Chuck E. Cheese

February 6, 2007 at 5:16 pm 2 comments

On Sunday morning, Ann and I took three kids to Chuck E. Cheese in Roanoke.  When Ann called to invite me, she was preparing for a hard-sell.  Little did she know, I love Chuck E. Cheese!  Brian Nenninger and I are fully grown, but will still make a visit when we are both in the Northern Virginia area to play skeeball.  So as soon as I heard the venue name, I was in.  I was so in, in fact, that I woke up early on a weekend– an honor usually reserved for long hikes.  Going to Chuck E. Cheese with children is a different experience, that’s for sure, but I found it just as fulfilling.  Some snippets from our visit:

It’s a Miracle!
All three kids (Penn, his friend Ana and his little sister Gwyn) had never been to Chuck E. Cheese before.  Yet, they all seemed to know whole-heartedly that they wanted to go.  When we arrived, the two five year olds ran up to the building and pressed their heads against the window to get a sneak peak of what was inside.  Instantly, they both turned around and started to jump up and down out of pure joy. 

They quickly pressed their heads back against the window again and soon Penn turned around to call to his mother, “Mama, mama, hurry up!  It’s a MIRACLE!”

Penn declares a miracle while Ana still looks inside

I sure have been seeing a lot of loose interpretations of what constitutes a miracle this year!

Friendship vs. Fun
Ana and Penn fell in love with a 4WD truck ride.  Basically you put the token in and the truck jiggles around like it is on a rough road and then it culminates with the truck bucking up on its rear wheels. 

Ana and Penn enjoy the truck ride

Penn grew tired of the ride before Ana.  After he wandered off wide-eyed at all the sites and sounds, Ana asked me to ride with her.  I declined but she begged.  “Come on, please, please, pllllleeeeeeeeezzz!” 

Earlier this year, I was enjoying a moon bounce with Penn at a local skating rink when suddenly an announcement bellowed over the loud speaker, “Just as reminder to our guests, adults are not permitted on the moon bounce.”  I looked around and realized that it was all little kids jumping around… and Vicky

I certainly didn’t want a repeat of that humilation, so I checked the truck ride for any kind of restrictions.  There weren’t any so I complied with Ana’s wishes.  She and I got into the truck and inserted our token.  The truck bounced around, but never reared up on its wheels.

“I wonder what’s wrong,” I said, “Do you think I’m too heavy?”

Suddenly my presence was no longer important to little Ana.

“Yes,” she said matter-of-factly, “Get out!”

Token Thief
Ann and I ordered our pizza, got everyone’s drinks and secured what we thought was an ample supply of 100 tokens.  Ultimately, we spent 180 tokens– so our initial estimate was about as accurate as my programming time estimates. 🙂  We gathered up shoes and coats and were taking claim to a table.  As we were getting settled, an older boy, perhaps 8 or 9, undeterred by the adult presence ran up and STOLE a token right out of our cup.

“Hey!” Ann and I simultaneously yelled, but he didn’t even flinch.

We exchanged appalled glances.  The nerve of this boy!

Ann needed to change Gwyn, so I was left as the guardian of the tokens.  Could you believe it?  This kid aggressively approached me on two different occassions and tried to take tokens right out of my hands!!!  I suspect my animal experience assisted me in changing poopy diapers.  I found the animal experience to come in handy in this situation as well.  Just as if I was arriving home with fresh french fries, I instinctively held the precious goods high up, rose a knee and let out a harsh, “Ah! ah! ah!” 

Later Ann and I discovered that this particular boy did have some kind of mental impairment…which is actually a bit relieving.  It was very easy to forgive his actions.  Later he was under the constant supervision of his father.  The boy still occassionally stole things from us, but the father returned them within seconds.

Friction at the Skeeball Machines
There is someone I encountered at Chuck E. Cheese that I’m having a harder time forgiving.  While the kids were running around through pipes and playing games, Ann and I decided to earn some tickets playing skeeball.  It was still early at that time (11ish) so no one else was playing.  Ann and I were the only occupied machines.

At one point, Ann had to go check on Gwyn, so she momentarily left her machine unattended.  She left her tokens, her phone and her drink at her spot.  Almost immediately a little boy came up and started to put a token in Ann’s machine.

I used a soft apologetic tone (I imagine it to be very similiar to the tone I sometimes use when I ask a waitress for half sweet and half unsweetened tea) and said, “Oh, I’m sorry, do you mind moving over one machine?  My friend is using that one and she’ll be right back.”

Apparently the boy’s mother was in earshot.  She did not use a soft apologetic tone.

“My son can use any machine in here just like you and everyone else!” she snapped at me.

Now it wasn’t like all the machines were occupied and I was hoarding a precious commodity here.  EVERY other machine was empty.  And it wasn’t like I was ordering her son around.  I was asked him if he minded moving over.  I still do not believe my request was unreasonable. 

I explained further to the mother, but there was no winning her over.  She’s going to continue to hate me until the day she dies.  I did get to keep the machine though.

“Well, it’s Sunday, so we’re just going to be nice and let you have it,” she said in a decidedly unnice tone and stormed off.

Suddenly for the first time in my life, Skeeball held no appeal for me. 

Luckily, I rebounded.  Later, when that mean lady was spotted far from the Skeeball machines, I joined Ann, Ana (who abandoned her original technique of chucking the ball overhand) and Penn for some final games.  Even little Gwyn rolled a few balls.

Penn plays Skeeball.  Ann and little Gwyn are on the very right.

My scores sucked, but it was still Skeeball and hey, I wasn’t getting yelled at by irate mothers, so bonus!

All my pictures from our visit to Chuck E. Cheese are available on my Flickr site.

Entry filed under: Ann, Brian N, Gwyn, Penn, skeeball.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. India Alexander  |  June 20, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Why dose nothing on my computer work?

  • 2. tgaw  |  June 20, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    Well good news, posting comments does appear to work! 🙂


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