Tim and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day

Some of you may be familiar with the children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, in which a grumpy child experiences an unpleasant day. Last Monday was such a day for me.

Popsicle Therapy
Sometimes a popsicle can make everything better. This was not one of those times.

About three weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a web hosting company, billing me for $240 on behalf of one of my clients. “Hummph,” I snorted. “Time to cancel — my client hasn’t used that website for more than a year!”

Or so I thought.

I canceled the account, and patted myself on the back for due diligence in saving my client another year’s hosting fees. I only made two critical errors: (1) I didn’t check with my client to make sure they weren’t still using the website, and (2) I didn’t make a backup of the data on the website.

Around lunchtime on Monday I received a call: “Um, Tim, what happened to our website?”

“What website? I thought you weren’t using it any more. I closed it down about three weeks ago!” I tried to keep my voice from cracking in panic.

Long silences ensued. It turns out the client was using it as a network share for a bunch of collaborating medical students, and that it contained data which would be very difficult (or maybe impossible) to recover. I made a frantic call to the web hosting company, hoping against hope that they might have an old backup tape lying around.

“Nope. Our policy is that we don’t keep any old data for terminated accounts. If you had called back in the first day or two after, maybe … but not now.” The web hosting guy was sympathetic, but firm. “You kept a backup, didn’t you, dude?” I was flattered that he would assume I had kept a backup, until I remembered that I hadn’t.

Not my actual house
Admittedly, it could have been a lot worse. This is not my actual house, for example.

I was sick to my stomach for hours. I searched my usual storage locations hopefully, and my heart leapt as I found one … which turned out to be more than 8 months old, from June of last year. Between bouts of kicking myself and grinding my teeth, I hurriedly set up a new network share area on the new server. At the end of the day, though, there wasn’t anything I could do. They had still lost their data, along with any embarrassment or financial loss which that entailed. The client was very gracious and forgiving, but I felt like a fool — surely someone in my line of work, with my experience, would never make a mistake like that?

Eventually, the physical sensations passed, but I was left with a sad, sick heart. And so I turned to the usual sources for relief.

Emergency Rations
Thanks to Kathy’s good friend Michelle, I had an emergency store, ready to hand.

  • Chocolate or some other dessert
  • Computer games
  • A movie
  • Prayer

I’m embarrassed to admit that my efforts to drown my sorrows were in that order. First, I thought about eating something sweet. Unfortunately, I recently resumed my health and fitness efforts, and the diet plan I’ve recently resumed (the TMEP) doesn’t allow for desserts more than once a week. Since I had cake and ice cream at my Dad’s birthday party, that avenue was closed to me.

Next, I thought about taking my mind off my troubles with a couple of hours of computer-game playing. There’s nothing like burning an enemy town in Age of Empires to put one’s worries on the back burner. Sadly, I used my whole week’s allocation of computer-game chips on Friday night.

After supper, I watched about half of Knight’s Tale, a silly and rather mindless but enjoyable film. Even so, the moment I turned it off, the feelings of guilt and inadequacy returned, and I started to kick myself and grind my teeth all over again.

It wasn’t until I was ready to go to bed that the thought occurred to me — maybe I should take this to the Lord in prayer? Kathy was willing, so we went upstairs and prayed together for a while. Amazingly, I was able to sleep, and even felt somewhat cheerful the next day.

How ’bout you? What kind of things do you use to drown your sorrows? Do you remember to pray, only after you’ve exhausted all other approaches?

In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6

Project 366, Day 39

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12 thoughts on “Tim and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day”

  1. I’m quite sure I’d be praying from the beginning to PLEASE don’t let this be happening to me. (g) After my initial panic, prayer is the only thing that brings me back to calm. I TRY to look at the “bad” things as lessons learned; and I know that God will use ALL to His glory.

  2. Wow Tim. You never cease to amaze me at your cleaverness in prose. You are very good at putting your whit into words. Thanks for the confession. Though I am very sorry for your loss and mistake, after my Friday (yesterday ended as a Terrible horrible no good very bad friday afternoon for me) It was encouraging to hear that I am not the only one that bumbles through things, makes mistakes and then tries to work myself out of the mess I MADE. I am sad to say that I like you have no better solution that to pray, only i usually wait until way past lights out and I am ready to “move to Austrailia” before getting on my knees. humm! Maybe you should market this as the newest way to relieve work place stress, write a book, get on talk shows .. Oh yea God already wrote the book. See you. (Via zip line) Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. I am so with you on the Nutella!!! You are awesome Tim. We all make mistakes and feel foolish. I just did it yesterday and the day before and the day before… You just don’t do it enough! Thanks so much for your help last night. You and Kathy are such a blessing to us!

  4. Oh, Tim. I am so sorry!! I can just imagine how you feel since this is your very field, too. I love you STILL.

    Thanks for the poignant (sp?) reminder to PRAY.

    I love you Edgrens. K

  5. Have you ever listened to someone describe an injury that he/she had and just listening to the story gave you the heebie jeebies? I felt that while reading this story; sick to my stomach for/with you.

    Best way for me to recover is go on a shopping trip at Best Buy. Not a healthy outlet for your emotions or wallet, I have to admit.

  6. Oh, man, that must have been a tough one. I am so sorry you had to go through this, but these types of experiences often teach some lesson or other.

    I usually manage to go to prayer pretty quickly, but I have to admit to not being very good at keeping myself there. I’ll pray and then go immediately to the “woe is me”, “I’m so stupid”, “what was I thinking” mode that generally works itself into such a frenzy that I can’t do anything productive, sleep or keep from crying at the drop of a hat.

  7. oh ya! i hear ya. chocolate, computer : games or surfing, movies, novels, mindless tv, and then ya, i remember that prayer is an option. isn’t it amazing how we forget about God until everything else we run to is exhausted and provides no lasting help.

    thanks for sharing out of your vulnerability and sorrow. i feel your pain, cuz i’ve been there myself.

  8. Oh, Tim, I’m so sorry! I would be running for the chocolate as well, no question. And then I might look at news stories from all over the world, including starving children, to remind myself the world is so much bigger than me and SURELY my screw up isn’t going to impact all of history. And then I’d eat more chocolate. And of course pray.

  9. Hey Tim…..
    ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’

    He uses our mistakes to keep us clinging to Him and realizing we can’t do it on our own anyway!

    Chin up, brother, you are a SON of the KING … AND … you learned from this…you’ll probably never forget to back up again!!! :)

    God bless, Buddy……thanks for your honesty and humility! It’s an encouragement!

  10. Hey Tim,
    I’m with Aunt Kate… I still love you too!
    Besides… just look at all those lovable kids on top of your blog!
    I bet they love you too!
    Life can’t be that bad! You are a very blesssed man!
    And if Kathy was willing to pray with you … then you are really blessed!
    Thanks for your blog!
    You never cease to amaze me!
    Love you,

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