Friends

You’re Never Too Old

My dad will be 71 next month and you would never know it. For years he has been overweight, probably by about 30 pounds. We’re pretty stocky people, so we aren’t really designed to be skinny, but he was carrying around a gut that was preventing him from walking comfortably (his knees would hurt), sleeping comfortably (he would snore and had bad sleep apnea), sitting comfortably (his back was strained) and he certainly had trouble with his golf game (my dad is retired and golfs every day).

Last year, we found out he had thyroid cancer and he had one of his thyroid glands removed. Luckily, nothing has returned. However, I think this experience inspired him to get in shape. So over the course of the winter, he lost 25 pounds, not by following any fad diet, but just by cutting his portions down so his total intake was lower than before. He focused on healthier foods and avoided the carbs and desserts. My dad used to be the type to just keep eating and pick when he wasn’t hungry, just because there were snacks in the house. Somehow, this new discipline kicked in and it worked. He also started going to the gym and using low-impact machines, like the bike where you are actually sitting and your legs are out in front of you, and free weights.

He feels better than he did a year ago. I am sure it is because of the weight loss. Everything feels better and he has more energy now. I should also mention that he is a handyman. Not a weekend warrior, but a real handyman, by trade. He can build and fix just about anything. You have a broken window? No problem. Light fixture doesn’t work? No worries. Doorbell not ringing? He’s the man. Any time he comes to visit me at my house, he fixes things all day and it’s like Santa’s elves were living with me for a while. Everything suddenly works and he does it all for free, of course. Stuff I was getting ready to throw away and spend money replacing he figures out how to repair.  In fact, before he comes to visit, he asks me to make a list of the things I want done to the house so he can be productive while he visits. The last thing he wants to do is sit around all day and be useless. We’re a very restless family!

This time,  my husband mentioned to him that we wanted to build a deck. My husband likes to talk about things he is going to to do the house, but then he never really does them, because, well things like building a deck ain’t easy. Unless you are my dad.

I should add that decks used to be a specialty of my father’s. He has built many a deck in his day. In fact, he built a whole back room on to our house when I was a child. So I think, after this recent weight loss, he wanted to take the deck job on as a personal challenge. So my 70-year old dad drove with my mom and his tools, all the way down to our house and in two days, he built this by hand, alone:

The lady next door is having work done to the house.  The young men came over to shake my dad’s hand and looked in amazement at what he had done and so quickly.  It not only made me proud, we haven’t stopped using the deck since he hammered in the last nail.

It just goes to show you, the body is an incredible machine and can serve you well if you treat it right!

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Rachael Ray