Archive | May, 2009

Valco Latitude Stroller Review

17 May

Latitude in the Courtroom

Now this story begins a while back. I was newly pregnant with SP 2.0, and both the StrollerPrincess and Prince had just started new schools. To say that I was a little scatterbrained is quite the understatement. So what I didn’t need on top of it all, was what happened next. Now those of you who have followed the original “Adventures in Strollerland” know I prefer walking with a stroller to driving a car any day of the week. And there is a reason. I get in a lot less trouble. But, the children’s new schools were out of walking range. So I was driving to pick up the Princess first. I was right next to the school when out of the bushes sprang a motorcycle cop. Now why do they always have to hide right near schools? (Yes, it just happened to me again. Which will be a story for another time.) But, you have to admit, it’s a little unsavory to think that these strong brave warriors, whose motto is “To Protect and Serve”, are spending so much time stalking suburban moms who are just trying to get their kids to school and back. And ironically, I never have any idea why they are pulling me over. I just know it is neither serving nor protecting me. I also know that they will never allow me to pick up/drop off the kids until they are finished with me. And they are not finished with me ever very quickly. No matter how hard I beg and plead. Which means not only do I get in trouble with the law, but I also get in trouble with the kid’s schools. (Um, yes, it has happened more than once.)

In this case, the policeman said I didn’t have the current registration sticker on my car, and that one brake light was out. And he wrote me a big, fat, ticket. Por favor! The registration had expired in September, and it was Oct. 1st. And the brake lights? Huh? First of all, since I am in the driver’s seat, and you can only see if they are working by stepping on the brake pedal, how in the world would I have known? Guess I had to take his word for it. And secondly, I had sent in for the renewal to the DMV. But, blame it on the trees. See, I live on a street that is named after a tree. And there are several other streets near me that are, too. So you have Maple, Pine, Oak, Cedar, etc. And at least a few times a week, I get letters adressed to people who live on tree streets, that are not my tree street. (Except for things like the guy in Redondo Beach whose social security check was sent to me last week. Now the trees I get. But a different city entirely? It’s a mystery.) Anyway, I suspect another tree street person probably was in possesion of my registration. And I told the officer so. “No problem”, he smiles. Just go down to the DMV to take care of it. And what about the brake lights? “Just get them fixed, and the DMV will check that off, too”, he smiles. Then I proceeded to get a tongue lashing from DD’s school, because I hadn’t enrolled her and paid to have her in an after-care program. Then I went to pick up DS at the second school. Where I got another tongue-lashing, and was told they would have called the Police if I had been any later. Great. Call the Police to report that a mom can’t pick her son up from school because she is being held by the Police.

That evening, I asked the husband to check my brake light. He walks behind the car, and I step on the brake. “There is nothing wrong with your brake light”, he says. Huh? So I go and check. It is working. Both are working. Just fine.

Now I have to straighten out the DMV mess. Which means going down there and waiting in line for hours. Not the most pleasant thing to do with the wicked morning sickness. Anyway, I get the registration sorted out. Then I have to go and wait in another area for them to sign me off. For one hour. Then I asked him to sign off on the brake light. “Oh, we don’t do that here”, he says. “Then who does?” I ask. “I don’t know, call the Police”, he says. But in fact it was the Policeman who told me to go to the DMV. That fluomoxxed me, to the point that it went right out of my head. Not hard to do when you combine hormones with holidays.

The next thing I know is there is a warrant issued for my arrest, and my license is suspended.

I decided at this point, that I had to throw myself at the mercy of the court. So I went down there, children in tow, and turned myself in. “Please don’t send me to jail!” I said. “No, no, we won’t, as long as you pay your bail”, says the clerk. “That will be $2800.” HUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHH??????

