Been seeing this ad a lot lately. It’s a crowd pleaser for young and old. I now understand why the kids lately seem to be offering me more of their food than usual. Pudding isn’t my panacea, per se, but JELL-O gets the sentiment right on this one.
“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?”
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.
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
“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.
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.
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:
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.
There is no way Cuppy made it from Boston to Long Beach without using the bathroom, but I dare not ponder how he squeezed into an airline lavatory.
The other mystery is how Cuppy made it past TSA in the first place. May your travels go as smoothly this holiday season!
Youngster in a sour mood? Need to add some cheer to a downer of a day? Maybe we’re on an island over here in Commuterdaddy-ville, but Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” has a high conversion rate for turning frowns upside down for our youngest, especially when presented by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake in “History of Rap, Part III“:
Upon hearing the first few notes and lyrics, Benjamin never fails to break into dance and laughter. I’ll have to capture it on camera. It is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser at his wedding.
Speaking of Sir Mix-A-Lot, today’s Monday Levity bonus:
I mentioned yesterday that “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home” by Sam Levine is likely to induce some Dixieland dancing in the driver’s seat. We’ve all been there, right? Caught red-faced and jive-handed, and even flipping a drum stick 16 seconds in?
As an added bonus for your Monday levity, we introduce you to Crystal’s mom. You go, girl!
I love the “Busted!” look of the driver at the filming passenger just before the 1-minute mark, and the “Done now?” at the end. I don’t get that courtesy in my car. Most of the time I hear, “Dad! Stop!”
It’s only a matter of time before my kids film me in similar musical rapture. I’ve been known on a straightaway to pull both hands off the wheel and shake everything that my momma gave me in the midst of some LMFAO or Flo Rida. Hey, if I am going to be forced to listen to the kids’ playlists most of the time, I’m going to have some fun along the way.
This is much to the horrific excitement of our kids, especially if this display comes after basketball or soccer practice. Our youngest cackles maniacally while telling me to put my hands back on the steering wheel. Our oldest laughs, but I’m pretty sure there is an eye roll to go with it. Our tween? He slaps me in the gut, and is most worried that his friend’s parent driving behind us is going to think I am some kind of lunatic.
Too late, most likely.
A pleasant listening surprise was the CMT Edge 2012 Sampler – pleasant because country music is not usually a genre that I lean toward. This sampler had three commuter-themed songs — at least when it came to the titles or band names:
- “Gin, Smoke, Lies” by Turnpike Troubadors (who also do a nice version of John Hartford’s “Long Hot Summer Day”, but in the spirit of truth in advertising, that one is not free)
- “Midnight on the Interstate” by Trampled by Turtles
- “Let the Meter Run” by Charlie Mars
The commuter tie-in of the Community Music Sampler is a little more of a stretch, but I enjoyed most of the tracks, so give it a listen. The two loosely commuter-themed songs are “So I Turn” by Aaron Embry and “Give Me A Sign” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes.
The Green Hill Jazz Sampler has one song that is the perfect Friday drive-home song. Not matter your mood, stresses or traffic volume, it will put you in the right Friday afternoon frame of mind. Fair warning: “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home” by Sam Levine is likely to induce some Dixieland dancing and hand jives in the driver’s seat.
One of my favorite artists of 2010, Frazey Ford, can be found on the Nettwerk Fall Music Sampler 2012 but the commuter song in that collection in both title and artist is “The Wrong Direction” by Passenger.
Finally, this list would not be complete if we did not include “Big Blue Bus” from Max & Ruby Bunny Party. Naturally, this only recommended if you have toddlers. Also check out “Telephone Song” with its subliminal message to use your headset or in-car Bluetooth controls while talking on the phone in the car — or at least that’s my inference from Max’s sirens in the background.