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Life in Plano, Texas

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It's been a fun two weeks so far in my new hometown of Plano, Texas. My old faults have come back and are having a blast messing with my attempt at independence in the sunset years of my life.

First, I suffer from chronic procrastination. What can be put off until tomorrow will enable me to do fun things, like write a story or read an article in The New Yorker, today. I have tons of broken down cardboard boxes that can't be put in the trash. They're supposed to be taken down to special dumpsters in the parking garage to be recycled. I have an extra IKEA bookcase to put together. I have all my books unpacked and put in two bookcase, but the other one patiently waits for me to get a round-to-it. Then there's the second bar stool that came in pieces. One came put together, but the other came in a box. I know there's another round-to-it someplace around here, but I haven't found it. Then there's the new vacuum cleaner. I know it was unhappy in the box, so I took it out, read the "put together" instructions, and put in a corner until I find the round-to-it that I put somewhere, but can't remember where.

My desk is put together, but for some unknown reason the printer wouldn't talk to the wifi router. My new insurance agent gave me an HP USB cable and now the printer is hardwired to the laptop. Funny thing happened the other day. The printer's been disconnected from wifi software for over a week, but suddenly the wifi button has started blinking as if it's trying to connect to the wifi router. Well, I'm sorry, it had its chance to play ball according to its very own software, but I'm not about to undo everything I had to do to make it work just so it can start acting the way it was manufactured. There are principles here that have to be acknowledged.

An idea that's been floating around in my head for a couple years finally came to my attention in a moment of actual consciousness (I have this slight insanity problem). Since my previous VA psychiatrist changed my diagnosis from Bipolar Disorder to Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type, I've been ruminating the idea of putting in for a reevaluation of my VA service-connected disabilities. So after I arrived here, I decided to contact the DAV (my official VSO) and see if they'd be willing to help me with submitting the reevaluation. I called their local office, but they didn't answer, it didn't even go to voicemail. So I used their email submission tool, but I haven't received a response from that. I suppose they're using the COVID-19 "we can't do our normal job" excuse to not do their job of supporting disabled vets. Last Wednesday night I looked on the VA website and found I could do this on my own, so I did it. I included having a reevaluation of my knees, too. They've gotten to the point where I've developed a limp. Now my ankles and left hip are going bad because of that. On Thursday, the local VA vendor who handles disability reevaluations called and said they would be setting up a couple appointments for interviews on the current state of my disabilities. The one for bipolar will me a teleconference appointment and the knee one will be face-to-face. Just goes to show that DIY sometimes works.

Driving around Plano, I've become frustrated with the drivers in this town. I've never encountered drivers who invariably drive ten miles per hour under the speed limit. That's a twenty in a thirty, thirty in a forty, thirty-five in a forty-five, and forty-five in a fifty-five. Why? You can be too careful. The weird thing about those drivers is that most of them are alone in their cars and wearing face masks as if they're afraid the virus is going to come in through the air conditioning. Maybe it's that they have the air conditioning turned off, have their windows rolled up, and are slowly suffocating while driving to Walmart.

Then there are the street racers. Corvettes, crew cab pickups with their tires sticking six inches out beyond the fenders, Mercedes coupes and roadsters, Lamborghinis, and all the rest driving sixty-plus in a 40 MPH zone, weaving in and out of traffic, going thru red lights, and all the other shit. It's enough to make someone consider walking or using public transportation. Unfortunately, there aren't that many sidewalks, buses don't go from here to there, and everything is so spread out. It doesn't help that I can't walk anymore. It's gotten to the point when I go to Walmart, Target, or Tom Thumb, I use the shopping cart as a walker.

I refuse to even consider getting one of those scooters. I'm not a scooter kind of guy. You know what people think when they see an apparent healthy person riding around in one of those things. They're wonder if both legs are artificial, whether the heart is counting its last beats, or possibly they convinced some fly-by-night doctor their made up disability is serious enough for a blue handicapped tag to hang from their mirror and a free scooter from Medicare. My feet may ache because of neuropathy, my knees maybe severely arthritic, but you're not going to see me riding around in one of those scooters.

But to get by I have my writing. I've got my novel waiting go to England for analysis (someone spent a ton of money on a totally impractical move to Texas and there's not enough money on the credit card to cover the fee). I've written a new story for the Fall Anthology. And, there are all those other novels waiting for me to get back to them. Plus, there's that collection of short stories to write and get published.

That's the news for now. It's Sunday and since I played lazy yesterday, I have to get cleaned up and walk down to the mailbox to see how much junk mail I got.


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