My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

There is a children’s book which, sadly, I have never read. It is Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Although my English teacher mother and my bibliophile father kept me in English-language books whilst I was growing up in Germany, they seem to have missed this one somehow. I arrived at college in Oklahoma in 1996 to find fellow students referencing this little book all over the place. This book, and the film The Princess Bride. I didn’t know what anyone was talking about.

In the interim, I’ve seen The Princess Bride about a bajillion times — but I’ve never gotten around to getting my hands on Alexander’s story. For my purposes today, however, all I need to know about his story is the title and the cover art. I can extrapolate pretty well: Alexander’s day is starting out sucky and it’s just getting worse.

(On a side note, my fingers keep wanting to type “Aleksandr.” Apparently, I am Russian today. Yeah, baba.)

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Wednesday

Yesterday, I could relate all too well to Alexander’s story. It all started when I poured my coffee, zested it up with Truvia, and then opened the fridge — only to discover that there was no milk in any form. No cow, no goat, no almond.

I cannot drink coffee without some form of milk. My tastebuds haven’t the constitution for the purely black stuff.

So. No coffee for Courtney. If you know me at all, you know that this was pretty much THE harbinger of Doom.

The doomish trend continued when I settled in to work out our monthly budget, which I do at the start of every month.


Never do a budget without having fortified self with coffee.

I shan’t divulge my budgeting details, ’cause that’s nunya. ; ) However, I will say that upon close review, the finances looked worse than I’d anticipated. In fact, I’d been anticipating good stuff. There wasn’t any. Just bad stuff. I slumped in my chair, rubbed my eyes with the heels of my hands, and plodded on.

Things got worse when I opened a bill, and it was medical, and it was unexpected, and it was for several hundred dollars, and I don’t think I should have to pay it. A phone call confirmed my fear that the only way to get out of it will be to haggle with the insurance company that hasn’t provided our insurance in almost a year.

The only haggling I enjoy is the haggling one does with European vendors who don’t speak one’s language.

Yes. I would rather stand in a dirty, open-air market and argue over trinkets at the top of my lungs with an irate vendor who is trying to cheat me and whose language I don’t speak than have a phone conversation in English with an insurance company.

But that’s beside the point.

The point is that by now, I was bawling in horrid frustration over my budget forms. This was followed in quick succession by slamming the back of my head into the corner of the kitchen cabinet and then poking myself in the eye with a fingernail.

My terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

In Which Things Get Better

Since Judith Viorst’s book was published in the more innocent, less snarky age of 1987, I’m assuming Aleksandr’s story has a happy ending and a Moral To The Story. (Word.)

My happy ending came in the form of a phone call from my mother. (How do mothers always know?) She said, “Daddy and Grandpa stopped at Sonic on their way home, and Daddy paged through a Gazette while they ate. Here’s what he found… .”

What Daddy found was an article in the Oklahoma Gazette. And the article was about my book.

As a placeholder for what you’re reading right now, I posted the following on my blog yesterday:

Odds bodkins and gadzooks! My novel is in today’s Oklahoma Gazette!

Read article “Write-hand view” by Danny Marroquin.



Every Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Has Its Silver Lining

And that, my dear inklings, is your Moral To The Story.

Are you having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?

I’ve minimized a lot of my worries through witticism and sarcasm in this post. I won’t minimize yours. If you’re struggling with something more serious than budgeting woes and bumps on the head, my prayers and good thoughts are with you. I understand that there is darkness so deep, silver linings aren’t visible. (I’ve been there.)

But if you’re just having a bad day — what’s your silver lining?

It doesn’t have to be something like your first novel’s cover art in the newspaper. (Although that’s pretty freakin’ cool, lemme tell ya.) Your pick-me-up might be a literal ray of sunshine. A smile from a stranger. A call from a friend.

Or maybe it’s chocolate. I ate a lot of that yesterday, too. ; )

How do you turn a bad day around? Let’s talk.

8 thoughts on “My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

  1. Aaron Pogue says:

    Hah! I just discovered that my bad days have to do with pretending I’m a web developer. One result is that your comment form looks like it’s disabled (when, in fact, that’s just an effect of the color scheme). I’ll get that fixed.

    Ahem. Aside from that, my bad days usually have to do with having too much to do. Too much important stuff to do, usually stuff I genuinely believe in, and nowhere near enough time. That can get me down in a hurry.

    And then I find something new. (Like, for instance, the discovery that I’ve created some critical problems in a friend’s website with my sloppy CSS work. Just, y’know, for example.)

    But I can always find my sunshine in looking at the things I’ve accomplished. It’s really, really easy to spend all my focus on what’s left to do, but most of those busy days are days I’ve also done something remarkable, and it just takes a slight change in perspective to see that for what it is. And that always cheers me up.

    Like getting one of my favorite authors published. Or starting a interesting enough business that it landed us both an article in a local paper. Cool stuff indeed.

    • And Aaron, one of your favorite authors is quite happy to point out to you all the cool things you are accomplishing, if you need her to do that. ; )

      Yes, focusing on the successes is an excellent way to regain balance. That’s part of what helped me turn my attitude around on Wednesday. Yeah, seeing my book in the paper was #epicWIN cool — but most of my relief-of-burden feeling came from knowing that the article was proof of something I’ve accomplished together with a fabulous team of fellow creatives. And having fellow creatives as an active part of my life is always a day-brightener.

      (Not only that, but thank you for fixing my comment form. 😉 )

  2. Hey, I have those days…and I have read the book a few years ago. Kristi brought it in for “feelings” month in the English playgroup! Chocolate always helps for sure…and chatting, skyping with friends that will just listen! And a hug from one of the munchkins running around this house!

    • Bri, all of the things you list are ones that help me out of the doldrums, too. Well, all except the hugs from the munchkins, since I have none. But cuddling two soft, warm kitties is a pretty decent comfort, too. ; )

      How did the playgroup kids respond to the book? And how in the world is your oldest nine years old now?!?

  3. Good grief, I don’t know; I keep asking her why she’s so tall! She says because she eats her veggies…and she’s right…she LOVES veggies, so maybe that’s not just a ploy by moms… 🙂 Cuddling kitties is what I used to do when my life was horrible/terrible/no good in the B.C. (before children) era…and a husband is good, too 😉
    The kids liked it…that seems like a long time ago that we read it so I’ll have to read it again! Kids really respond to books about feelings and I think it’s important to let kids know we SHOULD talk about feelings. We’re doing that right now with our upcoming move. Hope you got some creamer for that coffee!

    • Bri, I did get my creamer. Or my goat’s milk, rather. It’s an interesting taste and requires getting-used-to, but I like it. ; )

      I’d say eating veggies plus father’s genetics might be a good explanation for the tallness. Will I get to see said tallness in person this summer, I hope?

  4. Keith Davis says:

    Hi Courtney
    Clever post – the story in the book and your real life story run in parallel.
    That’s why you write and I speak. LOL

    “But if you’re just having a bad day — what’s your silver lining?”

    If you’ve had a bad day today, I’ve brought you a silver lining.
    Head over and take a look at my latest post.
    Mr Video, Tom Breeze, has produced a video that will leave you speechless – don’t miss it.

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