Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My son has a laptop!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to you all but my son is the proud owner of a new laptop.

The manager at the local Staples store came through bigtime for me as he was able to get me the following for $599 ( plus tax )

Dell® XPS M1330 Notebook PC
As one of the thinnest and lightest notebooks in its class, the XPS M1330 is a truly portable notebook.
Intel® Core 2 Duo T5450 (1.66GHz) processor
2GB installed memory
120GB Hard drive
SuperMulti DVD drive
13.3" WXGA TrueLife™ Wide Display
Built-in Dell Wireless Bluetooth capability
2.0 Megapixel Integrated Webcam
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium
1 year warranty

Staples has been selling it for close to $1100 but the store had a special Christmas Eve sale.

I had enough from the donations and saving what I could to get him a wireless mouse as well and his Mom is going to get the bag for him.

He is beyond thrilled and I am so grateful to all.

Meanwhile in the real world Christmas Night was a little bleak at the shelter. Some volunteers promised to provide Christmas dinner and they never showed letting the poor students who did not go home to scramble to feed everyone. It wasn't the big dinner they had planned but there was nothing they could do.

I will be at the shelter until Saturday morning and then have to see what other options are out there. All the agencies are shut down this week and nothing is moving.

Over in Boston they had a big meal at Pine Street Inn
Homeless in Boston served a Christmas meal, with a side of compassion

Yes the homeless are well fed on Christmas and Thanksgiving but sadly there are 363 days in a year.

I will continue to blog and let you know how the battle is going.

Again thanks for all the support......

Now that the laptop dream has been accomplished the donation button will still be there if anybody feels like getting me a cup of coffee I'm just trying to save whatever I can so I can get off the streets.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

12/23: Christmas Eve Eve

Went computer shopping today and was given a nice heads up by the manager at Staples in Harvard Sq.

He told me to come in tomorrow after Noon as there will be some 'last minute' sales so I might be able to get a better laptop for my son than I thought possible.

I could not have done this without the help of the readers of this blog.

I will be spending Christmas Eve evening at my son's home and staying over. At least for Christmas Eve we are a family.

I will try and post more tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2007

12/21 The longest night of the year

At 1:08 Saturday morning the winter solstice will arrive marking the longest night of the year. I think about the people outside even more today.

The City of Boston *thinks* there are less people living on the streets this year.

City experts predict drop in homeless numbers

I think they miss a lot of people who are not downtown. I know of 20-30 persons who have a mini tent city near the Public Theater on Soldiers Field Road in Allston ( or is that Brighton? ). In any event every shelter is above capacity, it it shows no sign of slowing down. I know that long time street people have never seen so many people sleeping around Harvard Square.

I am feeling better today and looking at the best available laptop option for my son. I thank the person who sent the links last night in a comment that was very helpful. I plan now to pick it up Monday morning when I will know how much is available to spend. I can put in a little bit but the reality is my government check does not go very far over 31 days. So much of the day is spent killing time indoors where it is warm and you have to buy a coffee here and there so they leave you alone. $2 at a time adds up.

The Harvard Sq shelter is now using volunteers from the church upstairs to keep in running as most students have left for the holidays. I am just thankful I am there through Christmas and don't have to worry about a bed until a week from Saturday. Maybe by then I will have good news but the reality is most service agencies will be closed next week as everybody has left for the holidays.

Again thank you for all your help.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

12/20: Looks like it will be a 'white christmas'

The way things are going it maybe a 'white' Patriot's Day. Enough already.

Mt Auburn gave me a prescription for a cough suppressant which seems to have helped some. More important the chest x-ray didn't show anything major.

2 more donated computers arrived last night at the shelter....I am thrilled I played a small part in that. The students may need some help getting them connected to the net. They have a DSL line from Verizon and a wireless router but my understanding is Macs can be tricky to set up.

The fund for my son's laptop is close......

Here is a recap of the donations
$60 1 CASH $60
all others by PayPal
$50 3 $150
$30 2 $60
$25 3 $75
$20 7 $140
$15 1 $15
$10 5 $50
$ 5 3 $15
$ 2 1 $2

PayPal fees $21.36

$ 545.64 Total

PayPal charges a small fee on all transactions done by credit card for example $20.00 becomes $19.12, $50 becomes $48.25. Echecks thay do not charge a fee.

