My phone rings at my office desk. “Kaitlyn, we have a homeless family here, can you help?” Tony greets me with a smile and a handshake, this is my family and two kids, we don’t have a place to stay tonight, can you help us? These are our two kids, me and my wife came to Charlotte and walked to your building.
Dear God, please make something happen as I call number after number in my phone. My prayers grow more frequent as I call down my phone list starting at A. I call my friends that I know can help me, emergency housing apparently is hard to find, especially since the thermometer hit below 32. Finally, I start calling the homeless shelters, they all are full, but they have plenty of places on the floor. Spratt street starts looking like an incredible option, and I would gladly sleep on the floor as opposed to sleeping outside if it was me. Brenda calls me back, she works with a street ministry downtown and they might be able to put them up for a day or two in hotel.
Four hours later, we pick them up from the park down the street, taking them to McDonalds was the gameplan while we talked to them about their situation. “There are no jobs in Charlotte” Brenda says. I silently pray not knowing what else to say, but God knows exactly what to say to Brenda.
We drop them off at a hotel off of west sugar in the middle of Charlotte. 40 dollars a night, with a hotel room with barely running electricity. It’s good for now, because it’s bedtime for their 3 and 5 year old. But what happens next? 4 days is what they have to get a job, or come across some other people that will help them. But this is their choice, being homeless for them is what they choose, based on their past records and story.
But Jesus was homeless, and he didn’t judge, he said all who who labor and are burdened come take rest.
Christmas gift returns. We all have them, the ugly sweater we wouldn’t be caught dead in (even at an ugly sweater Christmas party), the old candy that you swear was from last year, and the kitchen utensil that is useless (unless your want an onion skewer from Great Aunt Betty).
Some tips and tricks this holiday season:
-Resell Online, sometimes you can beat the retail price
-Wait a week, the lines are shorter and the staff less stressed
-Have An After-Christmas gift exchange at work
-Wait until the sales are over, your item might have gone half-price
-Trade In Gift Cards Online- http://www.plasticjungle.com
17,000 dollars was the loan amount quoted to me today. The nice bank that I go to once a week told me that I would be spending this much money on a really nice car. I would have payments of 300 dollars till I reach retirement, or possibly about the time I want kids is what this nice man was telling me. I didn’t want something that is going to break in like 10 years and I am still making payments on a future piece of junk. I didn’t want a car valued at 17K dollars, I just wanted a car to get me from point A to point B. No wonder we have a problem with American Debt. Sure, my parents were going to co-sign this loan worth more than 3 craigslist cars, however that is not the point. The point is… I clip coupons and live frugally. So frugally, that I have ridden my bike for the last three weeks while I figure out the cheapest option to buy a car. All of that to say is that I don’t want a loan. The loan officer, who had barely gulped down the first cup of coffee today, lord bless his soul told me that he does not approve cars that are less than 10 years old. WHAT! I want a beat up car, they have a personality, you can put your 6 mud-covered friends in the back of them and then vacuum it up later. You try experimental mechanics on your car and oh well….advance auto on Tryon will take it back later. Take that loans, you can have your 4.5 interest rate…..I’ll ride my bike
Sometimes life sucks, and there is nothing you can do about it. Although this is not really about dumpster diving, it is related to frugal living, which includes old cars. I’ve driven a 96 Honda Accord for the last 3 years and I love it. I covered the back with bumper stickers, used it as a bed, put dogs in it, and most importantly used it to haul lots and lot of dumpster dived food it in. I also have logged many many miles on it, taken my car camping, and used it as a boyfriend at times, yelling about random life stresses at the top of my lungs when things got out of control.
We have been through many things together, including several organ transplants. Last fall my honda decided not to start. The DIY person inside me, looked it up on youtube and decided on the scale of hard to impossible, this task was on the fixable scale. So me and my friend Brock, bravely took apart the car in the middle of Colville Apartments, and replaced the starter.
Yesterday on the way to grab a much needed craft brew from the Flying Saucer, my car had a heart attack. There was no AED in sight, nor do I know anything about how to give CPR to a car, or restart it. The car was stuck in first and there was no getting out of this mess. It sounded like the engine dropped out of the bottom, and there we were, stuck in the middle of John Kirk and N Tryon on a wednesday night. A nice police officer came and tried to revive the clutch, but it’s stuck. I also have 24 hours to get this baby out of the road before they tow it.
Might I add that a minor problem with my clutch happened the other day. I left a whole car full of bread and some other tasty items in the middle of a road in College downs. However, when I took the car to the auto store, they deemed it fine and I drove away in full confidence that my city driving skills were to blame.
So there is my story, I have 15 hours and counting of what to do. Might I also add that I was supposed to go to Peak 10′s Grand Opening today. It’s happening without me, so long business success, I guess I’ll be living with 3 people for the rest of my life while I’m poor.
