Monday, June 21, 2010

I Found Hell -- It's in Glenview, Illinois

I've always suspected that if there is a hell, there is a sense of humor and a sense of justice in the whole thing. Hell isn't just an inferno of cages, we're not all just thrown in a pit where the devil comes to periodically visit with serpents and there is constant wailing of suffering 24 hours per day. I think it's customized, our own personal hell, if you will. Until today, I pictured mine as being stuck for eternity in a small, windowless cave with John Mayer, Kendra Wilkinson and perhaps a Kardashian sister (doesn't matter which one). Dire Straits music would be piped in 23 hours per day. John Mayer would sing live the remaining hour.

That was until last week. Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Kohl's Children Museum in Glenview, Illinois. Friends with pre-schoolers have told me great things about this museum, and I plan to use this as an excuse to break off all contact with them. Because truth be told I don't really like any of my friends with kids anyway.

Apparently the city officials of Glenview don't believe in limiting the number of humans a facility can pack into a certain amount of square footage. Perhaps my first tip-off would have been the fact there was only one space left (two minutes after the place opened) in a parking lot that was the size of 100 football fields.

The high-pitched, frenetic screaming that greeted us as we entered might have been the next tip-off. But I'm not one to take hints. Instead, as a mob of sweaty, ill-behaved children surrounded us like hungry wolves, I paid my $21 and decided to head upstairs where surely it was more quiet. Except there's not an upstairs. So we headed into a fake grocery store that made the Jewel on Ashland on a Sunday night feel like the library. I don't like REAL grocery stores, filled mainly with adults, so I certainly don't like fake ones, jam-packed with toddlers stealing items out of each other's carts and then screaming bloody murder.

A kid about four whose name I later learned was Thomas (pronounced TOW-MAH, which I think is the fancy French pronunciation but his mother spoke native Chicago), roughly grabbed a plastic tomato right out of one of the girls' hands while the mother looked on and continued to text her boyfriend (her eyes were gleaming and she was giggling -- she was NOT texting her husband or work). I grabbed said vegetable (or is a tomato a fruit?) back and told him not to do it again. He cowered and she gave me a dirty look, but soon went back to facebooking or tweeting or whatever it is about 80 percent of the adults were doing when they should have been watching their kids maul unsuspecting victims. (Prediction: a new psychological disorder will present itself in teenagers in about 10 years -- it will be directly linked to a sense of inferiority because their parents pay more attention to their iPhones than to them.)

Ironically, at this hellish museum that day, there was a Smokey the Bear exhibit (isn't that the fire prevention animal?), and I thought it would make a good headline in the newspaper: Scores of Families Die During Smokey the Bear Exhibit in Fire Code Violation at Children's Museum.

I didn't want to be a statistic so I got us the out of there before we all smothered. So if God is reading my blog (and why wouldn't He?) and is looking for a suitable punishment for me in the hereafter, now He knows: Me. 4 million toddlers. Inattentive caregivers. A Smokey the Bear exhibit. A faux shopping environment. A threat of spontaneous combustion. Glenview, Illinois.

Someone else will have to listen to Kendra cackle as John Mayer talks about Jessica Simpson's boobs while sitting next to a signature Kardashian caboose with Money for Nothing in the background.

PS -- Below is the girls after the debacle -- I wanted a survival photo as I'm pretty sure we were four extra toddlers away from death. I put them in their new tutu bathing suits (Old Navy, $10), gave them lollipops as rewards for surviving the ordeal and went to the water park. Where a new set of children and parents continued to annoy me.

I am building a list of grievances we've suffered at the park for another post. It is lengthy, including an incident where a kid came at the girls WITH A SHARP STICK and the mother soothingly said, "No stick, honey, no stick." And when the kid wouldn't drop the stick she said, "Ooohh, honey, be gentle with the stick" AS HE CONTINUED TO WAVE IT IN MY GIRLS' FACES. Be gentle! With a stick! I grabbed the stick, broke it in half and tossed in on the ground while the mother watched in horror.

