Back To Square One

Speaking for the off-computer life, it’s been a fun week.


The last week of school hit on Tuesday with the young miss hurling her breakfast less than a half-hour into the school day. She was fine to get back to class on Wednesday, but got sick again during yesterday’s final school Mass. I think some of this is anxiety of leaving friends, plus the uncertainty on the homefront … which I’ll get to in a moment.

The three second grade classrooms collaborate on the final Mass of the school year. That’s extra work with the readers and gift bearers, naturally. We also formed a choir with the three classrooms. It was quite good. A lot of those kids will end up in next year’s children’s choir–if they have one. This year’s third graders have some really good singers among them, so I know it will be good.

Yesterday’s closing Mass went well enough. I didn’t think we had sufficient time to prepare the 2nd graders for involvement. (Wednesday and Thursday funerals and their visitations blocked off all of both mornings. One funeral was permitted four eulogies, keeping servers on duty past their lunch hour.)

For some reason, the pastor proclaimed the gospel from the altar. I get less concerned about stuff like that except when it impacts others. Sure enough, the first petition reader gets to the ambo, turns the page, and instead of the intercessions, sees the Gospel reading. There’s nothing like those charming semi-conversations in the middle of Mass:

“Todd, don’t we have petitions for them?” asks the boss.

I make the motion of turning a page.

A teacher from the pew says, “Those pages that fell in the plant: that’s where they are.”

I make another page-turning motion. No idea what fell in the plant, but the prayers of the faithful are the next page over from the unread Gospel reading.

The poor kid was so flustered that by the time he got to the right page, he left the microphone pointing to his hair. And the one boy on petitions 5, 6, and 7 the 2nd grade teacher was worried about? He gets up there, moves the microphone to his mouth, and does it perfectly.

Home inspection was Thursday, and we got a report Friday morning with a list of 26 repairs and over a dozen things to “monitor.” I had wanted to accompany the inspector, but church duties called. Have you ever tagged along with a home inspector? That’s been one of the coolest things about buying a new house.

Anyway, I forwarded the report to my older brother who has more experience than I in home improvement. He was pretty alarmed, and thought the report was way too conservative. He thought we might be looking at up to $40K in repairs: foundation, structure, electrical, plumbing, and windows.

The owner, a bank, didn’t accept my suggestion that they take less money than offered for the home and pony up with a home improvement loan for the balance. So it’s back to square one.

Anita was looking at more homes on the net last night. There are some nice modest homes in the low 100’s. These are probably beyond our ability to get a loan. I have to confess my (younger) brother’s question echoes in my head at times like this. Why do I keep working for a system that seems to cause nothing but trouble? If he had the question in front of me this morning, I don’t know I’d have an answer for him.

It was one thing to make sacrifices when I was a single guy working for the Church. In my first parish position, one of my choir member’s husbands asked what I make. When I told him, he asked, “How the $%&# can anybody survive on that in the Chicago suburbs?” Maybe I should have pressed him to join the finance committee.

Meanwhile, the stress levels are running pretty high at home. Last night, my daughter posted a note on her closed bedroom door: “LEAVE ME ALONE! P.S. I AM NEVER EVER SPEAKING TO EITHER OF YOU ANYMORE!”

As I said before, it’s been a fun week.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Liturgy, My Family, Parish Life. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Back To Square One

  1. Anne says:

    Still remembering you and your family in my prayers. I’m sympathizing because a close friend is going through something similar.

  2. Patti says:

    Wow. Nothing like swimming in a big pool of stress, eh ? Hang in there.

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