August 26, 2007

The Stroller Derby

No not the blog....... this is my life people.

Once upon a time, I was an expectant mother..... yes, it seems like so very long ago. At the urging (insistence) of my sister, I registered..... and after laboring and deliberating and researching...... we registered for a Graco travel system. Friends and family all weighed in on their preference.... "Peg Perego's the one you want" I heard over and over again. But, I chose the Graco largely because the car seat received a very high safety rating and only weighed 7lbs -- but also because I couldn't bring myself to register for something that cost as much as the Peg Peregos.

The car seat was terrific -- safe but light enough for me to carry without trouble, the 'lil lady is still using it. The stroller? Well, it was big and bulky -- it handled like a dream and had two awesome cup holders as well as a cute compartment for other stuff, but it was big and bulky and took up the entire trunk of my car. I never wanted to take it out because I knew that I'd ultimately have to lift it back in.

While at TJMaxx one day, I found a Peg Perego for $100 or so (I can't really remember now) it was a similar pattern to the Graco car seat so I picked it up. It was much easier to manage and it fit in the back of my car much better -- I used it quite a bit -- 'til the tray snapped off (I guess it was at TJ's for a reason, huh?). The stroller still worked fine, but -- it looked kind of ghetto with a broken tray dangling from it.

When the 'lil man got a little older, I ended up getting one of the compact strollers..... it's really just a fancy umbrella stroller. I liked it a lot -- so handy, so compact -- but he couldn't really recline in it and it offered minimal protection from the sun/elements.

When the 'lil lady came along I insisted that I wouldn't bother buying a double stroller -- I could make do with what I had. I used the Baby Bjorn a lot -- coupled with the mini-stroller, the kids were manageable. Except..... w/ the Bjorn a coat is tough (for you or the baby) and getting them both in and out of the car and settled into their stroller/Bjorn in the midst of a New England winter can be a challenge.

I secretly spied double strollers..... man, they are pricey! I was in the mall one day and I saw one that looked cool, manageable -- not too big, not too fancy -- but could recline and would provide sun coverage. I stopped the woman and asked her about it -- she was psyched to share the info -- she told me everything. Apparently, I'm not the only one who obsesses about strollers..... she'd collected a few herself but really liked this particular model.

So, based on the recommendation of this random woman I stalked in the mall, we broke down and bought one. We literally left the mall and went to BabiesRUs to buy this stroller. So far, it's been all I dreamed it would be..... EXCEPT c'mon you knew it was coming...... why else would I be boring you all with my stroller fetish. The hoods (the manufacturer calls them canopies) are bent. They've been kind of mis-shapen since we got it, but I thought they would regain their shape once the stroller wasn't all smooshed in the box -- but, nope -- and the more we try to manipulate them back into shape -- the more warped they get.

The problem with the mangled hoods isn't really as cosmetic as it sounds -- its more that they don't offer much sun protection. I thought we just got unlucky, but while in Disneyland last week we spied several other couples with the same stroller and all of them had mangled hoods. I approached a few of these parents and asked about it -- pointing to our own gimpy hoods. They all held the same opinion -- love the stroller, but the hoods are a disgrace. A few people had improvised and picked up these in order to provide some protection from the sun.

When I got home, I dug out the instruction manual -- to see if there was a customer service number and sure enough they had an order form where you could order replacement parts. So, I filled it out and faxed it over to them -- asking them to replace the hoods for free. My rationale is that I love the stroller, but it is only 6 months old -- the hoods should be in better shape than this, and replacing them should be covered by the warranty. I asked them to contact me if they had questions...... haven't heard anything yet. Good sign? Who knows!

I'll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I did pick up the supplemental shade and have called a couple of consignment shops to see if they have a gently used double stroller in stock -- maybe I can trade a couple of my singles for a deal on a double? or a triple? (just kidding and, of course trying to freak the Big Dubya out) who knows!


Kara said...

they had a couple of nice looking double strollers outside of Childrens Orchard today...not far from auntie's work. Want us to go on a mission for you?

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