Friday, January 20, 2012

Make it rain

So, with three weeks left of track-out after the New Year, I did what any of you would do with three hyperactive children; I loaded them up in the van and drove them to my parents' house to share the moxie. Older people are always wishing they had something called "their energy."

Of course, the world's only Chuck E. Cheese's is located in Waldorf, Maryland.  It is a fine place to expel energy.  We are lucky that my parents live in Waldorf.

Teletubbies are weird, even to me.  And I don't have any big toenails.  And I like eating pancake syrup on my potatoes.

The best time of day to go into a Chuck E. Cheese's is in the morning.  There will be no more than six children total if you go in January.  There is limited time to catch swine flu or SARS.

The best part of our experience was when Chuck E. Cheese appeared with a sign that said Follow me for free tickets!  Of course, none of the six kids in Chuck E. Cheese's would follow the giant mouse because the only one who was old enough to read was Natalie, and she was too busy smacking the crap out of some neon-colored moles.  So, the mouse had no other choice but to grab the kids by their shirts and drag them into the free ticket-conga line.

The mouse's trip started in front of the bathrooms.  Then he took the kids through the little kid games to the pizza counter to the prize counter to the big kid games and front of the bathrooms.  Still no free tickets, but approximately six very confused children.

Next, someone plugs in a giant boom box and on comes the Cupid Shuffle, but performed by Chuck E. Cheese himself.  Suddenly, the woman who was cleaning the restrooms hears the music, puts down her toilet brush, takes off her gloves, and joins in the dance party.

It was surreal.  Surreally weird.

The lady and the mouse followed the directions in the song unlike any of the six children he lured to the dance party with the promise of free tickets.  Natalie and Eve slow danced together while Daniel lurched around like a hillbilly who couldn't decide which lucky lady he was going to do-si-do next.  And I use the word hillbilly in the most loving way possible, like Kenneth Parcel, whom no one could hate nor out-dance.

Then, at some pre-determined time, a young guy came out from behind the salad bar, told all the kids to sit down, and handed the mouse a fistful of tickets.  Then, at a distance of fifteen inches from the bewildered children, the mouse made it rain.  As in, threw tickets on their heads and then watched as the little ones picked them up and threw the tickets while my three children knew to stuff as many in their shirt as their hands could grab.  They've stood in line for a lot of pinatas.  They know what's up.

The kids had enough tickets to win lots of cheap crap.  More cheap crap than they've ever won before.  Enough to fill up half of a small trashcan!  Ask me how I know.

In other news, we took the kids to the Spy Museum.  No photography was allowed.  If I told you anymore, I'd have to kill you.

But let's just say that there were lots of things on display that had once been up spy rectums.  The word "rectum" appeared so often it'd make a proctologist uncomfortable.

The kids got spy glasses.  They can see behind them while wearing them.  They think they are now better prepared to level the playing field with Mom and the eyes in the back of her head.

What they are forgetting is that Mom also has ears and the uncanny ability to guess what stupid stunt they are whispering about pulling.  No, you will NOT paint the walls like Olivia the Pig did in that book.  And I have half a mind to write to that author and tell him that painting the walls like Jackson Pollock would not just result in a time-out and a nice supper afterward for the artist.  In real life, I would first take away the spy glasses and then I would send the kids to their rooms to cry themselves to sleep and then when they wake up and come downstairs all puffy-eyed, I'd feed them nothing but lukewarm kidney beans for supper.  Because those are the most disappointing of all the beans and everyone knows it.

Fortunately for them, the eyes in the back of my head and my super-satellite ears work in tandem and I'm usually able to foil such idiot plans before they are ever put in motion.  So no kidney beans for supper that night.  But my dad did make us all pancakes, one of his two specialties; his other is peanut butter and jelly, and I will even admit to liking that peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich he used to make when I was younger.  When I asked my mom if we would be having any fruit or vegetables with the meal, she was apparently too tired after a day with us at the museum to answer, but silently walked to the fridge, pulled out a bottle of V8 and some Absolut Mandarin.

After we all fell into a carb-induced sleep, we awoke the next morning to go to the Museum of Natural History, or the Skin and Bones Museum as Eve calls it.

Daniel was very excited about seeing the dinosaur bones.  He had packed a bunch of plain white paper sheets stapled together and a pen and was ready to roll.  He wrote down the name of every dinosaur he saw.

Then he held up his book with the name of the dinosaur and smiled.

Then he thought it would be funny that the picture we would print out and tape into his book would be a picture of him with his book but no picture and the next time we come we should bring the book with the pictures so when we take a picture of him with his book, there will already be a picture in it.  Or something like that.

Then he did it again.

And seriously.  Can we not stop and appreciate how cute it is for a little boy in yellow glasses to be taking notes at a museum?

I think he's trying to determine the cause of death here.

My guess?  Decapitation.

Eve is looking for Carmen Sandiego.

Natalie was stumped by the horseshoe puzzle.  This made me feel smart because I knew how to do it.    She knows how to turn on the Blu-ray player and I can solve the horseshoe puzzle.  My skill is timeless.

I can also do a Jacob's Ladder like nobody's business, but apparently four-year-olds can, too, so there was no satisfying feeling of superiority to be had there.

I like to think she's determining the histology of her own tumors here, but it's probably just a dead bug.

Yes, pathologist #2 confirms it is a dead bug.

Ok.  I really need one of these in my living room.  I would be known as the queen of badassiest parties.  You going to Christy's?  Heck yes, I am!  She's got EARTH levitating in the same room as her fireplace!  Could she be any badassier?

And then, of course, I would turn our plain old boring hallway into the HALLWAY OF 3D BALLS.

And if I couldn't get a loan at the bank for all the renovations, I guess I could just try to camp out with the Stegosaurus bones.

This trip was proving to be too educational.  We spent the next afternoon watching The Muppets...again.  I'm not embarrassed to admit it was that good.  Interesting to note, the price we paid for three children's matinee tickets in northern Virginia would have netted me twenty-eight and a half crunchy potato soft tacos at my favorite restaurant.  But sitting on my rear for two hours was probably a lot healthier.  I only eat that many crunchy potato soft tacos when I'm carbing up for a hike.

And what could have been more magical than the snow falling when we left the theater?  Well, maybe an actual wizard, but snow would have to do.  We got back home and let the kids snack.

I don't know how clean that table was, but my kids have enough white blood cells to take on the world, or at least Chuck E. Cheese's before the lunch rush.

We got Chinese food that night now that Daniel accepts lo mein as he and every other person in the world should, because it truly is one of those foods that reheats better for breakfast than it did for dinner the night before.  And I got my most favoritist fortune ever: Yesterday is gone.  Today is here.  Let's go with it.

I want to write fortunes for Chinese take-out cookies when I grow up.  My first would read:  Always finish your vegetables.  And don't put anything up your rectum.

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