John Balderson's <a href="">Homelessness</a> Diary

John Balderson's Homelessness Diary

January 2000

You are visitor to John Balderson's Homelessness Diary web page.

Thank you for visiting this section of my web site.

Thanks to the 1400+ visitors to the website in 1999, and I hope to see a continued interest in the problem of homelessness in Fort Lauderdale in the year 2000.

I am chronicling my experiences for those interested in learning about "breaking the cycle of homelessness", a quote I like from the resource development director of the HAC, Ezra Krieg.

Below is a diary of my activities.

Wednesday December 29, 1999

As we approach the end of the millennium, and the beginning of the next one. I am starting the January 2000 diary a couple of days early since the library will be closed New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, and other than the items I am detailing here, not much will happen between now and then anyway.

First of all, I would like to thank Lisa Margulis from Cooperative Feeding for finding me a place to stay, when I had just about given up. As of Monday, January 3, I will be starting my job at RGIS as an inventory specialist working at places as diverse as Sawgrass Mills,Lauderhill Mall,Winn-Dixie,Publix,and Toys-R-Us to name a few. I will be part of a team counting store inventory and entering the counts on portable computer keypads.

Speaking of computers, I finally got my Gateway laptop computer, after I literally had to "babysit" and wait for the UPS truck to show up at the HAC, so that there was no repeat of the last incident. Despite the fact that I explained to the driver that he should have/could have left a package slip, he still claims that since the delivery was refused at the HAC, he couldn't leave the package slip, which is why the first computer was sent back to South Dakota.

Well that's water under the bridge now, I have the computer, I have a roof over my head, I have a job. I must strive to make sure I don't make any stupid mistakes in 2000.

As for celebrating Y2K, I have been invited to a party at the home of one of the people I will be working for starting Monday.

Again, thank you for your continued interest in the web site and the diary, and I will be writing again in the year 2000.

Happy New Year everyone!!!!

Thursday January 6, 2000

I hope everyone had a pleasant New Year, and realized that the world's computers were not about to crash just because of Y2K.

I have been at my new job at RGIS for three days now, working at Kenneth Cole and Spiegel's at Sawgrass Mills and Champs at the Galleria. Later on this week I will be at Toys R US on Federal Highway and Pet Supermarket near Sears Town.

With the exception of some drunken neighbors, my stay so far at the new house has been far more pleasant than my stay at Foundations was, as I am not having AA/NA meetings slammed down my throat. Although I admit to indulging on weekends from time to time, and at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I am handling my forays into beer drinking a lot better than some of the other people I am staying with.

I had the opportunity to meet with the owner of the property the other day and we made arrangements on how I can pay my rent since my first check from RGIS will not be until January 21.

I also had Microsoft send out another copy of my upgrade software for my new laptop since my crackhead neighbor stole the package fron the Airborne delivery and tried to sell it or give it to the person running the property, even though the software is clearly marked "NOT FOR RETAIL OR OEM DISTRIBUTION". The thief tried to claim that the software came from a store on Andrews Avenue, but when the property manager asked me about specific issues with the software, I knew that I had never received the package and that it had been delivered.

I also received information from my friend Lisa Huriash that the Sunshine article about me will appear on Sunday, January 23, one week before Super Bowl XXXIV which is when the Outlook article about me appeared last year.

I will be paying $110 weekly for the rent and about $60 a month for the computer when I finally get the bill. I will not be abke to use the computer much for Internet access until next Friday when the owner installs a new phone line, since none of us in our apartment ever get any messages or they disconnect the jack over to our apartment so that they can use the phone all to themselves.

Please check back in a couple of days as I will have more to tell about my first week in this new millennium.

Wednesday January 19, 2000

The job at RGIS was short-lived, thanks to an alcoholic roommate who constantly brought beer into the house, and played the stereo/TV loud at night, despite a 11PM "Quiet Time" curfew. I have several leads for working at McDonald's restaurants in the area, and I should have more information available tomorrow.

In order to allow me to have more peace, and because I do not have any significant substance abuse problems, the owner, Nina Davidson, promoted me to a house she owns near the intersection of Powerline and Commercial. I moved my belongings from the duplex on Sunday, and now that I have my laptop back from a hard-drive crash, she allowed me to take a private room, and she brought over a 12" black-and-white TV so that I can watch programs that are different than those that the rest of the house wants to watch, as there are several impatient channel-surfers who can't stay on a program for more than 10 minutes, but guys will be guys, I guess.

I appreciate the fact that Nina has a lot of confidence in me, and although I am not able to pay her the full amount due for the rent, she trusts me enough to know that I will pay her in full, as soon as I am able.

