May 5 Day 5: El Cinco de Mayo

Sundays tend to be a bit crazy for me. Naturally, I’m a night owl. Left to my own devices, I would stay up to 4 every night and get up probably around Noon. The rest of my world doesn’t work that way, so I generally get to sleep a few hours earlier than that. Still… the night is calmer. I’m able to think more clearly and get more work done.

My nocturnal nature completely works against me on Saturday nights, even if I get to bed at a “decent” hour the rest of the week. I’m doing amazing to get to bed before 1 AM… and my alarm is set to go off at 4:30 AM! If I get three hours of sleep that night, I’m doing really good.

4:30 AM is basically “prep time.” I go through my list to make sure I have everything I need for church. I usually print off the chord charts and put them in binders for the band on Saturday night. The electric piano usually has to be moved to the car, though if I have a Saturday night function, I sometimes leave it in there. (Yeah, I know I shouldn’t. If I’m tired…) Keep in mind that in packing my car of the electric piano and assorted items, I’m also working around the wheelchair ramp I keep in the trunk (THANKS, SANTA!!!) and – once everything is in there – my mother’s wheelchair. If everything is where it needs to be, I might sit down and go through the music for Sunday a couple of more times.

Around 5, I usually get ready. Shower. Dress. All that stuff. Once I’m done, I get Mom up so she can get ready. With her mobility issues, it takes her a bit more time and some assistance at key points. We use a transport chair in the house (because it gets through doors more easily) and then the wheelchair in my office in the garage for her to actually go out. Once she is ready, I lift her from the transport chair to the wheel chair and get her socks and shoes on. We’re usually talking about 6:15 by the time I get her into the car.

Mosaic Church holds its services in a movie theater at one of the local malls called The Greene. Before I get there, I stop through Tim Horton’s to pick up 80 Timbits and Mom’s usual sausage breakfast wrap and medium coffee. No, I don’t eat all the Timbits myself. We started picking them up for the set-up crew back when everything started… though Momma’s been getting all the credit!

Around 7 is about when I get to the back of the theater. I take Mom inside through the actual Exit door that goes into the theater that’s our worship space. I always take Mom out of the car first and wheel her over to the hospitality area (with Timbits) to hang out and eat breakfast while I return to the car to finish unloading it. Once my electric piano is set up in the worship space, my contributions to setup depends. Most everyone knows more about setting up the sound system than I do, though I am learning a little as I go. (That’s fine with me. I should really be thinking about music and rehearsal.) I can do certain things like set up the projector or the ear monitors, though today I was messing around with the mics and the drum cage. I don’t have to know and do everything; I just need it done. The set-up crew are rock stars.

Someone at church sculpted some flowers out of Play-Doh for my Mom today!

Ideally, rehearsal starts at 8. In reality, it starts whenever the entire sound system is set up and everyone is plugged in. If setup runs long, the time ends up coming out of our rehearsal. I typically prioritize the rehearsal based on what songs are new or haven’t been done in some time and who I have on vocals. If the time is good, we run them all. If time runs short, I may just leave a song that we know pretty well to chance. Once the entire band is through, I may pull the vocal separate and hit whatever areas we need. My co-leading partner-in-crime is pretty good about making vocal notes as we go. Generally, I’d rather rehearse something lightly or possibly not at all and give a few notes than play it 5000 times to death. As I’ve been known to say to my choirs in the past “Autopilot is boring.

Around 8:45 AM, we do our prayer circle with the setup crews and whoever is there at the time, then the leaders and media crew talk down the program to make sure everything is in place. At 9 and 10:20, we do both our services back to back. Immediately after the 10:20 service ends, we start tearing down. We usually have about 30 minutes to pack everything up and get it out of the theater. Thankfully this time we have storage on site! When we first started this venture last September, it had to all be packed into a trailer and hauled to our sister church and unpacked.

So… From 4:30 AM to about 12 Noon on Sunday, I am just going with very little time to sit and breathe. After I load my car back up, I always take Mom somewhere for lunch, usually near the theater at The Greene. Today, however, she said “Five Guys” and my stomach was all over it. I needed that today!

About 1:30 PM, I usually get Mom back home to get her situated before I take my post-church coma. (Today’s coma was not too successful.) If I do take the nap, I have to make sure my alarm is set, because…

I have rehearsal with the Dayton Salsa Project at 6:30 PM! I first joined the group at the end of October last year, just two days after I totaled my car. With the exception of Cousin Brian Powell on alto saxophone, I didn’t know anyone in the group. And yes, I knew even less about salsa, much less merengues, bachatas, boleros, and all that other stuff. I spoke with Edwin on the phone and played this really basic/trite salsa riff I pulled of a jazz chart and next thing I knew, I was hauling my electric piano up a flight of stairs and getting deluged with Roberto’s charts with a “Keep working!” That guy killed my 1.5 inch binder. I had to go and get a 3-inch binder to keep them all in. Almost seven months later, this has become an unexpected band of brothers in my life. So… Thank you to Roberto, Daryll, Tito, Cousin Brian, Luke, Jason, Edwin, Edwin, Juan, Julio, and Abdeel. Y’all are awesome.

The Dayton Salsa Project! Clockwise from next to my head: Roberto, Daryll, Tito, Brian, Luke, and Jason.

Kind of interesting how despite my being far more trouble than I am worth, God keeps giving me what I need before I even know I need it. Along those lines…

I can that as of today, the situation that has been really stressing me out has turned a corner. It hasn’t completely resolved, but at least I am recognizing that a pathway forward does exist… and it was different from the one I had originally chosen. And it was quite possible… even probable that I looked into more than there was. The “Okay… chill…” moment came after I heard something that I apparently needed to hear today. Go figure.

Of course… Part of me wonders if an odd conversation I had yesterday had something to do with it… or my hair tie snapping after I got to church this morning… or my electric piano malfunctioning when we tried to hook it up to the sound system, meaning I threw my original plan out the window. I don’t know who was more patient with me today: God or the people I had with me. (It’s okay. They kicked ass.)

All the best,


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