Friday, January 23, 2009

One Week with Wii

Last Friday, I picked up my Wii. Friday night when I got home, Doug had been busy scraping the “popcorn” off the ceiling in Ian’s bedroom. We decided on a dinner of, well, I don’t even remember what… that was a week ago!!! Anyway, I was too pre-occupied with getting my Wii set up to see how/if it worked.

OH! I remember now!!! I decided to cook some spaghetti at home so I could set up my Wii. While the sauce was heating up, I began making my Mii. When Doug came down from Ian’s room, I showed him… “It kind of looks like you.” While I cleaned up after dinner, Doug headed into the den to set up a Mii for himself… after that, we opened up the games; Wii-Sports and Mario Kart.

We were familiar with the bowling (at least I was) so we started with that. It took a little while for Doug to get the hang of it; he kicked my b*tt! I expected that. We went to the training section of the disc, he kicked my b*tt in most of the exercises except the Power throw. Somehow, I managed to get a bronze on my first go-‘round. Huh! Go figure! Then we checked out the golf. I’m not a golfer, so holding the remote seemed awkward. The other games we looked at required two remotes if we were going to play 2-player; my second remote was on backorder with Amazon as a bundle with Wii-Play. So we ejected the Wii-Sports and put in Mario Kart. Doug tried it first. Popped the remote into the little Wii wheel and off he went! Not bad. Then it was my turn. He laughed so hard at me as I crashed into walls and objects and fell off the side of the road into outer space. But I did kind of figure out how to get some power boosts and stuff that he didn’t figure out… Anyway, that’s gonna take some more practice on my part.

On Saturday, I had a class at Johnson & Wales University. They offer “Chef’s Choice” classes for people who are not regular students. This class was called “Basic Cake Decorating.” The cake was already baked for us. The Italian Buttercream frosting was already prepared for us. The marzipan was already colored and measured out for us. The chef demonstrated the procedure for cutting one (frozen) cake into three layers; brushing each layer with a simple syrup; filling and spreading seedless raspberry jam on one layer; spreading buttercream on another layer; frosting the top and sides of the cake, getting it even and smooth. Then creating the marzipan rose. I thought mine came out pretty, well, Pretty. Take a look!

The demonstration cake was cut up and we were able to sample it! The simple syrup the chef used was infused with some rum. I think that added a nice flavor to the raspberry and buttercream. I didn’t do that with my own cake, but if I make this again at home, I will definitely do that!

We got out of class much earlier than I had expected. So I got home and rescued Doug from the scraping by cooking him some soup and grilled cheese. Then we had cake for dessert. This one is mine:

For dinner, we had to plan for dessert, so I had a salad, with fat-free dressing, at a local restaurant called Showmars. Doug had some sort of pork dinner that, as we walked into the restaurant, smelled like carnival/ or fair food. He ended up having way too much food on his plate, but he did his best to finish it all off. “Remember,” I said, “we have cake at home for dessert.” At home, we had a re-play of night one… getting further in the bowling training; getting better scores in bowling and Doug tried his hand at some more Mario Kart.

Sunday, I needed to do some laundry. Still planning out my meals to include cake, I decided to make a Weight Watchers friendly 3-Bean and Pork Chili. So I headed off to the grocery store. $58 later, I was on my way home with my ingredients. There were some ball games on this day, so we didn’t play much Wii before we headed off to bed. We mostly just used it to check out the weather and the news.

By now, I’m liking the Wii, but I haven’t become addicted. I also haven’t broken out the Wii-Fit which was the whole reason I went on the Wii-quest in the first place.

Monday evening, I tried my hand at a few games of bowling, a little bit of the training and checked out the tennis and baseball. Ugh! I s*ck! So I tried to back up and head over to the training exercises for the tennis and baseball. And just before I headed off to bed, I opened up my Wii-Fit. I had purchased a silicone cover for the balance board, so I put that on and put the batteries in. I took the instructions up to bed with me. I read through them just before I turned out my light and went to bed. The weather man was calling for 3” – 6” of snow in our area for the next morning and I was looking forward to trying out my Wii-Fit and going into work a little late.

Tuesday morning, I expected to wake up to a bright, glowing room, illuminated by the reflection off the winter wonderland outside my window. But as the alarm went off at 5:15, I realized my room was still dark. What the…? I got up and peered outside. NOTHING! I headed downstairs and bundled up to take Denali out.

She’s been funny the past couple days… the cold weather is new to her. There have been times where, when she’s squatted to do business, a strong, frigid breeze comes up across her bottom and she jumps up and runs back into the garage, “Nah, Ize donts haz t’do bizzness rite now.” To be completely honest, I was totally looking forward to spending some Doggie/Mommy snow time together.

