random things i learned on my mexico trip

January 2, 2009

Well, first, let me sum up: we drove to Phoenix Tuesday, stayed with friends, then drove to Puerto Penasco, Mexico (Rocky Point, top of Gulf of California), Christmas Eve. We drove straight to a church, and delivered over a hundred bags of gifts and stuffed stockings to kids there.

And we spent several days helping “Families Helping Families” build two houses for families that had no houses. We reversed the driving Tuesday and Wednesday, got home about 11pm New Years Eve.

Here are some things I learned.

Kids with nothing are happy to get something. We helped pack up over a hundred “stockings” for poor kids before the trip.

Kim and Maddy filling a “stocking:”

kim maddy prepping bags

Ian’s lower face filling a stocking:

ian prepping bags

And Holden filling a stocking (Alicia, behind him, organized the whole stocking thing. Yay Alicia):

holden prepping bags

Ten year olds can still get ear infections. When Holden was about 3 years old, he got ear infections at the rate of about 6 a month. I might be exaggerating, but it was a lot. Eventually we had those tube things put in his ear, which dramatically reduced the rate of ear infections, and made him and us much happier people.

On the 11 hour drive to Phoenix, Holden got a cold, then started complaining about ear pain. We figured it was just his cold coupled with all the altitude adjustments (from Flagstaff to Phoenix you lose about 20,000 feet of altitude).

Here is his ear:

holden ear

Looks fine, right? Wrong. Turns out, he had a wicked ear infection. Luckily the family we were staying with is patriarched by a doctor, who diagnosed the infection, and prescribed us some antibiotics. After drinking the antibiotics, Holden started complaining of stomach pain. Because we are horrible, horrible parents, we drove on, and told him to tell us if it got unbearable.

In Buckeye, Arizona he puked all over the car. Woot.

holden in car sick

This is after we cleaned up the puke. He felt much better. We were all still a bit queasy. Notice the mesh pocket on the seat back in front of him. We had to throw away all the books, games, and magazines it USED to contain.

You don’t have to know anything (seriously, ANYTHING) to help build a simple house.

We were small cogs in a great big machine building houses for the less fortunate. A HUGE shout out to Families Helping Families and all the good they do. Despite the fact that only about 5 of the people working on the houses had a clue as to what they were doing, houses were built.

Stacking blocks (the house in the background was one of those built by this organization last year, and hopefully, what this new house would eventually look like):

all of us stacking blocks

Holden filtering dirt for the mixer (Maddy is number 13 in the background):

holden dirt filter

Maddy “buttering” up a block for easy positioning:

maddy buttering a block

Me (?!) and Ian laying a block in a delicate spot (please believe me when I say that the v-shape of the two blocks below the one we’re laying is a trick of the camera angle):

dug n ian wall

Me n Holden laying more block as the wall grows (please don’t tell me how much higher the block is than the string. You think I don’t know that? You think Holden doesn’t know that?):

dug n holden leveling a block

Drivers in Utah are NOT the worst drivers. I don’t want to get into the Utah driver thing. Drivers in every state think their drivers are the worst, but Drivers in Utah seem to reserve extra special vitriol for their compatriots.

But the point here is, Phoenix drivers are the worst. Oh My Hell! In Utah, I drive 75 in the middle lane, and am happily passed by those in the “Fast” lane.

In Phoenix, I struggled to go 65 (the actual speed limit), in ANY lane. At first I figured, you know, old people go live in Phoenix in the Winter, and that was the problem. But I checked out the drivers as I almost rear ended them and went around. Nope, not old people. Then I figured proximity to the southern border was the culprit, since Mexico comes in a close second for worst drivers in the world. Nope, these were white middle aged men and women.

Seriously Phoenix! Punch it! Would it kill you to go the speed limit?

And what’s up with photo cops EVERYWHERE? Plus, I saw more cops between Phoenix and Flagstaff than I’ve ever seen in one place outside a Smoky and the Bandit movie. We got pulled over TWICE in the Flagstaff area. What? Is it the year end quota thing? Stop it!

Finally, I learned about the “insurance pee” and its limitations. Let’s say you’re on a road trip. Let’s say you’re the kind of person who stops when you need to stop, not one of those Nazi drivers who try to make it from Salt Lake City to Vegas in 4 hours, no stops.

