Friday, May 24, 2013

26/28 Car Truths: Getting Sick

Getting Sick...
It sucks,
It happens,
The best thing is to wait it out.

Surprisingly I didn't get sick during the hectic blizzards, but in the warm spring. My co-worker caught the flu from her son and then it infected me. Fortunately I don't get that sick when I catch colds, just a high fever and some sinus problems. The last time I really came down with the flu was a month after dating my ex; I must of caught some kind of stupidity germ that left me in a bed for a week.

Instead of waiting it out, like I'm advising here, I'm just moving about my day slowly. Slowly getting up from bed, slowly running errands and computer work, slowly going to my job, quickly going to bed afterward. Sleeping in and going to bed early are like adult treats. It's the best I can do right now.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Post Grad Update

I graduated last weekend, but my month long job search really hasn't yielded any results. With a BA, I'm too qualified for dead end jobs needed for the Summer, but under qualified for more professional jobs. I've been trying to transfer from my current job to the Springs, but they keep dragging it out. It's almost like the managers want me to quit.

The Car Truths isn't exactly finished, but I'm stuck on finding three more things to talk about. As I graduate, I no longer have admittance to the facilities on campus and have been scrounging around Fort Collins. This includes sink showers and having no permanent location. Maybe I'll come up with some more writing then. In the mean time, the blog will get an overhaul soon with the new graphics I've been working on.

I don't enjoy being tied to my job and not having a permanent residence to "hang out" in. Traveling in general would be more interesting than staying in one city, but that is just personal preference. Living in a car is better than paying rent.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

25/28 Car Truths: Picking a Vehicle


Honestly, the easiest is to inhabit the vehicle you already own. Although, I can understand why vans are prefer over others: space, installed kitchenettes or beds. I've seen pretty neat truck bed set ups, as well as Subaru hatchback set ups. Removing the front passenger seat and replacing it with an ottoman works well for me.

Keep in mind stealth as well as comfort.

Featured on Tiny House Talk, Steven lived in his truck bed to pay off student loans.

During the planning stage, really think about what you use every day and the necessities.

24/28 Car Truths: Rainy Day Fund

Rainy Day Fund!

The name has more irony than you're aware.

The windshield wiper motor on my car broke.

During a thunderstorm.

On the highway.

Living in your vehicle can be a vulnerable experience. Make sure every pay period to set aside an amount to pay for "rainy days," specifically for auto repairs.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

23/28 Car Truths: P.S. P.O.!


PO Box for Bills

If you're going to be living in an area for an extended period of time, get a PO Box. I have one as a back up address, but all my bills are done via internet (phone, banks, netflix, sallie mae).

Having a PO Box also falls into play with my lie. I live in the dorms and the dorms use a PO Box system for students. Once I move back home, I will return my keys to the small rectangular compartment in the hall of rectangular compartments. For the time being, the box only receives letter from the previous owner. The previous renter most likely ran some sort of child care non-profit based on the mail that arrives.

For plasma donation however, I had to use my friend's address as CSL Plasma doesn't accept PO Box addresses.

22/28 Car Truths: Home Base


Home Base!

I love living in my car and enjoy the freedom it brings. Even with every daily used in my reach, I still have things stored at my mom's. I say "things" not just as physical objects, but my cat and a bunch of sentimental value.

My mom and I have lived in that house since 1994. We're one of the few neighbors who have lived in that neighborhood for almost two decades (my best friend's family is another one). I attended the elementary school down the block and walked to the gas station to get slurpees during the summer. There's a trail that I take the family dogs for walks, four generations of doggies. Buried in my back yard are two guinea pigs, a bunch a fish, two birds and a newt.

While I've already given away quite a bit of my collected rat nest of stuff over the years and especially this past year, there's still more to go. Right now I'm debating about selling all my video game consoles. Hmm.

To whom car life is just a temporary college, like myself, it is necessary to have a place to store your belongings. For others independent of their parents, a small storage container would do the trick. A land locked home base could be necessary for storage. I definitely could not fit all my sword fighting equipment into my car and I am not giving up on martial arts. Permanent van dwellers probably don't have this issue. If I ever update to a van, I might have enough room for my gear...

The less stuff you have the less that is holding you back, but sometimes you don't want to give'em up.

Monday, May 13, 2013

21/28 Car Truths: Free Time


There's definitely moments of solitude whether or not you're in a home or vehicle. Finding cheap and entertaining things to do can vary. When the weather is terrible, reading, working out or watching Netflix. Now that it's gotten much nicer outside, I've been drowning in homework.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've made several more friends at work and partaking in the communal activity of Magic: The Gathering.

It's so much fun.

Remember to have hobbies, get out and be free.

