In a last-gasp effort with the sun setting ever lower in the south each evening, my Silver Queen corn put it’s all into it. Two weeks ago, there wasn’t enough on the cobs to keep body and soul together for a bird day. I turned off the water and it still grew. It tells you just how motivated and determined Mother Nature really is.
I’d like to meet Mother Nature some day. I’m going to go out on the little branches and say I envision her as very businesslike akin to the early Merryl Streep in The Deer Hunter yet still personable and one you could talk corn with.
Corn in the Northwest is 118 days versus about 90 in Kansas. Even then your lower ears aren’t ripe. Imagine coming through again three weeks later in early October and finding them all dressed up like the munchkins in the Wizard Of Oz. They’re all there but only a third as long. Perfectly formed dwarves, or is it vertically challenged ears? I rarely ever see a normal ear populate the entire cob.
Meet our Fertilizer experts here at LZ Grambo. We bathed them today. Cupcake doesn’t understand they’ll roll in the sand pit before dawn but it makes her all fuzzy and warm when they look good,
THE VA ILP Greenhouse Report
Last Tuesday, October 4th, the Seattle VR&E troops saddled up and rode the I-5 trail to LZ Grambo. Only the Corporal made it.The expressed reason was to find mutual ground for the size of the greenhouse. It was pointed out that I could raise 643 heads of lettuce per week over a six week cycle if phased germination was strictly observed. VA feels that’s over the top. I agree. I’ll settle for 300 or so every week. I’m big on greens. So we accomplished that. We ironed out a slab on grade and rubber mats for fall protection. We ironed out the hydrophonic system and Kris finally got phonics out of the subconscious and ponics in. Cupcake says he’s never going to be Mensa material. Cupcake is a very good judge of people.
Kris, my Vocational Rehab Counselor or VRC, is like a parole officer. He has to keep track of me and make sure I am being rehabilitated successfully on a timely basis. VR&E has now raisesd bean-counting to an art form. Said VRC will commute 45 miles one way to my house each month to make sure I am really growing in my greenhouse and “successfully accomplishing the activities of living independently with the help of, or the reduced help of others in the Community.” We will do this monthly for two years. Mr. GS-12 $99,415.00 a year VRC will drive 2,160 miles in his GI Ford Focus to make sure I’m fogging the mirror. Hell, they’ll probably put in a spy camera and make sure I’m out there every day. If they’re putting a cool $20 million into art at the entrances to VAMCs adjacent to our VAROs across the fruited plains, surely there’s enough in the budget for a camera with a cue’d sat phone upload. Whoa there, all you chemtrail sniffers. Just kidding. I don’t think they have the intelligence to think it out- at least the ones I’m dealing with. It’s like playing poker with a big mirror over the table and the VR&E ribbonclerks are clueless.
While the VRC was here I was finally able to graft onto his prefrontal lobe the idea that the “hydrophonics” were necessary due to my loss of lifting capabilities. He abjured his former beliefs and allowed as how the VA had somehow overlooked that in the formulation of the IILP. About that time, Cupcake launched the first “Liar! Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!” salvo-one of many. As all who know Cupcake can surely attest, she holds back nothing when truth is trampled. And boy howdy has VA got a track record of stepping on their necktie when they speak about anything.
The Rodney King “Can’t we all
just get along?” moment
After repeated begging to reduce or meet him at some smaller, mutually agreeable size all could live with comfortably, I asked for the 120 VAC portable incinerator toilet for a paltry $1,790.00 plus tax and shipping. You have to put something artistic in the foyer. VA is big on that from what I hear. Kris didn’t see my humor and asked me to scale that one back about a thousand to the Cheapo Depot® $650 ‘bag and tag’ model. Think body bags on a much smaller scale. Fine. Then I asked for the Lexis Nexis VBM as a brand new IILP for helping Vets. That he can approve all by himself!
I thought we had a hammered out deal at a 24 X 24 foot, half and half on hydroponics /dutch pots. Mr. Boyd, the VR&E Officer in Charge, had made the appointment personally and asked to be here (personally) but was AWOL for this important Appomattox-like moment. Which poses an awkward problem. A VRC’s $ authority is $2,000.00. If it goes over that he has to send it up to Mr. Boyd (the OIC). If the actual construction costs exceed $14,999.99, and the “service” (read greenhouse) complete with all the bells and whistles exceeds $25,000.00, the OIC is forced to relinquish it and send it to the VR&E Director for approval in DC.
The VR&E Officer (David Boyd) was told this on December 16th, 2015 by the VR&E Services Director. Mr. Boyd also knew from September 15th, 2015 onward that the projected cost of my IILP was in excess of $143,000.00 with a fixed construction cost of $46,000.00. Ruh oh, Rorge. You can see how that little Denver overrun thing happened now. ‘What do you mean they want beds in the hospital? We didn’t bid that. It ain’t on the spec sheet’.
