So, courtesy of a kind friend I scored some comfort foods from the commissary, including hamburger patties.
And the first thing I asked Jee Yeun to make me was one of her famous “eggaburgers”.
You got your 1/3 pound hamburger patty, a fried egg, lettuce, ketchup, and cucumber on toast. I first experienced this treat one drunken night from a street vendor in Itaewon. Good as it was, no one makes an eggaburger quite like Jee Yeun’s.
I guess the irony is that I was enjoying this delicacy immediately after getting doctor’s orders to lose weight. Since it doesn’t appear the diet part of the equation is likely to succeed, Jee Yeun called a second hand store in Uijongbu about a treadmill. Actually, she calls it a “running machine”. I don’t know if that is a literal translation from the Korean or just a “Jee Yeun-ism”, but it always cracks me up. So, the store has three for us to choose from and we make plans to go up for a looksee today.
Last night Jee Yeun’s mom came by for a visit. Now, we live on the 5th floor. There are two elevators, one stops on even floors, the other odd. For some reason Oma decided to go the the 6th floor and walk down. And on the 6th floor landing she spots a perfectly good
treadmill running machine just sitting there looking for a home. So, Oma comes in all excited and Jee Yeun gets equally excited, makes me turn off the TV (Band of Brothers, D-Day episode) and go have a look.
Well, like I say, it looks perfectly fine but there’s still the question of ownership. Jee Yeun puts a note on it and goes downstairs to ask the security guard. The guard says the people in #608 didn’t have room for it and he’d be happy to see it moved out of the vestibule. Jee Yeun confirms with the folks in #608 that the treadmill is in working condition and that we can take possession.
That turned out to be the easy part. Because of course we still had to get this contraption from the sixth floor into our fifth floor apartment. Now generally speaking when folks move big heavy furniture (or running machines) into high rise apartments, they bring it in through the window using one of these:
A furniture escalator not being an option, Jung bae (Jee Yeun’s daughter’s boyfriend) and I managed to wrestle the treadmill down the flight of stairs (technically two half flights, but who’s counting?) and park it at the entrance to our apartment. That’s another thing about Korean apartments, the front doors aren’t very wide. Which I guess is why they use the window, duh. Well, we tried every which way to maneuver the damn thing through the door, but like OJ’s glove, it just didn’t fit.
I had two thoughts at this point–an understanding that when the folks in #608 said they didn’t have room for the treadmill they must have meant they didn’t have room to get it through the door. And that paying to have a treadmill from Uijongbu delivered was looking like the best possible option.
Koreans love a bargain, and Jee Yeun and her mom were not about to let this freebee get away. So Jung bae (bless his heart) removed all the screws holding the control panel in place (I supervised, which is consistent with my professional training). Screws removed, it still took some yanking, pulling, prying and possibly breaking to get the top removed. Once more we tried every which way to get it through the door. It almost fit this time, but we still needed another half inch (or its metric equivalent) clearance. Damn.
Looking back on it, it was kinda comical I suppose. My Korean is about as good as Dong bae’s English. In her excitement and frustration, Jee Yeun wasn’t being much help as a translator. But in the end I was able to get across that maybe removing the motor cover would free up enough space to make it through the door. I’m not that brilliant really, it was just the last f’n piece that could be removed without a blow torch. And yes, with the cover off we were able to just squeeze it through the door.
I then proceeded to relax while Jung bae reassembled the running machine.
Ain’t she a beauty? A bargain at half the price. Just looking at it I can feel the pounds melting away. That’s how it works, right?