Monthly Archives: July 2013

BACON WHORE! BACON WHORE? BACON WHORE.

Bacon on a stick at Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards

They sell bacon on a stick during Orioles games at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

BACON WHORE!

No matter how I phrase it, I don’t think it is a compliment.

For those of you who don’t know my eating habits I don’t eat too many different things for breakfast and most of them have a bagel in the equation. So today for breakfast I went to the fridge, grabbed my milk, a bagel from the freezer and took the last two pieces of turkey bacon in the fridge. I don’t have the time to cook the bacon on the stove but it tastes good enough cooked in the microwave. So after about a minute and a half I have the perfect breakfast: a bacon bagel sandwich with cream cheese while reading a newspaper article about the Royals winning again.

Now, in the back of my mind I know that I had just committed a mortal sin as I didn’t ask MeLinda before I finished the bacon. I almost might have committed a sin to my religion but I’m not sure where turkey bacon falls on the kosher scale. Next time I run into the rabbi I’ll bring that up.

I get to work and am handling the usual craziness and I get a call from MeLinda. Not the usual “I love you” call that I get every morning along with wanting to know my request for lunch so she can have it prepared by noon upon my arrival. No, it was a more threatening call followed by a text that only said BACON WHORE.

So what have I learned from this unusual experience? Most definitely you should always have a backup package of bacon stashed in the house! Tonight I will plan on making it up to MeLinda by making popcorn cooked in bacon grease.

Editor’s note: I (MeLinda) want to defend myself! I didn’t have a single piece of bacon from that package! It’s not like I was being unreasonable by wanting some bacon. The text was just my way of giving Lee a hard time (and he knows this). However, I have officially reserved two slices of bacon from all future packages of bacon purchased by the household.

travel_philadelphia_popcorn

Mmmm, we had this yummy popcorn made with bacon fat while on vacation in Philadelphia earlier this month.

Posted in Lee, Randomness

Trip rant: LUV bites

Southwest Airlines Chicago Midway Airport

Here is Lee’s rant after flying on Southwest (which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol LUV) for the first time since the airline took over AirTran service at our home airport in Wichita, Kan.

You know the friend we all have who always says he will be there to pick you up at a certain time and it never fails: you get the ride but you are always late? Well my new friend who just moved into the neighborhood, Southwest Airlines, has become that guy.

Yes, Southwest Airlines drives a little more expensive vehicle than my friend’s Ford Festiva but the concept is the same. If you set a schedule to pick me up at a certain time, I expect you to be there. Yes, every now and then things pop up … but when it happens every time you ask for a lift!?! I doubt SW (I spent a lot of time with him recently so I can call him that) has much else to do and I know he has more than one plane.

Maybe SW was distracted as he is getting a lot of comments on his Facebook page and has a lot of Twitter followers to keep up with. SW also just hooked up with AirTran, so I know how it goes when you start a new relationship and you forget about your old friends who have always been there for you. Maybe the merger with AirTran is like a high-maintenance relationship and has become a drag on my boy SW.

The main point of my rant is this: if your only job is to transport people from Point A to Point B safely, learn how to run an on-time business and learn how to communicate with your passengers.

This weekend I was indoctrinated into the possibility of travel by rail while visiting the East Coast and I loved how quick and easy it is. With Amtrak, we were able to show up minutes before the scheduled departure, we left on time and we got to our destination on time. There were no security lines to go through, my bags weren’t scrutinized and I didn’t have to pour out any liquids (next time a 7-Eleven grape slurpee will be riding shotgun with me). We boarded quickly and Amtrak even cared enough to let me use their power outlets and free wi-fi on my ride. The only interruption was a quick ticket check. Otherwise, I was allowed to focus on the scenery while listening to the Beastie Boys on my mp3 player.

Clearly this post is jaded by the fact that I’m writing this while sitting in the Chicago Midway airport waiting on our fourth straight flight that has been delayed. On our way to our vacation we got stuck in Cleveland for three hours; on our way home we were in Chicago for an extra four hours and didn’t land in Wichita until about 1:30 a.m.

Does this mean I’m going to abandon air travel? While I wish I could travel more often by train, it’s not really feasible while living in the middle of the United States and having a limited amount of vacation days.

Maybe SW can get above the dreaded Mendoza line before the end of the year (for those non-baseball followers that is getting it right at 2 out of every 10 times, not exactly high expectations on my part).

But if SW can’t figure out how to show up on time, he will be on the list. I think every person I know has a list and I encourage lists as a good way to stop supporting companies that clearly don’t value customer service. Each leg of this trip was a hassle and I was left feeling like SW kicked me around and disregarded me even though I was a paying customer. If I pay you to do something, I expect it to get done and most of all, on time.

Southwest Airlines Chicago Midway Airport

Posted in Lee, travel

Trip Guide: Sea Life Kansas City & Legoland Discovery Center

Sea Life Kansas City aquarium

On our trips across North America, Central America and the Caribbean, we often seek out zoos, aquariums and other opportunities to get up close with wildlife and sea creatures. So when I heard an aquarium had opened in April 2012 in Kansas City, Mo., I was happy to finally have an aquarium to visit within a three-hour drive from our home in Wichita, Kan.

