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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

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Junk Yard Bound

I wrote the following in mid-July:

I'm sitting in a garage while Jeremy and scooter work on Betty. This is her second day in the operating room. She came in to have the screwdriver removed from her carburetor She's currently having her starter replaced. After that she needs some cosmetic surgery - her facelift - because when her brakes fell out and she crashed herself into the garage she bent her hood. Yeah, our truck might be self destructive. She might be a suicidal Christine. Her hood got hooked into the garage door, bent back and smashed the windshield. She's a fucking mess, our Betty, but we're not ready to give up on her yet.

We've had her maybe a month now. Been fucking nowhere because the engine sounded like a motorboat and Jeremy thought he could make her purr by rebuilding the carburetor Except Jeremy isn't a mechanic and some spring shot across the dark back porch at 11pm so he couldn't get the choke to open or close properly. The truck doesn't start if the choke won't open, so Jeremy stuck a screwdriver into the carburetor which meant the choke was always open, which meant she was blowing through gas. Two miles to the gallon or something Asinine like that.

Jeremy knows scooter from "the joint" scooter was born with a wrench in his hand. His mom was the first female NASCAR driver in Maryland and she was pregnant with scooter when she placed second for the first time. She had to give up racing when she found out she was pregnant, but it seems like the whole family has been building cars since there have been engines.

They just tried to start her. "Not engaging" but I'm not surprised. Scooter picked us up at 7:30 this morning. We all know this is an all day project. I'll be surprised if we get out of here before the sun goes down. The old starter was smashed into place so hard that the pressure bent and eventually broke off both the fasteners - they look like they're at least a quarter inch thick. I can get $30 back when I turn in the old one but right now there's a lot of measuring. It's not looking good. "This is a short snap. You need a long snap."

Guess they're going to advanced auto. They've got to go to the junkyard too, to get the windshield. It's 10am.

We're listening to the country music station in the garage. Maybe I'm mellowing in my old age but it's not bad. ***


Thursday Crazy Ray's is coming with their tow truck to take away Betty.

FUCK YOU, truck!

After the guys got her running again, the windshield was still cracked in several places – that was the replacement windshield, by the way. We got her home, got Spot to the vet (thank God for small favors) and a couple days later Jeremy decided to take her over to the school right behind my house to align her headlights. Because the fates like fucking with me, she started and we got her to the school, but that was all she wrote. She died next to the dumpster and we had to abandon her there overnight because we couldn't find anyone with a chain to use to tow her. The closest towing service wanted at least $100 to tow her about 500 feet.

A couple friends helped Jeremy push Betty home the next night. But, in the meantime, we discovered that the MVA had sent my title to the address of the old owner. Can't sell the truck without a title, which is pretty much what happens when Crazy Ray's takes it off your hands. I emailed the MVA but they wanted all kinds of information, then when I provided that I still managed to go to the MVA office before they responded -three days later. Jeremy and I sat there half the day, but walked away with the correct title. The woman who helped us printed one out right there, which makes me wonder why they don't do that all the time. Three days later, another title (exactly the same as the corrected one) arrived in the mail.

Crazy Ray's should be giving us $350 for the truck. I got some money back from the insurance company and $25 back from MVA for returning my tags (had them for two months, so mathematically that was disappointing). So I'm trying to convince myself that I will get back at least a third of the money that I sunk into this truck. Still, it's going to take a while for me to come up with enough money to try again with another vehicle. There's a minibus/van with a wheelchair lift for sale less than a mile away. Jeremy and I keep daydreaming about starting a party bus for disabled football fans who need a ride to the stadium and back. My mom mentioned that she was thinking about helping us get our next vehicle, when she gets her inheritance from her father's death, but she also mentioned wanting to remodel the bathroom and remove the 50 foot tree in our front yard. I don't think she's going to get that much money.

I feel like I keep banging my head against the same wall. Summer is ending and I am no closer to moving out of my parents' house than I was six months ago. I'm considering starting a gofundme campaign for my next vehicle, but have a hard time believing that strangers and friends would be willing to help me when I can't even convince my family to assist.

