Saturday, November 25, 2006

Daddy daughter day

So today, Anna and I decided to give Heidi some time to write and edit a crucial scene she's working on now and go out and have an afternoon for just us. We hadn't been over to the Iowa State campus in quite a while - and we figured, if we were going over there, we simply had to go eat at Pizza Pit, which is our most favorite of all pizza in the entirety of Ames. I'm not saying it's the best pizza - in fact, it is probably not - but we still love it. There's something in the sauce, man!

We walked down the street to the bus stop because Anna just loves to ride the bus. Here she is standing next to the bus stop in her pink cowboy boots from Target. I call them her "hey Mr. DJ" boots because I think Madonna could have worn something like that in the "Music" video (even though they wouldn't have matched the outfit she was wearing!) We always get to the bus about 20 minutes too early - mostly because this particular stop is not listed on the bus schedule, so it's always a bit of a guess as to when it's going to arrive. And there are no benches to sit on. In the 20 minutes we spent waiting for the bus, we counted to 100 three different times, and Anna paced up and down the sidewalks, declaring that she was "bored" and that I was supposed to be able to tell because she was walking back and forth on the sidewalk.

The bus finally arrived and we took the probably 7 minute ride to campus. It's really only a little over a mile or so away, but that's quite a hike for little legs and she's getting to the point where she's simply too heavy to carry for long periods of time - even on my shoulders. The bus lets us off by the Friley dorm and we have to walk a little ways to Campustown which is where Pizza Pit is. Campustown is a bit of a shadow of its former self. When I was in college at Iowa State, it was hopping with businesses - restaurants, florists, record shops in addition to the bars. Now, it's not good for much except for bars, Pizza Pit and getting a tattoo or a piercing. They do have a Dairy Queen still that Anna and I go to because it's the only Dairy Queen in town that still has red, white and blue star bars.

Anyway, we get to Pizza Pit. Here's a shot we took of the neon sign outside the restaurant.

What I love about Pizza Pit is that it really hasn't changed all that much in the 16 years since I first ate there. I swear, the pizza recipe is exactly the same. I know it's a chain, but it's kind of a local chain so I like to pretend that we're the only place that has one. It shares the building with Welch Avenue Station, a bar. Pizza Pit is on the second floor, Welch Ave. Station on the bottom. I swear, it SMELLS the same in there as it did 16 years ago.

We get in there and order our pizza and drinks - and then Anna naturally gravitates toward the thing in the room that TRULY has her interest. It's a cocktail table arcade game. It used to be just Ms. Pac-Man, but now, it's about 25 different classic games. From Donkey Kong to Dig Dug, Xevious to Time Pilot, it's got a ton of classics on there. And all of them we can play for free on my computer. But for whatever reason, I can always be talked into spending 25 cents per game to let Anna play them at Pizza Pit. Perhaps it's because she is always so SERIOUS when she plays.

The other thing that's cool about Pizza Pit is they have pretty much exactly the same decor for the last 16 years. For example, this poster has been on the wall for as long as I can remember.

And if anyone knows where I can get one, email me post haste.

After we ate, we made our way back up Welch Avenue toward campus, where I saw this sign in the window of one of the local copy places.


And all it made me think of was that Bugs Bunny short that I always saw growing up ("Rebel Rabbit") where Bugs Bunny complains to the game department when the bounty on rabbits is only 2 cents. He proceeds to wreak havoc, most memorably (for me anyway) sawing off Florida. "South America, take her away!"

We went up to the campus and sat in front of the campanile - it's one of the most recognizable buildings on campus. There's ridiculous superstitions about it, most of them involving kissing - something like if you kiss a virgin there at midnight you'll die or you're not a true Iowa State co-ed until you has been kissed under the campanile - but Anna loves it. She calls it "the bells." There's a carillon at the top and people from the music department play them from time to time. There is also a clock on it, so we got a rudimentary time telling lesson in this afternoon while we waited for it to chime (it chimes every 15 minutes.) And let me tell you, trying to explain telling time is more difficult that it sounds!

We spent the rest of the day just kind of bumming around, buying a package of M&Ms from a vending machine and just spending time together. It's really a lot of fun. Even at 5 years old, she has so much to tell me. And when she's a teenager and doesn't want anything to do with me, I'll be able to remember these times.

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