Writings

Two days and five hours later

It was supposed to arrive on November 20. It’s finally here.

After waiting two months, my new treadmill was set to arrive on Friday, November 20. A quick tracking check on November 18 showed it was in Denver. I waited and waited. On December 5, Paul made the call to the shipping company because he could be more rational and polite than myself at that point in time.

The company didn’t know where the treadmill was located. The original shipping company said they transferred it to another company in Denver and were no longer responsible for the treadmill. The new shipping company said they never received the treadmill and weren’t responsible. Several days later, after many phone calls and threats of suing, the treadmill was found. It was going to be delivered on Monday, December 21, sometime during the late morning.

Monday morning arrived. The hours passed. At 11:45 a.m., Paul called and politely inquired about the treadmill. It was going to be delivered, but later in the day. There was no estimate, only an excuse that something was wrong with their computers in Gering which was preventing delivery.

Finally, around 2:30 p.m., the delivery truck arrived. We asked the driver if he could leave it at the back door. He said no, he only delivered to driveways. He left the 298-pound package in my neighbor’s parking spot. He did not receive the $50 tip we were going to give him. He climbed back in his truck and left.

“How the hell are we going to move that?” Paul said. “I’m not strong enough to lift it.”

There is a step up from where we park our cars to the sidewalk. The treadmill was left on a long pallet. I suggested to Paul we push the pallet up to the edge of the sidewalk and lift it together so the treadmill would be out of our neighbor’s way.

Paul grabbed the yellow, plastic straps on one end while I threw my weight against the other and pushed as hard as I could.

“Holy fucking shit,” I said. There was only three feet to push until the treadmill was near the sidewalk. It took us about five minutes to get it that far.

Neither of us wanted to keep moving the box, but we knew we had to. Paul pulled while I pushed. We moved a few feet and took a rest. Move and rest. Move and rest. About 25 minutes later, we had traveled the 30 feet to the back door where our next obstacle waited.

In order to make it inside our home, the treadmill would need to be lifted several inches onto the back stoop and then another six inches or so into the house. To accomplish such a task, the treadmill needed to be turned on its side. I suggested we open the box and bring the pieces inside. My suggestion would eliminate about 27 pounds in weight.

“No, that won’t work,” Paul said. “We just need to lift it.”

“You sure?” I said. “Taking the box apart would be easier.”

We turned the box on its side. This made it more difficult to lift. We tried a few times before giving up. I suggested trying to lift it up and push the pallet underneath to provide some balance. After several tries, we had about one third of the box on the pallet.

Another 30 minutes had passed. We were both frustrated. We put the treadmill back flat on the ground. Five percent of the box was on the stoop. My hands hurt. I had hurt my right knee from using it too much to push the treadmill. The skin on Paul’s hands were torn and bloody from yanking the box with the yellow, plastic straps around the package.

“Do you want to try cutting the box apart and taking it inside in pieces?” I said.

“Okay,” Paul said.

I cut open the box with my trusty 22 year old Cliff’s Notes box cutter and began pulling out pieces and handing them to Paul. He stood there in amazement.

“Oh, wow. I didn’t realize there would be a bunch of pieces,” he said.

I stopped cutting, stood up, and looked at him. I thought about saying something. I shook my head and went back to cutting. When I was finished, we had one large piece, which contained the tread and belt, and the motor. Pieces of Styrofoam were strewn around the box.

“You ready,” I said.

“No,” he said.

We both took a couple of deep breaths and tried lifting the treadmill inside. Another five attempts and it was inside. Paul was convinced we were never going to get the treadmill to the basement. We just weren’t strong enough. Fortunately, a friend was already coming over to pick up a few items we were getting rid of. Her friend helped us take the treadmill to the basement.

I cut up the cardboard for recycling and tossed the Styrofoam, yellow plastic straps, and plastic packaging in the dumpster. The treadmill was another struggle all together.

I put the legs of the treadmill into their respective slots. Paul tried hold the computer console while I attached the wires and screwed the console into the legs. It wasn’t working.

