Someone special turned 20 last Wednesday and I had the privilege of spending the evening with her in Fredericton. John hung out with Mathew at the hospital and I drove up to Fredericton to take Kristen out to “The Snooty Fox” for dinner. It is a British type Pub in downtown Fredericton and we arrived around 4 pm so it was quiet. Too quiet it turned out. We settled at a table by the fireplace in the back half of the Pub. The fireplace was going which was by turns cozy and too hot but our biggest problem turned out to be the lack of service. I had to scout out and catch anyone for service which raised my eyebrows somewhat as besides us, there was just a couple having drinks at the bar. We did get our drinks and eventually our food but I finally had to walk to the front of the Pub and corner a waitress to beg for some water for our table. I was polite but to the point. I picked a young server who I figured would go directly to her supervisor.

She did and it worked. A very nice lady zipped over to our table in less than 30 seconds, apologizing profusely after I explained our experience to that point. She gave us $30 in coupons to be used against the price of our meal AND gave Kristen one of her drinks for free (Kristen only tried 2 drinks people, so don’t get carried away! I was driving so only had some diet Pepsi). After that the service was outstanding! Our food was great; I had a spinach-stuffed chicken breast with a red pepper cream sauce and roasted vegetables on the side while Kristen chose chicken wings. I wanted to lick my plate clean I enjoyed my meal so much but by then we had attentive service and I didn’t want to gross anyone out : ). The only other teeny, tiny blight came when the server nervously told us that Kristen’s choice of dessert had run out….

With dinner behind us and our tummies full our next stop was an arcade in another part of town. Mathew loves “Wheel of Fortune” and Kristen found the game at the arcade. She wanted me to take pictures of her playing it for her brother. Once we arrived at the arcade (large by local standards but very small compared to Edmonton, Alberta…) I turned a $20 bill into tolkens for her to play away. She tried almost all the games while I happily snapped away on my Nikon camera, trying different settings for effect.

(Note: Kristen got the tattoo you see in these pictures for her high school graduation. She and I have matching tattoos in the same location, except mine isn’t coloured. I had final say & okay of the tattoo and it had to be in a discreet location…well, where it won’t show with a blouse on anyway. I can’t help if she buys dresses to show it off! This design came from a border I hung in her bedroom when she was 6 years old. She loved it so much she hung onto a piece of it and who knew that years later she would tattoo one of the fairies onto her shoulder?!)

