Friday, December 27, 2013

Putting the X in Christmas?

I watched Miracle on 34th Street this past Christmas (the original 1947 version, not the 90's crack-pot story). It's a quirky movie that winds up with Kris Kringle getting put on trial for insanity because he truly believes himself to be Santa. However, there are a lot of other messages buried within this black-and-white gem.

For starters, after Kris gets hired by Macy's to be their in-store Santa, he starts to refer customers to other stores when there is a better deal elsewhere. At first, the idea nearly gets him fired, but when Mr. Macy is flooded by calls and letters from customers thanking him for the new "marketing stunt," Kris' unconventional idea is made store policy, and customers flow in by the droves.

There are a few excellent quotes from the movie that I'd like to point out:
"Yeah, there's a lot of bad 'isms' floatin' around this world, but one of the worst is commercialism. Make a buck, make a buck. Even in Brooklyn it's the same - don't care what Christmas stands for, just make a buck, make a buck." - Alfred, Macy janitor
"You see, Mrs. Walker, this is quite an opportunity for me. For the past 50 years or so I've been getting more and more worried about Christmas. Seems we're all so busy trying to beat the other fellow in making things go faster and look shinier and cost less that Christmas and I are sort of getting lost in the shuffle." - Kris Kringle
I hope those who might be reading this kept these thoughts close to heart this past Christmas season. All too often, we forget what the holidays are all about (religious beliefs aside). Sure, there's nothing wrong with gift-giving and splurging here and there, but as I watch Black Friday become Black Week and people murdering others over game systems, I wonder if we remember that there's no X in Christmas. After all, as Ebeneezer Scrooge said of his first employer, Mr. Fezziwig:
"The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune."
From a guy who spent Christmas Eve sleeping in his car and woke up with a smile on his face, I hope you had a Merry Christmas and that you GAVE a Merry Christmas to all whom you know and love.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Week: Below Freezing, Homeless People, and Christmas Lists

This week, it finally decided to really be winter. It's gotten cold a few times, lately, but I woke up with it SOLIDLY below freezing this past week. There was even ice on my car a few times. However . . . I've been doing well and keeping warm. VERY warm, actually One of my good friends from work who figured out that I'm homeless offered to let me stay at his place if I ever need to with no questions asked, and I assured him that I'm doing well - I've actually woken up sweating a few times. Yay for space heaters and Eagle Scout experience, I suppose.

Since it's Thanksgiving today (well, it won't be by the time I post this), I did the cliche thing and thought about what I'm thankful for. I won't launch into a list, but my mind settled on the topic of people who are truly homeless, and not by choice. I know that a lot of them are in that situation because of poor life decisions and irresponsibility, but that's not true of all people facing hard times, especially these days. My heart goes out to people who struggle with seemingly no hope or way to climb out of the hardships piled upon them. I remember how hard it was to register to vote as a homeless person (funny story - I'll have to write about that later); I can't imagine how hard it must be to fill out a job application when you have nothing to write on the "Home Address" line. I have no idea what will come of this blog, if it will ever help anyone, or if it will gain notoriety of any sort, but perhaps I can use it to highlight the plight of those whom are homeless by no fault of their own. Perhaps I can somehow lend them a hand and use this blog to encourage others to do so, too.

My family and girlfriend have started to ask me what I want for Christmas, but this year, it's far more difficult than before. Last year, I had a few things that I wanted (and I was homeless then, too), but this year, I can only come up with a handful of things, none of which are particularly noteworthy or exceptional. Seriously, though, it's not like I need a new TV, a computer, movies, kitchen gadgets, new linens, or anything that I might normally put on a Christmas list. However, when people ask me why I don't want or need anything, there's no good way to tell them that it's because I'm living in my car, I don't need much, and I can't store a lot of stuff, anyway. I actually asked my girlfriend if it would be okay if I gave her a list of suggestions for things I would buy if I were her and have her buy them for herself instead of spending money on me. She's still spent the money, I'm happy because I don't have to wonder if I'm getting her something she'll like (or get in trouble for spoiling her), and she's happy because she got something. That's an even trade, right . . . ?

Happy Dead Bird Day!

(This is the cover of the book "Manifold Destiny," a cookbook about cooking on your exhaust manifold. I didn't cook Thanksgiving dinner this way . . . but maybe I should have . . . )


Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Broke the #1 Rule

I talked about Fight Flub.

