[insert list of lame-o excuses to why I haven't posted in two weeks here...include home a/c crapping out, followed by office a/c, heatstroke, hairballs, business, book edits, another chapter, work, work, work.]
The past couple of weeks are a blur, so I'll skip it and jump right to how I spent yesterday afternoon. Or where I spent yesterday afternoon, rather. Chuck E. Cheese. For my niece's third birthday party. For two hours. Seriously.
The party was at the Chuck E. Cheese on Rivers Ave. because my niece's mother thinks it is cleaner than the one West Ashley (I took her word for it, as I have no point of reference because the last time I was at a Chuck E. Cheese I was in third grade). I thought I'd show up, play a few video games, give my niece a card full of cash, then leave. Had to scrap the video game idea because my 2-year-old nephew was also there; his mother put him down and he took off. She pointed and told me not to let him out of my sight, and that was it for the day. The kid is two, but he knows what tokens are (and part of the fun for him is shoving two, three, four into any machine that would take them, including the tampon dispenser in the women's restroom).
When we finally did settle down at the table (which is right in front of giant video screens playing the Chuck E. Cheese devil music), half of the little ones were terrified of the "live" Chuck E. and the other half cried when he went away. The pizza looked like it was from a freezer box, so I went for the salad bar (ended up with mostly lettuce and dressing because of the "unidentified" objects in various salad bar containers...I think I saw a plastic monkey in the cottage cheese). I gave up on chasing the kids down and concentrated on not going insane from the volume and screaming (mine) and being shaken down for tokens every three minutes.
If you want a little taste of what the experience was like, turn up your speaker volume past 10 and play this fifty times in a row.
After I got home, I took a long, hot shower to get the blue frosting out of my hair and the pizza party-kid vomit-bad pineapple smell out of my nostrils. Also realized the only way I'll ever be able to do the kid thing is to also give myself permission for a full-blown valium addiction ("yes, sweetie, mommy's passed out on the couch again"). Otherwise, no way, no how, not now, not ever. Ask me again next week.