Since we didn't have power this evening, I took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese for dinner and some fun. I also owed this to Andrew since got to page 100 in his workbook at school.
Anyway, if you haven't been before (or haven't been since you were a kid), Chuck E. Cheese is a pizza joint with games and big kid-sized-habitrail setups. They also have a scary, syrupy stage show of animatronic animals in a band and a full sized Chuck E. Cheese guy in costume that will likely result in nightmares for me and the boys this evening. I seem to recall it being a more regular arcade when I was growing up, but now it caters to young children (like lower elementary).
As you walk in, you have to get your hand stamped in special ink so they can verify you're leaving with the right kids (like I'd want to take more kids than I came with?!) This is a nice idea in principle and makes people feel OK to let their four year olds run around unattended while the Stepford wives chat amongst themselves. However, since we managed to leave tonight without being checked and Michelle has seen unstamped adults leaving with kids, it's clearly not as robust a a scheme as you'd think. I never let Michael out of arm's reach and scan for Andrew every thirty seconds.
The games are a mix of arcade games for little kids and midway style machines that return tickets depending on how well you do. If you get a few thousand tickets at a quarter a pop, you can cash them in for great prizes like Matchbox car knockoffs and bad candy. A bargain at twice the price.
Half the games are broken. The floor is dirty from a million 4-5 year olds running around in their socks and bare feet, spilling soda. The whole place makes me want to take a Lysol shower afterwards. I just get the willies being there.
Worst of all, my kids love the place. Just love it. They can't wait to go back. So, we'll go back.