“Here I am” A weekend in San Diego with Dadbloggers, LEGO Batman and Andrew McCarthy.

Going to Dad 2.0 Summit is one of my favorite times of the year. I get to hang out with the fellow dads I talk to online throughout the year and I get to learn some new things for the blog. Trying to recap the Dad 2.0 Summit is pretty hard to do in one post, so I am just going to highlight some events that happened this year.

Flying the Friendly Skies

The morning of our flight we found out that it was going to be delayed and depart at 11:30 am instead of 8:30 am. That meant we might miss our connecting flight and have to scramble to figure out how we will get to San Diego if that happens. As I went to the airlines’ customer service, I was texted that our flight would now leave at 9:30 which would put us back on track, but would only give us about 10-15 minutes to run to our connecting flight, too.

After talking to the lady at the check-in desk, she mentioned that she could put us on another flight, a direct flight, but our luggage would get there later that day. We decided to take the direct flight and just keep our fingers crossed that everything would be ok.  Needless to say the connecting flight that we would have been on was delayed due to the weather, fog, can you believe that? We arrived in San Diego around noon, which was 4 hours faster than our other flight, but our luggage was still hours away. Our luggage arrived at around 1 in the morning that day.

And There She Was

Since our luggage was still in tow, my wife and I had little to change into during our first few hours in San Diego. Due to the lack of sleep and a long day of traveling, my wife was exhausted and had a headache, and while she rested in the hotel room, I went down to get food for us and started catching up with some of my friends. It was nice to see some of the guys and they all asked me where my wife was. “She’s not feeling well, so she is resting in the room.” It’s funny because I said this a few times throughout the day, that people began joking with me that she wasn’t real.

There’s an ongoing joke with some of the dad bloggers that I know that ask me if the other half of Fandads, Gil, is real. No one has seen him at any of these events and they think that I made him up. This same thing was starting to happen with my wife, people thought I was making her up. During the opening night party, I was walking around by myself and I ran into my friend Charlie from How to be a Dad. He asked me where my wife was and I told him about our luggage situation and she was upstairs because she didn’t have other clothes to change into. He told me to take a picture of David Vienna and send it to her telling her it didn’t matter what she was wearing, just look at how David is dressed.

I texted my wife to come down but didn’t send her a picture of David as per Charlie’s idea. I didn’t hear back from her, so I texted her if she wanted me to bring up some desserts when I went upstairs. I walked around, drank some beers with my friends and I looked up and saw my wife standing there glowing under the lights. I was so excited that I started introducing her to everyone there.

“Do You Orange Therapy, Bro?”

I have a few friends that do Orange Therapy and if you follow our friend, Dad or Alive on Instagram you will see him occasionally post a picture of himself after his workout. I never participated in an ongoing workout class. The most exercise I do is run, but I thought to myself, “Why not try it and see what you think”.

Can you see me?

Although the workout was about 45 minutes in total, at least I think it was that long, it beat me up. I thought I was in pretty decent shape, I mean I do Spartan Races and all, but this was on another level. I wish I would be able to take more classes like this, but I just don’t know when I can find the time to squeeze in a few classes. After my workout, I ran to the closest bathroom and threw up what little I had in my stomach. I think I need to do a little less running and more body work.

Headshots, Prom Pictures and Baby Carriers

Last year Kia was on hand and took headshots of all of those that attended Dad 2.0 2016. I was excited about having a professional headshot and even let my hair grow out to have it cut at the Dove Men barbershop, just for this occasion. As I was getting my hair cut, the barber asked me about my mustache and I told him just trim it a little, please. Next thing I knew he was trimming it from the top and I ended up with a pencil-stache.  When I went for my head shot, I looked like Dr. Nick from the Simpsons. (Note: Those pictures will not see the light of day…maybe one day.)

This year, no offense to the excellent barbers that were on hand, I decided to get my hair cut the week of the trip. I knew I was bringing my wife with me and I did not want her sitting around bored while I was getting my hair cut. When I went to get my headshot I had fun with the pictures and the amazing Cielo Roth Photography did a great job at making me look good. My wife was sitting down watching when Cielo told her to get in the pictures with me. I started joking, “This could be our prom picture!” 

As you can see from the pictures above, my wife and I had fun whenever we saw the opportunity to get our pictures taken.

LEGO Batman to save the day…or night in this case!

One of the cool events of the weekend was that the fine folks at LEGO took us to see the LEGO Batman Movie. Yeah, I was a little excited to meet the cast that I don’t even know what I am doing in the picture below.

One of the strange things that happened at the movies happened before we went in the theater. While waiting for my wife near the concessions stand a young man came up to me and said “You’re Victor from Fandads, right? I follow you on Instagram.” This was said to me by Manny from The Way I Dad and it’s one of those weird things when someone recognizes me from the site. I talked to Manny for a minute and found out this was his first Dad 2.0 and we shared our opinions of the event. Go visit Manny’s page when you can and check out the videos he puts out every week.

Wise words from Blaine

When I first heard that Andrew McCarthy was going to be the final keynote speaker, I was excited. I mean, this guy was in a few of my favorite movies when I was younger and it would be cool to see what advice he would give to a room full of dads. Watching Andrew pace on stage and talk about holding his dying father’s hand, writing for travel magazines, and letting his children find themselves was inspiring.

I took away a few things from his talk:

Get rid of your baggage – In life we always accumulate things, be it physical or mental. Learn to let go and free yourself of your baggage. He talked about how he and his father had years of not talking to each other, but when his father was dying, he got rid of all that baggage and was there to hold his father’s hand during his last moments.

“Here I am” – We are always trying to find out who we are in life and there will be moments when we stop and realize “Here I am”. The first time McCarthy had that “Here I am” moment was when he was on stage doing a play. It hit him that that was what he wanted to do in his life. When he was traveling on his own for the first time and was pretty much stranded, he found himself there and realized he wanted to travel more. According to McCarthy, you will find yourself many times and each time you do, embrace it and go with it.

The Promise

As the summit ended and I said my last goodbyes, my wife and I got into our Lyft, we’re cool like that, and The Promise by When in Rome was playing. I started laughing and my wife asked my why I was laughing. I said it’s kind of like an 80’s teen movie. Everyone is going their separate ways and as they walk away the credits start to roll and a song starts playing that encapsulates the events that just occurred for the last one and a half hours or in this case three to four days.

Even though this was my third time attending Dad 2.0, I still felt like an outsider. I feel that way because I hear and see some of the stuff everyone else writes, I want to do that, but I am still afraid to do it. Every now and then I squeeze something on the site that is personal, but it gets lost with the reviews and giveaways.

When I heard how some of the guys described me to my wife, I was honored, but felt like I didn’t deserve the accolades. I don’t know, maybe it’s my insecurities, fear of not being good enough or just the nerdy kid in me that was pretty much an outcast, but it feels weird when someone says I did something good. For some reason, I just can not accept those words.

During the drive to the airport those lyrics dug into my head. I made a promise to myself to start living up to those kind words, to push myself to be a better writer and to reach out and help out anyone that feels the same way I do.

There are a lot of other events that occurred that weekend, but I will save that for another post.

Thanks for reading.

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