Digital Dad Interview #4: Mike Crider

Marc Crider
Mike Crider

Brief Bio
I’m a father of twin toddler girls and a middle school assistant principal. I’ve been married to my wife, Holly, for over seven years now and I enjoy watching sports, reading, running (I don’t enjoy it, but I do it sometimes), cooking, and even playing some XBox 360 (GT: Angry Principal). I am also on Twitter @TwinDadTalks

What do you like most about being a Dad?
I like watching my girls do new things every day. I think as they get older, it will be attending their functions and cheering them on in everything they do, but right now it’s just watching a developmental explosion. With twins, it’s even more unique because they hit milestones at different times. I have one who is speaking sentences and the other is much further behind in her speech, but will make a mess just to have an opportunity to clean it up.

What’s been your proudest moment (so far) as a Dad?
My proudest moment has been proving that a father can take care of two kids at one time without having to call six family members to help. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have help from family, and of course, my wife keeps us going, but I am not intimidated by being a parent. I don’t typically take the girls out by myself unless we are just going for a ride where they won’t be getting out of the car, but we also rarely go anywhere unless we are all together. Having twins is a moving circus, particularly in stores.

What do you want your kid(s) to remember you for the most?
I want the girls to remember that I loved and respected them. I think if those things are in place then everything else will follow suit. I am a dry, sarcastic person by nature, and even though that type of humor has it’s place (particularly in the blogging world), I have to tone that down a lot as a parent, particularly with toddlers. Eventually, they will get my jokes and may even have been blessed with the wit to banter back, but they will remember more that they grew up in a household where love and respect were shared freely.

When did you start blogging?
I started blogging three months ago. My wife has been blogging a little over a year now, and she has published a couple of articles with Multiplicity Magazine and has been able to do some campaigns here and there for nominal money. I started because I thought I had interesting thoughts that I’m not able to share anywhere else. I also thought that I would be an interesting read for people because of my occupation and my life as a twin father. I’ve enjoyed writing my blog, but I’m still very small in numbers…my blog only has 3600 page views since August 1 and I’ve had 46 likes on my Facebook page. Even though it’s easy to get discouraged by numbers, I know that what I write is genuine and with time, it will be noticed by more people. Even recently, I’ve joined the Dad Bloggers group on Facebook and held conversations with really interesting people. I’ve published an e-book on Amazon called “TwinDad Talks: Help for First-Time Fathers Navigating Pregnancy” and I’ve published two articles on the Good Men Project. Somehow, I’m going to be on the Life of Dad After Show podcast in the near future, so some cool things are starting to happen and I’m just going to continue working hard at this.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing life/work/blog?
How do you manage it?
My biggest challenge is the work/life part. I think blogging has helped me chronicle this balance, but my job requires at least 55 hours a week, and my commute to my job is 45 minutes each way. Realistically, I don’t get a lot of time with my girls during the week, so we tend to make the most of it on the weekends. My wife works too and is the one who picks them up from preschool and her parents live very close to us, so they help a lot. I think this was one of the challenges to the blog, though, because I want to publish material that is well-written and worthy of an audience. There are guys who do this professionally and how am I supposed to compete with that? Also, the guys that stay at home, who I have a boat load of respect for, have the best blogs because they can write about a ton of experiences. My posts tend to talk about how I can’t spend enough time with them and how guilty I feel about that. I had to find humor in odd things to make my posts less sappy. Even though I have a career, I want to build my blog to where I can see cool things happen, and I think that’s starting to come to fruition.

Current City/State (nearest major city is fine)
Greensboro, NC

Blog Title & URL
Twin Dad Talks – Thoughts on Raising Twins, and Everything Else. URL – http://twindadtalks.blogspot.com. Check it out, it’s great.

Cookie or Brownie?
This could be the toughest question you’ve asked…it’s kind of like the Barbara Walters interview that makes everyone cry, I really like both. I’m going to give the edge to brownie, because you can pair it with ice cream for a delicious dessert.

How to Clean a Whirlpool Tub

whirlpool-tub-cleaning-detergent

Having recently taking residence in a “new to us” home… it looked like the whirlpool tub was in need of some cleaning. The former owner’s maintenance records indicated “heavy” use and that the motor was replaced sometime in the past.

Our tub is a Royal Bath Products whirlpool tub but, this cleaning procedure should work fairly universally for all whirlpool bath tubs.

As always, check the owner’s manual/website for the manufacturer of your whirlpool tub for any specifics/warranty.

