John Balderson's Diary
John Balderson's Diary

June 1999

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

Thank you for visiting this section of the Tent City/HAC/Foundations web site. I moved into Foundations on April 26, 1999. Prior to that date, I was one of the first residents to move into the new Broward County Homeless Assistance Center/Huizenga Family Campus (HAC) on February 1, 1999 where I lived until April 26. These two facilities were a pleasant change after living at Tent City since March, 1997.

I am chronicling my experiences for those interesting 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.

Tuesday June 1, 1999

I apologize for not keeping these diary entries up to date, but since I lost my job at the plastics factory in Pompano Beach because the shifts were too difficult to handle in addition to the transportation, I have been looking for new employment. There is a flurry of activity this week with meetings and seminars as outlined below:

I promise to have more frequent entries in the diary this month as June will be quite busy for me.

Wednesday June 2, 1999

Traveling to the Microsoft seminar at Miami-Dade Community College in Kendall yesterday was quite an ordeal, as I had to take 5 different modes of transportation each way to get there and back. I had to take BCT 14 downtown to the central terminal, transfer to BCT 1 to go to Aventura Mall, transfer to Miami bus to the Omni,transfer there to the Metromover to go to Government Center, take the Metrorail to Dadeland North, and finally a bus from Dadeland North to the college. I left at 6AM from Foundations and arrived at MDCC at 9:15. The return trip was equally as arduous as I left at 6PM and arrived back at Foundations at 10PM.

Also set up diary on web site for June and added new link on main page for Foundations web site which I put up using the Foundations computer system over the Memorial Day weekend.

By being able to use this computer on a limited basis, it will save numerous trips to the library to use their computers. As a token of thanks for putting the web site up, John Ferguson, director of Foundations bought me a monthly BCT pass and provided me with some cash so that I could travel to Miami yesterday for the Microsoft seminar, for which I am eternally grateful.

Friday June 4, 1999

Went to Clinical Studies yesterday to do pre-lab and evaluation for new case study on mild hypertension. This study is similar to the high blood pressure one I just finished, and for this one I will be paid $325 for 7 visits over a 14 week period. I am scheduled back for my second visit on June 8, when prescription medicine will be dispursed.

Also met with Lisa Huriash from the Sun-Sentinel to bring her up to date on how my life at Foundations has been so far.

Tuesday June 8, 1999

I have been really busy the last several days having attended a Microsoft presentation on Windows 98 Second Edition,games, and Office 2000 on Saturday in Pembroke Pines, the official launch of Office 2000 yesterday in Boca Raton, and my return visit to Clinical Studies where I found out that I have a slightly elevated potassium count and it may affect the eligibility of the latest clinical study.

I have missed some meetings recently at Foundations with all this activity so I was asked by staff to attend extra meetings this week to compensate for the ones I missed last week.

I received a copy of Windows 2000 Beta 3 from Microsoft over the weekend as well as BackOffice Server 4.5 so I can learn how to use this software and market myself as having knowledge in these products in order to get computer employment.

My next Microsoft adventures will be June 15 and 21 in Miami, followed by a similar event in Fort Lauderdale on the 17th and 18th. I will be Microsoft'ed out by the end of the month at this rate!

Saturday June 12, 1999

I have been extremely busy the last few days, as I had to make a return visit to Clinical Studies on Thursday, June 9, where I learned that since my potassium level is high I will be unable to participate in any clinical studies for cholesterol or hypertension. I was given some prescription medicine and advised to see a doctor as soon as possible.

On Wednesday June 10, I started a new job working for an Internet web hosting company called Speed Net on Davie Blvd. I will be doing maintenance on web pages owned by the clients who subscribe to the company for posting their web sites, as well as doing submissions to Internet search engines (Yahoo,Infoseek,etc.) for the same web site.

I will be doing this maintenance using Microsoft Visual Interdev,WS-FTP,Microsoft Front Page,and Notepad, all programs which I am highly experienced in. The way I got this job was highly unusual. Last Saturday, June 4, when I was doing maintenance on this diary I overheard a patron ask at the information desk where he could find a book on Linux. It just so happened that I had checked that book out myself about 2 weeks ago, so I directed him.

