walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Travel Fun: Smarte Cartes

You've seen 'em: they kinda look like small grocery carts. At Woodland Park Zoo, they're available as rental strollers. At the airport (pick just about any domestic airport of reasonable size), they're available as luggage carts. I've always ignored them. My toddler does not.

For reasons best -- and only -- known to T., after months of flat out refusing anything to do with any stroller of any sort, he insisted on climbing into one of these devices at the Zoo. All right. $4 with $1 bounty to return it. We can do that. At SeaTac, when I was busy spazzing about the broken elevator, the inappropriately assembled gear (R. persists in refusing to attach the carseat to the rolling luggage using the strap purchased for this purpose because he knows he'll have to disassemble it at security and thinks he can manage everything. He is wrong. The result is I get stuck carrying my laptop bag, which otherwise attachs to the top of that rolling luggage.), and the plastic bag with the lunch whose handle broke and whose contents included T.'s breakfast which was leaking (french toast with maple syrup). Where was I? Oh, while I was having an emotional breakdown over the broken elevators and how to get all of us and all our crap to the elevators so we could check most of the crap and then proceed in a more relaxed fashion to the gate, I walked away from R. and T. in search of a Smarte Carte which my friend I. had pointed out to me existed in airports everywhere, often near banks of elevators.

I. was correct. (Boy, I. must think I'm remedial never to have noticed, or not to have thought of using these.) One credit card swipe later ($3 -- apparently this is a theme), T. was screaming at me because he wanted to ride in the stroller. Which wasn't a stroller. Except, when I took a closer look at it, _was a stroller_. Hey! Load it up with a couple of bags, pop the toddler in the top, make R. carry everything else but T.'s breakfast and we're on our way to a working bank of elevators.

As we touched down in Manchester, NH two flights later, I proposed to R. that he take the two shoulder bags and the rolling bag (one of the shoulder bags, as you may recall, fits nicely on the rolling bag) and go retrieve our car while I shepherded our toddler to baggage claim to retrieve our two checked bags and car seat. I had a plan. It involved a Smarte Carte which I was betting would be cleverly available Right At Baggage Claim. Which it was.

But it was _not_ a f*cking stroller! WTF! There may be e-mail in my future to Smarte Carte about design consistency and expectations. In the meantime, I stacked the bags, put my screaming toddler into the basket (which _was present_, it just didn't have leg openings) to let him discover for himself that it was _not_ a stroller but which he _does not believe me when I tell him so he has to learn for himself_ (this is why people like R. and I should not reproduce. We get ourselves. It is not pretty.). After which we negotiated that he would ride sitting on top of the stack of bags, which made me nervous, but was at least quieter. We then proceeded out to be picked up (eventually; R. had indeed forgotten where we parked, which is why I asked him to write it down, which he did not because he figured he would remember; I, by contrast, expecting to forget, had neither written it down -- nor forgotten) and returned home.

I do like me some Smarte Cartes. But I wish they were all strollers, instead of just some of them. They form a significant component of my How to Travel with a Toddler and an Infant plan.
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