I tried to contact Royal Bath Products of Houston, TX the manufacturer of our whirlpool tub but, they were unable to respond to my website contact request for a recommended cleaning procedure and no cleaning information was available on their web site. So, with a little research and creative thinking… here is how we cleaned our whirlpool tub (and you might clean yours).

What You Will Need

  1. Bleach
  2. Cascade Dishwashing Powder
    (or similar)
  3. Vinegar
  4. Dawn Ultra Concentrated Dish liquid
  5. Bar Keepers Friend® Cleanser & Polish
  6. A toothbrush
  7. Phillips head screwdriver
  8. Adjustable wrench or pliers

Whirlpool Tub Cleaning Steps Overview

Briefly, here’s how we’ll clean the whirlpool tub

  1. Remove parts to be cleaned
  2. Start the parts soaking
  3. Clean the tub

Removing the Water Inlet Screen

  1. Close the drain.
  2. With the a Phillips head screwdriver remove the water inlet screen. (In our tub there are three screws that hold the screen in place.)

Removing Whirlpool Tub Jet Nozzles & Air Controls

In our whirlpool tub we only need a set of pliers to budge the threads to the get nozzles spinning off. The air control just unscrewed.

Cleaning Whirlpool Tub Jet Nozzles, Air Controls and Water Inlet Screen

 

Soaking the whirlpool tub parts in bleach. 7 jets and 1 inlet.
Soaking the whirlpool tub parts in bleach. 7 jets and 1 inlet.
  • Get the bleach and put it into a non reactive bowl with all of these parts to soak a while.
  • After the bleach soak it’s time to go to work.
  • Grab the toothbrush, Dawn and some vinegar and scrub and scrub some more. When you are happy with the cleanliness of parts, rinse them off and set aside to dry.

Cleaning the Whirlpool System Pipes

You may not have thought about it… but, there is a hidden part of the whirlpool tub that needs to be cleaned too. It’s the system of pipes that lead to and from the whirlpool tub pump and to/from the jets and control inlets.

To clean this system you will fill the whirlpool tub a total of 3 times with hot water.

  1. Adding detergent aka detergent cycle
  2. Adding bleach aka bleach cycle
  3. Water only

Detergent Cycle

whirlpool-tub-cleaning-detergent

  • Fill with hot water to just above the highest nozzle
  • Add some detergent. In our case, I added the contents of two of those “gel pack” type detergent packs.
  • Let it run about 15 minutes
  • Drain

Bleach Cycle

whirlpool-tub-cleaning

  • Fill with hot water to just above the highest nozzle
  • Let it run about 15 minutes
  • Drain

Water Only Cycle

  • Fill with cold water to just above the highest nozzle
  • Let it run about 15 minutes
  • Drain

Cleaning Whirlpool Tub Surface

To clean the whirlpool tub surface follow these steps:

  1. Generously sprinkle the surface of the tub with Barkeeps Friend
  2. Scrub all tub surfaces until clean with a sponge
  3. Rinse with water
  4. Re-install all tub fittings

Digital Dad Interview #3: Don Jackson

Don Jackson the Digital Dad interview
Don Jackson the Digital Dad interview

Welcome to the latest Digital Dad interview. Each week we bring an interview with a Dad and get their take on work, life and family. This week we are pleased to be interviewing Don Jackson.

Before we get started with the questions… a little about Don.
Don hails from St. Louis, Missouri, is the dad of a 2-year-old, and the stepdad of a 7-year-old. Don writes about life, the universe and everything–from the perspective of a Dad. He enjoy frequent trips with his family to parks, museums, and the great outdoors (He also writes about many of those great adventures). Don also enjoys connecting with fellow bloggers–to learn from and network with them.

What do you like most about being a Dad?

“I love everything about being a dad, from the poo-agedan diapers, to the epic tickle fights. I can’t really say it is one thing more than another, though. I think fatherhood is one of those experiences where you have to take the good with the bad. It’s all part of the journey of life. And, life is not always rainbows and puppies.”

What’s been your proudest moment (so far) as a Dad?

“Oh boy, I would have to say, my proudest moment is when my son was born. It was one of the coldest days in February here in the New Mexico in like 100 years. And, of course, we were trying to do a water birth at home. I was running around the house with my mom and Gavin’s brother, who was 5 at the time, trying to heat water and fill this birthing tub. We were like the Keystone Cops.

