UNITED STATES—Its amazing when you take a moment to reflect back on your life. This weekend I attended my niece’s third birthday party at a place that seems to be the greatest place in the world to children: Chuck E Cheese. Yes, this is a place that I frequented quite a bit as a child, but it wasn’t my favorite. My niece on the other-hand thinks this place is heaven and I can see why.

It’s the one place where kids can pretty much run free and do absolutely whatever it is that they want to. They run, they jump, they scream, they yell, it’s a place where a kid gets to be a kid. So what is all the fuss? Well when you’re forking out over $200 you expect to get much better service than we got. For starters, 2 hours is not enough time for a kid to have a ball; I’m sorry I have yet to meet anyone under the age of 12 who gets tried of playing or having fun after 2 hours.

Our reserved seating might have been up after 2 hours, but we didn’t leave the premises until around 8 p.m. Yes, it was one of those days where I couldn’t wait to fall into my bed. My body was literally that exhausted from chasing kids around. I consider myself fairly healthy, but it’s apparent the things that I used to do as a teen are far gone.

Another gripe I had is that it appeared that our ‘hostess’ if that is what you want to call them, were in a hurry to move the party along. We hadn’t even sat at the table 15 minutes and they were already bringing out pizza and our entire party had yet to arrive. Less than 30 minutes later they were trying to get us to sing happy birthday. Like I thought we were hosting the party, you guys were just allowing us to have reserved space. Soon after, it was time for ticket blaster (it’s where the kid is allowed to go into a both where tickets move up you at warp speed; the more you grab the better).

We hadn’t even gotten to opening birthday gifts before our ‘time’ was up. Yeah, it was quite baffling to say the least. I’m sure hoping the rest of my nieces and nephews choose to have their birthday parties at another place that allows kids to be kids, because the adults were in hell if you ask me. Besides the sky rocketing food prices, well the unlimited salad bar was great, I just had one slight problem: kids. I couldn’t believe how many parents would just allow their children to hit the salad bar and indulge in grabbing items and they’re not even supposed to. It was crazy.

When I first got to the salad bar it was perfect. Everything looked clean, fresh, organized, fast-forward 2 hours later and it looked like a complete mess. Cucumbers were all over the place, not to mention tomatoes and ranch dressing, as hungry as I was, I allowed myself to stay hungry. I had no idea of the level of bacteria that might have been floating near and around that salad bar.

As the day neared the end, I just remember how much fun I used to have as a kid at places like Chuck E Cheese and other kid oriented establishments. Time is precious, life is precious, enjoy it while you can. One minute the kid is 2, the next thing you know they’re 18. Time flies so fast sometimes you can barely remember it. Yeah, those were the glory days.