Panel 1: We find ourselves watching Elly interrupt Mike while he's talking on the phone to ask who he's talking to. Since he doesn't really see that as being her business, he says "Uh....nobody."
This, of course, is the worst thing to tell Elly. This is because she remembers that back when she was slobbering over Colin Winch, "Nobody" meant "Nobody you would know", "Nobody I want you to know about" or "Nobody you'd want me to talk to."
Panel 2: He also makes the mistake of saying "Nothing" when she asks him what he's talking about. Elly remembers saying that and meaning "nothing that you want me to care about" or "nothing I want you to find out about."
Panel 3: When he asks her if there's some problem with his talking on the phone, she says no.
Panel 4: The bleary-eyed and defeated look on her face when she says that it's taking him forty-five minutes to say nothing to no one tells me that once again, she thinks that it's a horrible crime that he do to her what she did to her mother.
Summary: Today's strip reminds us that we're not just dealing with Elly's need for the kids to suppress emotions that might require Elly to care about their day to day lives. We're also dealing with Elly's stupid habit of getting herself into a frazzle because her kids do to her what she did to her folks. It's somehow not FAAAAAIIIIIIIRRRRRRR that this be.