Resisting Resuming Responsibilities

Dearest Rachel –

So I open my eyes this morning, and look at the alarm clock: it’s a quarter to seven. And I have to admit, I do not want to get up just yet. I won’t go so far as to say it’s been a grueling weekend, but I’ll allow that it wasn’t exactly relaxing either. We were kept busy doing all sorts of things – and of course, there was the added responsibility I put onto myself of keeping in touch with you throughout.

And given the circumstances, I might almost be able to roll over and go back to sleep. After all, I’m retired, I don’t have any set work schedule that I need to report to (although to be fair, I should be wrapping up the camp’s finances for the month of August and sending it to Scott). Daniel being Daniel, he was probably up quite late, and will be sleeping in until ten or eleven, so he won’t be needing my attention anytime soon. Not that he would if you were awake, as he is a grown man of twenty-eight, and theoretically capable of taking care of himself. And it seems with that between Ellen and Logan being over at various times, he did all right for himself over the weekend – clearly, he didn’t starve.

But there is one thing that should be keeping me from just rolling over and surrendering myself to the Sandman yet again – Chompers.

It wasn’t that long ago that, in lieu of an alarm clock, the old boy served that purpose with distinction, barking to either be fed, watered or put out without fail sometime between six and seven. So once upon a time, I could expect him to be waking me up already. Not so much anymore. Now, I don’t know how much time he spent sleeping yesterday – he did fuss around on his blankets for the better part of an hour after midnight – but I finally decide to let him decide whether I get up now or later.

And that’s a dangerous game today this morning. For all the MREs I put together before leaving on Thursday, they’re all gone. I need to actually prepare something this morning, rather than just grabbing something out of the fridge to get him. He will not be patient with that.

But again, I’m not ready to start the day. Which is ironic, as I expect that literally everyone I said goodbye to some eighteen hours ago is already at work. Even the boys; James, Leon and Moses most likely have a fair number of household chores they’ve already had to take care of, to say nothing of school and studies (Admittedly, I don’t know their schedules with regards to education – and I don’t know if James is still studying at twenty, but I’d give him credit for working on something at this hour). I can almost guarantee that I’m already the laziest of a lot of us, and here I’m intending to make it that much worse by going back to sleep.

These sorts of retreats are meant to inspire us to become better – better husbands, better fathers, better employees or business owners. And just listen to me talk about how I just wanna close my eyes and rest a little longer. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be, is it?

But I’m no longer in the workfarce, so that’s something of a non-issue. Daniel should be able to take care of himself at his age, although I need to continue to support him as best I can – and his following of preachers and political pundits, I can’t seem to prevent. And as for you? There isn’t really anything on this earth that’s of any concern to you any more. The only husbandly duties I have regarding you is to keep in touch with you like this, and even that is pointless insofar as you will never read this (but others will, and maybe that’s the point… I might consider this almost to be my occupation, of chronicling my life in public out here in the ether of the Internet).

It’s a lot to think about, and I close my eyes…

Chris Rice, “Deep Enough to Dream,” from Deep Enough to Dream, 1997

When I open them again, everything is still the same as it was, only considerably lighter lighter. It’s now eight o’clock. Chompers – to say nothing of Daniel – is still asleep. I haven’t lost the opportunity to get things done before he – they? – wake up.

I fill the old boy’s bowl, and prep enough MREs to keep us through Wednesday morning – I’m going to have to wash those old wet food containers that we’ve always used for those, as the dirty ones are stacking up. The FedEx man drops by, delivering some forms for me to fill out for your estate; looks like I’ll need to stop by their drop-off center on my way to the folks’ this morning as well. I come back to the room to check on Chompers, and he’s still asleep (even at a quarter to nine!) but I’d best get him outdoors before he fouls the carpet.

The poor boy can barely stay up in his harness these days, but rather twists himself into ridiculous pretzelline shapes like this.

He eats fairly heartily still, so there’s that, and makes seven separate puddles across the driveway. It’s kind of frustrating that, because he doesn’t support himself from behind, the wheels roll back, and he winds up with his belly in the puddle if I don’t catch him first. But this is life with an aging dog, isn’t it?

I bring him inside, give him his water, and do what I can to finish updating you on what’s going on while he works on dealing with his thirst. By now, however, he’s on his side, not quite asleep, but hopefully back on his way. I’m gonna stick around here for a bit until he does, and I’ll see if I can sneak in a shower before heading out to the FedEx store and then the ‘office.’ Don’t know if I’ll get back to you today – this is a more normal day the the past four or five. But you know me, darling: I’ll keep in touch.

Until then, wish me luck.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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