I’m Back In Seattle Again…But Still Homeless.

Redneck Wedding

Oh, well. I guess I’ll never learn. I was pretty busy today, setting up my life in Seattle again. Gave me something to do. I also contacted a woman re: subsidized housing in Port Hadlock and Port Townsend. She’ll be sending me the application this week (I receive mail at the Ballard Food Bank) which I’ll fill out and return to her as quickly as possible. She says the wait list is around six months. Not bad. I can sleep in my car another six months. Piece of cake. Too bad the subsidized housing here in North Seattle has a wait list of, like, 2 to 5 years and beyond. Pretty ridiculous. Can you imagine the large number of people with SSI or SSDI living on the street who can easily afford a subsidized place for around $250 – $400/month? I know I’m not the only one. In any case, mentally, I feel much better than I did up in Forks. Too bad it didn’t work out there. At least I know now, first hand, what it feels like to live in a freezing cold trailer in the winter time. Man, those things are just impossible to keep warm in! And with all the loose dogs around the trailer, I was like a prisoner in my own home. And don’t even get me started on the rednecks! (Yes, I dress like them now, but it’s not like I have a durn choice!)

Bye, Forks.

Well, that didn’t take long. I told my landlady, through my realtor, that I’m not happy in Forks and wish to break my lease. She agreed; now, I can leave any time. There’s a trailer for $40K I was looking into in Port Townsend, but since I don’t qualify for a personal or home loan from my bank, I may have to end up going back to Santos Housing, the transitional shelter in Seattle I’d just left three months ago. At least I gave it a shot. Forks isn’t conducive to my mental health at all; in fact, it’s been downright depressing these past couple of months. Everything works at a snail’s pace here. The operative word is wait – wait for this, wait for that, wait for the other thing. In the meantime, you just sleep to pass the time. That’s what I did. I accomplished nothing – no writing, no blog entries, no walking. (You can’t freely walk around here because of the large amount of dogs strolling about loosely). It was costing me a fortune to stay here, too, as everything had to be paid for – electricity, gas, heat, mailbox, garbage disposal, internet, etc. I went from $405/month at Santos to about $1,000 a month here, and I was happier at Santos! Hey, at least I gave it a shot. Tomorrow, I’ll call up Santos and ask to go back. Hopefully there’s a room available. If not, I’ll just look for another transitional shelter somewhere. I’d stay in my car but it’s a bit cold for that.

Four Days In Forks

This is Day 4 of my new life in Forks,WA. It, unfortunately, hasn’t been the peaches and cream I was hoping it’d be. I know – what was I expecting? A red welcome mat? Whoo-hee! Robin’s in town! I can’t help it, but so far, I feel like I’m trespassing since I’m the only black person around. I was actually wondering if I may be the only black person in this town of 3,500. I haven’t actually asked anyone here about that, but maybe I will today. That seems like such a sensitive subject these days that I should just leave it alone.

My phone isn’t working. I have to buy a new sim card from Walmart and have Safelink Wireless activate it from their end. The problem, of course, is finding a phone to contact Safelink in the first place. Maybe I’ll just get a TracPhone from Walmart or Amazon or something. No rush. I have no one to talk to, anyway. It’s just for businesses who always request your phone number.

I also wasn’t expecting to pay out of pocket for so many things I took for granted in the big city, like waste disposal, a P.O. Box, propane, internet and electricity. I’m so fearful my bills will be high that I limit the amount of heat I use in the trailer. This can make for uncomfortable sleeping and general living, so I’ll look on Amazon later for an efficient space heater. A very, very efficient one.

Another jarring change for me, of course, is trailer living. The small road I’m on consists of four or five trailers and one or two houses.  Like a lot of roads in town, mine is in dire need of repair. I suppose since it rains and floods very often, fixing the roads is the least of the problems in a city where 21% of the population live below the poverty level.

Trailers are relatively small by nature. I have to get used to bending in the living room and bedroom, and sidling past the bathroom to get to the bedroom. Trailers are fairly narrow, too. That will definitely encourage me to keep my weight in check. I’m not really complaining about this trailer since it only costs $550/month. I just wish it wasn’t so, how should I say this, unprepared when I moved in. The washer & dryer room the last tenant annexed to the trailer leaks like a mofro when it rains; that is to say, every day. The electricity on one side of the trailer no longer works. I’ve tried fixing it, even bought and installed a new 20 amp GFCI outlet but that doesn’t help. I’m just receiving a massive surge of power which an electrician will have to look at; definitely out of my league.

Did I say it rained all four days I was here? The natives told me this is normal; in fact, it’s been light. Really? It’s been heavy by Seattle’s standards. Well, I do like constant rain – I’d better. The road I live on is called Raindrop Place, but I hope it doesn’t trigger my depression to extremely low levels. Next week I’ll look into getting a counselor and psychiatrist in town as well as look into getting my prescriptions filled.

I was thinking about getting rid of my car and opting for a scooter/moped. Thus far, I have seen none in town. This place seems like it’d be a good place for one, considering if you’re driving around town you’re only doing four or five miles at a time. Maybe it rains too much here and riding a moped would be counterproductive or dangerous. At least my insurance went down. I now only have to pay $350/year. That’s better than the $476 I was paying in Seattle.

