Monday, July 18, 2016

Yes, I am #blessed

So, I get emails when a lot of people post their blogs, and I got one today that I had to reply to.
Another advocate of a special needs family member posted a blog about being blessed.  And, while I agree with most of what is said, I do have to argue about the faith, and praying.

You see, when I was homeless, I thought I was still blessed because I at least had a car to sleep in.  I had a pastor that cared about me so much that he let me sleep on the couch there instead of in my car during the coldest months last year.  I am blessed because I had friends to stand by me.  

Because I am so blessed, I learned a lot of things.  

1.  There are people worse off than I am.

2.  I know who my real friends are.

3.  I know I'm a survivor.

4.  I know what I am made of.

5.  I know that God hasn't abandoned me.

Yes, I do live in fear of several things because of what has happened.  I live in fear of becoming homeless again...EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.  I live in fear that if my ex gets out of jail, he will assault me again.  I live in fear that DTI Investments will get away with the harassment and discrimination that they put me through from December through May.  Mostly, I live in fear that I haven't grown enough this past year to see all the every day blessings that happen.

Now, to get back to the part of what I don't agree with.  Yes, it may seem that you have been punished, but in reality, you were given a gift.  Your daughter is a wonderful person because you have been blessed with a strong marriage and family support.  I have nothing.  I have no family to help me out, I have no family to cry on their shoulder, and I have no family to care about me.  

My family is cut throat, and will do anything to screw up my life.  I have an older sister that I don't talk to because she thinks that my ex did nothing wrong, even when he assaulted me.  Her first words to me were "what did you do to make him assault you?"  I have a father that chased me down the street with a butcher knife when I was younger. I have a mother that was (and still is) a hypochondriac.  I have a little sister and little brother that I don't really talk to, in fact I don't even know where they live.  I have a daughter that I haven't see or heard from since she was 4.  And I have a son I haven't seen in person since he was 5, and he has his own daughter now.

I've been wanting to start blogging again, but haven't figured out how to adjust things to my new life.  I'm single again...at 40ish.  I'm still trying to finish school, and I'm struggling.  

But, my life is #blessed because I refuse to not see the small blessings.  

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Why I Chose to Fight for a Parking Spot (Or why I got evicted)

You may think that I should have just let it go.
You may think that I was asking for trouble for standing up for myself.
And...you're probably right.

But, if there's one thing that really upsets me, it's when people feel they can walk all over others because they're in a position of power.

Yes, I'm talking about my apartment complex.  

When I moved in, I told them there would be days when I would have to take my wheelchair into the apartment.  That I had a handicap placard, and would be using it.  I thought it was really cool that there was a handicap parking spot right outside my apartment.  Then...this happened:

Yes, that would be a car parked in the striped no parking area right next to the handicap spot.  On a side not, I usually parked a little over the line to give the person next to the handicap spot room to open their doors because the spots were so close together.

The next morning, the car was still there...it was there so late the next morning that I was late for a final exam...I couldn't get my stuff into the car.  When the guy went into the office, and came out, he said the manager said he could park there.  

I'm thinking to myself, wait a minute, this is a no parking zone, and yet the manager just said he could park there.  Something's not right.  So, I decided to look at the Fair Housing Laws, and confirmed that an assigned handicap parking spot is a reasonable accomodation.  And, it would eliminate people parking in the striped area...or so I thought.  

When I asked the manager for the assigned spot, I was told that they'r'e private property and they don't have to provide that accommodation.  So, I checked the law even more.  And this is what I found:
Requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. A reasonable accommodation is a change in rules, policies, practices, or services so that a person with a disability will have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit or common space. A housing provider should do everything s/he can to assist, but s/he is not required to make changes that would fundamentally alter the program or create an undue financial and administrative burden. Reasonable accommodations may be necessary at all stages of the housing process, including application, tenancy, or to prevent eviction.

