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.