First Day of School 2021

Year 7, Year 6, and Year 5

School holidays have officially ended and today is/was the first day of school for all three.

After what I feel is a surprisingly but still only partially successful start to the day, I'm taking a day's leave from work to recuperate. Its a wonder I'm not having a drink already at 950am.

As you may know, we spent the last weekend of school holidays at the Gold Coast for Alex's water polo. My Prado wasn't finished with its turbo replacement before we left so we got stuck with a loan car from the mechanic. I try not to appear ungrateful but I absolutely hated driving it. It was a car. I don't do cars. I like height, visibility, and space. This car was low. Every time we saw a Prado down at the GC the kids pretended to cry over how much they missed ours. I pointed out that without the loan car we wouldn't have even made it to the tournament so to be thankful, but deep down I was crying, too. I will never take it for granted again.

We got back from the tournament at about 830pm, shortly after picking Goose up from Billy and Cara's place. Thank you for loving Goose and taking care of her like she was your own. And for having the energy to keep up (put up?) with her!

My car was still at the garage when we got home, but thankfully I have great friends - Cameron picked up the keys for me when it was open so I could swap loan for Prado after hours. We all cleaned out the car with our luggage and shit from the weekend away, and Max and I went to do the swap. It was about 10 minutes after I got home that I realised my laptop had been left in the boot and I was unable to do fucking anything about it until Wednesday because Tuesday was a public holiday (Happy Change the Date, Day, Australia!).

Australia Day, 2021

We did absolutely nothing. We were exhausted from the weekend. We walked at least 10km a day for four days (we parked and lived within walking distance from the Aquatic Centre) and Alex played 6 games in three days (hahaha and she has training tonight, too, it never ends!), and that's all on top of putt putt golf, and an evening at a small and local amusement park with our favourite water polo family! We were just knackered by the time we got home.

What did we do for Aussie Day? Laundry, sorted clothes, uniforms, school supplies, and the boys played PS4 for their last bit of free time before school-week-device-regulations are imposed, while I started watching Devils, and had a nana-nap on my bed.

I'm Australian (got my citizenship in 2010 when I was pregnant with Oscar) (and no they didn't ask Bradman's test average on the citizenship test) (and yes, I know its 99.94 and I was so hoping they were going to ask). The kids are obviously Australian. We should have done something different I suppose. But it wasn't the same without Duncan. Normally we'd have gone fishing. Or had homemade pies for lunch. Or both. But this year, we had nothing in us. So it was just another day, as most of them tend to be.

I had intended on doing the good mom thing and baking a bunch of healthy and freezeable lunchbox snacks but I'm still not at that stage either. Its a wonder I've been able to cut back on UberEats and actually make meals now. I'm not saying they're overly healthy though.

First day of school

Kid 1

Let me just put this out there. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. What a morning.

Anyone that knows me knows I'm not late for anything. Ever. And if something out of my control forces me to be late, I inform relevant parties as soon as I know I'll be late and apologise for days afterwards. I don't like it. Other people, be late all you want, couldn't give a shit. But when its me, I'm not having any of it.

So, when I know Alex is due to start her first day of high school at 8am for orientation, I plan for a nice and early arrival. I had discussed with all three kids the night before what the plan was for the day. I would leave early to drive Alex and drop her off, come back and pick up the boys and all their school supplies (which I couldn't drop off the Thursday prior due to having no car and leaving for the GC) and drive them to school, pick up my laptop from the mechanic (who happens to be next to the school) and then head back home to work for the day.

What do they say about best laid plans? That they never bloody work??

Max woke up about 5 times last night with a headache, slight cough (not COVID) and a sore belly. Even hopped up on Panadol and cough medicine, he had a terrible sleep (not helped by Lando "sleeping" on his bed but attacking Max's feet every time he moved), and woke up unable to go to school. No big deal, only had to call the school absentee line on the first day, luckily everyone at the school knows me and that I'm all over the shop at the best of times.

No real need to change any plans at this stage, just had to drop Alex off, come back and get Oscar (not Max).

