Saturday

So I didn’t realize the steering fluid was dry—I was too worried about my transmission to pay attention.  Filled it up but steering still not working.  This morning I realized the belt was off.  The way it is with this van, one belt controls a bunch of stuff.  Hopefully my handy mechanic friend can put it back on.  That should fix it…I think.

I need to keep the van running…or something because I may have a high paying job coming up but I will need to run back and forth a lot for it….I don’t think I can do it by bike….just a little too far away to ride there and back and be on time for my appointments.

None of this drama with the van is necessary though.  I’ve probably said this before but I am very bad about saving money.  I should have head enough money by now…after three years of not paying rent, to have bought a better van.

It’s embarrassing to admit, even anonymously, to learn how immature I really am.  And THIS after raising two children!  I know I’m in good company though-we live in a land of plenty and most of us really never had to learn to be super frugal.

Even when I was raising my kids, if I screwed up on my finances, something would happen that would save me OR sometimes I would just pay a late fee and everything would be hunky dory.  Obviously though, this is not a good way to live.  All it takes is a prolonged bout of unemployment to decimate you.

There’s more.  I have a confession to make.  I have been virtually supporting a man for the last year.  It costs me a lot.  It just adds up.  Food, tobacco (I KNOW, I’m an idiot!) etc.  So I have finally made the decision to not do this anymore.  It is SO hard for me.  I am afraid he won’t care about me anymore.  OBVIOUSLY, if he doesn’t, then it isn’t a desirable situation but…women have married and stayed with men for money/material things for a long time so it’s not unheard of.  And it’s not like I’m completely unattractive to men and have to do this.

I can even remember as a young woman of hearing of (not unattractive) younger (in their 20s) ladies financially supporting their men.  What does it mean?  Does it really mean a woman has low self-esteem if she does this?  Or does it just mean, she likes this particular man and want to keep him around?

For me, I think most of this problem stems from my not being comfortable having money.  It’s like it is trash and I have to get rid of it as fast as possible.  Intellectually, I know it’s not trash.  These days, it represents a lot of hard work, facing fears etc.  It’s not easy running your own business and depending only on yourself for it.  Still, I always spend or give away my money almost as fast as I make it.  I feel selfish having a lot of money that I’m not currently using.  Weird huh?

So my friend C says that she is willing to hold money for me like a bank if I want.  She did it before with me for a small amount and it worked out fine.  My mom would do it for me too, if I asked but I don’t like sending money through the mail and C is right here in town.  So I guess I will try this with C.

This is all so embarrassing…BUT I am forcing myself to be open (anonymously haha) about this so perhaps I can get better.  This would be a huge growth spurt for me.

Thanks for reading.  I hope to get advice on this too, if you have any.

Do you guys save money?  How much money in the bank would make you comfortable?

 

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More Van Problems

It’s pouring down rain and I work outside a lot AND my power steering went out.

Ugh.  I sent C a text and I’m hoping when she gets it (she’s a night person and sleeps late in the am) she will take me to get some more steering fluid…and I hope that’s all that is needed.

I wouldn’t have driven today but like I said it’s pouring so can’t ride my bike…well I guess I COULD but would be miserable, not to mention dangerous.

Just another day in paradise!  Fortunately, most days are pretty good.  I will get through this!

PS.  I’m staying dry at the local library and today is a light work day, thank goodness.

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Invention

Well I have learned that the transmission leak in my van is serious.  Fixing it would require taking out the transmission, a costly job.

My plan is to fill it with trans fluid, then only drive it two or three times a week when i need to do laundry or raining or something, then bike the rest of the time.  A half quart of transmission fluid is enough to get me through the day.

Oh yeah…and save up the money I won’t be spending on gas for a new car.

I was kind of proud of myself this morning.  I made a funnel for the trans fluid out of an envelope.  A thick one like you get a greeting card in.  Paper funnels cost money (and I don’t like a greasy, noxious smelling plastic funnel in the van with me day and night so this is a good development. So if you want to try this, (w0rks for adding oil too) you just cut a very little bit off the corner of the envelope and open it up.  If you want you can also  cut a a little off the edges of the envelope for ease of use.  Then, if the place the trans fluid goes in is small (my fluid goes in where the dipstick goes in) put the envelope into the hole, then poke your finger in there so the funnel sort of molds to the right size.  I’m sure every vehicle is a bit different so experiment and find out what works best for you.

