I recently came back from a vacation that involved 55 hours of driving over six days. I only mention this because the night I got home from this so-called “vacation,” I cancelled my gym membership, ordered an elliptical trainer through amazon and vowed to never drive again. Ever. One problem: Ellipticals don’t come in one piece. Thinking of ordering one yourself?
1. Learn sign language. Two men dropped off the elliptical. English wasn’t their first language. It wasn’t their second language, either. We used a weird mix of pointing, shrugging and facial expressions (“confused” being the main one) to determine the right spot for the box. I picked the wrong spot.
2. Get fit before it arrives. You’ll be faced with a box the size, and weight, of a mid-sized car. If you put it in the wrong spot—which I did—you’re going to have to be fit enough to drag it to the right spot—which I wasn’t.
3. Buy reading glasses. The instruction manual was clearly written, nicely illustrated and dumbed-down to my level (one of their handy tips: to tighten screws, turn them clockwise). Unfortunately, the manual was printed using a font so small it was invisible to the naked eye. Reading glasses would have helped—a magnifying glass would have been even better.
4. Have a drink. Now. Ellipticals come in about 368 pieces—some freakishly heavy, others awkwardly shaped, and a few so tiny they disappear the instant you set them down. The pieces don’t come out in the order you need them, either, so you’ll have to empty the entire box before putting the thing together. The sight of 368 random pieces of metal, plastic and electronics scattered all over a room will strike you as a lot funnier (and less intimidating) if you’ve had a glass of wine, first. I hadn’t.
5. Don’t let pets near the box. Ellipticals are shipped in styrofoam. A lot of styrofoam. It’s a special type designed to disintegrate into a billion tiny pieces if any animal brushes up against it. Have you ever tried to pick thousands of tiny styrofoam dots off a cat? It would have been easier to replace the cat.
6. Give up. That’s right—give up. I left the 368 parts scattered across the room and announced (as loudly and dramatically as possible) that this was completely impossible. Daughter #2, who has mastered the eye roll, grabbed the instruction manual and had the elliptical set up and working perfectly in less than an hour. Was I being lazy? Possibly. But now I don’t have to go to the gym, so I’m one step closer to my goal of never driving again. Ever.
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