Sunday, January 6, 2013

Things 61 Year Old Men Should Not Do - Part 1.

What things should 61 year old men not do?  Well, for starters, they should not carry or lift heavy, bulky objects.

A week ago, we decided that it was time to replace our 15 year old TV.  It still works just fine, but it seems so out of date, what with "plasma" and "high definition" and "3-D."  So we went to Best Buy, looked around a bit, and made a purchase.  It will be delivered in another week, at which time they will also collect our old 31 inch Sony.  In the meantime, we bought a nice piece of furniture for the new television to go on, and that was delivered last Friday.  So we had to move the old TV and the entertainment center that it was on out of the way.  We decided to move the old piece of furniture upstairs for our backup TV.

My wife got the brilliant idea to move our love seat in front of the TV and lower the television on to it, then push the love seat back where it belongs.  When I say "brilliant idea," I am not being sarcastic.  This TV is huge.  Picture any two people you run with, and it probably outweighs them.  We had some interest from the Washington Redskins about picking up the TV and using it in their weight room, but they decided to pass, figuring it would just injure their players.  So my wife's idea was a lot better than mine, which was for us to pick up the TV, walk across the living room, and place it on the couch.  Had we attempted that, the TV undoubtedly would have dropped onto the floor, or onto our feet, and would have crashed through the floor, through the concrete slap, into the earth's crust, and popped out somewhere in China!

We positioned the love seat, each got on one side to the TV, and hoisted it off the entertainment center.  A millisecond later, despite our best efforts, we dropped it - screen side down - on the love seat.  That is when I told my wife "Your idea was brilliant!"  I mentally pictured what our living room would have looked like if we had used my idea.  Before I got the partial rotator cuff tear about five or six years ago, I had really decent upper body strength and worked out a lot (which was apparently what caused the tear).  Now, while I may not look like the proverbial 99 pound weakling, I am apparently no longer up to hoisting televisions the size of small automobiles.

We slid the love seat easily - well, somewhat easily - across the floor and positioned a coffee table under the edge of the television set so that the cat would not jump on the TV and tip it on to the floor.  Then, we turned our attention to the entertainment center.  It is not huge, and weighs perhaps 80 or 90 pounds.  But it is big enough that there are no two points where one can grab it with a good grip.  Plus it has this base that swivels, and two glass doors, one of which popped out and crashed to the floor just as we began to wrestle the piece of furniture upstairs.  I will never understand how the glass didn't break.  We somehow put the thing down, and I picked up the glass door and put it and its companion aside.  Then we resumed the climb up the staircase.

People have had an easier time climbing Mount Rainier than we had getting this thing up a flight of stairs!  The base kept swiveling around, throwing us off balance and blocking progress.  There was no good way to grab the thing with a solid grip.  I had the lead, going up backwards.  My wife's job was to hang on to the other end, and go with me as I twisted and tugged the cumbersome beast up one stair at a time.  I was bending awkwardly and kept having to twist my lower body, and then kind of move back semi-explosively (there is nothing really explosive about using one's muscles at my age, but this was close).  We finally got the bulky piece of furniture up to the top, and I was breathing like I just lost to Mr. Bolt by 10 seconds in the 200 meter dash.  But within 10-15 minutes, we had moved the thing into the spare TV room, moved the old entertainment center out, and had everything hooked up properly.  "Not so bad," thought I.

Then, within 30 minutes, I realized I could barely walk.  My left hip was so painful with each step.  Instead of walking like a 61 year old man, I was hobbling like I was 101.  "Man," I thought, "I've moved myself half a dozen times.  I've helped friends move another dozen times - heavy, nasty stuff, working hard all day.  But move one piece of furniture now, and I can barely move.  I guess my moving myself (and friends) days are over."  I took three Ibuprofen, relaxed a bit, and it the morning I could move almost normally.  Two more "Vitamin I" later at work, and I was fine.

But I did learn than men my age best leave the heavy lifting to someone else.  Either that, or I seriously need to hit the gym a lot more than I do if I want to be able to do this type of thing.

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