Thankful helping at One City Meal

My husband Don was deployed to the New York/New Jersey area as a certified FEMA inspector for those whose homes were damaged by Super Storm Sandy one month ago this weekend. See Don’s recent post.

After several weeks and no relief in sight, I didn’t know if Don would be back home for Thanksgiving.

I’d heard from our church and the media that traditional Thanksgiving meals with all the trimmings were being served at the Fairgrounds for the homeless and folks in transition or for those in need – whatever their situation.

The need for many helpers and servers went out and I thought this would be a fun and perfect opportunity.

On Thanksgiving morning, I checked in to my post at 6:45 a.m. The day was clear and cool. Everyone had willing hearts to serve and excited for what the day would bring.

Sara and I are putting the finishing touches on the center pieces of the beautifully decorated tables in the San Miguel Room.

Students of all ages as well as adults of all ages helped in a variety of ways – stocking the trash receptacles with Andy to decorating the tables to serving the guests as they were seated to make the day a huge success. About 1,000 guests and workers feasted on turkey and all the trimmings on this special Thanksgiving .


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Reflections on FEMA inspections in Manhattan

Got back late yesterday afternoon (Thanksgiving) from JFK after spending about 3 1/2 weeks doing FEMA inspections in New York. On the 6 hour flight back I had time to reflect on super-storm Sandy and its effects on the East coast.

Spent the first two weeks working flooded basement apartments from lower Manhattan up to Central Park, then out towards Long Island in the town of Oceanside for 5 or 6 days, then finished up back in lower Manhattan.

Going up and down the storied avenues (Madison Ave, 5th Ave), the theater district around 42nd street and of course all around the World Trade Center, it appears everything is business is usual – but far from it. Lower Manhattan was deeply flooded, knocking entire 40 – 60 floor buildings out of commission. Lower Manhattan streets are clogged with huge portable generators that provide just essential, emergency power to these buildings. Many of these high rise buildings are apartments and their occupants have been forced to leave. In one case, the building “hopes” to be back in business in March, 2013.

The Metropolitan Hospital in mid-town has a high rise apartment across the street on 1st Avenue for employees. The building was heavily flooded and was red tagged by the city. In my first week, I’d meet with tenants outside the lobby as they sought emergency FEMA assistance. Each day, one floor at a time, tenants could walk up to their floor (stairwells in darkness with flashlights) and only carry out emergency clothes, laptops, etc. One gentleman told me he was forced to rent a car and sleep in it – all open hotels (with power) were booked solid.

Driving up and down 5th Avenue, I’d call Leslie and be amazed at the crowds along the sidewalks of the tony shops – you’d never know there was a major crisis occurring in the lives of tens of thousands of people.

But some of the little things amused me. Some streets are so narrow that drivers tuck in their exterior mirrors – you pass literally inches away from clipping them.

Oceanside was suburbia – with average flooding that I saw maybe 2 – 3 feet deep in split level homes. Time and again people told me, “We’ve lived here 40 years and never had water in the house”.

Imagine mid-town Ventura near Pacific View mall inundated with 2 – 3 feet of water; sounds impossible, but that’s what the east coast got hit with.

One poignant moment came as Myra, a 92 year old sharp senior was brought back to her apartment by her 60ish son. We all entered the apartment together for the first time since the storm. Upon entering, she burst into tears at the sight. Furniture can be replaced, but not the irreplaceable photos and momentos collected over a lifetime.

Another difficult situation was a somewhat challenged senior in a Red Cross shelter. I went to find her home in a walk-out basement (flooded out) but (according to neighbors) the elderly owner of the home upstairs was no where to be found. There were two flooded cars in the street out front. That situation involved working with a social worker and another case worker who would ultimately handle this long term situation.

I’ve told people these FEMA deployments are a perverse vacation for me – so far removed from my “day job”. My roommate from Colorado and I would be up around 4:30 am, be on the road between 5 – 5:30 and get back around 7pm (or as late as 9pm). Generally, we’d be in bed by 8:30 and asleep before 9pm. So this Thanksgiving weekend, I’m catching up on sleep and football!


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FEMA inspections along the canyons of Manhattan

Many of you know I’m on emergency standby for FEMA disaster call-up and was recently down in New Orleans for Isaac. But on the Sunday before Sandy hit, I was on a plane to Washington, DC, not knowing where the storm would hit. Monday night I rode out the storm in a hotel and watched the driving wind and rain – just like you see on the Weather channel.

Wednesday, we were told “Drive to New York” (5 hours). Where in NY? Don’t know – just get there!

Wednesday afternoon in New Jersey, but with no electricity, gas, and essentials we take for granted, I tried getting into Manhattan. I discovered my smartphone didn’t work – and that meant no GPS. Driving through flooded streets in Hoboken, I got thoroughly lost trying to get to the George Washington bridge – all the tunnels into Manhattan were flooded.

I was concerned. All around me people were standing on the sidewalk in a daze, trying to see the damage of flooding. The intersections were all flooded and I didn’t think my rental car could safely get through – I’d wait for another car to see if it could make it, then follow.

By now the shadows were getting long and with each passing hour simply didn’t know if I’d be stuck sleeping in my car for the night. But helpful people gave directions and I made it over for a quick inspection, then got back to New Jersey.

Now to find a hotel – impossible! Most hotels were evacuated (no power) or were overbooked by displaced people. With spotty cell coverage, I called Leslie. A long story short, she spoke to her brother (who had pastored a church near Princeton University) and I spent the night in the home of an American Airlines pilot (who had the only electricity in the area).

Now after a week of doing inspections from Central Park down to the Battery (lowest point south – the Wall Street area) I’m driving like a NY cabbie! To me, the very narrow residential streets (all one way) down canyons of 10-30 story apartment buildings is a bit different than driving around Ventura County, but people are people and I’ve been given a lot of slack trying to get around.

Then the blizzard hit yesterday! Just what these folks needed…

But that’s for another post. I’m off to work again!

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Ventura, Oxnard and Camarillo MLS housing report for October

Listed below are the October results for the sold prices of homes, the number of homes sold and number of homes in escrow – a future indicator of homes sold.

This data is taken from the Ventura, Oxnard and Camarillo MLS.

To see the detailed charts for Ventura, Oxnard and Camarillo, please see the links below.


The percentage of single family homes that were distressed sales in the month of October are:

Ventura – 43%      Oxnard – 42%     Camarillo – 32%

Sold prices – Single family homes in Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo:

Sold prices – Condos in Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo:

Numbers sold – Single family homes in Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo:

Detailed data for single family homes sold in:

Detailed data for condos sold in:

Detailed monthly data for pendings (in escrow) – single family homes and condos:

All data is taken from the Ventura, Oxnard and Camarillo MLS.

Filed under article topic: 2012 Pendings,2012 Solds,Homes sold,Housing Market,Market statistics/Trends,Pending home sales,Uncategorized
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