Of all the many things in this world I don’t understand, my greatest confusion lies in this: I don’t understand why ball-pits smell like pee.

I desperately want to make my basement a gigantic ball-pit, but I’m terrified that if I did so, people would simply come over to take a whiz in it. Like, RANDOM people would show up at my door to pee in my ball-pit* and then I’d have to call my television serial killer husband Dexter to take care of them. Because peeing in ball-pits is bullshit.

*(You know if it had to happen to anyone, it would be me)

But still, the allure of a basement ball-pit (along with my tree house Panic Room) is strong, Pranksters.

Last week, my son turned four. And thanks to Product Placement during Team Umizoomi, he decided that he was going to spend his birthday at Chuck-E-Cheese. Had I turned him down, I have no doubts whatsoever that he’d walk there. Alex will get what he wants, when he wants, period. Luckily, it’s normally just juice or something.

I dislike Chuck-E-Cheese for the same reasons I hate Worst Best Buy: total sensory overload. Chuck-E-Cheese has the added bonus of smelling like poo.

But for my son, I’d manage.

Bonus! I had a coupon for 6 kajillion tokens.

As we waited for our Mouse Pizza, I noticed that this particular Chuck-E-Cheese sold both beer AND cotton candy, I was pleased. I pink-puffy-HEART cotton candy.

The risk for Oregon Trail disease was at an all-time high, but I managed to sit down without a hazmat suit. Progress, not perfection.

I captured my children’s horrified reactions:

chuck-e-cheese

The Birthday Boy, himself.

chuck-e-cheese-mouse-cups

I’m a bit disappointed that I couldn’t get beer in those cups.

toddler-chuck-e-cheese

After a solid lunch of Mouse Pizza, it was Game Time.

Happily, I noted that the once pee-infested ball pit was gone.

The boys crawled around in the tubes, probably infecting themselves with poo germs while I took my daughter around to see if there were any games SHE could play.

I didn’t find any Amelia-sized games, but I did find Skee-Ball, which she was immediately enamored with. Happily, she took the cup of coins, which she called “Treasure” and inserted them into the game while I Skee-Balled my ever-loving arm off. I won like 8 tickets and a sore arm for all of my hard work.

After she tired of Skee-Ball, I realized I still had a zillion and a half tokens. Shitballs.

So I went off to find a game where I could dump the tokens in and win “tickets,” because like it or not, the kids were going to beg for some sort of “reward” at the Redeeming Tickets For Overpriced Crap counter. It was tickets or spending 8 bucks on three tiny boxes of nerds.

I found a game where I could bang a button* and win tickets. Perfect. No effort or skillz necessary.

I’d blown through most of my Treasure in a minute or two when I was hastily shoved out of the way by a rolly-polly woman at least ten years older than me. I’d thought she’d merely bumped into me, but no, no, of course not. This WAS Chuck-E-Cheese, Home Of The KlassE, after all.

Nope, she’d shoved me out of the way so she could play the game.

Bitch.

Whatever. Instead of punching her in the taco, I dumped the rest of the tokens and headed back to my three overly-exhausted kids. We redeemed the tickets for three wee Halloween-Candy-Sized boxes of candy and headed home.

So far, I haven’t shown signs of Dysentery or Ebola, but it could happen at any moment.

And now I’m obsessed with the idea of my own personal ball pit. I’m adding a moat, razor wire and an electric fence to my previous ball-pit design.

Perhaps some guard-dogs, too.

You never do know when someone might pop into your house and take a whiz in your ball-pit.

*Cue Bevis-like laughter

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

61 Responses to This Is, At Least, A Better Idea Than The Velcro Wall I’d Been Planning.

  • Melissa says:

    ROFLMAO, this totally cracked me up we call Chuck E. Cheese in this house Funk E Cheese, every time we go there some one throws up with in 24 hours. I hate that place.

  • No Good says:

    Treasure! That girl *is* a bad-ass fairy pirate!

  • Stacey says:

    Chuck E. Cheese is the 7th level of hell. Their only saving grace is they serve beer. I was there one time and this woman’s kid flat out refused to come down out of the giant hamster habitrail on the ceiling. That was pretty amusing for me. Not so much for her.

  • Daniel says:

    i wanna pee in your ball pit.

  • Sara says:

    You HAVE to get a ball pit. I used to have one. It was the BEST THING E-V-E-R!!

