Every now and then everything falls apart. And I mean EVERYTHING. It'll happen over a few days, invariably just before my period. It's like the Universe tires of sending me those good ol' life challenges in dribs and drabs, and decides it may as well bundle them all up and drop them on me all in one go.
1. I have a major row with my partner, fuelled largely by his decision that it's a very good idea to spend ALL weekend digging the vegetable garden, leaving me feeling like a single mother. I lose all perspective. I fantasise about leaving him; killing him; burning his socks; breaking off our so-called engagement. And spend that night fuming in the bed in my den.
2. The hot water decides to take a holiday - naturally said partner is away at the office. Cheerio personal hygiene.
3. I get the mother of all migraines. The kind that's still there when you wake up on Day Four. The kind that barely flinches when you bombard it with a hefty dose of naratriptan, washed down with two paracetamol and codeine.
4. Finally get an evening to myself. Tuck myself up in bed with my laptop and my Lovefilm DVD. What a treat! Insert the DVD. It doesn't play. Or rather it does play, but only in French. And my French is still too crap to have a clue what they're on about.
5. Said partner - we've made up by now - calls to say his office was burgled on the one and only evening when he'd left both his laptop and two digital cameras in it. Between them they contained every single photo and video we've taken over the last six years. And no, he didn't back them up.
6. My ex-husband's new car breaks down, which of course means I have to either lend him mine or spend several days ferrying the kids back and forth when they're supposed to be with him. I'll probably have to lend him the money to repair his car too.
7. Drive ten miles to the gym. Just about have time for a workout before I have to be elsewhere. Open my PE kit. Have brought two T-shirts and no shorts. The woman in reception, who refuses to lend me one of the ten thousand pieces of lost property gear they have boxed up round the back, suggests I work out in my silk skirt. I wonder if I could strangle her with it.
8. My eldest son bunks off university, arriving back at his dad's announcing that he plans to quit. He doesn't even bother to call me. No one tells me what kind of a state he's in so when I'm drafted in to drive him to the station - see above - I end up giving him a piece of my mind about treating me like crap, etc, completely oblivious to the fact that he's on the brink. Or that I am.
And all this in just one week. Along with all the every day irritations that give life its edge. I have reached that point where I've stopped even bothering trying to cope. I have shut myself in my den with a large glass of wine and I am feeling very, very sorry for myself. And for anyone else who happens to cross my path.