Relative to what I had been going through thus far in good ole LA, the burden I had been on people with sleeping on their couches, the instability of sleeping in my car and wondering if and when I'd be able to eat again, this new place was a Godsend. Sure it still wasn't an ideal situation, but it was the first time I had a place that I could call my own. It was the first time I could walk through that front door, lay my head on my pillow and not worry about anything. I had been in LA for about 13 months and this was going to be my 7th place of "residency", counting my wonderful "four star hotel".
The place wasn't too shabby. It was a little old fashioned, dark hardwood floors, which growing up in Hawai'i, it wasn't something I was used to. It looked like it was probably built in the 40's, maybe the 50's, and definitely smelled like it. The parking situation was terrible, although, I was lucky since I worked graveyard and the street was relatively clear by the time I got home. As "stable" as things were starting to be, I still didn't unpack any of my boxes and continued to live out of my suitcase to prevent myself from "settling" into that situation.
The girl I moved in with was cool. She was an aspiring actress in her early 30s and alternated between two part time day jobs. In terms of our schedule, things worked out pretty well. Since I worked graveyard, by the time I came home, she was getting ready to leave for work and after a while, it almost felt that I had the place to myself. If we were every home at the same time, she stayed in her room and I still pretty much had the whole place to myself, living room and kitchen included.
Despite schedule convenience, sleep was definitely still a tough thing to get accomplished. I'm one of those guys that needs pitch darkness to fall asleep and needless to say, having the sunlight seep into the living room and invade the confines of my nook contributed in no way to the cause. Add to the fact that I'm a light sleeper and my roommate wasn't exactly the quietest person in the world, ie. she was one of those people who yelled into the phone when she spoke and walked heavily, I definitely was not a happy, or sleeping, camper.
My lack of sleep was slowly catching up to me as I was still trying to juggle two full time jobs, one at Gamestop and one at E! Entertainment. It started to take its toll as I began attempts to squeeze in small half hour naps in between my shifts. I remember started to get headaches and my eyes began twitching a lot. I began to show up late to Gamestop and even had a couple instances where I was scheduled to open the store alone, only to show up half an hour late with customers already waiting at the front door. The main store manager was cool but after the third or fourth time, he was feeling pressure from his higher ups and warned me that I should put in my two weeks notice before the District Manager made it official to fire me. So that's what I did so as not to have it on my record that I was fired from a job.
So now I was down to only one full time job and as much I hated to leave Gamestop, I felt much relief and hope in the anticipation of getting more time to sleep. It was sad to me because as sad as it sounds, Gamestop was there for me during such a hard time of my life. It was like my safe haven amongst a tough job market. It gave me a chance when no other job would and more importantly it came at a time when I needed the most help. The people I met there provided me with the sanity I needed with all the instability I was facing. It was hand that fed me when I was starving and I was sad to see it go. But, I knew it was time to move on and embrace working at E!.
So my new weekday schedule pretty much went like this: work from 11pm-8am, get home around 8:15am, my roommate left for work around 9am, I'd fall asleep around 12:30-1pm, and my roommate would come home around 4pm, waking me up to where I'd toss and turn until it was time leave for work around 10:30pm. So yeah, definitely there wasn't much sleep going on despite having only one job.
About a couple months into the move, my good ole car poked its head back into the forefront as if refusing to be ignored. Due to its incredible cost, I still wasn't able to switch out the aftermarket racing parts in the engine which would've allow me to register my car and thus, the tags on my car inevitably expired. I tried as much as I could to drive as little as I could and when I did, my eyes were constantly on the rear view mirror.
One Saturday morning, I awoke as I always did, got ready as I always have, brushed my teeth as I had done many times before and headed out the door. As I neared the spot on the street where I had parallel parked my car, my heart sank as I realized that in its place was a car that I didn't recognize. Instantly, I knew that what was going on and that my car had been towed. Just to make sure I called the police to report a "stolen car". They confirmed it being impounded and gave me the information to recover it. I headed over to the towing office and was informed that to re-register the car, along with all the towing and holding fees, it would cost me over $3000 just to get the car back. That $3000 doesn't count the amount it would cost to change out the engine parts which the grand total for everything would amount to nearly $10,000!
Thanks, but no thanks. And as much as my car was there for me when I most needed a place to stay, it was definitely more of a burden than a blessing and it was time to finally say goodbye to it. I bought the damn thing for $1100 and with the amount of money I was putting into it, I might as well have gotten and brand new car. Plus, since I wasn't working at Gamestop anymore, I didn't have drive the 40minutes to get there and with E! a couple of blocks away, the need for a car was minimal.
So I decided to surrender my car and with the help of my friend Joe, I emptied it out and said goodbye. A couple of days later, I bought myself a bike and got familiar with the public transportation system, which is actually pretty reliable if you stay within the greater LA area.
So from then on, I rode my bike to and from work and used the bus/subway to get to auditions and meetings. Slowly but surely, I was finally able to eat good and had the leeway to start saving money to consistently keep up with my student loans. Unfortunately, since I had no car, I was unable to meet up with friends without depending on someone for a ride. But I didn't mind, it was either pay now and play later or play now and pay later.
With the turn of the new year, things were looking better in terms of money. I still was getting payed shit, but having to pay $500 out of $1200 rent a month definitely had its perks. I was still living paycheck to paycheck and barely getting by, however, it was a world of difference from my time in the Shady House. Since that time, I had gotten used to living frugally and budgeting every penny I spent but at least now I was doing it with a steady income and was able to actually take care of my bills before being broke as a joke as opposed to having no income with my bills piling up and being broke as a joke. My body was getting used to 3-4 hours of sleep so that was becoming less of a problem and I calculated that within several more months of "saving", I'd have taken care a lot of my outstanding debt and would be able to save enough money to get my own place and manage all my bills relatively comfortably albeit still living paycheck to paycheck.
As March rolled around, I guess I may have been getting a bit too "content" in my situation, because life, with all her quirkiness, decided to send me yet another curve-ball. As I sat on my couch, watching a movie on my netflix, my roommate came into the living room and threw a wrench in my whole plan to save money.
"I'm moving into a new place next week," she told me.
And with that one sentence, I envisioned the little money that I had saved up until that point go down the drain as I would now be forced to somehow take on the task of paying $1200 rent along with my already dampering bills.
Part 1: Where's the Love?
Part 2: Moving Day
Part 3: The Shady House
Part 4: False Salvation
Part 5: Four Star Hotel
Part 6: Do Unto Others
Part 7: So Close, Yet So Far
Part 8: Dent of Hope