December 22, 2011

Why I F*ked Up. Monumentally.

So the other day I made the mother of all mistakes, a fuck up that officially catapulted me into the 'totally losing her mind' category.

It was Tuesday afternoon, and I was leaving with the kids to visit my parents at their holiday house on the Central Coast. That morning I'd been out shopping, packed our bags, made sure there was enough food in the house for my husband, paid some bills, answered some emails, and ran some errands. Then I loaded the kids, the bikes, and our bags into the car, drove down the road to the petrol station, and put petrol in the car.

And then I nearly fainted. Because I'd put the wrong petrol in the tank.

I own a diesel car. If you put unleaded petrol into a diesel car and start the engine, it dies. Literally. The engine blows up. It is a seriously bad thing to do. The fuel tank and the engine need to be taken out and flushed.

I stood there for about ten minutes, stock still, with the kids and the bags and the bikes in the car. I had no idea what to do. I knew I couldn't start the car, but I couldn't just sit there all day, and I couldn't exactly walk away.

Eventually, I realised there was a garage around the corner. I left the car where it was, with the kids and the bags and the bikes, and ran to the garage.

"Help me!" I begged the mechanic. "I've fucked up. I've put the wrong petrol in the car and we're meant to be going to the coast and I don't know what to do."

The mechanic shook his head. "Love, it's five days from Christmas, I'm booked up, I can't help you. You'll have to get the car towed somewhere else."

I couldn't get the car towed. You need to stay with the car when it's towed. I had three kids with me. And bags. And bikes. And where would I get it towed, anyway?

I started to sob. "I don't know what to do!" I cried. "I just don't know what to do!"

The mechanic shrugged. "Sorry." And I walked back to the car.

"What are we going to do, Mum?" asked my son.

"I'll fix it," I said. "I'll fix it." I tried to gather my thoughts.

Just then, the mechanic appeared at the window.

"Okay," he said. "I'll do it. It was the tears that got to me."

I jumped out of the car. "Oh my god I LOVE you," I yelled, and I really did.

Three of the mechanics pushed my car to the garage. I called a taxi, piled the kids and the bags in the boot, drove to my parents' house, took my dad's car, and drove to the Central Coast.

The next day, when the car was fixed, I drove back to Sydney, left the car at my parents', picked up my car, and drove back to the Central Coast, a round trip of about four hours. With the cost of the engine flush, chocolates for the mechanics, the wasted unleaded petrol, and the petrol for the journey, it cost well in excess of $550.

It was a monumental fuck up indeed.

But here's the thing - this is not my only fuck up this year. I've forgotten meetings. I've forgotten to pay bills. I've left money in an ATM. I've left groceries at the checkout. I've lost my iPhone. I've lost my chequebook. And the list goes on and on.

Life is too complicated. I have too much to remember. The kids, work, the house, my relationships, bills, the garden, the car, shopping, cooking, laundry, appointments, school.... There is never a second of down time, never a moment where my mind isn't racing, never a day without a To Do list a mile long.

It's modern life and I get that, I do. But I need to switch off. I need to shut down. I need to clear my mind of the clutter every now and then, or I'm going to keep putting the wrong petrol in my tank and forgetting important meetings and leaving my iPhone in the park.

Today, though, I am trying to calm down. And I don't want to see a petrol bowser for a long, long time.

75 comments:

  1. At least it was a fuck up that could be fixed (gotta look on the bright side, however thin!)

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  2. Ah, Kerri, agree it was pretty monumental, but a. the car didn't blow up; and b. nobody got hurt or died. We all fuck up. Don't be too hard on yourself. And enjoy a break xx

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  3. Oh I feel your pain because I've done it myself! I put diesel in an unleaded car...and drove. Needless to say I was in the market for a new car shortly after. Although I agree with you completely about there being just too much on our plates! I keep telling myself that it's ok to be human and fuck up from time to time. At the end of the day you just have to laugh at yourself, so that everyone else has no other option than to laugh right along with you (or at you, the jury is still out). Merry Christmas x

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  4. OMG. sounds like my life. Let's move to Hum, the smallest town in the world with a population of 23 people. Surely life would be calmer in Hum?!?!?