My driveway was dry. There was just a dusting of snow along the edge where the grass and driveway meet. There was also just a little in the valleys on my car. Bummer! So, I got her back inside and gave her breakfast. I put the gate up between the den and kitchen and headed into the den to inaugurate my Wii-Fit. (Haha! Get it? “Inaugurate.” Fitting since this is the same day as President Barack Obama’s inauguration.)

So much set-up before you can get into it… 30 minutes later, I’d only done about 4 minutes of balancing exercises and the thing tells me I’m “Unbalanced.” I bet there are a lot of other people that know me better than my Wii-Fit that could have told you I was “Unbalanced.” The one good thing that did happen during my first session with my Wii-Fit… my first body test tells me that my Wii-Fit age is 30!!! I’m thinking that’s really more of a matter of beginner’s luck than anything. But I’ll take it!!!

Wednesday morning, the alarm went off at 5:15… oh, so cold. Just a little snooze. Reach over, hit a button… brain engages, “That’s not the snooze! That’s the OFF button.” But the music didn’t go off, so I try again with the correct button, the snooze button. Roll over, re-comfort myself… 75 minutes later I look at the clock. 6:30. Sleepy brain not registering… I’ll just wait for the alarm to go off… should be going off any minute… actually, any second. Where’s the music? What the…?!? I must have gotten that thing turned off somehow… That, or I slept through the music when the alarm went off again. No Wii-Fit for me this morning.

Wednesday evening, Ian calls to tell me some good news. He’s been rushing a fraternity at school. There’ve been recruitment activities for the past 1.5 weeks. He’s just been informed that he got invitation to a bid dinner on Friday night! It’s invitation only!!! Could this be? Is he receiving a bid? We’re crossing our fingers. He calls back later, “Dinner is dressy. Could you send my dress shirt, Sports Coat, and shoes? Oh, and I’ll need a tie and a belt.” So I spend a good portion of the night trying to track all this stuff down to send to him. Reminder: His bedroom is under renovations and has been completely emptied. All the contents of his room are somewhere in the upstairs spare bedroom. So finding this stuff that he needs is more difficult than it sounds. I call Doug, “Have you seen his dress shoes? How about his ties? Are they in your closet?” Doug informs me that this particular week, he’s commandeered one of Ians’s well-fitting, new dress shirts and his most classy, preppiest tie! Figures!!! Now, I hate to admit it… but as all freshmen do, Ian has put on a little weight since he started college. I find five pairs of pants, khakis and dress, that still have tags on them. They are all the same size, WWxLL. But I wonder just how much weight he’s gained. So I call Ian back, “Ian, those pants you have there at school… what is the waist size?” He states that they are the same WW as the new ones at home. I inquire about how those pants are fitting. He’s assuming that I’m bugging him to lose some weight, “I’m working on it.” I explain that I’m not trying to press him to lose weight… I just want to make sure that if I send him these pants, they’re going to fit him and make him look nice for the dinner. I begin to wonder if I need to take a trip to Raleigh on Friday to take him shopping.

So, it’s later at night before I have a chance to turn on the TV and Wii. But I do… “Oh, it’s late… Aren’t you ready for bed?” the Wii asks me. Meh. If I’m gonna do it on Wednesday, it’s gotta be late. Checked out some yoga, Hula Hoop, step aerobics and leg lifts. I like the step aerobics, but for some reason, my brain cannot comprehend the steps that are coming up. I tend to get in a groove, “up, up, down, down…” and keep going. When it’s “up, up, side, side…” I tend to mess up. Then the Wii pauses to give me some pointers… but I just want it to keep going… I’ll figure it out!!!

Thursday morning… no Wii Fit. Nor Thursday night; I had to go get some new tires put on my car… that took longer than expected. Then, Doug is home from G’ville and we’re catching up.

Friday morning, the alarm goes off at 5:15 and I’m up. Down to take Denali out and turn on the TV and Wii. It tells me, “You skipped a day… you know, you’ll get the best results if you workout EVERYDAY!!!” I work through my favorites, adding a running session and manage to get 30 minutes of Wii in (actually it’s about 42 minutes of Wii, but only 30 minutes of logged exercise time.) Then it’s off to take a shower, run to the cleaners to pick up some of Doug’s shirts (one of Ian’s is in the bunch) and head out on the road to Raleigh. Yes, I decided to make the drive up to see my boy. We had a great day! Lunch, shopping, hugs! What could be better???

The Wii Fit seems a little slow right now. I guess because we’re just starting out and just learning how to do the activities. Some of them don’t seem like they last long enough to get benefit from them. I’m hoping that as I continue, the activities will become longer in duration and I’ll feel like I’m getting some benefit. Right now, all I feel are tight, squeaky, old hips. Maybe I need to lay off the Hula Hoop until I get a little stronger.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wii Wait...

