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03/25/2006 - 8:28 a.m.

IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES

Given the recent realities of our lives, or at least of mine, it should have happened sooner. The only reasons life continued without change were habit and my heart and, ultimately, neither were enough to prevent it. And so, it's been coming for a while---possibly for the last eight days or so, possibly only for the last four since Kat left. But last night it happened. I left the marital bed and you can blame it on irreconcilable differences. Either the stamps or I had to go. So I left.

My bedroom, you see, is filled with stamps. As I have explained for years to FogieKnight, the first time the piles flow from next to his side of the bed and over my side of the bed, I'm gone---permanently. But we are not talking permanence here. The pile (or, more accurately, all the stuff in binders on shelves) is most of the problem but not a permanent problem. Divorce is not necessary. We only need separation and, I hope, only for a few days.

Stamps and vaporizers are incompatible. All that humidity? All that steam? The poor little stamps will wilt. They live in my bedroom to avoid the basement, not to have the bedroom become like the basement. And they are precious—even the ones that did not cost all that much (and which make up most of the collection.) To be fair, in a pinch, they would not be more precious than me but they sure are a close second. I've run the vaporizer in the room before when I've hit this tail-end-of-a-cold stage with all the nocturnal coughing. But it always makes FogieKnight inwardly (not outwardly, of course, because, after all, he is well-trained after more than twenty years of marriage) sigh.

Actually, to be accurate, which, as we all know, the storyteller in me just craves (oh, please be quiet FogieKnight), it's more than the stamps. FogieKnight hates the white noise the vaporizer makes. He hates the humidity of it. He probably hates the reminder that I am sick too---although the coughing alone supplies that. So he did not hesitate even a moment when I suggested that, now that Kat was gone, I should move in there with a vaporizer. Always before, there was no place to go with my vaporizer but now we have an empty bedroom. I expected at least a token squawk but I should have known better.

And we were both happier. His room was quiet and he and his stamps escaped a steambath. I slept through the night. Most likely, we'll repeat the whole thing tonight because, until I am through this cold, we have irreconcilable differences and Kat's absence has made leaving better than compromising.

So, Kat, (she says with a big wink and a wicked grin), now that you've left us, how does it feel to have contributed to the separation of your parents?

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