For years I had been looking for a specific stair master. This stair master, the Universal Fit Step II, is a commercial grade piece of exercise equipment that is a BEAST when used properly. Back in 08/09 I used it at the gym to drop 138 lbs in just under a year. In 2011 I had to stop going to the gym because the gyms near me would not allow a nine year old inside due to insurance rules. For the next three years I gained around 60 pounds. I bought a treadmill but I hated it. I maintained weight but because I hated it I barely used it. I put my treadmill up on craigslist for $150. I had quite a few offers but no takers so it sat in the house collecting dust.
I was in constant search of the stair master. I would find one here and there online but the companies selling them wanted anywhere from $1000 to $2000. Finally in 2014 I found two on Craigslist BUT one is in the Bronx and the other one was in Rochester. I called the number for the one in New York. Rich, a firefighter in New York answered. We talked and I explained that I was in Atlanta and wanted to come get it. He told me the machine sat in the firehouse in the corner and that no one used it. They were upgrading the excerise equipment at the station and decided to get rid of stuff no one used. I told him I was very interested and would rent a truck and come to New York and buy it. He said, “No problem, come get it but first come first serve.”
Andrea told her Aunt Helen we were going to New York for the weekend and asked if we could use her truck to go pick up the machine. She said we could but there was something wrong with the truck. Andrea offered to fix it as compensation to use the truck. We felt bad about using her truck to rack up 1,500 plus miles so we decided to rent a truck instead. Aunt Helen was cool with that and even wanted to go with us. She said, “I’ve never been to New York.”
I booked a Dodge Ram pick-up four door at Budget to leave out on a Friday. Aunt Helen came to the house and when Syd got out of school we went to Budget to pick up the truck. The Budget customer service lady took my information, credit card, insurance and then said, “Where are you going?” “New York.” Did you say New York?” “Yes.” “Sir, we do not allow our vehicles into New York.” She then explained the insurance policy of New York and Georgia. “In New York if someone with a $10,000 vehicle hits my $30,000 truck their insurance pays for their vehicle and my insurance pays for the $30,000 regardless of who’s at fault. That is why we do not allow our vehicles into New York.” I was stunned. I called Rich and told him the situation and that we would be there on Saturday. He thought that was unusual until I explained the insurance rule. I told him to give me until that Saturday afternoon to come up with an alternative and he was ok with that.
Andrea and I took Syd and Aunt Helen back to our house. Andrea said, “What are we going to do?” I said, “Go buy a SUV.” All three of them looked at me and said, “You’re kidding.” “Do I look like I’m kidding?” We left Syd and Aunt Helen at the house and started looking for an Escalade. We found several but they were not what I wanted. It was either the wrong color, it was the ESV AWD or it wasn’t the ESV but the short one. We went back home and started looking online with a plan to get up early Saturday morning, buy an Escalade and head to New York. By three in the afternoon we found an Escalade ESV we liked and took it for a drive. I checked it out after the drive and decided to get it but the dealership couldn’t complete the deal that weekend and said we would have to wait until Monday.
I called Rich and told him that I was buying an Escalade to come get the stair master but we couldn’t get it until Monday. He kind of paused and said, “You’re buying an Escalade just for this trip?” I said, “Yeah. We are definitely coming next weekend.” He says, “Ok, Just keep me informed. We will hold it for you.” We went home, explained that we have an Escalade but it will be Monday before we can get it. I cooked dinner and Aunt Helen packed to go home. She mentioned wanting the treadmill and I told her I was selling it on Craigslist for $150. She said, “Courtney (her daughter) can pay for it. I felt this inner voice telling me to give it to her, so I whispered in her ear, “If you want it, you can have it for free.” Aunt Helen was shocked. I loaded it on her truck.
Monday comes and our salesman is off so no one is working on the deal. I go back to the store get the papers back and cancel the deal. I’m frustrated and trying to figure out the next move. Syd was getting out of school I picked her up and while riding back to the house I saw Triangle Rental Car Company. I never heard of Triangle so I stopped and asked them if they would rent me a SUV to go to New York. They had no problem renting a vehicle to New York. They showed me an Expedition and I reserved it for the following weekend.
I called Rich Friday morning and told him we are on the way. He texts me the address and Andrea, Syd and I drive to the Bronx in New York. When we get to the address on the GPS there is no one there. It’s a fire station but it’s been closed for a long time. I then realize people are staring at me and the car. I panic. In my mind we are in trouble and we were set up for a jack move over $500 and a freakin rental car. I hurry up and get back in the truck and dip out of there. I don’t know where I am going but I want to get away from the location we were supposed to meet “Rich”. At this point I question if that is his real name. Once we get away from the fire station I find a place to pull over and call “Rich”. I tell him we were at the station but no one is there. I don’t tell him we left. He says, “Did you ring the bell?” and I tell him yeah. “You couldn’t have. We would have heard you.” I tell him, “We pulled up to the station. I rang the bell. No one answered. I looked inside and it’s empty. We left.” Rich says, “Your GPS sent you to the old station. We are at X address. Listen, follow my directions and ignore your GPS” and he tells us each road and turn to take. Cautiously I follow his directions but I don’t tell him that we are not in the Escalade (just in case) and sure enough we pull up to the NEW fire station.
Rich and the rest of the fire fighters come outside. Rich asks where the Escalade is and I explain that the deal didn’t materialize. I didn’t want to tell you another vehicle in case you thought I was bs’n. I talked with the firemen and told them how I freaked out when we went to the old station and thought we were in New York to be jacked. They laughed hard. I told them my weight loss story while checking out the machine. One of the other guys asks, “Did Rich tell you it was $500?” I said yes and the guy replies “Cool. We are so impressed with your story and the fact you drove all the way from Atlanta to get it, just give us $350.” I gladly hand Rich the $350. They help me load the machine into the truck and we leave.
While in the Bronx I decided to take Andrea and Syd to where my grandparents used to stay off Stebbins Ave. but when we get there it’s completely changed. Andrea asks me when the last time I drove this street was and I tell her it’s been at least 20 years. We slow down and try to locate the address but we can’t find it. I momentarily forget we are in the BRONX and roll the window down to ask another driver for directions. They dude looks up and speaks in a harsh tone at us, “What??” I explain we are from Atlanta and trying to find an address. The guy softens his tone and tells us that most of Stebbins has been redone. What used to be here is now gentrified. We thank him for his time and drive around a little more but it’s no use. Nothing looks familiar.
I then have the bright idea of taking them on the Staten Island Ferry not realizing that the traffic would hold us for at least an hour just to get to the docks. We park the truck and head into the terminal. I pull some cash to pay for the ride and I learn that it’s free now. We hop the Ferry and ride over and view a few sites. We grab something to eat and plan our return trip to Atlanta.
Fast forward to now and it’s been in use up until May of this year. That’s another story for a later date. I have gotten back to stepping two weeks ago and in conjunction with the gym I’m exercising two hours a day and burning roughly 2,100 calories per day. The plan is to increase to 3 hours a day burning roughly 1 to 1 ½ pounds a day. Trust me, it can be done. I did it in 09.