Mission Hatchimal

WTF is a Hatchimal? (And how I found one at Target!)

If you know, you know.

As in … you may be panicked Santa isn’t going to be able to find one…or, er, have the elves make one for your little cherub…before he leaves for his world-wide journey on December 24.

Hatchimals, people. They’re THE toy this Christmas. Apparently these things are gonna be like Cabbage Patch Kids circa 1983. Maybe they already are judging by this ominous warning on the company’s website?! (Click it to make it larger, if needed.)

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I had seen Hatchimals in a Target weekly ad in early October and thought, “WTF is a Hatchimal?”. (Yes, Mom, the “F” in that stands for “fudge”… Mmmhmm…) (Ok, I’m not kidding anyone here. You know me better than that by now. :)) After hitting Google for some quick info, I realized Grace would be all about Hatchimals. She loves stuffed animals and loves taking care of things. So a robotic furry toy that hatched with her help and needed her care for a bit after shedding shell? She’d be all in. Advertising on all the kids’ stations must have also happened at that point, or very soon thereafter: sure enough, within days, Grace was asking if I had heard of Hatchimals, told me all about them and said she’s putting one at the top of her Christmas wish list.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was in Target doing some Halloween shopping. I saw an end cap FULL of Hatchimals, and thought to myself, “Oh, there are those things Grace likes.” I briefly considered whipping out my Santa hat and grabbing two but my rational inner voice shouted what I now see is very misguided advice like: “It’s fiscally responsible to buy only what you need right now.” and “It’s not even Halloween, you have plenty of time before Christmas. There are tons of them – you’ll be able to get one later!”. So, while my smug inner voice gloated,  I walked right on past that end cap FULL of Hatchimals. Santa probably cried himself to sleep that night as he thought of how foolish I was. At least I had the pride of only buying what I went in for…you know, like the ginormous sacks of Twix and Hershey’s bars for trick-or-treaters ;). The fact that I only bought what was on my list is a ridiculous part of the story in and of itself. Who sticks to the list on Target runs? Not me.  Not ever. I soon realized my inner voice was actually channeling the Grinch and trying to ruin Christmas. (Ok. That may be slightly dramatic.)

By the week leading into Halloween, Hatchimals were on sale at seemingly all retailers for $10 off the regular price. I think that same week Target was also offering an additional 20% off all kids toys online (or something equally as enticing in an attempt to get wallets to open sooner than Black Friday). I thought this was my chance to grab one. Meaning I thought this was my chance to start my Christmas shopping early. With all of the savings stacking up, I giddily went online and clicked through to put one in my cart.

Those of you that know Hatchimals…well, you know what happened next.

Yup. Not available online.

I next chose the option to search local stores.

Nope. Not available within 100 miles.

For kicks and giggles, I searched zip codes of friends and family back east.

Nope. None.

Ugh.

Two weeks prior, I hadn’t even heard of these things. Now? Impossible to find, and I had a Santa Mission on my hands. I hadn’t even handed out my Halloween candy, and I was now thinking about a Christmas gift I might not be able to find. What the hell happened?! How did I get here? Oh yea, my practical inner voice Grinch. My heart sank further when I saw they were on eBay and other reseller sites for over $200 already. Yea, no. I did find one at yoyo.com for $80. Still no – they were on sale for less than $50, and were first retailing around $60. I mean, Santa loves Grace and all, but hells no no no! He’s not overpaying for something just because it’s at the top of the wish list. Especially because I felt pretty confident I’d be able to get any Hatchimal I pleased quite easily and on sale for her birthday in April…way after the Christmas rush. LOL.

So, unwillingly and seemingly over night, I’d become a Hatchimals stalker. I am not proud of this. Frankly, I was annoyed at myself for worrying about this.  Yet, here I was, checking every website daily, Google searches on how to find a Hatchimal, etc. etc. Like all full-time working women with a husband, some kids and a dog, I’m usually pretty bored , so I am glad I added Hatchimal stalking to my list – hahaha! My morning ritual became: wake up, lie in bed and read / answer work emails, lie in bed and search multiple retails sites for Hatchimal stock status, head down stairs and start the day. Usually without any Hatchimal success.

This past Thursday, however, was a little different. I decided to get right out of bed instead of lying there reading emails and stalking Hatchimals. For my Facebook friends, you’ll also remember this as the day that I woke up and spent 20 minutes making my kids’ school lunches on a day they had off – hahaha! So after brewing coffee and making unneeded lunches, I settled into my armchair at 6:00 a.m. to read some emails and stalk Hatchimals.

