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Archive for "Toys"

My Friend Chris Wilson

Posted on August 21, 2020 by under Community, Hobbies, Toys.    

My friend Chris Wilson and I recreated our Wichita Corporate Challenge picture from last year. So much has changed since then. At the time, I was playing with my first big girl pickleball paddle – a Selkirk S1C. I’ve switched to four different paddles since then. I first switched to playing with a Prokennex Pro Speed because I ended up with really bad tennis elbow. Then, when my tennis elbow started to feel better, I let my friend Jon talk me into switching to the Onix Evoke Premier, which is the paddle that local pickleball superstars Lucy Kovalova and Matt Wright use.

Then, all of my friends started playing with the Engage Encore MX 6.0, which is the paddle you see in the pic below. Both Chris and I started playing with it around the same time. Almost everyone in our Friday night pickleball group plays with this exact paddle. I think there are only a couple of people who use different ones.


Anyway, I’ve since moved on and switched to playing with an Electrum Pro. It’s the first pickleball paddle that I’ve fallen in love with and chosen for myself. All other paddles I’ve ever played with were recommended to me by other friends (Selkirk – Gregg Smith, Prokennex – Jimmy Cho, Onix – Jon Maugans, Engage – Debbie Fanning). The Electrum is the first one that I’ve chosen for myself after demoing. I actually thought I would be the first person to play with one as my regular paddle (Patrick Smith has one – it’s actually the one I demoed – but he wasn’t playing with it because he was still playing with his Engage) in town but my dad actually beat me to it. Dad bough and got his Electrum Pro about a week before me.

Back to Chris Wilson. I met him at Paul Haas’ (another pickleball friend) church about a year and a half ago. I had no idea that he and Paul both worked for Evergy (Westar Energy at the time) until Paul actually retired. Anyway, I was looking for a partner for the pickleball tournament portion of the Wichita Corporate Challenge and I was going to ask Paul at first and then Paul told me that Chris also works for our company. Unlike Paul, he isn’t retired, so the two of us teamed up.

Anyway, Chris is a really good pickleball player. When I first started playing, I was mostly playing at the West YMCA with a bunch of beginners. There were some better players but then they started not coming around. I found out later they were playing at the the West Heights United Methodist Church (Paul’s church) down the street instead. It was like a secret place. It wasn’t published on the USA Pickleball Places2Play site. You just kind of had to know about it either through a friend or you were invited. I remember being so excited when I finally found the church.

I met Chris on my first time there. I was still very much a beginner so everyone was so much better than me. My friend Gregg Smith, who I know through Brian (because he is an Edward Jones client), paired me with who he said was “the best player” there on my very first game, and that “best player” he gave me was Chris. I think our first game was me and Chris vs. Gregg and another guy. I was a newbie who needed some “babysitting” so I was grateful to have Chris as my partner.

A few months later, Chris asked me if I would play with him in a tournament. I was so flattered that he thought I was good enough to play with him until I found out it was a pickleball tournament for senior citizens. And then I wasn’t sure if I should feel insulted that he thought I would be old enough to play in it.

Another funny story I have about Chris happened a few weeks ago. We have been playing in some recreational (but still somewhat competitive) mixed doubles at the park on Sunday mornings. The first time we did this format, I played with my friend Michael Cheung who I have played with in past leagues and tournaments. Jimmy Cho, who organizes this play, makes it Sadie Hawkins dance style where the girls ask guys to be their partner. I assumed we were picking partners from “Jimmy’s boys,” a group of mostly Asian guys who Jimmy has been training and mentoring. Anyway, I noticed that other people invited non-Asian guys to be their partner so I decided that I would invite the best player I know for the following weekend and texted Chris Wilson.

Anyway, he immediately replied back that he was already playing with Kim Knotts. About that same time, I saw that Kim replied to the group chat with the ladies that she is playing with Chris as her partner. It was understandable as the two of them have been playing in tournaments together so it only makes sense that they would want to continue to team up even for rec play so that they can have lots of practice. But, not to be outdone, I decided to ask another really good player who also happens to be left handed same as Chris.

When Chris turned me down and I found another partner, I texted him back saying that I found another lefty to play with me. Well, we have a famous lefty in town, Cody Courter, who is super amazing. So he texted back and asked if I was bringing Cody. I didn’t reply because I wanted him to chew on that little niblet for a bit. I also wanted the element of surprise.

That Sunday I played with Tom Pham, another great pickleball player who happens to be a lefty. Tom is amazing and we did really well that day. I might not have brought Cody but I got the next best thing. LOL. Tom and I have since teamed up for mixed competitive league at Chicken N Pickle on Thursday nights and are also doing well in that league.

There are several guys who are really good and super fun to play with and I am grateful that they are willing to play with me. Kim has Chris pretty much on lock but I did get to play mixed doubles with Chris some over the summer. And, I also get to play with (and against) him every week in our normal Friday night group at Nahola that Debbie organizes.

