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The 1998 Clan Gathering: A DH’s Perspective.

When Hope told me that a woman she had met on the Internet was coming to visit, my first thought was, “Oh, damn, and I just filled in that shallow grave from the last visitor…”

When she told me that it wasn’t THAT kind of internet visitor, and then proceeded to rule out the white-slavery market as well, I resigned myself to the fact that my “missing-persons” milk carton collection wouldn’t be getting any larger. Drat!

What was even worse was the fact that she expected the house to be clean for this guest. My first hint of this entirely unrealistic expectation was her repeated shouting of “Oh, my God! Charyl’s coming!! We’ve got to clean the house!!!” I may not be as dense as some DH’s, but I sensed this did not bode well for me…

Now, as I’m sure is the case with the legion of other long-suffering S.O.L.O.L. (“Significant Others of the Ladies of Lallybroch;” I tried to come up with a better acronym, but “Diana’s Outlander Group’s Suffering Husbands In Turmoil” wouldn’t look that good on a sweatshirt) can attest, you are probably passingly familiar with the characters and personalities of the other with whom your DW corresponds. As such, I knew a little about Charyl and she seemed like the kind of person who would appreciate that we didn’t go out of our way, or exert ourselves, or try to give some impression contrary to the way we really live. When I tried to explain this to Hope, she said simply, “Oh, my God! Charyl’s coming!! We’ve got to clean the house!!!”

So, for countless days and nights Hope anxiously awaited Charyl’s arrival in the manner that I have become accustomed: she schemed. I was updated throughout the day on the selection of a hotel, the itinerary of Charyl, Kim, Kate, DG, et al, and, of course, the search for Kiltboy (I would, at this point, like to interject that the distaff side of has as much merit as the page(s) that Hope seemed to spend hours and hours and hours “researching”-but, I digress). Her work on coordinating the gathering, and the equally time-consuming work of keeping me updated on its progress, was only interrupted by periodic cries of, “Oh, my God! Charyl’s coming!! We’ve got to clean the house!!!”

And so, at last Charyl arrived in Seattle. The house, of course, was not clean.

But, Hope, the devious and cunning wench that she is (bless her heart), managed to take Charyl everywhere in the Pacific Northwest but our house. She even, with an idea that can only be described as sheer genius, rigged the hubcap on our car to fall off in the airport parking garage, thereby both delaying their arrival in Skagit Valley and further exhausting our weary traveler.

For the next four days, while Hope sowed her wild oats, I toiled as both breadwinner and single parent, struggling to feed and clothe the children, to meet the responsibilities of work, all while my head echoed with Hope’s voice, “Oh, my God! Charyl’s coming!! We’ve got to clean the house!!!” On Friday, I checked the LOL board to see if any postings had been made, and was delighted to begin getting word back on the progress of the “big night.” My assumption that, because I had not been called to post bail, things had worked out as planned was confirmed by a phone call from Hope saying, “After these four days, I feel like I’ve known Charyl for four years! Don’t worry about how clean the house is.” Too late. All that work for nothing. Damn.

On Friday night, Kate and Hope arrived home (having left Charyl in BC with Judie) and proceeded to regale, entertain, amuse and, finally, bore me with the repeated telling of the previous 24-hour’s events. Then Hope showed me what at first appeared to have been caused by a ballpoint pen breaking in her back pocket. After saying as much to her, and regaining consciousness, I admired her lovely tattoo (and was told in no uncertain terms that I was not allowed to get a tattoo of my own. Damn again.).

On Saturday morning, Hope left to meet Charyl and take her on one last trip around the area (leaving me at home to maintain order, watch the kids, and prepare a lovely meal in time for their return that evening). Finally, I did get to meet the elusive Charyl, and I must confess she is verra nice, even if she did lead my DW astray and force her to get her arse tattooed.

Now, I’m tired of typing…

The End

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