Trials and Tribulations of a Panda Mom, Part 1

By all accounts, it has been a rather crazy last few weeks at the Cheng household. One thing after another kept going wrong, costing us time and money in the process. While realizing that nothing we experienced compares to the true suffering that many others are going through at this time, I write this post as a way of explaining why I have been silent these past few weeks, and maybe get some sympathy from you in the process :-).

Earlier this month, we had a lovely lunch celebrating Josh’s 15th birthday.  We ate at a nearby all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue place, Josh’s favorite.

20130422-133323.jpgAfter the celebration, we came out to the parking lot and got into my minivan.  To our surprise, the car wouldn’t start.  Good thing we weren’t far from home.  My husband and kids walked home while I waited for AAA to come help jump my battery, which is what I assumed was the problem.

20130422-133239.jpgUnfortunately, it was not the battery.  It was the starter, which required a tow to the shop. I have never been towed before.

I'm following my minivan being towed by a tow truck.  It was a weird sight to behold.

I’m following my minivan being towed by a tow truck. It was a weird sight to behold.

The starter, I’ve learned, is way down deep in the engine, so they had to do a lot of diggin’ to get to it.  In the process, of course, they uncovered several other problems which required immediate attention due to “some safety concerns” (hate it when they pull out the “safety” card because I know nothing about cars).  Of course, it was just after my 7-year/70,000 mile warranty ran out, so I had to shell out $1375 to get my car fixed.

Then, Meg spilled water on her MacBook Air. We now know that AppleCare does not cover water damage. Total cost: $800.

As I was on my way to pick up the said MacBook, I got a text from my husband who took Meg to get some X-rays on her pinky toe which she slammed into a doorway a few nights prior.

Yup -- a broken pinky toe.

Yup — a broken pinky toe.

A fracture. Meg’s dance competitions start in a few weeks, so she will have to go easy but continue dancing until she is healed.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, one day last week as I was walking back into the house with the kids after school, Josh pointed at some water seeping up from under the wood floor downstairs.

“Mom, what’s this?”

Water in the garage, water on our floors, water everywhere...

Water in the garage, water on our floors, water on our fireplace hearthstone…

We weren’t sure what it was, but we knew we had to shut off water into the house until we figured out what the source of the leak was.  Was it in the pipes?  Slab leak? The insurance company said that they we would get an emergency response to this leak…at noon tomorrow.  Evidently, our coverage defines “emergency” as anywhere from 24 – 48 hours.  Okay, so we had to go with no water for one night.

We saved water in buckets so we could occasionally flush the toilet by manually refilling the cistern.  “Use the bathrooms downstairs, kids.  It’s too much work to haul water up the stairs,” I proclaimed.  First world meets third world.  We hunkered down and went to bed.

“It’s only money.  Honey, it’s only money,” I kept repeating to David, but mostly to myself.

What will the morning bring?  What will the plumber say?

What are the kids thinking as they watch their mom and dad’s reactions to all these things?

Stay tuned for my next post…