Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by deejay » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:40 pm

Got to the Santa Ana train station, tried to buy a one week pass, but the TVM wouldn't accept bills. I fussed and fumed, calmed down and asked God for help. Tried coins--I didn't have enough quarters, and it wouldn't take dimes. Then I remembered I had some money left on a reloadable Amex card, so I used that for a one way ticket. Had breakfast at the cafe at the Fullerton train station, called in to work to say I would be late--and they said take the day off. :( So I'm going to have to leave extra early tomorrow, and get there early (breakfast plus buy lunch at Starbucks) tomorrow and throughout the rest of the season.

They did warn us that the devil hates what we're doing, and so we need to be prepared to get sick, have transportation issues, etc.. I did, however, buy my weekly ticket at the Fullerton station. But I'm going to reload my AMEX card, so this doesn't happen again. :wink:

Sometimes I wonder how often those TVMs are serviced. Trying to get ahold of Metrolink is an exercise in frustration. Anyway, had to take a bus to catch the one to the library in Orange, where I am now. Saturday I had over 200 emails in my box, and it took 2 1/2 hours to go through them, even after deleting the ones I don't normally read or surveys that had expired.
Keep me in prayer.

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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by deejay » Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:28 pm

We are approaching the end--our goal at Samaritan's Purse is 1.1 million shoeboxes processed, and when I left yesterday, it was over 800,000! A few memorable incidents: twice we had where someone had a really big heart, but chose to overlook the instructions for packing their shoeboxes. One had a large teddy bear in it, the lid was up, and it was all wrapped in clear plastic wrap. We went "Awwww...." but it had to be redone so as to fit into the carton, which holds15-16 shoeboxes. Another was similar, but not wrapped in plastic. It had a huge silver ribbon around it. Something like that belongs more into a boot box. The other day, while waiting for the shuttle after work, a discussion began as to who was the oldest. My friend who picks me up at the train station and drives me there said he was 61; I said I'm 63, and mentioned how in my first week I met a volunteer and his wife/daughter that said he was 101 years old. One of my co-workers said she'd spoken to him or his lady friend and he's a WWII vet, who was once the personal secretary of Gen. Douglas MacArthur! He'd told her that if he could've gone downstairs, he would've shaken the general's hand! Goes to show who you might meet when you volunteer!

Finally got my new glasses I ordered two months ago; reading has gotten easier. I no longer have to take my glasses off and close my left eye and squint to read in dim light. I was also given a pull-along suitcase (small), which I used to debulk my backpack. What a relief! The heaviest objects in my backpack are Tripod's ashes and my netbook. I currently have a head cold, but am managing okay. The last couple of nights I've felt really hot, so one night I took my two blankets out of my sleeping bag laid on top of the fleecy one and slept beneath my Native blanket. That lasted until 2 a.m., when I got cold and had to retreat back into the sleeping bag. Last night was the same thing, except I just left my sleeping bag unzipped; that lasted about an hour or so before I zipped it back up.
Got my paycheck last Thursday; they told me the rate was $15/hr., but the stub showed $16/hr.. Must be because of my years of doing similar tasks.

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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by deejay » Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:11 pm

Well, we finished yesterday, with just over 1 million shoeboxes processed, which is a record for our facility. My church is giving those of us who are employed there a two-week paid vacation in lieu of a Christmas bonus; I just have to go in, empty the dishwasher and dish rack and put away the clean dishes, empty the trash and restock the bathrooms. But I may also pick up the trash in the parking lot as well, just to keep it from looking like a dump.

The chaplain at Samaritan's Purse gave me a new coat, a Tommy Hilfinger one that is like two jackets in one. She also gave me more Mucinex DM for the remnant of my cold. And a co-worker bought me a copy of Franklin Graham's book, "Through My Father's Eyes", as well as a prayer journal I got for a friend of mine at the shelter. My case manager gave me an assessment for rapid rehousing/permanent housing, and I just need to get my health care provider to confirm I have high blood pressure and NASH to complete it. I sure hope I can get into a permanent place--I don't want to bounce from one shelter to another.

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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by deejay » Sat Dec 21, 2019 4:25 pm

I was going through my backpack last night, and it seems I have received a few surprise gifts. First I found a small tube of toothpaste, then a pack of flushable wipes, and finally a copy of a book by Greg Laurie about getting through sorrow. Now I wonder how those got in there? :wink: :lol:

As soon as I check the link, I'll try to post the video of the closing ceremony at Samaritan's Purse, which hopefully will include our flash mob. Please don't crash the site!

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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by deejay » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:01 pm

Hmmmm.Tried to put the link to the closing ceremony--which did not include our flashmob--and when I tried to test it, I couldn't access it. Maybe if I check Youtube....

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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by deejay » Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:25 pm

Last week, I dropped my phone, and it only gives a white screen when turned on. When I close it--it's a flip phone-- I get the signal strength, time and battery status, but that's it. So I went to my carrier's website and bought a new one. My old one was a pile of junk Alcatel; my new one is a Motorola. My first phone was a Motorola, and they're a good brand. I'm still getting acquainted with it, because it's 4G and an Android phone, with a QWERTY keyboard. Nice for texting! I just need to take my old phone to a tech to try to get my contacts and hopefully my photos off of it before I recycle it.