We ended up not using it as it was proving to be too much work and way too cold out for it (and we couldn’t keep the water warm enough). When I first saw his face, I knew I would forever be one with my son. It was the happiest and saddest time for me, as I felt like I was not going to be able to be the dad he deserved or needed me to be.

I try everyday to live up to that, as Vince Lombardi said to the Green Bay Packers during their first team meeting, “Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good.”

What do you want your kid(s) to remember you for the most?

“I guess: that I always tried to do right by him; that I may have not been perfect, but I put him first; and that I was always there for him when he needed me.”

When did you start blogging?

“I started my blog about 8 months ago, and I’ve enjoy every moment of writing (as do my 4 fans).”

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing life/work/blog? How do you manage it?

“Well, I work from home and also take care of my son during the day, so what is the most important part of making that work is finding a routine. But, also it’s important to stay on-task, even when you want to play with your son, for the 10th time that morning.

When those days happen, I tend to have some late nights, getting a blog post out for the next day. I do have to say: I would not trade being a SAH/WFH dad. I get to see my son all-day long and I don’t miss anything he does. He is changing minute-by-minute.”

Current City/State?

Albuquerque, NM

Blog Title & URL?

Daddynewbie.com   http://www.daddynewbie.com/

Cookie or Brownie?

“I would like to say brownie, but I am doing a weight-loss challenge for a dad blogger group I belong to. We call the challenge: Chuck the Chunk: On the Road to Dad 2.0 Summit 2014. So sadly for me, no cookie or brownie.

 

P.S. If you know a Dad interested in being profiled here on the Digital Dad, please let me know here.

 

A Lawnmower and Why I Don’t Go to Bed Angry with My Wife

My early life of dating (the mid-to-late 80’s) was like a lawnmower. It took a few pulls to get started. But, eventually it ran. And thinking back, that was okay for me. This wasn’t the type of thing I really needed to take right off. For some of my peers, it was a different experience altogether.

During this period of early “dating” there were sputters and mis-firings. A few “of the ladies” seemed to walk in and out of my life. These very early encounters left me wondering if I would find something a little more solid. A little more tangible. Not a Wife but, something with a little permanence beyond a day, a week.

As time and luck would have it, I did eventually meet a girl that I consider my first girlfriend. And she left me with an impression and lesson that I still heed to this day. The little lawnmower that could, started idling well.

I don’t remember the exact circumstances that we became interested in each other. I didn’t know her previously, we didn’t have friends in common. But, we fairly quickly (and intensely) became interested in each other. There were moments.. days of joy, and happiness. With a hint of infatuation rolled in for good measure. The mower’s throttle was pretty much wide open. The sad thing here was the tank of gas on the lawnmower was about to run out. And that was bad.

How bad? Well, she ended up hating me. I think she wanted more from dating than I did. I can’t remember all the details that clearly. After breaking up, I remember wanting to say a few more words to her but, she wouldn’t hear of it. That made me mad, resentful even. It also changed my opinion of her. I guess when you like someone so intensely, that when it ends, you can wind up heading in the exact opposite direction.

She found someone else that seemed to make her happy. And, I moved on as well. Life went on, or so I thought.

It’s what happened next that has left an indelible impression…
Apparently, she and her new boyfriend went for a ride on a scooter/moped. They did this quite a bit I heard later. The tragic part of all of this was during one ride they were involved in an accident and she died.

When I heard this … I went numb. I thought, “she died? What? Really?”

And shortly after, I decided I would do what I could in my future relationships to have more clarity, less hate and clearer communication. I’d deal as straight and honest as possible. Bad gas, poor mower performance. Good gas, better lawn mower performance.

These days,  this decision from long ago extends to my loving Wife. We disagree on occasion. When she asks my opinion… I give it to her. But, we never go to bed angry. Never. Why? Because, although the odds are good that we will both wake up… you can’t be 100% sure.

Digital Dad Interview Scott Behson

Welcome to the second Digital Dad interview here on the blog. I am stoked to get some positive reaction and great responses. I guess this establishes it as a series? This time we are interviewing Scott Behson a dad, professor and lover of chocolate chip cookies with M&Ms.

Scott, thanks for agreeing to be involved. I’ll let you take it away from here.

Scott and his son
Scott and his son

Tells us a bit about you…

“I’m a Professor of Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University, a busy involved dad, and an overall grateful guy. I run the FathersWorkandFamily blog dedicated to helping fathers better balance work and family and encouraging more supportive workplaces, and write on work and family issues for the Good Men Project online men’s magazine. I live in Nyack, NY with my lovely wife, Amy, and awesome 8-year old son, Nick. Contact me @ScottBehson on twitter or Behson@fdu.edu.”

