Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Hummer on the Balcony

My husband calls it my hummer.

It is big, huge, bulky, but it has 12" air-filled tires, full seat recline, swivel wheels, and I can push it with one finger.

I call it, "stroller love of my life."

Since my first pregnancy, I became fascinated by strollers, sort of like an obsession over sports cars. It's not an excessive obsession--although I love looking at strollers in the store, I only have a Zooper Z-street single stroller (under 90 bucks), a $15 umbrella stroller that got run over by our car, and my new Mountain Buggy double stroller. Nothing like the 15 or 20 strollers many of my new stroller fanatic friends have. And I'm not willing to pay $500 for a stroller. Once I decide on a purchase, I don't look back at those message boards, at least until my stroller breaks down or I need to upgrade to a triple.

I spent hours researching double strollers on the internet, and learned about Bugaboos, Baby Joggers, BJCSDs, Inglesinas, MBUDs, and Bobs. Stroller message boards are full of moms boasting their latest $600 addition to a garage-full of strollers. Moms who buy new skins every month for their strollers, who charge $30 to newcomers for custom, personal advice on which stroller to buy, and who laugh at moms who push Gracos (hey, I like Graco strollers, just not their double ones, which, with two toddlers inside, can be like pushing a train)

Materialistic? Yes. Petty? Yes. Do I have nothing better to do? No. I doubt I'd like these mothers very much in person--they are probably the same mothers in designer jeans, $100 diaper bags, who frown at other moms in the playground. The Washington Post would call them "hip moms". I'm not sure what I would call them--definitely not hip, maybe image-obsessed.

BUT, I convinced myself, I needed to figure out what stroller to buy.

I finally decided on a stroller that normally retails for $600--that I found in an overstock, returned open-box, 2005 model. Hurray! I got a top-of-the-line, solid stroller for the price of a Graco.

To my stroller friends, all I'd have to say is I bought a navy MBUD and they would know exactly what that meant. The tough, all-terrain stroller that only outdoorsy moms would like, but their husbands go ga-ga for.

I wanted something more suited to power-walking, hiking trails, suburban streets, and sand-filled playgrounds than malls, narrow aisles, and coffee shops. So I got a super durable, rugged all-terrain jogging stroller that "pushes like butter", as strollermama would say.

Once I buy something that I've researched well, I won't take any criticism. Nope, it's perfect. I don't look back, it's just what I wanted. Never mind that it folds like a 30-lb. bedroom dresser and I huff and puff as I heave it into the trunk of our Corolla. Miraculously, it does fit.

Or that the only place I can store it in our one-bedroom apartment is on our balcony.

Never mind that women--the Graco moms--give me funny looks as I push this lawnmower into my neighborhood coffee shop (effortlessly and one-handed, I might add), but a male customer remarks, "that's a neat stroller!" Even my husband admitted it was a good buy--it has good parts, he said.

I haven't gone back to the stroller boards since my last, and final, stroller purchase. I know strollerqueen would just tell me I need a lightweight, side-by-side for malls and plane trips, but I'm not that hip.

I'm happy with this one-time, and I hope lasting, waltz with a really cool stroller.

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