On Wednesday 22 August at 4.30pm there was a massive electrical storm overhead. If you’ve never experienced Tampa, the lightning capital of the world, during a storm it is something to behold. Of course the high temperatures and the moisture from the Bay of Mexico are the causes but it is pretty scary. There were over 7000 lightning events last year in Tampa alone. I can understand what monsoons must be like from the sheer quantity of water that falls here in so short a period.
On Thursday 23 I took my first sick day for a long while but had to go to work on the Friday (normally a day off) because there was so much which needed to be done before the weekend. In the afternoon I went to Jesuit to do some practice myself. I took the first movement of Vierne’s 2nd symphony with me and was pleased that so much of it is still in my muscle memory.
On Saturday one of the parishioners was kind enough to share with me some banana bread she had baked that afternoon. This tastes great with ice cream! Later that night as I went upstairs to bed I noticed that the carpet at the top of the stairs was wet. I did not know at the time whether it was from the roof or the air-conditioning handler units.
On Sunday morning after the first Mass I called the insurance company and registered my claim with Cynthia, the same woman with whom I had registered my claim after Hurricane Irma!
I spent Sunday afternoon watching the Papal ceremonies from his visit to Dublin. Earlier that day a retired archbishop Vigano who had been the Vatican’s ambassador to Washington had issued a stinging letter casting aspersions about the last role of the last 3 Popes in this matter. My own feelings were that this man had an axe to grind and it might be better to wait until the dust settled a bit before jumping to any conclusions.
Monday was a day off so after an early visit to the doctor for routine tests I called Home Warranty to get someone out to look at the Air con. He found and stopped the leak but recommended replacement. I had expected to do this when I bought the house as I knew the units were both 18 years old.
Unexpectedly on Monday afternoon a carpenter arrived to measure for the replacement French doors damaged by Irma. Inexplicably these measurements have been taken so many times already but since there has been no progress on the repairs for weeks this suggested that something might be afoot. I’ll believe it when I see it!
During the day I received a number of estimates for replacement and took the last one on Tuesday morning. This last one from Caldeco offered me one unit as a ‘scratch and dent’ . I had never welcomed anyone to my house saying “I suppose you’d like to see my air conditioning equipment?” so I took the deal saving me $3000 and installation occurred the following day. A team of three arrived early in the morning but when I returned around 3.30pm there were eight people trying to get the job completed!
As expected the new units were so much more efficient and having forgotten to set the desired temperature they cooled things down to 60F which in Florida is very chilly.
The other interesting event of Tuesday was a whole staff meeting to reflect on the recent report about the clergy abuse cases in the Diocese of Pennsylvania. It was clear to me that good clergy can often react more strongly in these matters than the laity because they feel understandably ashamed by some of their clan. After the discussion we decided to create some form of liturgy to enable to people’s cry to be heard. We would also explore the notion of the church doing penance for its crimes.
On Thursday I took possession of two bargains. In the morning a Cable Co piano was delivered to St Lawrence for the music rehearsal area. I had been offered the instrument for free and just had to sort collection. It turns out to have been made in 1971. I also got another bargain from Goodwill in the form of 6 dining chairs at $5 each! … the type with even the legs covered with the same cloth. Such modesty!
On Friday I rang the insurance company as I had heard nothing from them. It turned out that my claim had been incorrectly categorized. Within 30 minutes there was a knock at the door and a technician/adjuster got to work attempting to dry out the damage which was greater than I imagined. As we all know water has a habit of getting wherever it wants. In my case the leak on the first floor had damaged the carpet but also tracked into the void between the floors. There was water detected when sensors were applied to the kitchen and bathroom ceilings. I now had to entertain 2 large dehumidifier units and about 8 industrial fans. It sounds as though I am on the tarmac of an airport! I could live with the noise (earplugs) but the cold was something I did not expect. The thermostat reacted to the heat from all this machinery and accordingly lowered the temperatures!
As I type it is Monday and the technician has been back each day since Friday to check the drying process. Tomorrow if there is no improvement he will seek permission from the insurers to put wholes in the ceiling to establish what is slowing the process.
At 2.30pm there was an almighty thunderstorm with the associated deluge. Further south there is a tropical storm ‘Gordon’ which is building strength and this may have been an early warning of what will come. The Gulf Coast will be the likely target of what may become a hurricane as it passes over the Gulf of Mexico after Florida.