At least for the next couple of months I don't have to worry about gas money or insurance.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

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"A person with a disability is much, much more than a handicap. A pediatrician is more than a medical doctor. You're MUCH more than your job description or your age or your income or your output." — Fred Rogers (The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember)

Today Jeremy and I were making the two mile trek to the post office...

(you know, cuz the truck shit the bed last night... We took her over to the school so we would have a wall to use to realign her headlights and she wouldn't start once we got her over there. She's still there, as I type this, and it's making me nervous. A cousin of a friend is supposed to help us get her the 500 feet from the school to Mira Court this evening, but until then anything could happen. There's a cute note on her dashboard – an effort to keep someone from calling to report her as abandoned, or having her towed. Jeremy called a towing company last night but they wanted a minimum of $100. Thing is, I can look out the back window of my house and see the spot where she's parked. She's THAT close. Jeremy says that it's either the starter – which we just replaced last week – or the flywheel. If it's the flywheel it's gonna cost too much to get her fixed because the whole engine has to be removed. To make matters worse, the MVA seems to have sent the title to the truck to the old owners – with my name on it. Without a vehicle, I can't go to the MVA office and they have all of one phone line, which is constantly busy. I emailed them, but the automated reply I received said it can take up to three days for a real answer.)

Anyway, as I was saying...

I sell a lot of stuff online so I have to go to the post office at least once a week. I usually go (or get Jeremy to go) on Wednesday, but that didn't happen yesterday so it HAD to happen today. With my entire family on vacation, it's not like I could get my mom to drive us to the post office. And although my grandmother's car is parked on the driveway, I know that my mother's eagle eyes will notice if it's been moved and she doesn't have it in her to not immediately rat me out. So we walked to the post office.

On the way there we were stopped by a man named Patrick. He runs the Bay Country community counsel (or something like that). I have had previous interactions with him when my sister (the president of the school PTA – yes, the same school where Betty is currently “parked”) tried to get him to help her raise funds for the school by holding a community yard sale. He was not helpful in that regard. Apparently he has been trying to get cut curbs installed in some of the sidewalks in my neighborhood, but couldn't get enough signatures from neighborhood residents. They don't want people digging in front of their houses. I guess having a disabled person killed in front of their house is okay, though. Patrick said that he had been talking to another wheelchair user, but that guy didn't want to get involved. I can't imagine not wanting to make an improvement in your community. The state won't do it unless they are shown that at least one person will use the curbs. How much work is involved? I had the crosswalk cut curb at the school installed with a email and two phone calls.

I am the one person who has the power to make this happen. Though I can't understand why anyone would think it's okay for someone in a wheelchair to have to travel in the road, with the cars, because there's no way on or off the sidewalk.

And, while I'm at it, I wouldn't mind trying to get a sidewalk installed along Eastern Avenue before someone walking to the bus stop gets hit. Because while the percentage of people who would benefit from a cut curb is small, a much larger population would benefit from a sidewalk on a two-lane road with no shoulder.

I wonder if this is the reason why I find myself with a piece of shit truck, living in this neighborhood, and walking these streets. Is all this happening because I'm the only one who can make a difference in this situation? Or am I just looking for meaning in a really bad situation?
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Surviving the Changes of Empire Avenue by @JayeAbdulQader

Originally, this blog was posted on the personal blog for Art4TH Founder, Johnna Sabri.  You can see that here. 

EA, as we all call it, is awesome, but now they are making things a bit more complicated: from dissing longtime members such as Michael Q. Todd, who I know has spent at least $40K on EA, and Reggie Saddler, a well loved player who shares awesome photography, to making it harder for your missions to be completed.

So many of us depend on EA to promote our work and ourselves. I do many missions for me, for Art4TheHomeless and AngelTD. When people see us being shared and supported across the web, it makes a huge difference.

So what do we do about these changes? Well, life is ever changing.  You eitheradapt or stagnate and here's how I'm adapting to the new missions guidelines. You can't ask for people to share, like, or comment anymore.

Surviving the EA Mission Changes:

1. Always assume that the person wants you to like, share and/or comment and do those.  Sally K. Witt and Mary Helen Ferris are always doing this for my missions.

