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.

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.

Just call me Dr. Feelgood

Photo by Orange_Beard

Over the past year I have been building a cycling playlist as I trained for the Blazing Saddles Century, which I recently completed for the second time. So when Traci Mazurek over at MapMyFitness posted a “Get Out of Bed!” playlist and asked for additional contributions, I had more songs than she required.

I shared my 20 most played songs with the MapMyFitness audience, but my overall playlist is much deeper and should not be held back from you, dear readers. There is hardly a cool-down song on it. I usually listen to podcasts when I ride, but some days fast rhythms are needed to either get you over that hill or simply to help you leave all your agression out on the road. I’ll occasionally listen to it while working, too, in lieu of a fourth cup of coffee. I have to draw the line somewhere.

To that end, here is the rest of the still-evolving cycling playlist:

Let’s Get It Started by The Black Eyed Peas
Barcelona by Giulia y los Tellarini
Atman by Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Louder Than Ever by Cold War Kids
Hanuman by Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Lonely Train by Black Stone Cherry
Tiempo De Soleá by ojos de brujo
Viva La Vida by Coldplay
Raise Your Glass by P!nk
Make U Move by Danielia Cotton
Love Everybody by The Presidents of The United States of America
Big Ten Inch Record by Aerosmith
The Cave by Mumford & Sons
My Body by Young The Giant
Calé Barí by ojos de brujo
Animal by Neon Trees
Rock And Roll by Led Zeppelin
Mr. Hurricane by Beast
SexyBack by Justin Timberlake
Crazy In Love by Beyoncé
Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall
Wake Up by Arcade Fire
Wake Up Call by Maroon 5
Conquest by The White Stripes
Slither by Velvet Revolver
Harder To Breathe by Maroon 5
Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) by C+C Music Factory
Mother Mother by Tracy Bonham
The Distance by Cake
You Gotta Move by Aerosmith
Skimming by Mike Errico
Cumbersome by Seven Mary Three
But Anyway by Blues Traveler
Enter Sandman by Metallica
Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) by Beyoncé
Woman by Wolfmother (Thanks, Ernesto, for this recommendation!)
This is My Life by Firewater
Swansong by Josh Woodward
Crazy by Gnarls Barkley
Die Trying by Art of Dying
Love In An Elevator by Aerosmith
Que Belleza by Naga
Lovers In Japan by Coldplay
Tamacun by Rodrigo y Gabriela
Put Me Out by Expanding Man
Remedy by The Black Crowes
Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong by Spin Doctors
Better Off This Way by A Day to Remember
St. Peter by Tumbledown
I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor by Arctic Monkeys
You’re Crazy by Guns N’ Roses
Punching In A Dream by The Naked And Famous
Wonderland by Natalia Kills
Galvanize by The Chemical Brothers
Mr. Brownstone by Guns N’ Roses
Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons

No passing on the right


No Passing Zone
Originally uploaded by tomas carrillo

We at Commuter Daddy — and by we, I mean me — are in week two of three consecutive weeks involving some travel, but for today’s road trip to New Hampshire I relinquished driving responsibility to one of my colleagues.

(She has granted permission to be included in this blog post, but to protect the innocent we’ll only identify her as Ms. SBT.)

A few weeks ago, the roles were reversed. I was driving, and Ms. SBT was riding shotgun. Early in the trip, she asked, “So, have you ever been pulled over?”

“Don’t jinx me!” I shouted. In the 11 years of commuting off-Cape, I’ve not been touched by the long arm of the law. Not that I haven’t deserved it. More than a few times I have stretched the definition of a speed limit while racing home to pick up Mason from daycare. What parent hasn’t? Doesn’t make it right, but the practice can be a necessary evil from time to time.

Flash forward to today: We’ve just pulled out of my driveway. I mention to Ms. SBT that I have not had breakfast, and would she mind stopping at the Marshland? No problem. We pull up on the stop light at Jarves Street, just as the light is turning green and cars are merging from two lanes to one.

One of the cars in front of us is that of a Sandwich Police officer. He appears to slow down in the left lane, so Ms. SBT pulls past in the right lane just before the merge.

Next thing we know, we’re seeing blue lights. The jinx has officially set in.

Luckily, as the officer walks up on the car, we hear him get dispatched to a 911 call. He very nicely asks Ms. SBT if she realizes that passing on the right is illegal in Massachusetts. She admits she did not. He smiles, and says he used to do the same thing, and warns her not to do it again. Off he went to his 911 call, and off we went to Marshland.

Jinx lifted. Or so I hope. Just in case, I’ll be tossing some salt over my shoulder tonight, among a few other hex breakers.

New Office Mate


New Office Mate
Originally uploaded by spolay

Our new Cairn Terrier puppy, Ruby, has been home barely 24 hours, and already she’s taken a liking to the home office.

We tried putting her in her crate this morning so that I could work without worrying about what she was up to, but the background wimpering was not going to fly in either the personal concentration department or as background noise to upcoming conference calls.

At this very moment, she is asleep at my feet, after a prolonged attack on one of my plastic file boxes. Attacking file boxes is exhausting work, after all.