Example: A housing provider would make a reasonable accommodation for a tenant with mobility impairment by fulfilling the tenant's request for a reserved parking space in front of the entrance to their unit, even though all parking is unreserved.
*Here is the link if you want to check it out* 

So, I printed it out, and went back to my apartment manager, and showed it to them.  I got "we will let the attorney's know".  That was it.  In the meantime there continued to be people parking in the striped spot and the handicap spot itself...without a handicap placard.  

This is when I started keeping records.  On more than one occasion I had to call friends to take my things into my apartment because there was not parking. And, several times, I couldn't get in my car.  And, Yet, I continued to ask for the parking spot.  

By the middle of February, when I filed the complaint, I was so frustrated and overwhelmed that I started looking for another apartment.  I wanted to first have all of my ducks in a row before I gave notice and broke my lease.  

In March, it started to get to the point where I felt I was being harassed because I kept asking for the parking spot.  I started staying at school later and later...the Student Center stays open every night until 11 PM.  Then I would go to McDonald's and waste time there.  It got to the point where I would stay gone from my apartment until I was literally falling over because I was so tired.  And I would turn around and get up early, and be at the Student Center when their doors opened at 7AM.  

Then in April, one of the new tenants called the apartment manager and said I followed her to school (the apartment is half a mile from the school) and that she was scared to come home.  Scared of ME...who sits in a wheelchair all day, and am usually in so much pain, I really don't want to mess with anyone.  

It's hard enough for me to carry my Smart Drive into the house, let alone try to find out exactly who this chick was and where she lived.  I could care less about that at this point.  And...I got home that night to an eviction notice.  Yep, you guessed it...lease violation.  I'm such a scary person.

I knew that my Fair Housing Complaint was working it's way through the system, and I was hoping that it would get through the system in time, but it didn't.  

So, I went to court, and got evicted.  And, I asked for some time until the end of the semester, when all the housing would open up.  

And, the apartments wouldn't budge.  I do have to say that I talked to the Regional Office earlier this week...they said they would let me have my parking spot, and let me stay.  I said Thanks but no Thanks because I want them to learn the law and I want them held responsible for every night I had to leave my stuff in the car because I couldn't carry it in, or every night I couldn't charge my Smart Drive.  

So, thanks to some very awesome and wonderful football players, my stuff made it into storage.  I may not have a roof over my head, but I know I can take a stand and fight for what I'm legally entitled to get.  

And, this is where I am not.  I'm homeless again, and I'm fighting for my rights.  

Fair Housing is coming here to Nac in June, and I have about NINE pages of paperwork to fill out..  Personally, I just want this to go away.  Yeah, I think I may be strong enough to stand up for my rights, but there are days where just standing up is too painful.  It's why I use a wheelchair, and why I asked for that parking spot.  So, in the coming days, I'm going to probably post some of the pictures and videos.  And, I will try to keep you updated.  But, right now, there is very little fight left in me.  I just want to finish my education, and get a good job, and provide for my son.  

Here are a couple of the pictures of cars parked in the handicap spot, and the spot next to it.  The gray car is the maintenance guy, who said the striped spot was his "assigned parking spot".
  






This is one of my favorites...To be able to feel that privileged.  
I'm also uploading a video to youtube.  Personally, it sums up the past 5 months for me.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

I Am Officially Homeless

Well, it's happened.  The time came and went and still, I had no options.  
I did have wonderful friends that helped me move my stuff into a trailer for storage until I find a place.
I did have wonderful friends that invited me to brunch to take my mind off things for a little while, and they also wanted to see the Wesley Foundation, that has done so much for me so far.
And, I'm more fortunate than most...I at least had a car that I could sleep in.  
It may not be ideal, but at least it kept me from the elements, because, boy it got cold last night.  Even the covers in my car didn't help much.  I have about 45 minutes before the student center opens up, and I know I can go and change there, along with use my meal plan and get some breakfast...oh yeah and get WARM!

When I do eat, I'm going to have to charge my smart drive because it's getting down on battery levels.  

I have been very humbled throughout all of this, and I know that God has a plan for me.  
I want to forgive my landlords and roommate, but right now I'm not ready to.  There were oral agreements made, and the landlords committed breach of contract with those.  The roommate is just acting like a spoiled brat (in my opinion).  Yes, I'm not perfect but SERIOUSLY...it was one argument and I was only behind $150 on rent....which they agreed to work with me on until I get my social security.  

