Tag Archives: VA

VA Overrun by critters

old dom

A few of these abandoned wards ….. the old ‘domiciliary’ are being rebuilt to rent out as apartments.   Naturally because they’ve been abandoned for decades virtually without any maintenance or upkeep they’re the home to countless varmints, predatory birds, bats, feral cats, coons, possum, skunk and the occasional groundhog.

Needless to say, this is the year someone in the lofty realms of management decided to allow the residents here a ‘community garden’, also.

Turns out, I’m the only resident with a passion for a garden.   So, while they cut a 30×30 foot piece out of the yard outside my window in a fit of delusional optimism, I’m only farming about 300 square feet of it.  Feeling every moment of my74-and-some-change years.

A guy came out with a tiller on a tractor and did his patriotic best.   Cut slices of this red clay that was actually quarried and used to make the bricks you see on those buildings in the photo.    Tiller guy got off his tractor and observed for those of us standing around watching in horror and awe, “Not really the best soil for a garden.”

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing with my time instead of blogging or going on FaceBook.    Testing the ability of my heart to continue function when I’d have to feel better to die.   But I planted okra, several varieties of peppers, garlic, onions, chives, cilantro, …… 90 linear feet of rows.

Bought lots of cow manure in bags, bought lots of earthworms down at the bait shop.   Bought an anti-bird net to try to keep the robins off the earthworms.   And so on.

It’s good, been good, and I figure although there’s a middling chance one thing or another will result in me not getting anything worth mentioning out of the garden this year, I’ll have all summer to build up the soil and maybe next year, when I’m 75 and wiser, I’ll be able to eat something I planted out there.

Meanwhile, I’ve got garlic, peppers, cilantro, and mustard greens in planters on the back porch.  And I’ve got a Best Boy and a Roma tomato plant with plenty of blossoms.  So I don’t need no stinking garden.

Have a happy Cinco de Mayo.     That means FIFTH of Mayo in English.

Old Jules

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Great big old ducks

Original Hospital and Lake1
Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Back in the late 1800s when they dug that lake to excavate clay to make bricks for that original VA hospital they had to do something about the hole it left behind. So they filled it with water. Made a nice little recreation facility for the biggest piece of a century.

But what nobody could anticipate was that a time would come when nobody would give a damn about maintaining the lake. That it would become a sedimentation pond for the droppings of hundreds of waterfowl migrating in every winter, and some who just stay year around.

And over time the lake would mostly fill with those droppings until it was so shallow a person would have to work to drown in it.

That lake mostly can’t handle the biological oxygen demand because of all the manure. And nobody is about to spend the money to blow that water into the air to keep it alive. There’s a little bubbler at one end that sometimes works, but otherwise the pond turns over, stinks, kills a lot of fish, and is a sad reminder of how much maintenance man-made creations demand over the course of time.

great big old ducks

Nobody in my life has ever appreciated my sense of humor, and the same applies here. But at least I figure it helps make these drunks, derelicts, and opinionated old men feel better about themselves by being able to think me stupid. So anytime I get the chance to work it into a conversation I say something about those ‘great big old ducks’ running around crapping on everything.

And crap they do….. the grounds are speckled with them…. looks like someone ran one of those plugging things across the lawns. Yeah, and the streets, [and they do let fly as they pass over cars…. nothing like a splash of great big old duck droppings on your windshield].

But I digress.

A man staggering by knee-walking drunk will pause, gaze at me a moment, and shake his head almost every time if I remark to him, “Reckon where all those great big old ducks come from, anyway?”

Makes him feel better about himself. I’m convince of it. Yeah, I know they’re geese. But what the hell?

We all have our own small parts to play helping veterans, I figure.

Old Jules

Remembering the Fallen from All Eras who died for our property rights.

 

Kansas City VA Medical Center, Kansas City, MO.

Hi readers.    Thanks for coming by for a smile.

I was sitting in the Silver clinic waiting area at the KCVA Medical Center today and got some really good news!   Keep in mind that I was just a few dozen yards from the Hall of Heroes and fairly close to Valor Elevator.   So this guy doing all the talking really seemed appropriate.

He was a severely overweight old fellow with a lot of bends in the wrong places, hair coming out in patches.   Had the man next to me pinned to his chair as he went on bludgeoning the people of this country for not supporting the president more, for all the ‘snowflakes’ and cowards nowadays, and for the fact nobody is honoring our soldiers dying in these presidential wars.

