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buber the dog in the trunk of kelli's car, where he tries to interfere with her plans to go to schoolAfter a summer that spanned about three and a half months, Kelli had to return to school once more. This time, it is her final semester, but from this perspective, it is the seventh time we've had this experience of going our separate ways for about 16 weeks at a time. She commutes weekly to school about 130 miles away, and is gone only three days usually but this summer in particular, I know we were both anxious about it all starting up again. Buber the Dog is also anxious and doesn't like the days when he sees the rolling suitcases pulled out. He knows something's up. He is attached to Kelli like velcro, so he doesn't take well to seeing her go. (Heck, he doesn't even like it when she leaves the couch for a drink.) He puts on his best show to convince her to stay, including something I have heard of but not seen until today.

Unfortunately for the pup, he has to witness her go about 16 times each semester, but on the bright side, he knows she comes back, and on that day, he bursts with all the doggy joy in the world.

As for myself, it is an odd experience as it always has been. This semester and the last one were the only ones where we were more or less in the same situation in life. Each semester has started with various combinations of living address, employment or not, one dog or the other (Okua or Buber), and so forth. Kelli's schooling started in 2005 and each semester has been defined differently because we've moved so often and my work history has been so checkered. But most of this year, I've had one job and we've had one house spanning two semesters. While the rhythmic aspect of Kelli's comings and goings is familiar, the jarring part has been that the scenery has changed a lot, and stretches of unemployment on my part, and overwhelm on Kelli's part (schooling, and two internships) have left us a bit dizzy. We have fluidly shifted roles according to who is busy and drained; during the summer my work was draining so she did most of the domestic stuff and had a meal ready. Last semester, despite doing the same work during the day, I did a lot of cooking and stuff for Kelli and Suzanne who both would retire to their respective academic caves and come out for grub. Now, at the end of the summer, with Kelli coming and going each week we will probably find ourselves drifting back to that pattern for a while.

buber in the trunk, but kelli is kissing him to say she'll be back before long.But for Buber, he retreats to where Kelli's spirit can usually be found—right now, he's on her side of the bed, but he might just as likely be under her desk or in her recliner chair. He doesn't do his fussypup routine much when it is just he and I. Despite his clear preference for Kelli, he does make a good buddy when she is gone. He's a good dog. Still, Kelli is the center of the household here, so we're a bit adrift without her.

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