I think, all told, my average expenses should be around $900/month – $550/rent, $200/utilities, $100/food, $50/gas. I haven’t budgeted for medical insurance yet, though. That’ll be another hit. I may end up spending around $1000/month just to live. Once my bills start coming in I’ll head on over to the human resources center to see if they can help with food, heating, etc. I’m glad I don’t spend money on washing clothes since all I own I wear. The sheets and blankets can be washed once every two or three months. I’m not that dirty a person, I hope!

Right now, I’m using the internet in the library. So far, this has been the biggest plus in this town. The hours aren’t bad, either. Mon – Thurs 10am – 7pm. Fri & Sat 10am – 6pm. Closed on Sunday. That’s pretty close to how it was in Seattle. The internet has some restrictions on it, though. I’m sure I can circumvent them, but I’ll do that some other time. I’m just glad to at least be able to reach out to the world some kind of way.

I was surprised to find that the crime rate is fairly high  here in town because of drug abuse, the crimes mainly limited to car and house break-ins. No wonder there are two shelves of Guns & Ammo magazines in the local supermarket. I notice that the graduating class (avg, 55 kids) don’t go on to college that much, just 10%. Maybe the mjority go on to work in their family farms. Hopefully, it isn’t because they’re dropping out of higher education to join the drug statistics.

So, did I make the right move by moving to Forks? My intention was moving into subsidized housing here. My rent would be $405/month with all utilities included. Right now, I’m No. 35 on the list. I’ll have to wait until 35 people drop dead before I get a room. Oy! They promised live would be easy. didn’t they?

I’m On The Forks Apts Waitlist

Oh, happy day. The Peninsula Housing Authority just notified me this week that my name was added to their waitlist. The wait, they claim, is between 6 months to 3 years, with preference given to the elderly, disabled, employment or schooling. Since I’m of the disabled flavor, my wait shouldn’t be too long.

In other news, I can’t wait to begin the 3rd and final act of my life. Hopefully, it’ll be trauma-free and bereft of all that crap I went through over the past 30/40 years. I don’t have any specific plan in place, though. The idea would be to just live as safely and quietly as possible, make no waves, visit a therapist every two weeks or so, stay on my HTN medication, and just…live. As far as making music again, I think that’s history. Every so often I feel like plucking the strings of an axe, but I know how I am. I can’t just pluck those strings in my bedroom; I have to do it on stage, so why bother? There is a place for live music in Forks. Hopefully, I don’t catch that bug again.

Barring a stroke or some other cataclysmic illness, I will be writing. I’ve gotta do something with the time I have left, right? Part of me would like to dip my toes into film making again. That’d be a hoot. I’m really stretching here, but I can see me making a small indie, most likely horror, up in Forks where I handle the duties of writing, editing and directing. That would necessitate me buying a new super computer and video cam which, from my research, would set me back about $6,000 for the whole shebang. We’ll see.

One last note. Small towns, villages, hamlets, etc are known for their safety. I’m hoping that Forks, being a small town even though it’s designated as a city, is pretty safe. I have been reading a lot lately about the proliferation of meth and heroin in America’s small towns, and I believe it. I spent just one night in Lodge Grass, a town of 950 people in eastern Montana, and learned the next day that meth had overpowered the town. I also just recently read that the Quileute Reservation near Forks, as well as other reservation in Washington, are where people go to get their drugs. Out of the necessity of survival, I can understand why natives sell drugs. Too bad there’s always a certain amount of violence that accompanies the drug trade. Who knows? Maybe some day they’ll all be legal, like in Portugal, and crime would decrease. Only Time Will Tell.

Thinking About Moving to Forks, WA

Seattle is all well and good, but frankly, now that I’m older, I want a slower pace of life, something a little more relaxing and laid back. Being on fixed income (SSDI), I’m relegated to living in buildings in neighborhoods I’m not so fond of; specifically, I’m referring to downtown Seattle. Outside of downtown, the suburbs are quite expensive. I could probably afford a studio there, but really, since I have no ties to this city, I’ve been thinking about pursuing the third act of my life in simpler surroundings.

After several days of research, I’ve decided that Forks just might be the ticket. I’ve already applied to the Peninsula Housing Authority for a one-bedroom in one of the four buildings they own there. Hopefully, because I’m disabled and homeless, that should push me near the top of their waiting list. I’m quite sure I won’t miss the noise and congestion of a big city. Since I’m no longer a musician, I don’t have to try and maintain a close relationships to the music scene, the night clubs, the concert venues, or anything related to live performance. I won’t miss the movie theaters and art museums, either. I’d say that, over the years, I’ve had my fill of all those things. Just give me a good computer and the internet and I’m all set.

Forks is a tourist town; a lot of their revenue used to come from the mills, now it comes from people chasing the “Twilight” feel. I’m not into the “Twilight” books or movies, so that element is lost on me. What I do like is that Forks, just a small town of nearly 4,000 people, contains everything I need – a food bank, restaurants, a public library, auto repair and parts shops, rivers and forests galore, internet, 24 hr convenience stores, a clothing consignment store, medical clinics as well as mental health and substance abuse counseling, NA meetings, and a college that, maybe, I might be able to tutor people in ESL, writing or GED testing. Most of all, the one-traffic-light town is small; reminds me of Woodstock, NY, a place I’d originally like to retire in but is too expensive for me. Forks is a “3 hour drive plus ferry ride” distance from here. Since I just replaced all four tires on my car and had other under-the-hood work done on my little gas-guzzling hoopdie, I’d like to drive up there to check out the place, maybe this Saturday. We’ll see.