The Treadmill

"We need to take the door off."

"How on earth did you get it through here the first time without the door off?"

"I just said, we took the door off."


"I'll go find a screwdriver."

"All you need is a butterknife. That's what I used last time I came home and found my door propped up against my bed."

"Can't you just knock out the middle hinge with a hammer? That's what Lonnie did."

"Mom, the middle thing is part of the hinge. We can't just hit it with a hammer."

"Well, I don't see why not..."

"I found a butter knife- "

We have a treadmill. It's big and bulky, and my sister, who's gone 9 months out of the year, is the only person who ever uses it. Friday night we posted it on craigslist, and Saturday morning a man in Moses Lake bought it via paypal - he said he'd be here at 11 am Monday morning to pick it up.

Monday morning, 10 am.

My sister and I didn't get to sleep until sometime after 3 am due to a prolonged scrabble game involving the creative use of insults in tile form, sparkling cider, and a bag of truffles. It's snowing again, and my mom keeps yelling at the window, threatening dire consequences if the weather doesn't knock it off. My sister and I have chocolate hangovers and can barely stand up straight. The treadmill is down the hall in my sister's room, and somehow we have to get it to the living room, since we want the treadmill man in our house as little as possible (We had some worries about the guy being a creepy axe murderer, but decided there were plenty of people in Moses Lake, and he probably wouldn't bother driving two hours in the middle of winter just to kill us. My sister volunteered to stay hidden with a phone and her wooden curtain rod, just in case, but really she just crawled back into bed and passed out).

My sister and I have the combined arm strength of a small 4-year old, and though my mom is stronger, she constantly injures herself and is obsessed with not scratching her walls. The treadmill folds up, but is still too wide and only fits through our hall and doorways sideways. This meant pushing and shoving it over the carpet, after we got my sister's door off the hinges and wedged the treadmill through into the hallway.

After much arguing, cursing, and bruising, we decided to put a clear vinyl shower curtain underneath the treadmill, hoping to make it more slideable, and it sort of worked. Then we got stuck by the wooden stairs we bought at the fair 16 years ago, and stood there for five minutes, trying to figure out what to do. My mother kept trying to convince me to unscrew the railing (It's a long railing, and did I mention that the power drill's battery was missing, so we were using a little hand screw driver from the sale bin at Sears?), my sister was all for forcing the treadmill past, who cares about the walls, and I tried to remember how on earth my brother and I had gotten the treadmill past the stairs last time. Finally I kicked the stupid stairs, and remembered - they move if you kick them hard enough. That obstacle overcome, we just had the upward slope of our wonderful old house to navigate, while my sister yelled about how normal houses didn't have uphill slopes, and my mom obsessed about a missing cd that supposedly came with the treadmill, but no one else remembers it.

Finally, half an hour after we started, we shoved the treadmill into the living room and collapsed.

And then the treadmill man (who was neither creepy nor a murderer, but quite nice) and his brother came, picked up the treadmill, and carried it out to their truck.

Sometimes, guys are incredibly irritating.


Katie said...

Crystal, I liked this piece. I could see it playing out in my head.

I can kind of relate--to the chocolate part definitely, but as for strength, I was a sister-mother. (Meaning I raised my four little siblings with my mom.)But I can imagine the comic frustration.

By the way, I just think it's neat that mothers are so strong. I lvoe mothers--why do we only have one mother's day? Not enough.
I think their arms build as they constantly hold children.

And you know how mothers naturally sit babies or small children on their hip? It's like the children are meant to fit there because the space was made for them. And they rest there quite naturally.

Yay for wrinkles and hips, and I don't care if it means getting old.

Chan said...

This is one of those pieces Matt was talking about where you can tell who it is without a signature.

Crystal, I like your stuff because there's no posturing. It's just you. And it's funny, and good.

I used to work for a moving company.

iBo said...

This would totally make an awesome episode of a sitcom. Love your writing as usual kiddo.

Matthew R. Hall, Esq. said...

Yeah, and the last shot could be all of them together in an exasperated freeze-frame pose while the theme music and credits rolled!

Crystal said...

We'd make a good sitcom in theory. But after watching a bunch of our home videos, I don't think the general public is ready.

Chan, sometimes I think you have a whole other secret life that nobody knows about. When were you a mover?

iBo said...

It was back when Chan was running guns in Nicaragua, you see, this was before his time at BYU-I and he was making good money "moving" parts. The thing was sometimes he was called in to "move" other things like bodies, and that didn't sit well with the moral conscience of the man we know as Chandler, so in a dramatic more-exciting-than-watching-24 kind of gunfight, he made an escape and managed to steal $15 million worth of pure cocaine from the drug lords, and freed a Liberian princess that was being held hostage.

How did Chan end up as our roommate? Well that's a story for another time.

I think I'm ready to be a dad like Calvin's dad.

Alyssa said...

I liked the last sentence. What a great conclusion.

Chan said...

Ivor, have you been reading my journal? I thought no one knew that story but myself and Svelgnetta, the Liberian Princess.

meghan & jason said...

And back to what Katie said long before the secret life of Chan...

Jason laughed at me the other day while I was carrying an unusually chunky baby on my hip--It felt perfectly natural like you described. He said I looked broken in two: my hip jutted out to one side and my head and shoulders stuck out to the other side as far as possible just to balance the baby's weight. I pray for petite babies.