Then I found out it was a chain … and I have to admit that I was a little deflated. Well, I shouldn’t have been an aquarium snob! While it’s not going to land in the Top 5 of U.S. aquariums, Sea Life Kansas City is a great addition to our region. It allows children and adults to experience regional fresh water displays representing the Missouri and Mississippi rivers along with Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean exhibits filled with sharks, starfish, seahorses, rays and lots of fish, of course.

This summer is the perfect time to check out Sea Life Kansas City at a discount. See the section at the end of the post for coupons that offer buy one get one free admissions.

Just don’t go into Sea Life expecting a full-day experience that you could get at Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium. While you’ll find 25,000+ creatures living at Shedd, you’ll see 5,000+ at Sea Life Kansas City. But that makes it a manageable place to visit when you have as little as 1-2 hours. You can make it a longer visit if you stop to read all of the well-done wall and digital displays, complete the interactive quizzes or catch a feeding or talk.

My visit was with my friend Nikki and two of her daughters: 1-year-old Sara and 4-year-old Rachel. Both girls were captivated with the short viewing levels and underwater tunnels. Rachel loved the touchpool experience where she learned about starfish, climbing in the creative displays that often gave her a view of being in the tank herself and, of course, the playground just before the exit of Sea Life.

Sea Life Kansas City Gertrude Turtle

I enjoyed seeing Gertrude, a young green sea turtle who moved into the main Ocean Tank in February of this year from her home at an aquarium in Florida. She was rescued in 2011 when her two front flippers were found tangled in fishing line causing them to fracture. One flipper had to be amputated and the other is fused, meaning she can’t swim fast enough to flee predators and won’t return to the ocean.

{fun fact: Gertrude is 5 years old and weights 45 pounds. She is expected to live to be 80 years old and could grow to 400 pounds & 5 feet long when full grown.}

Here’s a really sweet three-minute video about Gertrude and her flight on Southwest Airlines to her new home in Kansas City.

Another rarity in the same Ocean Tank is Rhina, a Bowmouth Guitar Shark that has a head shaped like a stingray on a brown body with white spots. Sea Life says there are less than 10 aquariums in the United States that have the species, making it known as the panda of aquariums.

We were told both Gertrude and Rhina don’t always swim in the most visible areas, but we saw both of them every time we walked by the Ocean Tank.

Sea Life Kansas City shark

So about the “chain” issue. There are more than 35 Sea Life aquariums in the world. In addition to Kansas City, other locations in the continental U.S. are: Carlsbad, Calif.; Minneapolis; Phoenix and Dallas/Ft. Worth. Sea Life is operated by European-based Merlin Entertainments, which also operates Madame Tussauds celebrity wax attractions and Legoland Discovery Centers.

That explains the Legoland housed in the same Crown Center location as Sea Life Kansas City. The girls weren’t quite the right ages to fully enjoy Legoland, and it’s not a place I would go without children. There was a really interesting section called Miniland. This was a room made up of miniature versions of 20 landmarks unique to Kansas City, like Arrowhead Stadium and Crown Center, and it had a cool Wizard of Oz display, too.

{fun fact: It took 20 designers and model builders six months to construct KC’s Miniland, which contains 1.4 million Lego bricks in addition to working fountains, moving vehicles and sound effects.}

Legoland Discovery Center Kansas City

Saving money on tickets

Normally, you will receive the best prices on admission to either Legoland or Sea Life or combo tickets by purchasing your tickets online ahead of time. For example, walk-up prices for Sea Life are $20.78 for adults and $16.40 for children 3-12. Online prices are $16.40 adult and $12.03 child.

However, there are a number of coupons out there right now that offer even better deals:

  • The best I currently see is through the Kansas City Star. Through Aug. 25, 2013, you can use the promo code to get buy one full price admission, get one free. You can use the code for up to four complimentary child or adult admissions with four paid adult admissions. The discount can’t be used online or for pre-booked tickets, you have to get the discount at the ticket counter. Here’s a link to the coupon: http://www.kansascity.com/static/images/sales/splash_pages/sealife/sealife_coupon_0613.html
  • KC Parent magazine has a coupon that is valid through Nov. 24, 2013, but the terms are a little different – it’s for a free child ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket at full price. Here’s the link: http://www.kcparent.com/061613_KC_PARENT_MAG_AD.pdf
  • Home Depot is also offering the free child with purchase of adult ticket discount and it’s the only one I see that allows for online ticket purchases. Details are here: http://www.merlindeals.com/thehomedepot

 

For more information visit the aquarium website or they also have news along with contests/promotions on their Facebook page. You can find Legoland at legolanddiscoverycenter.com/kansascity/

Below are more of my favorite photos from the trip.

Sea Life Kansas City aquarium

Sea Life Kansas City aquarium

Sea Life Kansas City aquarium

Sea Life Kansas City aquarium

Sea Life Kansas City aquarium

Sea Life Kansas City aquarium

Sea Life Kansas City aquarium

Sea Life Kansas City aquarium

Sea Life Kansas City aquarium

Sea Life Kansas City aquarium

Legoland Kansas City

Legoland Kansas City

Legoland Kansas City

Legoland Kansas City

Sea Life aquarium Legoland Kansas City

Posted in Friends, Photography, travel