"Bad day?" Emily Hartley asked her husband as he came in the door.

Emily sat at their dining table with a pile of her own paperwork and could tell that Bob was stressed out. As a matter of fact so was she. Their neighbor and bumbling friend, Howard was stumbling around in their kitchen trying to make a dinner for Bob and Emily. She wasn't about to let Bob know that this was poor Howard's third attempt at making a dinner. So far, he'd burnt a pot roast and forgotten the Chinese food on the train ride home.

"Hi honey. Bad day?...I guess you could say that… hi Howard." Bob

acknowledged his ever present next door neighbor as he sat on the couch and began

to remove his galoshes and shoes.

The absent-minded navigator Howard Borden was always there

with his wife when he got home from work. Bob was, from time to time, a little

uncomfortable about Howard spending so much time with Emily, although he never

really voiced it. Howard peaked out excitedly from behind the refrigerator door.

"Hi Bob!"

"Bob, Howard is making us dinner." Emily informed.

"Yeah, for all the nights Emily cooks for me." Howard added.

"Honey what happened today?" Emily asked her husband.

"Well, Jerry gave me these tickets." Bob began, pulling three tickets out of his

jacket pocket and handing them to his wife.

"Oh Bob, they're for a ski weekend!" Emily was elated.

"Yeah and it's all paid for but…"

"Emily, I don't know how to ski!" Howard burst. Bob rolled his eyes. He knew

Howard would assume he'd automatically be attendee number three.

"But Howard…we're storing your skis in the basement…" Emily pointed out.

"Yeah, but you didn't ever notice that big crack in the…"

"Oh!" Emily laughed. "Aren't you excited honey, what's the problem with our

going?" She asked, sweetly turning back to her husband and batting her mascara

coated eyelashes.

"Well uh…" He coughed, a little embarrassed to admit the real reason why he

didn't want to go on the trip. Emily wrapped her arms around his neck, eagerly

awaiting his explanation. "Look Emily, it's a great opportunity for a weekend get

away, which, honestly I really needed. My patients are really stressing me out…I'm

working long hours…my home life is…hectic." Bob evaluated, as he glanced over

Emily's shoulder.

Howard, who was in the process of making some kind of dinner…Lord knows

what, was standing in the middle of their kitchen holding a dish that was on fire…

"And I wanna just get away and be alone with you Emily."

"Awe that's sweet." She giggled, hugging him. The idea of going on a quiet

weekend get away together was extremely appealing for both Bob and Emily.

"But the truth is I don't know how to ski either." Bob finally admitted.

"Oh Bob, it's heaven you'll love it! Daddy and I used to ski all the time!" Emily

reassured.

Great, all Bob needed for reassurance was a reference to his father-in-law, a

man who was seemingly perfect in almost everyway: especially when it came to

proficiency of the outdoors. He also knew that his wife was herself, a great outdoors

woman….all he needed was to be emasculated by her saving his life in the woods or

something…or worse…Howard saving his life.

"That's just the thing Emily…if you can't ski…it might really be heaven."

Howard said, nervously pointing up.

"It won't be that bad. We'll get you both lessons." Emily insisted, kissing Bob's

cheek and going back in the kitchen where she began to extinguish the flaming

dish Howard had made.

"Anyone in the mood for Chinese?" Howard asked simply.

"It's okay Howard." Emily comforted. "It's the thought that counts, I'll make

something."

"And I'll let the smoke out." Bob said, opening the back door that led to their

terrace, even though it was snowing and freezing outside.

Bob walked out onto the porch as the smoke began to billow out of their

apartment. He stopped, glancing reflectively at the lake below as the falling

snow cast a gentle blanket over the ice. He took a deep breath, hoping to let out a

little bit of his frustration and ultimately only noting that the cold air seemed to

almost pierce his lungs.

"Let's see," he began, usually he only treated people to talked to themselves,

"snow, ice cold air, Emily…and Howard….yap, going to the mountains is going to be a

great way to get away from it all."