I told a coworker. Then, she slipped up and told my boss by accident (long story), and now he's seen my blog. He's a nice guy, so he decided he wasn't going to even bring it up unless I did. Then another coworker guessed it, and since he's a good friend of mine, I told him. The first lady told a few other people, so I have no doubt that they've been here, too. Overall, I'm not TOO concerned, for the moment, but in an effort to remain anonymous and keep things quiet, I hope to limit how quickly this spreads - I don't exactly want my senior director finding out . . .

Anyway, in light of the fact that the cat has gotten out of the bag a little bit, I thought I'd post something she recently sent to me - it's fairly funny, actually:

Your lifestyle does these things: 
  • Keeps you from being able to bring strange women home
  • Keeps women from finding out how strange you are (just a bonus)
  • Keeps you from saying yes to taking peoples pets in while they vacation
  • Keeps house plants to a minimum
  • Makes hoarding impossible
  • Keeps you from spending extravagantly on window treatments
  • Keeps your sewage and water bills at zero
  • And finally: it means that home is truly everywhere you are (if you car is running correctly)
There are some interesting takeaways here that really are true. First, I'm lucky to have a great girlfriend who was with me before all of this started, and it's not likely that I'd be able to start a relationship while living out of my car. She's been helpful and supportive along the way, not to mention the fact that I've had a backup bed to sleep in if I REALLY need it.

Also, being homeless really does simplify things and make me think about what is truly necessary or important. Do I really need to keep that craft beer bottle for my collection? I know that I'll eventually have a place, but is it worth buying new TV at the Black Friday sale just because it's a great deal? I turn down a lot of things because I'm forced to, but it's truly forced me to realize just how little I need to get by in life. In reality, I'm doing far better than just "getting by," a fact that reminds me just how truly blessed I am to live where I live and have what I have.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Year in Review - Time to get HAPPNIN!

Wow . . . it's been FAR too long since I've last posted. There are good reasons for it, really. Work has been nutty for me, I went on family vacation, and I was spending a LOT of free time trying to solve the issue of air conditioning in my car. It gets rather hot here for the summer, and I had some creative ideas for discreetly rigging the innards of a window unit to my car, but after, oh, six units that burst and sprayed me with coolant, I've given up for now and decided to find somewhere else to sleep in the meantime.

It's been over a year. July 19th was officially my anniversary with this whole homelessness escapade. I had intended to post to commemorate that day, but I was on vacation visiting family during that time, so it didn't really work out. I'm finally getting some down-time to write, and I wanted to share a few things. I know that my last post (over a month ago - eek!) talked about how this isn't all about money for me. However, this does have to do partially with how I want to be out of debt so I am free to finally do things in life. Therefore, I wanted to share some of what I've been able to do financially in the past year.

The area I live in is pretty inexpensive. Rent for me was $475 for a townhouse, water and city payments were roughly $55, and electric payments (on average, depending on the time of year) were about $80. That's $610 a month, or $7,320 I've saved in the past year. Worth it? Well, let's consider a few other things. Previously, I was making just over minimum payments to my loans, but the minimum amounts to $6,849.48 a year. By redirecting my living expenses to debts, that means I could pay at least $14,169.48 toward my loans - DOUBLE the minimum payment of my loans.

In reality, I've saved more than just living expenses. I'm not driving near as much, so I don't spend as much on gas. My food expenses are lower because I'm eating far more basic food. Lots of things have added up, and in total, I've been able to pay off $23,181.83 of my loans. Did I mention that I make $56k a year (pre-tax)? Yeah - I think this has been worth it.

I hoped to be done with my debt by July 19th, but because of a few issues along the way, it hasn't quite worked out. However, I'm almost done - I have about $1,500 left, and that's just a little more than a paycheck for me. I'll be done by the end of the month. I'll be free by the end of the month.

So, what next? Will I be getting an apartment and stopping this crazy adventure? I don't see why, honestly. There's nothing compelling me to do so, and I've gotten this down to . . . well, an art, in a way. I suppose I'll keep moving forward until I have a good reason to stop. What's more, I want to buckle down and focus on this blog. A few people in my life have found out, and I want more people to know what I'm doing - not for the sake of me, really, but so people can see what they really need and don't need in life. I want people in this materialistic world we live in to be able to focus on the more important things. I want people to be able to be able to dream BIG!!!

Time to get HAPPNIN on this blog!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I Don't Care Too Much For Money...

