Saturday, January 27, 2007

This 'n' That

I've been doing other things, and leaving things kind of hanging here at the Psaltery. So to catch myself up (along with the handful of you who keep tabs on this blog), here's what's up:

The piano debut was wonderful last Sunday! It happened on just the right day. We had a whole bunch of visitors (usually a few, but way more than the norm). The sermon was even better than our pastor's usual excellent preaching. (She preached from the Epistle lesson on what it means in the larger church to be the body of Christ and what she sees as our unique strengths as a congregation and a denomination within that body.) Despite our having had no final rehearsal during the week, due to our ice storm, the choir did a very good job with the anthem. We had a couple join the congregation.

And the piano! Dear Sister Pianist can actually play the piano, piano now! (Musical pun: "piano" means "softly," something it was nearly impossible to do with our old piano anymore.) It sounded fabulous loud, too! She played her already-chosen service music, which turned out to be a great variety of style and technique. The hymn accompaniments were great as well. And after the service, both she and one of our oldest members, who is completely "unschooled" but plays the most remarkable jazz-style piano I've ever heard, gave an impromptu demonstration recital. People did not want to leave.

I even did something completely out of character for me. Sister Pianist hadn't yet heard the instrument played in the sanctuary; it's so different to hear an instrument sitting "out in the space" than while one is playing it. After our early service, I asked her if she wanted to. She said she really would, so after a proper warning, I played one of the few things I knew I could get through (a Bach prelude). For the umpteenth time, she cried (and I don't think mainly from how poorly I executed the little piece). She said it's been a week of tears of joy over this wonderful gift.

During the choir's prayer time at the end of this week's rehearsal, I heard such wonderful perspectives on it. God worked this out for us. People's hearts are in the right place. This has never been one of those churches that considers itself the pinnacle of musical performance, but nothing about this project has even hinted at pride. They seem to agree with me, that the piano is a high-quality tool for the ministry that is worship. In worship, we encounter God and are equipped to go out and help others encounter God. Our old piano was a distraction from the encounter. The new one permits Sister Pianist to help us all make the best music we can.

So...on to other things. The new car saga still isn't over, and I'm still compiling a doozy of a letter to the owner of the dealership, to which I will allow him time to respond before I contact the Better Business Bureau and the state Attorney General. I am absolutely disgusted over the whole thing. I'm now on my third lending agreement, which is not yet final. After I got a call last weekend telling me financing was being redone to the tune of $100 less per month, I went in as scheduled. The guy who'd called me wasn't in; no one knew where he was. Instead, his boss presented me with paperwork for $15 MORE per month, got outrageously condescending with me when I protested, and still had no more satisfying answer than, "Oh, I think [missing call who called me] was just calling the wrong person. I know I do that at least once a day." He called the wrong person, all right...the person who will actually do something about this ridiculously bad business. As for thinking he was talking to a different person, HE called ME, asked for me by my name, at my phone number, so I don't think so. The problem is, after very reluctantly signing the papers (it was either that or give them the car back and walk home), I called him at the dealership the next day. He still insisted he had a much better deal for me, and to let him call me back. I gave him 2 days, and no call. Called again, left a message that I was calling back. Still no call. In the meantime, another gent got involved and said HE'D call me back about the fact that they STILL--now three weeks later--have not picked up my old car. They have the signed-over title, so it's no longer mine, but it's still sitting in my reserved parking place. (I'm about to call the complex's towing service, since it's parked illegally. But that would be spiteful, so I'm restraining myself.) HE didn't call me back, either.

What has me the angriest, though, is what I finally found out about why there's such a run-around on the loan. My day job is a temp-to-hire position. I'd just begun that assignment when the old car broke down and I went into the dealership. I was very up-front about it. I suspected they'd turn me down because of it; I'm not that naive. But they've decided their niche in the market is "we approve everyone." Well, on the second loan thing, I got a call from a representative of the lender. I wasn't expecting this--the wonderful, now-fired salesman never told me to expect it--but no problem, I took the call and answered his questions. One of these was, "Are you working as a temp?" I told him I was, and the timeline on which I expect to be hired permanently. I asked if this was problematic, and he said absolutely not, to enjoy my new car and to look for the payment coupon book in the mail shortly. So I REALLY was unprepared when I went in and found out they'd supposedly rejected the financing agreement because of my working as a temp. The financing boss-guy who dropped the $115 more per month bombshell on me told me, point-blank, I was not allowed to tell anyone from any lender that I'm a temp, at least not if I want to keep the car. His exact words were, "If your honesty is more important to you than keeping the car, tell them whatever you want to. But if you want to stay in the car, you cannot say you're a temp." He was not happy when I replied that just as with the previous lender, if I'm asked, I will not lie. But I won't. Yes, my integrity IS more important to me than staying in a car I didn't especially want in the first place, which is turning out to be horribly more expensive than I should prudently try to afford. (I *can* afford it, especially when the job becomes permanent, but that's a dangerous thing for a temp to count on. And it's now over $100 more per month than what I pay in rent! There's something VERY wrong with that picture.) Most of all, I hate that I allowed the circumstances to suck me into agreeing to anything with this bunch of arrogant, condescending, lying young thieves who can't be bothered to even return my phone calls.

Meanwhile, I've been suffering from a rotten head cold with a pounding sinus headache. At long last, however, I've received my separation paperwork copies (only 4 months after I requested it!), so now I can finally make an appointment with the VA clinic and maybe get a bunch of stuff taken care of. By then, the cold will be history. It's good to know, though, that in the event of a serious illness, I won't be forced into bankruptcy because of the medical bills. I continue to pray for my fellow uninsured Americans who don't have the saftety net of the VA or something similar. VA care isn't free, but it's very affordable. It was good to have today completely off, so I could rest and take OTC stuff to help things drain. Am I ever going to sound like a frog in the morning!

Speaking of which, I'd better stop blogging and start sleeping. 5:30 comes mighty early on Sundays!

Blessings to all you dear readers, and may you in turn be used by God to bless the world.


zorra said...

Good grief! It seems sometimes that life is much more complicated than is necessary. I hope the car thing gets ironed out soon, and that you feel better. Thank goodness for VA medical benefits; they have been a lifesaver for several people I know.

Good news about the piano!

SingingOwl said...

Good golly! I'm glad the VA thing is finally getting straightened--sorry about the other stuff and hoping your head cold goes, pronto!

April said...

Hey, I'm glad to catch up on your life! SOOOOOOO happy for you and your congregation's piano! (jealous, jealous, jealous, but happy, too...) Sad that you have to deal with the frustration of bureaucracy and stuffiness -- in the head and by "the man". Hope that none of the negative really gets you down! Blessings, dear one!

P.S. an after-thought said...

The dealership may have the title, but if they haven't registered it, the parking problem could be your problem. But that does present an interesting way do deal with a little revenge.

They sound like creeps. I always wonder about how sad to be married to somebody like that.