I have been helping out the Cooperative Feeding Program with computer research based on the information they provided to an online charity organization, Guidestar.

Since they as well as Broward Partnership for the Homeless, Inc. (BPHI) and Love Thy Neighbor are also on this site, I have created a web page for online donations to these organizations using secure Internet credit card processing.

It is a lot more peaceful at the house than it was at the duplex, and I actually have been able to get some sleep, which was a rare commodity at the duplex, and caused other tenants in my apartment to leave as well. I am right near the 55 and 14 bus lines, so I really could'nt ask for anything more, other than to get another job real soon.

I promised myself that 2000 was going to be my re-building year, and with the Sunshine article coming out on Sunday, and the optimism of another job on the horizon, I believe I can reach those goals, and possibly have my own apartment by the end of the year.

Monday January 24, 2000

The long awaited article by Lisa Huriash appeared in yesterday's Sunshine magazine in the Sun-Sentinel. I received several phone calls, imcluding one from my former Tent City neighbor and friend, and my landlord, both with positive responses.

I thought the article was well balanced and told my xtory well, and I was surprised that my picture was on the cover of the magzaine as well. I plan on calling Lisa later today to let her know what I thought of the article.

I will be starting work at the new McDonald's restaurant at Atlantic and Powerline tomorrow. Although it is not as good as the job I had at RGIS which I lost in part due to the drunk I lived with at the duplex, it income to is a start and gives me an opportunity to start paying my landlord back and an income so I can start paying for my laptop computer, which I still have not received any bill for yet, although I did receive a 32MB RAM upgrade from Gateway via UPS the other day, giving me a total of 64MB RAM memory, 1000 times more powerful than the first computer I ever bought, a Commodore 64.

Wednesday January 26, 2000

I went to a Microsoft seminar at FAU in Boca Raton yesterday, learning all about a fairly new programming tool called XML,as well as a prospering technology common to places like Amazon books called e-commerce. This is the second time in 4 days that I had been at FAU, as I went there Thursday, January 20 as well with my landlord and her husband ,who is in the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra choir, to attend a concert at the auditorium with Stravinsky and Orff's Carmen Burana. I will be returning there again on February 17, 2000 when Windows 2000 launches.

When I got home, I had an unexpected surprise. One of the residents in the house who moved in the same day I did, went into my room and stole my laptop computer and carrying case.

This morning, I went over to a pawn shop not too far from the house, gave them a complete description of the computer and case, and information about the police report I filed with BSO last night, and it turns out that this individual had pawned the computer (supposedly for his "girlfriend") for $100, approximately $2100 less than what it is actually worth.

I called BSO up, they came over to the house this morning to file a follow-up report, I called my landlord, and instructed the people at the store not to sell the computer and to hold it because now it is involved in a criminal case. The BSO officer said I might have to pay the $100 myself to get it out of pawn, and to use the court system to get the $100 back from the scurrilous thief after he is arrested.

Ironically, the name of both this individual as well as the one at the duplex (not the same person) was named Tommy, so I will be very careful in the future with any Thomas or Tommy I encounter in my daily travels.

There continues to be some confusion at McDonald's as I went there today and the manager there was not aware that I was supposed to be signing paper work, as the hiring manager had jury duty today, so I guess I have to wait yet another day before I can actually start working.

Things sure have been getting interesting only 3 days after the Sunshine article!

Sunday January 30, 2000

As a result of feedback in the guestbook from a person named Paul Castagna who runs an insurance company in Coral Springs, I went to his office on Friday as he would like me to work with him to re-construct a web site that was lost when they changed Internet Service Providers. In addition he would like me to integrate their insurance package with the mail program Microsoft Outlook.

After my conversation with Paul, I informed him that I could probably do the software integration and could probably have the full web site up within a month, with internet presence available by the end of next week.

I have been unable to confirm any information on the McDonald's job, since the manager is presently on jury duty, and did not pass along the hiring information to any of the other store managers. I will continue to contact them, and try to work both jobs if possible.

I also will work out an arrangement with my landlord to try to retrieve my laptop from the pawn shop, as now that I have a viable job opportunity with Paul, it would be to my benefit (and my landlord's) to get the computer back as soon as possible.

Dec 1999  Feb 2000

To read previous weekly entries from the diary please click on any of the links below.

HAC Diary Entries

January 31-February 6
February 7-February 13
February 14-February 20
February 21-February 27
February 28-March 6
March 7-March 13
March 14-March 20
March 21-March 27
March 28-April 3
April 4-April 10
April 11-April 17
April 18-April 24

Post-HAC Diary Entries

May 1999
June 1999
July 1999
August 1999
September 1999
October 1999
November 1999
December 1999

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