Panel 1: Michael is trying to out-shout the lawn-mower as he asks John what time lunch is and if they can go somewhere.
Panel 2: He plainitively asks why she went off on her own. In his mind, she's supposed to be around 24/7.
Panel 3: John explains that every so often she gets some sort of inexplicable-to-him urge to get away from her demanding, selfish, thick-headed and obnoxious husband and children.
Paanel 4: This sets up the first ever example of bad wordplay as Mike mangles both that pronuncation and concept of Women's Lib to his father's approving smirk.
Hypothesis: In the cartoony First Times, this was the harmless slice of suburban life Lynn meant for it to still be. Colored by what we know about these people now and how Elly is using it to justify her demands for eternal fealty as a means for revenging herself for years of mistreatment, the whimsy just got sucked right out of it.
ETA: The FBorFW home page ran the "I want a dishwasher that works" strip for some reason until they changed it to this.