I admit it, I have been living in a foodie sinkhole. Not that dumpster diving has taken a back burner, but just “eating.” One of the main problems with this has been the excessive amount of people that have recently come into my living space. Instead of living with my wonderful roommate, now I live with three other people. So the food consumption in my house has increased by 2x. Food Apathy? Probably so
Preparing tonight’s dinner was a bit of a challange, I might admit. Aside from my usually standard fare of salad and veggies with everything, I had an overage problem. I overdove. Kosher or not, my fridge is full with high quality food that I dove for free. The reason is, that my last dive provided me with a massive stockpile of gourmet ice cream. 84 containers of it to be exact. T Joe’s had a massisive ice cream binge, and I took it all home. Chocolate, Strawberry sorbet, vanilla, and hershey mudpie have been a few of my favorites so far. And the fact of the matter is, everyone likes ice cream and it was going to melt anyway.
As I looked over the massive array of ingredites at my disposal, I drafted a menu of lemon salmon cakes, apple salad, and toast with Gorgonzola cheese. These ingredents were the closest items at hand, and went quite well together to say the least. The savory blend of lemon and fish, combined with the crisp taste of a granny smith apple salad, paried with a fine blend of imported cheese was enough to satisfy my palet, at least for tonight.
Word of advice, plan for the worst thing possible. Which in this case would be to bring a tent and sleeping bag everywhere. Our day of travel included riding trains for 9 hours. Which would be exhausting in most cases, but being adventurous travelers, we had decided on the couchsurfing option of travel. All my couchsurfing memories have been great fun and now I have foreign friends in many different countries. However, maybe I am limited to hosting as our first German couchsurfing experience turned out to be a disaster.
We arrived with all electronic devices dead. This included my iphone, a computer, a regular phone, and all other options of communication dead. So therefore, in cases like this, you search for the nearest coffee shop and plug up. And use the public bathroom like most normal people. However, Germany does not believe in bathrooms, nor outlets. I sneaked my way into one, (cause you have to pay a euro to pee) while Eric tried to revive all sources of power. So we then went by sheer intuition of the train system to a place where we thought it would be. However Munich is a large city and randomly finding streets by chance is about the probability of me popping out a child.
Since we are traveling on the cheap, we decided spending money was unnecessary and useless. So Eric left me at a bus stop while he frolicked around looking for some plugs. After no such luck we decided that staying with the luggage at McDonalds was probably the best option since I packed some bricks that resembled clothing. 2 hours later I had decided that going home with the 40ish graying manager would probably be the only option of a warm bed. No matter what the cost. Also, since my options of staying with random cute little German boys was tainted by the fact that I don’t speak any language except English. So I decided to learn the Mcdonalds vocabulary. kann ich dass mit Pommes frites was not going to help me in this situation, but it was the best I could do if worse came to worst. Eric finally came back, had ran all over the city and now felt sick what the thought of if his sister went missing. Luggage in tow, we finally went to a random university and plugged up.
That situation taken care of, we now went in search of our nice couchsurfing host who said that he still wanted us to come with him. So off we went. Our host ended up living a couple blocks from the Octoberfest grounds, however those things are huge and pushing our luggage around through a field of gravel broke our main suitcase. And Eric had a fever. So we wondered around in the middle of the grounds, lost, cold, and bed-less. And then we arrived, but there was no 3, anywhere. So as we tried to figure out what to do, I witnessed a fight, a random chase around a bar by several employees. So what does one in this situation, reboot. So we took a cab to the station and walked a good 30 min with our broken luggage to the 2nd closest hostel.
I woke up to a snuggle sandwich below me, who sleeps with people in a hostel?
Only in Munich, Kaitlyn
I’m sitting in a German McDonald’s writing on an iPhone while two 4 year olds run around talking in German and crawling under tables while I look after our luggage. The title of this trip is called Germany on the cheap because traveling is quite the contrary to many people’s thoughts, quite cheap. We stayed the first three nights with our wonderful host family the Thielman’s. They are currently stationed in Frankfort , working for the state dept. Our first couple days have been a lot of train riding and navigating the system. We toured some old church grounds and looked at some of the ancient roman ruins that were bombed during WWII. We also walked around a lot of the historic district and went walking on the banks of the rhine.
Maps are truly amazing. Armed with current technology only, we would have gotten extremely lost. Eric is a great map reader and now is a pro at navigating Frankfurt as well as most large cities. Our hostel is currently located in the red light district of Frankfurt as there are several brothels nearby. Hello Europe.
Maybe I’m A wimp or maybe I’m just really from the south but I dislike cold weather. But only a certain kind of cold weather, the snowless kind. The kind where you can’t feel your toes but there is no snow on the ground. Welcome to North Carolina where the weather changes every day from sky high heat to blustery cold overnight.
Tip one of dumpster diving, make sure you are comfortable. If your legs are numb from cold you might never get out of a dumpster and eventually freeze to death.
Tip two, always being a buddy
God said two are always better than one and he is always right. Passing off food to each other and having a buddy system is the most important rule.
Tip three: share
I have this now amazing community that loves dumpster diving and likes to come over for dinner. There is no uninvited guest
There was a lot of meat. In fact, several boxes .What to do with all this meat was the question. My dumpster diving partner looked at me with a puzzled face as she asked me how to determine bad meat. The thing was I wan’t sure. After using ehow to see what is exactly a harmful look for meat, we determined that all the products with less than an appetizing look would be appropriate to keep.