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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by deejay » Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:26 pm

Don't think I'll be able to recover my contacts. I seem to be unable to get my voicemails on my new phone.

Read a news article on my phone last night; the county has voted against the city of Santa Ana's plan to convert a factory into a homeless shelter. Cities throughout the county are doing either one of two things: sending homeless people to Santa Ana, which can't handle them all, or actually trying to find housing for them. Bad enough Santa Ana is the poorest city in the county--despite being the county seat--but for other cities to pull the NIMBY act (Not In My Back Yard) and refuse to take care of their own homeless is a disgrace--which is exactly what the local politicians call it. There are groups throughout the state who are finally making an effort to correct things, but it doesn't help that some other states like New York are giving their homeless bus tickets to California. Back in the 30s, there used to be signs at the California--and other states'-- borders saying "No Okies, No Arkies", because people from Oklahoma and Arkansas were traveling to other states looking for work, primarily agricultural. Might have to start putting "No Homeless" signs up, because we have enough of our own homeless, we don't need those from other states. They checked, and quite a few homeless living in Santa Ana are from other cities.

So, I guess we're stuck at our current location. If they could put up proper walls it wouldn't be so bad. Also read an article about why people don't enter shelters. Though it missed a couple of reasons, like some people not liking rules or they've been outside so long they become claustrophobic coming indoors, it's because other shelters have rules that keep people who work night shifts from coming in or staying, or they don't allow pets, etc.. Compared to other shelters, I guess ours isn't so bad. You have to work late or leave early, you can get put on the late list. We don't have the high turnover others do, because technically there's no time limit--though the nearly 3 years I've been there are considered to be long.

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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by Shann » Wed Mar 18, 2020 12:33 am

So Deejay, you've been in my thoughts. I can't imagine living in a shelter is easy at any time, but especially now. Are there limits? I know most cities are saying crowds need to be reduced to as little as possible. How is the virus impacting the homeless?
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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by deejay » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:09 pm

Some people are wearing masks, and if you cough without covering your mouth, someone is bound to yell at you for it. The libraries, etc ., are closed. Right now I'm sitting outside my local Barnes and Noble, waiting for them to get the new guidelines from their legal team. And I'm sitting on cold concrete; you'd think they'd provide chairs. It's been rainy and cold, but so far my fellow homeless at the shelter seem to be okay. Our meal services have been disrupted. Oh, they just opened! Later!

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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by deejay » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:40 pm

This whole COVID-19 thing is so stupid. You have only a 1 in 1/10,000 of 1% chance of getting it, and even if you do get it, you have an 80% chance of recovery. It's freezing at the shelter, and being inside is the only way to stay warm without staying in bed all day.

I've been at the Courtyards for coming on 3 years, and as far as I know, they prefer you stay the shortest time possible while you get back on your feet. People like me take longer. Not much I can do about job-hunting; every major employer is shut down, or restricted to certain hours. I'm upstairs at B&N, sitting on a chair and holding my netbook in one hand while typing with the other. Yesterday and the day before I was downstairs sitting in the cafe at a table using the wi-fi, then getting up to get lunch. The tables have been put off to the side, the chairs are upstairs. Until they opened an hour later than usual, If you wanted something, you got it through the door. I went to Rite-Aid earlier, and they were almost out of Kleenex pocket packs. I hope church isn't canceled-- our health pastor made up and handed out a sheet on things to prevent getting the coronavirus. It makes more sense than what's being done now--though I don't always agree with his assessments. The only fermented food I will consume is kefir, and that's assuming I can find it in small bottles. I went into my local Food4Less store last Saturday, thinking to get a sandwich and bottle of milk but the lines were all the way to the back of the store, so I said forget this and left. Last night I went to Jack in the Box for dinner, and I had to take it with me. This morning, to give you an idea how disrupted our meal service has become, instead of a group called Good Deed Workers serving us homemade chicken noodle soup, grilled cheese and egg sandwiches, and coffee, City Net gave us emergency food bags with a cup of ramen soup--plus hot water to cook it in the cup--, cracker and peanut butter pack, Rice Krispy treat (bleah!), juice box, and potato chips. Yesterday, instead of getting Starbucks breakfast sandwiches, protein packs, goodies and coffee, we were given a donut, fruit, granola bar, and I think that was it. Yesterday and today I went to 7-11 for a cup of coffee. I can't wait for this stupidity to blow over, but it's an election year, so....

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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by Shann » Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:16 pm

I wasn't going to answer at first. I asked the question because I wanted you to know I was thinking of you and worried. In the past 10 years, I've bitten my tongue so often, but your attitude blows my mind.

I pray you don't ever need to understand how serious this situation is. I'm not going to argue conspiracy theories or politics with you. Your statistics are so wrong, plus the statistics are changing daily. You are at a great risk of catching it because of your situation. I am praying you are able to stay as safe as possible.

