April 4th, 2012

Of Microwave Ovens and K-Mart

Recently, we had a guest for a few days (who we already miss). During I.'s visit, our microwave suddenly quit working. I put it on the counter, where R. dismantled it. He went to the hardware store, bought a fuse, restored it to very temporary working order, and it promptly broke again the first time we attempted to use it to heat something up (as opposed to just plug it in and set the clock).

The microwave entered R.'s life around the same time I did -- the second half of 2003 or thereabouts. He was prepared to replace it, but wanted to do some research first. I have a subscription to Consumer Reports online, so we pulled the ratings (this is so much better than the old-skool approach of keeping hardcopy magazines and paperback ratings collections from CR on the shelves). There is a K-mart very, very close to where we live (under a mile), and while I don't recall ever previously having shopped there, I figured they'd probably have the top-rated model, a Kenmore. But rather than take any unnecessary risk of entering a K-mart only to discover the item in question is not in stock or whatever, I checked online, first, where I learned that (a) K-mart has a very competent online store, at least for browsing purposes and (b) it includes a check-your-local-store-for-stock feature. That feature claimed there was one in stock, so I., A. and I went to investigate. I. and I got it off the shelf, through the checkout line and into the back of the Fit with no particular excitement beyond A. checking out the seasonal displays of Easter candy. At home, R. and I got it out of the car and plugged in where it has functioned perfectly since. It's quite nice; I like it better than the old one.

The K-mart itself has what looks like a relatively new POS. It is clean and orderly. There are a few but not excessive clearance items and the shelves are well-stocked with current merchandise. The tables out front are orderly, well-stocked with seasonal items. The physical furnishings -- counters and so forth -- of the store are incredibly old (badly damaged formica, type of thing) but clean and neat. The staff we met were competent and friendly.

If you haven't been in a K-mart in some years (decades?), and you're looking for something around the house, you might give them a try. Whoever is currently running that operation appears to no longer just be vampirically sucking the chain dry. I'm particularly happy about this, because the K-mart is a mile from my house, while the nearest Target and Costco are a half hour's drive away. Even with Prime shipping, a microwave from Amazon would not have landed on my doorstep before the following Tuesday and, more likely, Wednesday (that is, today).

Go-Ped Know-Ped

When R. broke his arm on the Razor Scooter, I felt some pangs of guilt. After all, I bought that equipment and, furthermore, I had headed out on wet pavement with the kids and R. on scooters.

Never ride when the pavement is wet.

However, if you're going to ride when the pavement is wet, really don't ride a Razor, and you should probably walk down steep hills.

In any event, while R. can't ride the scooter for a while yet, I felt like I should come up with a safer, adult-size scooter for days when some other adult is out with one of the kids while I am out with the other kid (Thursdays, typically). My default plan was to buy another Xootr, but I'd read positive reviews of the Go-Ped Know-Ped, the main negative of which was weight (that is, the scooter itself weighs more, reducing its portability). After hearing R.'s analysis of why the brakes on the Kickboards and the Xootr continued to work when the Razor failed, I decided to buy the Go-Ped. It arrived today.

I got it in pink. I have two explanations. The not-entirely-true explanation is that T. rides a pink kickboard scooter which I originally intended for A., but he decided he wanted it so she rides the green one now. The close-to-the-truth explanation was that I was in the throes a really solid fuck-everyone mood when I pressed the Buy button on Amazon.

http://www.goped.com/products/knowped/default.asp

The deck is higher; I don't know how I'm going to feel about that. The ride seems much smoother, but I'll know more after I've put a few miles on it. The brakes are substantially better than any of the scooters I have bought so far (I'm a little frightened by just how high that number has gotten -- this is scooter number 7, if I'm counting correctly). The deck is nice and wide. I don't think the handlebar height is adjustable, the way the Xootr is; I don't think I care. The stated load limit on the Go-Ped is much higher than the stated load limit on the Xootr.

And it's very cool looking. If you really are going to carry your scooter onto other transport and schlep it around, the Xootr may be worth it for the weight savings. If you're just playing on your neighborhood streets with the kiddies, definitely buy the Go-Ped. I may, however, change my mind if those non-solid tires prove troublesome.

ETA: Here is a truly excellent review of the Xootr, and fitting it into the context of other scooters.

http://shangrilatowers.blogspot.com/2011/06/micellany-xootr-roma-kick-scooter.html

ETAYA: And still more reviews:

http://www.electric-bikes.com/scooters/kickers.html