocked my world. D had asked me already several times what I would be doing for a place to stay. I told her a was going to stay at a friend's house. And for three weeks I slept on his floor. If he had not let me do that I would  have truly been homeless. But for D and LG I know in my heart this was a small price to pay. D also offered to pay me money several times. I never accepted it. To me, what I was doing was so big and special I never wanted to tarnish it. About three weeks later I was back into my place. D had moved out of her parents place and into a place of her own. She also was enrolled in school.

I met her little girls one time. She was about a year old. She will probably never know me or what I did for her and her mom and that's OK. But from time to time I think about the two of them and I can't help but wonder if I made the world just a little better. Was the little girl's path made a little brighter by me? God, I hope so! I don't talk much too D. We will always be friends of course and I know in her heart there is a special place for me.

Some of my friends thought I was crazy. They said "why would you lower yourself for a girl you hardly know?" My response was "sometimes to lift someone up, you have got to pull yourself down". I had no idea what D would do with the apartment I gave her. My gut just told me to do it. My gut was right!

For the record: this is the second time I have ever told this story in full. Bragging only tarnishes a good deed.

Now, the next story.
I was at my spot last night sleeping. I never told you where this spot was because for me to be there I have to trespass. That is against the law. I feel bad for doing it of course, but I felt safe there. When push comes to shove I'll pick my safety for the night over jail time. As long as I know that I'm at least trying to make it off the streets. This was the kind of spot where virtually anyone can have access to and the last thing I want is for a bunch of homeless people saying "that's a good idea" and get into trouble. I will say this though, it was a spot where I felt safe. It was all the things I look for in a spot. It was quiet, in my area, easy to get to, dark, and I had a large window of time to sleep.

So, I was there, sleeping, when around 11:30 I heard the door open. Scared, I balled up hoping to not be seen. There I was looking up and balled up like a little baby when I heard footsteps approaching me. I hoped it would stop. I thought to myself, "it's just someone that forgot something. They will not find me. Just stay quiet. Then I saw his face. He jumped back out of view shouting the name "Jesus Christ"! Then he went quiet. I could tell he was scared. So was I! It was very quiet.

Now, I'm going to tell you how the conversation went. But, please don't quote me on this. It all happened so fast. Both of us had our adrenalin rushing. I won't get it word for word and that's OK because I think it's the meaning you will understand.

ME - first, still balled up: Mister, I know this is wrong.
HIM - still out of view: You're trespassing!
ME: I understand that and I'm sorry!
HIM: There is a park across the street!
ME: Mister, I know that!
Me, Mister: (this part I know I said) I'm going to ask you to do something here that you probably normally wouldn't do. I'm going to ask that you let me go. Let me get my stuff and leave without calling the cops. From one human being to another you will never see me again. (I meant every word of that).
HIM: You will just get your stuff and go?
ME: Yes.
HIM: Go!

And I did!! Fast!
He was gone when I left so I didn't see his face again. But sitting across the street in the park I saw him drive by to make sure I was there.

I wouldn't have hurt him. And truth be told, I would have waited there until the cops arrived. I accept responsibility for what I did. I was in the wrong. I wish I could tell you I won't be trespassing tonight at another spot...... but I will be.

Last night made me think a lot about D! Was this a "what goes around comes around" sort of thing? This man went against the grain. And had me pinned! I can afford time in jail, I suppose. Some food. Some sleep. But the fact of the matter is that eventually I would be out. And still,  homeless. I think what got to him was my voice. I think what he heard in me was seriousness, and sincerity. I would have earned his respect by staying there and waiting for the cops. And that would have counted for something. But he let me go. I think he just knew somehow that I was trying to make it. I think he heard it in my voice and decided I was worth the chance.

I know I have to make this up. I have to "pay it forward". I have to pay for this crime. Not because I got caught (I'm going to trespass tonight) but because it is wrong. I know I have to do something big someday. To keep myself balanced.

What this man gave me was a chance to do something right and good. He also gave me the power to do it in my own way. I only hope I won't let him down. I hope I can pull a D.

Homeless tip:
Never invite another homeless person into your spot. As much as I'd love to say "hey man, I know a better place! Come check this out," I know that will only lead to trouble.

