Category Archives: Day Job

Visting a very secular wedding

I may be Catholic, but many of my associates from work and college are not. Nonetheless, they still get married, believe it or not. And as such, I get invited to these weddings.

It’s not what I am used to, of course. There is something to be said for the Catholic rite, which eliminates a ton (though not all) of the stupidity you find in much modern wedding ceremonies. So really, I am unaccustomed to non-Catholic weddings, and even less so to weddings that don’t mention God at all.

That was the case here; he’s an atheist and she (the coworker) more or less sorta is. On many important issues, we disagree. But we acknowledge the goodwill of the other; Pope Francis would, I hope, be proud.

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No real goodbye, but perhaps that’s OK

In the morning, I received the e-mail, as did many others. A colleague was soon to become a former colleague, off to some new something-or-other — what it was, she didn’t specify.

My first reaction, in a sense, was a sigh of relief. Same with many others. And then there was a little bit of guilt.

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Floating a trial balloon

As many of you know, church music isn’t my full-time job. I’m normally a weekend warrior, and I have a day job in Chicago. So, in effect, I work pretty much every day.

Which is leading me to consider: What if church music became my full-time work and I shifted to editing and writing part-time or freelance or even not at all? I’m thinking about it, very seriously, especially after my week at the CMAA colloquium (about which there will be a couple more posts when I have a chance).

There would be a lot to work out. The benefits wouldn’t be as great. I have a mortgage, so a pay cut is a bad idea. Job security for music directors isn’t the best. I would lose the social benefits from the day job. I need some more training to help me do directing properly (luckily, I have people lined up to help).

But there would be plenty of pluses. I would spend more time with sacred music. I could bring more people beautiful music, and train more to sing it. I could take a job closer to home, hopefully. I wouldn’t have to work seven days a week like I do now. I might have more time for a social life.

It’s a lot to think about. Please pray for me as I try to figure this all out.

What I’m doing on my summer vacation

Last time, it was what I thought I might be doing for my summer vacation. Well, I’m doing what I thought I might be doing, which means in a few weeks, I will have done what I thought I might be doing, which may confuzzle everyone enough.

I’m off to the Church Music Association of America’s summer colloquium in Indianapolis. I will be staying with terribly overly indulgent friends whom I cannot even begin to repay, as they easily saved me $1,000 in hotel bills. And I will spend a week fully engaged with church music, which is going to be important, because if one day I’m going to go full-time as a church musician (something I’d like to figure out how to do), I need to be able to hold my own out here. So let’s discuss what I’m hoping for over my week in Indy.

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7 quick takes: This house won’t buy itself

— 1 —

So as I’ve mentioned, I’m buying a house. And last Friday was the inspection (passed, and there’s no radon either). We’ve asked the homeowners to do some stuff. I’m getting quotes for homeowners’ insurance. And I’ve filled out a ton of paperwork for the mortgage. This. Is. Exhausting. I will be so happy when it’s finished.

— 2 —

At the end of my inspection, the inspector dude gave me this:

inspection book

Apparently, the average age of new homeowners is 5.

— 3 —

Jonathan Toews holding up the Stanley Cup. Alas, I was in a bad spot for photos. Though that never stopped anyone from taking photos.

 

I didn’t get to go to the Blackhawks championship rally three years ago due to my crappy telecommuting job. There was no way I was missing the parade this year. Oddly, I didn’t feel as celebratory about this year’s win right away, perhaps because their win in Game 6 was a total shock (tying, then game-winning, goal in 17 seconds) and I was drowning in mortgage paperwork. But I’m feeling it now. And I demand a repeat next year.

— 4 —

I think I was glad I was working from home on Wednesday, when the Supreme Court decisions dealing with gay marriage came out. My workplace is all-in on gay rights, and so are most of the employees. Plus Chicago’s Pride Parade is this weekend, and they’ll probably be handing out free T-shirts for it, which, as an employee of the Catholic Church, I can’t accept or wear.

It’s tough knowing Church teachings, not liking them, but reluctantly accepting them anyway. The Church’s stance on homosexuality may be right, but it still breaks my heart.

— 5 —

OCP’s summer catalog is in the mail, the Catholic music publisher says. I may need some extra free time the next few days.

— 6 —

Regarding Wendy Davis and her filibuster of that Texas pro-life law: When I die and face my judgment, I will be held to account, I’m sure, for many things. I’m not perfect, and occasionally, not even good. But I can’t imagine telling God at the end of my life, “I spent more than half a day speaking out in favor of abortion.” We must pray she figures that out in time.

— 7 —

Speaking of the Blackhawks…

That’s the Blackhawks goal/victory song. Something’s lost in the translation to classical, but it’s still really cool.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 quick takes: Mostly written on a train so please excuse typos edition

— 1 —

As I noted yesterday, I’m in the process of buying a house, and today marks a big step: the inspection. So I would appreciate your prayers that all goes well. I’m nervous, because a friend’s homebuying was derailed by an inspection, and I don’t want the same to happen to me.

