Sunday, March 30, 2008

Where a Kid Can Be a Kid...and a Mom Can Lose Her Mind

I have one line to put here that will strike fear and extreme sympathy from every parent reader of this blog...

Weekend Birthday Party at Chuck E. Cheese

Today I was sucked into the abyss of hell and spit back out completely ravaged, over-stimulated, germ-ridden, and exhausted by what should have been a simple birthday party for my daughter's classmate.

Now, if you are Pro-Chuck E., I will go ahead and apologize. My stance will highly offend you. But, I should say up front that I have had an average experience at this establish only once or twice in my life EVER. And, I have two kids so I have had my share of visits to this place.

With that said, I feel like it is my civic duty to inform parents or perhaps future parents of the world of the perils of the house of the mouse, strike that...RAT...from hell.

From the smell of the crowds upon arrival, I knew we were in for the stereotypical Chuck E's trip--crowded rude parents yelling at their snot-nosed, ticket-obsessed, and ill-mannered kids; borderline disgusting food and the most impersonal birthday party you can imagine.

My biases were only reaffirmed today. And, then some.

Not only was the party completely chaotic, as much as the well-meaning mom tried to keep it from being, we barely saw my daughter's school friends and the party girl the entire time. And, when it came time for the birthday song, her song had to be shared by the 4 other huge tables of birthday parties going on at the same time. She didn't even get a special visit from the main mouse to tell her happy birthday .I tried to keep smiling, and thank the host family for inviting us.

During game time I stood strong--trying to always be within about 3-5 feet of my daughter as she flitted from half-broken ride, to let-down-because-it-is-lame-or-too-short game. Please, God, let this end soon. Oh please, let her grow bored and agree to save her tokens for another visit. Sigh...I would not be that lucky.

When it was finally time to cash out from our 1-1/2 hour party, and we had accumulated 57 tickets. This was mainly thanks to the pimple-faced teen employees who walked around throwing tickets up in the air, causing near mass hysteria among the kids, as the older ones trampled the little ones who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

3 ticket-eating machines.

That's all there were in this entire, huge place.

So, we stood in line. In what looked like a shorter line, that turns into your basic grocery store checkout experience when you realize after about 10 minutes that the two people in front of your shorter line have between them around 700 tickets to feed through the machine. @#$@#!!!

Still, I kept my resolve. We would get our ticket tally soon, damn it. Finally, we cashed out, then another 15 minutes wait in line for the toys--which was well worth it (smirk) for a cheap plastic ring, an ugly plastic bracelet and a mini tootsie roll pop.

As tired as I was, I escorted my daughter out to our car only to find every scary person that lives within a 30-mile radius of Mouse Hell standing around our car, acting suspicious.

Then, I had a blond moment. OK, I had a couple of them back-to-back.

I kept trying to open my SUV's door and the key controller didn't work. So, I resorted to opening it by keypad and let my daughter in the front. Still perplexed by why my key remote didn't work, I got my daughter buckled in and jammed the keys in the ignition.

The key would not turn. I was certain the steering wheel must have been doing one of those lock-down things when you park and turn it too far. But, it would not release. And, the car is hot and won't start and my daughter is whining.

Another scary person pulls up and eyeballs our car. @#$@#!

Moments of panic as I think--what if someone messed with our car and they're going to jump us if we get back out of it? Even the most simple criminal mind must recognize the best time to catch a mom off guard is after a trip to this nightmare of a place!

Finally, the weight of the keys in my hand makes something trigger in my weary mind. I looked down and realize, the entire time I was jamming my husband's car keys into my ignition, and I was trying to open the car doors with them as well. In my defense, his keys resemble my own quite closely (same car maker) and they do fit all the way in the ignition. But, still. He had way more keys on his chain than my own. You'd think I'd have noticed that. Sigh.

Once the right key was in and the car had started, I noticed I had 3 unheard calls from my phone while I was in "Rob Me. Please" for the past two hours. Yes, it was my husband calling asking if I had his keys as he and my son were stranded at home unable to do what they'd planned while we were out partying it up. Whoop, whoop!

After apologizing and explaining to hubs that I would be home ASAP, I explained that I simply HAD to stop and get a drink (I wasn't offered a flat and watered down soda at the "Kill Me. Please" party) or I was certain that I would throw up right then and there.

Daughter commiserates, even though she's had two bowls of ice cream, a cupcake, a slice of pizza and lemonade--yes, she would definitely throw up if she didn't get another lemonade too.

As we pull up to the drive-thru, daughter manages to make me laugh through tired tears when she announces that we should order "diarrhea coke" instead of lemonade. What? I ask. She repeats "diarrhea coke." Then, it dawns on me that she's talking Diet Coke. I decide I like her new name better as anything other than real Coke tastes like diarrhea in my mouth usually.


As I'm sitting in the drive-thru, awaiting my perfect drink with the perfect ice, an alarm jolts me from my drowsy-but-wanting gaze at the chocolate sundae sign. Oh, yes, that's right...I was supposed to fill up with gas on the way to the party. And, of course...I forgot.

No problem. I'll just stop and get it in a moment. I am sure I have plenty left to get us most of the way to the...

8 gallons? I have 8 gallons left?

Friendly carhop slowly strolls over with our drinks accompanied by an odd look on his face as he takes the only cash I have--the $20 bill I had not broken at Schmuck E. Sleeze. He gives me the drinks first, then as I'm putting straws in, I watch him pause and then hand me $17 with no change. The guy smiles smugly and walks away.

WTF, dude? You are stiffing me my 62 cents change back? Excuse me? What, you don't wait for the tip now--you just TAKE it?

Because of my kid party hang-over, I decide to NOT open up a can of whoop-you-know-what on the car hop for taking advantage of me for 62 cents and I pull away--with 7 gallons left in my tank.

Daughter takes two drinks of the lemonade she must have or she will also throw up and then falls into a deep coma...unable to awake until about 20 minutes before bedtime. Nice.

I barely make it to the gas station--4 gallons left. Whew! That's almost a record. Then, I remember the day that it actually went to zero and I still didn't run out. Hey, now! This gas-guzzling SUV might be environmentally un-PC, but that big tank is good for something!

Celebratory pro-SUV chanting ends in cursing as the big tank fills up and I look up to see another $82 bucks down the drain on God-forsaken fuel.

I wish I had a happy ending or maybe a funny anecdote to wrap this all up with. But, all I have to say is someone is going to have to pay me to go to that place on a weekend ever again. And, I never thought I'd be happy to almost be to Monday, but I am.



Blogger LadyBugCrossing said...

That "rat" will get you every time. I'm so glad my kids are past that.

5:21 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger kristi said...

GIRL, you have me laughing my butt off. (Well I wish some of it would fall off!:) )

1:38 PM, April 07, 2008  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

Kristi--you let me know if it does fall off. We might be on to something here! (It wouldn't hurt me to lose a good half a cheek on each side. Hahahaha!)

3:45 PM, April 07, 2008  

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