I have a coworker who has noticed that I'm extremely frugal (though I can't say I'm always quiet about the fact that I don't like to spend money on frivolous things). Recently, she noticed that I generally eat a lot of PB&J for lunch, and she started becoming inquisitive. Now, more and more, she asks me how long I plan to live off of PB&J just so I can pay down my debt and save money. I'm actually starting to get a little worried that she's catching on to my living situation because she's been asking more and more questions about where I live and telling me that I can only realistically scrimp so much. While that has me a little worried and I need to start being more careful about keeping my tracks covered, it made me stop to think for a minute, and I believe I need to clarify something.

To some people, it may seem like I'm doing this whole "experiment" because I'm cheap or it's all about money to me. After all, one of my goals is to pay down my debt as fast as I can, save money, and hopefully open my own business some day so I won't have to live the corporate 45-hour "life" (if it can be called that). Am I just greedy? Am I selfish? If it's not all about money, then why am I doing it?

For me, this is really quite simple. As I mentioned in my very first post, we're in a society that has become so desensitized to the idea of debt that the very fabric of governments worldwide is coming unraveled. When my sister told me how excited she was to be a homeowner after closing on her house a few months ago, I reminded her that she wasn't a homeowner: she is a mortgage owner. (Alright, alright - it was rather insensitive to point out, but it was a little dose of reality). Truth be told, my parents have never truly been homeowners. They have always been in debt, and while they have handled it better than many others, it has controlled what they can and cannot do. I only have one life to live, and if I want to make a Steve Jobbs-styled "dent in the universe" and really make a difference, I can't have the shackles of debt robbing me of opportunities to do something that will better this world before I leave it.

So, in all honesty, it's not about money for me. Rather, it's about having opportunities available to make a difference that I otherwise wouldn't have. I don't want to be controlled by money, be it to little or too much. I want to be able to dream big and have my dreams become a reality.

I want to leave you with two videos. The first is one of my favorite John Wayne movies, and it's a family tradition of sorts to watch it every St. Patty's Day. John Wayne plays Sean Thornton, an Irishman who grew up in America from an early age but decides to return home to the Emerald Isle. After buying the home he remembers from early childhood, he marries Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O'Hara - who else?) However, he's not used to the old Irish custom of a dowry, and when Mary Kate's brother refuses to provide the inheritance, money soon becomes the wedge that drives Sean and Mary Kate to have more than the usual fiery Irish marriage. This is the pivotal clip of the film, and it has one of my favorite lines: **Edit - I'm aware that this link is broken. I'll try to get it fixed.**

The second has gone a little viral on the internet, and it's reflected a bit in the title of this post - it's a good watch:


Routines, Time, and a Little OCD

The other weekend, a coworker asked me to house sit. It was quite enjoyable - having a a place to hang clothes, a full bathroom, a kitchen, and . . . well, SPACE was almost like a little vacation. I had the opportunity to do laundry without burning through rolls of quarters, and my meals weren't all prepared in the microwave out of necessity. Don't get me wrong though - I've grown fairly accustomed to sleeping in my car and living out of a storage unit at this point, and I'm strangely fond my lifestyle in a way. It was more or less like getting to stay in a really nice hotel on a business trip instead of in the same bedroom at home that has become so routine.

However, the very first morning, I had a heck of a time to the point that it was rather comical. As I was getting ready for work, I started to head out the door, but I quickly realized that I had forgotten my badge. I rummaged around the house and managed to find it after a few minutes. After getting in my car and putting it in gear, I looked at my seat and realized that I had forgotten to grab anything for lunch. Since I was staying in a house, I brought all of my groceries inside, and there was nothing for me at the work refrigerator. So, I quickly ran inside and grabbed a sandwich. Finally, I hopped in the car and drove out of the neighborhood. When I reached the main intersection I suddenly realized that I didn't have my laptop - GAH!!! I returned home, packed up my work bag, and got in my car again. When I got to the office, I realized that my work phone was on the coffee table back home. Whatever - I don't need to have it with me, so I just went inside.

