Special Edition: Calm after the Storm

Saturday 16 September

I awoke to find that the pool was now green. This had most definitely been the cause of my illness. But this would have to wait as I had to work today. I had a vigil Mass and a wedding after that. I managed to get through it all despite having little voice. I went to bed early to conserve my energies for the morning.

Sunday 17 September

I awoke at 5.30am and prepared breakfast. I did not feel great at all. The drive to work was unhindered by traffic and I was there at 7am. I managed the first Mass and then reported to my line manager that I was prepared to cover the 9.3pam Mass but would have to leave soon after. I had managed to contact Marty Purtell to play for the 1230 and 7pm but had to brief the choir as to how they might manage the 11am without accompaniment.

I returned home and busied myself. Christian from work came round later to sort the second TV and assist with house knowledge like thermostats and the cleaning of the pool. I had already purchased supplies of chlorine and acid so he was able to help me with that. That evening I took Christian to O’Briens for supper. Christian returned to check the pool and was surprised that there did not appear to be much change.

Monday 18 September

I returned to the pool supplies with a sample from the pool and they agreed that something was awry. It was a different member of staff and he added some new stuff to the mix which would deal with the algae. I stopped by at Goodwill and bought two room-size rugs for $40 each. They were both brand new and served to cover the missing flooring and to provide further comfort. I also stopped at Lowes and bought tubes for the dryer vent.

Back home I added chemicals to the pool and waited.

I visited O’Briens bar for the second time and although staff were congenial it was really dark there. I went further north and found the House of Brews. The favourable reviews were correct. This was a happening place and they even had Delirium Tremens made in Melle, Belgium where I had spent many an evening in my youth.

Tuesday 19 September

I was delighted to see that the pool had begun to clear and was no longer green. I worked for 6 hrs. This was the first day I had driven to work along the new route and friends had advised me to leave early. So I left at 6.50am and was in by 7.15am. Still ill, once I had sorted stuff I left work after 6 hours.

Wednesday 20 September

I awoke soon after 5.50am and was in work for 7am. There was a school Mass at 8.30 and I needed to prepare instrumental parts. The Mass went really well.

I stayed a little longer preparing stuff for the weekend and then returned home for about 4 hours.

I returned around 5pm and was able to have a leisurely final prep for the first choir practice of the season. It was great when the choir gathered to discover that those who had promised to join us as new members all turned up. It was great t be back again. We worked on a Communion antiphon by Chris Walker, my setting of ‘How can I keep from singing’ and John Bell’s setting of Ps 116 ‘I love the Lord’

Leaving work at 9.30pm there was little time before bed.

Thursday 21 September

I waited in during the morning as I was expecting visits from Frontier to install TV and internet and also from a flooring consultant. Neither appeared so by 12.30pm I was in work. There was a Pastoral Staff meeting at 1pm which lasted only one hour. Today marked the 3rd anniversary of my gainful employment in USA. Once I had completed various admin tasks I decided to re-organise my office and in the process removed my Roland digital piano which I had temporarily housed there 6 months earlier. I would return to complete the task on Saturday. That evening I visited Charann’s bar but did not stay too long as I had to drive all the way home.

Friday 22 September

I met my friend Wayne at 9am as he had offered me a petrol lawnmower he no longer required. He also gave me a pair of loppers. I immediately took it for a service locally and would collect later the same day. I was surprised to get the call an hour later that it was ready! It cost $50 but seemed worth it as my grass needed cutting.

I stopped at Goodwill but for once bought nothing! I moved my kayak from storage and stopped at Home Depot and bought a leaf vac, a brush.

Later that evening I visited House of Brews for the second time. There was a guy playing guitar … some of the stuff brother Chris used to play.. so it felt like home! Ti add to this feeling I noticed that they had Delirium Tremens a strong brew  from Belgium which was in fact brewed in the small town of Melle which gave its name to College Melle, the Josephite School  where I happily spent many summers while on Choir Tours.

Still without internet I came home and watched Part 1 of Fellowship of the Ring.

Saturday 23 September

It took me a while to surface but in the end I was in work for 10am and able to continue the facelift to my office. There was a diocesan women’s conference downstairs in Higgins Hall so I was able to get some decent food! The Vigil Mass was only notable for one thing … I played 3 of the 4 movements of Boellmann’s Suite Gothique concluding the Mass with the Toccata. The Pastor asked me not to play this again as he felt it resembled too closely some theme music from haunted movies and the Munsters!

