A blog about living outside, first in my car, then in tents.
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Arizona is Fourth Poorest State in Nation

From http://azcaa.org/the-growing-economic-gap/: In a new report released by the Working Poor Families Project, a dismal picture is painted of the struggles working families face paying for basic necessities. Arizona ranks 47th nationally with 39% of our families at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, or 1 in every 3 working families earning salaries so low they can’t pay for basic living expenses. To view the report, visit workingpoorfamilies.org
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Feeling (Falsely) Rich

In addition to my furniture, a couple cool lamps and vintage jewelry, I am also selling items that belong to a person who had a previous sale in the sale room, as well as some of the property manager’s items. Several pieces of furniture, including a large comfortable sectional couch, had been stored in a nearby room. We moved them into the sale room this morning, and customers gobbled them up. I sold a pair of bar stools, two end tables, two lamps, a hammock, a metal bird cage and more. I get a casual commission on the manager’s items, so I was not disappointed that none of my items sold this weekend. I...
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Long Term Care Insurance and the Single Gal

It’s circa 2007. I’m 47. I’ve completed one major round of renovations on the house. I’m awaiting the final payout of my parents’ estate to put in wood floors. (I had the top layer of the old subfloor stripped out, because when we removed the ancient carpet we found particle board — which was still outgassing from its 1985 installation! A new outdoor-grade layer of plywood took its place; outdoor-grade plywood has less health-harming volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). I lived on plywood floors from 2005 until I finished the floors in late 2008. Two weeks after the floors were finished I moved into a Tucson rental, intent on getting a social life. By the...
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There’s Homeless and There’s Homeless, Part III

Until I lost my house, I had thought of homeless people mostly as folks living on the streets, in a shelter, or moving from one couch to another. People living in cars, yes, them too, but I wasn’t really aware of how frequently that happens. Federal agencies each have their own definition of “homeless.” Health centers funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) define it a little more broadly than the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The agencies use these definitions in determining who is eligible for services, in addition to their other eligibility requirements. Details here. “According to a 2002 national study by the Urban Institute,...
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Hunger, Chapter Two:
Food Bank Giveaways

Going to the local weekly (now twice a week) Food Bank for the first time was one of a series of steps in letting go of pride. This is a small town. The Food Bank is a pickup truck that parks next to the main road with a sign. Anyone could see me. Many people recognize my car, as I recognize others’. It was only after I talked with someone about how it works that I learned many of the people who pick up the free Food Bank produce do not need free food. They take it for convenience or I suppose to save a few dollars. Being an old leftist activist with radical...
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There’s homeless and there’s homeless, Part II

What about the homeless who don’t look homeless? “Class Distinctions Among the Homeless.” Someone should do a master’s thesis on that, if someone hasn’t already. I imagine sociologists are among the first to examine how car living, the loss of home equity (traditionally the primary means of wealth building for the middle class) and low interest rates on safe investments are the latest variables changing the class makeup of America. Sorry if that’s too wonky. I went to grad school in sociology. Once you look at the world through the lenses of power including race, class and, gender you’re not likely to ever stop thinking that way. Does having a car that’s either paid...
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There’s homeless and there’s homeless, Part I

(Day 8 in car) Shari and Paul loaned me a handheld propane bottle with a contraption that goes on top to hold a pot. (Turns out they didn’t match, but I didn’t know that yet.) So I wanted to get a pot and a skillet. I figured I could at least heat soup, boil eggs, maybe even fry eggs. If the wind wasn’t too high as it often is, or if I found a windscreen. I drove to the nearest Salvation Army. I remembered what street it was on, so when I saw the SA sign I pulled in. As I walked in I realized this wasn’t the thrift shop. It must be where...
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