Alex and I left at 715pm. I do know the traffic on the way to her new school is bad in the mornings, especially first day of school and likely many people back to work for the first time after Christmas. I thought 45 mins to get 6.3km would be well and truly good enough. Well, apparently I underestimated the amount of traffic there would be and how much time I would need. We got within 1km of the school with 15 minutes to spare and I knew there was no way we'd get even close in that time. Me, the cautious driver I usually am, ended up pulling an illegal U-turn in the middle of whatever road I was in and pulled up to the closest parking spot I could find, which had a nice big "NO PARKING" sign next to it. Fuck it, my baby is not going to be late on her first day of school. Pulled over, got out of the car, and walked (very briskly and me hearing my dad in my voice saying to Alex "pick up your feet, don't shuffle") to the school. Got there with 2 minutes to spare. That's right, I'm not late for ANYTHING. My baby girl got a big embarrassing smooch from me and eagerly worked her way to her school house full of new girls.

Kids 2 and 3

At this stage, I'm dripping sweat (for non-Brisbane people, do note it was 27C at 8am with about 1000% humidity) and hurrying back to the car. Once I got in, I saw the millions of other cars trying to get to the same place I was, so I phoned home and told Oscar he was going to have to walk to school and I'd bring him his stationary and books after. His first response "I have to walk alone?" (remember, Max home sick) and I said I was so sorry but yes. OK, no worries, and by the time Max was on the phone, Oscar was out the door. I've only just realised now that he didn't take a water bottle to school. Shit. Oh well. I called the school absentee line and called Max in sick, and emailed his teacher (just in case) with the same disappointing news of Maxy's first day.

I finally got home, ran inside and grabbed his supplies and Max's (since they'd both be walking tomorrow I may as well drop both sets of supplies off today) and drove to the school. Again, luckily they all know me and the kids so explaining my morning was pretty much par for the course and all teachers were gorgeous with big smiles, sending best wishes and luck to Alex at her first day and hoping Max is feeling better. I'm not sure if I've mentioned but damn I'm glad to be part of that community; I feel incredibly guilty, appreciative, and forever lucky. They have gone above and beyond taking care of the Cutlers, with endless support and kindness.

Supplies out of my hands (one parent who has a daughter in Oscar's class laughed and asked if I was doing my morning weights when he saw how much shit I had) I ran to the mechanic to get my laptop. At this stage I was dripping with even more sweat and it was at least 50C out (ok maybe closer to 29C but still, fuck). A quick shout out to Mark McCarthy Automotive - to show so much assistance and kindness with a frantic and disorganised me over a 5 day period - is impressive to say the least.

I popped back to the school on my way back to the car because it had dawned on me that I didn't even get to give Oscar a "first day good luck" kiss before school started, and the bell had JUST rung. Luckily his class was lining up to go to their room when I got back to the front entrance, and he gave me a big sweaty kiss (like I needed more sweat on me) and said he loved me and went off.

God I love my kids.

So now, back at home, I sit at the couch with my little sickie and think how badly I can't focus on work, and OH SHIT I forgot to get Alex's texts from the Book Room at school. Well done, me, another trip back to her school before going back again to pick her up.

Maxy and I have just had breakfast, we are watching Tron 2 (and he looks at me with with WTF eyes every time I tell him how much I love Jeff Bridges) (who, by the way, has cancer as well, fucking shame), and I'm getting this morning out of my system. So I'm taking a personal day to get over the craziness life has served me today, fuck you very much life, as if I needed more.

I do realise I have three blogs to catch up on - rugby moms camping, Grafton Christmas camping, and NSW nearly locked in during lockdown camping with Carol, Will & family. I'll get there, hopefully before our next trip in two weeks!

Best of luck to everyone with kids going back to school today and OMG so much love to the moms and dads with kids starting high school today! I'd say that's about 99% of all my friends so I do apologise for not texting individually to say good luck, but you've seen the morning I've had, surely I can be forgiven.

Quick update, sickie Max and I took a quick (much quicker than the first one this morning) trip to Alex's school to drop in at the Book Room and retrieve the forgotten supplies. When I said Alex was in Year 7, the Book Room lady delightfully told me that I didn't have to get them as it was already sorted for the girls to pop over and grab their things themselves. Well how bloody nice for them. Thank you very much for that and for letting us know instead of taking an unnecessary trip to the school on an already sweaty and full-on day.

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