The strip where John introduces the idea of Elly assisting him during Jean's vacation ran before the strip that LJ reprinted today (Monday, 9/14/09). There were two unrelated strips in between that one and the sweeping strip. John's suggestion came immediately after the strip where he'd moped about his mommy having spent all her time baking cookies and retrieving socks.
Panel 1: Elly is doing dishes (by hand, of course), and John is standing behind and just to the left of her saying, "Since you want to work, honey... I have a suggestion."
Panel 2: They face each other (so we see them in profile) and John continues, "Jan is taking a week off--so I'll need an assistant."
Panel 3: Elly faces us wide-eyed (dot eyes with double parentheses on our left side and single parenthesis on our right) with a small smile as John, in three-quarter view, leans in and says, "It's not exciting, but it would be a change."
Panel 4: Elly embraces John (dishwater droplets flowing from her upper arm) as he thought-bubbles, "What have I done" and looks bug-eyed.
This strip was followed by as trip where Mike tells Elly that "Teacher" draws, prints, and reads better than she does and she finally complains to John that she's been demoted. Then there's a strip where Lizzie helps herself (messily) to cookies, John muses that she's turning into a "real little girl" and hopes that he's "got a few years before she finds another boyfriend" (bleah). I expect these two strips either to get skipped over or reserved for later.
Immediately after Elly's sweeping comes to naught, we have Elly visiting Annie.
Panel 1: Elly is holding a garment that still has its tag on it. She says, "Look, Anne, I bought this to wear in the clinic." Anne is holding a drooly Christopher.
Panel 2: Elly has put on the garment. It has short, cuffed sleeves, a collar, three buttons down the front, immediately below the collar, and two front pockets. Elly places her right hand on her hip, her left hand to the left side of her collar, striking a pose while asking Anne, "What do you think?" Lizzie pulls at Elly's right leg and Anne mostly has her back to us.
Panel 3: Anne and Elly face each other in profile, Anne still holding Christopher as Liz is out of sight, possibly still tugging on Elly's leg. Elly, without the benefit of a speech bubbles, smiles, splays both hands, and says, "I won't have to wear the stuff I wear around the house for a whole week!
Panel 4: Anne, suddenly facing us and possibly about to drop Christopher as she uses one hand to cup her chin and he seems to be holding on for dear life and looking up at Elly worriedly, says, "..In other words, you've exchanged one uniform for another!" Elly, her smile gone, looks defeated as she raises her eyebrows, turns down the corner of her mouth that is visible to use (she's in profile), and prepares to catch Christopher by placing both of her hands on his lower back and rump.
In the strip just after that, Elly is still at Anne's.
Panel 1: Elly sits at Anne's kitchen table and drinks a hot beverage as Anne sits on the floor playing with Lizzie, who is dropping a ball into Anne's hand as Christopher watches from behind Lizzie. Annie says, "Christopher will love having Elizabeth here, Elly1"
Panel 2: Elly holds the cup in her left hand and holds up her head with the other as Anne stands up, pulling a smiling Lizzie up into the air and saying, "Mike will come over after school, and we'll be a big family!"
Panel 3: Anne crouches with both kids as Elly, in profile, gazes at Liz and Christopher. Anne: "They'll be in good hands, so relax. A change of scene will do you good.'
Panel 4: In the background, Anne is pouring a beverage from a pitcher much like the one featured in all the Kool-Aid commercials (I couldn't resist!). In the foreground, Elly rests her miserable profile-face on her hand and thought-bubbles, "She thinks I'm irresponsible."
Next strip was the first that showed Elly with John at the dental practice.
Panel 1: Elly has her dental-assistant uniform on and looks at what appears to be a dental chart. John, in the background, peruses an x-ray. Elly: "This is going to be fun, John, --I haven't assisted you for ears!"
Panel two: Elly holds a tray of dental instruments and says, "You were just out of dental school... doesn't this bring back fond memories?"
Pnael 3: John holds his chin and says, "Sure. That was when I still enjoyed working."
The strip after that:
Panel 1 has a grinning idiot of a guy pointing at Elly and saying, "Wow! --Where'd ya get the cute little assistant, John?"
Panel 2: Idiot guy continues, "Bet you can't keep our hands off this one, ha! Ha! Ha!"
Panel 3: Elly looks tiny in comparison to John, who is standing behind her and looking as if they are almost spooning while standing. Tacky guy says, "You should let Elly out of the kitchen more often, guy!"
Panel 4: As John and the creepy guy smile at each other and wave goodbye, Elly looks at us bug-eyed and thinks, "Some compliments are so insulting."
Right after that came this one, this one, and this one. (Note, when LJ repeated these at the end of May, 2008, she reversed the order.)
The arc caps off with what is also the final daily strip in the first collection. John and Elly are on their way home from the office.
Panel 1: John, driving, is saying, "Boy, what a day! I'm glad the week's over!"
Panel 2: Elly does that weird foob thing of waiting an inordinately long time before responding. Now Elly is waving at Anne, who is in the background holding Christopher and waving at the Pattersons, who have retrieved their children. Elly holds Lizzie and John holds Mike's hand while facing us (blowing off Annie!). Elly finally responds to what John was saying in panel one: "Yeah! I'm absolutely exhausted!"
Panel 3: Entering their house, Elly bends down and deposits Liz, as John's disembodied head smiles in profile, just peeking into the frame from our right side. Elly says, "Working full time really takes it out of you. It's so good to be home."
Panel 4: Elly had flopped onto an armchair and sticks her tongue out while looking bug-eyed. Liz is reaching for her and Mike seems as if he is trying to strangle her. She has stars emitting from either the left side of her head or the left side of the headrest on her chair. John leans into the frame to ask, "Well... What's for supper?"