Catastrophic failure


Last Thursday I was having lunch with a friend. After I detailed what I’d been up to for the past month she wryly asked “so Kel, are you really living a life less frantic right now?”

And I looked wryly right back at her because quite frankly, I was very frustrated.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you will know that in addition to last year being a very sad year (a lot of people I love lost someone they loved), it was also a really stressful year. I’d been sucked back into the vortex of our business, my husband Ant (who runs the business) was stressed out of his mind … and we (Ant and I) were not achieving the number one thing we wanted from life: quality time with each other and our kids.

So what did we do?

Well I feel a lot of people in our situation would soldier on and simply hope for things to get better. I know this is something I’ve done in the past when the going got tough.

But that’s not what we did. We came up with a plan, set deadlines for a few things (ie I was going to find a part-time role away from the business, Ant had to have his stress levels under control by December 31 otherwise xxx) and then we got busy putting things in place.

It took six months, but by that December 31 deadline, we were both in a really great place. And January this year was really lovely. I was enjoying being able to breathe (courtesy of the whitespace I’d created) and we were both enjoying the better quality family time we were having.

Then came February and suddenly we were moving. We knew from a year ago that it might be on the cards but it was looking like a last minute reprieve might eventuate. But then it didn’t. Ant’s mum and I handled the whole thing (12 days from go to whoah) and it was very friggen stressful and put us both under a ton of pressure.

Once we moved, I realised how much the whitespace I’d created relied on the routines and efficiencies I’d built around our old house. I now had to create new routines and efficiencies … and work them around two 40 minute round trips getting Jaden to and from school.

So by the time I was having lunch with my friend, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.

I’m not proud of this because:

  1. It indicated a total lack of resilience from me which, if I am honest, was quite pathetic given …
  2. It was very egocentric (something I try really hard not to be) because all I could think about were the negative effects on me instead of:
    1. Focusing on the positives of the situation (the biggest house we’d ever lived in, in a beautiful suburb, with a backyard for the kids (first time they’ve ever had one), closer to work and day care for Ant … and biggest of all, living rent-free thanks to our in-laws which is the only reason we can afford to be building the house we are!)
    2. Noting how stressed out my poor mother-in-law is as she’s having to get that house we’d moved out of ready for sale.

For the above reasons, I can’t help but think it was around this point the Universe decided I was in need of a nice, healthy dose of perspective.

While I was lunching with my friend, I was also stressing a little about the fact that one of our web servers was down. (We also have a web hosting company in addition to our design company.) Whenever a server is down, I get very stressed for the people whose websites are down because we all rely so much on our websites and email these days. I knew everything was under control but wanted to be able to give people a firm indication of when things would be back up.

By the time Ant and I left the office that day the situation had escalated to the point where a whole new server had to be mobilised and our guys had started migrating everyone off the problematic server to that new one. My own website was on that problem server so I woke at least three times that night to check and see if it was back up because I would then know EVERYONE’S sites would be back up.

Then the news came through on Friday morning. The data on the server backup was corrupt and short story … every website on that server was lost. There was no negligence involved on anyone’s part. It was just one of those incredibly shitful things that never happens, had certainly never happened to us in nine years of owning our hosting business, but was happening now.

Catastrophic failure.

I nearly vomited when Ant told me. My immediate reaction was that the best thing to do here was to go outside and lie down in some traffic. (Have I mentioned a lack of resilience lately?) My brain just could not cope with the situation. I, along with anyone who didn’t have their own site backup, had lost their website. (As an aside, do you know it’s the website owner’s responsibility to have their own backup? No? Now you do. Go take a backup of your website NOW please!)

Several personal friends had websites on that server … but worse, we know pretty much every one of our clients by first name because Ant does all the support himself. So we couldn’t distance ourselves emotionally from the effects of this catastrophe in any way – we were absolutely gutted for every single person.

And naturally, in that moment, all my ‘problems’ and frustrations of the previous few weeks suddenly seemed like problems I’d really like to have.

So, let’s just say the past five days have been a *bit* shit. Even though what happened is no one’s fault (in the same way a lightning strike is no one’s fault), we’re still devastated for every person who’s lost their website … and as you can imagine, the impact this is having on our little family business is significant.

What’s made things easier is:

  • The kindness and understanding of the majority of our clients.
  • How awesome Ant has been. While I was going to water, he was drafting the update to explain the situation to everyone. I got my shit together in time to put my editing hat on.
  • What a good team we are. Weirdly, the book I was reading last week really highlighted this for me because there is a husband and wife in it who are just horrible to each other. I’m eternally grateful that’s not our reality.
  • Awesome family. When I called my parents on Saturday to see if they could have the kids (so Ant and I could have all of Sunday to work on getting people’s sites and email back up), my mum said “Yes of course, I thought you might need us to do that.”
  • Kindness in general. Friends and family reaching out with offers of help or even just to say “thinking of you guys.”

So – I lost my whole website, yet here you are and everything looks very normal? Well I’ve had to rebuild it from scratch.

Initially I was like ‘maybe this is a sign to just stop blogging here and go do something else.’ But then I realised what a large chunk of my journey over the last five years is here and it turned out I really didn’t want to lose it.

One tiny piece of good luck I had was that I’d been on my own email list for years, and had all those emails saved. A tiny piece of bad luck was I stopped using that email list for sending out my blog posts towards the end of last year. And some of my favourite posts had been written since then.

You can imagine how I wept like a baby when Ant told me about this amazing website that randomly archives pages from the internet – and had randomly archived many of my favourite posts from the last few months. Over the weekend I loaded in about 30 posts one-by-one … and will continue to load the remaining posts back in one-by-one over coming months.

So there you go folks.

This last week has definitely not been ‘less frantic’. The foreseeable future will definitely not be less frantic. And as tempting as it’s going to be to play the game of ‘life will be better when’, I won’t.

As cliché as this is, it’s shitful situations such as these that give you perspective and force you to focus in on what’s most important. I have a wonderful family, and currently (dare I jinx us?) we are all fit, healthy and full of love for each other.

Everything on top of that is just cream right?