My Top 3 Ideal Hospitality Items I Wish Hotels Would Provide, As a Manly Dad

My Top 3 Ideal Hospitality Items I Wish Hotels Would Provide, As a Dad

Fairmont Hotels is exploring for new hospitality ideas and asked me for manly insights (because my blog is so cool and famous, apparently) and asked me to share with them my top 3 ideal hospitality items I wished hotels would provide.

My Top 3 Ideal Hospitality Items I Wish Hotels Would Provide, As a Dad

Specifically, they wanted to hear my take on “West Coast hospitality.” They have a location in San Francisco for example. For all I know, my information could be helpful to them.

While I was born and raised (and still live) in the South, I identify more culturally, in many ways, with the West, where my wife is from.

My Top 3 Ideal Hospitality Items I Wish Hotels Would Provide, As a Dad

I’ve always been offbeat and therefore, so is my blog. Well, here is my list, for better or worse… My Top 3 Ideal Hospitality Items I Wish Hotels Would Provide

1)      Flushable wipes (or a bidet)

The 1st ideal hospitality item I wish hotels provided is “flushable wipes or a bidet.” When I lived in Thailand for those 2 summers back in college, I grew quite accustomed to the fact that all their bathrooms, even in the most basic ones, all had a bidet. So if a bidet is out of the question, I will gladly accept “flushable wipes.” It just makes me feel classy in a subtle and slightly foreign sort of way.

2)      A men’s magazine

When I am travelling across America on vacation, as our family does each summer in Sacramento where my wife is from, as well as about twice a year in Destin, Florida, my ultimate goal in staying in a hotel is to get a solid, uninterrupted night’s rest.

After our son is asleep in his bed, and after my wife falls asleep next to me while watching House Hunters, I am left alone to either watch an old episode of Seinfeld or to indulge in a marathon of Honest Trailer videos on YouTube. But really, at that point, I would just rather fall asleep while it’s still only 10:17 PM. But I have to “wind down” first.

I firmly believe in the importance of unplugging, while on vacation. I would prefer an interesting men’s magazine to fade out to. What comes to mind is Wired or Details. I find that their articles are always interesting, and not as limited to just sports or business.

That would be a nice touch.

My Top 3 Ideal Hospitality Items I Wish Hotels Would Provide, As a Dad

3)      Manly-smelling essential oil.

I just think it would be cool (and classy) if there was a tiny bottle of a manly-smelling essential oil; maybe a medley consisting of something like cedar wood, tea tree, orange, lavender, and a hint of patchouli.

With essential oils, I don’t have to worry about carcinogens on my skin. It’s all natural, which is very “Western” to me.

Hopefully with this blog post I am able to help out Fairmont Hotels with a truly original, sincere, and entertaining answer in their quest.

These are things that communicate “West Coast hospitality” to me. They are subtle, classy, masculine touches that I personally would appreciate when staying in a hotel.

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Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

4 years, 9 months.

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Dear Jack,

This is the 1st of several entries in my new miniseries, Family in a Camry. In August while on our annual family vacation, Toyota loaned us a 2015 Camry for our road trips around California.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

So I decided to compile all our video footage and photos into a narrative to remember our trip.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

After a day of flying from Nashville to Sacramento, you and I set aside a day to spend together; just father and son.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

I struggle for a relevant phrase to describe a fun father and son day of activities. In the past I’ve referred to it as a “dadventure,” but “daddy date” is the phrase most people identify.

http://www.toyota.com/responsive/vehicles/2015/camry/#!/Welcome

However, that’s a tricky phrase because it typically refers to father and daughter dates. When you talk about a father and son having a “date,” it does sound kind of weird.

Oh well, I’m committing to the phrase. I don’t care.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

But I should also acknowledge there are critics out there who would say, “Why do you have to call it anything at all? Why can’t a father and his son hang out without it having to be a big deal as compared to if a mother spends time with her child? That’s like when people say a dad is babysitting.”

My reasoning is this: Mommy and I both work full time. It can be challenging enough for us all 3 to have good quality time together; much less just 2 of us at a time.

118Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Therefore, it’s worth celebrating when I can spend a whole day with you. I am very aware of the unique dynamics that occur when you and I get to hang out together doing fun stuff.

So with that being said, once we settled in, you and I had some good times together at the Elk Grove Park; in the midst of a family reunion. We discovered that you and your cousin Scarlet have the same owl toy; you got yours in the Nashville airport on the way there.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

You and I went fishing. It was something you had been looking forward to for weeks. You even especially packed your bug catching net for the event.

Yes, you are a vegetarian and I am a vegan, but we still made it work…

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

We didn’t have much luck with the fish in the pond there at the park, but you were very successful at “catching snails.”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

For some reason, there were large, vacated snail shells all around the edge of the pond. So you filled your net with them and you were quite proud of your catch.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Later we went to go a see a movie together. While you were set on going to see Minions, for some reason you changed your mind on the drive there. Actually, I’m glad you did, because we loved Disney Pixar’s Inside Out. I’ve written a couple of blog posts about it, too:

5 Reasons Why Inside Out is the More Feminine Version of Big Hero 6

Who Is the Real Villain in Disney Pixar’s Inside Out?