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  5. I can hear the tiredness through your words. Just think of it as pretty much the last fuck up for 2011 and as of about 10 days time you get a clean slate. Lay low for the next few days to limit the chances of another one happening...its what Im doing (I may have almost sent a text to my ex husband instead of my husband this morning) x

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  6. Oh man - that was a Christmas miracle right there and that mechanic deserves a halo. I hear you on the forgetting stuff - way too much on my mind and it just implodes around me in a very unattractive way all too often. I have to write everything down or nothing happens. It's like I skipped middle age and went straight to my 90s without pausing for breath. In fact, scratch that - there are 90 year olds out there that do much better than me. Surely there's some kind of study on this? Merry Christmas!

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  7. Oh noooooo, how awful, I would have definitely cried. So glad you realised before you turned the key.

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  8. Kerri, I think you've hit it on the head, we are all too busy with too many things going on and never stop to slow down. I also had a monumental one on Saturday - i took a (brisk) walk through a plate glass balcony door because I was trying to let the Telstra guy in, couldn't work the intercom in new flat, and went to go out to the new balcony to shout to him to wait. I was also thinking about where to put the computer, when the rent needed paid, and not thinking there was a glass door in my way. In too much of a rush I went headlong through the door. Total fuck up. I spent weekend in hospital getting stitched up (thankfully appears there will be no lasting damage except some kick-ass scars on my leg to prove it happened).
    If I'd not been rushing about, head in 10 different places, I'm sure it wouldn't have happened. So now, New Year's resolution - I'm going to walk slower, and to hell with it all. People  can go at my pace!
    Merry Christmas (or Happy Chanukah) X

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  9. Thank God there is only one Type of electricity to charge my wheelchair!

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  10. LOL. But you still have to remember to charge it, right???

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  11. You're not the only one. My MIL put unleaded in her diesel Mercedes and luckily like you realised as soon as it was done. Also went to the garage around the corner, which just happened to be the Mercedes dealership and the drained and flushed for her. 
    Sure it happens fairly regularly.

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  12. Oh AL! I can't believe it! Thank god you're okay!!!!! And scars on your leg are very cool. We all need to slow down, don't we? Merry Everything to you too x

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  13. Agree - I have to write everything down, except I have to actually remember to READ what I wrote. When I forgot that appointment the other day I forgot to read my diary. No self respecting 90 year old would do that. Merry Xmas hon xxxxx

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  14. Text to the wrong husband? That made my day. THANK YOU!!! xxx

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  15. Problem is, if I move to Hum I'd be increasing the population to 28 in one go! xxx

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  16. Oh shit, did you? But you're right, you just have to laugh about it. Which I can. Nearly. Almost. Soon. I hope.... Merry Xmas xxx

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  17. and with our gang it would make 33.

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  18. It's exhausting keeping it together.  These kind of things are bound to happen.  Closed my car door on the pole of my carport.  Cracked the whole thing wide open.  The peeps at the garage are used to me now - nothing at all surprises them.  Including the time I lost my oil cap in my engine and a 150kg mechanic had to take the bottom of my car apart in the dark.   Appparently they were laughing in Germany.

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  19. Oh my god. This is definitely something I would do - my resolution for the New Year is to operate with a head that is a LOT less full. I sooo feel your pain!

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  20. I once wrote 'love you' at the end of a text to the wrong one and then had to call and say 'please disregard previous message'. Divorce needs to come with some warning labels.

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  21. Lucky for him!  I was about to go postal at them leaving a sobbing mum abandoned!

    Have a great Christmas and chill out big time for a while!

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  22. It's so true!  Every CHristmas things get hectic and my attention span decreases as does my sleep.  I make dumb ass mistakes and kick myself for it.

    This year I'm not making a NY resolution, I'm making a promise to myself.  In every aspect of my life (home, business, love, friendships) I'm going to be more present.  That's it.  Just be in the moment and try to slow down.