Monday, no call.
Tuesday, no call.
Wednesday, no call.
Thursday, no call.
Friday, no call.


All week, I've continued the search for my Wii Console, locally. You know, just in case something happens and Circuit City falls through. Why are they so difficult to find? It's been three weeks since Christmas. On Friday, I found one listed on EBay. It was local. So I emailed the seller and asked if we could waive the shipping fees and arrange a pick up point in Charlotte. The seller responded that an arrangement could be made. So I placed a max bid of the cost of the console + NC state sales tax. Though I was the highest bidder, the reserve had not been met. I did not bid again. I'm just not willing to spend more than retail on this thing!

Before I left the office, news had broken that Circuit City was given permission to begin their bankruptcy liquidation. UH-oh. What does this mean for my Wii?

When I left the office, I sat in my car waiting for it to warm up some. I called the store number on my receipt. "Circuit City, How may I direct your call?" "Hi, I was calling to find out if your truck has come in today." "Yes, our truck has come in." "Did you have any Wii consoles on it?" "Yes, we did." "Oh, I had been able to pre-order one and I didn't get a call that they were in." "Oh, well, that was supposed to be an automated call. You didn't get it?" "No, but if the consoles are in, I'll be over there in just a few minutes. Thanks."

I get to Circuit City and head straight for the Customer Service desk. I hand them my receipt and tell them I'm here to pick up my Wii console. "Did I just speak to you about 15 minutes ago?" "Yep, that would be me!" Another friendly cashier walked over and stood on my right side. He pointed to my left and said, "Are those your car keys over there?" As he said this, he snatched up my Wii console and tucked it under his arm to hide it from me. "Aa-aa!" I said as I nudged him, "You can be my best friend. You can come to my house to play it, but I'm gonna need that back," and I pulled it back out of his hands. "Well, I'm gonna have plenty of time to do that..." It was all very friendly and jovial. We had some nervous laughs about all these employees losing their jobs in the very near future. I felt bad for them. I asked if they had Mario Kart in stock and another salesperson said, "Yes, I believe we do. Do you want me to get that for you?" And off he went to fetch the game for me. Even with the knowledge that they were all out of a job, they were all very friendly, helpful and thankful that I was still shopping with them and said so as I took my purchases and headed for the door.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wii Quest (cont'd...)

Thursday, 1/8 … Gamestop is listing them as available in the stores. The closest store to me is in Shelby, NC. So I call… “Gamestop Shelby.” “Hi, I was calling to find out if you have any Wii consoles in stock.” “No, we don’t. We’re not even open yet.” “Oh, well, when are you opening?” “Well, if the installers get here today, we hope to open tomorrow.” “Well, do you have any Wii consoles for opening tomorrow?” “No… I don’t know why the website says we do.” “Oh, OK. Thank you.”

Walmart is listing some at local stores… I call the only one listed in Charlotte… No, she doesn’t know why the website is listing them. She doesn’t have any.

Friday, 1/9… more online searching… nothing.

Saturday, 1/10 … more online searching… nothing. So, I’m guessing my best bet is the Circuit City. I do an online search for the closest CC’s to my home. And I call each of them… “Do you have any Wii consoles? And what time do you open tomorrow?” Store A: Yes, 11:00… vouchers will be handed out at 9:00. Store B: I don’t know. Store C: We only have the Wii Fits. We open at 11:00. We’ll give out vouchers at 9:00. Store D: We don’t have the Wii’s but we’ll be able to hand out vouchers for pre-order. We open at 11:00.

I make my decision to go to Store A in the morning. Set my alarm and head off to bed.
Sunday, 1/11 … I wake up before the alarm clock. I get up and head downstairs to take care of Denali and let the cats out. Doug and I leave the house by 8:00 am. We drive to Circuit City, Store A and get there just after 8:30. There are a bunch of cars in the parking lot and I’m feeling defeated. There are three guys standing outside the store (each smoking a cigarette) and they acknowledge me as I walk up to the group. “You here for a Wii? I’ll be another 30 minutes before they hand out vouchers.” I nodded my head that I understood. 10 minutes later, the three guys headed inside. I had incorrectly assumed that they were also waiting for a voucher, but they were just on a smoke-break! WOOHOO! I’m FIRST in line!!! Doug tried calling his sister and Ian to make sure they didn’t also want a Wii. It looked like we were in a very good position to get mine and maybe one more. Over the course of the next 75 minutes, four more women and two men showed up to wait. The original 3 guys came out for another smoke break about 45 minutes later. We all turned and looked to them for news of the vouchers. “The managers are still in a meeting. They know you’re here and they’ll be out as soon as they’re out of the meeting.” It was about 9:30 before the manager came out to tell us about the availability of the Wii’s (and Wii-Fit’s) “We have no Wii consoles in stock. They didn’t send us any. But they did give us the go-ahead to allow pre-orders for three of them. The Wii Fits, we have six here and in stock. My assistant manager, here, will hand out vouchers as soon as he gets them printed up. Then you can go and have breakfast, or whatever and come back when the store opens. Just make sure you’re back before 12 noon to make your purchase." At this point, we determined that our little group, the Sunday Morning Circuit City Gang, were going to snatch up all the vouchers that would be available. Everyone would be able to get what they came for. Another guy drove up and, with newspaper in hand, headed for our group and we had to tell him that all the vouchers were spoken for. Around 9:45, the assistant manager came back out with all the vouchers and distributed them. I was thoroughly chilled as it was about 48 degrees outside while we waited.

