When Things Pile Up

This week, and truthfully the last couple of months, we’ve experienced several things going wrong. In the great big scheme of things none of these issues were that bad, but when a lot of thing go not quite right in the same general timeframe, it can lead to a case of the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.

During the summer, we noticed a strange puddle in the garage, then in the driveway. We discovered the source as a drain and at first it was only when we did the dishes. We called the plumber and scheduled an appointment. Before he could make it, the puddle became an all the time thing, whether we did dishes or not. The plumber cleared the drain and assured me this was no where near the worst he’d seen. 

I did a vendor event at the end of July, a little over two hours away. On the way home, a message showed up on my screen about the engine being too hot and a decrease in power would follow. The guage didn’t indicate a problem and the car was driving the same as ever – also I was in the middle of nowhere. After I arrived at home, I found out my grandmother died that evening. Before driving across the great state of Texas, a mechanic friend checked the code and gave us some suggestions. We determined it was okay to drive, but took it in the following week for a tune-up and a new thermostat. 

After we returned home, we started having some toilet issues. First, Peter’s toilet started gurgling when he took a shower. Then the kids’ bathroom had water all over the floor, with no visible leak. We called the plumber again and he said it was likely a sewer back up. My bathroom was behaving okay, until a day before he came, then my bathtub started backing up. After the line was clear and the kids’ toilet reset, the plumber said, “You might want to start saving for a new sewer line. I can’t tell you when it will need replacing, but all indications are that it will need replacing.” Fun times. Oh, and my parents were visiting while this was going on, so that was interesting. 

Ballet started up again at the end of August. Madilynn promoted which means class is a full hour twice a week on different days than last year. We’re still adjusting to this routine, especially on Wednesday evenings. We get home, she changes clothes, and we eat really fast to make it to mid-week services on time. This challenge is getting better, but we’re still a long way from a smooth transition. 

This week, when coming home from Ballet on Monday, the check engine light came on. I took the car to a local auto parts store that does free check engine light checks (that’s redundant to say), then sent a picture of the code to my mechanic friends. One thought it was probably not a big deal, the other said it was a “stored code” not active and might clear on its own. I already planned to get an oil change so I scheduled it for earlier than I would need to be able to get to ballet on time – just in case they found a serious problem. When I turned on the car on Wednesday to go to the car place, the light was off! It was a huge relief. 

The result of only needing an oil change is we had two extra hours to spend in the “city” before ballet class. I decided we would go walk around at the college where Peter and I met. The last time the kids and I walked around there was about four years ago. The campus has changed so much in the last 20 years. I realized the 20 years thing as we were walking and decided I shouldn’t say such things. The library has a Starbucks and the bookstore was bought out by Barnes and Noble. We enjoyed this little scene in front of the library:

Some of our homeschool families get together once a week for a high school science class. This year is physics. I take other work to do and visit the moms. When I was putting things away, I dropped my external hard drive on our hard floors. I plugged it in and nothing happened. It has 14 years of our lives stored on it so I hope the data recovery center can work its magic for me. In that moment though, while the check engine light was on and nothing was getting done around the house, the broken hard-drive was my last straw. This feeling of defeat washed over me. Any one of the events from the last two months could be very stressful, but easily resolved. All of them happening in rapid succession, amplified the stress. At the same time, God provided through each thing and continues to work out the details. When that last straw threatens to break you, remember your blessings. When everything piles up, remember that God provides. 

For more Quick Takes, you can visit my friend Kelly at




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