2. Always like and rate the missions. It's just nice.

3. Always comment on the missions--again it's just polite and nice.

4. Give back to your shareholders. It keeps them there.

5. If you want people to share your content, phrase it in such a way that hints at them to do so. Such as: "If you like the post, please show it some love in your networks."

6. Grab a thesaurus and research  different ways to ask for engagement. We gotta keep these pesky admin on their toes.

7.  Monitor your mission grades. If you have an A mission that is later a D mission, try to figure out why.

8. Participate in Misson Events.. It shows you are a team player and besides, people like Erin Boykin have great ides for fun missions.

Besides surviving the mission changes, we also need to survive the overall changes. Some of the changes are pretty good. I like the Leaders Idea and how EA is trying to get members in on helping manage, but one of the major flaws is that several members are being dissed, having their accounts closed with no warning and much more.

How to survive and adapt to the other changes:

1. Find your influencer of your niche and connect with them. Even if they don't respond back. EA makes it super easy to do that--just look for the people with all the likes, high share prices, etc. Chances are they are an influencer.

2. Find people with similar interest as you even if they are competition. Showing you are willing to work with a competitor puts you high on their list of liked profiles.

3. Always reach out to people. Don't be afraid of rejection. What's the worse that could happen? Don't be afraid to tell Louie Bauer that those food pics make you feel hungry! I'm sure he'll appreciate your reply. Speaking of food...I'm hungry!

4. Be patient. Yeah, hard to do. I know. TRUST ME. I know.

5. Have faith. EA is a great tool for internet marketers and also for people like me: bloggers, artists, CEO's of nonprofits, and people like Robert Christian, an awesome media host who supports Art4TheHomeless. 

6. Join communities such as EAVElders and Gangstas. Why? Because they are for us to use. We meet and connect with people like us and the bigger players.

7. Remember, the admin are human, too. In the end, we are all humans with emotions, needs, and emergencies. Life happens.

Basically, we need to treat our fellow EAVers as we would like to be treated. Most of the time that works. You do have a few who don't, but it's okay. That's life.

Do you have any suggestions on how to survive the EA changes? If so feel free to share.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

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My grandfather passed last night. He turned 90-years-old last week. He spent his birthday in the hospital. I don't know all the details. If my sister hadn't come here to pick up her mail, I wouldn't have known the viewing times or the funeral details. That's how it is here – that's how I got to be such a great mindreader.

My last remaining grandparents lives with us. The pity in this is that she and I used to be really close, but she got mean in her old age and I'm so tired of being hurt – not just by her, but by so many people who don't seem to understand cause and effect, or how far reaching their actions can be.

Don't get me wrong, I've got a mouth on me and a trigger temper, but I recently watched as a grown woman told a 14-year-old young man that she refused to refer to his mother's wife as “wife” because that kind of relationship is wrong, and managed not to give her the vicious tongue-lashing I thought she deserved. Thing is, this woman then called two days later and tried to convince Jeremy to leave me because we will never be able to get married, and therefore are living in sin.

I will never understand how people can use the Lord and their religion to be so hateful and destructive, and have absolutely no idea that their behavior is unacceptable.

That's why my phone has a “block caller” button. I was hoping to find love and acceptance from this woman. I put on my best behavior. I didn't cuss (which is kinda a fucking miracle in itself!) and I tried not to bring up controversial topics. And she said I was a blessing, and “such a treasure” and then told Jeremy that he should move back in with his grandparents... leaving me to...

That's the thing... if Jeremy leaves me I can't stay here. I cannot get around in this house. I gave up my apartment for him, and finding another one where I can survive on my own is going to take some time. We are almost ready to start apartment hunting again, but even then I'm taking Jeremy with me. We are a couple, and even though we can never make it legal, our relationship is like that of a married couple. It ENRAGES me that someone so supposedly Christian would have the balls to try to break up something so incredible.