By now, three hours had passed. I was pissed. I needed help. Paul isn’t mechanically inclined. He tried to help, but that help was limited. I was starting to snip at Paul for things that weren’t his fault.

I threw the screws to the ground. As I watched them fall, I knew it was a mistake. I was going to have to find those screws later.

“I’m fucking done with this shit,” I said.

“What do you want me to do with this?” Paul said. He was still holding the console in his hand.

“I don’t fucking care,” I said. I walked away.

I turned around and came back. “Here, let me help you.” We put the console on the bed of the treadmill and walked away.

A couple of hours later, Paul asked what we were going to do. I wasn’t touching the treadmill again that day. I had to calm down. At the moment, I didn’t care.

The next morning, I made a plea on Facebook.

Would any mask-wearing, mechanically-inclined person want to come to my basement and help me with step four of putting my treadmill together some time in the next week or so. There is only one mechanically-inclined in my home and I am stumped on this one step a bit.

I work Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and head to bed around 12:30-1pm on my work days. Today, I am unavailable from 12:30-2:30pm. I don’t really care what day this gets done, even if it’s next week.

There is a $50 cash reward for successfully helping me. You also must not be offended by words/phrases such as fuck, fucking piece of shit, stupid shit instructions, who the fuck decided this was a good way to assemble things, and what the fuck, this makes no sense.

My friend, Katie, responded and said she could help on Sunday, December 27. Cool. She texted me the next morning, December 24, and asked if I was available at 9 a.m. Hell yes, I am.

When Katie arrived, she was properly attired. She looked at the treadmill and read the directions. She looked at the treadmill again.

“Irene, I think this is actually a three-person job,” she said.

We discussed how best to place and hold the console. It was, indeed, a three-person job. It should have been easy. Insert two screws on each side and tighten. It took 30 minutes to get it right. Katie agreed this part was poorly designed and should not be so difficult.

She was right. I worked at Dick’s Sporting Goods in their bikes and fitness section in the mid-1990s. I assembled bicycles, treadmills, weight benches, and workout machines every day. Treadmills used to be a one-person assembly job.

We kept plugging away. Words and phrases, such as “shit design, why the hell is this plastic, what the hell the directions are garbage, and fucking piece of shit” were said.

Katie and I discussed how machine-cut items used to have better quality control. On more than one occasion during this endeavor, holes didn’t line up and we had to struggle to adjust pieces in order to screw things in properly. Eventually, the swearing worked and pieces were attached one after the other.

Paul played with Londo. He was mostly trying to keep Londo out of the box with the nuts and screws. Londo made many attempts to swat the screws around.

On the penultimate step, I realized I had made a mistake.

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” I said.

“What?” Katie said.

“I put this fucking thing on upside down,” I said.

Katie sighed. She and Paul held onto the treadmill’s legs and lifted them up so I could pull the two pieces off, turn them right side up and switch them around.

“Piece of fucking garbage,” I said. I sounded like my Uncle Dick. I’ve never built anything with him where he didn’t swear throughout the assembly process.

“Yay,” We said.

The final test was to plug the treadmill in and make sure we hadn’t crushed any wires during assembly. The lights on the console’s screen lit up.

“How the hell do you start the treadmill?” I said.

“Push the green button,” Katie said.

“Fuuuuuck,” I said to myself as I looked down at the green button with the word “start” written on it.

“Well, I’m a dumbass,” I said. I pushed the green button.

The treadmill worked. We threw our hands in the air and said, “Yay.”

Five hours and two days after arrival, the treadmill was built and functional, but I was too tired to use it.

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2 Comments

  1. Rick Myers

    We had a NordicTrac recumbent delivered for my rehab we were so very very fortunate that my son-in-law, an avid bicyclist, former Army Ranger, etc, etc. insisted on bringing it inside and assembling it. (Without extraneous assistance)🙂

  2. Katie

    Teamwork makes the *#&%@ dream work? 😉

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