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This morning there is chaos in my house.

The Lovely Louise is packing for her trip. Five days in Paris, take the train to Cannes, get on board a five-masted clipper ship to travel around France and Italy for a week, and finally a few days in England to visit family and friends. This was supposed to be a trip for both of us, but alas, I had to cancel because of work obligations. Someone has to make the money to pay for the trip.

Not to worry though. Louise has friends throughout the world, so she will not be alone. Girlfriends from Belgium, France, England, and God only knows where else will be joining her, so it’s a kind of two-and-a-half-week girl’s night.

Several days ago suitcases were set out in the spare bedroom, and clothing and other items began appearing and then disappearing from the bags. Clothes were tried on and put aside or packed. Lists were made and checked off as the list was completed. A small shopping trip resulted in two really nice-looking outfits suitable for shipboard dining. I thought everything was all set, but oh, was I wrong. The bus leaves this afternoon, and this morning has my sweetheart in great distress. Despite the days of decisions, the lists, and the shopping, there is great concern that something will be forgotten or left undone. At the moment she’s finishing up some business issues, and I can hear her mumbling. How am I helping, you ask? I’m staying well out of her way. I did ask if I could help, and I was quickly told no as she ran back upstairs. Don’t help. I can do that. I’m actually very, very good at not helping. I do have to admit that I really don’t understand all this. When I pack, I open the suitcase, fill it with stuff from my drawers, grab a shaving kit, and I’m out the door. Fifteen minutes, tops. If I forget something, I’ll buy it when I get there. I once traveled to Austria on business when I had expected to go to Greece. The temperature in Greece was in the upper 70s, so I packed for summer. When I got to the airport, I found that my employer had instead decided to send me to the mountains of Austria—where they were still skiing. No problem, I just bought all new clothes. What’s the big deal? It’s even more interesting when Louise and I travel together. I’m instructed to put the clothes I want to take on the bed and she’ll sort them out. When I arrive where we’re going, I don’t have any idea what clothes I’ve brought. In Louise I trust, and that trust has been well placed. Since I’ve met her, I’ve saved a lot of money when I travel because I don’t have to buy anything when I get there. She’s already packed what I need. When we get to where we’re going, my clothes magically get moved from the suitcase to the dresser or closet. It’s remarkable, because it happens without my even being involved. At the end of the trip, everything moves back into my suitcase. I can’t figure it out, because that didn’t happen with my first wife or when I was single. Louise must have some supernatural powers that cover me as well. Yay, me! In any event, I’ll be dropping her at the bus station later this afternoon, and the first order of business will be to head to the grocery store to buy stuff that Louise normally won’t let me eat. I’m thinking mac ’n cheese, chocolate chip cookies, a large pepperoni pizza, and maybe some ice cream. After all, if I’m going to be alone for a couple of weeks I’m going to need some serious comfort food.


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