Heather and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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It was a cold and windy Saturday morning following a windy and rainy night.  Heather’s alarm clock went off too early but she got up anyway – it was time for a trip to Tucson for some much needed shopping.

She had planned to leave early but by the time she was ready to go it was almost noon.  So much for a quick trip to town and a nice afternoon at home, she thought.

On the way to Tucson a light came on in her car telling her to check her tire pressures.  She pulled off the road shortly thereafter and checked them.  One was low, but not nearly low enough to worry about in this cold wind so she got back in the car and kept driving.

While she was shopping she couldn’t find a few of things on her list.  She walked up and down the aisles until she finally gave up.  I guess I’ll have to order that online, she thought, but she was frustrated with the amount of time she had wasted while looking for it.

On the way home the check-engine light of her car switched on.  Now what? She thought, frustrated again.  It’s too late to go back now, everything will be closed.  But she knew that she wouldn’t be able to make it back for almost a week and she was worried about her car making it that long.

When she got home she installed a pair of light-bulbs she had purchased only to find out that the fixture itself was the problem.  Great, she thought sarcastically. Now I have to return these.  I hate returning things.  And the light still doesn’t work!

Later that night, Heather got ready to go to bed.  It had been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day and she wanted it to end.  But just as she was about to climb into bed with a book, she noticed a dark patch of carpet in the closet right by the panel which concealed the water-heater.  She popped the panel off and saw that the water-heater was leaking!  It was leaking a lot!

It was leaking because it was leaning – and the floor underneath was collapsing.  She tried to fix it herself; tried to prop it up with some towels.

It only got worse.

Heather panicked; she didn’t know what to do!  So she made some phone calls – I hate phone calls! She thought. And it’s so late – I don’t want to wake anyone up!

Heather tried to find the shut off valve for the water heater – she couldn’t find it.  She tried to find the shut-off valve for the water to the house – she couldn’t find it.  One of her phone calls brought a friend over to help – they still couldn’t find it.  They found things they thought were the shut-off valve.  But they weren’t.

Heather got attacked by a jumping cactus.  Ouch! She thought as she threw the cactus-bit as far from her as she could. Stupid cactus.

In her hurry to get through the house, one of the belt-loops on Heather’s jeans caught on a doorknob and tore a hole.  And in my favorite jeans, too! She thought.

All the rushing back and forth left trails of mud on the floor.  I just cleaned that floor!  Heather thought, What a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Finally, Heather and her friend managed to prop the water-heater up on a scrap of wood and it stopped spraying water like a fountain.  It was almost one o’clock by the time they parted ways.

What an end to a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.


Heather woke up still tired but ready to go on a much needed shopping run to Tucson.  She took her time in the morning – eating breakfast, reading her Bible, and spending some time with her cat – so she didn’t get out as early as she had planned.

On the way to Tucson her car let her know that her tires needed some air.  She checked them and was glad to find out that they weren’t so bad she had to pump them up immediately on the side of the road in the cold wind – she could wait until she got home.

While she was out shopping, she found a great dress for an upcoming wedding – and it was on sale!

On the way home from Tucson her car’s check-engine light came on.  Heather was worried but she made it home safely.  Since there’s no school on Friday, she thought, I can get it checked out then.  She was just glad it had alerted her to a problem instead of breaking down in the middle of nowhere.

When the water-heater started leaking that evening, Heather knew she had to do something quickly.  She tried everything she could think of before she called anyone.  It was late and she didn’t want to wake anyone if she didn’t have to but it didn’t take long for her to realize that she was out of her depth.  She needed help and fast.

First she called her parents.  They suggested she find a way to shut off the water.  This proved to be more difficult that she had anticipated, particularly since it was dark and cold outside.

She didn’t manage it.

She made some more calls and Sherrie, a friend and fellow missionary, came over to help.   While they searched for the valve, Sherrie pointed out the stars.  They were bright and they were plentiful.  And Heather hadn’t even noticed them.  She was grateful for Sherrie’s positive presence on this adventure.

They still didn’t manage to find the shut off valve but together they eventually managed to temporarily stop the leak.  It was nearly one o’clock when Sherrie headed home after a prayer of thanksgiving and protection.  They were grateful that someone had been here to catch the leak.  If Heather hadn’t been there living in and looking after the house while its regular occupant was gone for the year, she might have come back to a gaping hole with the top of a water-heater peeking out.

What an end to an eventful day.


There are two ways to tell every story; two ways to look at life.

Yesterday was… interesting… to say the least.  And there are two ways to tell the story of the misadventures – I wrote them both for you.

Yes, this is about optimism and pessimism.  Sort of.

It would be more accurate to say that this is about choice.

Each day we can decide to look at life’s difficulties as problems or as adventures.  And the choice we make determines whether our days are “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” (a phrase I borrowed from an old children’s book, by the way) or adventures and opportunities to stop and see the stars; to let God be God.

Until next time,

Grace and Peace

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