“But my brake light wasn’t even broken! And my registration was delivered to another tree street!” I protested. “Then tell it to the judge”, he says. And he schedules me for trial. He also told me that I was supposed to have the POLICE department sign off that the tail light was fixed, even though it was never broken. So that is my next stop. I haul the children over there, park far away and still have to pay too much to park there. Drag my big pregnant belly down the street, across three parking lots, and up too many stairs. I’m huffing and puffing, but we are finally there. I tell the guy at the Information Desk my whole sad story. And I ask him to check out the brake light and sign me off. “I wish I could help you”, he says, “But I can’t leave the desk.” HUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHH??? “But, but, the court said you do that! The clerk sent me here!” I stammered. “Well, we do if we have time”, he says. “But today, I don’t have time”. GAH! “But do you realize there is a warrant out for my arrest? And I am here in the Police Department where there are lots of officers here who have time to arrest me, but don’t have time to sign me off so I WON’T be arrested?” “Wish I could help you out, but I can’t”, he says. Um, OK, then WHERE do I go to get this brake light thing signed off??? “Maybe the Sheriff’s Department will help you out”, he says. “But they will make you pay.” So off back to the car we trek. Then up to the Sheriff’s Department we go. Get up there and wait in a long line. Visions of Istanbul danced in my head. That is because I spent lots of days there like this, dealing with bureaucracy, going from department to department, standing in long lines, only to be told I was in the wrong place. Finally it is our turn. And I tell the clerk my story, and that I need someone to come out and check my brake light .She says “Well, we don’t usually do that.” At this point I burst into tears. “You can’t expect a Deputy to take all that time to walk out to your car to check that out. That would be against Department regulations”, she scolds. A Deputy passes by and sees me sobbing. He asks the clerk what’s the problem. After a long series of whispers, he comes out and says “Come one, I can sign you off. But it will cost you $25.” Oh, I was never so grateful to pay $25, until….see below…

Flash forward several months. The day of the trial. And now I have three children, not two. SP 2.0 has arrived. Which means, what stroller shall I take to court? Hmmmm, something classic, subdued, judicious looking. Ah ha! The Black Silk Latitude fits the bill. Even matches the Judges’ robe, haha.

Nice flat recline with boot so SP 2.o could sleep, big basket and rain cover that just screams practicality, small enough to maneuver inside the courtroom, and smooth as “silk” one-handed — the perfect choice!

Haul all the kiddos down again to the courthouse again. “Mommy, are you going to jail?” SP #1 asks.”No”, I say. “I’m hungry. Why do I have to go?” grumbles the princess. “You’re always hungry, and consider this a civics lesson”, I responded. I really appreciated how easy, small, and flat the Latitude folded. Stressing over a stroller would have sent me over the edge.

Now it is time. I am the only one with children in the courtroom. The bailiff comes over and asks my name, then kindly bumps me to the top of the list. After all the people who need translators, that is. As we are waiting, visions of “Boston Legal” are dancing in my head. Who will my judge be? Any as wacky as the ones who preside over Denny and Alan and the gang? Well, um, yes. I was startled when she came out. She was very young, very pretty, and very blond. And, her hair was in pigtails. High up little ones. And, she was wearing pink butterfly clips on her head. Just when I thought it couldn’t get weirder, she opened her mouth. And she sounded like one of the Disney Princesses. Now I know where the TV producers get their inspiration. They don’t create these characters out of thin air. They just sit in LA County traffic court and take notes.

It’s our turn. I am called. I have my whole indignant story at the ready. The judge is looking down reading the notes. Then she looks up at me. “You have got to be kidding me”, she says. “Are you really here for THIS???” she asks. “Sadly, yes, your Honor”, I reply. “Oh, for…what is wrong with those people….” she mutters…”This should never have gotten to my court”…she mutters some more. “I am going to dismiss this, but you have to pay the $25 dismissal fee.Can you pay today?” “Yes, your Honor”, I smiled. And I was thinking how I feel even more grateful to pay $25. Because the alternative was nearly 3-grand. And finally, it would be over. Victory is sweet. And so is latitude in the courtroom.
Valco Baby Single Latitude Stroller

Valco Latitude Stats:
Weight: 17.75 pounds
Folded: 23 x 35 x 11
Width: 22.5″
Length: 28.5
Height: 36″- 40″
Seat Width: 13″
Seat Depth: 9″-17″
Seat Height: 18″
Seat to Canopy: 24″
Drop to Footrest: 8″

Mutsy Slider Review

17 May

Mutsy in Malibu and the Mansion

Summer was here, and we were invited to a party at a house in Malibu. Hmmm, now, who to take. It must be elegant but hip, cutting edge but classic. It must have nice summer beach colors. It must have a bassinette, (so SP 2.0 could have a nice nap), and it must be able to traverse the sand. Tall order, but…I had the perfect candidate. The Mutsy Slider!