In NYS, all businesses have been ordered to close unless they are essential workers (stores, health care, pharmacy, sanitation industry, etc). Many people who have worked their whole lives are terrified they may not be able to pay bills because they can't work.

Actually with your cleaning background, you probably could get a job now or soon. That is considered an essential job, especially in stores, restaurants, health care centers, and similar places. Although, you haven't wanted to do that for such a long time and since you don't believe this is real, it's probably safer for all that you're not working more right now. I pray others in the sanitation sectors don't feel the same way you do.

I wish you could appreciate your many blessings. In my area, there isn't any meat, cheese, pasta, bread, milk, tissues, toilet paper, plus many other things left on the shelves for people to buy, so I understand why you might not have had bread for sandwiches. I'm glad they were able to give you what you received. So many children who depend on school lunches for food are going to bed hungry tonight. Plans are being worked on to get food to those kids, but not all districts can implement the plans yet, and unfortunately even despite the best intentions, many will go without food. Our local food banks have closed down in this rural area.

It seems like CA and NY are on similar paths. Today our governor ordered all nonessential employees must stay home. All businesses must close bu Sunday night. Yesterday groups could meet up to 10 people. Today no number is okay. Churches have been closed because of this order so your pastor may not have any choice soon. I know here, the ministers were trying to stay open, but it's too dangerous now. Thankfully many are able to do it online, but of course not all people have access to the internet.

When you mentioned a juice box, I thought of my 4-year-old granddaughter. She didn't want to drink her juice too fast in case there wasn't enough left for others. That was the sweetest and saddest thing. Oh what a generous caring heart that little girl has, but oh how sad a 4 yo should even know about the situation and worry how her actions might impact others.

I used to be an RN before I became too sick to work. Today I had the saddest moment I've had since this started. The governor is desperately trying to find health care workers to meet the demand. He offered those in retirement or who hadn't renewed their licenses the opportunity to do so. I actually clicked on the page to reinstate my license. It only took me a few minutes to realize I couldn't do it because of my health problems makes me an incredibly high risk for becoming sicker than most if I caught it. I closed out while crying. I feel so helpless and have knowledge and education to help, but unfortunately it's not reasonable to take such a risk for me.

I think that's why I wanted to answer you. I doubt my words will impact you in any way, but maybe it will help others. Like my kids (who all work at schools/college), Allison posted on FB that she'd be willing to help kids out of school with lessons such as writing and English. My kids are doing the same. I'm so proud of my kids and Allison and others who want to make this time easier or everyone. I've been considering reading stories for kids and posting it on FB. I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it (our internet is super slow and now my husband must use it for work) for many reasons, but I'm more motivated to try.

Stay safe and as healthy as possible. I'm praying for your well-being.
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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by deejay » Sat Mar 21, 2020 2:13 pm

I apologize for my venting my frustrations.
We had kid's breakfasts this morning at the shelter--low fat milk, carrots, apple, and tiny pancakes with syrup. The apple was absolutely out of this world. Right now I'm sitting outside Barnes and Noble, which has thoughtfully left their wi-fi on. They're closed for the time being. Buses are running on Sunday schedules. I'm glad I don't live where the only buses don't run on Sunday. They put a portable sink at the shelter entrance, but it didn't work. So when we come in, after we get wanded, they put hand sanitizer on our hands. City Net has been arranging food services at the shelter, so we are in no danger of starving.

As if it wasn't hard enough to run a business here in California, this thing is going to wipe us out. Reminds me of an old Larry Norman song--"You've Been Left Behind."
The shelter has wi-fi, but you have to ask for the password. Guess I'll have to do that instead of sitting on cold hard concrete outside of B&N.

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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by Shann » Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:50 pm

I'm so glad to hear you're okay. NY is doing the same things as CA and it's scary for me. My husband has been put on a rotation where he works from home for 2 weeks and then is off with no pay for a week. Thankfully he has personal time.
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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by deejay » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:07 pm

Yesterday I went and bought a little AM/FM radio and a deck of playing cards--you can stand doing puzzles for only so long. Right now I'm at church, listening to the message from church on my phone via Zoom. Of course I got on late, but there's no open wi-fi at the shelter. I'm off work; nothing to clean but I'm thinking, what about the parking lot? I'm also concerned that someone might break into the church--it's happened before. There's a river channel that eventually leads to the Pacific, and homeless people live in an overpass; they have tried breaking in before. We have an alarm system, but police response time isn't that great.

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Re: Pacific Coast Rest-Stop

Post by deejay » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:58 pm

The food they are serving us is lousy, repetitive, and it's even worse on weekends when Sikhs bring stuff in --meatless, disgusting stuff that makes us all sick. The only good thing is we no longer get carrots three times a day. Yes, you read it right--we were getting carrots at breakfast. Reminds me of an old Dennis the Menace comic strip--scene is the dinner table, and Alice, Dennis' mom, is telling him, "If you don't eat those carrots, you're going to get them for breakfast!" Cut to a crying Dennis, who says, "That's the meanest thing anyone ever said to anybody!"

So can't wait for this to end.

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