Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Give Up...

My parents called this morning to see if they could potentially come play with the kids. No reason for them not to, and Mister Man needs to work on riding his bike, as we have a parade around our neighborhood for Memorial Day next Monday.

Once we finally go outside, we had fun. However, it was an ordeal to get there. Little Miss insisted on dressing herself, but she decided wanted sandals today, even though is was low 50s and windy. Convincing her or the need for socks and shoes wasn’t exactly an easy task. And my mom decided that it was ok for Mister Man to wear his Batman pjs outside because we were just riding around the neighborhood, and he was going to have a jacket on (yep, that letter last week did no good).

We got through our neighborhood and were about halfway to the park in the neighborhood next to ours when Mister Man’s pedal fell off. It was really no big deal, as it tends to fall off frequently (well about every other time we ride the bike, which is about 15 times total), and I just screw it back on.

Not today, though. I tried screwing it on, and it went two turns then stopped. I unscrewed and tried again. And again. And again. Then my dad tried. That’s when we realized that the threads on the pedal were bent together, but not quite stripped. Needless to say, the trip to the park was aborted. That went over really well.

When we got back to my house, I found a wrench to see if we can potentially force it back on, since making it stay wouldn’t really be an issue, since it failing to stay was the problem in the first place. Unfortunately, no matter what position we put the bike or the pedal in, it just wouldn’t go in, and it was getting worse.

My dad being my dad, he suggested that we go to a local bike shop to see if they can fix it. Since he needs the bike next week anyway, I was fine with that. Ironically enough, there is not a single bike shop in my town nor in the one next to mine. Weird, huh? So we went to my parents’ bike shop. My dad and I wheeled the bike in, while my mom, Mister Man, Little Miss and my parents’ dog stayed in the car.

That was the first mistake. When we explained the problem, the nice bike shop guy explained that the way the pedal and crank arm were worn, we’d need to get a new pedal and a new arm. That would run us about $25. Considering it was about a $35 or $40 bike (my parents bought it for Mister Man for Christmas a year and a half ago but it’s been used fewer than 20 times), that’s slightly hard to swallow. Adding in the labor needed to make the change, and we’re looking at more than the bike cost initially.

At that point, my dad was on a mission – which happens frequently – and started thinking aloud and wondered if we should go to Target or Toys ‘R Us to get a new one. Then he asked the bike guy if they had any bikes small enough to fit Mister Man.

The bike guy didn’t hesitate. He asked how big he was (43”) and pulled out an orange bike. He said it might be a bit big, but what did we think? My dad said he thought that might work and asked my opinion. As I saw the $170 price tag on it, I decided that Mister Man needed to see it before my dad plunked down his credit card.

I ran out to the car, gave my mom the heads up and brought in the whole troop, less the dog. My mom has given up on trying to stop my dad (remember the whole Disney episode?), so she didn’t even try to talk him out of it.

Mister Man climbed aboard the bike, which was a bit tall to get on, but not unreasonably so, and definitely better built than his old Spiderman bike. And we actually needed to raise the seat, which the nice bike man quickly did. And Mister Man happily pedaled around the shop. And he actually was strong and more confident on the Trek bike. My dad asked Mister Man what he thought of the bike, Mister Man stated he liked it, and my dad was sold.

I actually gasped when my dad said ok. He looked at me and asked if I was going to buy it for him. I quickly put in that I certainly wasn’t going to buy him a $170 bike. So down went my dad’s credit card, and the bike shop gave the bike a checkup before we were off.

I will say that Mister Man really does like the new bike. He wanted to ride it around once we got home (after stopping to eat at the pizza place across the street to eat), even though it was already 2:30 and wayyyyy past our usually religious naptime. And he did a great job with it. He even made it up the hill on the path between the neighborhoods without needing any push-help from anyone. Yay!

But geeeez, a $170 bike? The good news is that the bike guy didn’t start pulling out the $320 or $260 bikes. This isn’t the first time my dad’s done this.

When I was heading to college (and this will certainly date me), my dad bought me a computer. I ended up with a Mac Centris 640CD, which had a CD-ROM in the days when almost none did. And that hardly touches the overpowered (for the time) nature of the computer. And yes, I was one of the few people in the dorm who had my own computer vs needing to use one from the lab.

Speaking of computers, my dad’s three year old computer went on the fritz last fall. My dad couldn’t figure it out, so he got frustrated and simply bought a new one. Including a new printer and monitor and everything else. Thus, my parents ended up with a perfectly good two year old printer/copier/scanner/fax and monitor sitting on the floor of my dad’s office. Fortunately, the psychologist at Mister Man’s preschool lost hers in a flood this summer, so we donated my parents, and she was thrilled.

These are only a few examples, but the list goes on. My dad gets a bug in his head and just can’t get rid of it. I still have an issue with it, but my mom’s resigned herself. I was telling my husband about it over dinner (he was at baseball all day today, so missed the episode).

Me: When we walked into the bike shop, the guy there saw the sign on my dad’s forehead.
Husband: A sign?
Mister Man: I didn’t see a sign, Mommy.
Me: Really? It read S-U-C-K-E-R.
Husband: He’s gonna figure that oooouuuuut (in that singsong whisper don’t move your lips voice parents use)
Me: Nahhh.
Mister Man: What does that say?
Me: Very. Nice. Grandpa.
Mister Man: What does it spell?
Me: Very. Nice. Grandpa.
Mister Man: But what does it spell?
Me: It still spells Very Nice Grandpa.
Mister Man: But what letters?
Me: Uhhhhh. V-E-R-Y-N-I-C-E-G-R-A-N-D-P-A.
Mister Man: What does that spell.
Me: That’s how you spell very nice grandpa.
Mister Man: But didn’t it have a K in it?
Me: I think you must have misunderstood me. It was very nice grandpa.
Mister Man: But why did the sign say that?
Me: Well, didn’t Grandpa buy you a new bike today? And wasn’t that nice of him? And that makes him a very nice grandpa, doesn’t it?
Mister Man: I guess so
Me: (Have I mentioned that he's reading now? Yeah, at that point, I went for the all out distraction.) How does your applesauce taste?

But like I said… it is a nice bike. And it’s big enough that Mister Man will probably be able to use it for the next three years. But $170? Eesh.

The old bike will go to charity at least. I read an article in the paper a couple months ago that talked about a guy who took bikes that had issues, fixed them up, and then gave them to kids who couldn’t afford bikes of their own. I’m off to go search for that article now….


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