Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cleaning Up in the Bathroom

Earlier this year, we finally potty trained the Little Dude. He’d already turned 3 and we’d talked about doing it about 8 months sooner, but life got in the way. After a whirlwind weekend of rushing him to the bathroom every 10 minutes, he quickly got the hang of things and was eager to move on to his next stage of life: wearing Big Boy Underpants.

I was ready, too. As his brother had arrived a few months earlier, buying diapers for two was not ideal. And when he refused to wear even a nighttime diaper on the second night of potty training, I praised his independence, even as I feared for his sheets. But my son didn’t let me down, and his sheets have happily stayed dry every night since.

But there was one little thing that I didn’t take into account independence-wise. Even though he was regularly using the toilet for both primary and secondary bodily functions, there was still the duty of cleaning up the doodie after he was finished. Yes, I’m talking about wiping. It’s a dirty subject and some  even consider it taboo, but the truth is everybody does it. (Or at least all men, as I’ve been told women don’t poop, but that’s a story for a different day.)

The Little Dude was under the impression that toilet paper is something to use as a way of hiding the evidence, before it’s flushed away. Truth be told, after trying TP on him a few times, I gave up. It never quite did the job it should have. So on one trip to the store, we picked up a packet of Cottonelle Flushable Wipes. I didn’t know such a thing existed. I also didn’t know that regular wipes weren’t flushable, but I learned that the hard way. I theorized that if “baby wipes” had worked on him to that point, why stop just because he was a “big boy” now?   Then I figured if he’s a big boy and he could use wipes, perhaps I should also explore the option, as a bigger boy with bigger, um, needs.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to recently discover an extremely logical system for bathroom cleanliness issues: the Cottonelle Care Routine. Simply put, the CCR says that you should first wipe with dry toilet paper and then have a second level of cleaning with their wet wipes.  It’s like how you wash your car with soap before you go over it a second time with a coat of wax. Doubling up leads to a far shinier end product.  The Cottonelle Care Routine, when executed correctly, also leads to a far shinier end product. And a cleaner feeling.

The truth is that I’ve already been a big Cottonelle fan for many years (I’m partial to the fluffy kind in the purple package), so I was thrilled when they asked me to spread the word about the magic of Cottonelle wipes & their “Let’s Talk Bums” contest. As a true believer in the magic of a clean bum, I want to encourage you to give it a shot, too. And what could make this more fun than a contest where we talk about bathroom activities? (In a clean way, both literally and figuratively.)

So what do you have to do? You’re going to put on your thinking caps and come up with some Haiku, yes Haiku, about how Cottonelle Flushable Wipes and the CCR do things like change the way you think about cleaning yourself, your bathroom habits and other formerly taboo subjects. Let’s keep it clean, but make them funny, witty, clever, punny and full of entendre. You are going to post those Haiku, with the hashtags #LetsTalkBums and #Haiku on Twitter, but you can also share them on Instagram, Facebook and all the other places you already hang out while pretending to check your email at work.

“But Dude, I don’t remember what a Haiku is?”

Here’s a little refresher course to go along with your refresher course (see what I did there?):

At its most simple, a haiku is a 17-syllable poem separated into three lines; the first and third lines comprise five syllables each, and the second has seven. In order to differentiate these lines, you can either add a line space (using your Enter key), or a “/” at the end of lines 1 and 2.

Here’s an example of my first Haiku Tweet:

So what can you win? Well, each week a panel of experts (me and a half dozen other Dudes) will select the best #LetsTalkBums Haiku Tweet and its Tweeter will win a $200 Amazon gift card. Not bad, right?

At the end of the contest, one of the 7 weekly winners will be chosen at random to win the Grand Prize of an all expenses paid trip to the Dad 2.0 Conference in New Orleans January 30-February 1st, 2014. 

That’s right, airfare, hotel and a conference pass to hang out with some amazing people, and yours truly, can be yours for thinking of 17 clever syllables. Make me and your 10th grade English teacher proud and Tweet away.

There’s also going to be a Twitter Party on Monday, September 30, 2013 from 8:00-9:00pm EST hosted by the inimitable @whithonea where they’ll be giving away an iPad Mini and some $50 Amazon gift cards. What do you have to lose? Let’s talk bums, and have fun doing so. Full contest rules are at

Here’s one more Haiku to get you in the mood:

Come join me, get clean / You could go to New Orlean / Everybody Poops

Disclaimer: I was compensated by Kimberly Clark to participate in this campaign, but all opinions are entirely mine, for better or worse. (And yes, I really use Cottonelle products that I pay for.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Got a Job (or How Going to Dad 2.0 Changed My Life)

I got a job.

