Thursday, May 23, 2013

You want me to pull what up?

Pull me up? Like, by my own strength? That's not going to happen.

And so began my foray into crossfit.

Truth be told, I've been curious about this cult-like fitness explosion for some time. The  people I know who partake, swear by it. The people I know who oppose it, swear against it. Where does this leave the people like me, no strong opinion, but a desire for a high and tight(ish) bod?

Back my good old days in Madison I had reached out to a few of the local crossfit boxes. Generally run out of oversized storage unit-like spaces, the rates seemed astronomical (still do) and the trainers intimidated the shit out of me. So I never took the proverbial plunge and tried it. Also, I should mention, I love me some carbs and sugar, which seems to be against crossfit's very being, so there's that.

In moving to Minneapolis I was talking with a my (only Minneapolis) friend's boyfriend who had just recently started crossfit at Tangletown Crossfit. I was shocked when I saw him because his pants were literally falling off him. After his intro month of 3x a week beginner crossfit classes, and "eating healthy," he had noticeably trimmed down. I was further convinced to test the waters when he told me about the all female trainers at his box. Ok, fine, I'll go to a free intro class.

On Monday I went to my intro class with the owner, Darcy, who according to her online bio is a runner and former competitive triathlete. I can dig that. She was super friendly via email and made it not entirely scary to come in. After a quick tour around the storage unit box, I was put to work.

Warm Up.

400m jog. Got this. BAM.

Pulls Ups. Here, use the fatty band to launch yourself up there. Nope. Ok, jump just enough to get yourself up, and control the down. I suppose if you ignore my flailing limbs, I accomplished the later. But it wasn't pretty. And that set of 10reps, made me want to die.

Ring Dips. Er, maybe we'll start with ring holds. Ahhh, maybe if we create a bouncy sling with the fatty band you'll be able to hold yourself up. Yep, that did. I found this one frustrating though, because given stationary surfaces, I can do tricep holds and dips. Rings? Not so much.

These first two exercises took me so long I missed the double-unders and push ups of the day's warm up. Oops.

WOD (workout of the day). Grace: 30 Clean & Jerks. Have you Olympic Lifted before? Nope, but I took weight training in high school. 13 years ago. Heh. In that case, here's a completely weightless piece of PVC pipe for you to practice with. And so with my PVC pipe in hand, I learned just how uncoordinated I really was. Good god, it was entertaining.  After 15 or so minutes working on my form and the general movement, I was upgraded to the baby bar, 11lb mini-weight bar, to start to get serious. After another 5 or so minutes, I even got to put weight on the baby bar. 10 whole pounds.

Then she programed a giant stop watch on the wall (not intimidating at all), circled us all up (also not intimidating), and told us to get ready for the WOD (wait, the last 20mins wasn't a part of it?!). Shit.

And the clock started.  Apparently the goal is to complete the WOD as quickly as possible, 12mins being the max. This is where my inability to multitask was truly tested because not only did I have to attempt to remember all of the steps and proper form of the clean & jerk, but I had to count. And move quickly. Heh. Right. I finished the the clock hit 12 minutes. That's right. My 21lb baby bar and I took the full 12mins to do 30reps. Granted, I was focused so hard on doing them correctly, I didn't count the ones that weren't correct. So in all fairness, I probably did more like 45-50. But who's counting (not me, obviously)?

The real humiliation was when Darcy, who's a TOTAL MILF btw, walked over to the giant dry erase board and added my name, time and weight to the list. Really? Was that necessary? I'm not even a paying member.

And that concluded my first ever crossfit attempt. As I type this, four days later, it still hurts to lift my arms over my head. And my triceps damn near explode anytime I push off them. But whatever.

Would I go back? Absolutely. Everyone was really friendly and encouraging. And despite my complete lack of coordination and strength, I had a good time. I left feeling thoroughly worked over (still do).

Can I afford to go back? Nope, not so much. Turns out there's a serious downside to funemployment. Womp womp womp.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Great @UHaul Debacle of 2013

I wish I would say that our move to Minneapolis was uneventful and easy. I wish I could say that we were able to throw some money at the move and have someone doe it for us. I wish I could say that is was stress-free.

But I'd be a liar.

As much as I begged and pleaded to hire movers for this move, the fact of the matter is that with an unplanned move like this, we just couldn't afford to. So as so many people do, we decided to rent a a truck and do it ourselves. Exhausting, dirty work, but by no means a mistake in and of itself.

