Smile, you’re going to be on YouTube some day

This is not entirely safe for work, especially if your office, like mine, is positioned near the door where the kids return from school. But if the kids overhear you watching the video, remind them that cyclists and motorists all ought to have better manners during the holiday season and beyond. You never know when you are going to be on YouTube.

Spied via Boston Biker » Blog Archive » RAGE!.

Can’t ground what you can’t see

“Dad, if you grounded me, I know what I’d do,” our youngest said at bedtime.

“Well, let’s try to avoid being grounded first,” I replied.

“Yeah, but if you did, guess what I would do?”

“What?”

Pulling the covers over his head, he blurted, “I’d hide! You can’t ground me if you can’t find me!”

“I guess you’re right,” I laughed, as I turned to leave the room. “I can’t ground what I can’t see.”

“Just like your invisible six-pack!” he shouted after me, referring to my midsection with more than a little merriment in his voice.

He’s lucky I couldn’t see him at that very moment.

Parenthood vs. employeedom

Birds were chirping, sun was shining. and the dog was asleep at my feet. I was approving contracts, serving customers, troubleshooting a new product feature and running reports. I was a mutli-tasking Grand Master yesterday. Nothing was getting in my way.

Except that I forgot to pick up my son at camp.

You would think that more than a month into the summer routine, I’d have this work-from-home/parent-as-chauffeur hybrid role down to a science. In prior weeks, I had set specific appointments in my work calendar, blocking out a half-hour window on the days that my wife works away from home so that I would not schedule anything to conflict with our youngest son’s camp pickup needs. I even set 5-minute popup reminders, so if I were distracted by a spreadsheet or a phone call, I still could not fail.

It was a system that worked to perfection for street hockey camp three weeks ago, soccer camp two weeks ago and basketball camp last week.

But the system only works when you employ it. For whatever reason, I did not set the appointments this week for baseball camp.

While yesterday was an especially productive and efficient Monday morning at the home office (boss is on vacation, so no conference calls to disrupt the rhythm), I failed at being Dad, my most important job. What’s worse is I did not even realize until I was already 20 minutes late.

The phone rang, and I did not recognize the number on the caller ID. I figured it was a customer service call. I answered in my most professional voice.

“Mr. Polay?” the caller asked

“Yes?”

“I’m calling from the Bourne Braves camp….”

O. M. G. Red alert! Red alert! Commence blathering!

“I am so sorry….”

In the end, my bacon was saved by a mom who was headed our way from the camp and was happy to drop our son off at the house en route. Still, my Father of the Year nomination is likely being shelved.

It is the blessing and the curse of working from home. You try hard to be a good employee. You try even harder to be a good father. Sometimes, though, you fail at one or the other — or both.

Today is a new day, and a fresh chance to redeem myself. I’ll start with putting the camp appointments on my calendar.

Dogging it at breakfast

Unnamed Child: Dad, will you get us donuts?

Commuter Daddy: There’s coffee cake (on the counter).

UC: But I don’t like that coffee cake.

CD: So you want me just to get donuts for you?

Other UC: I want donuts!

CD: I’ll tell you what… you take the dog out for a poop, and I will get you donuts.

UC: I don’t do poop. I only do pee.

CD: Well, then I don’t do donuts. I only do coffee cake.

Game. Set. Match. Exit, stage left, to take the dog for a walk, of course.