Jeremy and I are fucking solid. We belong together. In a world of couples where women snoop their mate's cell phone, and hack emails, or men who refer to their woman as “psycho” behind her back, Jeremy and I should be gazed upon in wonder. We have a relationship that others should aspire to create with their own significant other.

Maybe this divorced woman who prays to her Lord pretty much daily for help being patient and understanding with her own (second) husband should be looking toward the cripple and the unemployed man for hope. Because I prayed for someone who would love me, and along came Jeremy. And I'm supposed to be like, “Oh Thanks God but I changed my mind. Not him. Someone else” ? Because I truly cannot imagine anyone better suited for me than Jeremy and I wish that everyone else would just stop poking at him and his soft spots.

Because I'm used to not measuring up, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna let anyone make him feel like he's not the best guy ever.

And it's up to Jeremy if he wants to continue to have any sort of interaction with his mother, but I'm done with her. I'm tired of plastering a smile on my face as she goes on another one of her wispy lectures about how we have to make room in our hearts for the Lord when I feel certain that He's been there for almost 40 years. Because that's TWO of my relationships she's judged and found lacking, when both are stronger than her own.

I found my forever-mate, when she acts as if she's making due with her's. I have a great relationship with her son, when she's on the brink of losing him (again). And, when we die, and we're standing at the Pearly Gates I truly believe that Jeremy and I have lived a much better life than someone who claims that Jesus died for her, and therefore she doesn't have to do anything else to deserve to go through those gates. Sorry, but MY Bible (you know, the same one...) says that Jesus is The Way, and to follow him. As in, do what he did. Jesus didn't sit back and judge and watch while others struggled. Jesus didn't raise his hand in church at the end of service and brag how he had been saved, then keep all his money/possessions while others were homeless, or hungry or in need. When it comes to me and Jeremy, we are saving each other (and others, in smaller ways). We own next to nothing, but we give our love, support, etc to many others. So I'm not so sure that her relationship with the Lord is as solid as she seems to think.

Anyway I look at it, Jeremy is a gift. Either the stars aligned, the Lord sent him to me, or it's just some big spectacular lovely coincidence but I'll be damned if I'm gonna let him go.

And I'm 100% certain he feels the same about me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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What Doesn't Kill You...

My grandfather is not doing well.

My maternal grandmother died the same month that my sister got married – eight (approx) years ago. I can only remember this because my nephew is seven. I am terrible at remembering anniversaries and dates. (I have no idea when I first met Jeremy, or when he officially moved in, or when we became a couple.)

Maybe you need this background information: my mother's parents moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland around the same month that my mother married my father. I only know this because my mother brings it up all the time, suggesting that they abandoned her. My grandmother didn't work and my grandfather had either lost his job or retired, so it's not like they had a financial reason to stay in Baltimore. They took my mom's younger sister (by eight years, who was still a minor) with them. Eventually my mom's older sister also moved to the Eastern Shore. My mom's family pushed very hard to get us to move to the area, but for a million reasons we did not.

It is over 100 miles to the Eastern Shore from where we live. This can take over three hours (one way), and cost about $15 in tolls, not to mention at least a half tank of gas. Therefore, my mother makes this trip only about once a year. Usually her older sister will bring their father up to Baltimore about once a year (Christmastime).

When my mother's mother fell ill and went into the hospital, into a nursing home, back to the hospital, and then back to the nursing home to die my mother and I lived on the Eastern Shore for a week (in my grandfather's house). The only reason we left was because my mom had prep-work to do for my sister's wedding. In this week, my mom's youngest sister threw my mom out of her house for not being around more as my grandmother got sicker. My mom and I (and others) were in the room when my grandmother passed. My mom's youngest sister claimed it was “beautiful” but all my mom and I saw was my grandmother gasping for air, how she would stop breathing and my grandfather would start crying only for my grandmother to start breathing again, and my grandmother's limbs slowly turning blue. I saw my mom run down the hall and heard her vomiting when my grandmother did finally pass.

But for most of my life (before, and even now) I have heard my mom tell stories about how she was physically, emotionally, and verbally abused by her mother and so I find the whole thing confusing.

