Escaping a Burning Building

I posted last week that MyLove and I firmly believe that kids shouldn't prevent you from traveling. I seriously rethought that statement yesterday...the next few days of posts will cover our journey home.

We had an AWESOME week with the fam in Colorado. But the last three days of the trip were work, and being that things were not going well I was working on 4 to 5 hours of sleep. By the third day, yesterday, I was beat and finally had the opportunity to sleep in. At around 7:30 am Bubba hobbled over bleary eyed from the hotel pull out couch, got 2 inches from my face, and whispered loudly, "Dada, I gotta go pee pee."

"Well go pee pee then Bubba!" was all I could muster while opening one eye. Bubba headed half-way to the bathroom with that stiff legged gate that is characteristic of one thing...wet pants. He paused, turned around and walked back all wiggly. "Dada, I peeped (there is not an "e" missing from that word) in my bed."

"I'm so freakin' tired!" was all I could think, but I dragged my still asleep butt out of bed to change his pants. What I quickly realized was the stiff legged jittery walk was due to the fact he was holding the other half of his pee in after waking up half way into the act.

Let us take a moment to realize what a feat that is for a 3 year old. I can't remember the last time I had bodily fluid involuntarily escape while asleep (5 years ago), but I'm sure once it started there would be no stopping it. Next time you take a pee, stop the flow and try and walk around for 2 minutes without it bursting like Niagara Falls while you tremble uncontrollably hyperventilating.

I peeled his pee soaked pants, shirt, and underpants off only to watch his naked self pee for 2 minutes straight. I don't remember him drinking a keg of beer the night before, but I was really tired.

I pondered whether to go back to bed or put him in the shower. I opted for the shower since I was already up and didn't want to sit next to him on the plane smelling like a public bathroom at the beach.

To set the stage he was already pissed about being awake and peeing the bed, and did not want to take a shower with daddy. Normally he finds showering with me intriguing given all the similar body parts covered in hair. And let me say a man can never get enough of another man saying how much bigger your "parts" are, even if that other man is 3.

I wrestled him into the shower and was forced to hold him so to prevent him from scrambling out of the tub. As I completed a rather impressive one handed thick lather over his body, the fire alarm went off. And not the accidental steam from your shower in your room alarm. The deafening one that goes off when the entire building is in evacuation mode. I'm buck naked holding a greased-pig-slippery-sud-soaked toddler while half asleep trying to decide if this is the real deal or some glitch in the alarm system. After a quick mental flash of me attempting to escape a burning building while naked with naked boy in tow I decided to treat it like the real deal.

At this point Bubba is covering his ears and yelling, "Maaaake it stoooop daaadaaa!" while trying to rinse him off. I shut the water off and threw a towel around him and jumped out of the bathroom in my birthday suit while pushing him with hands still over his ears. I grabbed my clothes from the previous night while searching for my glasses.

I'm almost legally blind so me hopping around with one leg in my jeans squinting in the dark doing wide sweeping motions over the bathroom counter for my glasses I'm sure look hilarious at the time. Turning on the light escaped me as a good idea at the time.

Bubba was standing stark naked and wet turning circles in the middle of room towel at his feet with hands over his ears still yelling, "Maaaake it stoooop!"

I threw on Bubba's cloths while MyLove threw on some pants one-handed holding SweetPea in the other. I will say I took 30 seconds to grab my laptop bag and phone before pushing Bubba out the door. Judge me when you're in the position of loosing a decade of work history.

Because I have to try and be in control I also took 10 seconds to argue which would be the best direction for a stairway...and because I'm an idiot. MyLove barked at me, "There are stairways at both ends of the hallway, come on!"

Our exit into the parking lot was met with "Oh, she has a baby!" No hotel employees ushering us to safety. No distraught hotel guests begging to get back in to rescue their laptop. No fire engines racing to the scene ready to save the lives of dozens of trapped guests. I'm thinking the building is burning down and these people are ogling over the extreme cuteness of SweetPea.

They had it way more together than me who was sweating profusely from carrying Bubba down five flights of stairs and had phone in hand ready to text everyone in my address book to let them know we made it out okay...because I was sure our tiny hotel fire was being covered by CNN and all our friends who didn't know we were staying there would be worried.

Anyway, the hotel did not burn to the ground, but someone did burn some toast.

Stay tuned for part two of the travels home.

Flying, Magic Toilets, and Sherpa Training

I've been in training for an event that was going to test me both physically, mentally, and parentally.

I spent endless hours doing laborious yard work (read about 8 hours over 4 days of which most likely had nothing to do with my prep but seems now to have made me slightly more physically resilient), overhead pressed Bubba during wraslin' matches, lifted baby carriers in and out of the car, and took mental notes of distraction techniques for for a 3 year old occasionally nicknamed "Whirlwind".

