Monday, March 31, 2003


I played poker Saturday night again, this time winning a whopping 3.50, which covered roughly 75% of the tolls I spent driving to the game, which was some 50 miles away. Still a great time, though, and it was good to get away. I need to find a poker game closer to home though. Come Sunday morning I was grouchy, irritable, and tired. Luckily, so was Kathleen! We were a couple of peas in a pod. Two of the seven dwarves. Grumpy and sleepy.

To make the day even more weird, it we got a bit of late spring snowfall, big heavy wet snowflakes that twirled and spun in the March wind. Two days ago it was seventy degrees out in the sun!

So we loaded up the children (and the dog) in the minivan and went out on a search and conquer mission: we were on a quest to find the mythical indoor playland.

I remember the days pre-children. I would notice these large play areas in McDonalds, Burger King, and other franchisees. I'd look at them like they were some kind of museum exhibit, like dinosaurs at the smithsonian. Or I'd ignore them. Probably, atleast once or twice I sure, I'd cluck my cheek and think to myself "what kind of a lifeless slob has nothing better than to drag their poor children to some crappy excuse for a playground at a goddamn McDonalds for crying out loud?"

Lets flash back to the present. I'm a lifeless slob who has nothing better to do than to drag his poor children to some crappy excuse for a playground. But its even worse than that. I can't find that crappy excuse for a playground and because of this I'm starting to panic. There was one in Leesburg, but Kathleen was sure there was a big one in Ashburn, but we drove there and it was outdoors.

I don't want to go in a restaurant without a playland. That would almost guarantee an arrival of our two good freinds, chasing and yelling. I'm tired and I have a headache and I just want to make it until bedtime. So we keep driving. The Chick-Fill-A has an awesome playland, but they're closed on Sundays. Stupid lousy seven habits churchy morality. (Oddly, on Moday when I went to the very same restaurant I applauded their moral fabric). We drive towards Sterling.

Anna is really hungry, and we start to have strange conversations.

"I want to go to McDonalds!" Anna says, with a whine to her voice that makes the ashtray in the car rattle.

"We are going to get something to eat really soon sweetheart."

"I want to go into this McDonalds" Anna continues. We are at a stoplight about 60 feet from a McDonalds, one with no playland.

"That's not the right kind of McDonalds, sweetie. We want one with a playland."

"I'm hungry. I want to stop now. Why can't we eat here?"

Our children must think I'm insane. We told them we were going to McDonalds and we've driven by about seven different restaurants. They just want to stop and eat. Instead, we approach the restaurant, drive slowly around it like a shark circling prey, and then speed off, in search of other, new and different fine fast food establishments.

So I have degenerated even further, and now I am the lifeless slob who has nothing better to do than to drag his hungry children around in a van searching for a place to eat a greasy hamburger with a playland.

We found one, by the way. And no, I'm not going to tell you where, either. Its a secret.

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