He was going to Florida on business, leaving in the morning, driving. She had an appointment that morning, but would head to her parents' house, in a different part of Florida, that afternoon.
Things were hectic that morning. She pulled the large green duffel bag and the small wheeled suitcase from the closet and put them in the master bedroom, tossing in a few of the kids' things she had ready. A bit later, he went up to pack. "Which bag should I take?" he called out to her as she scurried around, getting ready for her appointment.
"The wheeled one!" she shouted from several rooms away. She wasn't sure he heard her but figured when he saw the children's belongings in the duffel bag, he would have his answer.
She raced off to her appointment, kissing him goodbye, knowing he'd be gone when she got back.
Hours later, he called home from the road (he was not driving, just in case anyone would like to flag him for unsafe behavior). "How are you?" he asked.
She had just gotten home and was trying to get the house shut down and the family out the door. "I'm a little crazy right now," she answered, wondering if he needed something.
"You know, I'm in that frantic, trying to make sure I get everything done and don't come home to stinky garbage left in the kitchen stage."
"You know, that 'Why is he calling me and keeping me from getting my work done?' insane stage of packing."
"Oh." Pause. "Maybe I should go."
"Yeah...I'll call you when I get on the road."
Ten minutes later, she went upstairs to pack her clothes. No duffel bag. She ran downstairs and asked the kids if they had seen it. They swore it was upstairs. She ran upstairs. No duffel bag. She ran downstairs to get the phone, which should have been upstairs, but was obviously placed to ensure a good day's exercise instead.
"Do you...wha...why..." Pause for breath and to compose herself. "Did you take the green duffel?"
"Didn't we...what did...didn't you..." The incoherent spluttering continued for a bit while she searched for the right words. She inhaled. "Did you ask me which suitcase to take?"
"What did you hear me say?"
"Um, I didn't hear very clearly, but I thought you said to take the duffel bag."
"Even though the kids' stuff was in it?"
"Yeah, I thought maybe you changed your mind."
"You left all the kids' stuff here?"
"OK. No big deal. I meant for you to take the wheeled one." Pause. "I just want to clarify that we completely screwed this up."
"Maybe we need to work on our communication skills?"
Or maybe we shouldn't run around like chickens without heads.