One last little story about Chris. I’ve gotten a lot better at pickleball since the very first time we met and don’t really need much “babysitting” anymore. Whenever Chris and I play together, he actually lets me handle things instead of taking my shots to help me out. Anyway, he’s noticed that I actually play better against him than with him and he’s made a comment about it a couple of times.

After one particularly good game where me and my partner beat him and his partner he asked, “How come you don’t play like that when you’re playing with me?” I think I revert back to “beginner Ching” when we play together and still want him to do some “babysitting” because in my mind I think he is amazing and his shots are going to be way better than mine so I end up not taking shots I should be taking and just expect him to take care of everything.

For instance, I’ve gotten a lot better at chasing down lobs and he’s seen how much progress I’ve had in this area so then we get lobbed he expects me to “handle” it whereas before when we first started playing he would have to chase all of them down (because I simply did not have the skills to deal with them properly). So now that he knows I am capable he expects me to take these but in my mind I’m still thinking he will take care of these. I don’t think I have this same mental challenges when I’m playing with other guys who didn’t know me as a beginner. And I think this is why I seem to play much better when I’m playing with other people. Because I don’t expect them to “babysit” me like does.

Anyway, that’s pretty much my Chris Wilson stories. It’s Friday and that means we’re playing tonight. I am so excited! I love Fridays because I get to play pickleball for four hours nonstop. Until next time. GNG.

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This Year’s Valentines Gift

Posted on February 17, 2019 by under Life, Toys.    

We didn’t have time for a Valentine getaway this year and so we decided to buy ourselves a present instead. Brian had been wanting a new TV and, as it has been almost ten years since we bought our last one, I guess it was time. The TV we’d been looking at last year that was $4000 had just gone on sale so it was a sign.


We had musical TVs in preparation for our newest addition. Brian moved the one above the fireplace to the garage. The one in our bedroom went to replace that one and then the 55″ in the basement went into our bedroom.


I’m not really a fan of having TVs in the bedroom but what can you do?


Here are a couple of pics to show you the difference between the old TV and the new TV. It’s so big that it barely fit on our TV stand.


We should have had the GeekSquad guys mount the TV to the wall when they came to deliver and set up the new TV but we didn’t have the foresight to buy a wall mount at the same time. We thought the TV would fit on the stand. However, after a few days of it barely fitting on the stand and Brian not feeling comfortable that it wouldn’t fall off, we finally caved and went back to Best Buy to get a wall mount for it. (Incidentally, the wall mount is now on sale for $79 and our TV is on sale for $300 less than want we paid. Darn it! We should have waited! I hope we remember to wait until Presidents’ Day ten years from now when it’s time to buy another TV.)


Dad came over last Sunday to help Brian get the TV mounted. Here are a few pictures I took while they were working.




Finished product.


Brian spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the wires so it actually looks much better. I need to get a new pic. Anyway, that’s pretty much our Valentines gift for each other this year. (I suppose this is better than the year we got each other his and hers handguns for Valentines.) We are so unromantic! LOL.

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Meet Brian’s New Buddy Billy

Posted on July 2, 2016 by under Toys.    

Remember how Brian “didn’t want to do anything” for his birthday this year? Supposedly, he just wanted to stay home and play video games all day. I got him a satchel and a matching wallet, and I thought I was going to get off really cheaply this year. I got him the bag because he had been complaining about his wallet and keys wearing his suit pockets out and not being comfortable and stuff. Then, of course, you have to get the wallet that matches the bag because it looks ridiculous otherwise. Anyway, I thought those were going to be his birthday presents. Silly me.

I made the mistake of asking him what he wanted for his birthday (since we weren’t taking a trip or doing anything major besides dinner with the family). That’s when he springs the Robomow request on me. Anyway, you can’t ask and then change your mind.

“Just kidding, baby. I already got you your birthday presents for this year. Sorry about your luck.” That would be a terrible thing to do, specially since he’s been super amazing. He’s the best husband ever so he deserves to get his wish.

So there you have it. That’s how Billy came to be part of the family.


I don’t have a good video of it working but as soon as Brian makes a good video of it, I’ll post it here for you guys. I know several people are curious about it.


I hope he picks something cheap for his birthday next year.

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Finally Got Alex Fixed

Posted on September 6, 2015 by under Babies, Toys.    

Remember how I messed up the front bumper of my car a couple of weeks ago? I got half a dozen quotes ranging from $855 to $1140. I didn’t want to file an insurance claim so I was going to have to take care of all of it out of pocket. My first instinct was to go with the lowest quote but Brian talked me out of it. He wanted to go with the highest bid because that was Carstar and they took good care of Bebot when we got rear-ended last year. It’s a lot of money so I decided to sleep on it.


The front bumper looked fine at first so I thought I would let it ride. I figured I had a few weeks or maybe even a couple of months before it got really bad and I actually had to get it fixed. Well, after our recent trip to Kansas City, it actually looked pretty bad. I guess the vibrations from driving 80 mph for three hours didn’t help matters any.