 SALE Mutsy Slider 

As I predicted, the Slider was a real attention-getter. People flocked around it, asking me questions. Particularly the pregnant types, and the husbands thereof. Having the bassintte at the party was a great idea. SP 2.0 was overwhelmed a few times, from getting passed around by strangers. When I placed him in it, he calmed down right away. I think he felt safe. And the bouncy suspension was amazing. I just pushed down the handle a bit, and it’s like the thing was on springs!
I also liked how high up it sat. Nearly as tall as the Stokke Xplory. Great for the sand. Or for the snow, slush, unpaved roads, tree roots, etc. How often do you find such shimmery beauty, and rugged functionality, in the same package? (Gee, that sounded like a new car ad.)
Now one thing I *didn’t* think about, was how many steps there are to get up to a Malibu beach house. For this particular one, to have the breathtaking overhang view of the sea, there were a lot. And at 29 pounds, (that’s with the bassinette. It’s 25 with the seat.) hauling the Slider up them was no easy feat. Of course, it would have been easier if I did what the manufacturer recommends, which is to break it down into two pieces (very easy. The top half of the stroller just pops right off!) I was looking forward to using it again that next week-end. This time, it was at a party in a mansion in Beverly Hills. I had been there before, so I knew it was relatively flat. Now this particular mansion once belonged to a very famous TV star. Even though she has long since moved, it is still on the “Maps of the Stars Homes” tour bus route. We had to park on the street, because there were ponies in the driveway of the mansion. The minute we got out of the car, the tour buses appeared. And all the tourists were snapping pictures. Not of us, but, of the Slider! The Slider was a celebrity, haha!Well, I was a bit wrong about the flat part. At least in the back yard. This is a historic BH home. And there were brick steps that went up, and brick steps that went down, and brick steps that went up, and brick steps that went down. And yes, I meant to repeat that, because they kept repeating. And narrow, all of those walkways were NARROW. Despite it’s fabulous manueverability, the Slider’s 26′ width meant the wheels kept getting hung up on the bricks. I guess that is the way they built ’em back in the roaring ’20’s. Well it was almost perfect. The best laid plans of mice and men…
Inside the party, the Slider continued to turn heads. My friend’s mom said it reminded her of a pram she bought 57 years ago, which they had paid $10 for! Her husband asked, “How much does that one go for, about $50?” “Well no,” I said. “It’s a bit more. Actually”, I tell him, “A lot of strollers are running up around a thousand dollars now”. “A thousand dollas!” exclaims his wife, the one who bought the $10 stroller 57 years ago. “That’s the price of a CAR!” “When mom, when?” shouts out one daughter. “And she has a bunch of strollers, hundreds”, says my friend. “HUNDREDS???” says her sister-in-law. “Have you been on Ripley’s Believe it or not?” And she’s laughing her head off. “No”, says my friend. “But she has been in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, the CBS Early Show, the Today Show…” “But what about Good Morning America?” says her mom. “Have you been on Good Morning America? That’s my favorite!” Now the sister in law, who has been sitting there thinking, says “Now WHY do you have so many strollers? I had one Maclaren for every kid, and that was good enough!” “Well”, I say, “How many pairs of shoes do you have? How many bags?” (She is very well-dressed.) “But that’s different”, she says. “Not to her!” says my friend. She has a stroller to match every outfit, a stroller to match every bag, a stroller for every holiday.” “And what do you DO with all these strollers?” demands the SIL. “I run them on the Strollerqueen Obstacle Course, up and down hills , one -handed, with a cup of coffe in the other” I say. At this point, the sister across the table spits out HER coffee, she is laughing so hard. “AHHH,” says the SIL, waving her hand at me, “You’re just nuts!” Now the mother chimes in again. “Stop talking and go to the gym!” she says. You all need to go to the gym and work out!” With that command,the daughters, granddaughters, and sisters-in-law dutifully stand up to go, pushing their chairs back under the table. “See”, I said to the SIL, “If you had a jogging stroller, you could just take a good run instead”.

