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Louise and I leave for two weeks in Italy today. No, not today; it’s actually next week, but I thought it must be today because of all the running around, the gathering of clothes, the waiting suitcases, and the panicked look in her eye that says she knows we’re missing something important. She’s been packing for several days already and has asked me more than once to start filling my own bag. I went upstairs and grabbed some underwear, a handful of shirts, two pairs of shorts, and one pair of jeans. I went to the other room where the suitcases were and laid my treasures carefully inside. There. Done. When I came down I got that look from Louise. You know that look. I don’t even have to describe it to you. Its the same one your mother gave you when you screwed up. I don’t know how to fix this. I did what she asked and got all my clothes together. Zip up the bag and I’m outta here. I’m now told I need some new shirts, shorts, bathing suit, pants, and underwear. I don’t know why. Some of those shirts I’ve had since college, and I know that eventually they’ll be back in style. She also says I can’t wear my white sneakers since they make me look like an old man and a tourist. I’m not sure how to point out to her that I am an old man and a tourist. Never mind. She bought me some new sneakers called “Skechers,” and I’m a little surprised to find they’re not half bad. She also gave me a haircut and did a little manscaping on areas where hair shouldn’t be growing but is. I’m going to look spiffy! As we were getting ready to leave the house I asked where we were going. She told me I’d be going to the gym for a workout while she went next door to get her nails done. I think she wants me to get another workout in because she’s planning on walking my butt all over Rome. Isn’t Rome a hilly city? Must remember to bring my inhaler. I’m really looking forward to eating in Rome. A couple of years ago Louise gave me an Italian cooking lesson with a famous Italian chef. It was pretty special. I love Italian food, and now I’ll have a chance to sample the real deal. I plan on taking lots of notes so I can really cook pasta when I get home. You’re all invited, but you have to bring your own booze. I’m not paying for all of you. Louise used to live in Italy and was pretty fluent in the language. She hasn’t used it in years, but I’m pretty sure it will come back to her fairly quickly. Me? I don’t speak Italian at all. I did find an app on my phone that will teach me Italian and I’ve been taking lessons. Right now I know how to say, “The boys are reading books in the library.” I don’t know how much that’s going to help me, but if anyone asks me where the boys are, I’ll be ready. After a few days in Rome we jump aboard a five-masted clipper ship for a sail down the Amalfi coast and then back to Rome. Some beautiful towns along the way, but every one of them looks like it has a lot of hills, so maybe I really should get that extra workout in before we leave. We’ve done a cruise with this company before, and it really was special. On this ship there are only about 250 passengers and almost as many crew members. Its very elegant, and it’s an amazing feeling to be underway by sail in a ship that big. As I recall, they have a rule that men must wear pants to the dining room, and I’m not happy about that when it’s hot, but then again, I like to eat, so pants it is. I’ve still got a few days to get ready, and Louise will be “encouraging” me to finish up. Last-minute chores around the house are being completed, mail is being held, people notified, and all that vacation stuff. I’m not looking forward to the flight, since I don’t handle anything over three hours very well. I still have two pills left over from my last MRI. One should knock me out on the way over and one on the way back. Better traveling through chemistry. See you when we get back. P. S. Just returned from a marathon trip to the mall to buy me some new clothes for the trip. She made me try on everything and then critiqued how I looked. Rarely was I asked my opinion, which is a good thing because I really don’t care. Now, after a good workout at the gym, a nice lunch, and an afternoon of shopping, I’m ready to start the business of serious attitude adjustment before making Asian pork loin for dinner. When I die, I want to come back as me.


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