March 25, 2012

48 Hours... And Ten Minutes

In some industries at the the last century 48 hours without an injury was probably pretty good.

That seems like a fact, probably is a fact, but I have no idea if it is... But it probably is. That doesn't really matter though.

The deal is Staci was gone for the weekend it is was a bachelor weekend for me and the kid... And we had an awesome time. Lots of park time, tricycle rides and some general boy stuff (doing things we shouldn't do).

And then on Sunday night I called my sister to see if she'd want to Skype with MF... The call went like this;  "Do you want to Skype? Oh shit he just jumped off the couch and split his lip. Lots of blood. Call you back."

Split lips always seem worse than they are... Lots of blood, little damage.

So I got a cold pack on his lip and we were back in action... As I was getting him water he grabbed my phone from my pocket, ran to the couch and jumped off.

Bam... Eye to the edge of our glass table.

It was only 48 hours into our boys weekend... Some damage done but a lot of fun too.

And he earned a badge (he'd have earned two if I could make a split lip one that didn't look gross, too womanish or just plain wonky).

First Black Eye

March 22, 2012

Dear Delta, I Will Never Fly On Your Airline Again: A Post About Loss

I've been MIA this week because last Friday my grandfather died... He was an awesome man

I could write about him but that doesn't seem like the thing to do...

Instead I'll write an open letter to Delta about my experience booking my flights to Cleveland... Because it was ridiculously horrible and is why I will never buy a ticket from them again. And that's the loss that this post is about.

Dear Delta

My recent trip started with some shuffling of frequent flyer miles so I could book my wife and child's tickets with reward miles. My ticket was going to be a bereavement fare.

When booking a bereavement you have to do it on the phone so I called up your customer service line... I explained to the CS person that I wanted to book a bereavement fare for me and book my wife and two-year old's tickets with two different rewards miles accounts.

My wife, son and I were going to have the same outbound flight times/days but return days would be different.

I was told I had to book the rewards tickets online unless I wanted to pay a $25 fee for booking it on the phone... I asked to speak to a supervisor who told me the same thing... No care that it was connected to a bereavement fare.

I get how you justify that charge, you have to pay people, but I have no idea why you'd actually have that charge. You're basically saying that if a customer wants to speak to a real person, a person who can personify the brand, bring the personality and human touch to your brand, someone that will humanize the booking experience and help the customer connect with the people of your brand the customer is penalized.

If you want to be a low cost airline and nickel and dime folks like Ryanair or Spirit Airlines go ahead and charge folks... But if you want to look like a leader and justify your often higher prices then let people connect to people.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for websites... I design them... But sometimes human touch is nice... And when a person is already on the phone with a representative there is no rational reason to charge them to book another ticket. Unless your airline just hates people. Well maybe that's not rational, but it would be a reason.

So cash aside the experience went downhill...

I started to book my flight... Explained to the "supervisor" that my two-year old and wife would be on separate reward miles tickets and on a different flight from me on the way home... I had given him my cell number and then was put on hold.

And somehow we got disconnected.

And I never got a call back. No call back from a guy who was supposedly a supervisor. My freaking two-year old knows that you should call people back in that situation.

That "supervisor" had my contact info, knew I was frustrated, knew I had all the emotions tied to a bereavement fair and felt no reason to call me back to book.

Luckily that "supervisor" held my info and I booked my flight.

Then I hopped on to book my son's ticket.

While booking I got three error messages when putting in his info. Unfortunately I didn't screen grab them but they were something like:
Error in the gender field.
Error in the date of birth.
Error in the contact phone number.

For gender I chose male. It was a 50/50 choice. Since my kid has a penis I thought that was a good choice... Your site was telling me it was wrong. I checked him in case I was wrong... I've change a lot of diapers but you never know.

Upon a second look I confirmed that he did have a penis and was a male...

For the birthday I put in the info for his birthday. I thought that would be best practices as I had no intention on allowing him to drink on the flight so I saw no reason to add 19 years on the year.

For the phone number I put my phone number. It's the one I give out when people ask for my phone number... Your site was telling me I was wrong... I then thought I'd send an email to everyone I've given that number to... Then I decided to call that number. It rang. It was correct.

So I had to call the online help number. They said since my son was only two years he couldn't be booked on a ticket alone since we were booking with two rewards accounts... I was getting the messages because he was too young.

Here's the deal with error messages... They are supposed to inform the user... Generic message that really say nothing do not inform the user. They frustrate them. If I try to book a ticket for him without rewards miles I get a pop-up that says he's too young... Have that freaking message show up when booking with rewards.

And let's get back to my conversations with the first two folks... They knew that I was going to book his ticket on a separate rewards account... Yet they said nothing... Again your CS folks failed... And that "supervisor" should be fired... He should know how things work.

Yada, yada, yada the online support person help me book my son's flight... She had to fake out the system... I didn't have to pay the $25 fee...

You hear that? I didn't have to pay the $25 and I was speaking to someone... It was because the website was not allowing me to do what I needed and the first to CS folks failed me... But the important thing is I wasn't paying the fee, and I was freaking pissed.

