Need resources in Sacramento, CA for mom and kid who can't go back home
August 30, 2017 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Trying to stay in California until the waters down south recede. Difficulty level: I'm running out of money and our families are trying to "teach us a lesson" about poor planning?

We're from NOLA, so not technically displaced, but the storm is headed that way. During our stay here, my family was supposed to help with housing and travel AND PAY ME for some consulting work, but they straight-up lied about their financial situation. Now SOs family is balking about the outrageous prices to get us home THROUGH A DISASTER ZONE.

211 Sacramento found us a lovely hostel, which I spent the last of my available cash on. Friday morning we need to check out and go... somewhere. SO is having flashbacks to Katrina and honest-to-god got hit by a car riding his bike in the rain today. That's when I threw up my hands.

I really hope this doesn't sound like I'm trying to profit from the disaster -- my thoughts are with Houston and everyone trying to get out of there. My real problem is a failure of family support, which we thought we could count on. I'm in Midtown with a toddler. Thanks for any ideas!
posted by polly_dactyl to Society & Culture (16 answers total)
Can you define what help you need exactly? It looks like right now a flight from Sacramento to New Orleans is about $370 - is that what they consider "outrageous prices"? In your situation I would book the next available flight and be prepared to camp out at the airport (or a different airport if diverted) on the way home. Can you not afford to book the flights? Is it too difficult to spend an unknown amount of time at the airport because of the kid?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:33 PM on August 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yes, because she is nearly three that's two tickets. That's more than they are willing to provide.

Edit: I don't know exactly what I need. I'd donate plasma to be able to stay here through the weekend. I'd work in exchange for housing. I just feel like it's crazy to travel back there right now! Especially any sort of "budget travel" if that makes sense?
posted by polly_dactyl at 3:43 PM on August 30, 2017

In your situation I would book the next available flight and be prepared to camp out at the airport

I would do this too but I think I'm also a little confused. My understanding was that Harvey made landfall in Louisiana this morning? Can you clarify how long you mean when you say you want to stay until the waters recede?
posted by lalex at 3:43 PM on August 30, 2017

What transportation method/route were you originally planning to use to go home?
posted by lalex at 3:53 PM on August 30, 2017

If it's most important to just get back to NOLA, maybe Greyhound would work for you. It's a bit cheaper than the airfare, and if every penny counts, then it may be worth the 51-hour ride.

If you need cash, maybe check out gigs on craigslist. I'm sure many are scams, but use your spidey sense to determine which ones might be legit.
posted by hydra77 at 3:55 PM on August 30, 2017

A good first step right now would be to write down what you need. You could do it here. Your list might be:

A place to stay tonight
Food today and tomorrow
A place my kid to play
or... I"m not sure what?

WHen you get home, will you have a place to stay? A Job?
posted by latkes at 3:56 PM on August 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ok I don't want to get zapped for threadsitting, but Amtrak is how we came and I always assumed we would fly back or take the train again. Travel throughout the region is impacted. Detours, etc. With a toddler who is threenaging and prone to running off, I'd rather not be in the middle of a refugee crisis. But everyone in my family is acting like I'm nuts for saying that!
posted by polly_dactyl at 4:00 PM on August 30, 2017

I totally hear you, I have a threenager too. I've also had family bail on me (UGH). I would, in no way, take my relatively angelic threenager on a fifty-one hour bus ride, holy hell.

Would it work to join WWOOF, contact some farms with your situation, and see if you can't find someone who'd let you stay + work part time in exchange for room and board? Normally I wouldn't try to WWOOF with a kid, but I think under the circumstances you could find someone willing to work with you. If you think it would work meMail me and I'll buy you a membership.
posted by jrobin276 at 4:26 PM on August 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

Are you familiar with It's a legit thing -- hosts offers traveler a free place to stay in their homes. Apparently, there are travelers who bring young kids and hosts that are good with that. I think it's free to sign up, so it might be worth checking out as an option.
posted by ourobouros at 4:48 PM on August 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I see in your comment here from today that you originally planned to take the Amtrak back but chose not to take the train given the situation in Houston. Does that mean you have Amtrak tickets? That may still be the easiest solution.
posted by crazy with stars at 4:51 PM on August 30, 2017

I'm not sure if you would qualify, but Airbnb is temporarily offering free stays for people impacted by Harvey.
posted by pinochiette at 4:54 PM on August 30, 2017

Also, if your family (or anyone you know in Sacramento or nearby) has a Nextdoor account, try posting there. At least on my local Nextdoor, people would offer a place to stay in a situation like this (or might even need a housesitter, because of the holiday weekend).
posted by pinochiette at 4:56 PM on August 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Amtrak stops in Bakersfield.
posted by Oyéah at 7:04 PM on August 30, 2017

Is your significant other still in New Orleans? I'm not sure if I'm reading your reasons for staying away correctly, so I apologize if this isn't helpful, but I'm in New Orleans and the weather has been actually not terrible. It's been raining, but it has been mostly indistinguishable from normal NOLA summer rain. There's been minor street flooding in the usual places, but nothing even close to what we had a few weeks ago. I completely understand that the time of year and everything going in Houston is making all of this weather very extra scary in New Orleans, and that there were suggestions that the storm may end up over here but it looks like it's headed inland at this point and things are far from crisis level in the city of New Orleans right now.
posted by MadamM at 8:58 PM on August 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Grovel to the SO's family. Admit that you planned poorly (sounds like you did?) and that your own family are terrible. Beg and plead for the money to fly home to New Orleans and promise that you will plan better in the future. Grovelling and begging your family is pretty much the way to go.
posted by yarly at 6:38 AM on August 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

So, tickets for Greyhound have been booked against my wishes. I realize my OP sounds jumbled, so to clarify, my SO is home in New Orleans, I am here alone with the kid. Basically this was my first attempt to separate from him (I've posted plenty about him), and it's a failure. I'd rather go back to New Orleans than go to a shelter right now, so we're going. FML.
posted by polly_dactyl at 10:32 AM on August 31, 2017

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