He later came over, introduced himself as Jay Taylor, and asked me about my HTML (web page language) skills. I told him that the web sites I created for myself for TentCity/HAC/Foundations and my own personal web page on Geocities were both created by hand-coding HTML, since you cannot use the graphical editor on the library computers since the library is still on Windows 3.1.

He left me a phone number, and after playing phone tag a couple of times, I came out to see him at his business, CyberVenture,(Speed Net is the Internet Web site name) at 2145 Davie Blvd, on Wednesday. I handed him a copy of my resume, and he gave me a hypothetical scenario and asked me to show him how to change the HTML to fix the problem.

After the demonstration, he was convinced I had the skills necessary to do the job he was looking to fill, and I was hired and put on the payroll immediately. I will be working Monday-Friday from 9-5, and will get paid every two weeks with my first check coming on June 18. I also will hopefully be getting my IRS check this weekend so now I will retrench my efforts to get the laptop computer since I could download work onto the laptop and do work at home. I will probably have to get a new laptop instead of the used one I originally planned since I will need something with a strong processor and plenty of disk space.

The laptop I was going to buy from my friend is an IBM ThinkPad, with a Pentium 133MHz processor, 4X CD-ROM drive, 28.8 modem card, 1.3 GB hard drive, and 40MB RAM. Since I don't know whether he would sell me the computer with the modem card, and since I will need a computer with at least a 4 GB hard drive and a 266MHz processor, I will probably spend the extra money now that I have a job and get a new laptop.

My contract with Foundations expires June 26, and since I do not have the opportunity to meet with the county worker Clyde Whyte, I have no idea whether I will be extended or will have to start paying come June 26, although the director John Ferguson, who was instrumental in getting me the monthly BCT pass, will intervene in my behalf and see if he can get me an extension.

So all in all, next week should be pretty good. I even found some stuff on the Internet from Microsoft's support web site to correct a problem we encountered yesterday after installing Visual Interdev on both computers.

His computer is a Pentium II 333 MHz with CD-ROM , V90 56K modem,and 64MB RAM, and the one he is letting me use is a full blown entertainment/computer system called the Gateway Destination, which is a 36" TV that can also be used as a monitor, with Boston Acoustic speaker system, Pentium II 400 MHz, with DVD, V90 56K modem, and 128MB RAM. I had to reconfigure it yesterday after one of the people in the office "hosed" the system and it wouldn't reboot properly, after I had left on Thursday.

Saturday June 19, 1999

I made the unfortunate mistake of having a couple of beers after having a late dinner because of work. I went to Hooter's at Las Olas Riverfront on Tuesday, ordered some wings and had a couple of beers. As a result of this infraction, I was barred from Foundations until June 22, so I have to stay at the airport, since I have no way to get my clothes.

The county worker Clyde Whyte had made arrangements to get a voucher thru BARC to stay at the Salvation Army for a week, but I wouild have to have left work in order to fulfill the appointment, and I didn't want to jeopardize my new job.

So I'll just tough it out until Tuesday.

Saturday June 26, 1999

Due to the recent merger between Geocities and Yahoo!, the server was down for several days so I could not enter any entries in the diary or do maintenance on the web site.

As a result of my indiscretion with regards to coming in late to Foundations, my voucher was suspended. I talked to Clyde Whyte from Broward County on Thursday June 24 after my boss allowed me to take some personal time to find new housing. Clyde arranged for me to get an advance on my pay and I am currently staying at the Salvation Army on Broward Boulevard on a first-come-first-serve basis. I will be looking for another place to stay as soon as possible, and my boss is going to take me over to Foundations on Monday to pick up my belongings, although I am not sure at this point where I am going to store them.

I will call my former case manager from the HAC, Laura Hawley, to see if there is any way I can get back into the HAC for a short period of time, since I left there on good graces. I will probably not change the theme of this web site until I know for sure where I am going to be staying on a permanent basis.

The major lesson I learned, is that no matter how inconsiderate others are to you, don't take matters into your own hands, especially if you are going out socially and responsibly but staying with people who are in recovery. I lost the roof over my head at Foundations because of this stupidity, but now that I have an understanding boss and a decent job, I should be able to rebound quickly.

May 1999          July 1999

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

Foundations Diary Entries

May 1999

Return to Home Page