What do you like most about being a Dad?

“Aside from all the life-changing, deep, amazing aspects to being a father, sometimes being a dad just makes me happy because I get to live out my second childhood through Nick!

It is great to re-watch the Star Wars movies through his eyes and then plan out the intricate series of light-saber battles we act out every night. It is awesome being with my son in little league and remembering all the time I spent on a baseball diamond with my father. Water parks, Lego exhibits, minor-league baseball games, the top of the Empire State Building- these things are all great, but are so much better when you can see them again for the first time with a smart, curious energetic awesome kid. I’m so glad Tigger and Buzz Lightyear and Obi-Wan Kenobi are with me for my second childhood.”

What’s been your proudest moment (so far) as a Dad?

“When my son was 4, he broke his leg attempting a triple axel off of some playground equipment at his pre-school. I feared he would be absolutely miserable being unable to run and play as actively as he was used to. After the pain subsided, however, Nick was a total champ!

He kept up his spirits, and insisted on maintaining all his activity- pre-school, play-dates, etc. despite being confined to his stroller. In fact, we made what we called a “Nicky cart” out of an old furniture dolly so he could scoot around the house- he would wheel away all day. A week after his cast was removed, he was back jumping off the same playground equipment. He hasn’t stopped being a daredevil since. What a trooper! I really admire his spirit.”

What do you want your kid(s) to remember you for the most?

“The day he was born, I promised Nick that I would do everything I could so that he would have a good life. I hope that when he looks back on his childhood, he’ll believe I walked the walk.

I want him to remember that I was a constant loving presence in his life. That I was always there for him and very involved in his life. That I love him more than anything and he could rely on that as a cornerstone for his life. That I am a fun dad who he loved the spend time with. That I am proud of the person he is and who he is becoming. I think I’m starting to get teary, so that’s enough for now. (BTW, I collected the responses of about 20 dads to this very question for a recent blog post)”

When did you start blogging?

“Almost a year ago. In my professional and academic work in Work and Family, I found that NO ONE was talking about fathers and their concerns. The blog was an effort to start a conversation on this important topic. We all want to be successful in our careers and as fathers, and we face a lot of workplace and family demands that weren’t placed on dads of previous generations. Yet, because there is no conversation at home, at work, and even among dads, many feel like they struggle alone.

So, my blog is hopefully a place dads can come for support, encouragement and advice. By no means do I have all the answers, but I can lend a different perspective (the professional and the personal) on work and family as I struggle along with my fellow dads.”

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing life/work/blog? How do you manage it?

“Of course, with only 24 hours in a day, it is often hard to balance being a present involved father and husband with a full-time career and a blog. However, happily for me, my job as a college professor, while demanding, gives me a lot of control and flexibility in terms of where, when and how I get my work done. Aside from classes, office hours and occasional meetings, I can do 95% of the rest of my job from a laptop at night or on weekends. This means I can almost always meet Nick’s bus, be at his little league games, enjoy fatherhood and be the primary contact in case of emergency.

This is especially great because of my greatest work-family challenge is my wife’s odd and very demanding career as an actress (she’s been on Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tours, etc.). The nature of her work means stretches of time with no work but an audition tomorrow!, grueling rehearsal schedules, and then shows 6 nights a week plus matinees. There are times when her demands spike incredibly (I wrote about these challenges here and here). If my job weren’t so flexible it would be harder to support her career and keep the family going. It also helps that Amy is an awesome wife and mom and she’s as committed to my career as I am to hers.

Also, happily for me, the blog is very consistent with my academic work, so it is not as separate as many other dad blogs are from the author’s day job. In fact, the blog has helped me network professionally, build a national reputation in my field, and hopefully will help me land a book deal (I’m working on my book proposal now!)”

Current City/State (nearest major city is fine)?

I love living in Nyack, NY, an awesome town in the beautiful lower Hudson valley just north of NYC. Our town is a diverse, artistic, quirky place with a walkable downtown, music in the riverfront park, street fairs, farmers markets and huge Halloween parades.

We’re about 30 minutes out of Manhattan, so the world is just a stone’s throw away.

Blog Title & URL?

Fathers, Work and Family        http://FathersWorkandFamily.com

Cookie or Brownie?

“Both? No? Ok, then a BIG chocolate chip cookie with M&Ms inside”