First up was “The Wheel of Fortune”
Wheel 2
Come on, big money! Oops, I mean tickets! Come on lots of tickets!
Wheel 1
Here Kristen is solving the puzzle ~ she figured it out long before I did!
Wheel 4
The first of her winnings! Here tickets are dispensed which are then redeemed for prizes. You only need a ridiculous sum of tickets to choose anything worth trading them in for. She did manage to add quite a few tickets to her collection this night. She is saving up for one of the BIG ticket items.
Wheel 3
One neat little “ride” was the Hurricane Chamber. Once activated the winds pick up until they are at hurricane force winds. The highest wind speed was hard to see behind all of her flying hair….
Wind 3
I was waiting for that Mary-Poppins-fly-away moment right about now…but holding down all that hair kept her grounded throughout the ride!
Wind 4
Kristen tried the ticket spinning game and ended up with 50 tickets although the dial looked like it landed on 20 tickets. We weren’t arguing with the machine! I put this photo in though, as it sped past the 1,000 ticket slot, because Mathew actually won this amount on an identical machine a few ago in Niagara Falls. It took a long time to spit out 1,000 tickets and then they had to be counted; so yes, Kristen’s princely sum of 50 tickets was short & sweet!
Ticket Game
This next game is a frog’s tongue zapping bugs. Kristen is getting ready to aim and start the game…
Frog 1
Aha! Look closely and you will see that little froggy’s tongue smacked that bug!
Frog2
Here Kristen is getting ready to demonstrate her “Fruit Ninja” skills…after a quick text conversation with her boyfriend first though!
Fruit 1
It works by slicing and dicing the fruit as fast as you can. The more fruit chopped the more tickets the machine spit out.
Fruit 2
I enjoyed watching her but I couldn’t bring myself to touch the screen. I’m on ultra-germ mode and couldn’t imagine how many hands and fingers have touched that whole display…
Fruit 3
It took Kristen and I a minute or two to figure the trigger to release the ball on this game. Once she got the hang of it she shot those balls high on the back. If you look closely you will see one in this photo.
Raptor Game
The last time Kristen was at this arcade with her boyfriend. He hit the hammer on this game and topped the highest score to become the new champion. She tried her hammer at it this time but Erik? She didn’t come close to your score! I didn’t even bother to try because my feeble attempt would have given her a serious laugh attack.
Hammer Game
Kristen did pretty well with the basketball hoop game once she got the hang of the speed and direction she needed to throw the ball in. Mathew played this identical game not long ago in Saint John so I egged her on. She first tried the other two machines, neither of which worked… a common thread with quite a few games in the arcade. Not so good for business having so many broken or eating your tokens. We did get some given back to us however but still frustrating when there is no “out of service” stuck on the machine.
Basketball
This game is rigged. I warned Kristen of it but she decided to try anyway.
Claw 3
She had her eye on two items for Mathew. She successfully clamped the claw on both items just for both to fail.
Claw 2
If you look at the claw (I had to mimic those little aliens from Toy Story when “THE CLAW” moved!) it isn’t built strong enough to hold anything of weight, nor would the claw stay shut on any figure. A waste of time and money this game.
Claw 1
With this bowling game Kristen flexed her killer arm and sent the balls flying down to the target. Again, once she figured out the direction and speed her aim improved and she aced some of the higher scoring holes. The rewarding tickets were puny though so if you are looking for a hefty prize at the end maybe pass this one up.
Bowling 1
This game was a riot. It was some kind of ghost game and Kristen could see a laser through her lens on top of the gun. All I could see was the thin white line across the screen…some pretty tricky ghosts if you ask me. Turns out this game was broken too and it was supposed to be a full screen and ghosts you can actually SEE on the screen. What do you know…I spent a while wondering if some special effects were about to scare the beejezus out of me! She got her tokens back on this one.
Ghost Game
This shooting game is a patrol practise shoot. You start at any level but we both picked Rookie. There are 6 different exercises to carry out, scoring either by speed, precision or accuracy.
Patrol Shoot 2
Kristen, with her young eyes and reflexes, whipped my butt on this game! Sometimes it takes a few games to figure out what is going on before you can rack up the points. I never got close to finishing the very first level while Kristen aced it quickly.
Patrol Shoot 1
The Simpsons. What kind of arcade would it be without a Simpsons game? Kristen played it for Mathew but I think it is secretly a girl’s game because Lisa is the saviour here, kicking the bad guys’ butts. It looked to be a very old game and its graphics were basic. I wonder if it has been sitting in the same spot since the Simpsons first came out…oh, 20 years ago or so?
Simpson Game
The sound effects for this racing game were located in the seat; right where the player’s head rests actually. Kristen shouted at me during the game because she couldn’t hear me over the noise. Both this game and the next one made me too dizzy to watch for very long.
Race Car Game
The last game I will show you here made me the dizziest. I barely took one or two pictures before even looking through my view finder made me queasy! This is a Star Wars game that races you in one of its flying machines.
Star Wars 2
By the time this game was over I was ready for some fresh air and quiet.
Star Wars 1

The noise, lights…it gets to you after a while. After exercising our dinner off (ha ha ha, a fun way if you could though!) we made our way to the exit for one last nice surprise for Kristen ~ her dessert. There was a cotton candy machine close to the exit and for $2 the machine spun pink sugar into a candy cloud that melted in your mouth and finished off the evening very nicely.

After bidding adieu to my youngest child (how can she be 20 already?!) at her residence I sped off into the night and back to Saint John, Mathew & John, and the hospital.

I loved every minute of hanging out with my favourite girl.

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