Quick side bar... The day after 4 hours of furiously whacking away at some dead grass that needed removing I was sure I must have whacked myself a few times...though maybe took a blow to the head in the process which is why I didn't remember hitting myself across the back with a shovel. That or I unwittingly and unknowingly disturbed the previously serene home of some yard gnomes who then took revenge by sneaking into my bed and beating my arms, legs, and back with their tiny shovels leaving me immobile and irritable.

Or it could be that wielding a pick-ax and shovel for 4 hours when the most regularly exercised part of my body is my phalanges fondling the keyboard of my Mac may have been better thought. I wonder what the actual age is when sporadic fits of strenuous exercise leave you regretting it the next day?

For me it is apparently 32.

Back to my story of preparation...

Hours of labor and meditation were logged building up to a singular event...


MyLove and I are firm believers that kids should not mean you become home dwellers never leaving the confines of your city, unless it is to embark upon a torturous car ride where you stop every three hours to eat or pee. Man invented airplanes so we could fly, kids too.

Yesterday morning as the sun peaked it's way past the curtain my ears picked up the sound of, "DAAAADAAAA, IT"S LIGHT TIME!" I glanced at the clock to see it read 6:15. "Crap!", I thought. "My alarm isn't even supposed to go off for 15 minutes." I had been prepping Bubba for his airplane ride and he apparently was ready to fly.

The previous night had been spent packing up the car for the trip to the airport. We felt pretty good about our inventory as we had reduced essentials into 3 suit cases with a combined weight of only about 120 everything else.

3 Roller Suitcases - Check
Car Seat - Check
Car Seat Base - Check
Infant Carrier - Check
Stroller - Check
Laptop Bag (trip is half work, and even if it wasn't I have to have it) - Check
Backpack filled with snacks - Check
Backpack filled with activities - Check
Diaper Bag - Check

Curbside check at the tiny Oxnard Airport.
Translated to carry your own darn bags!

Flight #1
Our first flight was a puddle-jumper from Oxnard to Los Angeles (about 60 miles). These are great planes because if they crash you don't need a coffin because they are the same size. MyLove carried SweetPea onto the plane with Bubba in tow and I had our 4 carry-on bags and infant carrier while ducking low to keep from cracking my skull on the ceiling and weaving my way through the 18 inch aisle apologizing as I smacked each passenger on the shoulder and neck with our back-pack full of food. "Sorry! Oh, sorry about that! Excuse me. Ah, sorry!"

By the time I reached our seats I was a like jittery squirrel on crack as I tried to cram our belongings under the seats like nuts being forced into a too small whole. We were the last people on the plane but I was hurrying like the flight depended on my ability to quickly crush all Bubba's snacks and fold my MacBook in half.

We landed in LAX on time, only to find our flight to Denver was delayed by 1 hour, then another 30 minutes, then another 30 minutes. Thank Steve for creating the worlds greatest toddler distraction...the iPhone. I have Cars and Toy Story ready at all times. Screw productivity, just go buy one for your own sanity. Is your sanity worth $199...I thought so.

I am pretty adamant about Bubba not touching anything in public bathrooms for fear of him touching the mint in the urinal, then his mouth, then sticking his fingers in SweetPea's mouth. Upon completion of his first peepee trip Bubba turned to flush the toilet, but to only find as soon as he turned around it flushed itself. He turned to me and said, "It's a magic toilet dada!" I love that kid.

Flight #2
Being that my normally good sense went to pieces that morning I decided we didn't need to buy lunch at 12:15 pm before boarding the plane. Which didn't really bother MyLove because since I'm the greatest husband ever had upgraded her to first class, so she enjoyed bottomless Cokes and shrimp salad.

But as Bubba and I made our way to our seats it soon became apparent I had the luxury of putting my 6'4" frame into a middle seat directly in front of the bathroom...yep, last row on the plane. Nothing like the smell of poop mixed with that weird blue liquid at 30,000 feet.

To stifle the hunger pangs I ate one Cereal Bar, one handful of Craisins, a few bites of Panda Puffs cereal, and three pretzels from a Chex Mix. Brody ate everything I gave him, while making a gigantic crumbed mess in the process.

Bubba did great on the plane, thanks again to Steve. Cars and Sesame Street podcasts on a 17" screen. At one point we had a great conversation, and because everyone around us heard.

Bubba: Dada, you and me are boys.
Me: Yep.
Bubba: Because we have penises.
Me: Yes we do.
Bubba: But mama, sister, and RahRah are girls because they have baginas.
Me: Yes they do.
Bubba: It's like a penis but little and squished up inside em'.

The guy next to me got kinda fidgety at this conversation, which I thought was hilarious. I had have talked about body parts with Bubba the whole flight to see how uncomfortable he got.

