I know I have been lax here, and I miss it. Taking the time to form thoughts that don't revolve around the things I am immersed in at work is a welcome respite. Unfortunately, work has consumed me lately. Tomorrow, a key member of our leadership is retiring for good and I am taking over a number of his duties.
I say retiring 'for good', as Bob was retired for several years, and then, guilted by his prior 30+ year work relationship with our president, he came out of retirement to help start our company. He gave it 18 months longer than he had originally agreed, and would likely still be behind his desk for a few years, were it not for an (im)perfect storm of events that have cemented his decision to stop working.
Bob has a bad back. We all feel some back pain now and then, but Bob has us beat. He has had several surgeries and procedures over the years to fix scoliosis problems, the effects of shrapnel from his Vietnam days, and a number of peripheral conditions those issues caused. The only thing left is a major reconstructive surgery. One that his wife insists he has before they go on a grand tour of a vacation they have booked for this summer.
Bob's wife gave him a 'quit or I divorce you' sort of deadline, which passed last year. He thinks she is getting serious about it. And, she has some health challenges of her own that would be better served with her husband around to help.
Bob has gone to many funerals over the past two years. Bob and his wife were born and raised in this area, and have maintained a group of a dozen or so friends since elementary school. That amazes me, but also shines a light on how sobering it must be when those people start dying. Bob shared with me the pain of watching a circle of friends validate statistics. Half have divorced, they have seen prostate cancer, breast cancer, and heart attacks. They all need glasses now. And now, a few have died or are in severe decline. For a 67-year old that feels young and vital (except for the back pain), it is easy to start wondering how few days you have left.
He's done working, and he will be better for it. We gave him a 'squirrel gun' as one of his going away gifts. A handsome suppressed air rifle with a laser sight, to pick off the squirrels that plague his yard. I wish him many quiet afternoons on his porch, doing just that. In the meantime, I will be in his old office, up to my eyeballs in work, and dreaming of the day that I get to put my feet up and kill a few squirrels.