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Dad found this desk in some odd place (junk yard ?).  It was pretty beat up with missing drawers and doors and knobs, etc. Other than the fact that the thing was falling apart, Dad saw its utilitarian value and began work crafting facings and hand-hewn handles for the drawers, a slanted lift-up top to sit on the desk (it is a draftsman desk after all), etc.  He sanded and varnished it until he was satisfied that it wouldn’t look to atrocious sitting somewhere in our home (hidden from view in some back room corner.)  We drove into town and found a swivel-seat bar chair (Sears ?), and found an old chair pad at a yard sale that almost fit the seat. . . almost. . . good enough! Once completed, Dad used this desk for years.

Some years ago I noticed that the desk was pushed aside and had become more of a catch-all than a desk-in-use.  I commented to Dad that when the day came, I would be interested in getting the desk. His ears pricked up, and then he began to tell me how cumbersome it was, not as useful as he had hoped, took up a lot of space, was ugly, etc. Did I still want it?  Being the romantic that I am, YES, I still wanted it!  In no time flat, Dad moved the desk to my apartment. (In retrospect, Dad acted a little too quickly on that cue!) I was thrilled for all of thirty minutes!  It became a catch-all for me, too. And just like Dad had warned, it became a cumbersome, bothersome, hideous piece of furniture that took up valuable space in small apartments.  And as often as we moved, carting the desk from place to place was proving to be a pain in the neck.  I was bummed, but what could I do? The only reason I kept the thing was because my son expressed interest in it “when the day comes.” With Dad’s words in my head, I began issuing warnings to Tim.  Just like me, my romantic son still wants it. . . “when the day comes.”  (Maria, don’t feel obligated to take the thing into your home.  Or, if you do, it fits nicely in a basement.)

But then I read about some interesting research confirming the importance of standing and walking upright on our feet and moving a lot through the day. And just as importantly, sitting for long periods of time is truly bad for our health. Furthermore, once the damage to our sitting-for-long-periods-of-time-day-after-day bodies is done, it cannot be undone! In other words, the lifestyle of this techie world is bad for our health.

I got to thinking about the desk and how I might use it to improve my health (I am a very sedentary person–reader, writer, dreamer, ponderer–ask my kids.  Heck! Ask Richard!).  I removed the slanted “draftsman” top, bought a 2′ x 4′ x 2″ piece of walnut instead, and placed it on top of the desk to create an even surface for my laptop and other “desk-type” items.  I found a tiny book shelf that fit on top, and also discovered a bar underneath the desk in the leg-room area that was and is a foot rest when sitting on a high chair.  I can stand, lean against the swivel bar-chair, sit, walk away from the desk when I need to move, and more.

While working at a rehab center as an assistant (rehab tech) to a physical therapist, I learned many simple exercises that are performed while standing. They are moves (leg lifts, marching in place, raising up on toes or rocking back on heals, etc.) that work to keep joints flexible, build muscle strength for maintaining balance, burn calories, and more. Best of all, they are all easy to do while reading, writing, dreaming, pondering, etc.  So, now I have my “healthy” work space where I can do all the “sedentary” activities that I am quite good at, while at the same time standing and doing simple exercises that add movement and health to my life.  Thanks, Dad, for this wonderful, beautiful, utilitarian monstrosity of a desk! 🙂

I am truly grateful for Dad’s old draftsman desk that was found in someone’s barn or junk pile or something like that!

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