  • Penbleth says:

    I find myself relieved we don’t have a ChuckECheese in the UK. I think. Or if we do my kid are too old. 12′s respite house has a little ball pit in their front room. We used to have one as well. To my knowledge no one has peed in either.

    Of course, my knowledge is notoriously limited.

  • Marie says:

    CEC is so awful for me because, as a teacher, my DNA requires me to correct ill behaved children. Whether using the ever effective “hairy eyeball” or the more pointed “Have you lost your ever loving MIND! Stop that right now before I make you stop!”, I wind up with a monster headache and several restraining orders in process after each trip. My boys will giggle happily as they wander aimlessly around the flashing lights, obnoxious noises, and mange infested, furry suited teens. But I find myself having to employ physical restraints to keep from smacking the rampaging crotch parasites whose parents are in the fetal position in the corner pretending they never had children.
    Chuck E Cheese is my own personal pit of despair.

  • penny says:

    My kid is terrified of the Chuck E Cheese! Is it wrong that it is one fear that I’m not particularly anxious to help her overcome?

  • AngieM. says:

    you know what’s funny is when you see adults with like 5 kajillion tickets then you realize they didn’t go there with kids.

    also, a ball pit would be awesome! minus the pee

    • Melissa says:

      Umm – those people would be called pedophiles. Any adult that goes to the Chuckster without begging from children is weird and should be watched at all times.

  • Liz says:

    I hate UpChuck E Cheese. Am I a bad mother because I’ve never taken my kids to one? They’ve recently noticed that it exists, and have begun asking to go since a classmate had a birthday party at one. I think the beer is vital, and probably the safest beverage they serve.

  • kittyn says:

    My Chuck E Cheese is sorely lacking in the ‘beer’ department. I’m jealous.

    And I’m one of those adults who’d go without kids. The other nearest place with skee-ball is like a 40 minute drive, and I’m not wasting an hour and a half of kidless Skee-Ball time on driving.

    Ok, I just love crappy game things. I’ll stop at the Chinese place next door first for food though. General Tso’s kicks the shit outta overpriced mouse pizza.

  • Audrey says:

    My husband keeps trying to talk me into allowing him to open a hole between the attic and the second floor so he can turn our spare room into a ball pit he can jump into from up there. It has come up no less than 5 times since we moved here two years ago.

  • Que says:

    Good post. I’m just glad you waited til the end to throw out the punching a woman in the taco line. If you had done it earlier I would have spent the rest of the post with that visual in my head and I would have never made it to the end.

  • Delicia says:

    When my oldest son was about 6, we found a little ball pit tent at a yard sale, balls included. It looked basically like a little pup tent with large mesh sides. It was WONDERFUL. All my kids loved playing in that thing. If you can find such a thing I HIGHLY recommend it. Small enough you can sanitize the insides and hose down the balls periodically, kept my kids busy for hours and hours.

  • Kelly says:

    I will totally check at toddler into the boards if they try to come between me and Skee Ball.

  • The Cheese is so one of the inner pits of hell. Don’t forget all the awesome violence that happens at good ol’ Chuck’s house of hell. Somebody even wrote a blob about it: http://grahamten.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/a-history-of-chuck-e-cheese-violence/ (it is not my blog, I never saw it before googling chuck e cheese violence today).
    Somehow, I am just not surprised.

  • OMG I never realized it before but it DOES smell like poo in there.

  • Dave says:

    Nicely done Aunt Becky! You have captured the terror and drama of a visit to Chucky’s (they should make a horror movie there) perfectly, and, given me my daily dose of hysteria. Thank you.

  • CycleNinja says:

    Taking a wizz in your ball pit sounds like a euphemism for something.

    (That’s for sticking the concept of “mouse pizza” in my head right before lunch.)

  • Pam says:

    Two things: A: I do NOT miss Chuck E Cheese and 2: Your kids are so dang CUTE! Love those big brown eyes!

  • Caroline says:

    A kid I was babysitting peed in the ball-pit @McDonald’s while I was watching her. She screamed she was drowning and started to cry. I wanted to die.

  • Kelly says:

    Mea’s last birthday party was at the Chucka. It makes my eyeballs want to bleed. She did score big time in the ticket blaster thingy, and the girl tried to say she cheated. She was turning FOUR. How would she know she was cheating? She figured it out, she’s freaking smart. Give her, her damn tickets.