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

I thought it was funny how you told me your favorite part of the movie was the female character, Sadness, who you told me is “a boy with long hair.”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

For lunch we went to a vegan restaurant, which is a franchise, called The Loving Hut. I let you choose what we’d have for dessert. You chose the orange vanilla cake; we split it 50/50.

I was happy that successfully shot you with the straw wrapper.

Of course, I created a 2 minute video that features everything I just told you. So here it is:

But wait, there’s more…

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

We also spent a couple hours together filming the 19th webisode of Jack-Man as well. Here’s that video as well.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

So there’s the 1st official entry of my Family in a Camry miniseries. Still more fun to come…

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

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Dear Jack: Webisode 19 of Jack-Man- “Chinese Field Trip”

4 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack: Webisode 19- “Chinese Field Trip”

Dear Jack,

Two weeks ago when our family was on vacation in Sacramento, you and I shot a webisode of Jack-Man.

Right across the Sacramento River from Grandma’s house is a little village called Locke, which was populated by Chinese immigrants about a hundred years ago.

Dear Jack: Webisode 19- “Chinese Field Trip”

I decided it would make a fun locale for us, so I wrote the webisode around it, also tying it in to the 2015 Camry our family was given that week to review. (I’ll have plenty more pictures and videos of all the other cool stuff we did, too.)

In “Chinese Field Trip,” things are shaken up when Jack-Man and Green Meanie have to work together in order to find their way back from China to Sacramento; when they both mysteriously end up in a geographical loop hole, or portal, that transports them both, along with the 2015 Camry, to the other side of the globe.

Dear Jack: Webisode 19- “Chinese Field Trip”

Basically, I just wanted to explore the tiny Chinese village with you, but I figured it would cool if we captured it on camera while wearing our funny costumes.

I also custom wrote this little song for the Webisode 19:

“Keys to the Camry”

The keys to the Camry, I gotta find

This puts me in a bind, not gonna lie

China’s quite lovely this time of year

But I’m not supposed to be here

The only way back to Sacramento’s in that Toyota

If we don’t make it back to California I’d settle for a

Place just a little closer even if it’s Minnesota

I do appreciate this field trip

The culture and the ambience is so hip

Right about now I could really use a selfie stick

I’d impress my Facebook friends

And here it is!

Be on the look-out for several more fun videos and stories coming up, based on our family’s adventures in Sacramento; including a trip to the Monterey Aquarium and the Santa Cruz boardwalk.

Also, here’s the walk around video of the 2015 Toyota Camera that is referenced in “Chinese Field Trip.”

Love,

Daddy

c2 c3

Family Summer Vacation Road Trip: Sacramento To Lake Tahoe, CA

June 26, 2014 at 10:09 pm , by

3 years, 7  months.

Dear Jack,

When it comes to family summer vacations, I have always felt that the photos taken during them truly tell the stories better than I could tell them myself. When I think back on this past week, which memories will serve as the forever bookmarks in the history of our family’s story?

For me, it was the quality time you and I spent together. Granted, our annual family vacations also serve as the annual family reunions for Mommy’s side of the family.

(She is number 9 of 10 kids, scattered across the country, so getting the majority of the family together takes some special planning and management!)

With that being said, spending time with my own son during our family vacations can be a challenge, because that’s the only time of year when you get to see your many cousins, aunts, aunts, uncles, and grandma.

It’s something I’m very understanding of. So I wait for those opportunities to get some one-on-one time with you.

We loaded up the Toyota Highlander for the 118 mile/2 hour drive from Mommy’s hometown to Sacramento, CA to Lake Tahoe (Squaw Valley), which is near the Nevada border.

By the way, it was the perfect vehicle to take on that road trip: plenty of room for our luggage, as well as a rotating array of relatives who hopped in during the midst of the caravan.
You told me that your favorite part of the Highlander was the windows because you see all the mountains we were driving through.
And that was truly one of the highlights of our vacation: the scenery on the road trip itself.
It’s not everyday that you get to look at the window and see huge rocky mountains and clear blue skies… and not much else. That kind of scenery is very crucial to the psychological aspect of taking a vacation!
As for Lake Tahoe itself, I think you had more fun than anyone- the lake’s sandy coast served as the biggest sandbox you’ve ever seen!
You spent hours burying your plastic dinosaur and Hot Wheels in the sand. It was almost miraculous we were able to locate all your toys by the time we left.
In between “sand avalanches” I helped you locate rocks and sticks to throw into the waves. You declared:“Tomato fight! Potatoes!”
And that’s one of those memories that will serve as one of the forever bookmarks in the history of our family’s story. It really doesn’t take much- just knowing I’ve got some time to hang out with you and be goofy together.
To me, that’s bigger than real life.
Love,
Daddy

When I Was 2 Years, 9 Months Old, I Became A Brother

Experiencing India Syndrome While On Family Vacation

November 4, 2012 at 10:15 pm , by 

23 months.

