No. Not Disney World. The Place with the Other Mouse.

So it's day three of Natalie and Connor's spring break. So far this week, we've managed to clean the house, do some laundry, get sick, puke a little, do some more laundry and watch Noggin 27 hours a day.

Fun times.

That's a lie.

Today, in a last-ditch effort to escape the walls of this abode, which are caving in on me like ... well, like something that caves in dramatically and with flair, we went to Rat E. Fromage. (Hat tip to the talented Mr. Lileks.)

Purposefully scheduling a trip to CEC during spring break week might be one of the sure signs of insanity. To say it was busy would be an understatement. I think the Skeeball games might have been spitting out full-grown children instead of tickets.

But it got us out of the house. For that, I am grateful. And we got to see one of my favorite people in the world -- my friend Sonjia. She lives in the small town we left last August. I don't get to be with her nearly as much these days, which makes my heart hurt a little. I'll do just about anything to sit in a room with her for a few hours and talk face to face.

So. My observations about Chuck E. Cheese?

1. It's great training for a future generation of gambling addicts. I saw scores of kids standing near the "bonus ticket" games, feeding tokens in one after another with a completely blank look on their faces. They didn't even watch to see what or if they had won . They just kept shoving in small gold disks. It's like the little old ladies who play the slots machines in Vegas have found the Fountain of Youth, only they couldn't shake their bad habits. Now there's a horror movie someone needs to make. (Can't be any worse than "Rock Monster.") (Seriously.)

2. D
id you know Chuck E. now sings classic '80s tunes during his twice-hourly shows? 'Tis true. I was slightly disturbed to realize A-Ha's "Take On Me" was being sung by a six-foot-tall mouse. But I guess CEC knows their audience -- and the age of their audience's parents.

3. The pizza at CEC is really pretty good. I'm as stunned as you are. But I'm dead serious here. (Notice how I avoided saying seriously there? Thank you.) I even took home the leftovers. If that admission makes you like me less, I'm sorry.

4. China has found a new buyer for their lead-infused toys, and it is CEC. The vast amounts of crapola they have available for ticket redemption is truly astounding. Naturally, kids love it. Natalie got the following for her 78 tickets:

Oh! And this fetching jewel in her hair.

But in the end, the noise and the chaos and the KIDS EVERYWHERE and the large rodents butchering some of the best music in the world -- none of that mattered. Because while I was talking to Sonjia, my kids crept up and placed this in front of me:

They made it for me -- blurry smiles and all -- "because we know you love us."

Yep. Totally worth it.


  1. You are a really, really nice mommy because I refuse to step foot in CEC. My children quit asking me years ago. I'm glad you enjoyed the pizza, the smiles, and catching up with your friend.

  2. I love those sketch photos they have there. It's my favorite thing to do. It's so funny about those prizes. It probably costs a lot less to just go to the store to buy them than win all those tickets. But where's the fun in that, right?

  3. You need to get to the East Coast and taste real pizza, honey.

  4. Bless you. CEC shows your dedication as a Mom. Glad you had fun.

  5. My kids (who are 18 and 21!!!) have on their List of Deprived Childhood that they have never gone to CEC. I'm thinking they really aren't missing much. :) And thank you for confirming that!!

  6. I had a lot of fun catching up with your blog this morning. That entry about your mom made ME cry, so she must have bawled.
    And I have resisted taking my kids to CEC, but I know my days are numbered. Dread....

  7. This is why there is a Mother of the Year Award. Bless your heart (said in true Southern drawl).

  8. You know, I don't get the hesitation with CEC. I kinda like it. I brought 4 kids under 6 there by myself once. Now THAT I wouldn't recommend. But, what's the big deal??

    It's better than MOA! Now THAT place with all the rides and stuff, that's insane to me.

    However, Kelly, the pizza? Was GOOD? You really do need to get out.


  9. "I was slightly disturbed to realize A-Ha's "Take On Me" was being sung by a six-foot-tall mouse."

    That's hysterical!:) Seriously!:)

  10. I have made it 34 years and never set foot inside a CEC. Seriously! :-)

  11. MY kids have been to CEC several times now, but they are still at the age where they don't realize that the rides move if you put money in them (so I don't) and the games do more than blink their pretty lights.
    We go first thing in the morning (who wants pizza at 9:00 so it is dead) and can kill an hour easy without spending a dime.
    I do know this day will end, but till then I will ride that pony till the tail falls off.
    I love the pic of your kids. So cute.

  12. I have beth beat. I'm 46 and still haven't been to one. I think Hubby took the boy to the only party he attended there.

    Now we have hit the Big Time in their teens. Gattiland and now also Main Event. Main Event has arcade, rock climbing, bowling, glo golf, darts, pool, shuffleboard, Laser Tag. You could mortgage your house for a stuffed animal. Ya know how it is. . . .bigger in Texas!!


  13. Well you made CEC a destination stop!

    How much fun!

    Enjoy the rest of your Spring Break.


  14. You are a nice mommy.

    Several years ago, I told my kids we would go to CEC in 2008. At the time it seemed far off, like maybe we'd get there in our flying car?

    Wouldn't you know it? The kids remembered and were toasting on New Year's Eve to the fact they'd get to go to CEC, finally! I'm thinking this December 31st.

  15. Too funny! We believe CEC is a true butt-whippin' for the parents; however, we have been known to take the kids. I must say that the pizza is not the world's greatest BUT is quite edible!

    I just posted a link to a Christian comedian clip that references CEC - check it out! You 'll laugh...seriously! :)

  16. "I think the Skeeball games might have been spitting out full-grown children instead of tickets." <--- THAT is funny. :)

    I have to admit that I don't think CEC is that awful. I wouldn't choose to go there often, but it is a special treat for the kids, and tolerable for me. I do love Skeeball.

    They used to have an animatronic (?) dog in the band who reminded me of my uncle Roger. Don't ask.