  • Jolie says:

    I think the rat house smells like stinky feet, with a dirty diaper undertone. SO glad my kids are outgrowing it. Alas, our CEC’s do not have beer served. Maybe that’s why they’re not on the list of ones that have the po-po entertaining regularly. Still makes me want to rock in the fetal position if it’s crowded.

  • I hate going to Chuck E. Cheese and thank GOD that we are well past that stage. I hate kids parties and basically, all that crap. I was a shit mom. I’m a shit aunt right now and i’m damn sure i’ll be a shit grandmother. Oh well, those pits smell like pee cuz those kids smell like that…or the parents…same difference.

  • Amelia says:

    My 19 month old has a ball pit. It’s like a blow up pool with a hole in the bottom so you can’t fill it with water and balls and drown your kid or something. It came with 45 balls, but that wasn’t nearly enough, so she got a bag of 150 balls too. Know what she did the first mother effin night? After I yelled at my husband not to take her diaper off so early for bathtime because she will….she climbed into the ball pit and peed. So I spent bathtime sanatizing 195 balls. Blah.

  • Melissa says:

    I also hate the CEC – My boos got the Coxsackie (that word makes me laugh because I am like 12) from the ball pit.

  • Sam says:

    Chuck E. Cheese = Vegas for the under 10 set. First time we went, the kids got strep throat a few days later. The next time, I was hit up by the same token panhandling kid about five times. Finally I was all, “UM ask your MOM.” She was too busy smoking in the parking lot. Nice.

  • Sarah S
    Twitter: RunningonWords
    says:

    Ouch, I haven’t been to CEC in years (one of the few perks of infertility, I guess). I’m glad you survived it, although it sort of sounds like the Oregon Trail (AB has a broken leg due to to being shoved by a crazy redneck).

  • Jules says:

    That ebola sneaks up on ya though. Watch out for it…

  • Summer says:

    Lol, Oregon Trail diseases! Ball pits were scary as hell when you were a little kid. Who wants to drown in a sea of pee-scented balls?

  • jess says:

    Your kids are ADORABLE.

  • Marie says:

    ooooh my goodnesss!! I’m sitting here just cringing because I know that day is coming when my son will discover CEC. My stomach just turns because I know what you write is true. That must be the reason they serve beer – to help the parents get through the ordeal. Gag. Funny. I can almost smell the place, just thinking about it. And good luck with the basement ball pit!

  • John says:

    Why do I sense a near tantrum at the refusal to serve beer in the goofy sippy cups?

    This was the least offensive trip to Chuck-E-Cheese that I’ve ever heard of. And my 9 month old son recently tried to fit a ball-pit ball into his diaper, so he’s probably responsible for no small part of the overall pee smell in all ball pits.

  • We don’t get Chuck E Cheese in the UK and for that I’m glad!

    LM

  • mumma boo says:

    Chuck E Cheese is the devil in disguise. *shudder* You are a brave soul for taking them there. We should team up Mimi and Cenzo. She can feed the tokens in and he’ll roll those skee-balls until he can’t move his arm anymore. I had to stop taking him to Cheeks’ roller-skating lessons because not only did I have to pay for the lessons, but I was dropping $30 a week on skee-ball games.

  • Staci says:

    My 2.5 year old daughter has Sensory Integration Disorder, so to help with her therapy we got a big swimming pool in our living room and filled it with a few (700 or so) of those plastic balls. She (and all of her little friends) loves it! If you can do it, go for it!

  • CC says:

    I’m so thankful I don’t have to deal with that place anymore. But even when I did my kid had the same thoughts as I did. ChuckE is the scariest, germiest, stinkiest pee-pee place ever!!! Hence the coupons for thousands and thousands of tokens. Their sorry attempt to get you in and keep you there. They won me with the beer!

  • SuperMommie says:

    OMG. I am so glad my Chuck E Cheese days are over. Those ball pits always gave me Monk like hives! I’d bribe The Princess with toys in order to get away from CEC. The bribe was always cheaper than the pee pee ball pit trip!!

  • McSarah says:

    Remind me some time to tell you the MANY many stories from my long career at CEC. After a short-lived stint at McDonalds (from which I got sent home one day and was told to leave – aka walk home down a highway – at age 14 – mom was PISSED) I ended up working at CEC for almost 5 years.

    Ours didn’t serve beer, but there was a smelly ball pit (they smell like pee even if you wash the balls -ha!- because the pee drips down to the carpet underneath the pit and you can never get it out because they build the net pits right into the ground), a rat maze on the ceiling (the green ninja turtle cake puke story is a particularly good one) and all the smelly mascot-head-wearin’ fun you could ask for! Yes, I dressed as Chuck E (in both the tux AND his snazzy casual wear, a running suit) and did choreographed dances for kids birthday parties.