Remember that your hobbies should be able to fit into your small vehicle.

20/28 Car Truths: Footsies


I didn't really expect this to happen, as it isn't something that occurs in home dwelling. Sores and blisters on my feet started the first couple of weeks and I didn't pay it any mind because I was running twenty to thirty miles a week. Even after I stopped running as much to slow down my weight loss to stay in the plasma center top tier, my feet still end up with blisters and sores.

From what I've read online, it could be a mixture of not having proper shoes or socks. It could also be from the moisture in the car. Originally when it would sink below freezing I would wear my boots at night and only take off my socks in between showers. I could possibly understand how it became harder to keep them dry and blisters formed more easily.

I'm still working this one out; there aren't any other van dwelling blogs or help advice out there that I have found yet.

During the summer it should become easier to keep my feet dry. Until then, ouch!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Monae Moves Me

Some Thoughts Concerning Education and Economy

I didn't proof read my little rant, and looking back the gaping holes in it are kind of embarrassing. I'll re-post it after I finish editing my thesis paper.

19/28 Car Truths: Self Defense


Self Defense!

There have been debates on different van dwelling forms about carrying a gun as a form of self defense when living in your car. After my personal rant, my take on the subject will be further down...

After my boyfriend decided to tell his WHOLE EFFING FAMILY about my little adventure, they did one of two things.
1.) Started to try and convince me to give him "let him use" my car and buy a used Yukon, so I could place a mattress in back. (I don't spend on my money on booze and cigarettes, so they think I'm the upper crust of the lower cake.)

2.) Told me I should buy a gun and with my clean record it would be pretty easy.

Before I go on a rant about my mixed feelings over guns, I'd like to point out that buying another vehicle and a gun are expensive. The Yukon they tried to convince me to buy from their friend was around 1,000. It would of probably broken down the moment I bought it (if all the broken down cars in front of their house are any indication of how good they are at picking vehicles). This doesn't count registration, insurance, bad gas mileage and whatnot.

Even a small gun is a couple hundred dollars and I'm sure the license itself also costs a bit.

If I had that kind of money - I could of just rented an apartment! My ex's parents were trying to manipulate this into their favor and wanted me to basically take care of their deadbeat son for them. I'm not going to tap into more student loans for you.

I have mixed feelings about guns. Should people be allowed to carry function weapons for hunting and paranoid-sprung home protection? Sure. Why do people need assault rifles? Honestly, even though hand guns are used in most gun-violence, why do people need assault rifles? The only answers I seem to find are this is America; the second amendment; what is shit hits the fan and we need to defend ourselves from anti-Christ Obama. I don't particularly find any of those attitudes convincing, but whatever.

Back on topic!

I've come to the conclusion most have: carrying a gun around makes you a target for the cops, which should be avoided. Even if owning a gun is a part of your rights and whatnot, cops can legally give you a hassle of a time for no justification at all. Be respectful and don't start with them. Having a gun in your car also makes it a target for breaks in and that's generally a bad thing.

What I personally use is a mixture of pepper-spray and some sharp pointy things in close reach.

The more time I spend in my car, the more I realize that the majority of people just don't care. They have errands to run, friends to meet, phones to tap. My little arsenal of defense toys are kind of a back up for having the misfortune to run into a creep. Maybe because I cut them off, or I appear vulnerable or they want to steal something; I don't know. Just in case, I have my little friends.

One of the tools that I actually want, but have been holding out on buying is a kitty key chain self defense stabber. Besides my love for cats, it's small, easier to use and gets the point across.

My mom is the one who provided me with pepper spray. Unfortunately, our neighbors can't won't control their "guard" dog. That dog has gotten out three times and attacked my mom and her dogs. It reached its peak when the dog ripped open our pup, Penny. With emergency veterinary care, Penny survived. I always liked every dog I met until this one. Now my mom has to walk around the neighbor we have lived in for twenty years with fear. She carries pepper spray to fight off the dog if it gets out again.

(The animal control in our city has be completely ignored us. We've called them out, filed charges, called and gone to the office multiple times; nothing.)
This is the school I go to. Sigh.

Oh, by the way: I fight. I just prefer to beat up on my friends, as opposed to actual criminals.

The on the upside, the police are the only group I've really had to worry about it.

Even when riot parties happen right now the street from where I'm sleeping, I didn't hear a word of it until the next day. The party made the front page of the Collegian.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

18/28 Car Truths: Familiarity



If you're planning on living out of your vehicle, whether to travel or as an alternative to four walls, get to know the place you're going to be residing, parking and or traveling through.

It doesn't require extremely detailed knowledge on the area, but just enough to try and stay out of trouble and avoiding inconveniences. An example would be rush hour in the morning, lunch time or five pm.