Guy next to me, “I voted for Trump.   I don’t regret it yet.”

“They complain about him going to Florida!    Heck, Florida, at least, has a park where they honor the dead from all wars!”    He named the park, and I went back to trying to read my book.

But then I got to thinking.    All wars?   Wow!

Anyway, I looked it up.   He was right!

Field Of Honor Recognizes The Fallen From All Eras , Hillsborough Veterans Memorial Park.

By golly I think it’s about time someone honored all those fallen soldiers at Little Big Horn who got themselves killed trying to attack a lot more Sioux and Cheyenne than they thought were there.    And all those twenty-five soldiers killed when they massacred all those people at Wounded Knee.

Heck, when you  think about it, all those Indian wars have all sorts of fallen GIs who got themselves offed trying to kill Indians…… Apache, Navajo, Sioux, Cheyenne, Yuma, Ute, Comanche, Kiowa, Seminole.  I’ve never heard one solitary soul stand up in front of a podium and pronounce how those men died for our freedoms.   But without them we wouldn’t have farms and ranches scattered all over the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.   And condos and resorts all over Florida.  Those men died for our property rights.

And what about all the heroes who fell in the Mexican War when we were taking California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada away from the Mexicans?   Nobody ever stands over their graves, stares at the flag, gulps, and talks about how they fought for our Constitution, our freedom of speech, our property rights.

Then there was the Spanish American War, where we took Puerto Rico, Cuba, and all her other possessions away from Spain …… and the heroes who died in that war for our property rights.

There’s just no getting around it.    We’re falling down on the job honoring our fallen from all eras.   Good thing someone is at least remembering the guys who died for our freedoms in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq one and two, and various other places in the Balkans, the Middle East, Korea, and Africa.

In fact, probably having someone stand in front of a podium and explain how all those guys were protecting our freedom would be a good place to begin.   I’m inclined to think General Custer came about as close to protecting our freedom as anyone who died in a war after 1950.

Yeah, all those fallen heroes  killed by Geronimo and Cochise won’t rest until someone honors them by explaining how they died for our freedom.

Old Jules

2018 Influenza epidemic seems somehow appropriate

1918 influenza pandemic

Over coffee this morning Johnny, across the hall, described the 2018 flue that is evidently stalking around scaring innocent people.   Johnny tells me it’s killing people like flies.   He said 1200 people died of it somewhere he couldn’t remember, either in a day or a week.   Or during the passage of some other length of time.

But the downside of not being able to believe anything the news media tells you is that you can’t believe anything the news media tells you.    And by extension, even though Johnny is my main source of news, he gets it off the television.   So I can’t trust the news he gives me.

But he did tell me some horror stories about entire families showing up at hospitals with this stuff and croaking right there under the noses of whole tribes of medicos.  Which, if true, might mean we actually are going to experience something more in tune with the 1918 pandemic than most of the later scares.   Cemeteries all over the US have lines of graves of people who were offed by that bull goose 1918 flu.

If you’re like me, you aren’t all that interested in coming down with the damned stuff.   Whether it’s just a little bitty pissant flu, or a great big Alpha-Male gorilla flu that expresses itself more forcefully.

Johnny also said they were telling people to avoid gatherings of people and think twice before sitting around a waiting room in a hospital or doctors office.

Well gee whiz.    I have appointments at the KC VA tomorrow over at Kansas City, MO.   I’ll bet there won’t be any people over there blowing flu virus around all over the rest of us, though.   I’ll bet everyone going over to that vet hospital will be suffering from broken legs and poor vision is the only reason they’re hanging around.

Yeah.     Bound to be no flu sneezers and coughers  over there in the halls, or in the cafeteria, or waiting rooms.

medical masks

Usually I don’t bother with those mask dispensers by the entryways and scattered here and there by the elevators and halls at VA medical centers.    But I’m thinking tomorrow I’ll just snag one of those as I come through the door, and step back outside to put it on.

Or better yet I’ll just trip over to the Leavenworth Emergency room a couple of blocks from here, snag a mask or two, and have it in my pocket tomorrow morning when I arrive.

Not that those things are going to filter out an influenza virus.    They won’t.   But they might confuse it enough so’s it goes and finds someone else to hex.

I’ve donealready had the required minimum of flu for this lifetime.

Thanks for the read.

Old Jules

What the heck is a ‘domiciliary?

These were the Domiciliary Buildings…. they we used from the 1880s until after the Vietnam War.    One of the guys I play chess with lived in one of them a few times back in the late 1970s    They were full back then.

