'Tis the day before I head out for DevTeach and have already completed my pre-conference ritual with my wife. It's a fun game we play a few times a year called "Why do you do this?"

I was just settling in for some quality time with Bear Grylls when she starts the first round off with the standard "So you're taking a week off work?" opening. We'd just had a pretty fun day at the beach so her heart isn't really in it. So I counter with a half-hearted "Yep. Should be a fun time" to let her know I'll take it easy on her, too.

She responds with a biting "Didn't you just start your contract last week?". It's a slight breach of etiquette upping the ante that early but I give her the benefit of the doubt and play along: "Yeah, I cleared it with them before I started. They were good with the time off for this as well as our trip to London next month."

She gives an appreciative nod at my subtle volley but then her eyes harden for a few seconds while she plans her next move. She throws out a quick "I thought we agreed to cut back on these things" which stuns me for a moment. If I didn't know her better, I'd chalk it up to an amateurish mistake. But in fact, she's looking to buy some time. I'm not letting her off that easy: "We agreed to no such thing and you know it."

Her delay tactic isn't long but it's enough: "Do you actually learn anything at these conferences or is it just an excuse to get drunk and speak whatever language it is you people speak?" It's a baiting ploy because we both know I don't imbibe but I don't rise to it and instead bring out the heavy artillery in an effort to return to normalcy: "I've done the cost/benefit analysis already and believe I will gain more than I will lose (though admittedly, the benefits are more long-term and intangible). I'll remind you of our agreement that all aspects of my career remain solely to my discretion as long as we remain on this island. We have already received direct benefit of my community involvement in the form of the upcoming book and my last contract being a direct result of my blogging."

There is more admiration than resignation in her face and the battle is all but won. But she can't resist a parting shot. With a twinkle in her eye, she snuggles up to me just in time to see Bear chow down on a live frog and says: "Oh well, I guess I'll just stay home and watch Brokeback Mountain while you go off 'fishing' with your buddies."

Kyle the Victor (I think)