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  23. Sounds like that mechanic is a nice guy. Hurrah for him.
    My bipolar depression means I do all sorts of goofy things (and I am not saying you are depressed). Last week I forgot to order Miss Charisma's lunch at school, so had to call the school and grovel to the canteen lady. I also left my daughter's scooter at the school over an entire weekend and I misplaced both her lunch boxes. Not to mention the bills I swear have been paid. I also forget names/places/what I was saying. It is an all-round crazy ride. This is from a chick who pre-illness tried out for the Einstein Factor.

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  24. You have a diesel ? I didn't know Rolls Royce, made one........

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  25. Sounds pretty normal to me Kerri!  You do have a lot on yr plate.  My only suggestion is to meditate daily just 10 to 15 mins a day will do it. At least you don't have a dull life...with nothing to do.  That would be terrible seriously.

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  26. Hey Kerri, not that long ago I was seriously assaulted with head injuries requiring hospitalisation, I was then arrested by police for biting his hand whilst he was smashing my head repeatedly against a brick wall trying to kill me, had to go to court on MY charges even tho he didn't have a mark (shld have bitten harder), harassed and assaulted by police bcs made complaint & they found out (so much for my "assured" confidentiality);  then lost my beautiful house for being just 2-3 payments late due to hospitalisation etc even tho sent the reason and pics of my serious head injuries to the heads of NAB; evicted from beautiful home; actually homeless nowhere to live; then my beautiful best friend my dog diagnosed w lung cancer given two weeks to live; fell in love got pregnant had miscarriage, attempted suicide, found not breathing, heart stopped three times, in coma for week; woke up w memory loss which persists; love of life left me the week came home from hospital................

    Wrong petrol?  $500?    Pfffff

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  27. That's absolutely awful, I'm so sorry for all you've gone through. I was writing about how having too much on your plate can make you fuck up. I would never consider $500 and the wrong petrol to be a major life catastrophe. I sincerely hope the new year is a lot better for you xxxx

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  28. Believe it or not I enrolled in a meditation course and had to cancel as I had too much on! Ridiculous, I know. I plan to do one in the new year.

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  29. Yes, they made it specially for me. *rolls eyes*

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  30. I LOVE that resolution. Can I borrow it? x

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  31. Oh lord..... nothing worse than when they're laughing at yu in a different language.... x

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  32. Bloody diesel cars.... CLEARLY it's not our fault *coughs*

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  33. No, I know you did.   My point is that after this nothing really gets to me.  I am so calm.  Whereas before I honestly used to get so upset abt things.  I was actually laughing as I read back my post!!!

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  34. Why don't they make the spouts in different shapes so you can't do that sort of thing. One can be round, the other slightly oval. I remember they used to have a smaller one for unleaded petrol so you couldn't put lead petrol in a car that was supposed to be unleaded, but that was because apparently you get better performance out of putting leaded petrol in an unleaded car.....

    Did I miss your point completely? 

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  35. Please. It's not like you forgot your son in San Francisco or anything. (long, semi private joke/story....ask Speilberg)

    XO

    Mike

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  36. I don't know anyone that is more like me than you :). You are so clever putting in petrol near a mechanics! Love you x

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  37. A teacher at school recently filled the school mini-bus with petrol rather diesel when heading with a group of students from Newcastle to Sydney. Needless to say he didn't make it very far. There were numerous 'gently' mocking comments made at the end of year presentation night. Sadly, he didn't realise what he had done until the minibus stopped moving.

    Glad that everything worked out for you. Would have been terrible for you to miss out on the wonder that is Christmas Season Woy Woy. :-)

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  38. There but for the grace of God...

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  39. when hubby ccd me on footy team email and I hit reply all on the somewhat cutesie response ... got LOTS of kissy kissies back I can tell you.

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  40. I'm so glad you wrote this. I regularly ask myself if I'm losing my marbles, I seem to be constantly chasing my tail, running late and remembering things at the very last minute. I think it gets harder as the children get older, you can miss your 3 year olds gymbaroo - but things start to get a little more serious when your 11 year old is perched on your shoulder saying "can you bring an egg dish to the Grade 6 breakfast and I need 20 bucks for the sleepover and the soccer coach says I have to have shin pads or else I can't play and I have to wear a green shirt of Thursday and Becky's Mum wants to know if I can sleepover on the weekend, she asked if you could text her" 

    Enjoy the break at the beach my gorgeous friend. You constantly amaze me with the amount of work you can churn out (and good quality work) as well as balancing everything else. 

    xxxx

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  41. Oh my god one of my greatest fears. And of course you didn't do it when you were by yourself on a boring day when all the kids were at school, oh no.