Every time I leave a spot I clean up my stuff. I do this because I don't want anyone to know I was there. I check and check and check to make sure that my time there is erased completely. I leave nothing behind.

When you invite another homeless person into your spot you basically have to tell him (her) the house rules. And watch over them. Now you have to double check they didn't leave anything behind.
I'd set some rules like this :
1) Don't go there before 10:00 pm!
2) Don't smoke!
3) Don't tell anyone!
4) Be gone by 5:20 am!
5) pick up your stuff

Simple, however I can promise you that within two weeks you have this:
You show up at 10:00 pm on the dot and there are already 3 other people there. They are all drinking and smoking. Its like a little homeless party. The place is trashed with spilled beer and ash. The friend you told first doesn't know what to say to you. No one is listening to you. It smells, and you knows that not just a cigarette they are smoking. Now you see flashing lights. Now you are all arrested and going to jail. You lost the spot.

Never invite anyone into your spot. Its one thing for you to get into trouble on your own. But its another for you to get into trouble because of a bunch of other homeless people!

Thank you for reading my post today. It means a lot.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day-21 This homeless guy will NOT accept your money!

LOL, I read that if I want more people to see my blog I need better titles. I'm working on it. So, its been three weeks now and I'm still alive. However, things are not as good right now as I had expected. Its taking too long to get things done and I should be a little further ahead than I actually am. Once again, this is due mostly to not having an address.

Stay focused! This is a big deal to anyone who is homeless. This is largely why I tell you to stay so-lo. Stay away from other homeless people - or anyone that is a destruction to your plans - for that matter. It is very easy as a homeless person to constantly be shifting ideas in your head. Mostly because you have time and you are already aggravated. Then, when things don't quite work out right you start double guessing your ideas, thoughts, and goals. The last thing you need is someone in your head saying "ya man, you shouldn't waste your time with that when you could be doing this. Here, let me come with you"! Believe me, that's exactly what someone out to get to you will say.

Three weeks of waiting and bad luck. But its something I feel I need to do to help me hit my goal. Got to suck it up and press on. Stay focused!

Today I added a few things to my backpack: 3 towels that I got for $2; a bottle of body wash, and A few new pairs of socks. All much needed. However, it's making my pack heavy. That's actually mostly due to having my computer in it. My computer takes up a lot of space and causes much weight. I hate that. I have only a few options. First, dump the computer. Second, get another bag that I can stash along with the other one I have stashed in the woods right now. Last, reorganize what I have now better. I'm thinking that's the best way to go. I need everything I have at this moment.

Story time:

The same night I wrote you "day-1" was hard. Its always the first night that's the worst. What made this super hard was that it was raining and I had my bag (n wheels) with me. I had a clue as to where I was going. It was pouring hard though.

So, I was walking down the street soaking wet when a saw a woman in a Blazer coming out of a church parking lot. She pulled up in front of me and rolled the window down. This was the conversation:
Her: Do you need a ride somewhere?
Me: No, Miss!
Her: Where are you trying to get to?
Me: Just down the street - not far! Miss, Its OK I'm fine! Thank You!
Her: Where do you live?
Me: (This I never say to anyone I don't have to... this part rarely ever comes out of my mouth! But I said it anyways) Miss, I'm homeless! I have no where to go!

Even in the dark I could see the look on her face.  The look in her eyes. Not pity! It was more shame and sorrow! And not for me! She was humble!

What happened next was not a surprise to me (completely) but it was a shock to her.

She opened the center console between the two front seats and started shifting through it. LOL, That was when I started yelling at her. "NO, NO, NO You will not do this" LOL! And I meant it. And she knew I did. She pulled her hand out and tossed hme a package of 6 peanutbutter crackers! LOL! Right before she drove off I said "Thank you, you did the right thing here"! She drove off with a look of respect on her face that I'll never forget. I have not seen her since then.

Homeless tip:

Don't take what you don't need! This woman in the blazer was not gonna give me money. But she knew I wasn't going to take it, either. This whole thing was about a minute long. Inside that one minute I earned her respect and possibly even changed her view on homeless people. "How could a homeless person not accept what he and I both know he wants, whether he needs it or not"? Truth be told, I did want money! But I had some and knew that nothing she gave me was gonna make my night better. That's why I wasn't going to take it if offered. The respect I earned from her was priceless anyways!

