I survived Mom2.0hmygodwhathaveIgottenmyselfinto?

You guys, I am so sorry it has taken me this long to finally write about my experience at last week’s Mom 2.0 Summit in Houston, but, um, well … this is kind of embarrassing, so I’m just going to say it: I had to spend the week working off my bill at the Four Seasons. Yeah, there was this whole “I’m sorry, Mr. Scratches, but you can’t settle your account with your library card” incident, and the next thing I know, I’m changing sheets and cleaning toilets for five days straight. Fuckers Bastards. (See? Mom 2.0 made me more marketing-friendly.)

So where were we? Oh yes: according to my crystal ball, Parallel Universe Daddy Scratches was destined to schmooze the Royal Women of Blogging, whom for so long he had admired from afar — knocking them dead with his witty repartee, bowling them over with his high-powered charm, dazzling them with his suave and debonair style. And Real-Life Daddy Scratches was jealous of the fantastical scene captured in said crystal ball, which looked something like this:

Mom 2.0 Summit

Yes, Real-Life Daddy Scratches would have been thrilled if, in this universe, his own experience had turned out even remotely as well as that suggested by the above photo, but … hey, wait a second … HOLY SHNIKES! That photo DID really happen!

Alright, here’s the scoop: I didn’t shell out hundreds of dollars, empty out my frequent-flyer account and travel halfway across the continent to attend a conference where I knew no one simply to lurk about and blend into the woodwork; I went there to BRING IT.

And so, there I am, at the Mad Men party, decked out as promised, and flanked by the lovely and vivacious likes of (l. to r.): Laurie Smithwick (Kirtsy and Leap Design), Susan Wagner (Friday Playdate), Loralee (Loralee’s Looney Tunes), Leah Peterson (Leah Peah), Alice Bradley (Finslippy), Heather Armstrong (dooce), Joanne Bamberger (PunditMom) and Amy Turn Sharp (little alouette and doobleh-vay).

And since men in black suits were in short supply, I also served as a prop for…

Mom 2.0 Summit

(l. to r.): Esther Brady Crawford (FaintStarLite), Dina Freeman (Baby Center), Uncommon Julia (Uncommon Misconception) and the fantastic Cecily Kellogg (Uppercase Woman).

But my good fortune didn’t end there. Oh no. Why, the following night, Leah, Loralee, Julie Pippert (Using My Words), Colleen Pence (Social Media Mentoring and Baby Potential) and I made our way over to the spectacular “Mom 2.0: Defining a Movement” art exhibit at FotoFest … and when I say “made our way over,” I mean we, along with Heather and Rob Morhaim (Momversation), spent 20 minutes sitting on a parked bus before we all discovered that the reason it wasn’t taking us to the art exhibit was because we were on the wrong bus (I shit you not). After an equally ridiculous quest to land a cab in front of the Four Seasons (an act you’d think wouldn’t require divine intervention), I then rode shotgun and used Julie’s iPhone to guide the woefully lost and strangely uncooperative cabbie — whom, at one point, I essentially had to beg to just fucking trust me and TAKE A LEFT — to FotoFest, where the schmoozing continued.

But wait: Did I mention that, just prior to the whole bus incident, I educated Loralee on the wonders of tequila? This seemed like a FANTASTIC idea … until she tasted my margarita and decided she wanted one of her own … which would have been fine if not for the fact that tequila contains way more alcohol by volume than Diet Coke, the latter of which is about the strongest thing Loralee drinks.

Daddy Scratches & Loralee

Fortunately, Leah, the waitress and I all recognized the potential disaster that would unfold if we didn’t reign in our lovely, innocent friend, so when she ordered a second margarita (GAH!), the waitress brought most of the tequila in a tumbler on the side, Leah shot it right down like the booze-swilling pro she is, and I “tasted” the entire contents of that second margarita glass. Phew.

