Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Fuck Chuck and Hold the Cheese

Reesey Monster had his first birthday party invite to Chuck E. Cheese about two months ago. Garrett's been invited several times but I had always been successful in finding a way out of it. I told Reesey that if it rained and I couldn't change the oil in the truck that we'd go. Mother Nature be damned.

Monsieur Charles' place is about 20 minutes away so it wasn't going to be a quick trip no matter what. The three of us got there at about 2:00 and found the parking lot completely packed. I knew I was in for trouble. The first bad omen greeted us as we entered the building. It seems they stamp you and your kids' hands with a matching number so that nobody except you can leave with your kid. Makes sense I guess, so the three of us were stamped with the number 6. That's right. 666. My first trip to the place and we've got the mark of the beast. Beautiful.

As we walked in I took a quick look around and couldn't believe how crowded it was. How in the hell am I going to order food, find a place to sit and let my kids play on some of the rides in under 8 hours? Why in the hell did their mother pick TODAY to go on a day trip with her friends? I decided it would be best if we stand in the longest food line in the history of the world first (killin' time, killin' time baby), then try to elbow some people out of the way on the kiddie rides later (that's personally my favorite part). I'd say we stood in line for 20 minutes before we finally got to the front of the line. One large pizza and some freaking tokens came to $20. Chuck E. Cheese is an overpaid tyrant. This I know. This they know - if your kid is screaming for something, you'll pay just about anything to shut em' up!

They give us 3 empty cups, which means we have to get our own drinks. Doesn't surprise me. They also give us a little card with a number on it so that when our pizza's ready, some loser kid with zits can take 30 minutes to search this hell hole to find us. And get this, our number was once again six. Freaky. (Note to self - stop and buy lotto ticket on the way home). Anyway, we push and prod our way around and finally find a booth in the corner by the stage. You might be thinking the same thing I was, "Why the heck is there a stage?" Well, apparently someone thought it would be a good idea to have alarmingly loud animated shows with animal figures that literally scare the shit out of little kids. Smart thinking, dorks. The little girl next to us was all nice and calm, eating her Cheerios, when suddenly the curtains open and these maniacal creatures from the pits of Hades start singing about picnics and baseball and all manner of crap, at a decibel level equal to that of a fucking jet airplane. She freaks, then the kid next to her freaks, which causes some kind of toddler-freaking (and I mean that literally AND figuratively) domino effect that ripples throughout the entire building. After that, the show culminates with Chuck E. himself and two of his flunkies actually greeting kids at their respective tables. I've seen this phenomenon before at Disney World. To a 2 year old, Chuck E. Cheese and/or Mickey Mouse aren't cute. To a 2 year old, Chuck E. Cheese and/or Mickey Mouse is a six foot fucking rat. More screaming, more parents having to change their kids out of poopy diapers. I'm now thanking my lucky stars that my boys are older than 95% of the other kids in here. Poor schleps, I don't think Pampers makes enough diapers for this place. Thank God the show only lasted a few minutes.

After most of the parents finally calm their kids down, our pizza arrives. Or should I say, our $20 piece of cardboard covered with cheese arrives. I take a quick peek to see if the little shit next to me has eaten all of her Cheerios and, if so, can I survive for the next six hours on what she's left. It doesn't look good. I try covering the pizza with the parmesean and spices they have at the table and take a bite. It's not working. More parmesean. Still not working. Throw a few Cherrios on top. G-Dogg gives me the "you're embarrassing me" look. Okay, I'm going to just have to bear down and eat this crap. I manage to keep 2 pieces down and then I waive the white flag. It looks like the Chuckmeister got me again.