Where's the "bad" part of town? Are you near a school (especially if you have a van)? Are you in a heavy traffic area? Or a town small enough where an unusual vehicle would stand out? Are there strict parking laws (Colorado Springs vs. Fort Collins)? Are there higher rates for car accidents (LA freeways)

Knowing your surroundings is generally a safe idea anyway, but living out of your car is vulnerable. One break in, one car accident or the cops following you around can really mess up your experience.

Mishaps will happen regardless, try to action to avoid some of them.

17/28 Car Truths: Alternative Forms

Alternative Forms

... of income!

The main reason (besides not really having any other place to stay at the end of December) of living in my car is to save money. I already have a part-time job as a source of income, but adding the extra $55 a week for plasma donations help cover most living expenses for the week. That leaves the majority of my paycheck to go towards loans and fixing my car.

Honestly, I'm debating about finding different sources of income besides plasma donation. If I lose any more weight from running, the $55 a week drops down to $35. It's not really worth it for the lesser amount and I'd rather be athletic.

Previously, I cleaned houses to gather extra money. Unfortunately, CSU likes to create schedules where the entire day is taken up with classes. I'm pretty sure the system is designed to babysit the college kids. The community college I attended before transferring to university had a MW, TR schedule as opposed to CSU's MWF, TR scheduling.

Only being available during evenings and weekends has really affected my work life. Especially, since most of my jobs have been sale-results related. Whatever.

16/28 Car Truths: Scavenge


This might be more a part of college life than living out of your vehicle related. Somewhere out in the wilderness of the town and campus there are organized events that give away food. As the frugal person I try to be and as the daughter of a mom who would save popcorn bags for movie trips, I love free food.

I shouldn't say free, as my student fees go towards paying for event food.

The up side to going to as many events on campus for food is that you also get to learn about other programs or careers out there. So, it's entertainment as well.

Student organizations and club set up various themed activities or forums related to their mission. Most of the events have professionals from the field who discuss their jobs. The Ethnic Studies department had  professionals who have careers in social justice, the International Studies department invited professionals from the field to describe how they found their careers; French and German Club hosts Mardi Gras/Fasching every year.

If you're a student, go down to the student center and look for posters, club meetings and offices that you could gather information about where to go.

If you're luckily enough not to be in school anymore, local libraries and city websites detailing event information (, for Colorado Springs events).

Besides being active in the community and learning about something you normally wouldn't seek out, it's free food.

Even though you're looking for discounted food, remember to be a respectful guest and actually participate in the activity. For Fasching, I helped decorate and danced around. For the career seminars, I listened to all the presenters and asked questions on their experiences.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Words for Thought

Once upon a time, in a meadow close to home, Hapily Porcupine decided to write a book. "Yes," he mused, the exciting thought dancing through his brain, "I'll call it Loveneedles."
    "Ooch, eech, ouch," he said, as he yanked a quill from his hide and set to work. It was very slow going, especially since his quills wore out and his skin began to show. And even more especially because his mind was new to this kind of think-do. Even so, he was determined to finish what he started.
    One day, Upity Ostrich loped by and said, "What in the world are you doing?"
    "I'm writing a book, " replied Hapily, happily. "Aren't you?"
    "Are you mad?" shrieked Upity, uppity. "I don't have time for that sort of thing; and besides, I'm sure it's much too hard, " and went on her way. And Hapily went back to work.
    Not long afterward he heart a slithering in the bush.
    "Sssssssaay," said Snerfy the Snake, "what are you doing?"
    "I'm writing a book, " replied Hapily, happily. "Aren't you?"
    "Aw, gee, n-no," mumbled Snerfy, sniffly. "Just look at me. Who am I to be writing a book about anything? I son'r even have anything to write with, You, on the other … er … hand- why, you're positively bristling with writting equipment," and slithered on his way. And Hapily went back to work.
    One day he heard a flapping in the air, after which Hawtily Hawk plopped onto a branch.
    "And just what do you think you're doing?" asked Hawtily, haughtily.
    "I'm writing a book," replied Hapily, happily. "Aren't you?"
    "Certainly now" replied Hawtily, preening a wing with her beak. "I couldn't possibly do a thing like that, dear boy. Besides, what would people say? I'm sure it would be most embarrassing," whereupon she swooped away. And Hapily went back to work.
    One day, when the wind was still and the sun was warm, Hapily chanced upon his friends, taking in the meadow.
    "Hello, good friends," said Hapily, happily. "what are you doing?"
    "Why, we're reviewing this book you call Loveneedles," they clucked.
    "I would have made it longer," said one.
    "I would have made it shorter," said another.
    "I would have made it better," snider the third.
    "Oh, I expect you're all very correct," said Hapily, sincerely. Whereupon he began to smile. And the smile turned into a giggle, and the giggle turned into the biggest bellylaugh that Hapily had ever owned. Because unlike his friends, Hapily had just learned the secret of life: Persistence makes accomplishments; excuses make hot air.