It was then that I noticed Target switched their availability information to ‘In Stores Only’. Yea, this is how frequently I’ve been checking – I noticed this tiny detail. (Don’t be jealous of my coolness! Ugh.) I clicked through – and my local store said they had LIMITED STOCK available (in aisle E3).

Dork alert: I was literally giddy with excitement. This was the universe making up for my wasted lunch-making time, right?!

I checked what time the store opened (7 a.m.) and quickly calculated that if I left at 6:45 a.m., I could be there for store opening AND be back in plenty of time for Kenny to leave for work. Oh, and plenty of time for me to go to work, too. (Haha!)

I shared my plan with Kenny who looked at me like I’d lost my mind. In fairness, I pretty much had. Hahaha. But I had such a good shot at getting one – I had to try! I mean, who else was up this early planning this shit out?!

I peeled into Target (ok, I was going the normal speed limit, but “peeled in” adds some oomph, doesn’t it?) and was walking through the front doors at 7:03 a.m. (Yea, it was pretty much still dark out, but I took solace that I followed another woman in.)

DORKIER ALERT! My adrenaline was high, and my mind was in overdrive, “Wait. Why is that woman here? Who comes to Target this early? Yea… That’s right – other Hatchimals shoppers.” This conspiracy theory I was forming? That was nothing compared to what I did next. Feel free to unfriend me. I deserve it. One of my friends told me last week menopause could actually be starting even though I am only on the cusp of 41, so imma’ blame this whole Hatchimals shit show on that. Before you ban me from your life, though, keep reading. The next part is truly delicious.

Dudes. I LEGIT tried to beat her back to the toy section. Don’t worry. I didn’t run. (I mean, this wasn’t Black Friday!) But I did zig zag through some aisles so I could walk more quickly than was normal for a 7 a.m. random Thursday morning Target shopper. I beat her to the toy aisles – aisle E3 to be exact and started searching the shelves. BUT,  this wasn’t her first rodeo. She went to the electronics counter. Say whaaaat? They don’t stock these things on the shelves? Holy hell. She was next level.

She scored a Hatchimal.

From my stalker perch in aisle E3 where target.com said I might find one, I overheard the guy behind the Electronics counter radio to the front that he had only TWO left.

DORKIEST ALERT! I went trotting – yes TROTTING – over to the electronics counter while waving my hand in the air and saying – very loudly – “Oooooo! Save one for me! I want one, please! Me! Me! I’ll take one! Woo hoooooo!”. And, yes, “woo hoo” really happened. Over a Christmas TOY.  BEFORE THANKSGIVING. The electronics counter gent? Cracked up. Probably because there was NO ONE ELSE around. Like I didn’t need to go all Price is Right contestant running down the aisle while Rod Roddy announced I could win a …brand new Hatchimal!

I was handed a Hatchimal when I got to the counter. I spied the last remaining one and traded out for that one because it was the specific kind and color Grace wanted. I asked if I could buy both (figuring a friend or two might also be on the hunt and I could help them out) and was shot down. So dumb. But I guess when there’s a black market for toys …you have to put a limit!

I was grinning ear-to-ear on my trek to the checkout lane. Biggest part of Grace’s Christmas? Done! Woo!

On my way out, the store manager pointed to my Hatchimal-filled bag and said, “Looks like someone’s having a great morning!” HAHAHAHA! That actually made me feel slightly – SLIGHTLY – less crazy. She knew. She appreciated the difficulty in tracking these things down.

I was back in the car and heading home by 7:13 a.m.  (As you see in the header picture above!) The whole ordeal lasted 10 minutes – hahaha!

If there’s one thing I learned, a Black Friday morning shopper I am not. The whole experience of racing out of the house to get a deal / product was new for me. Can’t say it was my favorite (as in, I’ll be on my couch Black Friday morning with a hot cup of coffee! haha.)

Anyway, in the event that your little one(s) is having pre-Thanksgiving dreams of sugar plums and Santa and Hatchimals, I’ve outlined some tips based on how I happened upon mine at Target…in case it helps!

  1. Target has changed their availability to In Stores Only.
  2. Check Target.com frequently – like daily! I had success by checking target.com first thing in the morning.
  3. ‘LIMITED AVAILABILITY’ seems to mean that they have them in stock, but they’ll sell out right away. If you see this – head right to the store!
  4. Don’t assume they’ll be on the toy shelves like normal toys – that’s too logical. Ask at the Electronics counter.

