My In-Laws visited over the Labor Day weekend, and I had plenty of items on my Honey-Do List for Grandpa Ray to help me complete.

While Grandma Leanne was in the kitchen whipping up delectable meals for the holiday, Ray and I headed out to the backyard to clear out a large mound of tree stumps, fence posts and old tree branches.

First, we wheeled out my neighbor’s wood chipper, grinding down tree branches as a snail’s pace.  Eventually, we ditched the wood chipper for a new plan.  I uncovered an old fire pit, along with enough sandstone pieces to build a new pit, one perfect for burning old tree branches.  So our wood chipping project morphed into a bonfire.

Much faster, and more fun.

Next came the chainsaw, which Ray and I used to shape some rustic chairs out of the several tree stumps.  Well, maybe not “chairs” but good enough for a fire pit.

We took a break from the sun and heat and headed indoors to address my aluminum wire. Ray used to be a home inspector who has plenty of experience with electrical work. With his help, I took large steps to make the house safe from fire danger from old aluminum wiring.  From GFCI’s to splicing aluminum to copper to new dimmer switches to save energy, Ray’s help was invaluable.

Back outside, Ray was at it at the crack of dawn, using a sledge and a wedge to split the remaining, unusable wood stumps for fire wood.

If all this wasn’t enough, Ray and I ripped down my kitchen wall as the first step in yet another remodel project.

Then, then we had to do some rewiring.  Someone had to go up into the attic to add a junction box and run some new wiring.

I didn’t know how to do all that, so Ray was elected (although I think he relished the chance). So there’s my retired father-in-law crawling around my attic in the sweltering heat of midday.

I was flabbergasted, watching Ray go all day, eat, sleep and repeat.

Ray is a machine. He’s 77 years old and did just about everything I did (and some things I didn’t do), at more than 30 years younger.

I was beyond impressed, I was inspired.

THAT”S how I want to be at his age, as Ray himself says, “tougher than whale dung (not the actual word he uses).”