Respect will probably not get you off the streets. But the affects of being respected by others is worth wild.

I don't talk about being homeless.  Ive gone long periods of time being homeless with large groups of friend that never knew. I hide it very well. I'd rather do things the hard way. How can I maintain something that was given to me when I couldn't maintain the same thing when I earned it before by myself?

So, don't take what you don't need just because you can. And earn respect! This will help you feel better about being homeless. Homeless people often feel they are being looked down on. I don't feel that way. I will be respected! I will stay focused!

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Day - 20 Why This Homelessness?

Sorry I've been gone a few days. That's because I've been making some changes. I've been thinking about you (the reader). I've been asking myself why am I doing this? Why am I writing this all down? What is the point? Who will even read it?

I can't say for sure. I can, however, say that it makes me feel good. And maybe it will also serve to help someone someday. Maybe someone might find themselves homeless someday and read this and think "if he can do it so can I"! That's a little bit funny because I have no idea if I'll make it out of this or not. Sometimes I feel like my time is short or that my chance at the life I want now has passed and that this is all there is left. Maybe I feel like making a story here. A few times I wish I had a video camera with me. I'd youtube it all. But I think mostly I do it for the story. See, I've read a few blogs and posts about homeless people and one thing I've noticed was that people write nasty things sometimes. I'm expecting this, I guess. For me its all about reaching the dream. Will I make it or will I fail? I have no doubt that many will want me to fail. And I might! But if I make it...... all those people that thought I'd fail will have to respect me. And hey, you (the reader) gets to read a homeless person's day in and day out blog. I'm really trying to give you some form of a story.

I'd like to capture your attention. I'd like to give you something. I'm homeless with a plan to make it to the top. The American Dream!!!! Can someone all the way on the bottom do that? Can a homeless person with drive really make it far? Can a man that has absolutely NOTHING make something? We will see. Due day is day 20! If you ask me why I'm doing this I say to you.... I'm doing it for your entertainment.

I know I keep telling you I have a plan and will tell you all about it soon. I do have a plan. I'm working my butt off on it. The time to tell you is coming. I figure why rush it. And I do have a story to tell.

My name is Rob and I am a homeless man trying to make a home for myself and my two little girls. Stay tuned.

Homeless tip :
I tell you all the time that image is everything when you are homeless. And I also tell you all the time to stay away from other homeless people (unless you are pumping them for information -  homeless people are a wealth of information about resources). But somethings you just plain run into homeless people that know you are homeless. DO NOT BEFRIEND THEM.

Nonetheless, its OK to be cool with them for a minute or two in passing. Its kind of good for you. It keeps you on a train of thought that says "hey, you're not the only one". Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one. Its easy to stand on a street corner watching the cars go by and say to yourself "why me". But that will bring you down and as a homeless person, you simply cant afford to think like that. And besides who cares why it's you? It happened and that's all there is to it. Just remember that you are not the only one out there on the streets. I still stay stick to yourself. I'm heavy about that. That's for survival reasons. But there is no shame in lifting someone else's spirits and saying "ya man, I'm like you! Just trying to get by. You are not alone".

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day - 16 I'm being watched

One thing I've learned about being homeless is that I'm always being watched. You are or will be watched too. The citizens, employers, and most importantly, other homeless people, will be watching. This is why I stress so hard to keep yourself going and at least try to not look homeless.

I've read other blogs and websites about homeless people wirtten by homeless people, and for homeless people. Some people try to make money. Some people have no idea what they are talking about.Some people are just mean. Other people (me) are simply just trying to help.

Everybody experiences homelessness differently. Some people wake up homeless. Others (myself included) know its about to happen and plan for it. Personally, I didn't have much time to plan. But I saw it coming. Now, even though we all reach the same place differently, all homeless people still have to make moves for survival.

This is where a low profile will not help you. You will be noticed by other homeless people. Because look, If you are going to the same soup-kitchens, churches, resource centers, and doing all the same things other homeless people are doing, how could they not notice you? The same is true if you are pan-handling on the same corner every day. How could the same people not notice you? Now, you wouldn't want to pan-handle in front of an area where you are about to go job searching. And even if you become a familiar face to other homeless people you are still going to want to keep you distance. STAY AWAY FROM THEM outside of your business to survive. I hope this makes sense.