One of the landlords did talk to me last week (and made me late to class) and said that because the lease had "NO DOGS ALLOWED" underlined and highlighted, they did not have to let Rainie stay there.  Guess what guys, she was a service dog, and an emotional support dog...she didn't count as a dog, and what was done was against the law.  There is no way to get out of it...what they didn't know was when the mediator went to them for a settlement of some sort, I was so desperate I would have accepted just about anything.  I'm more desperate now, but there's really not much more that can be done to me that I haven't already gone through.  

Give me a couple of weeks, and things will be better...and honestly, besides the cold, this isn't too bad.  I haven't been sleeping well anyway lately, and this actually isn't all that uncomfortable.  I miss my son, and I miss his dad.  If given the choice to not go through this, I think I would stay on the path that God has set for me.  The "hardships" are not really hard when you know you have something to look forward to, or even something to work towards.  I have both.  I know this is temporary and I know that I will still be going to school despite everything that is going on.  Now, it's time to go and find myself some clothes for today, and go change, then head to the school for some breakfast.  
i. can. do. this.
i. am. not. broken. yet.
As long as I remember these two things, then I will be fine.  
Also, here is the gofundme that my friend Marissa started for me.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

This whole situation sucks!

First off I want to say, yes, I care about what happened in Paris, and I would love to help, however, right now I have more pressing issues.  

I've said before, and I will say again...my faith is great!  I know that God has a plan through all of this ugliness.  And, yes, I will follow his plan.

With that being said, I never said I had to like his plan.  In fact, I think this whole situation sucks! In tmy opinion, he landlords still think that they can get out of the Fair Housing complaint because the lease stated "underlined and highlighted" "NO DOGS!" The problem with that, service animals aren't seen as dogs, etc...they are assistive devices.  They help people with disabilities.  There's no way around that one...the violations are there, they should have just said, thank you for telling us we were wrong how can we fix this?  

Then, the male landlord came by the other day, and besides making me late for class, told me that they are going after me for defamation of character because I'm putting what they do on the internet.  There are several websites that list the difinition of defamation as : 
the act of making UNTRUE statements about another which damages his/her reputation

What I post is TRUTH!  And, how the heck can this damage your "reputation" when you bragged that there were over 200 people in your bible study last week?  Seriously?  Damaging your reputation?  I have been a blogger for over five years, I think I understand the first amendment that allows :
FREEDOM. OF. SPEECH.
Yes, it's true that you raised your voice at me, and I will be uploading that soon.  Yes, it's true that you turned that power off, and Nacogdoches police called you about it...and you still kept it off for a WEEK.  I had over $300 worth of food in the refrigerator/freezer...which went bad because of this.

And, it's not my fault that you're paying for a hotel for the roommate who (again in my opinion) is not acting with the best maturity in this whole situation.  

So, it's tomorrow.  I have friends that are going to help me pack up what little I have, and put it all in a storage trailer until I can get my own place again.  Yes, I will be sleeping in my car. I've called Godtell, and if I went there I would have to attend Bible study twice a day, which I have no problem with, and would actually welcome it...however, I have my prior commitments that keep me out past 7:00PM every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and I will not shirk my responsibilities at school.  I made a commitment and I will abide by it.  

P.S. I did go drown my sorrows in Friday Night Magic, and it was Modern night, and I totally LOST!!  I need to work on my decks and see where to go from there!  BUT...this is a learning process and next week I'm sooooo going to win at least one round! 

I have to get ready for Showcase Saturday at the school, then there is a football game, and also a basketball game...I think I'm going to be quite busy today.  Don't worry about me getting my stuff packed...remember...Army wife, I can knock this all out in about 1-2 hours!

Have a GREAT SATURDAY!!

P.S. Here is a picture of some of the $10K in damage I supposedly did to the tile floors!!


Besides the tracks from my tires because I was going over wet floors...how is this $10K worth of damage???