Friday, February 09, 2007

Resurfacing with More This 'n' That

Hello to my readers. I've been "busy with much serving," as well as down with some stomach bug or other over last weekend and into the beginning of this week (yuck!). So I ought to at least do a little updating:

At long last, the traded-in car got towed (presumably by the dealership's wholesaler). It was still a day later than I was promised it would be gone the last time I talked to someone there, but my parking place is now my parking place again (except for when the purple Altima repeatedly gets parked there, despite my written request that the driver stop doing this. The next call is to the towing company).

I still haven't finished my letter to the owner of the dealership. I'm waiting until I have my payment book and final confirmation from the finance company that I do indeed have a loan with them. (Thank goodness I still have another month before the first payment is due...) I do not want the dealer to be able to retaliate by demanding that I return the car to them. Besides, I think this final ridiculously long wait for such confirmation needs to be added to the rest of my documentation and included in the letter. It *will* be a doozy, but I promise to remember I'm a Christian--honest, I do! :D

My church has provided me with a laptop and a flash drive, and it's a (mostly) whole new world. I can do my weekly informal service presentations at home. There are some problems, such as not being able to unlock the full 60-day free MS Office trial because HP didn't provide that key, and Microsoft, true to form, displays "This page is not available. Please try back later" when I follow their steps to get the key online. I'm quickly running out of non-key uses (total of 25), because every single time I access ANY MS Office application, it counts against that total. Yikes! And they warn you at the MS home page, that you can't get the key over the phone. IOW, "Don't bother us with our mediocrity. Make do until we take our sweet time fixing things. We're #1, so we don't have to try at all." (Believe me, if we could have crossed over to Mac, I would have done it in a heartbeat. But I didn't make the decisions, and to be fair, it would have been disastrous because of all the ridiculously old PC-based applications our staff and volunteers still have to use.) But anyway, it's a breeze to create the presentations and pop that flash drive into the sanctuary's projector-linked computer (on the back, of course, since it's so old). I won't even go into the nightmare that was my previous M.O. of doing those presentations, which I'd been forced into last fall when the office hard drive crashed irreparably and our volunteer computer guy never thought it was important to recreate the ability to burn data CDs. Since I didn't have administrator privileges, I couldn't load anything. But that's all in the past. I am the laptop's administrator, and it will gradually get everything I need for worship and music ministry, even if I have to buy it all myself. (I've been promised that with the new year, that won't be necessary.)

I'm also able to use it for a nice little personal thing: watching DVDs. I don't have a DVD player, if you can believe that, and haven't replaced my finicky VHS player. I've bought a few DVDs from Half-Price Books and have rented a couple. Of the three I watched: Elizabeth I (with Helen Mirren in the title role) is superb, if historically very inaccurate at times; The Devil Wears Prada was a fluffy bit of guilty fun, and A Prairie Home Companion was just plain strange--and I'm a PHC fan from WAAAY back. Disappointing; glad I only rented that one. In the wings are Little Miss Sunshine and two old favorites for the next rainy day when I'm not booked (sometime in late May, I believe): Steel Magnolias and The Princess Bride.

Children's choirs start back up this Sunday night. But first, I'm singing at the United Methodist Men's Sweetheart Banquet tomorrow night ("So in Love" and "My Funny Valentine"--think I can hack it as a sultry torch song singer??). Next weekend is my first wedding as the church's wedding coordinator, though the two this month have already been largely handled and I just need to be there and field any emergencies that may arise. Then there are two in March and two in May. This is more than we usually have (more like 2 or 3 a year)--seems we're now the popular place in town to have a wedding. Some have direct or distant family connections to the church, but a couple of them are for brides who think our church is prettier or bigger or something better than their other options. So the end of last week, the pastor and I were frantically trying to get the new policies presentable and republished--the old ones were ridiculously out-of-date and unsightly from much reproduction. I will actually have more responsibility than the previous wedding coordinator did. I asked her for her "J-Lo" velcro wedding emergency waist belt, but she said she didn't have one. (If you've never seen the otherwise forgettableThe Wedding Planner, that reference will make no sense. Suffice it to say that the perfect wedding planner is able to whip out Evian in a spray bottle to refresh a distraught M.I.A. F.O.B ["The F.O.B. {Father of the Bride) is M.I.A. {Missing in Action)"] once he's found on the basement stairs weeping for his little girl, more than a little tipsy. All her other emergency stuff, from nail polish remover to mouthwash, is contained in a remarkable wide belt that velcros around her rib cage beneath her dignified pale blue suit.)

The day job is going well. I really do think this is going to work out long-term. The scope is getting more enormous, as I'm entrusted with more and more of the clean-up of a massive data migration to a new database. There's enough work just with that for several more months, then there's the fact that they've hired 4 new professional engineers just since I started a month or so ago. That means that someone's going to have to enter data and maintain this database, hence the indication that there's enough work for a permanent position. There are overlaps with IT, Marketing, and HR. The people there are friendly and very, very smart, and a lot of fun to work with. Their respect for each other and for me is refreshing. I had lunch the other day with the founder's (now Chairman of the Board) admin assistant, who's been with him for over 20 years. People really do retire from this company after all or the majority of a career there. I wouldn't mind being one of them, though I also deeply long to be working full-time in the church. I guess I'm "selling myself" to work where I can get paid, eh?

And with that, I'm going to call it a night and get some sleep, so I can be ready to sing Cole [Porter] and Richard [Rogers] tomorrow. Better spruce up my luscious deep red velvet ensemble and tend to my manicure. (What manicure?! I forgot to mention that before the main numbers we singers present, I'm doing strolling violin! Can't have long enough nails to really call it a manicure, can I?)


zorra said...

Glad you're back. I went through that miserable stomach mess last week. I sympathize with the computer issues. My husband and I have a mixed marriage--he is a passionate Mac devotee,but I had to get a PC laptop because of some of the psych testing software I use. It's pretty silly that all of that stuff is not available for the Mac.

Have fun at the banquet--I wish I could sing torch songs (convincingly) and play the violin!

St. Casserole said...

You busy girl!

Hope the car stuff works out for you soon. I can't imagine the frustration.

Strolling violinist? Is there anything you CAN'T do???

Hope your tummy is quiet now.

Psalmist said...

Hi, you two! Chuckling over the question, St. C. Notice I've NEVER claimed to be especially expert at most of the things I do.

Tummy's relatively quiet, though it was sounding off during a lunch meeting with a worship consultant today. Must have been the fact that I had salad for two meals Friday and then salad for lunch today. At least loud obnoxious growls are better than, uh...better leave that at "better than what it had been doing."

Banquet was fun. I did more strolling than expected, because the dinner was late. The singing went quite well. "My Funny Valentine" was especially amusing to sing. I dedicated to any of the gents who've ever been "dumbstruck" by love.

Thanks for your commiserations, Zorra. Hope you're completely well now, too. What I wish is that Mac would once and for all come up with a complete bridge so their products could read any software. I hate how Microsoft has so glutted the market with mediocre software that people have convinced themselves they can't live without it.

Better not get started on that right now, or I'll be typing all night.

Hey, I had my babies back tonight! (First night of children's choirs for the new year.) Even had two brand-new three-year-olds for the pre-school choir. Darlings, even if one was enjoying her no-grandma freedom and trying to escape to run around the sanctuary. And my bigger kids REMEMBERED stuff from the past couple of years. They're old pros at reading and looking up stuff in the hymnal now. We had great fun in both groups introducing them up close and personal to the new piano. They each got to PLAY it! Fun-fun-fun!

Some days I REEEEEAAAAAALY love my job! It was a good day today.