There was a time when the Doms had residents from the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War and World War 1.   They kept them separated by wards because they all thought their war was the ‘Big One’ and tended to try to injure one another over it.

Back then they fed everyone in a single building, had formations most days with everyone required to wear a uniform and turn out on the streets.   And they were kept busy repairing, landscaping, even digging clay for the bricks to build and repair the buildings on the campus.

The old house I live in was built in 1896 by these old guys, and it’s easy to see they weren’t carpenters.

Beginning January 1, 2018, they began some renovation on the old ‘dom’ buildings.    Some entrepreneur was given a 99 year lease on the buildings and they’ll have the interiors, currently death traps, torn out so’s the buildings can be rented out as apartments.

They’ve already done that to a few others not shown here, and the campus has around 200 residents living in the four buildings.  Maybe more.     When they’ve done the other thirteen old ‘dom’ buildings this place is going to be jam-packed again, but with all sorts of people I imagine.

Time hurries on.

Old Jules

Photos VA Chapel and Weston, MO house courtesy of Jeanne

These are photos posted after the first time I ever saw this place back in early 2014. Jeanne took most of the pictures and I just walked around amazed at the place. But back then I was still in the process of dying on her couch and didn’t have a lot of energy.

All in all it hasn’t changed much.    Just a bit more run down and crumbling.

Anyway, I sure as heck never dreamed a few years later I’d be living here. Old Jules

So Far From Heaven

IMG_2234 Possumly Jesse James, or a Younger or Dalton or someone else lived here, or visited here, or rode a horse by the place and gazed at it as he/she went by.

IMG_2237 !895 Chapel for VA Center at Fort Leavenworth in seriously bad repair. Protestant downstairs, Catholic further downstairs though the signs are somewhat misleading. No harm in a protestant attending Mass or a Catholic racking up some fire and brimstone occasionally, I reckons.

IMG_2245 Interesting stained glass work. Dunno whether it’s Catholic or the other one.

IMG_2238 Gargoyles are shared equally by Catholics and Protestants.

IMG_2239 The VA hospital environment surrounding this seems obliquely appropriate.

IMG_2240 The metalwork on those doors is probably symbolic of something, but everyone who once knew what it was is dead.

IMG_2243 This end of the building is in bad repair threatening collapse in places, but ain’t likely to get any better.

IMG_2249 Directly across the street from the chapel. It’s…

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A most motley crew – or a band of real-world ‘brothers’

The dugout 1

Comment: “Sounds like you live with a most motley crew.”

Old Jules | January 20, 2018 at 8:27 AM
I wouldn’t say that….. there are some lowlifes, as there are in every community in the world. And there are some good folks. We’re just a community of a few hundred men and women who span the extremes of human failures and flaws, and probably have as many virtues as you are likely to find in your own community. The main difference is that the people living here are on the absolute bottom of the socio-economic scale, and we are almost universally veterans. And the road to the bottom of the socio-economic scale naturally includes the spectrum of human behaviors that can carry a person there. Vehicles. Higher on the economic ladder people tend to hide their flaws and human failures better because they haven’t started the downward spiral yet. But here, alcoholics and druggies and thieves can all find their brothers in failure.

You have been following this blog a long time. You can easily go back on the pages, or your memory of my road getting here and see it was fairly innocent, probably also inevitable. I was a man who wasn’t doing what everyone else does to avoid getting where I am now. And when the heart attacks hit, I was either going to die on the street, or move closer to where I am now by accepting Jeanne’s offer to die on her couch.

And when I didn’t die I became officially, a ‘homeless vet’. Here I am surrounded by other ‘homeless veterans’. They’ve all got their own stories. And I’m going to tell some of them. But don’t get the idea they are all as you probably categorize people because they aren’t.

The guy across the hall from me has two bronze stars from Vietnam, 75 percent service connected disability, and spent 13 years in prison for drugs before he got out on appeal. And he’s a good man, a worthy person, and someone I’m glad I have for a neighbor. Guy upstairs has been to prison too, white collar crime, and is struggling to stay alive and pay the rent. Good neighbor, too. Life isn’t as simple as we tend to wish it were.

We’re just you, here, and everyone you know in your secret selves, or some other time of your lives.

1stcav2

Because our flaws, weaknesses and lousy choices are the only things we humans share voluntarily.    They’re the magnets, the star around which every ‘brotherhood’ of humans circle.

Old Jules