I always enjoyed the occasional day with no work and no responsibility; I’m not talking about the routine day-off with a preset agenda of things to do. I’m talking about the very rare kind when I had no plan, no to do list, I could just do what I wanted to do as it occurred to me. Some of those days were very productive; trees got trimmed, or the garage straightened; others maybe I went car shopping with no intention of buying a car, just felt like kicking a tire and visiting with a salesman; still others I did absolutely nothing and sometimes didn’t start that until about noon. I could go on but I think you get the idea.
I thought of them as Dave Days, I didn’t speak of them as Dave Days because someone, probably someone named Sharyl, would have suggested, “on your next Dave Day why don’t you…..”. With a to do list it wouldn’t have been a Dave Day. For most of my professional life that kind of day was extremely rare.
I retired in ’97 and started a second career with a defense contractor in’98, by about ’02 or ’03 I was trying to figure a way to convince my company and the government, it would be to their advantage if I only worked a 4-day week. Sometimes a plan comes together; they approached me. Due to some funding issues would I consider a 4-day week? I should have at least acted a little upset, but I couldn’t keep the smile off my face; my response: “Please don’t throw me in that briar patch”.
I never heard Sharyl say, “When I retire”, that meant I would be home alone, without adult supervision every Friday. Some of those Fridays I certainly had a list of things to do, but I suddenly had many more Dave Days. That quickly became my new routine, work 4, take a Dave Day then spend a weekend with Sharyl; it just couldn’t get any better.
For a few years Sharyl and the girls had suggested that we move to Norman, I resisted but one guy against three girls, I wasn’t going to win that one. Sharyl’s commute was a 30-mile roundtrip, after the move it would be a 90-mile roundtrip. She still didn’t say retirement as it applied to her, but she did agree to a 4-day workweek. We moved in ’05.
Instead of a Dave Day, I was now greeted on Friday morning with a very pleasant and familiar voice asking; “what is your plan for the day”? If I didn’t have one, she did. I thought of suggesting, in a very diplomatic way of course, that maybe she would enjoy being off on Monday instead of Friday. I adjusted and we enjoyed some very special three-day weekends together. I also managed to rearrange my schedule and still have a Dave Day once in a while.
I never heard her use the term Sharyl Day, but I hope she enjoyed squeezing one in from time to time. If you don’t, I highly recommend you try it.
Beginning in early November ’08 Dave Days were no longer a consideration. I know that many of you were very capable and willing to care for Sharyl, but a true Dave Day had to be without guilt or responsibility.
I now have too many Dave Days and they aren’t nearly as fun as they once were. To make them fun again I need to start most days with an agenda or to do list and yes there are plenty things I could use to populate that list. I think I can learn to appreciate and enjoy an occasional Dave Day.
I know I would trade the very best of those days past and future for just one Friday morning conversation that began with that pleasant and familiar voice asking; “what is your plan for the day”?
I love you babe; I miss you every day.
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Good Night, God Bless and keep me in your prayers.