Life Out Loud: Where there’s smoke, there may not be fire


Is it a sign of old age — or the apocalypse — that I am suddenly feeling this winter like never before? It’s been snowing for what, 600, 700 years now?

It is never going to stop snowing, raining and/or icing up. Will we be dodging snowflakes on the Fourth of July? Global warming my foot. The only thing warm around these parts are the fevered foreheads of virtually every man, woman and child in America who have the flu — again.

Everything is cold, muddy, gray and alternately flooded or frozen over. In the midst of all this, Mr. Wonderful is my rock, my stalwart mate, my source of all things good and sane in the world.

He jets off to sunny California.


Par for the course, his plane hadn’t even left the tarmac (iced in, naturally) when everything around us went to heck in a hand basket — a forlorn and frozen hand basket.


Mr. Wonderful knows he married a high-maintenance princess type and, as such, I have grown accustomed to luxuries such as heat and hot showers and have great aims toward maintaining both even in his absence.

Ever the smart one, he had stuffed the wood burner that is the source of things good and warm in our lives with wood before he left in the wee hours to catch a plane to the West Coast. The problem was that in the ensuing four hours he was gone, not a stick of that wood actually burned.

Truly, he tossed the equivalent of an entire TREE into raging flames and came away with — nothing.

The universe had truly outdone itself this time. We had actually managed to SUSPEND THE LAW OF PHYSICS in his absence.

While my blood may have been boiling, my home was stone cold. I had no heat. I had no hot water. I was a sad, beaten woman. It was not yet 7 a.m.

Even the inevitable puns about his being in — and my being out of — hot water did little to cheer me.


Every single time that man crosses state lines, the world around me falls apart. Things that should run — don’t. Thing’s that shouldn’t run — do. I kid you not, before the end of the day, the key to my automobile was found to be bent at a 90-degree angle.

None of us had a clue how it happened, but at the start of the day — a perfectly fine key. At day’s end — modern art. Sculpture, alas, that is rather difficult to use in starting the car.

Seriously, now? I take that as a sign. My better half had been gone less than 12 hours and already my life was falling apart. And people think I’m making this up.

I want to be one of those strong, intrepid females that is all “I am a woman, hear me roar!” I do. My own mother is one of those and you’d think a speck of it would have passed down.

Alas, I am not. I hang my head in shame to confess to the sisterhood that I am a woman who needs my husband. Suffice to say that he is gone less than 24 hours and I am cold, lonely and apparently unable to master even rudimentary tasks such as fire. Even a caveman can do it.

Me, however, not so much.

Granted, we finally convinced the wood to burn and around midnight that same day, we had heat. I realize that if this is the worst thing that happened to me all day, I am truly blessed. I also know that where there’s smoke there is not, necessarily, fire.

There may, however, be a very cold and lonely spouse … steaming.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is going to tag along on all future business trips. She welcomes comments c/o; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or

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