So, here sits VRC Kris with no plenipotentiary powers, bartering over the size of a greenhouse and what will go inside. I have to have rubber mats for fall protection. I have to have 30″ high ADA hydroponic tables. I have to have room for the hydroponic mixing vessels, extra materials and a small portapotty. Oh, shoot. I forgot to tell him I need WIFI so I can run the hydroponics computer from my iPhone™. I guess I won’t worry. After $1.6 Billion in overruns down there in Denver, this won’t be too big a bump. As for the little apartment-sized refer for the beer, I’ll bring that up later, too. It’s taken VA a year and a month of self-denial just to get this far. Besides, asking them to stock it for two years with a medium-to-strong IPA with just a kiss of the hops is understandably going to be met with some flak. I fully expect that. My fallback position is Corona but they have to supply the limes.
It looked like we could all see the daylight until the other shoe dropped. ‘Gez, Massah Holloway, how you g’wine git dis alllllll done by next Thursday?’ You can almost hear that Tim the tool man Taylor’s “Ahhhruuu?” that came out of his piehole. Next Thursday? Je ne comprends pas rien? What happens next Thursday, pray tell? Well, I guess I don’t need to tell you the 38 CFR §21.98(b)(2) news went over like screen doors in submarines. I do have to admit, he had a pretty flippant initial rejoinder (with a semi-shit-eaten grin) for that by saying: (wait for it…)
Mr. Holloway: “Well, that date really has no meaning even if we do not have a signed IILP because the construction costs are going to go well over $15,000.00 necessitating sending it to Washington DC for administrative review and/or approval. There’s a lot here you’re not aware of, Gordon. My authority ends at $2,000.00 for any given service. Mr. Boyd has certain cost limitations as well.This is way over our pay grade.”
And then the grin began to fade…
Mr. G: ” Roger on the $2K/$15 K. Your problem is that you should have sent the plan to DC on December 17th, 2015 as VR&E Services requested. Mr. Boyd stated that fact in his declaration to the Court back in July. You had, and still have, constructive possession of all my medical records-hence a full knowledge and understanding of my avocational limitations. The Federal Court (CAVC) gave you 90-as in nine zero days-from July 13th, 2016 to October 13th, 2016 in which to formulate a joint IILP with me. You have squandered eighty one of those days blowing bubbles and only now arrive with no boss for guidance, no authority to bargain and even less of an idea of what you are discussing or bargaining about. The man who organized this chose to bail on you. You two fellows have nine (9) days left to construct the IILP or find yourself in contempt. This is a little bit like hand grenades. There ain’t no one thousand four. On October 14th, 2016, or shortly thereafter in the following week, absent a signed IILP, I will ask Judge Bartley to recall mandate as perjury and misrepresentation of the facts were employed to deny my Extraordinary Writ. VA never had any intention of constructing a greenhouse with costs exceeding $14,999.99 that would comply with my needs. You are proposing to add another ninety days at a minimum for Admin. Review and then another six to find a VA contractor who can spell cement. I’d be lucky to be germinating spinach in a year tops. Oh, and without any lighting, all I’m going to be growing is mushrooms. Did I mention you guys only have nine days?”
VRC: “So what would you consider the absolute “must haves” in order of importance?”
Mr. G: “Are You asking me to triage th-”
Cupcake: “How would we know? We’re not horticultural disability experts. Perhaps you should call the Farmtek gal who actually is. We’ve been telling you that for over a year. Are you dense or is it a mental aberration? You have nine days in which to comply and you sit here rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic to keep them dry. This is priceless. I can’t wait to see what happens.”
It’s obvious the VR&E guys were building the greenhouse from the ground up. Anything left over after the roof was to go into (in descending order of precedence) a porcelain pull chain light, a hose bib and a 120VAC outlet (non-GFCI ).
Quite simply, VA, who chooses to ignore 38 USC and 38 CFR, has preferred to follow the M28 R and then chosen to disremember 38 CFR and suddenly breathe new meaning into the definition of 90 (ninety) days. The fact they have no intention of obeying any deadline- 90 days or otherwise, shows their disdain (and ignorance) of the statute and regulations. Imagine how St. Meg is going to cotton to that.
There is the possibility the Court will decline to recall mandate. Oh well. For another Ulysses S.Grant $50 coupon, I can be right back in the catbird seat about the time that next 90-day deadline rolls around. With that year-old plus BVA decision comes ungodly power. Mr. Boyd simply underestimates his adversary. Hell, this is more fun than watching a Presidenshul debate.
Happy Christopher Columbus Day and may all your oceans be blue.