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First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It's Fixed.... er... Maybe Not

Did I mention that we found out Sunday afternoon that Jess wouldn't be able to work at the Cafe this week because the owner closed for all but two days of the week!?!?!??? Talk about adding financial stress to an already brittle pair of psyches!! We felt even more grateful that our home teacher had given us such a generous monetary gift. As it happens, it will pay for our food and gas (what the Cafe income usually covers)!!!

Monday Bro. Vaughn (my visiting teacher's husband) came over to help Jess work on the van. It was a huge blessing that he did because Jess was planning to attempt a thermostat replacement (difficult because of tight van engine space) . As it happens there was nothing wrong with the thermostat! John, aka Bro. Vaughn, has a background in mechanics. Obviously, his experience is greater than Jessie's considerable experience because he, John, was able to suggest some diagnostic sort of things that Jess hadn't considered. By the time John left we thought the problem was fixed. Not permanently, but we thought it would last, perhaps, 2-5 years. Jess even drove the van to and from work with no apparent problems. Jess even filled the van to the ridiculous and upsetting tune of $96!!!! Can you believe it? Very stressful.

Tuesday morning arrives (Jess had the whole day off) and so he's preparing to leave to go grocery shopping. Being the responsible husband and father that he is he proceeds to check on the repair work only to realize that the water leak had resumed to the same degree as previous. Return of the broken van.

He spent some time trying to remedy the problem with the same fix he'd used the day before. All to no avail, unfortunately.

We realized quite quickly that the only way to really fix this problem was to have someone else do it because Jess just doens't have the tools, experience, or time to deal with it himself. BIG problem, though... we totally do NOT have any money to deal with this problem!

Oh, did I forget to mention that we received notice that our student loan payment has increased about $70-$75?? Yes, it has. And I think I haven't shared, yet, that our landlords let us know Tuesday morning that, to get the new stove we've needed (since moving in here) and requested for the last 6 months we would have to sign a year lease. Oh... AND that if we didn't sign the new lease... $75 increased monthly rent payment... then he would be marketing the house to find new tenants. This fellow KNOWS we're expecting a new addition to our family and decides to pull this crap now!??? We really thought we had a great landlord, but I'm thinking NOW that perhaps we just had a great intermediary to deal with. Our landlord hasn't ever spoken to us prior to Tuesday... we've always talked to his property manager. So, this particular bit of information is very disturbing to ME.

Why should rent increase be disturbing? Well, quite a long while ago (around 6 months now) I had this really strong feeling and impression that we should plan to move soon. Attached to that impression/feeling was another strong feeling of like kind that if our rent should be raised, that would be a clear indication that the time had definitively arrived! So, as depressing as it feels to me, I think I will be moving with another newborn!!! :( But, it's not for sure. I just don't have a SURE feeling/answer as yet. I'm praying. Would you pray for me to understand, too? I would appreciate it!

So, not only do we have less money coming in because Jessie's hours at the Cafe have been drastically reduced (not even considering this current week's fiasco!), but we have at least one significant bill increase (through no fault of our own) and another that may increase should we learn/decide that we should remain here for at least another year. And then a shop bill to repair the van. Well, given our circumstances there is no way we could even consider adding anther monthly payment to this mess of finances. The only other option, since neither Jess nor I have rich families, to ask for help from our Ward.

If you have never had to do this... then you will not understand how we are feeling. And, really, there's NO way to describe to you/for you the frustration and desperation inherent in such a time. If you have asked for assistance from church, then you might understand a little. But you will probably NOT understand the feelings Jess and I have because this is not the first, not the second, but the THIRD time we're in such circumstances! It is very upsetting. I really truly thought that we would not encounter such a situation again since I really believe we are doing what we should be and living where Father wants us to be and so forth.

Still... I try to comfort myself with the possibility that all of this may be in answer to my prayers... do you remember my ALMA scripture reading the other night? So, I'm clinging to that at this point.

Since we didn't know (and still don't) how long the repair might take we decided to accept some help offered to us by a sweet couple, the Bugnets, in our Ward. They told me on Sunday that they had two cars just sitting at their home because they'd felt inspired NOT to sell them. So, if we encountered the need of a vehicle to make it through, they asked that we please let them know and they would be more than happy to lend us one. We decided to accept that offer and ask for their help. Jess went with Peter to pick up the car and drove it home last night. What a blessing! We seriously needed to get groceries and I was trying to figure out who to ask to take me. And I didn't like the idea of going myself because Jess is SOOO much better at getting just what is on the list and staying within or under the budgeted amount! With the borrowed car, Jess was able to get the grocery shopping done this morning AS WELL AS follow the tow for the van to the shop to talk with the mechanic there.

Jess has taken care of everything this time. I'm very pleased about that! Especially in light of the fact that I started to get super sick Monday night. I had a truly horrible sore throat and head throbbing headache. That turned into a wracking cough last night and I've been spitting up green stuff all day! :( My voice is starting to come back as I get more of the crud out of my chest, but it's still rather painful to speak - especially at more than a whisper. What a day.

Jess contacted our Elder's Quorum President (because our Home Teacher is out of town) to ask for assistance with the van repair. After EQP spoke to Bishop, we were reminded of the requirement to ask our families for assistance. That bit is really easy to forget to do because it makes the whole difficulty of the rotten situation feel even more horrible. But Jess did ask his Dad and I did ask my Mom. They are both helping to their ability, which is more than we expected. (We expected that they would not have any means what-so-ever with which TO help. We knew they would want to, but the ability to do so was the question.)

So, this morning Jess was able to follow the tow to the shop and talk to the mechanic and then go to the grocery store. YEAY! I had to recopy my original list onto another sheet of paper because Jess needed more paper room than the first offered to tally the prices as he went and I forgot to put milk on there! See, had I gone I would have remembered AND purchased that, but Jess just figured I didn't feel there was money in the budget so we couldn't get it this time. See what I mean!?? He's wonderful! Unfortunately, I get a good bit of protein from my milk, so he's going to stop and pick it up on his way home from work tonight. What a guy!

As it happens, the quote for the repair on the van is acceptable and the work was approved by our Ward. It appeared (to the last time we heard before Jess had to 'scooby' off to the Club) that the head gasket needed to be replaced... I believe. It's a rubber piece that wore out over time. It is, apparently, a common occurrence in Chevy Astro vans. So, hopefully we will have a fully operational vehicle of our own back before too long. :)

It sure is lovely to open the door to the garage and see the beautiful machine we have borrowed. A golden Mitsubishi Gallant. I haven't driven it - or even been in it, but hope to get a chance before we return it. I can't remember the last time I drove a vehicle so new and pretty! :) I'm really not a vehicle snob because I am so totally grateful for what we do have (especially when it is functioning properly), but it's pretty fun to have things that are nice to look at too, right?

I hope you will see and feel (through my depressed state of mind due to the stress AND illness combo) that we are amazingly blessed through all this difficulty! Isn't it amazing to see and feel Father's love!!?? We are so blessed to have a Father in Heaven who loves us so completely!!

Many thanks and much gratitude to those who have helped and desired to help us through this, our great difficulty! Joey - provident gift giver!! Brother and Sister Bugnet - beautiful machine lenders! Mom Farrell and Dad Gollihugh - helping to get the van repaired! Leslie - ride to and from church! Judy - dire to help bring Jess to work and lending of her husband's trucking tools for van repair! Chris - desire to help Jess get to and from work! Jena - willingness to help with the girls and cleaning of any sort! Our Bishop/Ward - van repair funding!! Shaun and Chris (Jessie's co-workers) who toted Jess and to from work one day each (thus far)!

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