My wife asked me those questions again. They are the same questions she asks every time she sees me watching sports, eating Cheezdoodles out of the bag and drinking beer.

“Who are you? And what happened to the guy I agreed to marry?”

Don’t you hate that?

Actually, this time that wasn’t the question my wife asked. The question my wife asked is a question that I have absolutely no way of answering. The question my wife asked was purely to appease me before we leave on a trip.

“What time to you think we should leave?”

See what I mean?

In all the years that we have been married I have never been in control of the time we leave for a trip. Sure, I can say, “We must leave no later than 10 a.m.,” but that in no way means that we will leave no later than 10 a.m.

Instead, what it means is that at 10 a.m. I will become angry and remain angry until 1 p.m. when my wife finally comes downstairs and says, “Ready?” although I have clearly been ready for several hours.

Throughout the years, I have detailed in this column the number of things I have attempted to do to control our departure times, but just like Wile E. Coyote’s elaborate plans to catch the Road Runner, my plans wind up blowing up in my face.

I can tell my wife that me must leave for a trip at 10 a.m. even though I know we don’t need to leave until noon, but my wife will see thorough my ruse and think, “He doesn’t mean 10 a.m.; he means noon. So I’ll be ready at 1 p.m.”

We are scheduled to leave for Kansas City sometime this afternoon. Yesterday, when my wife asked me what time I wanted to leave for Kansas City, we had the following conversation:

Me: "Why are you asking me that?"

Wife: "Well, I made dinner reservations in Kansas City for 8 tomorrow night."

Me: "Then we need to leave now."

Wife: "OK, I’ll be ready by 7 p.m. tomorrow."

Making dinner reservations used to be one of the tricks I used to try to gain control of our departure times. I figured a restaurant deadline would force my wife to adhere to a departure schedule.

I figured wrong.

When my wife discovers that she is running late she just says, “Oh well, I’ll just call and have them push back our reservations.”

And she does, and they do.

A few minutes ago, my wife called me from Joplin, where she and our 21-year-old daughter, Emma, were running errands.

“Do you think we can leave by 4 this afternoon?” she asked.

“Why are you asking me that?” I said.

“We want to get there in plenty of time,” my wife said.

“Then we should leave now,” I said.

“OK, we’ll leave at 4,” my wife said.

“No, we won’t,” I said.

But I said, “No, we won’t,” to myself because my wife had already hung up.

We’re going to Kansas City because Emma’s flight to Copenhagen, Denmark, leaves early Saturday morning. So part of me suspects that my wife will delay our departure even more than normal. My wife isn’t anxious for Emma to leave for Denmark, just as six months ago she wasn’t anxious for Emma to leave for Italy or, three years ago, she wasn’t anxious for Emma to leave for college or, before that, for Emma to go to high school, junior high school, elementary school, pre-school and day care.

I’m trying to make a point here.

My wife doesn’t like it when Emma leaves our house. I’m not saying that I like it either, but I just figure it’s a circle of life sort of deal.

I just hope this time we can leave at 4 p.m.

Mike Pound is a columnist for The Joplin Globe.

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