My child has a somewhat sickening obsession with The Mouse, known to us parents as Chuck E. Cheese. He has seen this more-than-likely-creepy old guy in a mouse costume only once in his life, but has been infatuated with him/it ever since. Being the wonderful mother that I am
not, we planned a trip to visit non-other than The Mouse himself. Okay, I'll admit I didn't plan it at all. It was Pup's idea. The idea of driving over an hour to see a stage full of robotic dancing puppets and a few money sucking over-rated games doesn't excite me too awfully much. But, on a day like today I should have known. For the love of gobstoppers, why didn't I know?!
Today, my friends, just happened to be Saturday, May 2nd.
This probably means nothing to most of you all, but to me it means that the madness will ensue. The magnitude of this madness was unfathomable to me, however, until I stepped foot in one jam-packed Chuck E. Cheese in Knoxville, TN. (Read : Try fitting the population of the entire United States into the tiny state of Rhode Island - full) The normally cheery atmosphere was teeming with screaming dirty-faced children. Bouncing off of walls, hanging from ceilings, literally physically assaulting The Mouse (and me for that matter). These children were dragging behind them bright eyed smiling parents. Not just any parents - the ones you can tell have made themselves all bright and shiny just for this specific holiday. What holiday? No, dear interwebs, it's not an early Cinco de Mayo celebration.
It's check day, of course. Everyone knows that checks come out on the 1st and the 3rd, and I am usually pretty savvy when it comes to knowing what days NOT to leave my house, and the 1st and 3rd of each month are on that list. Well, this month I was deceived - more like completely bamboozled. The 3rd fell on a Sunday so checks came out a day or two early. It took me a moment or two to realize what was going on. At first I just thought that it was a very busy day for said facility. After seeing excited dressed up parents with freshly "did" hair leading dirty barefoot children through the aisles I realized that this was not the case at all.
But it was too late. Before I could warn Pup of the forthcoming disaster the pizza had been payed for and tokens already bought. (It played out almost in slow motion in my head - me sprinting toward my Pup and screaming "Nooooooo" just as the cashier places his receipt in his palm.) There were way too many people in the parking lot and bathroom for me to discretely commit suicide, so I was forced to endure. After driving for over and hour and spending way too much money we couldn't just up and leave - and the kid was so excited that I really hated to drag him out by his feet. Oh, but if I thought I could've gotten away with dragging him out screaming (by his feet) without CPS being called I would have.
I drug the kid around the restaurant looking for a clean table, and after realizing that I wasn't going to find one I rescanned the restaurant looking for a not-extremely-filthy table. Finding one that wasn't too awfully bad I sat down in the booth while facing outward, holding our tray, and making it obvious that the filth on the table was not mine, and that someone should clean it up - someone that worked there, that is. People are bustling by. Others are lined up at the door. Workers glance at me and my dirty table, and keep walking. Pup makes it over to the table, and I am in full panic mode while trying to figure out what to do next, and thinking about the possibility of just sitting our food on the floor and circling around it like wolves. We wait. 10 minutes. 15 minutes. We are just sitting/standing and looking at the dirty table - it's obvious what we're doing, but no one bothers to help. He starts out on a perilous voyage to find a worker to buss our table, to no avail. We practically travel the whole facility begging workers (cashiers, servers, the guy in the button up shirt) to please clean off our table so that we can just sit down. Hold on, I'll be right over, give me just a secondthey all say while rushing off toward other prior obligations. Finally, I find a female worker that actually takes the time to look me in the eye, and I ask her if she will get me a towel, because I will buss the thing myself if it means we can sit down anytime soon. She states that she will do it, but must tend to her birthday party first, but "oh wait, here comes a girl and she might have a towel." She gets the towel from the girl walking by in the midst of customers and heads to our table. Attempting to hold the discarded cups that were left behind and lean over to wipe down the table at the same time, proved to be a challenge for this server - she spills more out of the cups than she has wiped up in the first place. OH.MY.GOD. I want to run out screaming. I take the towel, wipe down the table, and hand it back to her. After 30 minutes of mayhem we are finally seated.
I spent the next couple of hours at this hell-on-earth eating mediocre pizza, fishing my spawn out of the masses upon masses of children that are elbow to elbow, and trying to act like I'm not in the middle of a nervous breakdown. At this point they were not children - they were animals, a herd, a drove if you will. Running, shoving, toppling over one another. At one point I had taken all I could handle and retreated to our table pretending to nibble on some crust.
About an hour and a half into the whole mess the crowd seemed to dissipate, and we were left with almost an arms length between everyone, which was a big relief after our earlier chaotic plight.
The purpose to my long story, if you're still interested at this point, is to say that our government is completely f---ed up. They give 75% of our population a check on the same damn day, and we are left to deal with the chaos. But that, my friends, is a blog for another day.
We made the best of the day, and I managed to keep a happy face on - even if it was only for the benefit of the kid. He ended up having a pretty good day, which is all that matters to me, but I can't the fact that it aggravates me to no end to see decent looking parents out with a hoard of filthy barefoot children. Her kids might not have shoes, but her nails sure do look nice! Oh, and have you seen her new phone? It makes me sick, and it aggravates me to no end to have to push and shove my way around during the first week of every month.
Obviously, I'm not the only mom to
not like loathe the place where a kid can be a kid. Sugarbritches doesn't care too much for the place either, as you can tell in her hilarious post titled Hell Sent Me Back.
If you want to see all of our photos you can visit my Flickr album.
P.S. I should also had that we had an awesome time building Barry the Bear (see last photo above) at Build-A-Bear in West Town Mall.