When you DO stop, first thing you do is use the bathroom, right?  You go pee right away, first thing. Why? So that you can pee again before you get back on the road. See what I mean? Insurance pee. Keeps you from having to pee again 15 minutes after you get rolling.

However.

Let’s also say you have to, er, poo. You’re not in a bad way, you’re not dying, you just know that something’s knocking at the door. But you’re a patient person, and also the kind of person who doesn’t like the idea of sitting on a toilet in Page, Arizona. You’re happy to hang onto it for a few more hours, till you’re safely in your house, and can take advantage of the Magic Toilet.

Here’s the problem. You can’t really perform an insurance PEE when you’re holding onto a delaying action POO. Because with an insurance pee, you’re obligated to strain a bit more than average. You know, to drain the tank. But in this case straining would prove disastrous. So your insurance pee is not so good.

In other words, Phoenix to Salt Lake City took 12 hours instead of 10.5.

Totally worth it.

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8 Responses to “random things i learned on my mexico trip”

  1. KanyonKris Says:

    First, props to you and your family for doing some real hands-on charity work. Sure, sending off checks does good, but you saw to it personally – that’s a notch up in my book.

    Second, I applaud your discomfort suppression. What do I mean? Well, I’m guessing the idea of living in Mexico gave you concerns about hygiene. Way to cowboy up.

    Third, after your flat confession of being un-handy, the sight of you in work gloves, a tape measure on the belt and actual construction in front of you, well, inspiring.

    Lastly, thanks for working in a pee/poo story for us. You know what we secretly crave and you delivered. (BTW, I’m doing very well at not analyzing why I read your blog – just leaving that sleeping dog lie.)

  2. UtRider Says:

    It’s tough to make that drive any quicker with a family. We did it last week too and it required 12 hours both ways. Everytime we stopped (which was often) I had to put on my cheerleading cap to get the kids to use the bathroom. What I don’t understand is how, after stating that they didn’t need to go, both of them were able to use the bathroom with no difficulty yet, no more than 15 minutes after leaving, claimed to have to go again. Like you, we utilize an insurance pee after longer stops (lunch & dinner) yet without fail the need to go again within 30 minutes of leaving continued with the kids. What makes it even more puzzling is how little they drink in the car.

    I am seriously considering a policy of pull-up diapers in the car for everybody under 12 years old (that number is arbitrary as my oldest is just 8 so I added a cushion of 4 years).

  3. Jeff Says:

    Hmm…Utah driver complains about Phoenix drivers going too slow. Utah driver gets pulled over twice. Maybe there’s a reason that those Arizona drivers are going so slow?

  4. dug Says:

    jeff, yes, and that reason is that those arizona drivers are retarded.

    ha. of course i’m kidding. they’re simply horrible drivers.

    i got pulled over for going a little too fast. phoenix drivers are barely moving. they are in real danger of being pulled over and cited for going TOO SLOW. the six million cops on the road between phoenix and flagstaff should be sufficient for the job.

  5. bikemike Says:

    ear infections suck worse than a Mariah, Madonna, Kayne concert.

  6. Erinb Says:

    What a neat thing to do over the holidays! It sounds like it was a real adventure you will all remember.

  7. Flahute Says:

    In Maricopa County (Phoenix area), they have cameras at various places around town that take your picture when you’re speeding … the picture is then sent to your home, along with a nice little speeding ticket.

    I’m told the cameras are portable, and that the cops move them around, so that drivers don’t know where they are, and have to drive at or under the speed limit everywhere.

    What frustrates me is that my stepdad (who is old, and lives in Fountain Hills with my mom) is one of those people who drives 10-15 miles under the speed limit in the middle lane.

    People in the fast lane go rushing by. People in the “slow” lane go rushing by. Traffic stacks up behind my stepdad.

    Drives me flipping nuts, which is why I only go down once a year.

  8. KanyonKris Says:

    Flahute, that reminds me of an article I read that explained that teens have been caught using the cameras to punk their friends. They photoshop a fake license plate with their friend (enemy?) number, tape it on top of their plate and speed past a photocop. The friend gets mailed a ticket. Evidently when they process the photos they don’t check to see if the car in the photo matches the make and model on the registration. Kind of a funny stunt, and it proves how easy these photocops can be fooled/abused.

    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20081222-dont-like-speed-cameras-use-them-to-punk-your-enemies.html


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