    Although the best part was being best friends with the manager and knowing the alarm code, which meant we could bring bottles of vodka and party there until 4am playing skeeball and making pizza!! So for me, CEC has some good memories…. oh and I was Employee of the Month and I still have the plaque to prove it!

  • When I was in the fourth grade I became obbsessed with the Chuck E Cheese ball pit fun (we called it ShowBiz Pizza though, is that the same?) Upon reflection it did smell like pee, but I loved it. I strongly urge you to put on in your basement but have some sort of mandatory trip to the restroom prior to anyone even entering the basement.

    Now that I have three kids I loathe Chuck E Cheese, it’s rough in there. Perhaps if you had a ball pit your kids would never again want to go there?

    • Lee says:

      I remember ShowBiz! I also remember being vaguely scared by the automaton show or whatever that horror fest was. Plastic bears & other animals dancing around– no thanks, let’s just skip the pizza and go straight for the SkeeBall. I bet there still are ShowBiz tokens somewhere at my parents’ house.

      The old ShowBiz in my hometown is now a ChuckECheese so maybe they were bought out or just changed the name.

  • Lee says:

    OMG I’m not the only supposed adult that still breaks off into Beavis type laughter!

    I knew I wasn’t alone.

  • Scott says:

    I see your ball pit* and raise you a water slide in the house:

    http://thedailywh.at/2011/03/13/fun-house-of-the-day/

    * Man, does that sound dirty.

  • Sandi says:

    Yep, they all smell of wee.

  • I almost got jumped in a Chuck E Cheese in Savannah when my kids were little bc some hobag was jealous we were winning a lot of tickets (also on a no skill required game). So glad I dont have to deal with that mess anymore. Although some occasional skeeball would be nice.

  • I’ve totally got that on my list of “random shit I can’t intelligently justify” along with a Pac Man Arcade game and my own coinless vending machines. I have home decor ideas to rival a 13 year old boy.

  • You slay me ;-) xo

    Skee Ball is amazing-ness.

    Klass – E indeed

  • Oh no. I pink puffy FUZZY heart YOU now! I can’t stand it. I keep telling people how I just found your blog yesterday, and I’m all excited, and my husband doesn’t give a shit, because I’m sure he thinks if I didn’t blog so much, he’d have some clean gitches. But anywho, I’m totally INEBRIATE OF AIR right now (and whisky, yo), and this chucky cheese synopsis warmed my cockles. I FREAKING HATE Chuck E. Cheese so much, I once wrote a really eloquent, scathing letter to them, complaining about how much I H8 them, and it was super cerebral and everything because I was all THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE WHATEVER! and the bastards never replied. Their pizza sucks ass.

  • oh how rude of me: I forgot to say how lovely your kids are.

  • I used to work at CEC. The reason the ball pit smells like pee is… because kids pee in the ball pit. But pee isn’t even the worst of it. You’d be horrified to know what employees were doing in there after hours. Every couple of months, the balls from the ball pit are put inside a net bag and taken outside and hosed off. You’d be completely disgusted with what washes off of them (and with what you find in the bottom of the ball pit. Eeew, is all that needs to be said. Though sometimes “SCORE!” is appropriate, too, as you occasionally find a piece of nice jewelry in there…).

    Sadly, I actually kinda liked working there. It was fun. And I worked there for quite a long time, too.

  • Molly says:

    I TOTALLY JUST SNORTED DIET PEPSI ALL OVER MY KEYBOARD AT “I ALMOST PUNCHED HER IN THE TACO.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    I’m so using that. Is mine. Shall give you credit, no worries.

  • jizzelle says:

    What are those cups called? lol

  • Jenna says:

    They smell like pee because little kids potty in ‘em. However, thee used to be a ball pit in the tubes, and, since the little kids usually played in the one on the ground, it was blissfully lacking in human waste. Of course, it may have had some, but it was deeper and therefore you had to be so tall to be allowed in it. By that height, kids usually know when to get to the bathroom. If they don’t make it, it’s because the ball pit was crowded. Bottom line, make sure the people allowed into the ball pit can tell when they need to potty before they have an accident and know to get to the nearest bathroom, not hard to find in a chuck e. cheese.

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