"Do I have to come?" I say. "I'd rather save the money and go out for dinner by ourselves. Or take the kids with us."
"There's no bloody pleasing you," says Max. "Last year you went nuts when I told you you couldn't come."
"Well, that was different. You told me no spouses were invited, and then I found out I was the only one who wasn't. After the event."
He changes the subject after that, which is a good job as I am not listening anyway. I am staring in horror at the advert for the new James Blunt album instead. Bloody brilliant. Now I'm going to have to spend the weeks leading up to Christmas being tortured by seeing a brunette version of Ellen on the TV every five minutes.
To make matters worse, the album is called In Some Kind Of Trouble and the two songs named in the advert are: Stay The Night and I'm So Far Gone. It'd be funny, if I wasn't sure that Mr Blunt wasn't somehow related to the woman I'm almost sure is sleeping with my husband. He's just mocking the afflicted, as far as I'm concerned.
"I don't see why you hate James Blunt so much," says Max. "Most women seem to love him."
"Well, you wouldn't understand why I can't stand him, would you?" I say. "Seeing as you're such a fan of the blonde female version."
Max just huffs at that, and then there follows one of those uncomfortable silences. Josh decides to try to break it by taking an interest in politics.
"What do you think of this Daylight Savings Bill, Mum?" he says.
"I'm against it," I say. "The less daylight I have to look at myself in, the better. How about you?"
"I'm against it too."
Josh sounds as if he's actually given this some thought. I am very impressed and settle myself for a long discussion. A mother and son bonding session coming up.
"I was only joking," I say. "I'm in favour, and I thought you'd think it was a good idea, too. Why don't you?"
"I don't like change," says Josh.
He looks meaningfully at Max and me. I squirm, while Max says, "Why not?"
"Because change brings pain," says Josh.
Then he goes upstairs to kill a whole nation of people in Call of Duty. Teenage sensitivity only goes so far, after all.
Max and I look at each other, but neither of us speaks for ages. Then, just as Max finally opens his mouth to say something, James Blunt makes a bloody reappearance, standing at the edge of a cliff.
What I wouldn't give to push him off it. Along with the lookalike who's causing all the trouble.