Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't ask.

Ahhh....Sugar Free Werther's... so innocent, so....quietly devious.
Maybe you shouldn't ask why Mr. Zimny was scouring the package,
only to announce "I knew it!" when he saw this:
But then, maybe you should.

It takes Real Genius

I'm not sure how other families watch movies, but in our house it looks something like this:
We're watching Real Genius, which is a movie that involves nerds, lasers and practical jokes (I know, awesome, right?!). We come to the end, where they make the laser pop the popcorn and fill the bad guy's house.
If you haven't seen the movie, here is the clip.

Anyways.... Mr. Zimny comments that it would probably cost a lot to fill that house with popcorn. And being who we are, we were off, calculators flying, to figure out what it would cost to fill said house.
We first made some assumptions, the house is roughly 2000 sqft, with 9 ft ceilings, and all estimations were based on yellow corn and not the white stuff. (Mr. Zimny only allows the yellow in our house because it pops up bigger).
Using the volume of the newly named Captain Cornditioner (previously named the Whirley Pop), the volume of corn per bag and current prices at our grocery store, we have calculated that it would cost approximately $12222.58 to fill such a house with popcorn. Considering significant figures ('cause we do in this house), we'll call it 13 grand. Lesson learned: if you already have a coordinate quided super laser, it'll only cost you 13K more to pull off this prank. Um.... anyone have 13K I can borrow? I've got everything else I need, and a target.

Some might say that watching a movie is a sedentary activity, but in our house it can bring you to this:

Yes, that is totally us weighing how much popcorn it takes to fill Captain Cornditioner.

Yes, of course we have a gram/lb scale in our kitchen. What nerdy family doesn't?!

Yes, we measure our popcorn in a cup we got while drinking at a luau in Hawaii like 5 years ago. Like that's the weird part or something.

And YES! I did tare the cup before adding the corn. Jeez.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


After putting it off time and time again, we finally made it to our "big" vacation this holiday season! We took the little one all the way to .... Mexico. Ok, so it wasn't Morocco or Chile or something but it was vacation in a warm place with all of us together. And it was nice.
I've never been to Mexico, so to me it was new and exciting in kind of low key way.

Not knowing what to expect out of Miss M, we decided that we would plan for the worst and booked an all inclusive resort for the first couple of days. That turned out to be a very good decision. Miss M did not do well with her schedule being thrown to the wind, having to sit confined to seats for multiple hours and the heat. After arriving and remembering that hey! this place has a pool! and sand! and ice cream! we got on a rotating schedule. Wake, eat, swim, eat, nap, swim, eat, eat ice cream, bedtime. I'm sure there was another eat in there.

The ice cream was a hit.

We also figured out that we needed to tire the little one out in the morning so that when we needed her to be calm (eating times, bus rides, etc) we had a fighting chance. (Yeah, I know, Duh!, give us a break, we're new at this.)
After we overcame that hurdle, the vacation started to seem a little more like vacation. Our only problem was that we had to keep the pool out of eyesight or Miss M would become very demanding that we !get in! it! now! swimming! yay!
Miss M realized that unless she was shrieking, everyone seemed to love her. She learned to strut her stuff a bit:

So our first few days were spent in Cancun, in the hotel zone. Our resort was touted as a family oriented place, which it was, just sprinkled with a few people who didn't actually read the description before coming. So the population ended up being a weird mix of 90% very sunburned American and french Canadian families and 10% tanned, ripped people looking to score with other tanned ripped people. Let's just say the people watching from the kiddie pool was very entertaining.
After the second or so day at the resort, when we realized we were making up stuff to do to kill time before we could justify eating again, we started longing for some culture and sight seeing. We settled for a bus trip to the walmart, and then bought our bus tickets to travel inland to Valladolid.

The travel inland was a bit rough, but we finally found our hotel and checked in. The town of Valladolid is quaint with nice brick streets and a town square with a nice church right across the street. Oh. and some very quaint jack hammers and heavy machinery breaking up all the streets to repave them. Uhum. Ok, so there were a lot of huge trucks and tractors doing crazy demolition, it's true. But the construction caused all traffic to essentially stop on the streets that were still functioning, which made it really easy to get around town on foot. And all the noise stopped before dinner, about the time we would be getting in from our outings, so really it wasn't bad.

We had a small but awesome hotel, directly across the street from the town square. It had a lot of character and a nice restaurant, which was candle lit at night.

The hotel also had a great view from the patio on our floor. At sunset, the birds in the park would go crazy in the trees and were really something to hear. You can see the top of the church in the background.

Our first outing was to Coba, a couple hour bus trip away. It's a set of ruins that are spread out on about 70 square km. Let's just say we didn't see everything there was to see, but we saw the major things.
For example, a huge pyramid. I took the liberty of circling Mr. Zimny for you there.

Looking at the picture now, it doesn't look quite as steep as it really is. I knew that was going to be the case, so I took a picture from near the bottom. I think it tells a clearer story.

We also took the time to see some wild life:

M:" Um, dad, don't look now, but there is a huge croc behind us. Hold me a little tighter."

Our second day was a previously unplanned trip to Chichen itza. Our original itinerary had us skipping it because it gets overrun with tourists. But we decided to go and get there as early as possible to avoid the crowds. For us that meant arriving around 9:30am, which we thought would probably be too late. But who knew that the tour buses were totally on Porter time and wouldn't arrive until noon?! There was almost no one there when we arrived, and as we were walking out the gates were flooded with tour buses coming in.
We were able to see all the sites and take pictures without having to avoid the tour groups, and Miss M had a bit of space to walk around.

All in all it was a very worthwhile but sweaty, hot day. We enjoyed some ice cream that evening and walked around town. We came across a barber shop and I tried to convince Mr. Zimny to get a hair cut, considering there were so many options.

We also enjoyed the town square, and Miss M look consulted our tour book.

The last thing we got to see was the town cenote. There are cenotes all over Mexico, some bigger than others. They are all basically a hole in the ground or cave that leads to water, supplied by an underground stream. The one in Valladolid is called Zaci Cenote and is just outside the middle of town. We stumbled upon it trying to find the town market. It's kind of a crazy thing to have inside a town.
From one side:

From the other:

You can see some of the stalactites hanging from the ceiling and some people swimming. Mr. Zimny was bummed he didn't wear his suit.
We were also able to make it to the outdoor market (on our third attempt). By this time, Miss M had grown used to traveling like a princess, and the response at the market did nothing to shake her outlook. Everyone with in a 6 foot radius smiled, pointed and tried to touch. If you were within that 6 foot radius, you were grouped in with Miss M and everyone was happy to see you. Outside that radius you were just another stupid tourist.

From Valladolid, we traveled back to Cancun, but now to the actual city part. We were still on the swim-as-much-as-possible schedule, so more pool time was a necessary.

Mr. Zimny took an outing to Isla Mujeres via ferry for some scuba diving and landed himself a nice pink sunburn. Sorry, no photographs of that were allowed. We finished up our time in Cancun watching lots of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, dreading the end of vacation while looking forward to being home.
All in all a successful vacation, although I'm not sure I'd call it exactly relaxing. On the flight back Mr. Zimny suggested that we plan a trip with grandparents next time. How about a family Christmas trip to a warm place in a couple years.... Morocco? Chile? We'll see!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Here is a picture to keep you distracted until I can write something about our recent vacation. Enjoy! We did.