I stopped at Goodwill and was fortunate to find a beautiful wooden dining table for only $200. A carpenter was in the store and he reckoned it was worth $3000. It was brand new and still had the packaging on it. I love having a decent dining table. For me this is a symbol of hospitality which I enjoy offering so much.

I managed to get the table out of the car and into the garage but would need help to get it into the house and assembled. I would seize the opportunity sometime to get the piano set in place also.

Sunday 24 September

I awoke at 5.45am and was in work for 7am. Cantors turned up for every Mass which was just as well as I was not fully recovered from my infection of last week. The choir did a great job with the new pieces learned on Wednesday.

I returned around 2pm and idled a few hours away before returning to work via Goodwill!

Friday 29 September

The loss adjuster came to inspect the house after the hurricane damage. He was a bit concerned that whilst the roof had been temporarily covered with tarpaulin on the outside the inside had not been sealed. He noticed my coughing and mentioned that I may have been inhaling fibre glass dust from the roof insulation. He sealed it himself and then advised that that section of the roof would need to be recovered with repairs to the inside also. He further recommended that the french doors would need to be replaced as the frames for the unit had cracked under the weight of the impact. The floor would also need replacing.

Thursday 5 October

I had been experiencing a lot of pain in my foot for the last 3 months and finally got around to visiting an orthopedic doctor about this. He diagnosed tendonitis possibly caused by the shoes I was wearing. So later in the evening after work I bought some new shoes!

Friday 6 October

Nothing spectacular happened today. My new 7 seater sofa was delivered in between two funerals in different churches. A new bar opened in the evening. Named ‘The Local’ it specializes in offering local beers and spirits. It is a little on the pricey side but we’ll see how things develop.

Saturday 7 October

I almost overlooked a wedding preparation meeting at 10am this morning. I was beginning to like the idea of a delayed start to the day when I thought I’d better check my diary at 9.10am! I arrived on time and so did the couple so all was well in the end. Later that afternoon I played for the 4pm Vigil Mass and then attended the unveiling of the statue of Mgr Laurence Higgins who had served as Pastor at St Lawrence for 49 years and who had died last year. It was a high profile event which was transmitted by livestream into the church where I chose to sit in comparative coolness. It was interesting to see people stand for the Gospel (being read in the heat outside) but what was most memorable was the Sinatra song (Mgr’s favorite) being transmitted into the church also! A fine meal with speeches followed.

Tuesday 10 October

I normally get into work around 7am but today having left at the usual time I kept on driving to the Driving Licence place. I arrived an hour before it opened and there was already a queue. When they opened at 8am I was seen quickly and sorted my address change and got a new card. In the process I had to offer various documents and she informed me that one of them allowed me to re-enter the USA without a Green Card. So when I got back to the office I booked a flight to England in November for about 10 days. I had been saving my holiday for this so I was delighted not to lose it all!

Wednesday 11 October

One month after Irma struck causing such devastation workmen appeared to remove the loads of tree debris from the roadside. I took this as a sign that the city was getting back onto its feet again.

I played for the funeral of Sylvia who had been our receptionist at work until recently. Her husband Larry came up to me while I was playing intending to pay me for my services. Sylvia was ‘family’ so I declined payment but I did not recognize him as the glasses I use for reading music do not allow me to see much else and besides, for the three years I had known him I had only seen him wear shorts and t-shirt and here he was in a suit!

Choir practice followed and we did some detailed work on two pieces of Christopher Walker, the Communion antiphon for the Sunday and his ‘Laudate Dominum’.

Thursday 12 October

I went into work for midday having already visited American Signature Furniture to arrange for a technician to fix the recliner on my sofa set. All staff were invited to a special lunch to mark the re-signing of a contract with Diocesan Publications. I spent the rest of the afternoon sorting some admin a wedding meeting with a couple. Then I went home and welcomed friend and colleague Christian who connected the dryer, rearranged my TV connections to accommodate a new TV stand and established that the water cooler and ice maker were not even connected (which would affect their functioning appropriately, I suppose!).

After a bite to eat he left and I visited The Local, the new bar which opened last Friday.Back at home I fell asleep in front of the TV.

Friday 13 October

This day, for some superstitious souls, is one full of dread but it all started well for me. The ADT guy arrived on time to fit the security system for the house. This would take about 5 hours. The American Signature sent someone to fix the recliner on the sofa and within a few minutes he was done. I spent the day catching up on this blog which I had not published for over a month.  I hope you enjoy it!

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