Rather, I should say, I got a new job, as I already had several jobs both paid and unpaid. The most important and lowest paying one, Father, is easily also the most grueling and most worthwhile. But earlier this year, I decided to look for an additional new challenge.

Something that I could get excited about doing every day and be proud to share with people I meet.

Something that would get me back to being a professional people-person. And not just people in diapers.

Though overdue, I procrastinated the search knowing that it would likely be a major challenge I “didn’t have time for”. Or that’s what I kept telling myself. But then a magical thing happened. I found inspiration in possibly both the most, and also the least, obvious place for me: Houston, Texas.
One only eats things like this in Texas. 
Since I live in Los Angeles, what in Houston could make a loyal West Coaster decide to change his life? Beside good Bar-B-Que, of course. The Dad 2.0 conference. When I attended the second annual conference early this year, I wasn’t sure exactly why I went. Beyond the opportunity to meet and spend time with an amazing group of writers from around the globe, I knew there had to be another reason. Turns out, it was finding a new life path.

At that conference, I spoke to several great Dudes who each inspired me in their own ways. They are all tremendous writers and even better people. So I wanted to thank a few of them for their incredible support, encouragement and friendship of this Dude.

·         Jim Lin: Though I don’t remember the exact dialogue, I’ll never forget Jim’s “Three-Headed Dad” speech where he literally proved just how many hats Fathers really do wear.  Sure, we are parents to our children, and as I mentioned above, that is easily the most important hat we wear, but it’s the other hats we wear that shape us as parents, spouses, employees, consumers and more. Jim’s inspiration extended beyond the conference as I sought to blaze a new trail toward the future.

·         Alan Kercinik: I’d never heard of Alan’s blog before his address at the conference and was quickly blown away by some of the observations this advertising guru presented to a motley crew of Dads. Approachable and open-minded to helping some Dude he’d similarly never heard of before, Alan’s encouragement led me down the path to where I am today.

·         Ron Mattocks: Ron’s practical advice as a Social Media professional gave me the courage to look for new options and really try to find my way toward something great. Ron gave me great inside information that I was able to utilize in my search process. 

·         C.C. Chapman: C.C. gave an inspiring keynote at the inaugural Dad 2.0 in Austin last year and we became Facebook friends sometime after that. When I introduced myself in person this year in Houston, there were two things I wanted to talk to him about: a book and a tattoo.  Just before the conference, I’d noticed a picture on C.C.’s Facebook feed of a tattoo he’d recently gotten that said “Not All Who Wander Are Lost”. That quote was familiar to me from my days following the Grateful Dead, as I remember it emblazoned on t-shirts at Dead shows in the early 1990s. I discovered that it’s a J.R.R. Tolkien quote from Lord of the Rings, and is something I’ve thought a lot about during the last few months of my quest. 

      The quote was apropos when considered alongside C.C.’s book that had been recently published before the conference, Amazing Things Will Happen. I asked a little about the book and C.C. generously offered to send me a copy, which he promptly did and for which I am extremely thankful because I am happy to report that, just a few months later, amazing things have happened to me. Not only did I find an amazing new career, but I found one with a company that respects families and encourages its employees to be active parents via extremely flexible work schedules. For this, I am grateful. 

You  might be wondering why I am telling you about this stuff that really doesn’t fit into the greater parenting theme of this blog. The reality is, without this blog, I never would have gotten the job. When I started writing this blog 2+ years ago, the shoot-for-the-moon goal I had in mind was to parlay it into writing for television. A friend encouraged me to start a blog as a way to keep practicing my craft while building a portfolio. So I did, and subsequently discovered this incredibly supportive community which I’ve developed through Social Media. My blog’s Social pages are not the biggest, nor will they ever be, but they are strong enough that they have led to amazing friendships and opportunities, like attending the Dad 2.0 Conferences. And they led to a Management position for an established Social Media company that works with some of the largest corporations in the world, who I am already working with after just a few weeks.

To quote the great poet Robert Hunter “Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”

It’s true, C.C., amazing things can happen.

I’m living proof.  

I highly recommend that you grab a copy of C.C.'s book. 

And if you don't already know the Dudes mentioned above, click the links on their names and check out their great blogs. Trust me.