Poem-ish: A Terrible, Horrible, No Good...

Some days you have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Today our nice renters in Austin emailed me. They wrote to say that they had mice running around the house, our Austin house. I sighed. I called the pest control people to ask if they could look into it, and I felt a little money slipped through our hands.

Last night a mean man punched Phaedra's car and broke a window. For no reason. Phaedra at the time was inside our church, taking advantage a healing prayer service. I was at home working on our finances. We went to bed feeling queasy.

An evil deer has eaten all the beans in our garden. A fungus ate all our peaches--a fungus and a gluttonous squirrel. Last month a foolish driver hit-my-car-and-ran. He ran in the middle of the night. He or she or they did not leave a note on my car to say they were sorry. The nice insurance people at USAA said that I had a "total loss" vehicle on my hands. I dated my wife in this car. I spent my best years at Hope Chapel driving around in this car. My car, affectionately called grandpa, ran just fine. Now the salvage yard folks are coming on Wednesday to take grandpa into permanent retirement, and a lot more than a little money has slipped through our hands.

I also discovered today that my health insurance went up.

We forgot to call our nephew on his birthday. We feet rotten about it. I can't find the title on my car. I think it's up in the attic with all the things we hid away in boxes when we drove out of Austin a year ago. My knee buckled on me when I played soccer on Saturday. It hurts today and I'm worried that it's badly damaged. I worked on our budget this morning. The red numbers out-number the black numbers.

I'm not finished writing three final papers. The fall term begins two weeks from today and I feel anxious. The mean man who punched Phaedra's car window stole the car manual. Phaedra said she would have given it to him (or was it her?) for free. Today she discovered sparkly, window-like glass at the tip of her index finger.

We're a little sad today that we don't have kids yet. We're a little extra sad. The smart eye doctor this afternoon said my eyes had a "very unusual" condition. He said I have an "astral band" running across the cornea of my eye. The astral band looked beautiful. "Can I still get lasik someday?" I asked. He said, "I don't know," and smiled kindly.

I don't sleep well at nights. I'm soaking my toes in vinegar at the moment. (Don't ask.) The black part in my wedding band is wearing off. Duke University just charged me a silly late fee. People die in the google news feed all the time. And Phaedra just burned herself canning figs.

Some days you just have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. You know people in other parts of the world have very bad days all the time. I know people like that. Even in Australia. Of course it's not all bad; it's rarely all bad. But sometimes you just get bummed out. You get bummed out and you can't shake it.

So I'm copying here a bit of Judith Viorst's delightful tale, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. For all of you who are artists and feel like you've had one too many in recent memory, this is honor of you.

Tomorrow will be a new day. For that we give thanks.

"I went to sleep with gum in my mouth, and now there’s gum in my hair. And when I got out of bed this morning, I tripped on the skateboard, and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running. And I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day………..I think I’ll move to Australia.

I could tell it was going to be a Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. At school Mrs. Dickens liked Paul’s picture of the sailboat better than my picture of the invisible castle. At singing time she said I sang too loud. At counting time she said I left out 16. Who needs 16?

I could tell it was going to be a Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. There were two cupcakes in Phillip Parker’s lunch bag and Albert got a Hershey Bar with Almonds, and Paul’s mother gave him a piece of jelly roll that had little coconut sprinkles on the top. Guess whose mother forgot to put in dessert?

It was a Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. That’s what it was because after school my mom took us all to the dentist, and Dr. Fields found a cavity just in me. “Come back next week and I’ll fix it,” said Dr. Fields. “Next week,” I said, “I’m going to Australia.”

On the way downstairs the elevator door closed on my foot. And while we were waiting for my mom to go get the car, Anthony made me fall where it was muddy. And then when I started crying because of the mud, Nick said I was a cry-baby. And while I was punching Nick for saying cry-baby, my mom came back with the car and scolded me for being muddy and fighting.

I am having a Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. I told everybody. No one even answered.

It was a Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. There were lima beans for dinner, and I HATE limas. There was kissing on TV, and I HATE kissing. My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and I had to wear my railroad-train pajamas. I hate my railroad-train pajamas. When I went to bed Nick took back the pillow he said I could keep and the Mickey Mouse night-light burned out and I bit my tongue. The cat wants to sleep with Anthony, not with me.

My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia."


Joel Storey said…
Sounds like you are under a spiritual attack. (Like somebody doesn't what you to be doing what you are doing!) Ephesians 6:12

Praying for you both. I am enjoy your blog!
Ditto what Joel said.

Plus, maybe if you and Phaedra don't HATE kissing like Alexander, that could help a little, too.
Joel Storey said…
Meant to say "I am enjoying your blog."
RF said…
Oh dear friends... we can really relate. That's been our summer too - and it's a horrible rotten powerless vulnerable place to be... I HATE IT - and hate it that you guys are experiencing this! We love you guys and PLEASE let us know if we can do anything, okay?? May you know God's provision and grace and peace in a whole new way in this time of suffering.
Joel, thank you for the encouraging words. Yes, one does begin to pray more on days like these. Or, well, maybe on days like these you pray less. But thankfully our well-being doesn't depend exclusively on our prayers, but we can lean into the prayers of the people who sustain us in our time of need.

Tamara: we do like kissing.

Rachel: you're too sweet. We are glad to know you guys.
Kari said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kari said…
oops -deleted and now reposted my comment
Oh my -I have been having that kind of week as well-, no more like a month. I read this book as a child and laughed to see how much I still, if not more, relate to it as a adult. I painted something expressing this in my blog. Maybe it will encourage you-
(this is Kari, Anneli's friend from Oregon)

Kari, thank you for sharing your work with us. So appreciate that. And it's always nice to meet a friend of Anneli.
Chip said…
"Count it all joy." Boy that is hard to do.
I hope this is not taken the wrong way, but I find kind of encouraging to know that everybody has these days, or weeks, or months, or years. Not that it makes it any better, but at least you do not feel as alone.
I also like to think of Paul. His good day, was one that did not contain a real death threat or another prison sentence. What a life.
Hope things get better.
God Bless
Chip, thanks for your kind words. I also find St. Paul to be a constant encouragement, especially when you remember to read his letters to Timothy and to the believers at Philippi.
sarah carleton said…
It made me smile to see you quote from this book as this very book has been on my mind the last few weeks as my own 'terrible' things unfolded. Be encouraged that your work matters! Keep fighting!
Thank you, Sarah. Perhaps we'll see your acting work one of these days.

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