Channeling Bob

I’d like to think that if my dad was still alive, and if he could have gotten his friends involved, he would have spent every morning and many afternoons of his retirement years on Facebook.

It would have taken a leap of faith on his part, but knowing Bob, he could have convinced his buddies to join him online. Bob and the guys would have exchanged jokes and funny memes, shared news about those damned politicians and pro golf tournaments and home remedies for achy joints. Time-sucker that Facebook is, he would have been wearing his blue and white-striped cotton pajamas and robe (in summer; same PJ’s with his maroon fleece robe in colder weather) in front of the computer until mid-afternoon. He’d get cleaned up and head out to play golf with the old guys on Wednesdays, but otherwise – after breakfast and reading the paper – Bob would have been surfing the web, immersed in social media. In his pajamas.

Dad and me, summer 2009.

That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway. It’s almost 11:30 am and I am – you guessed it – still in my nightie and robe, screwing around on the computer. I would like to blame it on some genetic gift from Dad that makes me such a procrastinator when it comes to showering and dressing for the day. Bob called it his ablutions. Sometime before lunch he’d put down the crossword puzzle and announce that it was “time to ablute.” A member of a generation that doesn’t see the need for daily showers, his ablutions included what we called a bird bath:  filling the sink with water and using a soapy washcloth to scrub then rinse off the stinky bits. He’d also lather up for a close shave and always exited the bathroom fragrant with the Bay Rum aftershave he used, I believe, for his entire adult life. I wish I’d thought to dab a little on his cheeks before his viewing.

I finally was about to get out of this chair and get in the shower when I thought of Bob. I looked down at my own maroon chenille robe (oh, how I love my cuddly robe and a cool morning!) and felt guilty for not having officially started my day yet. I can’t help feeling that nothing counts until I’m clean and dressed.

Am I obligated to do things that “count” by a certain hour of the day, or for a prescribed number of hours in total? Because I know this for sure – Bob did not feel guilty for one minute about spending most mornings reading and putzing around in his pajamas. He worked hard all of his life to enjoy the luxury of free time. To spend his time as he wished.

It feels odd to realize that Dad was several years younger than I am now when he retired and gradually created his morning routine.

I’ve worked hard. Do I “deserve” it, too? I can’t quite make myself believe it. Maybe that’s because retirement for women is different. I’m not fully retired yet, but what woman ever hangs up her virtual apron and says she’s retiring from the endless chores related to managing her home? Maybe some married people share those chores, but I am alone. Oh – and happy to be, so please don’t think I’m moaning about it! Plus, no one is around to say, “Seriously? It’s almost noon and you’re not dressed yet?”

So on that note, I’ll get in the shower as soon as I hit “publish.” I’ll get dressed and take the dogs for a walk. I’ll choose something lingering on my To Do list – and do it.

Two weeks ago was the eight-year anniversary of my father’s death.

I miss you, Bob. Channeling you this morning has made me smile.




17 thoughts on “Channeling Bob

  1. Love Love Love this. Right now, everyone that has lost a close parent is thinking of their loved one’s rituals. Please don’t ever feel guilty about free/down/slow time. (now say that back to me). We don’t feel guilty about meditation or prayer time. Think instead about how you admired your Dad’s confident use of time……..I know I will. Thanks Bob..

  2. I would have loved your dad! I can puts around for hours in my favorite blue nightie and bare feet I summer and Jammie’s and fluffy pink slippers in winter. It’s important to work hard, but equally important to “leisure” hard–and not have to answer to anyone for it. What a sweet post about your dad! ❤️

  3. Ablutions! I love it. I think my father may have used that word too, although he definitely was a full shower guy. My mother referred to her post coffee-post cigarette time on the pot as her “mornings morning.”

    1. Thanks, Jane! Your comment makes me wish I could have a cigarette with my coffee tomorrow morning (I quit more than 15 years ago). I loved your description of your morning ritual. Dog snacks and Belvita or Kind biscuits often play a role here, too. 🙂

  4. I know my dad would have joined him on FB. Dad loved working on his computer, even though most of it was bookkeeping for whatever business he was helping run at the time. He would have loved the internet and all that goes with it. I often think how sorry I am that he passed away before it all became so popular and such a necessity. Love the pic of you and your dad.

    1. Thank you, Denise! I’m now imagining Bob and Jack and the gang with a Rotary Friends page! Can you imagine? They would have fixed all the problems in Geneva and laughed and laughed . . . .

  5. I never saw Dad in a wheelchair before.  It was pretty sad for me.  He looks so skinny.  I loved your story. I love you. Pen

    Sent from my Galaxy Tab A

    1. He wasn’t getting out much by then, Pen, and I asked my friend Diane if we could come over to her beautiful yard so he could enjoy seeing his beloved lake and her picturesque garden. Diane made iced tea and homemade blueberry muffins and Dad had a nice time chatting with her and her husband, Bob. When I was looking for a picture to use, I came across this one – I’d forgotten I even had it. It was a bittersweet afternoon. I’m so glad you liked the story – and I love you back. XOXO

  6. I lost my dad 8 years ago too. He used to forward me a lot of emails and even though I rarely read them, it was comforting for me to see something in my inbox from Dad. He had a hard time relaxing and allowing himself to retire, and I’ve been going through the same struggle. I am going to cut my hours back to only two days/week and this will allow me more time to ‘waste’ on the computer no doubt. Nice post, Kate.

    1. Thanks, Molly. We worried about what Dad would do when he retired. He surprised us all by doing a little volunteering, quite a bit of reading, and channeling HIS inner social butterfly to gather his buddies for golf, lunches, fishing trips, etc. I, too, am semi-retired, which feels like neither here nor there. I’m trying hard to learn what this means – to me. It’s a process.

  7. What a lovely piece. Loved the pivots, from your dad to you, back to dad. Since i retired, I wake up slowly. While still in bed, I will cycle from FB to mail to my blog stacks. And usually MSNBC is in the background. While still in my nightgown, I will throw in a load of laundry, fry up a couple of eggs, tidy up. And then maybe I will go in the living room and noodle around on my computer–while watching MSNBC. I rarely dress until I have to–when I am going out. I am a little embarrassed y my lazy ways.

    1. Thanks, Sandy! I can’t tell you how glad I am that I wrote this. I guess I picture everyone else up and at ’em every day, making the donuts, etc. So glad I’m not alone!

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