The mistake we made was renting a truck from UHaul (the Atlas Ct. location in Madison, if you are looking for specifics).

So bright and early on Saturday April 27th, we drove over to our local UHaul and picked up our 26' truck and motorcycle trailer. We headed home and spent the next day and a half loading that truck to the brim. And let me tell you, schlepping boxes and furniture and all of your odds and ends turns out to be back-breaking work.

Mid-Sunday afternoon, after the last of the items had been wedged in the truck, our friend Ryan happened to notice a rather sizable puddle under the front of the truck. With his boy-knowledge he was able to identify the puddle as antifreeze. We popped the enormous hood of the truck to find, sure enough, a completely empty radiator (again deduced by his boy-kowledge). While this didn't initially mean that much to me, I was informed that without antifreeze the engine the engine would overheat and and go boom. Or something like that. Technicalities aside, this was not a good sign.

At approximately 2:45pm we called UHaul, who despite the truck being in our driveway less than a mile from the rental location, directed us to their roadside assistance. Before transferring us to roadside assistance, UHaul assured us that even if it meant towing the truck to MN for us, they would have of us there in time for our Monday afternoon final walk-through and close.

Roadside assistance was there within an hour to confirm our diagnosis of a broken radiator. They however had more bad news. This wasn't going to be an easy repair, but a pull and replace as the radiator was completely shot, and unfortunately this was not something they were able to do for us at that time. Well, that's going to be a problem. And that, my friends, is where any and all customer service from UHaul ends.

For the next 6hrs we got the run around from UHaul. We would call explain the situation and our timeline, and would be told someone would call us back in 15mins. Wash, rinse, repeat. Not once did someone call us back. Finally, at nearly 11pm we were presented with two options: they could give us a different truck in the morning (for us to unload/reload) or they could send someone out who would be able to replace the radiator. Seeing as there is NO WAY we were going to unload and reload a 26' truck, we went with the later option. We were assured we would have a fully functionally truck by 9am.

Riddle me this. What if we hadn't noticed the puddle under the truck in our driveway? What if this had happened on the side of the road? Would they have left us sitting on the side of the highway for 6+ hours? Overnight? Where would our belongings have ended up? Would we have been better off if that had been the outcome?

At 7am we get a call from the repair shop saying they'll be there to do the work in 30 or so minutes and that we should have the repaired truck back in 3-4hrs. Even elementary skool children can see that those numbers do not add up to 9am.

We finally got the truck back at nearly 12:30pm.

Given this several hour delay we had no choice but to reschedule our walk-through, and consequently our close, and book hotel rooms for the night. Thank you very much, UHaul.

At that point, there was nothing we could do but get on the road and hope this fine piece of well maintained machinery would get us to Minneapolis.

Drive, sleep, walk-through, close, unload, etc.

Fast forward to Wednesday. When we went to return the truck, the UHaul place up here had not been told the truck would be returned a day last, as they were supposed to be, and the guy was a major asshole to us. After some negotiations  we were able to convince him not to charge us for an additional day. Nice of him, right?

Despite Wyatt's many calls to UHaul at this point, and many promises of return phone calls, we still had not heard from them. It wasn't until I took to Twitter that we got our first response...

These tweets went round and around, as did the phone calls, with no resolution offered.

Finally, someone at UHaul tells us we need to speak with the manager of the location we rented from. In case you are wondering, the manager of the Atlas Ct. Madison UHaul location is Kerry Moes, and he is a deceitful, unprofessional, rude human being.

Despite the fact they his UHaul location RENTED US A BROKEN TRUCK he decided there was no refund necessary. That is of course after he lied about having any knowledge of our situation, which was not the case as he had made notes in the UHaul computer system on our case before speaking to us.

At some point in this process, Paul Cotton, a member of their very active social media team, authorized a refund of our unexpected hotel expenses, but I'm not actually sure we ever received this refund to our credit card.

So here were are now, nearly a month after this incident began, still with no resolution, refund or response from UHaul.

I cannot begin to tell you how appalled I am by UHaul's lack of customer service and professionalism. I'm also concerned by the fact that they rented us a BROKEN truck. Do they not look over their trucks before renting them out? Especially trucks that they know are going out of city, not to mention out of state.

If you can relate to what we went through with UHaul, or have a similar UHaul story to share, I encourage you to do so! Share it in the comments, tweet about, get the word out! I'd also love it if you would help me spread our UHaul experience by sharing this post far and wide. This sort of behavior is unacceptable and we as consumers shouldn't be victims of it.