Thursday, February 23, 2012

Upside: Homeless Shelters are a Great Way to Make New Friends!

In today's chapter of Madge's Adult Survival Guide, we shall discuss...shelter.

I would say about... oh 75% of us have had trying times with our living situation at one point.  No, not about needing a 3 car garage instead of a 2, or adding a home theater. (bastards)  I'm talking about things like...

- Divorce.  Someone's gotta' move... where do you go?
- Job loss or other various money issues.  Can't afford the house or rent anymore.  Where do you go?
-  Dangerous living conditions.  Abuse, bad neighborhood, crazy landlord, whatever.  You know the question...

Sometimes it may just be a case of geography, "This place ain't workin', I need to go".  That was my case living in Denver.  I had moved there in 2000 when I was married for his job, then we got divorced and he eventually moved back East.  I was there by myself, no family, some friends, but it just didn't really feel like home, and not to mention it was too damn expensive by myself!  So in 2006, back East I went...

Was that a step backward?  A step foreward?  Sideways?  What?  People often asked me why I moved to Rochester from Denver like I was some sort of intellectually challenged cretin.  After a while I thought, "Hey bite me, I happen to like New York State!"  Ya' got a problem with that?

I heard a friend mention taking a step backward in moving her kids and  that prompted me to write this.  Most all of us have had a time in our life where we need to regroup.  For those of you that haven't and are still living in the same big house for 20 years... I hate you.  Nah, you're incredibly lucky.  Good for you.  *grumble grumble*  For the rest of us, we've had to make tough decisions.

As I said, for the reasons above, some of us had to decide, (or had it thrust upon us) whether to move into an apartment or move home to our parents or friends or shelters or change locales.  It happened to me, I got evicted from a house I was renting a few years ago here in Rochester.  My ex-husband suddenly disappeared and stopped paying support, and my income was cut in half.  I coudn't afford the house, I met with landlords and told them the circumstances, asked to maybe find a new renter, etc.  No, they decided they wanted to evict me and get all the money out of it they could.  Really really unkind folks, especially since I was trying to negotiate from the hospital as I thought I was having a heart attack.  They would rather put a single mom and 3 kids out on the street, because you know nothing personal, it's just business.  (I highly suggest caution about doing business with folks under the company name Bamberger in the Monroe/Wayne/Ontario Counties around here.)  Anyway, decisions had to be made, and I believe in karma...

Various family members wanted me to move in with them.  I love love love them for the offer.  But that meant yet another move to another state.  With kids in jr and sr high, I just wasn't going to uproot them again.  I just knew in my heart it would not be good in the long run.  So I borrowed money for a security deposit (since the eviction cost me several thousand dollars that I didn't have)  and moved into a townhouse style apartment.  Living in an apartment complex blows after I've lived in some nice houses with yards.  But what am I gonna' do?  I did what I had to do.  Biggest casualty... my pride.  I used to love to entertain in my house, now I don't want people to know where I live.  We used to be the hangout house for kids, now I'm embarrased to have kids over.  Oh well.

So, that's the dilemma... is it a step down?  Yea, going from a house to an apartment is probably looked upon as a downgrade more than an upgrade.  It sucks.  I sure didn't feel like singing The Jeffersons theme "Well, we're movin' on up!"  I live around some less desirables than I'd like.  There are two bedrooms for four people, my son doesn't even have his own room.  The place is small, the kitchen is 5x5, and so is the one bathroom for Me and 3 kids.  I don't have a garage.  I can't paint or redecorate or plant things.  The kids don't like the trashy people that roam the parking lot or hearing the neighbors through the walls.  But... I can afford it.  And we stayed in the school district, and because of it my son will be going to one of the best colleges in the country next year.  I'd like to think I won't be their forever either.  I have plans, hopes, dreams.  That's all I can do.

You just have to do what you can do.  What's best for you and your children, spouse, parents, whatever the case may be.  The most important thing is to really think it through and put your pride aside.  Sometimes you may have to think of the short term, other times think it through to the long term.  Make a list of options, pros and cons.  And for the love of God, DO NOT move into someone your dating's place if you have kids, just because it's convenient!  Eh, maybe if it's for a week, while you're in transition from one place to another or something, but Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, don't make relationship decisions based on saving on your cable bill!  Seriously, please, just say no.  Think it through.  You may not have the best home, but you can take pride in knowing you are doing the best thing possible for you and your family (if that applies).


  1. Madge, Madge, Madge. You've come a long way, baby. Keep rocking it.

    1. Thanks, I'm tryin'. That's all I can do. :)

  2. This just goes to show what a strong person you are. I never got evicted or anything like that, but I did live in a couple of places where I wished I didn't have to live. Many years ago, I turned my nose up to a duplex that was grimy and dingy. I was half way home (to where my lease would be up soon) when I realized that I had just looked at the last place that I found that I could afford by myself. Then I heard this voice in my head (shut up!) that said "All you need is elbow grease", so I went back and rented the grimy, dingy place. It took me 2 weeks, but the place was gleaming clean and fresh paint in every room. When the rat-bastard landlord saw how cute and clean it was, he wanted to raise the rent. The nerve! Well, when I got done running my mouth about his nerve, he backed off. Then about 8 months later he told me that he was raising the rent, so I gave him notice that I was leaving. I hope the next tenant showed him why he should have left me alone...

    You'll be just fine in your future. You have the backbone to come out the other side just fine.

  3. Screw those people, seriously. They will get what is coming to them, eventually.

    Recently stumbled across the blog, and liking it a lot!

  4. That's life in lots of places outside the States. I'm living in a four bedroom apartment with six adults. We're just lucky no one's sleeping in the living room or kitchen - which is also common out here in Ukraine. It's fun though. Nice and cozy and communal - and you get to learn how not to kill people who get on your nerves!