As birthday 72 approaches I was presented with an opportunity to revisit construction. I did invest 25 years building houses as a licensed contractor and have continued to do major remodel work on our personal home after returning to the classroom, but as I started riding bicycle my construction projects have tended to fall off. Recently I decided to create a storage room for my woodworking tools in a covered porch area in our house. This is what I would classify as a simple home owner project involving some physical activity.
On the first day I was surprised that old skills taken for granted were not readily accessible. The sidewinder skill saw seemed inordinately heavy. My trusty 24 ounce framing hammer had doubled in weight. I felt as if I needed both hands now to handle the blows; swings that had formerly set nails in two hits had diminished their effect to four or five wimpy taps. Muscle loss was real.
Fortunately on the second day the hammer felt more comfortable and the skill saw had diminished in weight—but for a guy who has a lot of hammering left to do diminished performance was not a friendly message.
John Alfred Riebli