I suddenly realize that we're there for a birthday party and I forgot the present in the car. So I tell G-Dogg to sit right there with the Reesey Monster and I'll be right back, not realizing that I'm about to go face to face with another dork kid with the common sense of a bag of hammers. I try to leave and we have this exchange:

Dork: I need to see your hand.
Me: What exactly for?
Dork: I need to see if you have a number on it.
Me: I think you're getting confused about this number thing.
Dork: No. I need to make sure your number matches.
Me: Umm…matches with what?
Dork: Your kid's number.
Me: Wow.
Dork: Sir?
Me: Do you see a kid with me?
Dork: Oh, I guess you're right. Thank you and come again.
Me (mumbling): I hate you. (Ok, that's not what I really said)

I go outside to get the present, only to find that it's some kind of unwritten rule that you don't leave your kids unattended at Charles In Charge's place (Who knew? That's what their mother gets for sending me, doesn't she read those cute little emails women send around about men being stupid?). I got the ugliest looks from parents I've ever gotten. I could have sworn they knew about the 666 thing. And it wasn't like I had the fact that my 7 and 5 year old were sitting in there alone tattooed to my forehead, but their powers of deduction were strong. After I get the present, I walk in and have round two with Dork.

Dork: Welcome to Chuck E Cheese. I need to stamp your hand so that everyone in your party.
Me: Stop it. Just stop it.
Dork: Sir?
Me: Don't you remember me? I just walked out after a very cheery discussion with you a few minutes ago.
Dork: Oh yeah.
Me (mumbling): I hate you more than I ever thought was humanly possible. (Again, I'm sure you can deduce what I REALLY said)

I walk in and see my kids sitting right where I left them. After I get back, they want to go play. I guess the cardboard they ate had a little protein in it. Okay, here we go dude. Be strong. I fight my way past a sea of white trash moms and kids and manage to get within a few feet of the play structure. They want to play some basketball game and they and ask me for a token. It's at that point I realize that I left them on the table...waaaaaay over on the other side of the building. I backtrack and try to make my way over there. It's funny what kind of thoughts go through your mind at times like these.

"Why did I have kids anyway?"
"I could probably hide in the bathroom until this is all over."
"What's that smell?"
"If I tell them somebody stole the tokens and I lost my wallet, I could probably get out of here."
"God, if you get me out of this I swear I'll never have unprotected sex again."
"What IS that smell?"

I make it to the table and find some snotty nose kid going through the cup of our tokens. She looks up at me with this shocked look, drops the cup, and runs off screaming. Hah! Finally something to smile about. I go back through the mass of humanity and hand them each a token. Apparently, while I was gone they decided to ride this car ride. So, they strap themselves into their respective cars and I'm expecting this thing to just take off and do all kinds of neat things. Insert tokens. Push "on" button and…..

Back...and...forth.
Back...and...forth.
Back...and...forth.

That's it? That's all? You've GOT to be fucking kidding me.

They both look up at me all confused and I can tell they was expecting a little more too. It goes off after about 15 seconds, so I kick it.

Another Dork Kid: Don't do that!
Me: I think it's broke.
ADK: It's not broke. These are kiddie rides. They aren't going to do much.
Me: Yeah but...they need to do something. My boys would have more fun crapping in a diaper like the rest of the rugrats around here.
My Boys: Dad, give me another token.
Me: For what? How about I keep the tokens and I'll hold you guys over my head and shake you up?
My Boys: Dad, quit being silly.

The next hour or so is pretty much the same thing. Hand token to my boys. Push "on" button. Watch Chuckster get rich off of ignorant fools like me. I did see one thing that looked pretty cool that we ended up trying. This...ahh...thing takes a picture of your kid and makes a printed sketch of it. Looks easy enough. The boys sit down in the booth and I try to get them to sit still long enough to look a the camera.

~click~

A picture of G-Dogg's left ear and Reesey's hair. Great. They try again and this time, I try to place their heads in the direct view of the camera with my hands.

~click~

A picture that looks like I am strangling them. Even better. If Child Protective Services sees this I'll be taken away. I guess that wouldn't be so bad. At least I wouldn't be here.

I finally convince the boys that enough is enough and it's time to go. All we have to do now is get past Dork.

Dork: Thank you for visiting Chuck E Cheese. Have a good day.
Me: Don't you want to see our stamps?
Dork: No. I remember you from last time.
Me: Yeah, but I didn't have my kid with me.
Dork: But I remember you.
Me: You eat paste don't you?
Dork: Why do people always ask me that?

We finally get to the car and the boys pretty much pass out once they sit down. Why wouldn't they? I mean the whole trip was made in a shade under 4 hours. The moral to this story? I don't have one. Anybody want to buy some tokens?

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