No homeless tip today. Sorry, but I just don't have time.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day - 15 No Room In My Backpack

If you are homeless, you will soon understand that you have also lost the right to live a "normal" life! Nothing is the same as it was when you where on top. Used to be dinner was warm and ready when you got home, now its dumpster diving. Used to be a warm, 30-minute shower, now its a 1 minute splash in the Burger King bathroom. Used to be driving a car, now its driving a shopping cart (don't do that because it means you have too much stuff). The "normal life" is gone. You have to now adapt to the new life until you can have the old one back.  You can't afford distractions.

Even as a homeless person I have still picked up girls (not bragging). Mostly because I don't look homeless to them I think. I'm just sitting there on the bus minding my own business, and the next thing I know I get a girl's number. You all know how this goes. The problem is that now I have the number so now I start making moves to form a relationship with this girl.

This is a big problem. I will bet you that even if you could explain that you are homeless but making moves to get it together (and I have) this relationship will not work and it's simply a waste of time. No matter how much she likes you, it's just not going to work. The need to be loved is normal. I have to remind myself that even for as much as I want it, now is simply not the time. Love is big, heavy, and complicated as it is. Love will not fit in your backpack and for the time being, you must forget about it...... along with any other thing that's going to distract you from making it out of homelessness.

I'm still working on my project and wish to tell you about it soon. I've been breaking my hump to make it happen. I just hope it works.

Homeless tip :
This is really just a follow-up example to my tip about the "homeless credit card" and being direct.

I once knew a homeless man who told me that after not eating for a few days he got desperate. He told me that when he simply could not take it anymore he walked into a McDonald's (God bless McD's for all the homeless people, LOL), waited for the line to clear out then went to the counter. He told me he said to the girl behind the counter "miss, I'm homeless! I haven't eaten in a few days now, I'm hungry! I have no money to give you and I don't know what else to do. So, I'm going to ask you if you have anything back there that you are about to through out could I please have it?". He got a free burger out of doing that. He was direct and was asking for something that mattered to him more than money at that time. Always be direct if you are going to ask people for help.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day - 14 A Good Fight

The homeless fight is always a good one. The fight to survive on the streets and make it a place to call "home" might be the hardest thing you ever do. It certainly is the hardest thing I've ever done. Just when I get something down right, something else comes loose. Having a good life is all about keeping every angle tied down right and allowing no loose ends. Unfortunately for me...... I figured that out to late.

I'm a person who depends on "drive"! My ability to not give up and keep on fighting this disaster of a mess that has left me homeless is that drive. Yes, that drive will get me out and set me free. That drive is coupled with my faith in God! But I stay on point. I know you want to know about being homeless and that's what I'll talk about.

Drive, this is what you will need! Drive to deal with the letdowns and red tape that come with being homeless. For the last two weeks I've been trying to do one thing. We will call it "thing X". "Thing X" has been a hassle and a half for me to do. "Thing X" has been on my mind day in and day out. Every time I try to get my hands on it "Thing X" alludes me somehow. Today I walked a total of 6 miles in the blazing sun for "Thing X" just to find out I can't have it. However, I was told on this last hunt for it that I could get it but that I would have to wait for one week. If I was not homeless I would have had it already. I would have had it in three days. I worked my butt of to get this far. I'm frustrated that I have to wait now!

Next Tuesday I will have it (if all goes right). It has been a struggle. It has taken me a lot of time. It was aggravating. But my drive for it is what is getting it done. Soon I will have "Thing X" and I can move on to the next step in my plan to get off the streets and into a home with my little girls. You must have drive in this fight or you will loose!

Homeless tip :
Scope out your spots. Do this from a distance and make sure no one knows what you are doing. Watch for people going in or around the spot. Watch for cops. Watch for anything that gives you any idea about how early you need to be up in the morning. Look for resources that you might be able to use around the spot (sink, charger, things of that nature). Find security in the spot. For example, how well lit is it? Will anyone see me? Is there any kind of lock? Will I be safe? Will I be warm? Ask yourself these questions. Sometimes you might get a good spot. Sometimes you might have a bad spot. Safety should always be your first concern. Scope it out and ask yourself these questions then make a decision. And remember, have more than one spot! Until you actually win the fight you will need as many spots as you can. Homelessness is not an easy life!

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