So I’m sitting around the barn swamping a stall and I’m thinking to myself “I wonder when them ol’ boys are gonna see fit to come on over and hook me up with a greenhouse.” Hell, I’ve already committed to spring planting. It figures VA would show up with a bulldozer about the time I get the tomatoes in the ground. Smart money said call them up before I commit.
Being polite as pie, I always couch legal threats in all manner of niceties:
Dear Mr. Boyd,
It has now been almost seven months since the BVA granted my request for a greenhouse. I have heard nothing since my brief communication with Mr. Holloway. Since the VA considers itself proactive and insists it works closely with stakeholders, I am asking you for an update.
I understand each VR&E office is independent from The VACO VR&E in Washington DC. Nevertheless, I can understand why they might want to have a more “hands-on” approach to my grant.
If you can, please update me on the process and where we are with regards to beginning construction on this. In the absence of any input, I have begun my spring plantings. It would be sad to have all that hard work bulldozed out of the way for a new greenhouse due to a lack on VA’s part to communicate in a meaningful way. In the event you are powerless to effect the grant or are being left out of the loop, please give me an appropriate contact name and number to someone who can answer my queries.
If there is anything you are aware of regarding the grant, I would be deeply appreciative of you conveying it to me. I have emailed Mr. Kammerer on the subject and received nothing but silence in reply. Absent any movement on VA and VR&E’s part to enlighten me as to particulars, I will be once again forced to litigate for a timely enforcement of the grant. I would prefer not to do that. Having an adverse relationship with you is the last thing I desire. Mr. Holloway tells me you are now my Vocational Counselor. I therefore look to you for information and a timeline leading to fulfillment of grant.
I have also copied this to my congressman, Derek Kilmer for a Congressional Inquiry as there seems to be no cohesive plan or guidance from your office or VACO VR&E. I look forward to hearing from you should you choose to comment.
Forty five minutes later, I got the commo from VA. I immediately e-mailed Congressman Kilmer back and thanked him for his intercession. Nick Carr, his rainmaker on staff emailed back “We aim to please, Alex. Sorry it took 45 minutes for them to get motivated. They usually respond sooner.” As you can imagine, VA has a storied history with Congressman Kilmer over my neighbor Butch Long and it isn’t all warm and fuzzy.
We do apologize for your inconvenience, your claim is very unusual and we are working to meet all regulatory guidelines in order to provide the services you requested. I have been working with Kris Hollaway to complete our local requirements and we are now soliciting for an approved Construction Manager to assume responsibility of the project. I make no excuses, but sometimes when dealing with several government agencies, things do not happen as expeditiously as you would like.
There are still some steps that have to be accomplished that involve meeting with you. We would like to meet at the proposed construction site on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at 11:00 to discuss and complete final paperwork that requires your signature. Are you available to meet with us at that time.
I’m getting a phlebotomy on the 29th so I’d probably agree to a prefrontal lobotomy afterwards I get so loopy. The last thing I want is to read through a complicated legal document designed with multiple trip wires to hamstring my grant. I declined and offer a day earlier (today). Could be they haven’t even typed up the fake greenhouse contract yet so that makes sense. We mutually agreed on the twelfth of April at 1100 hours as GH-day
Considering that any Individualized Independent Living Program (IILP) document is a complex, concise agreement between two parties to provide services with promises made and gifts exchanged, I find it an anomaly that they have a IILP in hand, or soon will, with an agenda I had no hand in creating. This is how those 24 inch by 48 inch greenhouses lit by 20 candlepower heating somehow materialize out of thin air. Thus I find it refreshing that a construction manager is going to be hired. That bodes well for VA to honor my original request I mailed in. It also pretty much says VACO in Washington DC wrote it word for word and Dave and Kris are simply going to be the ring bearers.
Now for the good news. If these turkeys can be rolled so easily by a sharply worded email, have I aimed far too low? This might be a propitious time to put in a request for my very own steakhouse. What the hey. I always had a hankering to own and run a whorehouse too. I really don’t think anyone has yet plumbed the depths of this IL program for all it’s worth.
What I figured a couple of years back is the VR&E guys had this figured for an indoor Marijuana farm. I assure all of you that isn’t the plan. This is not my greenhouse. It is all Veterans’ greenhouse. It is a Win or Die attempt to prove any Veteran, given the stamina and enough paper and ink, can prevail with the VA on a program touted as helping us achieve a higher level of independence. If 2,700 severely disabled Veterans are eligible every year and VA cannot fill their quota, I needed to throw my hat in the ring.
Good thing I like to self-actualize. I like that term. It describes that VA itch I can’t scratch.