    When I am at the petrol bowsers I am always thinking two things:
    1) "This whole place is about to explode and I'll have to watch my children get burnt to death in front of my eyes."

    2) "I'm putting the wrong fuel in THE WRONG FUEL."

    It's a total head fuck. Good on you for managing the situation so well ... can only imagine that awesome phone conversation with your husband when you rang to tell him.

    XX

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  42. Don't be so hard on yourself honey. Last week my husband's best man did EXACTLY the same thing on the way back home to Mildura from Adelaide (about 4.5 hours). He had his mate in the car and a very grumpy wife and two kids waiting for him to return from a "boys weekend". He is now called Diesel.

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  43. Gosh you poor thing, I do crazy shit all the time, lose things forget things, my mum said I was "being very vague" this morning when I saw her. It's sadly who I've become vague/stressed/anxious/irritable, hopefully I'll be more organised in 2012 :)

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  44. I have a theory that I have so much in my head to remember that if a new thing comes in something else has to make room and fall out of my head. I have driven off leaving four prams either by the side of the road or under the wheels of the car. After strapping a baby into the car seat I just got in the car and drove off already thinking of the next thing I had to do. Stopped claiming on insurance after the first two. One was lost and never seen again, one taken by a homeless person to store his stuff in (didn't have the heart to take it back) and two destroyed. Sigh...

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  45. Oh Meggsie that makes me feel SO much more normal!!! (But I'm sorry about your prams!) x

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  46. Oh babe, it wasn't pretty. Happily he'd just got a massive speeding fine a couple of weeks earlier so he didn't have a leg to stand on.
    (In other news, even your comments are an exercise in exqusite tragi-comedy xxxx)

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  47. Oh that made me laugh out loud. That poor poor guy x

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  48. Don't be absurd. NO-ONE would do that.
    xxx

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  49. NO! You are completely right! You can't put diesel in an unleaded car but you can put unleaded in a diesel. IT'S NOT FAIR!

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  50. So much stuff to remember every day, I feel your pain. Almost every day I drive out the driveway I have to say over and over to myself "turn right at lights" or "turn left to do school pickup" or "why are you driving to work in your pyjamas at 10pm?". Alzheimers here I come!

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  51. Finding a skinnier meDecember 23, 2011 at 4:22 AM

    Boy do I know that feeling. Between work, school, the never ending to do list and Christmas.. I am running on two weeks of long nights, I feel and probably resemble something of a zombie. So I understand, completly. In the last two weeks alone I have drove off from a gas station without clicking the gas cap back on (had to stop on the side of the road), walked into class without my homework (still sitting on the table at home) and currently my house looks like a bomb went off in it since I haven't had time to clean.

    Hope you get some down time to clear your head soon!!

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  52. I know the 'full head' feeling only too well. The thought load at times is so overwhelming. I've started doing yoga again - 30min DVD so not too hard to fit in. Often has to be done with a child around but she will sometimes join in. Fantastic for allowing more clarity & less exhaustion. Reading a book is a great escape from the constant thinking for me too. Not much time for either during last few weeks though so am feeling very burnt out - bring on the Xmas break!

    Thank you Kerrie for once again helping us all feel very normal :)

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  53. Dear Kerri
    How horrible for you! A terrible start to your trek north!One of the most useful resources I have come across this year in my work with clients wanting to clear their head has been Adam Fraser's paper on creating a third space.http://www.dradamfraser.com/_webapp_166224/Managing_Transitions
    Worth a read -when you get time!
    Happy holidays

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  54. Bet I look Zombier than you! Or at least AS Zombi-ish. Thanks love. x

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  55. Thank YOU for making me feel normal!!! And now I am off to read a book if it kills me..... x

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  56. The off button will come when the children leave the nest and you will have some free time.  But then the grandchildren arrive and you have to practice using the off button.
    Nice garage guy to change his mind and help you.
    Hope you have a great Christmas.

