Thursday, October 26, 2006

Frankenstein's Nordic Track

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently ordered and received a new Nordic Track. Here’s what one looks like, in case you haven’t ever seen one.

It’s my primary means of exercise when it’s too hot to run. Around here, that’s April through October (by my standards). It also fills in when the weather is too icky to venture outside. I will run in the cold, I will run in the rain, but I will not run in the cold rain. Nor when the average wind speed is greater than 10 mph. Nor when several other specific atmospheric conditions occur, but I think I’ll stop here. You get the idea.

I purchased my first one about 8 years ago. It served me well, but it has been shedding odd bits of rubber and chunks of metal for some time. They do sell “overhaul” kits and I thought about doing that, but Slag talked me into just getting a new one.

So I ordered a new one a couple of months ago. Though the web site had said it was “in stock,” I promptly got email saying it was back-ordered and scheduled to arrive while we were to be in Indiana. Which it did, naturally. We got home to find the box wedged into our small porch, hanging out over the steps a little. We dragged it inside and opened it up just inside the front door. The box was too big and heavy to move any further.

The old Nordic Track was really easy to assemble and use. I screwed/bolted the various pieces together as explained in the instructions and it just worked. The only issue was learning how to ride the thing without breaking a leg or doing a face plant into the floor. That took a while because I’m not very coordinated, but I did finally master it.

The new Nordic Track screwed together exactly as the old one did. No problem, step one complete and now on to step two, get on the machine and initiate workout. This is where the problems started. To avoid boring you with the details, I’ll just say that some moving parts didn’t move properly, and other non-moving parts actually moved.

We called customer service and they recommended we just send the whole thing back and have another one sent out. However, to do that we needed to call the “returns” number, which is a separate from “customer service.” Oh, and the “returns” people only work M-F 8-5, and it was now 5:14pm, so no one would be available to take our call until the next day.

By the time we figured all this out, I was seriously pissed off. This was not an LL Bean sweater that I could toss into a little envelope and sent back for a refund. This was a huge, heavy piece of equipment that arrived in about 20 pieces that were individually packed in small boxes inside the big box. I assumed whoever would be coming to take the old one away was going to expect it to be disassembled and put back into its various boxes. I wasn’t even sure we could figure out how to do that. Plus there was no guarantee that another machine wouldn’t have the same problems, was there?

Then Slag had an idea. He suggested we try to taking some pieces off the old machine and putting them on the new one.

Now that was an excellent idea. Couldn’t hurt to try, could it? We had an old Nordic Track with all the moving parts worn out, and we had a new Nordic Track with non-moving parts that wouldn’t stay put. Surely, out of these we could build one functional Nordic Track

And so began our reenactment of “Young Frankenstein.” We quickly transformed the extra bedroom into a mad scientist’s laboratory. Slag took the role of Dr. Frankenstein, due to his superior construction skills and more experience being in charge. I played Marty Feldman’s Igor, hunched over with an eye bugged out, dragging one foot, answering all of Slag’s demands with a raspy “Yes, Master.” The pair of Nordic Tracks took the part of “Monster,” but really didn’t put a lot of heart into the role and gave sub-standard performances until the very end of the evening.

It was a busy night. Slag worked his magic with only the aid of the “exploded diagram” parts list on the back page of the user’s manual. Both machines were dismembered and disemboweled. I was thrice sent to retrieve needed tools and supplies from the dark recesses of the garage and that drawer in the kitchen where we keep the scotch tape and extra batteries. I also ventured out to excavate discarded hardware from a freshly filled dumpster behind the local Harbor Freight, while the wind howled and lightning ominously backlit the leafless trees planted in the parking lot landscaping. We didn’t need the hardware, but some sort of excavation was required if we were going to do an authentic reenactment. As Igor, it was my job to do it. I took the role very seriously.

Finally, after hours of toil, Slag stood over the twitching body of a whole and complete Nordic Track, his fists raised in the air, and manically bellowed “IT’S ALLLIIIIIIIVE!” while thunder clapped ominously in the distance. I cautiously approached the mutant machine and gave it a spin. It worked perfectly! Woohoo!

Looks like I’ve got myself a working Nordic Track now. The extra bedroom still looks like hell though. If anyone has any use for the remnants of a mad scientist’s laboratory or some worn out Nordic Track parts, just let me know.


Blogger ian said...

And then...

And then...

In the dead of night, you'll be awakened from a sound sleep by a quiet-but-insistent whispering sound of a flywheel turning and cables snaking back and forth.

It's alive, and it wants to venture out. Like the spooky white mannikin in that jeans commercial, you've got a real homonculus on your hands. Parts is parts, except when it comes to something like this. Did Slag cut himself at all during the reanimation? You better hope not, because once it tastes blood...

This story brought to you by the letter "B". Happy Halloween!


11:23 PM  
Blogger Schmoopie said...

I love the image of you as Igor with your one eye bugging out! I've always wanted to try one of those Nordic things. I, like you, have very picky standards about weather when I exercise. (We have a treadmill for such occasions and it is well-worn.)

10:10 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

ian, You've pointed out a danger I hadn't considered. Guess we should start locking it up at night. I don't think it tasted any blood, but you never know.

schmoopie, The Nordic Track felt really awkward at first. If you ever try one, give it a couple of workouts before you decide if you like it. If I can do it, anyone can. Also, I didn't mention before, it's good to use when there's something on TV you want to see, like the season finale of "So You Think You Can Dance" or "Project Runway." Not that I would ever watch such mindless tripe....

7:34 AM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

Gawd I hope there were not any donuts in that dumpster :o)

9:13 AM  

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