After all of that, I couldn't help but laugh at myself a little bit. What a creature of habit I have become! I have a routine and a method for EVERYTHING in my life at this point, really, and staying at a house disrupted my patterns completely. I guess part of it is the engineering mindset that I have: - I strive to make some of the most common tasks in my life more efficient, and it develops into a routine for me. In a lot of ways, it's really been one of the keys to making how I live possible. For instance, I have a very specific way that I pack my gym bag, and it keeps things compact and neat while also keeping me from forgetting anything. After locking my work badge in the shower room once, I made a little policy for myself that I have to be holding it in my hand before I walk out. In my car, I always put my cell phone, wallet, badge, alarm, and my glasses in the same place so that I know where they are and I don't end up forgetting them. All of these routines have saved me on numerous occasions.

What does it matter to you, though, humble homeowner? Why should you care about my (slightly obsessive-compulsive) routines? Well, it's fairly simple, really - routines help us get organized and stay focused on bigger tasks instead of worrying about the details. They save time and help us tackle more important tasks. What routines can you set up for yourself? This can be anything from small routines that revolve around daily tasks to routines that plan out your whole day. Do you go through certain steps in the morning to get ready so you make sure that you haven't forgotten anything and don't have to run in circles when you're sleepy and can't think? Do you have a particular schedule of tasks that you run through on the weekend to make sure that you can get your laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning done on time by staggering the tasks together? Can you set aside specific days and times where you hammer out and focus on tedious tasks all at once (such as paying bills or handling paperwork)? These may sound like common-sense or maybe even rather over-detailed, but if you get into routines and habits, it's surprising how much more organized your daily life will become, and as a result, you'll have more time to focus on what really matters in life.

In closing, someone once told me that the saying, "Time is money," is the biggest lie ever. You can always earn more money, but you can't earn any more time than what you have in life. Time is EVERYTHING. What can you change or improve about your day-to-day life that will save you time?


Friday, June 7, 2013

Must... post... more... template... sucks...

Wow - I haven't written in almost a month. Not cool.  I guess I've just been really busy at work. Well, that and a few other things, actually. First . . . well, my awesome plan of staying in the Walmart parking lot wasn't such a hit. I suppose it draws a decent amount of suspicion when the police see the same vehicle in a parking lot every night (even though it's just another car among many). I drove up about a month ago to find an officer sitting with his lights off in the main parking lot, and thank goodness it caught my eye. As I drove past the entrance to the rear lot, the officer turned on his headlights and started to slowly move. Yeah - I haven't been back there since, and I've been bouncing around from location to location like hotels and other parking lots that have outlets in the rear (you'd be surprised how many lamp posts have outlets on them).

I also got fed up with the layout and template of my site, and I initially thought that I should work on that before continuing to write. However, I decided that content was more important, and I'll work on the template and layout later. If anyone reading wants to help me with some HTML5, I wouldn't mind :)

Lastly, it's getting to be summer time, and I knew I had to do something about the heat. At first, I had what I thought to be the really cool idea of encasing a window air conditioner, installing ducting, and putting it in my trunk. Window units are cheaper, and I managed to get one for free. Well, my casing and wiring looked great, but then I did some research online (which I should have done first, I figure), and it turns out that doing this with a window unit simply won't work because of how the intake and exhaust are configured. So, that was several hours wasted, and I'm currently hunting for one of those portable air conditioners so I don't burn up this next month.

That's why I haven't written, I suppose. Not great reasons, and I wasn't busy enough that I shouldn't have written anything. So, I'm going to try to commit to a routine or a schedule, but I'm not sure what, yet.

Well, this has been a fairly useless note, I suppose. I'll get some actual material up here soon.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Where I Lay My Head is Home (Even Though it's a Parking Lot)

Figuring out where to sleep was really quite the challenge. I knew that my storage unit was out. I know someone who manages some units locally, and they had to kick someone out for living in his unit (turns out, it's illegal). At first, I thought I'd find an inconspicuous area in my office to crash at with a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and a pillow. (Criticize me all you want for "squatting," but think about it: they pay good money to keep the place heated and cooled 24/7/365, so whether I'm there or not, nothing changes. It's not like I stored things there or moved my belongings in permanently). I thought I struck gold when I landed on the "Mother's Room" since there isn't anyone in my office who currently uses it - there was a mini-fridge, a sink, and even some cabinet space. Yeah, that worked out really well until corporate security found me, and my manager engaged in several concerned conversations with me to make sure that I had a place to stay and wasn't just crashing because I was at work late. So, nix the idea of the office - FAR too many people to run into who would ask questions that I don't need.

