Those among you with children will, I'm sure, be familiar with the concept of the "morning" teenager.
For the uninitiated, what I'm referring to is the jumbled mass of raging hormones, attitude and general contempt for everything and anyone in the hours immediately after the awakening of the beast, oops, I mean child.
It tends to just go on till one day, the nice kid somewhere inside returns completely oblivious to the upheaval they have caused and wondering what all the fuss has been about.
In our humble abode, we have stumbled through the crisis four times.
I distinctly recall the departure of the last Morning Teenager.
It came with a freshly made cup of coffee and an in-depth conversation, started at his end, about his sensible and well-thought-out plans for employment. It bought a tear to my eye. Though, in all honesty, that most likely happened when I leaped in the air in celebration once we'd finished and I stubbed my toe on the table leg.
Anyway. In our house, the era of the Morning Teenager has long since come to an end.
Unfortunately, it has been replaced of late by the era of "Morning Mrs P".
And while she's not exactly a mass of raging hormones and all the other stuff, she has been a little, er, "tense" in the morning.
Let me explain.
This last week I've gone onto some new medication.
I won't bore you with the exact details but, as I'm sure you are aware, somewhere along the line those of us who are ambling along to retirement might need some pharmaceutical help to ensure the amble doesn't become a crawl.
I'm no exception. Trouble is, one of the side effects of my prescription is it's keeping me awake a bit later than normal.
So, for example, let's say Mrs P goes to bed at 10.30pm and by 11pm is dreaming of running barefoot on a sun-kissed beach with Rod Stewart. Having said that, I saw him on the telly last week. I think the only place he'd be running to would be the pharmacy for some more anti-inflammatory pills.
But I digress.
So, Mrs P is sound asleep and by midnight I'm creeping around the house, turning all the lights off, locking the front door, putting the dishwasher on cos it's a cheaper power rate at night etc etc before joining her.
Except I'm not creeping. It seems I'm making so much noise she thought a freight train was passing through our house.
At least that's what a sleepy and rather peeved Morning Mrs P hissed at me the other day as she made us a cuppa.
Naturally, I did what any husband under attack from his beloved would do. I blamed someone else.
I wasn't noisy, I said. It was the fault of the builders and architects who had combined to construct our present residence.
It would be fair to say Mrs P now looked puzzled and tired rather than just tired. So I embarked on an explanation, managing to throw real estate agents under the bus at the same time.
It all started with them, I said.
When we bought it, the real estate agents had advertised the house as full of "character". This basically meant it was old. That meant it had things like creaky floorboards and squeaking door hinges. Quite frankly, I said, feigning indignity, the builders who allowed that to happen should be brought back to fix the issues.
This was despite the fact they would probably be approaching 130 years old now. I banked on her not being able to do the arithmetic quickly enough in her frazzled state.
Feeling pretty good about how my excuse, er, I mean explanation, was going, I continued.
The architect who came up with the idea of a toilet in a bedroom should be shot, I said. Of course it was going to be noisy when you flushed. En suite? Ridiculous idea. It will never catch on.
By this stage Mrs P was standing there looking utterly bewildered, saying nothing. She may even have been asleep with her eyes open, I'm not sure. All I knew was I'd finished my cuppa, diverted the blame and I was off out the door to get on with my day before her senses had a chance to regroup and she could give me a proper telling off.
That night as I crept around the house locking up etc, I was like one of those stealthy ninja warriors, except I wasn't dressed all in black planning to assassinate some Japanese warlord with the big, sharp sword I had strapped super-coolly to my back. Plus I have a bit of arthritis in my knee so I wouldn't be doing somersaults and stuff like that.
I skirted the areas of the floor I knew to be creaky.
I opened the squeaky doors an inch at a time.
I put the dishes in the dishwasher without making a sound like in one of those movies where the monster can't see you but he'll eat you if you make one decibel of sound.
I travelled a mile and a half to the toilet at the other end of the house for a wee, shut the door, closed the lid and flushed as silently as I could, which is achievable only if you put a rolled-up towel at the foot of the door to stop the sound escaping.
Then I crept slowly back to the bedroom where I undressed and wearily got into bed.
Next morning Mrs P was already in the kitchen when I arrived. Naturally, I asked her how she'd slept.
Not too bad, she said, but I'd woken her as I came to bed.
Somewhat exasperated, I explained how I'd taken the utmost care not to make any noise and she admitted she hadn't heard anything till I was basically right next to her. So what was it that had caused her to wake up?
Apparently, she'd heard my dodgy knee click as I got into bed.