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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″