How about you? Do you like Black Friday shopping? Do you have Hatchimals on your list?

 

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National 9/11 Memorial Reflecting Pool

National 9/11 Memorial Area in Photos

In August, I was in New York City for work. Our office is located right across the street from the World Trade Center site, and over the years, I’ve watched that area transform from a recovery site to what it’s becoming today – a poignant reflection and memorial area punctuated by a nod to the future with the construction of One World Trade Center.

It’s funny – in all the years I’ve worked for my company, I’ve never been brave enough to visit the Memorial area. As I noted last year around this time, today (and the days leading into today) make me incredibly emotional, as I am sure they do for so many of us. I knew that visiting the Memorial would drum up those exact feelings and emotions. However, in August, I found enough emotional courage to visit.

I typically stay in a hotel just on the other side of the Memorial area, and usually have views overlooking the site. This time, I decided to walk through the Memorial area to return to my hotel instead of going around it.

I am glad I did.

For me, the reflecting pools were overwhelming. Looking into the footprints of the North and South Towers is shocking. And remembering that they stood 110 stories high and were an iconic part of Manhattan’s skyline…shudder.

Save for the family leaning against one of the reflecting pool walls housing a bag of Doritos (Really, folks. There HAD to be a better option for a snacking location!), I found the space to be a beautiful memorial. It was interesting to watch others around me take it all in. Moving. So moving. For the most part, people were quiet. Running their fingers over the names. Standing and staring at the water falls. Looking up at One World Trade Center. Many posed for pictures. I took a ton of pictures, but I am not sure I could pose in pictures. It doesn’t feel right for me yet. It’s a “tourist attraction”, yes. But it doesn’t feel like one I’d gather the family around for a group shot the way I would in front of Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World. It is wildly different, and for me, not something I need a snapshot of myself experiencing.

I don’t personally know any of the victims of those terrible events. But, like so many of us, I felt I did. They represented all of us – hardworking Americans who started that Tuesday like any other day. Innocently. Looking forward to getting through the day and running home to see loved ones. Heading into work without a single inkling about what was about to unfold. No thought that our lives – all of them – would be changed forever and forever haunted by the memory of this horrific event.

I spent time walking around each of the reflection pools, running my fingers over names, and silently wishing their loved ones peace while trying not to cry. I was so incredibly touched by the names of those bearing a token of affection – a rose, a flower, an American flag, and the names of expectant mothers featured in memoriam along side of their unborn child.  Truly not forgotten. Truly loved.

At one point, a plane flew over the site. Still eerie to see, even 13 years later. I noticed I wasn’t the only one who stopped what they were doing to look up. I am pretty sure I will never feel comfortable watching planes fly over tall buildings. Forever changed.

As I continued on my walk back to my hotel, I happened upon FDNY Ten House, the home of FDNY Engine Co. 10 and Ladder Co. 10, and the FDNY Memorial Wall. The home of the first responders, who lost six of their bravest. Their station has been rebuilt, and it will forever pay tribute to the 343 brothers they lost that day.

I am glad I took the time to visit the memorial area. I was able to pay my respects to those who gave all that day. And, it was a good reminder to cherish every. single. day. Every one. Without fail.

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Mele e Pere - Glass Apples & Pears

On the Road – London: Mele e Pere (the best meal I had in town)

The best meal I had in London was at Mele e Pere (a London trattoria in SOHO), courtesy of my savvy U.K.-based friend and business partner. He’s Italian by birth, and much of his family still lives in Italy. His restaurant choice proves he knows the sustenance of his people. It was really special, all around.

Amazing food aside, they had homemade vermouth. I had never partaken, but had a glass with our starters and it was delicious. Amazing food and homemade vermouth aside, the space was sharp. You enter upstairs are are greeted with a wall of colorful glass apples (mele) and pears (pere) and a few hightop tables. When you descend the stairs (Gorgeously tiled stairs, I might add. Sad I didn’t get a photo.), you are greeted by a rustic sideboard that doubles as the cashier’s station. To the right, there’s a fully stocked bar. And just ahead, are a number of rustic table tops and industrial stools and chairs. Exactly my design taste. I wanted to make an offer to take all the furnishings and decor home with me. Considering a regular suitcase is at least $25 to check, bringing furniture from London to Portland would have been *slightly* cost prohibitive. (Never mind crazy.)

If you’re ever in town, I highly recommend a visit! You won’t be disappointed.

 

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