i’Coo Targo Review

17 May

The i’coo Targo and the Contrarian Librarian
Spring was turning to summer, and I didn’t want the children’s brains to turn to mush. So I enrolled them in the reading program at the local library. I had visions of walking there every day with my new i’coo Targo, with a basket big enough to hold plenty of books!

Icoo Targo Stroller and Pram 

The canopy unzips to provide plenty of ventilation in the hot weather, so I knew SP 2.0 wouldn’t get overheated.

He would also have a cozy place to nap, as his older brother and sister leisurely perused the stacks.

Well, at least I got the napping part right. The bassinet on the Targo is one of the largest and deepest of any I have seen. And SP 2.0 slept in it very well, indeed. The part I got wrong was, well, all of the rest of it. They say in life, success is a matter of timing. Apparently, so is checking out library books. Don’t ever try to do it when it is A.) Your birthday. And your Driver’s License is expiring. So you *think* you are doing the right thing, by going in early to renew it. But what this means is, your picture ID that you need everywhere, in order to be considered a legitimate citizen, heck to even be considered a sentient being, has been replaced by a flimsy piece of paper. In the parlance of the DMV, it is a “temporary license”. In the library, it means you are a deadbeat criminal who intends to steal every book in the joint. Add in the B.) Which is, don’t even attempt to check out a book if you have moved. Even if it is within the same zip code, on the same block, with most of the digits on the street address remaining the same. C.) Throw in a cantankerous librarian into the mix, and now you’ve got the latest chapter in “Adventures in Strollerland!”

The day we enrolled, things went smoothly. I still had my picture ID, still had the same address. The children made several selections, and we checked out their books. Once they had finished reading them, we went back to the library to return them, and check out more. By now, though, I only had the temporary DL, and we had moved. Yes, a lot can happen in a week. We waited in line, and handed in our returns. Then tried to check out the new books. Tried, as in, in vain, unsuccessfully, failed. The librarian took one look at my DL, and disdainfully handed it back. “You can NOT check out books with THIS”, she proclaimed loudly. All eyes were upon me, as I began to turn red and shrink. “But”, I said, “You let me check out books last week. ” She peered down over her glasses and said, “THEN you had a picture ID. Now you don’t.” “But look”, I say. “Here is my library card”. She scrutinized it, matched it to the temporary license, then yanked it back. “I am confiscating this”, she says. “Your addresses don’t match.” “But, but, we moved”, I stammered, as I shrank, even smaller, and melted as well under the stares of the other patrons. “It’s, it’s just across the street. See, only the last two digits changed. ” “It’s a different address, and you have to apply for a new library card”, she said. So I fill out the application. And get back in line with the books. And the children began complaining that they were hungry, and can we go now? Luckily, SP 2.0 was still resting nicely in the Targo. I liked the fact that the bassinette was height adjustable. So I could raise it up closer for him to be more at eye level.

Now I am at the front of the line. I hand in the application for the new card. “Driver’s license please,” says the contrarian librarian. I hand it to her. “You can’t apply with this”, she says. “You need a PICTURE ID.” Exasperated, I say “Look, don’t you remember me?” (You would think she would at least remember a gorgeous Houndstooth stroller like this.)

