Eleanor was invited to her first Chuck E Cheese birthday party for a classmate last month. I was kind of excited to go. I hadn’t been to Chuck E Cheese since I was a kid. I loved it back then. I was a ski ball champion, racking up a pile of tickets to get whatever cheap plastic junk they had behind the prize counter. I had heard other moms complain about it, but I assumed their complaints were just from too many trips there or because they just couldn’t get into the spirit of things to enjoy themselves.
Yeah, I was wrong. Chuck E Cheese is the worst! The pizza is bad. It’s loud. It’s crowded. The only thing for a parent to do is to follow your kid from game to game, because it’s too crowded with people and machines for you to be able to see them from the tables. I also don’t like how they handle the birthday parties. There are several parties held at once, so the staff along with Chuck E Cheese come out and sing Happy Birthday to all the kids at the same time. To me, that just isn’t special enough. On your birthday, you should be the star and you shouldn’t have to share the spotlight with three other kids whose parties are happening at the same time.
I absolutely understand why parents choose Chuck E Cheese as a party location. They don’t have to do anything to entertain the kids and someone else handles the clean-up! So easy, but not worth it for me.
The worst part of the day happened when we were getting ready to leave. I took Eleanor to the restroom and I had my iPhone with me. I set it on the counter to help Eleanor wash her hands and forgot it. We left the restroom, I said a few goodbyes, then remembered that I had left it. I went back to the restroom, less than five minutes after I had left and it was gone. I checked with the staff, no one had turned it in to them. We called at the end of the day and again the next day. No luck! It was gone. Someone had stolen it!
I was so upset. Our finances are very, very tight these days. There is no extra money for anything. I mean none! So I had no idea how I would replace the phone that I had just purchased in December for my business. I felt like a had made such a stupid and expensive mistake. (And it made me hate Chuck E Cheese even more!) Luckily, Josh remembered that his sister, Beth, and her wife Jenny, had both just upgraded from their iPhone 3s to iPhone 4s! He called Beth and found that, although they were selling them on eBay, they hadn’t sold yet! Beth, the wonderful sister that she is, gave us one and didn’t ask anything in return. Thank you so much Beth!
In the end, I ended up with a big downgrade in phones, but really it’s fine with me. The screen on the 3 is not as nice and clear, and the 3 is slower than the 4, but not too much slower. I just feel lucky to still have an iPhone! And I’ve learned my lesson: no more Chuck E Cheese!