Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Car seats and rocket science

Should have been posted on June 21, 2009

Come on people, this is not rocket science.


We are t-minus two weeks to the baby launch and we are finalizing all the small stuff (and some big stuff too). On the baby launch agenda was a car seat. The government in all its wisdom feels the need to protect the youth of the nation by mandating that all children be hopelessly strapped into your vehicle when it is in motion. They will not let you even leave the hospital if you cannot satisfactorily demonstrate your ability to correctly fasten the seat to your car and then insert the child into said seat.

Of course, Jen and I over research, price check, compare and analyze everything. We finally had it down to one car seat but the tough decision was now between the cloth pattern of “Tango in the Tongo” or “Jungle Adventure.” To be fair, we had reached our breaking point in the child related decision making process. Let’s review them shall we:

1. Decide to have a child
2. Take an early peak at the child’s, uh, stuff
3. Having seen the child’s, uh, stuff, pick a name that will forever determine his destiny
4. Breech baby – choose his arrival into this world

That last one did us in.

Now we are forced to decide between the “Tango in the Tongo” or “Jungle Adventure”, which our team of psychoanalysts, statisticians and soothsayers have informed us that a misstep here will permanently and irrevocably screw up our child if the wrong one is chosen.

After many consultations and worry-filled nights we settle on “Tango in the Tongo” and hope for the best.

Three days later, Jen finds another brand of car seat that had been in the running on sale for $25 (original price $80). ARG!

We decide to roll with it and take the bargain car seat and run. Now we need a second adapter base for our other car (please don’t ask about car seat adapter bases – it is a scam for the baby accessory companies). We can get one from the manufacturer for forty bucks, but why pay forty when I can get one off craigslist (and how I love craigslist) for fifteen bucks.

Jen finds one on craigslist lickety-split and we go to check it out. Now, they are actually selling the seat and the adapter base but we really only need the base, but for fifteen bucks we’ll take the adapter and pitch the seat into the nearest Goodwill we can find.

After confirming with the seller twice that she has the base, we hit the road to go pick up our bargain find.

Anyone familiar with the term white trash? No relevance to the story, just a question.
We pull up to a mobile home (does not imply white trash), and find Bubba in the carport working on his four wheel drive truck on a Friday afternoon (does not imply white trash), without a shirt on (does not imply white trash), with a lady in the back of the truck in a lawn chair with her laptop (does not imply white trash) borrowing someone’s wi-fi. A second lady comes of the trailer looking like Juliette Lewis in Too Young to Die (does not imply white trash) with the car seat.

I ask, “Do you have the base?”

“Uh, I lost it.”


I turn around, walk back to the car and leave. Jen follows.


Not to be broken, we head home and hit craigslist again. We get another hot lead the next day and we are in the car. We pull up to a small home in a quiet neighborhood and give the door a knock. A young Russian girl answers the door and presents the car seat to us for inspection. It is in “god condition” (her words not mine), but, as we have seen already, her English is poor. The car seat is a completely different brand than what she advertised.

I guess it is hard to match the letters on the car seat with the letters on a keyboard when you list a car seat on craigslist.

I turn around, walk back to the car and prepare to leave.

“You don’t like?” she asks confusedly.

All I can do is shake my head.


Having two strikes against it, we take the new car seat over Tonita’s to borrow her baby and do a hands-on test between the bargain seat and the “Tango in the Tongo” seat. After pulling poor Gwizzie in and out of both car seats about a dozen times, Gwizzie decides enough is enough and pukes on my shirt (see puke story).

With its two strikes and a poor showing in the hands-on test, we decide to return the bargain seat and go with “Tango in the Tongo.” But we are still stuck with looking for base. Fortunately, the TT seat is far more common and Jen promises me that there are hundreds of these bases available on craigslist for next to nothing.

Craigslist again provides and we hit the road once again. This is another combo sale, she has a seat and a base for only $10.

As we pull up, my mind is decided. The house is “those neighbors.” Cute house on the left, cute house on the right, drug house in the middle.

We drove all that way, so I knock. A middle-aged Hispanic lady answers the door; she and her six year old son and five year old daughter lead us to the back yard shed.
The kids suddenly feel the need for a pick-up game of baseball. Some how Jen ends up being the catcher as the girl wings a fast ball past the boy’s slow swing of the bat, both the ball and bat missing Jen by inches.

The lady extricates the correct brand of seat and a base out of the shed (success so far) only to show us a filthy, old, disgusting, well you get the point, seat and base.
I turn around, walk back to the car and prepare to leave.

“You don’t want it?” she asks confusedly.

“I’ll pass.”


Can anyone say full price at Target? I think we have a winner.


Danny and Tonita said...

Well I guess it's the start of what we will do for the kiddos! :)

Matt, Kelly, Eli, and Ethan said...

May not be relative. But....if said Tango in Tongo seat is a Graco, then you don't need the extra base. There is actually not safety advantage to using the base, only convenience. We kept the base in the most used vehicle and used the seat belt method to strap it in when using another car or when travelling. Actually, I think the carseat fits better when you don't use the base. I know some other brands require a base at all times though. But, with all your research, I'm sure you already know all of this! Glad you at least found something that they will let you bring Van home in :)