I am trying to give up coffee again.  This time, I’m starting by taking a caffeine pill so I can get myself out of the coffee habit.  It’s hard.  I love the warmth.  Today I had some herbal tea.  It’s not the same.  Anyway…I will cut down on the caffeine tablets a little at a time.  The reasons I don’t want to drink coffee are 1.  I don’t like being addicted to anything, and I’m addicted to caffeine.  2.  I have to put a lot of sugar and milk (or substitute) into my coffee to make it taste like I want (and yuck no, I can’t drink it plain!) and it adds up to a lot of calories…more than I want for a non-nutritious drink.

 

 

 

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Nice Morning

It’s around 62 degrees here in SoCal and I had such a nice morning hanging out at the park for a little while in Vinny the Van.  The sun was already out at 8 am which doesn’t always happen.

There’s a bathroom at the park but because the weather is so reasonable here, it’s “open air” meaning the top part of the building isn’t isn’t “finished” so air and BIRDS can get in.  So when I went pee this morning, I actually got to watch a little bird popping in and out of the open “window”.  I know, I’m weird.

Now I’m at the library listening to Beethoven on the computer.  What a nice morning.

I also saw where another homeless encampment was shut down, this time in Silicon Valley.

You’d think with all the money rolling around out there and all the wasteful things people do with it, that they could house people or help them keep the encampment habitable.  NOT that it’s their responsibility to do so BUT who wants to encounter them in the streets all the time.  Surely there’s a better way.

It’s certainly not my job to help homeless people.  I can barely help my self but I guess if I could, I would make a camp for homeless people.  There would have to be rules such as regular cleanup etc. but I would like to try something like that.  I’m sure there are lots of challenges to doing something like that.  Still, this encampment had 4 million poured into it and STILL had to be broken up.  Where did that money go?  Something ain’t right.

A big problem is a lot of homeless people seem to have a “thing” about collecting useless stuff, often in shopping carts.  I think it’s a form of materialism.  I think some people feel some sort of comfort from having stuff around them.  The show called “hoarders” on cable TV showed people like this except these people could collect even more stuff because they had a house or apartment they could fill.  It’s a really awful disease.  One the show I watched, one woman was asked to consider a filthy, flea-bitten remnant of a nightgown to throw away.  It was SO disgusting but she was LOATHE to part with it because it had belonged to her mother.  It’s like she felt that by throwing away that nightgown she was somehow throwing away her mother or something.  What is a cure for this disease?

I think writing could be very therapeutic for people.  I know writing this blog has been very helpful for me, especially when I’m going through a difficult time.  It helps me gather my thoughts and also…since I have a terrible memory, it helps me to document my life in a place I can’t lose it.  I have a hard time keeping ahold of paperwork in the van.  It gets wet or ripped or lost.  Online works well.  I also like the idea that a handful of people are interested in what’s going on it my life and I really treasure the advice I’ve been given too.

Sometimes I wonder if I could convince someone to give free classes on blogging to homeless people.  Mooch is still giving away free blogs to homeless people.  I could help them learn how to use the wordpress program.  I just have to convince somebody to let me use a bunch of computers with internet.  WHO would do something like that?  Ideas welcome.

 

 

 

 

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Raining

Been raining here today.  I always take advantage of the rain (or dew in the morning) by giving my van a poor man’s car wash after it rains…I wipe the wet van down with a towel.  I hardly ever pay for a car wash but I try to do this or at least keep the windows clean.

Got stopped by the cops again this week…registration is just a teensy bit late.  Tags should be in the mail but it’s been a while since I’ve been to the mail box.  Things like expired tags give cops the excuse they need to stop me.  Sigh.  They didn’t ticket me though, at least.

I haven’t been very motivated lately but I have people depending on me which helps keep me in line.  I don’t like to let people down.  I haven’t been on the internet as much because of having to ride my bike everywhere.  The internet has a lot to inspire me on it so hopefully today, I will fill up on good stuff.

Thanksgiving was uneventful.  I housesat but didn’t cook a turkey.  My friend C is an amateur organic/gourmet chef and I’m going to eat some of her leftovers today.  Yum!

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Learning, Growing

I’ve been riding my bike a lot this week because Vinny the Van has been disabled.  A friend of mine is going to look at it and maybe fix it tomorrow.  Yay.

I have enjoyed most of the riding.  The only hard part is that my clients live relatively far away from each other so I end up running very late all day.  Stil, the weather here has been perfect.  Sunny and between 65-85 degrees during the day.  I am used to the traffic now.  It doesn’t scare the bejesus out of me like it used to.  I just pay attention.  People still drive like fools, but what are you going to do?

AND yesterday I knocked the chain off my bike and this morning I managed to get it back on, even though there’s a guard there.  I partially unfasten the guard to do it with a screwdriver.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, just messy.  I felt good about accomplishing this small task.  Next, I need to put on new brake pads…or something.