Yet here we are again. My grandfather turns 90 the first week of July. His Eastern Shore daughters were planning to throw him a birthday party, but then they called it off because he was having a difficult time breathing. He has COPD, but it was supposedly taking him an hour in the morning to walk down the hall. He lives alone, and wanted to be put on oxygen except that every time he would make an appointment to see a doctor, it would be in the afternoon and his breathing would have regulated by then. This past Sunday my mom, Jeremy and I went to the Eastern Shore to visit my grandfather in the hospital.

I haven't seen him since December. He is frail and thin. He was in the same hospital my grandmother was in, and this past Tuesday was supposed to be transferred to the same nursing home where my grandmother died. Apparently he is only going there for rehab, because he is currently too weak to function on his own. The party is off because no one is sure when he will be released from the nursing home. I will be surprised if he makes it to the end of the year – especially if he goes back to living by himself.

We visited him for all of maybe two hours before he hinted that he wanted to take a nap and that my mother should leave. In that span of time, both my mom's sisters came for a visit, but didn't stay longer than a half-hour and neither suggested doing anything (having dinner, etc) with my mom. And I know that once my grandfather passes, my mother will never see her family again because they have all written her off.

And this is sad for so many reasons – but let's ignore them all, as is the way with my mother.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

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I try to put off coming downstairs for as long as possible. For the past couple of weeks this has been easier because I've been watching the World Cup and the first match of the day doesn't end until 2pm.

(Way to make it through US, considering Italy, England, Portugal, and Spain did not.)

Today, when I came downstairs, I shook for the first ten minutes. I'd like to say that it was because I was hungry, but it's more likely that it was a symptom of 'fight or flight.'

For the past two months, Jeremy and I have been trying to stay in my bedroom for as much time as possible. It's one of three bedrooms in this house, and not the master. I'm bad at estimating space, but I would say it's about 12 x 12 feet. With the queen sized mattress there's about a foot of space on each side – my side also has the closet (which we keep open) and the double doors (which we must keep closed). There isn't any space for me to have a wheelchair up there, so when I'm in my room I am in bed. Unfortunately, there is so little space up there that I must keep my computer downstairs. Therefore, I must come downstairs to work on my auctions and other tasks. And being downstairs is now starting to make me anxious and upset because this is where I must encounter my parents – who have made it pretty clear through their passive-aggressive actions that they do not want us here.

We would love to go – we are saving to go – we just can't go right now.

It's not like we want to stay somewhere that when we leave a couple dishes in the sink, it's a declaration of war, even if the only reason the dishes are in the sink is because someone took some time to answer a phone call. It's not like I want to stay somewhere that when we clean up a room that has been a mess for six months (we get no word of thanks), but then we are admonished because we use a table for a week when no one has used it for a year. It's not like I want to stay somewhere that if I leave a wet shirt (or anything else, for that matter) in the bathroom it gets thrown out in the hallway when it could easily be left on the shower chair but because it's mine it must be disrespected. It's not like Jeremy wants to live somewhere that both my parents won't speak to him directly.

My mom just sat down at the table with me and tried to explain her actions. She would not listen to how her actions are making us feel. And while she talked about her interactions (or lack of) with Jeremy, she would not allow me to call him downstairs so that she could speak to us both. Although I told her “part of the problem in this house is that no one will speak directly to anyone else” she continued to tell ME why she didn't take Jeremy to the mechanic like she said she would on Tuesday. Truly, I think her excuse would have been better told directly to Jeremy since he's the one she blew off, but she said “You can tell him.” Oh, I will, but that's not going to make the situation acceptable.

Recently I read this article and was a bit astounded to read that the kind of behavior I have been dealing with from my parents (especially my mom) for most of my life actually has a name! I have been trying for years to disengage from falling into playing along with this behavior, but it's so difficult to do when living with the crazymaker. But, yes, it IS all about the drama and the crisis with my mother. For weeks, every time I saw her, the only things she would say to me would be complaints and demands. When I called her out on it, just so happened to be when she “had a nervous breakdown” and refused to take Jeremy to the mechanic.

