We are on semi-vacation this week, doing a lot of day trips and trips that involve being gone one night. We started this weekend by visiting my brother-in-law’s family in Maryland.
We had planned to leave relatively early Saturday morning. At some point in there, I found all this water on the kitchen floor, and assumed the toddler had spilled something. So I wiped it up. Then, when my husband was in the kitchen a few minutes later, he asked what all the water was. Again, I assumed it was residual spill, but we looked closer, and it turned out water was pouring out of the pipes under our sink, was warping the wood of the kitchen floors, and had already seeped through to the basement ceiling. Good times! We turned off the water and called a plumber, who could come see us early this week. We drove toward Maryland. Then, about half an hour down the road, the plumbing company called my husband’s cell and said they now had an opening and could come see us in about half an hour. So, we made a quick decision to stop in Wilmington, and put my husband in an Uber to go back to the house. I continued on by myself with the kids.
Destination: a Baltimore branch of Chuck E Cheese’s. When we were in the car I’d texted my in-laws to say we were on the way, and got back a response “Should we just meet at Chuck E Cheese?” Apparently my husband had had a conversation with them earlier about doing this. It’s probably a good thing no one told me because I have been avoiding that place for as long as possible in my parenting journey. Indeed, I had managed to convince my kids that there were no locations around us (not true; there are several). So now not only was I on my way, I would be sans partner (do I think my husband created the kitchen leak to get out of going to Chuck E Cheese? No. But that is an idea, now that I think about it).
The place was as chaotic and garish as I had imagined. The older three were OK, as long as we kept plying them with tokens (I charged the 9-year-old with finding his siblings to give them more tokens, as I could not keep track of them). The toddler went completely nuts. He would try to pull other people off their games, and he kept dashing off, and when I picked him up, he would kick and scream. On more than one occasion, he lay his little body face-down on that dirty carpet and kicked his arms and legs. Gross, gross, gross. Part of the anger was hunger. He refused to eat the pizza. I can’t say I really blame him.
Anyway, I lasted about an hour and a half before I loaded them all in the minivan with their candy prizes. The kids, of course, loved it. (Fun fact: my 4-year-old kept calling it “Chuck E Jesus”). Here’s hoping none of them figure out how to Google Chuck E Cheese franchise locations and notice there is one a mere 18 minutes from us, or I may be on the hook for three birthdays there in a row.
In other news: I’ve been pondering my negative reaction to Chuck E Cheese given that I kind of like boardwalk arcades. Maybe it was the absence of ocean breezes in that strip mall location?
In other other news: Photo taken about 90 minutes into the minivan trip home on Sunday. It should have taken less than 2 hours. It took 3.