I am attempting my very first blog for Comforts Designs (CD). It is supposed to be about Aging. About the process and how the process impacts one’s daily life and how the design of showers and bath tubs by CD meet the challenges head on and enable the aging ( people of all challenges really) to bath comfortably, securely, all the while in strong, long lasting and beautiful bathing fixtures.

I say “attempting” because as I sit here at my computer, I am having a very difficult time seeing what I’m typing. The right eye has 20/25 vision thanks to cataract surgery. It is now for far vision.  Surgery is pending on the left eye, which will be for near vision, and so it is really hard to see up close.

I am aging. It seems the process is speeding up. All the family gathered in Brownsville, TN, where Sandra and I live, for my seventy-fifth birthday last Oct.  All the family is five children, four children in-law, twelve grandchildren and assorted siblings and cousins. The twelve grandchildren explain why I am “aka Dubba/Gumps/Gumpy”.

Before we had any grandchildren, I bemoaned the fact, telling Sandra that a grandchild, just one, would confirm, once and for all, why we even had children in the first place. Then our second daughter, Alyson, married a man with three small children and, suddenly, we had three grandchildren. Initially we said “they are our inherited grandchildren’. But, very quickly they became “grandchildren”, for we took them in utterly and completely and they took us in the same way. It was really quite beautiful.

Well, early on they decided they had to find the right “grandparent” names for us. Sandra became “Lilly”, quite accurately describing her beauty, elegance, grace and peaceful nature. But, they could not find the right name for me. At dinner one night, at the world famous Bar-b-que joint Bozos in Mason, TN, our grandson Alex said, I should be called “Gumps” because I was a duffus like him and Gumps just fit. So, Gumps it was for Alex, Jimbo, and Caitlin. And it was “Gumps” for a while, or at least until granddaughter Charlie came along and called me “Gumpy”. Like her mother Corey and aunt Lynne,  she is an LA girl and, in typical CA fashion, she formally gave me a west-coast, LA, version of the southern “Gumps”. Son-in-law Andy is in the “business”. He is a creative genius for Comics and TV shows so he probably influenced his daughter Charlie in the name changing. To Charlie, and her younger sister, Kenzie, I am “Gumpy”.

About the same time we got Charlie, Abby came along. Our daughter, Alyson and son-in-law Jimmy, introduced us to Abby at the international terminal at LAX, where they landed with Abby, age eleven months,  in tow from Guangzhou, China. When she got around to calling us by our grandparents names, Sandra became “YeYe”, which has, no doubt,  some royal meaning in Chinese. For some inexplicable reason, I became “Dubba”. Maybe it has also some royal meaning in Chinese. Probably not. But to Abby and her younger brother, Jack, I am “Dubba”. Their older siblings, Jimbo, his wife Mary Morgan (grandchild twelve), Alex and Caitlin also began calling me Dubba. Our daughter, Eliza  and son-in-law Johnathon, brought the number to twelve with Bodhi, age four now, and River, age two now. They had a choice of the three names but for some reason, they call  me “Dubba”. Sandra/ Lilly is “YeYe” to them but still “Lilly” to the older group and the CA girls.

So, dear reader, it is very confusing. Often, Sandra and I refer to one another with the wrong name when speaking to one or more of our children or grandchildren. And Sandra says “you asked for grandchildren and they came exponentially”. While it is confusing, these twelve very different grandchildren, all smart and funny and wonderful young folks, are an unbelievable blessing. Who could be so blessed? Oh! Yeah! Daughter Lynne is single. We may have more grandchildren and, maybe, I will have a new grandfatherly name to add to the three I now have. Sandra may be “Lilly” or “Yeye”  Maybe not. So be it. This is what it’s all about.

I am supposed to blog about “Aging” and CD’s great bathing fixture offering to Health Care and Senior Living owner, developers, architects, engineers and design professionals. Next time. After the surgery on my left eye.