Sunday 5 February

I managed to spend much of my day off doing domestic chores before hitting the beach for a few hours. Then in the early evening I headed to church for a Mass with Tampa Catholic High School. In the event three girls led the singing and some of the pressure was relieved from me.

My first stop on Tuesday was the dentist. The previous day I had attempted to sort things for the extraction of a wisdom tooth. My new health insurance is a third party one and relatively unknown to most providers so this is proving difficult. In addition the company does not appear to have got its act together and I was asked to get back to them in 2 weeks! I had a cleaning done and this further revealed the need to get the wisdom teeth dealt with. My dentist advised getting rid of them all and having two further crowns done but it transpires that his services are not covered by my new insurance.

On Tuesday on my way into work I stopped at the Nissan dealer to get my tyres checked out. They discovered a screw in the tyre but it was repairable at no cost. The last time it cost me $200 for a new tyre (or tire as they have it here!).

This good news was about to be the last of the day. The first email I read was from the Diocese who are supporting my Green Card application. It appeared that the authorities are only now processing the application for 26 April … mine was received on 21 September! My visa expires at the end of this month but the fact that my application is in process means that my stay and ability to work is extended for the duration.

My driving licence is up for renewal in the middle of March and I am expected to supply documentation as to my status. I just hope I find someone who understands the benausics of my situation.

I continued to explore options about my teeth but it was all very confusing so I got on with work instead.

On Wednesday we had a great School Mass and I had prepared some additional instrumental parts immediately beforehand. That was a waste of time as the violinist was ill! I managed to prepare the resources for the next two weekends’ music which we would look at during the evening’s rehearsal in addition to music for the confirmations next week. It was a good rehearsal and we left early for once!

On Thursday I played for a funeral and on returning to the office received an invitation to watch the ice hockey that evening. My friend had secured 4 tickets so I was able to join his family at the game. These tickets also included buffet food and drink! The match was terrible from Tampa’s point of view but the evening was good and cost nothing!

Friday was another Day Off slightly marred by something else happening. In this case it was the annual Grandparents’ Mass. This involves so many people that it takes place in the Higgins Hall adjacent to the church. This always means additional effort to set up the sound resources but this went well. In addition to the house system we also added the Peavey amplifier/speakers I had bought from Goodwill for $40 as a monitor. Within seconds of the dismissal I was heading off to the beach.

My restful time on the beach was spoiled by the collapse of the beach chair. This had happened once before and a replacement had been offered so that would be a task for Sunday. In the evening I joined friends at Charann’s Bar.

Saturday started with watching Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-1 and was followed by a meeting with to-be-weds. The Catholic Church recently revised its rites and so folk are still coming to grips with this. This is the third such meeting since the revision and I am becoming more efficient in explaining the issues.

During the afternoon I did some further hymn arrangements and the vigil mass.

Sunday was busy as ever and there was a further evening rehearsal with a Cantor for a forthcoming wedding. In between I managed to exchanged my broken beach chair. The assistant remembered me from the last time (probably because of my accent) and so the process was painless. There were some slight changes in the design with the new chair … I hope things work out better this time.

In the evening I dropped into Charann’s which was full for the Superbowl. I barely understand the game but it was a nail-biting one. I returned home just before extra time and was able to switch on to see the conclusion.

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