Getting to the hotel
Thankfully when we arrived baggage claim all the luggage was already there, which really wasn't that surprising because after a bathroom stop, diaper changing stop, and short detour the wrong way I'm sure all the luggage going round and round with ours was from a different flight.

With dollar signs in his eyes one of those lurkers waiting to load your luggage before you can tell them not to silently approached us, to which I immediately waved him off....because I'd been training. MyLove wasn't sure about my ability to move everything in one trip, but I'd been training.

I had been training.

So I loaded up, and according to MyLove looking pretty silly slowly made my way through the airport to the rental car bus.

The family sherpa.
And as I type this I'm not sore...yet.

Love and Discipline

The "Best NGD Dad" contest so far is no contest, and not because I already have 5 amazing stories. Rather because I don't have a single story.

I wait till the last minute to do everything, so maybe the rest of the bloggosphere's procrastinators will submit a story on Friday at 11:55 PM and the contest will actually go somewhere...leaving me to voraciously review submissions all day on Saturday.

But in honor of the contest I figured I'd submit a "Best NGD Dad" story to get the creative juices flowing for the rest of you. This one is about my dad. Obviously my story is not officially entered, but I'm hoping it creates some desire to honor a dad.

My dad fit the 'traditional' dad model. He did the man stuff like mow the yard, bring home the bacon, and have complete control over the TV remote and best viewing spot from the couch. His role in the parenting was rough housing, coaching any sport we played, helping with hard math homework, and disciplining. Things like diaper changing, house work, and nurturing were usually left to mom.

But one instance of my dad's rarely encountered nurturing side will forever be imprinted in my memory of what it means to be a great dad.
Me, Dad (Papa) and Bubba
(I wrote this story about 10 years ago in a college English course. My English Professor was a tough middle-aged Viet Nam vet that told me it was the first story from any student that made him cry...he was the dad of a 12 year old at the time.)

Here it is...

I have rarely considered my father an emotional person. He doesn’t really express his feelings outwardly, and my family has become used to this fact.

When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I began having a slight problem with authority. It seemed to me that I knew what was best for me and did not need parents or teachers “encouraging” me in what I should do.
Needless to say, this behavior earned me a few groundings, a couple of swattings, and more then a few guilt trips. My parents felt that these things would straighten me out, and for good reason; the punishments always had in the past. But for reasons that I still cannot explain, they did not.

On one occasion which I was sent to my room, for something now which I don’t remember, my father came in and sat down, took off his belt, and told me to sit on my bed. To this day I don’t ever remember my father striking me with his belt, but he often enforced an idea which he entitled, “Proper Fear.”

My dad proceeded to sit down and talk to me about my actions and words that had hurt him and my mother. He then apologized to me for anything he had done that I felt was unfair, and with tears in his eyes he again said he was sorry and gave me his belt to spank
him for what I thought he had done wrong.

I was broken inside, and instead of spanking him I crawled onto his lap and we both cried. I tell you this story because I have seen lots of 11 year old boys act the way I did, but have never seen or heard of a father act the way my father acted. My dad is one of my heros. I pray that one day I will be as good of a father and husband as my dad.

I lied it a little in my story when I wrote it. I do remember one thing I did.

My dad subscribed to Sports Illustrated, and I discovered the SI Swim Suit Issue as it arrived in the mail. With hormones versus common sense influencing my judgment I swiped it, took it to school, and proceeded to cut out pictures for me and my friends paste all over our Trapper Keepers. Twice dad asked me if I took it, and twice I said, "No."

When the call from Principal Cook came, my cover up of covering my notebook with women draped in skimpy cover ups was up.

The following day dad drove me to school and asked to meet with me and all of my friends privately. I was sure I would be the loneliest kid in school after that. When you get all your friends busted, notes sent home their parents, and then your dad wants to meet with all of them life as a pending junior higher is over.

Dad sat down with all of us and proceeded to all of our surprise apologize to us. He apologized for getting Sports Illustrated which led to the incident. He then told us though he loved reading SI he had canceled his subscription and would never renew it again.

That was about 20 years ago, and I've never seen an SI in my parents house since.

Thanks dad.

Basketball Diaries...or Baseball...or Soccer...any sport really

I love sports, but not as much as I'd love to. In my single days I followed my teams (Broncos and Lakers). Broncos because I was born and partly raised in Denver (pass the Orange Crush anyone!?), and Lakers because the "Hey Moe" Nuggets just couldn't overcome who..."Show Time". And at the age of about 8 "Magic" was a really cool name.

Actually Magic is a cool name no matter what age you are.

I was never the guy from who's mouth flew fountains of fabulous facts like every player with the middle name Frank from the 1972 to 1977 MLB playoff teams. I had friends like that, but I instead filled my head with juicy gems like how much blood the human body has (about 6 quarts), why lightening actually strikes up instead of down, and how to geometrically calculate the number of jelly beans in the jar at the school fair. Yep, I that guy.