After that mess, I decided that my car was likely the best spot out of the options that I didn't really have. I'll go into more detail about my car in another post (I had to modify a lot of things), but it wasn't easy. First, where should I park? I thought by mistake that I should park out of the way. Yeah, that was a bad assumption. From my point of view, this made sense since no one would notice me, right? Well, that's exactly what police are supposed to look for: things that look inconspicuous but are rather suspicious. No matter how hard I tried, every spot I stayed at would eventually lead to someone holding a flashlight and knocking on my window in the middle of the night.

Since fall was on the horizon, I really needed access to an outlet in order to keep my car heated. My next thought was to map out all of the hotels and the like that had easily-accessible outdoor outlets. This proved to be fairly simple, and the trick is to look around air conditioning units. After driving around one evening after work, I had a good half-dozen places that I could stay at. I figured that it would be best to rotate amongst the different locations in order to not draw suspicion.

This plan worked fairly well, and I never drew any unnecessary attention or got asked questions. However, I finally landed on a better solution: truck stops. No one asks any questions. Ever. Even though I'm the green thumb amongst a bunch of semis, no one bats an eye. The place I landed on isn't even a truck stop, actually. It turns out that a lot of Walmart, Lowe's, and other retail stores have power outlets in the rear of their parking lot for truckers to use. Since this is far less sketchy and has the added benefit of being right next to a store, it was a win.

So, there you have it - I sleep in my car in the parking lot of a Walmart. Problem solved!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

But I NEED it, Mommy!

I thought I'd take a brief segue from describing my life and how I do things to focus for a moment on one of my motives for being homeless and how it applies to someone . . . normal, I suppose. Since I want this blog to be applicable beyond just entertainment or simply describing what I do, I figure sharing some of what I learned might be handy.

Needs versus wants. This is something that our mothers beat into our heads in the toy aisle and as we begged for candy at the checkout line. It's something every college student learns to appreciate when going to the grocery store. However, it's something that all of us ignore (sometimes regularly) when armed with a credit card and flexible financing options. What causes hundreds of millions of mature adults decide to be so irresponsible, often to the point of financial despair? Is it merely greed? A pursuit of happiness through materials, perhaps? Maybe it's the fact that our Western culture has made us so accepting of debt. I would venture to say that it goes beyond these factors, but I'm not really sure what the cause is.

Since becoming homeless, I've been forced to reconsider my needs and wants for several different reasons. Obviously, I have more money to spend (which I'm trying to use to pay off debt), but I also have FAR less space than before. With all of my possessions in a 5x10' storage unit, I can't exactly pull out a pot when I need it or grab a book off of the shelf. I've had to rearrange a few times as I adjusted to my lifestyle and realized what was important and what I needed.

Coupled with having less space, I also want to keep from drawing attention to myself. Sure, I could strap a car-top carrier or a hitch cargo box on my car, but people would likely notice me pulling clothes and toiletries out of my car. How small can I live while still maintaining a comfortable lifestyle that doesn't raise eyebrows?

Though I've been forced to reconsider my needs and wants due to my lifestyle, this likely isn't the case for anyone who might be reading my blog. The average American doesn't have to think about whether or not to get a new set of towels versus two cheap ones because a set takes up too much space - I do. So, what do I want you to do, humble reader?

It's fairly simple, really. We need to re-attach our brains to our credit cards. Before being anything, ask yourself: do I really NEED this, or does buying it give me a guaranteed return benefit that makes it worth paying for it? It's a very simple question, but our impulses seem to help keep us from asking it. It applies to anything, really. I have three pairs of shoes - do I need another pair? No, not if the others are in good repair. Should I get the salon-quality shampoo or the off-brand? They both clean just as well, don't they?

However, I'd argue that there are times where spending more is justified. The low-fat yogurt is a little pricier than the regular variety. Your health is too important skimp on, though in no way does that justify spending $75 dollars for a bulb of organic garlic at a health foods store. Is it worth using high-quality synthetic oil in your car instead of getting a oil change for $19.95? You tell me - your car is one of the most expensive things you own. How long do you want it to last? I'd treat it well.

All in all, I think that living smaller is smarter, but I think it takes a conscious effort to remember what's important and necessary. While every person has to make this judgement for themselves, are you remembering to make that judgement at all?


Saturday, April 13, 2013

My Life in 5x10'

I have so much that I could write about from the past several months that I don't even know where to begin, really. I suppose I just need to start from the beginning - seems fairly logical, after all. I'll start by talking about what I did with all of my "stuff."

