Our friend Bill and two of his friends realized their dreams by opening their very own comic and gaming shop in Wayne, Michigan. The grand opening was set for Labor Day weekend.
“You know,” Henry postulated a week prior. “If you wanted to go to the opening, I bet we could swing it.”
Since I was brought on as a permanent employee at The Law Firm, we’ve been decidedly less stressed. In fact, one day I was sitting in the car thinking to myself, “What is that weird feeling I feel? Oh. I do believe that’s called ‘relief’.” Bill and Jessi come to Pittsburgh quite often to visit us, have been to Chooch’s last two birthday parties, and even one of my game nights, so I was like, “Hell yes, let’s do this.” I wanted to be there in person to show our support! And also to drive around the outskirts of Detroit with my Penguins flag waving proudly atop my car.
Saturday morning, I was up at 6:00am and ready to go. Henry and Chooch didn’t wake up until 7:00 and 7:30, respectively, and we didn’t hit the road until 8:30. I was angry about this, and Henry decided this would be a good time to flirt with me, which only succeeded in deepening my scowl.
The ride was pretty uneventful and long as shit. It only should have taken us about 5 hours to get there, but with a four-year-old in the backseat, that’s never going to happen without a hearty dose of Nyquil. Since I forgot the Nyquil, we pretty much stopped at every fucking rest area so Chooch wouldn’t petrify in his car seat.
At the one rest stop, he got a kids meal at Burger Meal. “What?” he exclaimed dramatically, extracting a girl toy from the bag.
“Go give it back to the lady at the counter,” I advised, and then Henry piggy-backed my advice by advising I go with him.
Chooch shrugged his way through the travelers crowding the front of Burger King, slammed the girl purse thing onto the counter and spat, “I’m not a GIRL.”
He got some plush Wrestler thing that makes a noise that I would end up hearing for the rest of the trip.
At another rest stop, we were parked next to Border Control. Henry, being the wise old man that he is, explained that he was probably here checking for drugs.
“And with a dog like that,” he said, gesturing to the German Shepherd accompanying the officer, “you’d be screwed if you even just had a marijuana cigarette.”
“Marijuana cigarette?” I repeated, losing it. And then it turned into a five-minute laugh fiesta, with Henry frowning as he drove down the highway. Sometimes it’s like talking to your Grandpa Elmer. What a lamer, I mean really. Then I couldn’t stop picturing an adolescent Henry, trying to fit in with the “bad” kids at school, pushing up his glasses and asking for a hit of their “marijuana cigarette.” Now I’m laughing all over again.
It was about 2:00pm by the time we finally arrived at Warriors 3. We were warmly received by Bill and Jessi and ushered into the backroom, which quickly became the VIP room upon my arrival. Don’t let them fool you. We were just in time for pizza, which Henry ate hungrily, and I finally got to meet Bill and Jessi’s friend Josh, who I’ve gotten to know from Twitter and Facebook over the last year, so that was extremely cool and conversation with him came easily. It didn’t take him long to start busting my chops, and I like that. It makes me feel loved!
Aimee, the girlfriend of one of the Warriors 3, was also in the VIP room and I could tell Chooch was crushing on her pretty hard. He kept looking at her for approval every time he would say something. And speaking of Chooch, now I know where to take him the next time he needs stimulated. It was like he was in his own Wonderland. There were toys and games every where and grown-ups were actually playing with him.
“Will you play with me?” he’d ask any random guy, who would usually wind up saying, “Sure, dude,” provided they weren’t already involved in a game. Chooch would look at me in amazement, like, “I can’t believe they keep saying YES!”
Chooch also brought some of his own toys with him, and Josh sang the theme from the Hulk cartoon, which made Chooch look at me and laugh. He just had this expression on his face that screamed, “These guys know my toys?!” At one point, he was pawing through a box of HeroClix (I’m so proud of myself for remembering the name of those; I was completely out of my element there, but enjoyed learning about this stuff!), and no matter which one he pulled out, there was always someone near by who could tell him what he was holding. Which was better than when he kept asking me, only to get my patented ‘I dunno’ mumble.
Josh answers a HeroClix inquiry for Chooch while his critically acclaimed Cthulu supervises and Eddie stews in his AT&T hatred.
I’m convinced Chooch thinks Bill is his big brother.
Chooch got to help Joe, the honorary 4th Warrior, advertise outside the shop. He was thrilled to be involved, and I was thrilled that there was enough going on to keep him thoroughly entertained. I figured we’d have to do a lot of coming and going to ensure his attention was well-kept. Aside from getting a little too wild on occasion, I didn’t have to really go out of my way to keep him in line. It was nice being able to hang out without my nerves keeping me clenched.
At one point, Joe decided to demonstrate how fast the Flash could run around the building, which inspired Chooch to yell, “Hey, I can do that too!” and before I had the chance to snag him by the collar, he was off. So then I had to chase after him, while he was chasing after the Flash, and I’m sure to the casual observer it looked like some kind of Retard Race.
He must have fallen at least a dozen times while we were there that day. Sometimes I really do want to staple bubble wrap to him.
“Do I really have to remind you that you were JUST in the hospital?” I found myself yelling once every 30 minutes.
The mom of one of Bill’s friends baked a bunch of cookies and brownies, which were all tied up with ribbons and laying deliciously in baskets. Henry chose an iced sugar cookie and proceeded to obsess over it all weekend. Someone found an extra one and gave it to Henry, which made Josh jealous. He disappeared for awhile, and I’m not convinced he wasn’t trying to train his Cthulu to slaughter Henry and return with the cookie.
That was one damn fine cookie, though.
This was no less than 5 minutes after he was sprawled out on his stomach in the back parking lot, M&Ms scattering everywhere
At least now I know where to get his Christmas presents.
Bill and Jessi’s friend Nick would up playing with Chooch for a good hour. He was such a sweet and patient man! I kept mouthing “thank you!” to him and he’d just smile and wave me off, as though playing with a four-year-old was exactly what he signed up for when he walked into Warriors 3. When people take a liking to my kid, it’s the best feeling in the world. So I really did appreciate it, and I also appreciated the fact that everyone talked to him like he was just one of the guys.
When Chooch is at the playground, he gets so excited and wants to play with everyone, but I feel like more often than not, he’s not included with the other kids; as a mom, that’s one shitty scene to have to stand there and watch. Because of that, I think he really does prefer to hang out with adults, and the fact that he was able to wrangle some of them to play games with him at the shop really made him light up. I’ve never seen Chooch so non-distracted. He sat at that table playing diligently for a good portion of the time we were there (which was from 2 until about 11:30pm, minus two hours in the evening when we cut out to do some touristy shit). Of course, everyone pretty much let Chooch play the way he wanted to, which was smart because I tried to read the directions for some of those games and felt as frustrated as I did trying to translate the Iliad in high school.
Now Chooch wants to own all of these games, and I’m like, “That’s great, but can we just stick to comic books for now?” as I envision elaborate pieces strewn all over the floor of my house. Board games with many pieces makes me nervous, you guys!
Comic books are not the worst things he could be into, so I approve.
Warriors 3 is a fantastic shop which kept up a steady crowd throughout the day, deservedly so. I’m so proud of Bill and Jessi and their friends for making it happen, and I’m glad I got to be there for the grand opening and to finally meet so many of the people I’ve heard so much about. Fine, I’m also glad I got to meet Josh, and the fact that he MADE FUN OF ME the whole time just made me feel more included. So there!