“Coming right up. Why are you looking so glum, Champ?”

“My wife left me and went home to her mother.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Said I wasn’t attentive enough.”

“It’s tough being a man in the new millennium”

“Said I didn’t understand women.”

“Do any of us?”

“Said I always gave her lousy Christmas presents.”

“That me reminds me. I still have to order those Ani DiFranco London tickets to give to my wife for Christmas.”

“And to think I looked all over town for that Hoover.”

“She’ll really be surprised when I tell her we’re going to England. Uh? Did you say Hoover?”

“That’s right. It was a top of the line vacuum, too.”

“That was her Christmas present? A vacuum?”

“Uh, uh. She found it hidden in the garage with a big bow tied around it. That’s when she left. She said she was sick and tired of hearing her friends brag about all the Christmas gifts they received from their husbands. ‘Sally got tickets for Sarah Brightman.’ ‘Bridget’s going to see Alan Jackson.’ ‘Joanie’s going to see Snoop Dogg.’ Sheesh.”

“She’s got a point. Women love shows.”

“So? They also love cleaning, don’t they? She didn’t say anything when I gave her that mop last year. Came with its own bucket and a sample packet of Lysol, too.”

“Maybe it’s not too late. You could give her tickets for Sammy Kershaw.”

“And I didn’t hear any complaints when I gave her that Black & Decker shower scum scraper two years ago.”

“Perhaps she’d like to see Jonny Lang. Or maybe John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers. They all have new dates.”

“Maybe you’re right. A lot of her favorites are coming to town, including Tony Orlando and The Smothers Brothers. Hand me the phone, Joe. I’m gonna call the ticket outlet right now.”

“Take my word for it, Champ. You tell her you have tickets for a good show, maybe Barenaked Ladies or Rita Coolidge, and she won’t be able to come home fast enough.”

“Gee, I hope so.”

“You really miss her, uh?”

“Yeah, but it’s not that. It’s just… just…”

“Just what?”

“It’s just that the laundry’s beginning to pile up.”