I continued…”
Last week you let me check out that stack of children’s books, no problem. All I am trying to do is to follow the lesson plan in the reading program, and to keep the kids up to speed. Can’t you just let me check these out, just this once?” And again, she looks down at me over the top of those glasses. “Do you know how many people come in here with the same stories as yours?” she says. “If I let everyone check out books that don’t have picture ID’s, and have invalid adddresses, there would be no books left in this library!’ Oh yes, she did too say that. And in that instant, I knew the Targo would never again be loaded down with books, taking a leisurely stroll to the library on a warm summer day…

i’coo Targo:

Weight: 23 pounds
Folded: 23 x 44 x 18.5
Width: 23.5″
Height: 23″-40″
Seat Width: 12.5″
Seat Depth: 10″
Seat Back: 19.5″
Seat to Canopy: 24″
Drop to Footrest: 10″

iCandy Cherry Review

17 May

The Hair Tourniquet and the Red Hot Cherry

I wanted to use the iCandy Cherry. But all I had left of it was this:
It was the first ride for Lucky Padraig/AKA Strollerprince 2.0. I had gotten used to it, and in my post-partum state, wasn’t keen to fool with something else. This is what it looked like before. Nice, no? Had all the accoutrements …carrycot, parasol, rain cover, footmuff…

But really, I had no choice but to use another stroller. And this is why.

The original Strollerprince was returning from a play date. As I went to answer the door, I noticed something askew. And that was, a hair wrapped around the tiny toe of newborn SP 2.0. Of course I tried to pull it off. And when I did, it snapped, and whipped tightly around the joint. As I carried him down to answer the door, I noticed it was beginning to swell. My friends were, of course, very concerned. But competent people that they are, they were convinced they could remove the torturous hair. They went to the car, and returned with a tweezers, and a large magnifying glass equipped with a light. (What kind of people carries that in their car? Yeah, those types.) Anyway, they approached the task with a methodical seriousness, turning the toe, discussing the best approach. Then the husband drove up. And he got in on the discussion. And the toe continued to swell. Gently, very gently, they attempted to extricate the poor little toe from the death grip of the hair. And more it swelled. Now a few neighbors had joined in the discussion, offering their suggestions. Talking, talking, talking. And the toe resembled a purple mushroom. At this point, I felt a heat rise up within me. I grabbed Lucky Padraig, and ran. Over my shoulder, I yelled that they could continue their talking, or they could meet me at the hospital emergency room. Because that is where I was heading.

I’m sure I fairly flew there. I was now being propelled by panic. I drove right up to the door. I was lucky there were no other cars. I jumped out and ran in the door. Again I was lucky, because a doctor spotted me rushing in. I guess he figured a panic stricken mom running with a baby couldn’t be good. He grabbed me and pulled me straight into the operating room, no admissions, no paperwork. He took one look at SP 2.0 and said “What you have here is a hair tourniquet. (Yes, this is an actual medical diagnosis. It is also known as a “toe tourniquet.”) And if we don’t remove it, he will lose his toe.” I was lucky there were no other patients there at the time, so he could spend all his time with us. And I was lucky that, despite the fact that it was a holiday, and the doctor had waist length hair, beads, and cut-offs, he was a great doctor. At least the nurses seemed to think so. Judging by the numbers that kept coming in, flirting, giggling, and gazing at him adoringly.

In any case, he cut. Lucky Padraig screamed like he never has, before or since. And we waited. Waited to see if he got it. Hair tourniquets are a diabolical thing. The hair is so fine that you can’t see it, when it wraps around a tiny toe joint. Yet it is so strong, it has a “cheese wire” affect. Yes, the soft baby skin is the cheese, ugh.
Now while we were waiting, the husband showed up with the original Strollerprince, who is now more interested in Star Wars than strollers. As he sat there bored, he remembered something. And that was, that he had left his light sabers in Mommy’s car. Ah ha! Something to do, something to play with! But, Mommy was worried, and he didn’t want to bother her. He knew the answer! He could get the keys himself, and open the car. He had seen Mommy and Daddy do it hundreds of times. How hard could it be? And with Mommy so busy with the baby, she wouldn’t notice if he snuck them out of her purse….

