Yesterday, the car was finally finished. It ended up being more than expected because it was also discovered that the rear left brake needed to be repaired. New brake caliper, rotor and $377 later and the car was good to go. I drove the car home, cleaned it out and vacuumed it. Jessica had been, throughout the week, washing their piles and piles of laundry. While I was cleaning the car out, she folded the clothes, sorted them and put them in separate totes for each one. The car was totally loaded up by the time I left to take it back to the mother at the hotel.
For those of you curious, here are the numbers as of day three:
First, let’s start with the expenses (the bad news):
Parts for car: 0 (we opted to have a mechanic repair, so the parts will be returned)
Hotel for mom: $500.00
Gas for car: $20.00
Outstanding parking tickets in Milwaukee: $613.00
Outstanding parking ticket in Green Bay: $55.00
Target for essentials for the kids: $200.00
School Uniforms (oldest started school yesterday): $70.00
Outstanding electric bill (needs to be paid so when she *does* find a place to stay, she can get the lights turned on): $1300.00
Car repair: $800.00 (this might actually go lower once it’s done as there are things that *might* not be needed. Car will be done later today.)
Now for the good news! This is what YOU all have contributed: $2,675.00
Definitely a testament to what a group of people can do when they pool their resources. Once again, Jessica and I cannot thank you enough! I’ll keep posting a daily update as numbers change.
Thanks again everyone!
Help a Homeless Single Mother & Her Four Children
For those of you that have known us for more than a week, you know that our goal when we moved into this big house in urban Milwaukee was to build it out so that we could take children in (typically sibling groups because they are difficult to place together). If you’re new to our story, you can watch the video I made a couple months ago about it here:
Of course, life does not always turn out the way we planned and it seems that in many ways the cart kind of came before the horse when it came to sleeping arrangements. Our ultimate goal is that this house have a total of 11 bedrooms. Currently, there are technically five; two of which are used as offices since both Jessica and I work from home and sharing one room as an office is not an option (we are both on calls a lot of our time and the rooms are not big enough to prevent us from talking over each other constantly). This really only leaves three official bedrooms available. And while we have a lot of square footage, since much of the house is more of an open design, there’s not a lot of privacy. But, sometimes you can put the cart before the horse and still make things work. And that’s what we have been doing with the three we added in October and, again, what we’re doing now that we have four more. It’s not pretty but it works for now.
This room, currently opens up to the upstairs landing and leads to another room of similar size. It has French doors that separate it from the landing and is totally open to the next room. Our goal is to move the French doors and put privacy film on the glass so that this room can go back to being a play area. The next room will become a bedroom.
This room will be the one with the French doors for entry. The other entry will be closed off with the pocket doors that lead into the next room which was originally used as the upstairs dining room (keep in mind that this house was originally a duplex). The upstairs dining room is the room in which Jessica and I have slept since we moved in. It has three points of entry, two of which have no closable doors. Needless to say, privacy does not exist in that room. Also in this room is where my dresser and our wardrobe/closets are since there is currently no room for them in our sleeping quarters.
This room is our bedroom. As you can see, it’s currently a bit crowded. Jessica, A2, TJ and I share this room. This is the challenging room because we have two babies, neither of which sleep through the night, but we have to try to keep one from not waking the other when he wakes up. This room, other than the closable pocket doors (which generally remain open) have two other open doorways and the room is currently a thoroughfare to get to the back room. We plan to close that off and reroute so that this can become an actual private bedroom.
Last night, in order to make things easier, I “slept” with TJ on the downstairs couch. The plan backfired as none of the upstairs kids had a restful night, meaning Jessica got to deal with all of that. And TJ only sleeps for about 30 minute periods at a time. When he wakes up, he’s a pretty fussy baby.
Lastly, this is the back room. This is where L and K sleep for now. This room is right outside of my office and connects to our bedroom through an open doorway. This room is typically another upstairs play room. As you can see, Brenna’s dollhouse is against the wall. Once again, when the attic is finished, this will go back to becoming a common area; a place for the kids to play, do homework, take a break . . . whatever. It’s nice to have it right outside my office because I get to hear them playing at times while I work. And listening to kids play is probably my number one favorite sound in the world (until they start arguing. But that NEVER happens here! NEVER! 😉 ).
So as you can see, at the moment, things are a bit cramped. On top of the sleeping arrangements, bathroom space can sometimes be a bit of a struggle. But I have a theory that a house could have 15 bathrooms, but if one is in use, it’ll be the one that you need at the moment. Still, the addition of two bathrooms in the attic will bring some added relief there. I think that we’ll find out exactly how tough it will be next week when school starts for the rest of the kids. But that’ll be another post on another day.
Just wanted to give everyone a grand total update on the fund raiser, along with a balance sheet of sorts. The thing that has been shocking to me is how many have contributed from overseas and are people I don’t know at all. It’s pretty amazing.
If he weighs even 8 pounds, I’d be shocked. He’s a month old, or so his mother says. We call him TJ and the first time I saw him was in a car seat turned sideways in the front of the stalled car. He didn’t make a noise. And if you were to ask me (in fact, Jessica did), I would have said he was a day or two old. I’m not sure I’ve ever held a baby so small.
So yesterday I posted a call for support. First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you who pitched in to the campaign started yesterday. The response was overwhelming. Much of the money came from people I don’t know at all which really blew my mind. I knew that I had quality friends both in my personal and professional circles (which really overlap or have no dividing line at all), but it’s so good to see that others felt the need to help this complete stranger. Of course, the expenses do continue to pile up but yesterday was a huge boost.
A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about the fact that poverty sucks. At the time, it was really all I could think about as Jessica and I went through the day trying to do a bit of crisis management and come up with a game plan. Almost every solution we were able to come up with was on that ended up with us shelling out money. The song says that money can’t buy you love. It’s true. But it really IS a tremendous tool for getting some things done that need to be done, ESPECIALLY in an emergency.
So, while I titled the post “Poverty Sucks,” I really did not talk about it in terms of why it sucks.
Ok – folks. There’s no other way to say it and I honestly don’t have time to soft-shoe it (If you haven’t read, see the blog post here). The last 24 hours have been (needless to say), somewhat expensive. And regardless of how this request for money goes, it won’t change how Jessica and I handle it. But I’ve already gotten several requests from people wanting to know how they can help this mother. In short, and as crass as it sounds, we need money.
By my guess, she’s in her 20s. Young. I happened upon her this morning while walking our dog. She was in her car stuck at the intersection of two alleys. I heard her trying to start the car. Over. And over. And over. It cranked but wouldn’t start. To my untrained ear, it sounded like she was out of gas. I decided that if the car was still there after walking Barcelona, I would go over and offer my help.
So, the last few weeks have been a bit frustrating when it comes to construction of the attic. The photo shown here was taken on June 26 and here it is, the middle of August and not a lot has changed.
At the time this photo was taken, the only thing that hadn’t been done as opposed to what has been completed is the running of the electrical and plumbing; both were three-day jobs. So, for approximately 50 working days, nothing got done. That’s right, ALMOST TWO MONTHS!