I have kept my little business together somehow in the last couple of weeks.  It hasn’t been easy but it’s so important to me.  I’m glad for my relative good health that allows me to do what I do.

Oh and the bus system.  CRAP.  Takes forever and have to deal with unhelpful busdrivers-with a couple of notable exceptions.  Really, bike riding is much faster though and that’s the important thing right now.

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Biker’s High

I joined the track team in high school.  I found running extremely boring though, probably because the effort of running didn’t allow me the ability to think and ponder like I’m apt to do.  AND for some reason I rarely if ever experienced the runner’s high everyone talks about.

BUT, I am discovering I DO experience a high when I ride my bike.  I think it comes about, not so much because of the exercise of pedaling but because biking in an urban environment is pretty darn dangerous and I get a mild rush from surviving it. It makes me feel alive.

The weather is still nice here and I am really enjoying being outside more.  I feel cooped up when I have to be inside too long.

I also love riding at night. I know, I know, the boogie man is going to get me, but I am actually safer at night when there are hardly any cars on the road. I stay in the good part if town where all the houses are rather than the businesses and bars and such. I actually don’t go out of my way to do this but it gets dark early around here and im not going to get it my van every night and stay there for 12 hours. Ugh.

Also, I went to the goodwill yesterday and bought a couple of shirts. I had forgotten though that I had left a shirt that I already owned balled up in my purse from when I had changed tops earlier in the day. I opened my purse to pay for my new shirts and there was the old shirt in there for the whole world to see.  I realized immediately that it didn’t look good,  looked like I had stolen a shirt and I had to think fast.  I said, “wow, that doesn’t look good!” and joked around with the clerk about it (a nice lady who I’ve exchanged pleasantries with before). I’m sure there are a lot of thefts from that store. The clerk just laughed with me….a little nervously, I’m sure she could get in trouble if she let a thief get away, and disaster was averted.  I shudder to think what might have happened if the clerk had been a person who spoke very little English. If they had noticed the shirt in my purse, I couldn’t have joked my way out of it and who knows, maybe I would have had to deal with police. Arg.  Sometimes life just gives you a break.

Today I’m going to get some computer time in plus I have a couple of small jobs. Busy, Busy. Still poor though!

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E-Bike

I am thinking about buying a used e-bike.  Electric bikes have pretty small batteries now, some of which can be charged in a regular electrical outlet in a half hour!

The main advantage to an e-bike would be an ability to go a little faster…consistently but I would still have the same problems with safety (many people around here don’t watch for bicyclers around here) and if we get a rainy season (it’s raining now, miraculously) it’s going to be cold, miserable and less safe.  Still, perhaps it could work until I get a better car.

Thoughts anyone?

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Blah…

I’m feeling down again.  I am not mobile right now.  Bike riding and busing it everywhere.  I don’t mind it much except it makes me late for my appointments.

I’m saving a little money.  I have to hide it from myself because it burns a hole in my pocket.  My mom used to do the same thing.  Little envelopes usually, in secret compartments of her purse.  It’s ok unless you actually need the money and can’t find it.  Still, I’m not paying for gas right now for Vinny so that’s $240 right there that must be saved-NO EXCUSES.

Free-sleeping in my van used to feel edgy and fun, now it feels, not so great.  I need to remind myself though that it’s not the sleeping quarters that are the problem.  It is the lack of discipline to save money that is causing my heartache.  If I had a running vehicle, I would feel one hundred million times better.

Just need to SAVE that’s all.  And the more disciplined I am, the faster this will go right?

 

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Chicken

I found myself playing chicken with a guy in a van today. I was riding my bicycle.  I didn’t plan to do it.  It happened fast. People don’t watch for bikers or pedestrians around here.  A number of them have been killed after being hit by cars.

I was in a crosswalk going straight LEGALLY when this truck comes very fast out of no where wanting to make a right turn….and looking at me signalling that he  wanted me to slow down so he could turn.  I guess I had had enough of rude drivers and I wouldn’t let him go flying through that turn unless he wanted to hit me. He tried turning in twice but I wasn’t budging.

I know, that is dangerous behavior but it was also kind of alright with me. Sometimes you have to take a stand.

Anyway, other than almost getting hit by a car a dozen or so times this week, I’ve actually enjoyed riding my bike almost everywhere. Sometime I also put my bike on the front of the city bus and take that.  It’s faster sometimes. The weather has been hot this week.  I don’t know if I will find it fun if it gets cold and/or rainy.

I’m still trying to build my business, one little thing at a time. I haven’t had as much library time lately (for internet usage) so when I get in there I trynot to waste time, just work.  Hopefully I will have a payoff someday.

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