She complains about “being in the middle” but that's exactly where she wants to be, because I have learned (quite recently) not to expect anything from most of the people in this house. If I voice a complaint, I know nothing will change because I've been complaining about the same things for most of my life. I realize that when I complain about my father eating all my food that neither his WIFE nor his MOTHER will step up to make sure the man gets fed. That my MOTHER and my GRANDMOTHER will sit back and let me starve (before Jeremy I weighed 95 lbs). So when I sit down to dinner and say that I need to find something else to supplement my meal because my portion size was so small because my father ate the majority of it (without asking, without thanking, just taking knowing full well it wasn't for him) I know that nothing will change. God forbid anyone should go to the grocery store except for me and Jeremy. God forbid my mother should make enough dinner to have leftovers to feed her husband.

Yet, somehow, Jeremy and I are the problem. These problems have existed before Jeremy, and will continue to exist after we leave. I'm just so tired of being the target when the dysfunction stems from people with more years behind them who should have learned by now how to be compassionate and loving people. These people should not have tied themselves to each other. These people need to be alone, and when they are forced to interact with others it gets ugly – fast.

I was such a moron to think that I could come back here and make a positive change. No matter how much good we do here, it's always that one mistake or that one thing that we didn't do exactly the way they wanted it done that is going to be the focus. I could go days without asking my mom for anything and she's still going to believe that “I do everything that I can to make you happy, buy you everything that you want, take you anywhere that you need to go.” If that were true, why did I sink a grand into buying a truck? If that were true why am I the one stocking the house with groceries? If that is true why do I find myself sobbing, heartbroken, at least once a week? (Don't even get me started on the fact that my entire family is going to the beach on vacation at the end of July – including my grandmother – and I was not invited.)

There are mornings when I wake up and it hurts so much – emotionally, even though the day hasn't even started. I get this crushing sense of hopelessness because I don't know how I can make it through another week here, yet I know that financially we can't go until this fall. And even then Jeremy and I are talking about buying a camper and living in a campground because it's the cheapest option. Yes, a camper in the winter seems like a better option to us than staying here any longer than necessary.

I just don't know what to do. When did it become such a struggle to be happy? Is this how people become homeless?

Monday, June 23, 2014

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While our politicians fight about whose the poorist, America is even harsher on the homeless

Who's poorer: Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden? How about neither?

While Joe Biden has only $50K in his savings and Hillary Clinton was "dead broke" after she and her husband left the White House, millions of Americans still are homeless every day.

CNN is talking about how Hillary and Joe are fighting about who is the poorest and who sympathizes with the middle class the most. No one, it seems is talking about the homeless.

In Alabama, a pastor was prohibited from feeding the homeless. The government officials say they seek to protect the homeless. Yeah, let them starve. In South Carolina, it's illegal to be homeless. Ok, so if you don't have a job, don't have the money to pay rent and the shelters are full, if you don't have a car, then where are you gonna go? If you spend millions of taxpayer money housing the homeless guy in jail for being homeless, you can take that same amount of money and sponsor shelters, help fix desolate homeless shelters in dire need of funding. You just don't want to.

If you are in Florida and are homeless, when it gets cold, it's against the law to use a blanket. Read that one more time. It's against the law to use a blanket in Florida if you are homeless.  Just let that marinate for a minute.

This post is meant to anger you. It's supposed to wake up that rage in you--and make you want to do something. And I know exactly what you should do: Stand up. Make a difference.

Yes, some of the homeless are addicted to drugs alcohol. Yes, some have mental issues. Yes, some just got out of prison. Yes, some of them you wouldn't want to touch, but I bet you have shaken the hands of some without even knowing that. Some are even CEO's and some survivors are now famous who you pay $20 a ticket to go see. Some are in your schools sitting next to your children. Oh, don't be scared and freak out. No creepy homeless guy is with your child. I'm talking about homeless children. Over 1, 000,000 kids are homeless in the USA.

