I’m having trouble concentrating on writing this post. I’m sitting on the bed during Ali’s nap, but totally distracted by the view out the window.

No, not the ocean view. The other window.

The five gray-haired guys (and one woman) sitting, drinking beer, in the KIDDIE POOL.

It seems to me to be an inherent assumption that beer would not be allowed in the kiddie pool, but more importantly,

WHAT is in that beer that would make six grown adults want to sit in a lukewarm pool of toddler pee???

Concerning, I tell you. And distracting.

But anyway. I’ll try to peel my eyes away from their middle-aged pores soaking up baby urine for a few minutes…but it’s just so hard…

(Focus. Focus.)

Since we’ve been doing plenty of this…IMG_0171

and we really wanted to take advantage of this being the last family vacation with ONE kid and NO baby, we told Ali we were going to go do NEW fun stuff. That didn’t involve water.

She was skeptical.

We took her to The Track, which is like a Chuck E Cheese on Steroids.

I know this is a horrible admission to make, but we have NEVER taken her to Chuck E Cheese, so she has no concept of such “fun things”.

Although I loved the place when I was a kid, I have this horrible mental image (perhaps influenced by some of your complaints) of dark lighting, coke-syrup-covered floors, a vermin-covered mouse in the same costume he used when I was a kid with no washes from then till now, nasty greasy pizza, and completely and absolutely petri-dish-of-germs arcade games.

I am far from a germaphobe, but there’s just something about C.E.C. that conjures up the very image of a Meningitis bacterium infected by Hepatitis AND the Stomach Flu.

But it’s about time that she experience the joys of our childhood (stomach flu and all), and The Track has a bunch of bonus carnival and go-karty-type rides too, and, most importantly NO giant vermin-covered-mice, so I agreed.

Our first “fun stuff” was go-karts.

IMG_0256Ali was thrilled with the no-car-seat situation of “little cars” – perhaps the most exciting part.

She got to ride one circuit with Daddy, IMG_0226 and another with Mommy.

Obviously, I had to ask the Most Important Question….and the answer was that MOMMY was the better driver.


They had a little kid carnival area, full of swings, airplanes, and spinning discs that all looked wholly too unsafe to her overly-cautious self.

I begged her to pick just ONE thing in the kiddy carnival to try out…

She she went with what she knew.IMG_0227
As if she hasn’t ridden on a million merry-go-rounds.

But germ-wise, it was probably the safest choice, because it was the LAMEST RIDE IN THE PARK.

Next, we headed inside to experience the Chuck E Cheese part of the trip: the amazing, intoxicating, addictive thrill of winning tickets.IMG_0235
And, for the record, 20 years can go by (or 26 in Chris’ case), and the feeling of richness and accomplishment when those tickets start spitting out of machines doesn’t change one bit.

Ali got Lessons in Proper Skeeballing from Daddy…IMG_0229
And then tried it herself.IMG_0239But unfortunately, the only balls that made it all the way up the ramp were the ones that jumped lanes and, therefore, were lost forever.

She was much more talented at stomping spiders,IMG_0236
Helping me win big at Deal or No Deal,IMG_0244
And giving the Car Racing games very feministically disapproving looks for those bikini-clad flag wavers:IMG_0232
But the thing she loved more than anything else were most definitely…IMG_0251

The Tickets.

And since none of us have come down with Staph Infections, Hepatitis, or Spinal Meningitis yet, MAYBE we’ll consider actually going to Chuck E Cheese at home sometime. Unless you stop me and remind me of that Hepatitical, Stomach Flued Meningitis Bacterium, that is.

But even so, it’s a LOT less germ-filled than the kiddie pool those gray-hairs are sitting in.


17 thoughts on “Token Germs.