We left first thing this morning to fly back home to Nashville, after 8 days of visiting my wife’s family in California.

That means that now my family will be undergoing a reverse culture shock.

For the past week, my wife and I haven’t worked and our son hasn’t gone to daycare.

While we made it out of the house most days for some kind of adventure, like seeing the California State Railroad Museum, for the most part, there was definitely a major lack of structure.

And that’s basically the whole point of taking a week-long family vacation: to chill out and enjoy spending time together as a family.

However, when you do that as a family, it sort of messes with your head.

The thing I’m tempted to compare it to is an article I read this week in Details magazine called “Death on the Path to Enlightenment: Inside the Rise of India Syndrome,” by Scott Carney.

It explains how when Westerners, especially Americans, visit the mysterious and ancient country of India, they are prone to… classicly freaking out:

“This quest to become superhuman—along with culture shock, emotional isolation, illicit drugs, and the physical toll of hard-core meditation—can cause Western seekers to lose their bearings. Seemingly sane people get out of bed one day claiming they’ve discovered the lost continent of Lemuria, or that the end of the world is nigh, or that they’ve awakened their third eye.”

In essence, short-term delirium can set in when we find ourselves in unfamiliar environments, especially when the new locale is perceived as exotic or at least completely the opposite of the culture we live in every day.

So let me just say that after a week of not working, staying with family with free room and board and no real schedule, it took me about 4 days to overcome my India syndrome.

Therefore, it should be no surprise that my son absolutely had to battle through his own version of of short-term delirium.

That’s something my son and I definitely have in common: We don’t do well when there is no plan or boundaries.

So it did take the two of us about half the week to get into the new groove.

I made it part of our morning routine to push him around the neighborhood in his stroller while we looked for dogs and owls, while my son clenched tightly his toy rubber eyeball and Jeep.

He also learned better the concept of watching TV, which is something we pretty much deprive him of back home.

Of all things, he particularly liked an old black-and-white western show called Lawman. He even learned to sing the theme song, which basically consists of saying, “Law-man…”

As for my wife, well, we were staying with her family who she only gets to see about once a year, so she was fine in what, to her, was a familiar environment.

We had a wonderful time in California, no doubt about it. But I think my son and I learned a valuable lesson for next summer when we go back:

The two of us will need to mentally prepare for the cultural shock by mapping out a schedule and creating a routine for a vacation where the lack of boundaries and routine is basically the reason you go in the first place.

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Flying from Nashville to Sacramento with a Baby

August 2, 2011 at 12:15 am , by 

Eight months.

Here’s to the land of In-N-Out Burger and Jamba Juice!

This evening, the three of us will be boarding a plane to Sacramento, California. My wife, who is from there and is one of ten kids, obviously has a lot of family out there and this will be the first time that they will be meeting Jack.  When it comes to this trip, I have preconceived ideas about what will happen.

On my list of pro’s, there’s the fact that once we get there, we will be having a very relaxing, enjoyable time hanging out with the family.  In addition to seeing everyone, I look forward to running each day amidst the palm trees during the perfectly cool, Sacramento mornings.

I will not be bringing my laptop, therefore I am taking a break from The Dadabase for a few days. Basically, I am unplugging from the real world. Granted, I’ll be taking my camera, along with a notebook, to bookmark the stories involving Jack that will ultimately become Dadabase posts.

The downside to all this is that we have to get there and come back, on a plane, with an eight month old little boy.  I just can’t convince myself that I will find that process to be less than slightly unnerving.

I am remembering myself from ten years ago as a 20 year old guy who got so annoyed by having to sit near a crying baby on a plane.  Now, I will be the parent of that baby; for six hours there and six hours back.

One good thing about the flights is Jack has entered his phase of being obsessed with his mommy.  If she’s in the room and not holding him, he’s upset, for the most part.  At least he will get plenty of “mommy minutes.”

It’s stressful to think that after spending so much effort to get him on a mostly predictable sleeping schedule, that he will be spending nearly a week in a time zone that is two hours behind what he is used to.  Will that mean he’s ready for sleep an hour before dinner and that he will wake up full of energy at 4 AM?  I already know the answer.

You take the good with the bad and call it life:  Sacramento will be splendid as it always is, but flying to the other coast with an infant will be rough.  It’s the sweet and the sour; I accept it as my reality.

It will most likely be nearly a week before I publish a new post. Please don’t think that I have abandoned this blog.  Instead, I cordially invite you to catch up on my 130+ other posts here in the meantime; as well as Parents.com’s other bloggers.

To find my older stuff you may have missed, just look to the right of the screen where it says “archives.”  They go all the way back to April 2010 when I began daddy blogging; my wife was just a couple of months pregnant back then.

Wish me luck and sanity for the flight.  I will surely need it.  Seriously, I am so craving an In-N-Out burger all of the sudden.