Let's get one thing straight. Life may be short but if I had a time machine I'd gladly skip the hour between 7.30 and 8.30 in favour of a much quieter and less stressful life.
For this is the time when a minor detonation can rapidly assume nuclear proportions.
It's hard enough just getting yourself up and running, especially if you've been a) working til 2 am with a few nips of Scotch to keep you going or b) watching that rubbish but can't-turn-off movie on ITV2 (with the rest of the red wine) or c) reading a book with a tiny light clipped to the pages while the wife slumbers. (Kurt Wallander waits for no man.)
No, in my case there are small twin boys to organise. My wife mysteriously disappears during this time – something to do with her hair and an 'early meeting' – and there's one twin awake, one asleep. My mission – should I choose to accept it (as if) – is to get both dressed, breakfasted, toothbrushed, hairbrushed and shod (that's shoes on) and out to nursery school.
The one who's asleep burrows deeper in the bedclothes (that's my boy alright) and from then on it's all out war followed bythe equivalent of Tory-Lib Dem Coalition negotiations on who wears what pants, socks, T-shirt and trousers; what cereals get put in what bowl and in what order; which shoes go on which foot; what toothpaste is used on Mondays but not Thursdays; and who gets to wear the Ben 10 jacket (where is the other one?).
The nuclear bomb then arrives in the shape of my wife who wants to know why the dishwasher isn't empty, the washing isn't on the line, there's milk on the floor, the shoes are on the wrong feet, their hair's standing on end and they haven't got vests on because the temperature is Arctic out there you know (it's summer).
Now that's an hour I'll never have again. Thank goodness.
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