So he did, and he was triumphant. In the meantime, SP 2.0’s toe was much worse. The cutting had not helped. “Unfortunately”, said Dr. long hair Fabio, “we are going to have to use the scalpel, and cut to the bone.” Ugh. And so he did. And then Lucky Padraig screamed even louder than ever. And still we saw no hair. However, as the minutes slowly ticked by, the swelling began to go down. It was still purple, but losing the mushroom effect. Success! And then we were discharged to go home. His toe was fine, and all’s well that ends well.
Except….in the morning, I went out to my car to return to the hospital for a re-check. This time I wanted to use the iCandy Cherry. So I opened the back, and ………it was…….empty. Where the Cherry normally slept, there was….nothing. It is a horrible feeling to go for your beloved stroller, only to find it gone. Who had her? Where was she? How in the world…..And then SP sheepishly confessed, that he “sneaked my keys out of my purse.” “I knew how to unlock the car, but I didn’t know how to lock it back up”, he said.

So that is the story of the Hair Tourniquet, and the Red Hot Cherry. I did drive around for a few days, calling her name….scouring Craig’s List, Ebay, and the classifieds for hot goods, even hitting up a few garage sales to see if we could find her, and bring her home. Yes that is how much we loved her, and that is how much we missed her. If you get one yourself, you will see. 

 Did I ever get her back? That is a story for another day. Because now it is time, dear citizens of Strollerland, to tell you the tale of the i’coo Targo and the contrarian librarian.

ICandy Cherry Stats:
Weight: (w/seat) 24.5 pounds
with bassinette: 27 pounds
Folded: 23.5 x 34.5 x 14
Width: 23″
Length: 29.5
Height: 40″
Seat Width: 12″
Seat Depth: 10″
Seat Height: 20″
Seat to Canopy: 24″
Drop to Footrest: 8″
Bassinette: 32.5 x 12.5 x 8.5

Peg Perego Si’ Review

5 May

Easter Si’

Every time Easter rolls around, I look forward to choosing a stroller. Since I am usually travelling to visit family, it has to be a lightweight. One year there was the aqua Maclaren Daytripper. Another year it was the lavender Inglesina Espresso. But this year, instead of going with a pastel, I chose the Easter-eggish “Corallo Stripes” Peg Perego Si’.
And you’ll say YES! when you “see” it, too! If you are a Peg fan, you will adore it. To start with, it has an incredible canopy; remarkable for a lightweight umbrella stroller. It pulls all the way down, and there is a dark mesh visor in the front. There is also a mesh peekaboo window, with a little pocket on the back. The recline is very deep, although not all the way flat. I would be comfortable using it at about 3 months and up. There is a long, extended legrest which makes it very comfortable for a younger child. No “dangling legs” here! The fold is very easy, just two steps. Pull up the lever, yank on the handle. And in case you forget, Peg was thoughtful enough to mark them for you–1 and 2, lol! Good thing the fold is fast, too. We had five! different Easter Egg hunts to go to this year. In fact, they held the last one for us until 6:00, heehee! The basket is very big, for an umbrella stroller. You can see how much stuff you can carry in there. The handles are height adjustable. And there is a side carrying handle. It comes with a cupholder and raincover, and stands alone when folded. Ideal for all your summer travel adventures! But I saved the best for last. Notice something different/unusual/special about the Si’? Despite what we have discussed, I mean? Take another look: Give up? It’s the WHEELS! And they are MAGNIFICO! They are made of some kind of a wonderful hard rubber, with suspension and ball bearings. That is why, even though they are only 6.5″, they can easily glide over all moderate outdoor surfaces, like cracked sidewalks and grass. We agree that the Si’ gets a Royal Rating of 5 Crowns!
Peg-Perego Si Stroller, Cedro
Peg Perego Si’ stats:

  • Weight: 16.5 pds.
  • Length: 29″
  • Width: 17″ front, 20″ back
  • Seat back: 19.5″
  • Seat width: 13″
  • Seat depth: 9″-15″
  • Seat to canopy: 25″
  • Drop to footrest: 10″
  • Handle height: 35″-43″
  • Seat to floor: 19″
  • Folded: 11″ x 40″ x 12″