Did You Miss Me?

I took a page from Colonel Sanders’ book…I put an addictive chemical in my blog writing that made you crave it fort-nightly. And now that I’ve been away for a bit I can only imagine the jonesing that must be going on. Well I’m back with a vengeance (I always wanted to say that) and here for your reading pleasure is another quality post.

Let’s talk about frugality.

kids_bikes_5_types.jpgI’ve been accused of being cheap. I like to consider myself “frugal”. Let’s take my son’s eighth birthday as an example. Jachin really wanted a new bike and because this was a big birthday for him I decided to take him to the REAL bike shop instead of Wal-Mart. As you’d expect, bike prices at a REAL bike store are considerably higher than those at Wal-Mart so I’m thinking he needs to pick out something that will last him a really long time (read: until he’s old enough to drive). First he tried a 16″ BMX bike. It fit well and had those really cool front and rear pegs that make you think you can do awesome stunts. He liked it but we convinced him that a mountain bike might be a better choice. We tried a 20″ mountain bike that fit him perfectly. He did a few laps around the store, grinning ear-to-ear the whole time. He was the Lone Ranger and had found his Silver. All I could think as I watched him ride around the store was “boy…at the rate he’s growing that bike will last him 2 years tops!”. I’m a horrible father I know.

After some coaxing I convinced my son to try the 24″ version of the same bike. The bike absolutely dwarfed him…it was almost comical watching him try to mount this behemoth. When he finally got on he could barely touch the pedals and the handlebars were entirely out of reach. Not wanting to give up so easily I asked the sales rep if it could be adjusted to fit someone of his size. A whirlwind of allen-wrench tweaking ensued…first the seat was dropped down about 6 inches then the handlebars were lowered all the way and rotated forward. The pedals were even moved forward on the cranks to accommodate a shorter stride. When it was all said and done, Jachin could actually get on the bike and he even managed a few laps around the store. He still looked ridiculously under-sized on that bike…but he was riding it. “Perfect!”, I declared triumphantly and headed toward the register.

So what do you think? Frugal, cheap or horrible parenting in general? You should know, however, that the story has a happy ending. After a few hours (OK minutes actually) with his new bike Jachin absolutely loves it! He quickly made the adjustment from a 14″ bike to a 24″ bike and has figured out the gears and hand brakes. Every time he gets on his bike I catch a glimpse of that same smile he had at the bike store when he was riding something that actually fit him. Besides…he looks really good on that bike with his pants that are rolled up 4 inches, the shirt that is 2 sizes too big and the shoes that have padding in the toes that I can take out when his feet grow…

Winner!

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3 thoughts on “Did You Miss Me?

  1. You call yourself cheap? You’re a disgrace to that group of fathers (myself included) who have truly earned the title.

    I’ll have you know that Johnson proudly (a pride born of ignorance to what he’s missing, I assure you) rides around on his 20″ Huffy “mountain bike”. I put it in quotes because, as far as the mountains are concerned, his bike is something to be seen only from great distances traveling on mostly level, paved roads and possibly the occasional sandlot.

    Does it work? Good enough. Does it fit him? Perfectly. Will it still fit him in 2 years? Probably not. Will it be stolen before that time anyway? Well, it is a Huffy so I’d call it a toss up. Is it rusting already after a year of use? Of course. Huffy. Was it cheap? H*** YES!

    The only problem I have now is the internal struggle between cheapness and laziness, as the cheapness of this bike meant that it did not come with quick-release tires, thus adversely affecting my laziness. The battle continues.

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