Cici’s no more. Adventures in grandparenting chapter 1


If you enter the doors of Cici’s Pizza in Topeka, Kansas there may well be a “Wanted” type poster with mugshots of myself and my two oldest grandchildren hanging at the entryway.  Probably with some sort of  large orange bio-hazard symbol on the poster somewhere near our pictures.   I can’t verify the existence of such a poster, but considering the events of my only trip to this restaurant back in probably 2010 it stands to reason that there should be one. 


The grandson was around 4 years old and the granddaughter was 2 and a half years old if memory serves me.  I decided to treat them to a wonderful meal at Cici’s followed by a trip to the park.


You can’t go wrong with pizza when it comes to my grandkids.


Or can you?


We arrived at the noon hour rush and the place was packed with people.  After finally making it through the buffet line with plates loaded with pizza of the pepperoni and cheese variety we found one place to sit in a very crowded area near the back of the restaurant.


I managed to get the table all set up with plates and drinks and a couple napkins.  The kids sat down right away and took their first few bites of pizza.


At this point somehow little T girl wiggled around in her chair enough to cause the chair to fall over backwards with her in it.  Her head hit the tiled concrete floor with a bit of a thud which of course immediately elicited loud screaming from her and terrified horror from the other folks dining nearby.  VERY nearby.


The place was packed and we were the center of attention.  Oh happy day.


I picked her up and put her on my lap right away and examined her head for bumps or bleeding of which there was none.  Her eyes looked fine and she was far from lethargic.   And she continued to scream at incredibly high decibel levels.


Folks all around the entire restaurant ceased eating, staring at us to see if T was okay.  I was sure she was but I held her close and kissed her little cheeks and wiped her tears.  And whispered gently in her ear.  To the onlooker it probably appeared that I was whispering stuff like “poor baby girl”.  And yes, those were my initial words of comfort.  Followed quickly by the quiet but firm plea: “please don’t throw up, please don’t throw up, please don’t throw up”.  T was famous for vomiting every single time she had a crying spell, with or without injury.


Her crying subsided a bit and she got off my lap for me to help her back into her chair.  And as she stood there by the table waiting for me to get her chair, suddenly, of course,  she hurled her tummy contents all over the table. All. Over. The.  Table.    Dripping onto the floor.


At this point big brother N, seeing the large pool of nastiness on the floor, jumped up to stand on his chair and in the process of doing so he tipped over his large glass of soda onto the already flooded table and floor below.  Then from his lofty position standing on his chair he proceeded to scream at his sister “T why did you do that, now you’re going to stink.  I’m not sitting in the back seat with you on the way home.”  And I firmly instructed him to be quiet and sit down right now.


Do I need to tell you that we were still the center of attention there at Cici’s?


A man at a nearby table felt sympathy for us and brought me over a couple napkins to help clean up the mess.   It was a generous and kind gesture, but, yeah, I needed so much more.


Somehow the restaurant employees hadn’t really noticed the debacle that was occurring in our neck of the woods.  A nearby customer watched the kids for me while I made my way quickly to locate the store manager and told him we’d made an epic mess and asked if he could get me a mop so I could clean it up.  He was very kind and told me they were professionals at handling messes of this nature and he right away headed in our direction.


We stood nearby as he efficiently cleaned up the mess.  By that time T was feeling much better and N had returned to his normal delightful self.  Remarkably none of the onslaught of fluids had soiled any of our clothing.  Or hair.  Or shoes.  So, yeah, there’s the silver lining in this little fiasco.  No wardrobe changes required.


What did we do next?  Well.  Uh…we were still hungry.  So we went back through the pizza line.  We sat down at our same table which had been all cleaned and sanitized.  We made it through our meal without further incident.   And then, as happily as we’d entered the building, we walked on back out and went to the park.


Pretty sure management was quite relieved to see us leave the premises.  Pretty sure I’ll never go back.  Even though we probably no longer resemble the images on the potential “Wanted” poster from that day in 2010…. It’s just a risk I’m not willing to take.




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