  1. Give me a second to stop laughing about the pee pool…
    ………………………………………..okay, I can type now.
    FUNNY! As to CEC, it is actually one of the things that I like to bring the boys to do. Our CEC is really pretty clean, and most importantly, it is air-conditioned! I bring E for when it opens, and the only other people there are a scattering of other preschool moms with their wee ones. The games are only 1 token each, and they have lots of little kid friendly ones. They also have a good/fresh salad bar for me while the boys split a not too terrible little pizza. Not too shabby! Just bring the antibacterial handwash…I do use that several times per visit :)

  2. That adult poolfest is wrong, wrong, wrong. I can't help but notice how non-baby like Ali is looking. She's such a big girl now, and I hope she's also a big help when the baby arrives!

  3. I will say that I had the same memories of the Chuck as you, but I have been pleasantly surprised. The 2 we've taken out kids to have been really clean and the pizza was not that bad. And most importantly (I guess), the kids love it. Grayson asks if we're going to Chuck E. Cheese every time we get in the car.

  4. I love, love, love the top pool pic of Ali! She looks so cute!

    We have never tried CEC…I heard that they took away all the fun stuff and now it is just the arcade games, which didn't sound very toddler-friendly, but it looks like Ali had a lot of fun! Maybe we'll have to give it a try. After the kids go back to school and it isn't so infested with fresh germs. :)

  5. sounds like to much fun… I have never taken my sweetpea to Check E Cheese either. He asks all the time to go. and for the kiddie pool those people better be glad it was only pee in there

  6. Though I loved this post, and the image forever burned into my brain of old man, grey, hair moobs, I have to say that the face pic of you two playing Deal or No Deal is my favorite….the kid posing in the background is awesome!
    And I love Chuck E. Cheese! Though I love Showbiz more, but I don't know if they are even still around…

  7. CEC is WORSE now than when we were kids. It's so depressing. I don't think I'll take Anna there unless I have to for a party of a close friend or something. Ugh, try to avoid.

  8. Hmm…mixed reviews so far!! Y'all are making me even more torn about my feelings about Chuck E Cheese.

    Of course, I could TRY it and make up my mind for myself… but asking you guys is so much easier!!

  9. My oldest is four and we have thus far avoided CEC. She has never mentioned it, and I consider it a gift that she does not know what it is. When I was a kid, I loved it, but I drive by now and feel icky just looking at it.

  10. I'm with Ali, the tickets are the BEST part of places like that!
    I loved going to "Show Biz Pizza" when I was a kid, but haven't been since they changed it to Chucky Cheese. If you went as a kid and you didn't get any terrible disease, then Ali should be fine :)

  11. We've been to CEC a couple of times. Ella gets freaked out by the mouse. Occasionally he'll come out and make the rounds.


  12. The CEC in Vestavia is fun! Lots & lots of tickets to be had and pretty clean.
    Treetop Family Adventure is more arcade-ey but they also have a little bowling thing and miniature golf. I must confess that I did not get a very good look at all the electronic games cause, you know, little outsdoorsguy begged to go back outside…I digress…at Treetop they also have the go-carts, laser tag, and some kind of fancy water balloon fight thing. Oh and there is a little indoor playground but I do NOT think that Ali would like the slide or the tilting tunnel. The slide is fast and DARK.

  13. I never went to a CEC growing up and still have never been in one. I plan to keep Hailie far, far away from CEC because I'm pretty sure the one we have in town is beyond nasty. As for other places like CEC I have no objection to. :D

  14. re: Greyed out pool – ew, LOL!

    Sounds like you guys had a good time nonetheless. :)

    We took our lil' one to CEC quite often and collecting tickets was always her favorite thing to do too. She always came home with little toys, candies, and other goodies that she would spend them on each time. :)

    (and you'd better believe that I kept a bottle of sanitizing hand gel "for good measure", LOL!!!!)

  15. I'm not a germaphobe but the ball pit makes my stomach want to turn. If a kid throws up/has a poppy diaper I don't think the balls are cleaned properly to my liking. This is probably why my mother NEVER took me to CEC. I didn't go until my friend had a bday party and I was SO jealous. Being the youngest of 5 I guess she didn't want to lug us all there.

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