Doug and I went over to the Target (in the same shopping center) to just look to see if they had any Wii’s in stock… Nope. So we browsed their other Wii items. Three of the women from our SMCCG also were found in the Wii aisle of the Target.

Then Doug and I headed across the street to have breakfast at the Golden Corral. Around 11:15, we headed back to the Circuit City, where we browsed the flat panel TV’s (maybe a 26” for our bedroom?) and the Wii games and accessories. I took my voucher to the customer service desk and paid for my Wii. I’d already begun hearing of Circuit City’s financial difficulties, so I made sure my purchase was put on a credit card for protection… Just in case there ended up being a problem. “We’ll call you when it comes in. Thanks for shopping Circuit City.”

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wii quest...

Costco? Nope. Wal-mart? Nope. Target? Nope.
Best Buy? Nope, but "If they're in our flyer on Sunday, then we'll have them Sunday."
EBay... sure! If you want to spend an extra $100 or more... so that's a no go for me.
Circuit City? No, but we'll have them Sunday. Oooh! I ask, "How does this work?" CCGal: "We'll start handing out vouchers about 2 hours before the store opens." Me: "What time do you open on Sunday." CCGal: "10:00 am" Me: "Thanks."
Check online again... Nope.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wii, Wii ... Where can you be?

Wal-mart? Nope. Target? Nope. Best Buy? Nope. Nope. Gamestop? Nope. Toys R Us? Nope.

... repeat - with same results

... repeat again

... and again

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wii... Wii Fit!

At the beginning of the year, we placed Denali in “Canine Camp” and headed to Raleigh with our son. It was time for his winter break to be over. He’d moved into a new room in his dorm and he wanted to get in there to organize it before he needed to investigate where his classes would be and purchase his books.

On Saturday night, we met up with Doug’s oldest son, Douglas and his new fiancĂ©e, Christina. We had a great dinner and headed back for Douglas’ condo to have our Christmas. We didn’t stay long, as Douglas and Christina had just gotten back from a trip to the Outer Banks and they were pretty worn out.

On Sunday, I wanted to be able to get on the road by 1:00 so that we could be back home in plenty of time to pick Denali up from Camp. (Another story from another trip to Raleigh, we ran into traffic that made us 20 minutes late picking her up. But the folks at the Camp are so kind; they stuck around for us to get our baby.) So we had a tight schedule for Sunday morning. Skip breakfast; get Ian to his dorm at 9:00 am; help him organize his new room; take him to the grocery store for drinks and snacks; get a nice lunch with Ian before getting on the road. Oh, and Ian decided that he might want a TV for his room, so he wanted to squeeze in a trip to Best Buy to look at what they have. At this point he hadn’t met his new roommate yet, so he didn’t know if he was even going to need a TV. His roommate has a big TV sitting on top of his dresser… however; the room is divided down the middle by both boys’ dressers and desks. It didn’t look like Ian was going to be able to watch his roommate’s TV, unless the boys got along and rearranged the room.

I don’t like Best Buy. I think their return policies stink. But Ian keeps getting gift cards to spend there, so he keeps going. He eyed a 26” flat panel hdtv. It was a Dynex. And once he fiddled with the settings on it a little, it actually looked better than the bigger name TV sitting next to it.

As you know by my previous post, I’ve been considering a Wii. At this point, I’m rationalizing it by saying, “Well, my company gives me a $400/yr fitness allowance. If I get the console and the Fit, that almost equals the allowance.” So I headed for the video game section to look. A small table was set up in the back of the store where two employees were talking. One said to the other, “it’s going to be a boring day, sitting back here with all these Wii-Fits.” Wha---? Wii-Fits? Hmmm… maybe I should investigate. “Tell me about this, Wii-Fit.” They had 41 of them. But no consoles. “Well, you have a 30-day return window if you decide you don’t want it, or you can’t find the console.” So, I think to myself, it’s after Christmas, the Wii rush is over. How hard can it be to find a Wii console? I purchased the Wii-fit. As I took it out to the car, I had several approving nods and grins from strangers in the parking lot, “Oh, you got the Wii-Fit!” Odd.

Now, to find the Console…