So the dream is very close now. I hope to get it on Sunday or Monday. The PayPal account is on a debit card that they sent me so it would be like paying by credit card.

The model that I first saw 2 weeks ago at Staples is this one

The website has it listed at 699 but the store still has it at 599

In any event should the fund get a little higher I will get a little nice. I know Acer is the old Gateway but I also see an HP in reach.

I have seen prices a little lower on the net but the reason I want to use Staples is simply if there is a problem it will not be a hassle for my son;s mom to get it fixed as there is a Staples near her home. In any event I doubt Staples would sell anything that was not proven.

I can not even begin to express my gratitude to strangers that have helped. I wish you all the best holiday season ever and a much better 2008

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

6 days before Christmas

First just want to thank the person who donated an older Mac G4 desktop to the shelter. The students hope to get it connected to the router in the next couple of days. Still it is a huge help.

Today I have to go back to Mt Auburn Hospital again as I am not shaking a very bad cough. Two mornings in a row now I have awoken with a hacking away and it takes about 2 hours for it to subside. Hopefully nothing major.

Today St Paul's Catholic Church is hosting a big meal at noontime for the community which people are looking forward to.

The sidewalks that I complained about on Monday are still bad, those private Harvard clubs should be ashamed of themselves.

The laptop goal is very close to becoming a reality and hopefully I will be able to get it by the weekend....I am so grateful for the support shown so far.

I will try and post later and give an update on what the hospital tells me.

Monday, December 17, 2007

update 12/17 sidewalks and ice

One week to go before Christmas Eve and Boston feels like the North Pole.

A followup on my Saturday post. Had a good day yesterday with my son at the Pats game as guests of one of his classmates dad. While the weather was miserable his seats were in the club area which has an area that allows you to watch without getting soaked and frozen. My son had a great time and of is really looking forward to Christmas. I really hope there will be a new laptop under the tree for him. Thanks to many of you we are very close.

Today is just is cold and windy and the sidewalks are a mess around Harvard Sq. A little rant here. Somebody is going to get badly hurt on the sidewalks that the Harvard private clubs Fox and Lampoon are in control of. It is very bad on the Mt Auburn side of the Fox and the students who run that club are oblivious to that. Look guys I know doing it yourself is something beneath your station in life but take some cash out of the beer keg fund and hire a couple of homeless guys to do it. But why would they care as we just the "common folk."

If you are wondering what building the Fox Club is take a look

View Larger Map

Google Street View is a little scary isn't it.

Other than that not much to report. The woman at The Coop still refuses to come in and I saw her this morning at Au Bon Pain and she has a terrible cough but there is nothing anybody can do as that is the way she wants it. I can't wait for the shelter to open at 7 PM to get out of this wind.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

calm before the next storm

I just want to thank people in the community for all the support they have shown to me the past 2 weeks.

Today a church in Central Square was passing out winter coats to all that need them. Looks as though Channel 4 donated some as there were many that had the CBS4 logo on them that the station used until they became WBZ again. This morning I was able to get another 14 day bed at Harvard Sq Shelter which keeps me out of harms way past Christmas. I am thankful as the weather outlook is not good. I am still waiting on a few other long term solutions. That maybe the hardest part of this lifestyle...wait, wait and wait.

The dad of a classmate of my son invited him (and me) to join them in Foxboro tomorrow for the Pats game. (free so I will meet them at Alewife and then go to South Station to catch the train to the stadium. My son is so excited as he has never been to a Pats game and has only been to Foxboro for his high school's playoff game. Must admit I am a little excited as well as I haven't seen a Pats game in the new stadium. My bronchitis is better but I was a little concerned about the weather but I spoke to the person and he said not to worry as the tickets are on the club level where it is protected. He works for a major sponsor of team. It will be a good day of bonding with my son.

Again I would like to remind people that if you have an old desktop computer lying around the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter would be thrilled to give it a new home. The shelter has 3 old computers running Windows 2000 but 2 of them have died completely and the only working machine is not long for the world. While Harvard students run the shelter they get no direct support from the university. I am sure Harvard throws away machines daily but the students have tried to get something with no luck.

Again thank you. My dream of getting a laptop for my son for Christmas looks like it will happen.