PSS -- I've been writing a bit over at the blog that surprisingly pays me about Joran Van Der Sloot and whether his mother might have seen signs that he had psychological problems when he was a child. Scarily, right after I wrote that, one of the girls left me this present (?) before nap time. And I wondered if this is a sign akin to torturing small animals:

It's one of those nose plunger things with a half-eaten lollipop stuck inside. She left it right on the tv stand where I couldn't miss it after telling me she "doesn't HAVE TO nap!!!" It looks like a sinister gesture to me... Like she hasn't learned how to give the finger yet but this is pretty darn close. I'm slightly worried...

PSSS -- Last one, sorry. Does anyone know who designed the Kohls Children's Museum logo? Because might I suggest he or she add about 3,999,999 more hands to the design to give a more accurate feel to the place's ambiance?


  1. Hasn't learned to give the finger yet, but this is close... Hilarious! My kids run screaming if they even see those nose things. So, I would take this for the hostile act that it was intended as! And I also would have shoved that stick right up that mother's @#$. You get the idea. :)

  2. fantastic post. love that last picture and yes, i think that is definitely her version of the finger. our childrens museum is pretty tame, but sharing tends to be an issue and parents not paying attention to their kids. i get loud and say, "Don't worry, sweetie, THAT boy WILL GET OFF and give you A TURN next." after a few of those, the mom or dad usually step in, or the kid gets the hint after i throw the stink-eye at him/her a few times. i don't like big crowds, either. your version of hell is similar to mine. john mayer would be wearing that horrible neon Borat bathing suit he wore on that cruise that one time. take care and good luck with your next outing.

  3. I'm right with you...I hate these places, but I hate being cooped up with my two toddlers more. Most of the time. Well, not really. But I suppose it's good for them. Anyway.

    I have to tell you, and feel free to delete this comment, but I've seen this a couple times in your posts, and it drives me nuts (I'm OCD, I swear.) It's not "PSS", it's "PPS", as in post-post script. Or, "PPPS" as in post-post-post script. Just thought you'd want to know. I would.

  4. I'm pretty pretty pretty sure she knows the PPS thing and just thinks it's funny. I know her. Trust me.

  5. I find her hilarious nearly 100% of the time, so while I don't necessarily get what is funny about PSS, I'll get over it. :)

  6. Most kids annoy the crap out of me. But mostly, the parents who don't pay attention to their bad behavior annoy me more. Don't even get me started on this one.

  7. A friend of mine uses the phrase "HOW 'BOUT THAT" to punctuate an event such as the breaking of the stick. Use with as much venom as necessary to get the point across. Then take a picture of the person's face for your blog.

  8. Hell, indeed. That's far beyond my brief, ONE experience with Chuck E. Cheese, the rodent from hell who takes all your money. I went that ONE time, then it was forever a special day with the babysitter.

    Glad you explained the nose plunger. I initially thought it was a douche bag...never mind.

    Back the fuck off Dire Straits. That ain't woykin...

  9. that IS indeed a sinister gesture! that is SO funny. Both of my boys as babies HATED those snot-suckers. I'm surprised they didn't flip me off with a lollipop as your girls did. Very creative! I love your humor, by the way. You make me laugh. And I too have been in a "very bad mood" for 40 years. Kudos to you for making me laugh for the first time in a looong time.

  10. Is it weird and stalker-y to say I miss you when you're gone? Always so happy to see a new L&M post pop up in the reader....

  11. Ha,ha!! so glad your posting again. Your one bad ass mamma! I love that you snatched the tomato away for that kid.

  12. hey, I thought "psss" was like pssst....I have a one more thing to tell you! Like in school... pssst..Sue I have note to pass to you. Right?? I always thought it was funny!

  13. Just found your blog today, and I have to say this post is hilarious! I love it.

  14. It never ceases to amaze me how parents can be just so damn lazy when it comes to teaching their kids how to be decent human beings. I usually do what Kiki says she does. I get loud and put it on the parents. However, I cannot wait to hear about the stick in the water park. We just got back from the amuesement/water park vacation. Wow! Some parents are crazy!!

  15. I think I met that kid with the stick in a park here in Oz - and his mother!

    You make me laugh!

    Love it!