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.

Top Dad Ads from Super Bowl Sunday 2013

I have not seen all of the Super Bowl ads yet, but did it seem as if car makers and others were pitching directly to parents last night? Maybe it’s just our middle-aged bias clouding our judgment. Here, through a father’s eyes, are the Top Dad Ads from Super Bowl Sunday 2013:

1. The Flaming Lips appearing in and providing the soundtrack for Hyundai’s “Epic Playdate” ad was cool, but the clincher was after the montage of extreme activities showing a day filled with frivolity the youngest child asks, “Dad, what are we going to do tomorrow?” Moms, dads and kids everywhere bobbed their heads to the music and nodded their heads in agreement throughout this commercial.

2. All parents will likely agree that Hyundai knocked it out of the park for our demographic this year. Another favorite ad was “Team”, in which a mom provides car service for a team that will stand up to the bullies that hogged a football.

3. Speaking of car service, parents of teenagers were simultaneously rooting for the underdog who gets a kiss from the queen of the dance while cringing at the thought of their teenager taking Dad’s Audi for an adrenaline-fueled spin afterwards. The marketing side of me also loved that Audi added a link to the song, “Can’t Win Em All” by Hanni El Khatib.

4. Kia’s modern-day take on a virtual, space-age stork delivering babies around the world was a little over the top. Our favorite part was the kid activating the B.S. meter at the end, and the parents instructing the car to quickly change the subject.

Slight aside… another Kia favorite from before the Super Bowl:

5. I don’t have daughters, but I can see how a dad can reach this point, Doritos or no Doritos:

6. I made a very similar milk run on Saturday morning:

7. Toyota taught us to be careful what you wish for, but that does not stop me from wishing Toyota had linked to “I Wish” by Skee Lo that plays near the end of this ad (Was that song really from 1995? That seems like just yesterday). The good news for you is that Commuter Daddy is a full-service operation. “I wish I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller….”

8. This Volkswagen favorite is more from our professional than our parental side. “Respect Boss Mahn!”

9. A glimpse of Super Bowl Sundays of our future from Taco Bell:

Honey, do

Most of my commercial consumption occurs during sporting events. Yes, I know about TiVo, but how could I bring you such levity if I didn’t watch the commercials?

Today we submit for our enjoyment a take on the “Honey, do” list:

Honestly, though, my wife would never get a chance to ask Kevin Durant to do those chores. He’d already be spoken for by our boys.