And so the moral of this fable is
If you're sure you can't, you won't.
If you think you can, you might.
If you know you can, you will.

by Robert F. Mager


This fall under one of my faults in frugality: if something is cheap and maybe need it, I'll buy a lot; if something is expensive, but I could definitely use, I'll hold out.

A gas burning stove kind of falls in that category. If I did have a small stove, I could cook soups, rice, beans, pastas, and other nice warm foods that are cheap in bulk. On the other hand, I don't really have that kind of space. My car is already cramped by just being in there, let alone fixing food up to eat. Also, I don't think the local PD would appreciate me cooking around town.

I've definitely window shopped for stoves and plan on purchasing one before I live out of my vehicle again. Although, some of the stoves appear to be getting quite outlandish. Why bring an entire kitchen out camping? There are grills, ovens and burner tops all designed for some type of luxury camping.

And I thought as a kid using wire coat hangers over sticks to roast marshmellows was fancy.

A small burner appears to be the smallest, cheapest option.
Grab a cheap or free pot, a gas canister and cook!

15/28 Car Truths: Stay Clean

Stay Clean!

Even if you did choose this way of living, most people, if they found, would consider you homeless. Unfortunately, homelessness is generally looked down upon in America. If you're not using a gym to have a place to shower, definitely stay clean and "normal" looking.

Truck stop showers, sink showers however you plan on maintaining cleanliness will help you avoid that stigma of being homeless. Further, living in your car could be an adventure, an opportunity to rise above or get out of your the ennui of "normal" life.

If you're not keeping up on regular maintenance, it makes you less stealthy. Your safety and belongings are packed up in that car, don't draw attention to yourself.

When I don't want to go to the gym and workout, I can usually draw up my hair and a deodorant stick can get me through the day easily. Even with a home people still have grungy  days. On Sundays, when I have to be at work before the gym opens, a good sink shower in the library keeps me fresh.

Deodorant, a package of baby wipes, and shorter hair is all you need to stay clean and stay stealthy.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

14/28 Car Truths: Mindful Spending

Mindful Spending!

I'm saving money. I'm putting away around $400 a month towards loans, savings and my end of the year trips. I'm doing so well... until I buy something.

It's usually food, because I try and justify that I can work it into the whole food budget. Or I get invited to a friend's house to eat dinner and want to contribute to the meal.

And the cafe's chocolate croissants are the bomb.

It's impossible to avoid mistakes, but just keep in mind why you're living this lifestyle.

I choose to live in my car to help pay off debts and avoid more student loans.

Eating trail mix, peanut butter everything, fresh fruits and granola bars almost everyday can get a little tiring, but it's worth it!



What am I doing with my life!?

Just trying to live more intentionally, I guess.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

13/28 Car Truths: Try it out

Picture of the old mattress, with all the beasties on it.
Mom came up to visit for a day and brought Penny and Bubba.
The past couple of posts for this Car Truth series have focused on my experiences living in my car. I'm going to cover some before hand experiences that helped prepare me for living in my car.

Try it out!

While I know this life sounds exciting before you give away all your things and move out of your housing structure, try it out for a couple of days. Originally, I slept in my car, parked in the garage to understand what it would be like. I still had my mattress stuffed inside the car, I didn't have any window coverings figured out and I became a little more preoccupied with watching the season finale of Doctor Who.

When I actually finished setting up, I still had so much stuff left over that I had to drive back to Colorado Springs, unload the car at three in the morning and drive all the way back to Fort Collins. Once I loaded the car again, I had already taken out the passenger seat. My ex wanted to ride up to help me and I relented. I rode back down to the Springs, with him and a car full of junk, "buckled" to the driver's seat beat and sitting on the ottoman that I use for a bed now. It was pretty much a death trap.

I didn't have any window covers. Instead of making them, using shirts or towels I purchased $27 dollars worth of sun reflectors. The ties on the reflectors didn't hold them up against the sides and read of my car. I had to use the pins in my sewing kit to pin them to the roof and then unpin in the morning.

Basil by himself, being all cutesy.
The mattress in the car seemed like a good idea and far more comfortable than the back seat (which it wasn't). Less than a week with a mattress in my car attracted two cops and probably onlookers, who wondered why an off-white block consumed my backseats.

If you want to live in your car permanently or temporarily, try it out. Tweak what you have; it isn't enough or it's too much.