Joe Biden's savings account could be several meals for several children living in homeless shelters across the country. Hillary Clinton, no disrespect  but you've never been dead broke. Dead broke is when you have nothing. I mean nothing.  Let me put a mental image of dead broke out there for you to comprehend:

A woman prostituting, selling herself so she can eat. No one will hire her because of her past. Or maybe she's strung out on drugs--the high making her forget being raped by her foster father at age six. Think about an old lady in a wheelchair. She can't walk, but has been told she doesn't qualify for disability so she has to wait three years while living on the streets. She goes to the ER for chest pain and is told by the nurses there that they know she's faking it to get off the streets and gets kicked out into the cold where the police find her body the next day--died of a heart attack. That, Mrs. Clinton, is dead broke.

I admire the Clintons, and Joe Biden. What I don't admire is that no one seems to care about the homeless. You don't see homelessness discussed in the presidential debates and these politicians fighting about who is the poorest are just out of touch with reality. They go to their homes, their state dinners, and whine and complain about being broke.

Wake UP!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

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“Happiness consists not in having much, but in being content with little.” - Marguerite Gardiner

We bought a truck off Craigslist. The listing was 17 minutes old when I found it. The truck was exactly the price I was hoping to pay, and five minutes away. The owner delivered it to my house, and then the next day took me and Jeremy to the MVA so we could get tags – HISTORIC tags, at that. Yes, my beast of a truck is five years younger than Jeremy. She spray painted flat black over some kind of crazy orange, rusted all over, and has a bunch of holes in the floor but she runs. Jeremy has already taken her to the dump because she also came with the pieces of a bathroom – toilet, shower – because the previous owner claimed that he used the truck to haul stuff as a side job.

Her name is Betty.

The best part is that we no longer have to rely on my mother to take us anywhere. This is great because Jeremy and Dana are talking about going to the Baltimore Zinefest to promote this Saturday, and Spot needs to get spayed this Monday. Originally my mom was going to take Jeremy, Spot and me to the vet in the morning and then would have had to either find something to do all day in an unfamiliar town, or driven back and forth for hours to pick up Spot in the evening after her operation. I don't particularly like having to inconvenience my mother like that, especially knowing that she would then be able to use it as ammunition against me for not being able to do something that she claimed that she needed to do.

We can finally go to the grocery store when WE have the time, and when we need to go. Last week Jeremy and I took a trip to wal-mart (which is less than five miles away) to get cat food and it took us 4.5 hours because we had to take the bus, and walk two miles each way AND I got stuck in the mud in someone's front lawn.

We're not doing much of anything for the rest of this week though. I picked up a cold and sitting at the MVA yesterday was pure torture. Not to mention that it poured down rain on the way there and Jeremy had put my seat cushion in the bed of the truck (it's my dumb fault for not paying more attention) so it was soaked when we got to the MVA and I had to sit on that wet cushion, in that air conditioned room, for several hours.

Within these past three days I met two men who were obviously struggling with life financially, but were in great spirits. We met Rick walking down the side of the road. There isn't a sidewalk on Eastern Avenue so pedestrians are forced to walk on this narrow strip of land where the road ends and the ditches start. He was walking ahead of us, so the cars would see him and move to the other side of the road. So we thanked him and he told us that he had beat cancer, but his wife had left him, took the kids and all his money and he is now living in (what I am guessing is) a kind of halfway house. He is the second down-on-his-luck guy we have met who lives in this house.

The yesterday we met this guy who told me about 10 times how much he love Jerry Lewis. This man came out into the rain to make sure Jeremy didn't need any help with me or my wheelchair. He told me that he now lives in the “pauper palace” on Rossville Blvd. He also brought a tall boy beer of some sort into the MVA while I was sitting there. But mostly he just wanted to make me smile. He told me “I love you as a human being.”

These men gave me a bit of a reality check. At least I have Jeremy, you know. I'm not in this struggle alone. He's not going to leave me and take all my money. And at least I know that my family will never throw me out of this house – though I know that's more because they're too passive, and because I am not a big enough pain in the ass to warrant that kind of reaction from them. Human beings can survive on so little. I just need to learn how to give up on a lot of my lofty dreams and realize that I will never eat croissants at the base of the Eiffel Tower, but I could still have a happy, fulfilling life.

Can I re-wire myself like that? Can I be content?