Tuesday, August 27, 2013

College, Moving, Homelessness, and Life Altering Choices.

It has been months since I could breath, since I could sleep well, since I could sit down at my computer and type something more than an essay for school. Moving is stressful to the average well planned person and I am that well planned person. You name it, I did it: Check lists, time charts, research, research, research. We had the plans all laid out, the budget perfectly lined up, yet we failed. There was one failed plan after the other failed plan.
We were broke. We ended up homeless.  Schools had hang up after hang up with the paper work. My doctors? Still in the other city we left behind.

Plan A. 

We had nearly $3,000 in savings for the move once we knew we were going to move. We were going to enroll into college, search out doctors for everyone, find little one a good private school, and find our apartment.

The Reality. 

Shift Happens. No literally, shifting happens. One of my husbands job laid him off because their holiday income wasn't as expected. His job wasn't seasonal, he had been with the company for about a year. That hurt, it was his main job for the hours even though it was is lowest wage. The "shift" was survivable because he had two part-times that equaled full time income (which he had long before that job so it was okay) and I worked a seasonal job to pay for Christmas and a little extra so we didn't have any of those evil holiday bills to deal with and the seasonal influx of energy use was covered. 

None of the private schools were accepting of the projected I.E.P. plan my son had. The only one I did find that would accept him had an unacceptable idea. To take him out of first grade and put him in a mixed class of advanced kindergarteners and late blooming first graders. He was going into 2nd grade at the time.

No doctors because we're not official residents yet.

Plan B.

We'll cut back our spending, see if I can lower some bills, and as long as we don't touch our savings that will be okay.

As far as his school. I'll look into the Florida's First Choice plan and toy with a homeschooling possibility. 

As far as doctors. I'll put that on hold, but I have their numbers still.

The Reality.

I had already lowered my bills are much as I could when I could no longer work. Internet was $10 a month. We didn't have cable. My phone bill was about $30 a month for unlimited everything, I got it lowered to $25. Rent and utilities all together was about $700 a month, not bad considering we lived in a really nice area. Two cars; wish we had a different choice, but living out in the suburbs where the nearest store was 2miles away and no public transportation (or sidewalks for that matter) and if you wanted to go to the post office or a doctors office you're looking at 8+miles. Still we managed to only touch just a little of our savings, and mostly it was because of some last minute "cash only" costs of the wedding. We still had about $2500 in savings.

Until one of his jobs switched his hours and they conflicted with the other one. 

Little one's school, FFC wouldn't deal with us until we had residence in said county. 

Plan C.

We'll pull little one from school a tad early and transfer him over to the new school. We found a great apartment at a killer price, can' let it go as it fits our budget perfectly. Plus, husband really needs to start classes as soon as he can for work related reasons. We can't afford to move later.

The Reality. 

Pulling little one from school didn't happen, his I.E.P which we worked so hard on for nearly two years would have dropped and we would have had to start over at the new school because we didn't yet have the final end of year end of testing meeting. 
My husband commuted the 1h45min drive to his classes every day, averaging nearly $150 a week in gas. I had to commute about twice a week for school related appointments dealing with paperwork hang ups on my transfer and dealing with the disabilities department (Student with disabilities at your service). Thank the heavens my car is fuel efficient, that was about $40 a week. All in all $190 a week in gas alone hurt the budget. We got our lease stretched for an extra two months.

Plan D. 

Husband found a job in the new city, he was going to stay with a friend (so said the friend because it would have been only for a few weeks.) while he works and goes to class and we can get an apartment in June when little one and I move down there. Saves our savings from the horrid gas prices. 

The Reality.

He quit the jobs in our city and the new job didn't bring as much anticipated income as expected and could no where cover the loss of his two previous jobs. The friend bailed on him never allowing him to stay. We ended up spending even more gas on his commute due to the added work load. 

Plan E.

Not ideal, but had to do it; Husband camped in his car. We'd save the money from his work and wouldn't be spending the ungodly amounts the gas needed to commute. We'd find a different apartment, or see if we could lower the starting setup of first and last months rent, deposit and processing/application fees.

The Reality.

The apartment wouldn't work with us, so we had to look else where. My husband wasn't saving any money he made because he was having to eat out a lot due to living in his car. Granted it was still way cheaper than the gas he was spending in the commute. 

Plan F.

I found an apartment that rented super cheap. Okay so it was one of those college dorm style apartments, but hey at this rate, I'll take it. It was full utilities paid, we'd just have to rent to rooms so said the lady over the phone. Family friendly! Okay that we're married! No pets, so no extra deposits!

The Reality. 

The lady was clueless. We get there to rent the apartment, the manager comes out to inform us that we'd have to rent the full apartment. 1 bedroom per a person. Well... seeing as two bedrooms were $500 ($250ea) three would be $750 not ideal but with all utilities paid we'd do it, the deposit was cheap enough. It would have drained every penny from our ever disappearing savings, but better than nothing. Just 50 bucks more and we could take out a student loan to cover the difference if anything happened. Between grants and scholarships, we don't have to use loans for school so it wouldn't hurt to take out a small one. Except: to rent the full apartment at said complex with no roommates, $1200. Nope can't do that.

Plan G. 

Renamed, "Plan F**k it! I give up." This is the cosmos telling me "You're plans are laughable". By this time, I pitied the poor fool who attempted to tell me "God only gives you what you can handle." she did not deserve the verbal lashing she got, however don't ever tell a mother who's looking at having to explain to her child why they are homeless that phrase.

The Reality. 

After two nights of camping in the car. I found a homeless shelter that would take all three of us. I still view them as god sent even after the horrors I witnessed in that place. We were there for three weeks. We had a private bedroom with a lock and two twin beds. Our sleep sucked. Even my son started asking if we could go back to the car, but we were relatively safe and it bought us time to get back up on our feet.

In the End. 

We got a nice apartment, we're in a nicer neighborhood with a good school, and we're happy.
We're both now in our second semester of school, passing our classes. Little one is happy at his new school and we're super close to O2B Kids. So the friends he made there are at his school too, well some of them anyways. Husband now works at the school and he's getting ready to take the ASVAB. We're okay. And aside from now being on food stamps. We're making it through the day.

We just finally took little one to our school Planetarium for our first family outing since being here. It was free for husband and I, like most school events, and we enjoyed every minute of learning about Black Holes.