For what I'm roughly estimating to be the sixth or seventh time, I'm trying to quit smoking. Well, it's not just me. My wife is also accompanying me on this trip into a chemically-deprived hell.

Don't misconstrue that last statement; I really am quitting. Granted, the whole issue of smoking (and its inherent health risks) is mostly the territory of my wife. That would be the fundamental difference between smoking for well over a decade and a half, and smoking for over half a decade. One of the reasons it appeals to me is the assload of cash we will find ourselves not spending on cancer sticks. This money will come in handy when we go to buy our toys in the next few months.

Unfortunately, as any smoker or ex-smoker will tell you, quitting is quite like your best friend has died. As an added bonus, there's a little voice in your head reminding you of this every few minutes. To you want your best friend to die? No, of course not. That's why quitting is so damn hard.

My wife suggested a system that just might work, and it's the plan that we're currently working on. We're cutting back one cigarette a day every week until they're all gone. Right now, we're at 26 cigarettes a day, dropping to 25 next Monday. Normally, this isn't a problem during the weekdays, as eight hours stuck in an office tends to create a glut of cigarettes for after-work consumption. However, weekends can be a hellish exercise is clock-watching. Eventually, we may try to distract ourselves from cigarettes with a good old-fashioned workout, but right now we feel was too damn lazy to consider going to a gym.

It's not going too bad so far. Of course, staring down a three-day weekend doesn't feel very good. I've never felt such a level of dismay and alarm over a Monday off before.

p.s. - happy 34th anniversary mom and dad.