Definitely enjoying your report.
My wife and I had scooters for a little bit. She had a Genuine Buddy 125 and I had a Genuine Blur 150. At that time, I had a 4 mile commute and rode it every day to work and loved it. It was much fun to ride and like you pointed out downsizing to small bikes just lets you experience stuff you don't on bigger bikes. My wife didn't quite become as attached to her scooter, but I think it was mostly because of the 10" wheels. It was fun to ride, but it beat you up and small potholes were always having to be dodged. I would kept her's and enjoyed it myself, but it was pink and didn't matched my helmet!
The Blur on the other had 13" wheels, handled corners like a dream and brakes that were amazing. Unfortunately the motor decided to go boom when a friend was riding it. I don't think he did anything, just something let loose. Its been siting as a garage ornament for like 3 years now. One day, I might part it out.
My wife test rode a Vespa 250 one time and loved it, so we might have scooters in our future again. The SportCity 250 was always one I admired too and thought it would be a fun one to ride.