Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Muhlesteins and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Two weeks ago, our car started acting up. The engine would rev every time we attempted to accelerate. We aren't car people, but we diagnosed the problem as a worn out clutch and we had resigned ourselves to forking over the money to get it replaced. We were telling our woes to a mechanic in our ward on Sunday, and he started telling us that it was probably not only our clutch but also our transmission. He said if we had to replace the transmission, it would probably cost $3,000 to repair. I was heartbroken at this news. We were not going to invest $3,000 into our 1998 Ford Escort and we probably wouldn't be able to buy a new car before Christmas. This meant we were stuck in Irving for Christmas.

In addition to a sick car, I was also worried about the house. On Friday, we got a huge water bill. Our last water bill had been high. We had discussed it and thought it was due to the extra laundry we have done since we got Nicholas. In addition, my mom had visited so there was a week where there had been three people using water. This most recent water bill was outrageous and there was no way to justify the extreme jump in water usage. Luckily, Joseph is familiar with water meters since he has spent two summers working for the water department. We turned off everything in the house that uses water. He went out and based on the water meter we had a leak somewhere and we were losing approximately a gallon every 2 minutes. He dug up a section of the yard to see if he could find the valve to shut off the water to our house. He found the valve, but it was rusted shut. We didn't know if the leak was in the house or in the yard. We called our insurance Saturday and a plumber showed up on Monday. He informed us that the leak had to be in our house and that we had to cut a hole in our floor so they could access our pipes. Then came the great news that we would probably find a swimming pool worth of water beneath our floor boards and that pumping that water out would not be covered by our insurance and cost approximately $1,200.

After the plumber came, I checked my email to find the first official hospital bill from having Nicholas had been processed. At that moment, I was seriously discouraged. It has taken me a week to look past this series of unfortunate events and see all the blessings associated with these occurrences. First, it turned out that our car only needed the clutch replaced. It only took a whole day of Nicholas and I camped out at the mechanics and $500. We can now make it back to Utah for Christmas as long as the weather is good. Second, after emptying out our major storage closet, we found an access hole already made and we discovered that the water from the leak had amazingly been able to drain so we didn't have a swimming pool. We were without water from Monday to Thursday, but we were able to get the leak repaired for $60. We also got the water back on before we had to throw a party for 14 people on Friday and 8 people on Sunday. Third, Nicholas had his two month appointment on Tuesday. He weighs 12 lbs and is healthy. He is such a blessing and the hospital bills seem a small price to pay to have him be part of our family. While I am not necessarily grateful for the trials that we experienced this week, I do know that things could have been a lot worse and that our Heavenly Father is watching out for us. After having Tithing settlement on Sunday, I can't help but feel that we cashed in all our blessings for being full tithe payers this week.

I also learned an important lesson this week from my wonderful husband. Because of this series of unfortunate events, I switched into miser mode. I kept on focusing on just how expensive life is and how precarious a financial position we are in with no current income. In contrast, at church when the Bishop asked for donations for the less fortunate people in the ward, Joseph donated everything he had in his wallet. As always, he is such a great example of generosity and love.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nicholas's First December

This week was pretty slow because Joseph had to study. Joseph had his Anatomy Lab final this Friday and his Anatomy Lecture final is tomorrow. I mainly did chores around the house while he studied. I finally painted our nightstands and put new handles on them.

My life is improving because Nicholas is only waking up once during the night. He is also interacting more and will smile back at you.

It is starting to feel like Christmas and it even snowed a little on Wednesday. I learned how to make tamales from one of the sisters in the ward at this weeks Relief Society activity. Tamales are a Texas Christmas tradition. We also had a Ward Christmas party on Saturday. Tonight we are going to sleep under the Christmas tree. We already had the air mattress blown up because we had a potential med student staying with us the past three days.

I also had a failed attempt at making a sugar cookie Christmas tree. The tips of my stars kept breaking off and then my tree fell over.