While on the phone with the online support person I was asked to book my wife's flight so the online support person could undo what she did with my son's ticket (somehow attach it to mine) and then attach it to my wife's.

You understand what was going on there? I was on the phone with the online support person, taking up her time and booking my wife's flight online.

You charge people to book online with people. Having your folks on the phone while they book a ticket... Well that's free.

So two hours later I had three flights booked and you lost a customer...

In the middle of all that I decided to write an email to your Customer Care... It said this:
I was trying to book a bereavement fair. The guy got my cell number then hung up on me. He hasn't called me back. I am livid.
Pretty freaking simple right?  To the point.

This is the reply I got:

Dear Kenny Friedman, 
Thank you for your e-mail to Delta Air Lines regarding a bereavement fares.

Please accept our condolences for your recent loss. During difficult
times like this, we want to do everything we can to help you get where
you need to go.

Each airline has its own policy for assisting customers who must travel
immediately because of the death or imminent death of an immediate
family member. These fares can only be issued directly by a Delta
ticketing facility, and not by, travel agencies, or codeshare
partners. Although the bereavement fare may be higher than some
promotional fares, our promotional fares have restrictions such as
advance purchase, specific times and days of travel, limited
availability and ticket change fees.

For more information about bereavement fares, visit the following
location at

You may also navigate to this information from our home page by
selecting the following links:

Planning Tools
Special Travel Needs

We appreciate your selection of Delta and will always welcome the
opportunity to be of service.


Adam Matthews
Online Customer Support Desk

Are you kidding me? This addresses nothing. I'd rather have no reply than one that is a total form letter that has NOTHING to do with my original email, aside from the keyword search you do to find a totally (in)appropriate response.

So Delta, you fail as a company that wants to separate themselves from others by having good customer service and human contact with their customers...

Or maybe I fail as a customer for thinking you want to have good customer service and human contact.

I know that, 99% of the time, I have a choice of who I fly with... I won't be choosing you.


March 14, 2012

And The Sickness Didn't Get Me

I've been doing a series of posts sponsored by VapoRub the last few months (my faves are when MF mistakes the inner ear for noodles and the story of when he became a teenage girl). Each one dealt with the fact that little kids carry a sickness like nothing else... And I got it each time The Kid was sick.

You hear about it all the time pre-kid... Parents talk of how crazy sick they get when their kid goes to school or daycare for the first time and brings home the most unnatural sicknesses ever. But it's hard to understand how bad it is.

And this time, I think, I kicked it... Technically I still have a cough from the last time I was sick but it's diminished. I decided to go old school.

Countless tablets of vitamin C and a ton of garlic have found their way into my life the last month in hope that it would stave off his next cold (or whatever that horribleness can be called).

And it worked. I'm happy to say his nose was running like crazy... I touched probably seven gallons of snot... He had a full on cold and got my wife sick (not happy that either of them were sick)... But I prevailed... No sickness to be found.

So I think I finally became a bit immune... But I'm sure there are other crazy diseases he'll mutate in his tiny little bosy and then pass on to me... I'm just glad round one is over.

Also I feel that since I'm writing this I'll probably be super crazy sick the rest of the week.

Anyway... That's it (hopefully) for my getting sick this season. That's it for these VapoDad posts. But before I end this they wanted me to let you all know of a sweeps they have going to win a Medicine Cabinet Makeover. It would technically be of no use to me as we have no medicine cabinet but I'm assuming they will let you stash the stuff anywhere you want.

They'll stock you with Vapo products, Nyquil stuff and Nature Fusion stuff. I will say I got a box of goodies from them in December and that Vapo Cream they have right now is the bomb... It's like VapoRub but it leaves no grease... Mine is almost gone. Anyway if you want to win head to the Facebook page and answer the question “I know I’m getting better when I can finally smell ______."

For me the blank would be baby/toddler poo... True story that one of the times I was sick this year the first thing I was able to smell when my ability came back was horrible terrible toddler poo... I'm having flashbacks right now.

March 12, 2012

No Rinse, Just Repeat

I never understood the repeat button/option on a radio, mp3 player or such... To be totally sexist and ageist I always saw it as a thirteen year old girl thing... Perhaps that's just stereotyping people not really being sexist/ageist.

I never used the button as a kid... In college on of my roommates actually had a rule against playing a song then repeating it right after it finished... It was really quite and ingenious rule and saved my sanity until I switched rooms and lived with a kid who just broke up with a girl so he needed to copy down the lyrics of some Depeche Mode song...

This was before wiki-anything so playing and rewinding tape was the only way to get lyrics... I forget which song it was but I should remember as I was in the room when he was doing this... Whatever song it was it made me hate Depeche Mode... Also I should say that the guy with the no repeat rule actually broke it once... I could be wrong but I think it was There She Goes by the La's... But the timing on that doesn't work out because it came out a few years earlier... Guess we'll never know.

But while I strayed a bit the point is the repeat button is horrible...