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  57. melissa greatbalancingactDecember 23, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Oh shit, I get it. I so get it.

    I forgot to go to work, twice. Seriously, what adult does that? Granted it's an irregular weekend job but there were people depending on me and I fucked it up.

    Thing is - I'd like to blame it on being a working, studying, blogging, trying to do it all mum...

    But yeah, it's just me.

    I lost two bikes as a teenage when I rode to school, left the bike there and walked home after school.. my brain is leaky...

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  58. Grandchildren! Oh my lord..... Merry Xmas to you too

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  59. You forgot to go to work??? Oh I LOVE it!!!!! Feel much better now x

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  60. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses to you lovely, I did exactly the same thing on Thursday.  I feel like such an idiot.  On twitter I described just like you a monumental fuck up, how else can it possibly be put.  I was lucky enough to have a mechanic friend help me out but still such a waste of money and time.

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  61. Ohhh, I was just thinking about this the other day! I feel like I need a plug-in hard drive thingie for my brain, just to download all the stuff I don't need to be thinking about at that moment! (funnily enough, the other night I had to ask my husband which was bigger, a kb or an mb because I COULDN'T REMEMBER! He looked at me like I had asked if we could buy a three headed pig, teach it to tap dance and join a travelling circus. I used to work in IT.) So I wrote out my NY resolutions with the intent of simplifying my life. Three pages and 96 points later.... Ironically number three was "Put less pressure on myself"! It's easy enough to say "stress less, take time out, blah blah blah" but actually doing it can be impossible and it does have a knock on effect. Glad everything turned out okay, and I hope you had a lovely Christmas anyway!

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  62. Three headed pig! That made me laugh and laugh. And feel much better. Thank you xxxx

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  63. First world problem much? Imagine what life is like for those who work...

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  64. I've done it too - put petrol in my diesel car and didn't realise I'd even done it. Drove the car around for a day or so until it eventually just stopped. The tow-truck driver diagnosed it. That was 10 years ago and I'm still extra-careful every time I fill the tank. 

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  65. It's called overload. I've just finished two years of it and categorically refuse to do the same in 2012. I want calm, focus, energy and bubbling creativity. And of course, a sliver of fun. So far so good... wishing you the same!

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  66. I have just cleaned my house from top to bottom so my sister can come and house/dog sit while we go on "holiday". Our car is in the carport (bikes, surfboards, strollers, and so on and so forth) loaded in. I am sweating like an animal. I don't think we have lived in the house while it was this clean, it's an honour I bestow only on those who might judge or aren't forced to live here everyday. My youngest is 3 and this may be the first holiday where I actually get a break (if by break you mean partner taking the kids for a bike ride while I get to plough through uni work without having to pretend the playdough yum cha my daughter has made is delicious). I keep calling my child the wrong name, for some reason I am confusing her with my sister who is 25 years older than her. I have lost count of how many times I have forgotten appointments lately and I sent my boss a photo of a coffee the other day (WTF?!). Feeling your pain, hoping Disneyland is not too psychotic for you and hoping madly for 5 minutes to close my eyes once we get to glam Tweed Heads!

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  67. I have just cleaned my house from top to bottom so my sister can come and house/dog sit while we go on "holiday". Our car is in the carport (bikes, surfboards, strollers, and so on and so forth) loaded in. I am sweating like an animal. I don't think we have lived in the house while it was this clean, it's an honour I bestow only on those who might judge or aren't forced to live here everyday. My youngest is 3 and this may be the first holiday where I actually get a break (if by break you mean partner taking the kids for a bike ride while I get to plough through uni work without having to pretend the playdough yum cha my daughter has made is delicious). I keep calling my child the wrong name, for some reason I am confusing her with my sister who is 25 years older than her. I have lost count of how many times I have forgotten appointments lately and I sent my boss a photo of a coffee the other day (WTF?!). Feeling your pain, hoping Disneyland is not too psychotic for you and hoping madly for 5 minutes to close my eyes once we get to glam Tweed Heads!

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