The Lakers are still my team, I just know nothing about them anymore. And there it is, one of life's big changes for this NGD.

I used to watch sports, especially basketball. I could watch the same Sports Center three times in a row (still could...if we had ESPN). If I was in the car for a long drive I'd find a game on the radio.

Now instead of sports I watch Disney movies, Curious George, and Land Before Time. Whoever is making those movies should now stop...for God sakes stop! After "Land Before Time MCDXXVI: The Round Circle of Flying Light that Wiped Out Our Existence" I think I've had enough. And the sound poker meet ear drum....ah relief.

Instead of sports radio in the car we listen to Veggietales and The Music Machine.

But sometimes, though very rarely, Bubba climbs up on the couch and will watch sports with me. This is great for me because I can justify it as quality time with Bubba without feeling guilty when MyLove is trying to entertain SweetPea, do laundry, and get dinner ready whilst I get more out of shape by watching athletes whom I envy and get younger than me every year.

But those rare occasions we do partake in athletic tube-togetherness are some of my favorite as they allow me a momentary glimpse to what the future may be like. Me watching him play and us watching our favorite teams together. Cheering at their success and sharing in the disappointment of their defeat. Times when I get to explain the rules like my dad did with me.

I can't wait when most of my sport watching consists of a mashable mass of kids running after ball kicked in random directions, or an intense moment of fatherly fear as a hopping ground ball must become more interesting than the rocks at his feet, or when the pure excitement and adrenalin of touching the ball means shooting at any hoop even it is the wrong one. I can't wait.

Bubba, you don't have to love sports. But I hope you at least like sports. I know I will be disappointed if you don't, but I'll love you tons still. And I'll hope that SweetPea will be a bit of a tomboy.

Father's Day "Best NGD Dad" Contest!

In honor of all dads fulfilling the calling to be a Next Gen Dad, NGD is hosting a "Best NGD Dad" contest. And here is the best part...there will be 5 winners!

The concept is easy, submit a compelling story by 11:59 PM on Friday, June 13th nominating who you think is a "Best NGD Dad" (there is an FAQ below). The 5 winners will have their story posted to NGD on Father's Day AND receive 11 great books courtesy of Hachette Book Group USA.

  1. Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember by John Feinstein. Read an excerpt here.
  2. The Last Real Season by Mike Shropshire. Read an excerpt here.
  3. Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. Read an excerpt here. (Available in audio format)
  4. A Tale of Two Subs by Jonathan McCullough. Watch the video or view photo gallery.
  5. A Terrible Glory by James Donovan. Read an excerpt here.
  6. The Training Ground by Martin Dugard. Read an excerpt here.
  7. The Film Club by David Gilmour. Read an excerpt here.
  8. The Whole Truth by David Baldacci. Read an excerpt here. (Available in audio format)
  9. Child 44 by Tom Smith. Visit Read a excerpt here. (Available in Audio format)
  10. The Adventures of Slim & Howdy by Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn. Read an excerpt here.
  11. The Dudes' Guide to Pregnancy by Bill Lloyd and Scott Finch.
Who can submit a story?
Anyone can submit a story, but the story must be a nomination for a dad.

What is a NGD?
For the complete description read this. The short version of a Next Generation Dad is one that believes and daily lives out that raising kids is an equal partnership and joint effort between a mom and dad — with the reasonable exception of birthing and breast feeding. (A special mention should also be made here to dads that raise kids on their own, as they truly are NGDs in every way).

What is a "compelling story"?
That is really subject to the reader, which in this case is me and MyLove. So in that case the story should evoke emotion (happy, happy-sad, funny, etc.) and describe why the dad you are nominating is the "Best NGD Dad".

How long should my "compelling story be"?
All submissions must be under 500 words, which is basically one page, double spaced, with 12 point font (high school flash back). All submissions over 500 words will be immediately disqualified, no matter how compelling. :P

What is the deadline?
All submissions must be received by 11:59 PM on Friday June 13, 2008.

Where should I send my nomination?
Email Me your nomination ( with "Best NGD Dad" in the subject line. Please include the following information in the body of your email: Your Name, Email Address, Relationship to Nominee, and a link to your blog or website if you have one.

What happens if I win?
If you win I will notify you on June 14, 2008 and your story will be posted to this blog on Father's Day, June 15th. In addition you will be shipped all of the books above from Hachette Book Group USA. I will request your shipping address when I notify you that you won.

A special thanks to Hatchet Book Group USA for providing the prizes for this contest.

The Fine Print (literally)
If you submit a story you are releasing to me the right to publish your submitted story on Next Gen Dads at my discretion. You'll need to email me a follow-up request to not print your story if you wish to no longer have it published.