I didn't even know I had one in my car until I accidentally pushed it... Funny thing is the option stares me in the face... But I had no need for it...

Then the kid came along... And he turned two... And he started liking certain songs.

We try not to be a slave to his musical whims but sometimes it's just easier to put on what he likes (if the song doesn't suck... And that's when I found the repeat button.

That's also how I know I live twelve and a half I'm A Little Coconuts from the bookstore.

March 6, 2012

Oh shit... It happened... He's me.

I've mentioned this before but my mom always talks about the time she knew I'd be a super independent person... It was when I was in a parking lot and she asked me to hold her hand. I grabbed my own and walked away saying "I hold my hand."

Today I called my mom and asked her about how old I was... She guessed three.

That means we're screwed. At just over two years old MF pulled this one on my tonight. Same scenario... I reached out for his hand and he walked off saying "I'm holding my hands."

I'd guess that every kid says this but I haven't heard of any others doing it... My sister didn't, probably because she wasn't as smart as me... Or maybe because she was thinking of the probability that she'd be hit by a car... Which is actually quite low (I'd guess) so that gets into the not as smart as me territory... Not to say she's not smart, she's a Statistics and Analytical (and other) Math professor... She's just not as smart as I am (I'm guessing.) She also reads this blog so we're all good.

The thing is you always want your kids to do/be better than you... At least that's what I hear. People want them to learn from their mistakes and come out "better" in some way.

And I'm the same... I want The Kid to succeed in all he does. To shine. To learn from my mistakes, although to make his own because really that's the only way we learn.

And I want him to be smarter than me. Funnier than me (not really because I'll be jealous but I want to pretend that I want him to be funnier than I am). To be more of a pain in the ass than me... Not toward me though... MF don't be a pain in the add to me... But you can be a minor one to your mom (she totally loves when I am) and certainly to other people...

He's already starting the pain in the ass thing with us by telling us "I'm busy" when we ask him if he wants to read a book... When really he's not busy he's just playing with one of those plastic things where you push two buttons on the side and a monkey goes around a trapeze thing...

Or when he tells his mom "shh mom, I'm talking now" when she was talking in the first place...

Or when he says "don't do that" when I'm singing... I'm an awesome singer... Except when I'm singing.

Then he's schooled his mom about not packing enough soup in his lunch... He said he cried.

But damn... Him pulling this "I'll hold my hands" BS before me kind makes me think he's going to be more independent and more sly than me really fast... If he isn't already.

The really weird thing is that I see how much like me he is... I mean he looks nothing like me aside from the shape of our eyes/brows but damn... He's totally me.

March 5, 2012

Call for First Gen Dads

I've gotten some good feedback from my First Gen Dads posts and I wanted to let everyone know that I'd love others to participate.

While I work on a mission statement for it here's a short summary.

The idea came to me after I realized that it's kind of hard figuring out the does and don'ts of fatherhood when you didn't have a dad around to see in action. I chatted with some other First Gen Dads who felt the same way so I decided to do the feature.

Usually when you hear about dads who grew up without a dad you her bad things... But I wanted to celebrate these dads.

So if you want to participate it's pretty simple. Answer a few questions and fill out a short QA. Check the other posts for that info.

You don't need to be a blogger to participate... Everyone is welcome and that's what can make this cool.

So if you're interested email me.

And if you haven't seen the original posts check mine here and Don's here.

March 2, 2012

That Time MF Was Wearing The Same Pajamas As The Kid On CSI

When I saw Cloverfield I was kind of psyched when I noticed one of the characters was wearing a shirt I owned... I'm sure it happens a lot but in this case it was this grey Gap tee that had a purple 7 on it and it was about 5 years old... So my guess was that it was hiding in some stylists closet for years...

Two nights ago I was watching CSI and there was a kid who was abducted... The kid had on a pair of green dump truck PJs from Gap... They were the same ones that MF was wearing... It was kind of odd for a moment... Not as cool as when I saw my shirt on the big screen.

I'm a bit of a CSI, Criminal Minds and Law & Order SVU junky. And for so long I wasn't really watching TV so I had to catch up.

I caught the season of SVU that I missed and I realized something... I see the show totally differently now that I have a kid. Basically I want to kill anyone who even looks at MF...

One day after watching a few episodes of SVU while the kid slept we headed to the book store to play with trains... Because we live in the suburbs and that's entertainment...

There was some parent there with his kid and he said hi to MF, like any normal parent would (by the way I say hi to no kids unless they approach me first and stare). When that dude said hi I wanted to call him out as a perv... Not even kidding.

I've watched enough TV to know that there's a 99% chance the kid with that guy was abducted and that their trying to abduct another kid... OK maybe that 99% chance is only in NYC so I'll drop it to a 97% chance for the Twin Cities.

The point is being a dad changes the way I see the shows... And the show makes me hyper aware, which is probably a good thing as long as I don't call random guys hanging with their kids at a bookstore pervs.

Took awhile... Here's an infographic of MF's first year

I finished this about a year ago just for my personal use but thought I'd share it. It's a visualization of MF's first year in n...