I started by getting a storage unit and moving my belongings out of my apartment in the last month of my lease. Each morning, I'd load up another few boxes and drive them to the unit before work. I got rid of most of my furniture since it took up the most space and was almost all Craigslist or garage sale purchases, so hardly any of it was something I was attached to.

However, I still had a LOT of stuff. At first, things were a wreck - the unit was packed, and I couldn't get to anything. Half of my clothes were none-so-inconspicuously hanging up in my car, I couldn't get to dishes, and I knew I had another tube of toothpaste in there somewhere. I had to prioritize what I needed to have access to and keep things as tidy as possible. Otherwise, I'd waste time trying to find what I needed, purchase duplicates, and perhaps even break something rooting around.

The first thing I did was put in a closet rod. By using the beams on the sides of the unit, I was able to bend brackets into place and use steel strapping attached from the wall to the rod to keep the rod from sagging. This allowed me to store all of my clothes in a way that kept things organized, clean, and accessible. Even better, by hanging up my laundry instead of using my dresser, I didn't have to iron as much, and I freed up my dresser drawers for storage.

As much as I love to cook and bake, I knew I wouldn't have access to a full kitchen anytime soon, so almost all of my kitchen supplies went in boxes in the rear. Any furniture went back there as well. I decided that the space freed up in my dresser and desk would be used for two things: storing seasonal clothing and items that I would need regularly such as important documents, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and the like. This way, they'd be out of the way yet easily accessible.

You can tell from the picture that I kept a few things right out in the open. Two that I'd like to point out are my tool chest and my shop vac (behind the dresser). Since I live in my car, it is a huge priority. I have to keep it clean and maintained just like a homeowner keeps their house vacuumed and plumbing repaired. It is my house, you know . . .

In the end, this picture represents all of my worldly possessions crammed into a 5x10' storage unit:


(I know. I'm pretty awesome).


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fully Employed and Fully Homeless

On July 30, 2012, I became homeless. It wasn't something I was forced into, though. I have a full-time job, a Master's degree, a car, a supportive family, and plenty of friends in the area, so it wasn't by misfortune that I made this decision. I became homeless by choice.

I'll pause for a moment while you ponder all of the questions you have for why I would decide such a thing. Are you done? Okay. To be honest, my reasons were half experiment and half financial. I wanted to see if it was something I could do. I'm an Eagle Scout, so I ought to be able to live without a house, right? I wondered how hard it could be and what challenges I would face. If nothing else, it would make a heck of a story . . .

I also realized that in the grand scheme of things, I don't really own anything at this point in my life. The bank owns my car. Sallie Mae technically owns my degree. My clothes are pretty much worthless in the grand scheme of things. In all honesty, the only thing that I own that has a good resale value is my KitchenAid mixer. Wow. That's . . . pathetic. I have years of college education, and the only things I can claim in life are my mixer and my mountain of debt. How can I justify paying hundreds of dollars for rent when I don't even own my car? What part of that is living within my means?

We live in a society that has accepted and embraced personal debt to the point that our world economy is in doubt. In the wealthiest country in the world, the average adult has 12.7 credit accounts, our government can't even pass a budget, and I just want to be debt-free. I want my parents to be able to retire after spending their retirement putting my sister and me through school. I have ideas for great business ventures and inventions, and I want them to come to fruition. I want to make a difference to better this world beyond myself. I want the American Dream and I'm willing to fight for it - I just hope it's still attainable.

So, that's it. I'm homeless. It wasn't something I just jumped into, though. I planned and prepared a lot. I am still solving daily problems and making the lifestyle easier. It is for that reason that I write this blog. I wanted to share my experience and provide tips to others who, while they may not be so insane as to live in their car, just want to live a little smaller and dream a little bigger.

I want to end by saying that in no way am I intending to take away from those who truly are homeless and who must live on the streets, but not by choice. There is still a need for compassion and aid to such people, and I don't want to belittle that in any way. Perhaps my experiences will somehow help them, as well.

I dedicate this blog to George Alvin Waldorf, my great-grandfather, who provides the pseudonym for this blog. He was the cheapest penny-pincher who ever lived, but he lived a long, rich, and incredible life. It wasn't until after his death that we realized that he had managed to squirrel away a million dollars as a high-school physics teacher, a portion of which he left to my family for our education.

Thank you for teaching me the true meaning of wealth, Grandpa. In memory of George Alvin Waldorf, October 10, 1900 - August 17, 1995.