We ended up going with Carstar not just because Brian always gets his way but because their estimate was the most thorough and we’d used them before and been pleased with their work. Brian really likes them. Brian dealt with someone different last year. Ray worked with us this time and he was super nice. Plus, he is over punctual like me and you know how much I like punctual people.

We set up an appointment to drop off the car on Wednesday at 7:30 AM, when the shop opens, and when we got there at 7:15 AM, Ray was already there. I really appreciated that because it meant that I didn’t have to be late for work that day.


Here’s how Alex looked when we dropped her off.


Carstar not only did great work but they completed it within a couple of days as promised. We dropped Alex off on Wednesday and got her back by 4:00 PM the next day. It was a really quick turnaround.


The front bumper looks great too. I think it looks better than it did before the parking lot mishap. It’s not going anywhere now. The best part? The total came in $100 under the original estimate. We didn’t save that much but every penny helps so we really appreciate it. Huge thanks to Carstar for fixing my baby.

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uBreakiFix Saved My Hiney

Posted on July 19, 2015 by under Toys.    


After I got home from the awesome wine pairing event, I took the dog for a walk and this happened. The phone got caught on the leash and it flung from my hand and landed on the sidewalk. I didn’t even think anything of it at first because I’d dropped my phone so many times before, inside and outside the house. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve dropped it getting in and out of the car. Anyway, when I finally got a good look at it and saw that it was completely smashed, I just wanted to cry. The screen was obliterated. There was no saving this thing.

I couldn’t really yell at Molly because it wasn’t her fault. I think I was a little tipsy from the wine tasting event and so my reaction time as slow. I probably had no business walking the dog but walking the dog is a chore that Brian doesn’t particularly enjoy doing and she wasn’t going to walk herself. I told Brian what happened and, thankfully, he didn’t yell at me. I hadn’t had my phone a year and I’d already broken it.

I knew I had to get the phone repaired. There was no way around that. I depend on my phone for everything because it’s like a mini computer on the go. I use it to take photos, play games, check emails (both work and personal), catch up with people on social media, check my 401k, watch TED Talks and other videos, play my Zumba music though the ZIN DJ app (it’s the main reason I finally switched from Android to iPhone — the app isn’t available on Android), communicate with people via text, and sometimes I even use it for phone calls. The challenge wasn’t getting the phone repaired, we knew exactly where to take it. The challenge was getting the phone repaired in less than 24 hours because I had a Zumba class to teach the very next night and I couldn’t find someone to sub the class because I was the designated sub. LOL.

I love having my playlist conveniently in my ZIN DJ app and cringed at the thought of actually having to burn a CD, which I hadn’t done in a while. We contacted our friends at UBreakIFix immediately. They were closed for the evening but they told Brian to take my phone in the next day and they would do their best to get it repaired by end of business day. Not quite good enough because their day ends at 7 PM and I had to teach the Zumba class at 6:30 PM but we had to take our chances because it was the only shot we had. To top it off Brian couldn’t leave the house first thing in the morning to take my phone to be repaired because he had to wait for the Lowe’s repair guy who was coming in that morning to fix our freezer. Of course, they didn’t show up until the end of appointment window. I couldn’t complain though because the freezer repair was covered by our warranty so we didn’t actually have to spend any money out of pocket for that one, unlike my phone repair which cost a lot of money.

As soon as the Lowe’s guy left, Brian skedaddled to the UBreakIFix store which is clear on the other side of town from our house. Here are some photos he took while they worked their magic. It was really like magic. By the time our friend David was done, my phone looked good as new. Like nothing tragic ever happened to it.

Perhaps the most amazing feat of all was that they fixed my phone in a matter of hours. Brian drove up to my office to bring me my phone and I remember it was hilarious because I called him to tell me when he was in the parking lot. He was like, “I’m literally walking into your office right now.” I was confused. I looked up and he was right there at the door of my office like he said. I guess my boss let him in.

I looked at my phone in amazement. Everything worked. Including my ZIN DJ app. I was so relieved. It cost a lot to repair my phone but it was worth every penny. It seemed like a lot to me because I’d never had to have a phone repaired before but I guess those screens really are expensive to fix. My coworker Josh and I priced the parts (for if you wanted to repair it yourself) and it as just as much as UBreakIFix charges and then you run the risk of messing it up completely if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s best to let the professionals handle it. And, they really are professionals. These guys are amazing. They have the tools and the expertise to get your broken phone back in working order. I’m not going to lie, it’s going to cost quite a bit to fix your phone depending on what’s broken, but if you consider what it’s going to cost you to fix it or what other places might charge, UBreakIFix rates are actually very reasonable.

If you ever need your phone fixed, I highly recommend UBreakIFix. They fixed my phone within a few hours and totally saved my hiney!

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