UPDATE: It went well. Whew!

— 2 —

On that note, a lot of people asked me how I feel now that I’m buying a house. And the answer is, ask me in a week or two. There’s so much to do to get the ball rolling, and I’m dealing with so much so fast that it’s tough to really sit back and think. Actually, a better answer might be to ask me after I’ve actually moved in.

— 3 —

And everyone’s like, “Tim, you simply must have a housewarming party.” It’ll happen, but it’s waaaaaaaaay back on my list, guys.

— 4 —

I found a great typo this week in a writeup I was editing about music lessons. The writeup discussed “loner instruments” instead of “loaner instruments,” which got me thinking:

A piano wearing a leather jacket gets on his motorcycle.

“None of you understand me,” he says.

Then he drives fast around Unlucky Man’s Curve.

Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week.

— 5 —

I do like my day job, but they can be clueless on religion: at their sponsored street fair, they placed the psychic reading booth across the street from a Catholic church and right next to a statue of St. Michael the Archangel. This was a few months after scheduling a party on Good Friday.

Sigh. I know a lot of my coworkers are not religious, but still.

— 6 —

Oh, and the title? Like many of you, I prewrite these for posting on Friday. It is Thursday and I’m heading home from the party in #5. There’s plenty of time to do this, because it’s nearly an hour and a half that this train ride takes up, as I’m riding too late for the expresses and have to take a local.

— 7 —

The closest I can get to new-house music is going to have to be Everclear. The song’s not even really related, but, eh, it’s a pretty good song.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 quick takes: Two days of tragedy

This is a special edition addressing the loss of a colleague at the day job. It’s been a surreal last couple of days, and not much else of note happened this week, so this is my 7QT.

— 1 —

At about 6:35 p.m. on Wednesday, I was riding my bicycle along the Fox River Trail. I made it home safely at around 8 to watch the Blackhawks pull off the big win in Game 7. At about 6:35 p.m. on Wednesday, my colleague Bobby Cann was on his bicycle as well. But he was hit by a car, and a little after 7 p.m., he was dead.

— 2 —

I came into work Thursday full of sunshine, happy about the Blackhawks win (though it cost me some sleep) and wearing a Blackhawks shirt. Not long after I got in, we got a cryptic email, which said we had a meeting at 10 a.m. And that was it. Whenever you get that sort of thing, it’s never good. I instant-messaged a colleague, smart-mouthing that it was probably some sort of bad news about the business. She sent me a link to the news story about my colleague. Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no. I didn’t know Bobby well. Occasionally traded instant messages and emails with him, and that was about it. But you read a story like that, and your blood goes cold. This was just short of 9 a.m., and the meeting was at 10. One hour to wait to confirm that this was our colleague who was dead.

— 3 —

Everyone trooped into the meeting room. I don’t know how many of us suspected something, but an audible gasp went up when the boss of our entire department announced what happened. The air was sucked out of the room. No one said anything as they left the room. All other meetings were canceled. Everyone was told that if they had trouble working today, it was OK. And a lot of people had trouble working, understandably. Everyone took extra time to talk to others. Everyone was nice to each other. I mean, we usually are anyway. But we were more so this day.

— 4 —

I got a beer for the train home. (You can do that in Chicago on the Metra.) And I flashed back, as I had all day, to when I had been injured falling off my bicycle. I was a very lucky man then, though I didn’t think that at the time. Bobby was 26. I’m 28. I was 24 when I had my bike accident. I would prefer not to die at this age, to be honest with you. But you still have to think about it. It’s a lot to think about. It’s hard to put it into words.

— 5 —

Friday was more of a normal day, at least for most of us. I did my usual morning prayers on the train, this time dedicated to the repose of Bobby’s soul. The initial shock was gone, and the feeling of numbness was starting to subside. People were talking and laughing in the office again, though admittedly not as much as before. I wandered over to the Merchandise Mart to have lunch with a friend. Her work had laid off a bunch of people on Thursday, so she and I commiserated about our experience.

— 6 —

 The afternoon Friday brought news that the accident appeared to have been caused by a drunk driver, who was now charged with reckless homicide. My colleagues were furious. On Facebook, expletives and emotional angry words were flying. I was more sad. It meant a chain of failures, from the people who overserved the driver to (perhaps) the driver’s friends to (definitely) the driver himself had all failed, with ghastly awful consequences. And the other thing is that, quite frankly, drunk driving is pathetically easy. Step 1: Drink a little (or a lot) too much. Step 2: Drive. It’s a problem without easy solutions. But it was an entirely preventable death.

— 7 —

Please pray for Bobby, his friends, his family, and his coworkers. I give credit to work for handling this sad episode very well, and to my colleagues for pulling together.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!