The (belated) Christmas present

I have this huge box in the living room which has become a constant reminder of my frustrations, technological and otherwise.

The major thing I wanted for Christmas was a stationary bicycle, something I can use for exercise at home when:
* the weather is lousy
* I have a finite amount of time, so I can’t go all the way to Siena College to play racquetball
* I have to stay home to watch the child while my wife is having a work or church meeting, or is going to work out at the YMCA

So, in January, the Wife bought me one. Before she purchased it, she said she would assemble it, because it would save money. This made me quite uncomfortable, actually, because we have a few half-done home projects. Yet one must not be too ungracious when receiving a present. But after the school winter break was over, I got frustrated, and I opened the box to find OVER 90 PARTS. I carefully laid them all out, and then read the instructions.

If you go to, say, this site, you’ll read testimonials such as: “Put together in minutes, instructions were great, not many parts to assemble” (not many parts?) or “Assembly was pretty straightforward and took about 45 minutes (I suggest doing a bit at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed like I do when faced with assembly).”

I could NOT figure out, in instruction item #1, what item was the first piece to go into the base of the bike. I was highly motivated, yet could not crack this nut. Arrgh.

Now it’s July, and I STILL don’t have a stationary bike. Or more correctly, I have this huge box in the living room that has become a constant reminder of my frustrations, technological and otherwise. So when the Wife started making the five-year plans for the house – they are extensive – I balked and said no renovation until the bike was assembled. She could assemble it, she could pay someone to assemble it – I did not care.

Ultimately, she hired two guys who showed up and finished it in about 30 minutes. I was SO happy.

Now, let me rant about GPS. These guys came from Saratoga, about a half-hour from Albany. The Wife confirmed that we live near Hudson Street, but the GPS got them downtown, to South Pearl and Hudson, and you can’t to my house from there. Then they called from Madison Place when my wife told them to go up on Madison Avenue. All told, it took them about an hour of driving around the city of Albany to get to my house, when it should have taken 15 minutes if they hit all the red lights, had they accepted the directions my wife offered to give them. “No, thanks, we have GPS.” Meh.

A day or two later, we hear on our answering machine one of those automated surveys to see how the guys did. Apparently, the system is not smart enough to recognize that it’s reached an answering machine, and kept asking the first question over and over again, interrupted only by “Sorry, I didn’t hear your answer.” Meh.

But the bike assembly was great, the bike itself is great. And even though it’s summer, I can imagine using it on those too hot days, as well as the stormy ones.

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