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Earlier this year, my son returned from Boy Scouts and called a family meeting.  In order to fullfill the requirements for a merit badge, he needed to track his money for 13 weeks and plan to make a major purchase with and for the family.

He chose a Nintendo Wii.

He came to us with plans ready. 

Jobs to earn money?  Shoveling snow, weeding gardens, washing cars, cleaning for people, cat sitting, bunny sitting… there was not a stone this boy did not leave unturned.

Reasons for buying a Wii?  We all enjoy gaming and there are quite a few Wii games that promote family togetherness.  We could bowl together in Wii Sports, race one another in Mario Kart, that sort of thing.  His brother piped up that Mario Party 8 would work fantastically as a family game.

We decided this idea would teach him a lot and we wanted to support it.

He proceeded to spend his weeks tracking his income and promoting his services to anyone he knew.  For our friend, Aaron, came furniture moving.  (Which really turned out to be my son bailing to go to scouts and me helping Aaron haul this into his upstairs spare bedroom.)  To Kate there was dishes and vaccuming.  My mother received help with housework and organizing a 3,000 book library.  Next up comes the room of fabric!

Now, did I mention his risking life and limb?  Or at least, healthy breathing?  After his cancer, my son’s lungs are not real friendly with bad air.  Smog and smoke make him wheeze.  Do you really want to know about pet dander?  Walking into my mother’s two-cat house or Kate’s one-bunny house makes his eyes red and runny and his nose close up.  He downed more allergy tablets in the last three months than probably the last three years combined.

He scrimped, he saved, he worked his little fingers off.

We saw his total rise in his Wii Fund container.  Ten bucks became fifty which became a hundred.  Recently he crossed the $200 mark and never have I been prouder of him. 

These infernal contraptions, however, are no easier to come by now than at Christmas.  So we decided to start looking, hoping maybe by the time my son earned enough, we could get a Wii.

So began The Great Wii Quest.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.  We were checking from time to time and following the Wii News.  Last week we began in earnest, however.  No Wii’s to be found. Anywhere.  On Wednesday we heard from someone in Super Target that the advertisement in the next week or two would contain a Wii.  That meant at least five would arrive on Sunday morning.

On Friday, we headed out to scour the town.  Hoping beyond hope to not need to go out on Sunday.  We do not shop on our Sabbath, and Caramon wanted so much to abide by that.

We’re going Wii hunting

We’re going Wii hunting

We’re not afraid

We’re not afraid

Got my trusty Wii Fund

Got my trusty Wii Fund

And my brother with me…
And my mommy with me…
And my friend, Kate, with me…

Caramon sang as we drove to every store in town.  At 5:00 PM we struck gold.  Three Wii’s at the Game Stop in the mall!  Alas, other Wii hunters tapped that vein out hours before.

So we went home, planning to pick a store and stalk it for the weeks to come.

Saturday night, while at Kate’s house, the phone call came.  My mother saw Wii’s in the Walmart Ad.  I thanked her and immediately called the wife of my Walmart contact.  She raced to call her husband, at work.  Within an hour we had news.  Yes, they would go on sale at midnight but there were only nine.  Her husband could not save us one in the guise that he wanted to buy it and the store?  Packed to the gills.

My husband and I decided to try the other Walmart.  It does not seem to draw near as many people to it.  Maybe, just maybe, it would work. 

The clock read 11:46 and I power walked to the Wii department.  Jumping over stock and ducking around the few customers in the store I reach my destination.  And… empty.  I could not even find an employee.  (Hey, it is Walmart, can you EVER find one?)  After tracking one down, we get the news.  Fifteen and they come out at midnight at the “site to store” location.  (For those of you not in the know, this is the former lay-away and where you can pick up purchases from the internet.)  Zip.  Zip.  Zip.  I’m there.  And I am it. 

11:51 and I am number one in line.  Numero Uno.  The way I saw it, that meant I was about to get a Wii.

I called Kate.  I called my Walmart contact’s wife.  I called my friend Ewok.  And I wait.

Midnight, the line queues up behind me.  Only five of us waiting, eager for our Wii’s. 

Out comes the Walmart guy and a shopping cart.  He greets us cheerfully as he opens up the first box.  And out comes… OUR WII!!!!!

I tell Wok on the phone, she proceeds to tell the yahoo live chatroom.  Cheering all around from the internet crowd!  Cheering from the people in line.  Cheering from me.

I swipe my card.  My poor son could not keep his eyes open long enough to even go into the store.  I feel so bad for him still.  I clutch my purchase and head for the van. 

Opening the door, I said, “Hey guys, guess what I have?”

Caramon sat strait up and his bleary little eyes opened wide.  “A Nintendo Wii?????!!!!!” His exclamation filled me with so much joy.  I handed him the box he worked so hard to earn.  He wrapped himself around it, and as he fell asleep he murmured he would finish raising his money as his thirteen weeks drew to a close.

He carried that Wii inside the house and told his sister, our foreign exchange student.  She gave him a high five.

I went ahead and set the Wii up so as soon as he woke up, there could be some mad Wii action on his part. 

The Great Wii Quest of 2008 had drawn to a close.  Now, it is the quest for money for games.  He still owes us a little bit of money, but it is OK.  He made us proud earning nearly the whole cost of the system in about ten weeks.  His pride at such an accomplishment is payment enough for covering his shortfall.  He did not think he could make even half of the money required. 

Many thanks to my mother, Kate, Aaron, and everyone else that helped in his endeavors with the Wii Fund.  And thanks, Kate, for Cooking Mama so we have something besides Wii Sports to play!

–Lady O

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