With that disaster averted, I was free to focus on other things … like my encounter with the endlessly charming Alice:

Daddy & Finslippy

Daddy Scratches, Finslippy & Girl's Gone Child

Daddy Scratches, Finslippy & Girl's Gone Child, Pt. 2

(Of course, Alice is far too kind to exude such hostility, even toward as deserving a target as myself … but imagine my surprise to later read that she is equally as intimidated by these types of social situations as am I.)

Thankfully, the lovely Ms. Woolf (Girl’s Gone Child) refrained from having me carried off the premises … which is why I subsequently was able to have a photography shootout with the effervescent Maggie Mason (Mighty Girl) …

Mom 2.0 Summit

Daddy Scratches @ Mom 2.0 Summit

Mom 2.0 Summit

Who won this digital showdown, you ask? Well, considering the positively BADASS photo I captured of Maggie and her spectacular hair, I think it’s pretty clear that EVERYBODY won:

Mom 2.0 Summit

Can you say “FIERCE!”? Because, if you can, you will never again, for the rest of your life, find a more appropriate time at which to utter that word than while looking into Maggie’s eyes in the above photo. Go on, try it. Right now. See? I told you so. FIERCE.

As if taking The Mightiest Mighty Girl Photo Ever Taken wasn’t enough to help wash from my mind the whole Alice/Rebecca gaffe, I then had the absolute honor of meeting Karen Walrond (Chookooloonks) and her family, whom Leah captured in this adorable photo

Mom 2.0 Summit

And I will say more about Karen shortly, but for now, just take me at my word when I tell you that meeting Karen is like meeting the offspring of the moon and the stars and the sun. She is light and happiness and positive energy personified. Seriously.

But back to our story, which continues with our post-FotoFest dinner, where I quite purposely situated myself fortuitously found myself seated near none other than Jenny Lawson, a.k.a. The Bloggess, a.k.a. the woman whom my crystal ball predicted I would save from a choking death by administering the most spectacular Heimlich Maneuver in the history of obstructed airways … though she apparently doubted my powers of clairvoyance:

Daddy Scratches & The Bloggess

Skeptical though she may have been, my efforts clearly paid off, because she totally did NOT choke to death that night, and, as a result, was able to not only return to the conference on Saturday, but make a completely epic appearance during which the Mayor of Martindale, Texas (who, not so coincidentally, is the mother of Mom 2.0 organizer and all-around delightful person Laura Mayes (Kirtsy and Blog con Queso)) officially crowned Jenny the Czar of Nothingness … a coronation that never would have taken place had it not been for me and my preemptive approach to saving Jenny’s life. (You’re welcome, Jenny … you ungrateful shrew.)

Outside the restaurant after dinner, I decided to give the self-photo thing another try, this time with Julie, Leah and Colleen, all of whom I had to bribe into smiling by promising to secure transportation back to the hotel.

Mom 2.0 Summit

As you’ll soon see, the results turned out better than did the following morning’s photo with Heather, whom I grabbed as she was wheeling her luggage past me, which led me to believe she was heading home … and though I had managed to avoid photographically accosting her during the previous two days, I kinda felt like I should go for it, since getting a photo with the woman who inspired me to start a blog seemed worth the effort … plus, I figured if anyone would be understanding of a blogger photo-op, it would be Heather.

Unfortunately, unlike Bossy (woefully absent from Mom 2.0 due to a surgically induced and unexpectedly painful mummification problem), who has perfected the art of self photography, I am not very skilled at the whole self-shooting thing, and I accidentally pulled the trigger a bit prematurely, which resulted in this masterpiece:

Dooce & Daddy Scratches

Thankfully, Heather, being the delightful soul she is, suggested I take another, but this time I was hyperfocusing on the fact that holding at arm’s length a camera atop which was mounted a heavy external flash (which — bonus points — I decided to not use in a situation that clearly would have benefited from the additional light) while sporting a semi-hangover and having eaten little more in the preceding 12 hours than a dainty cinnamon roll was causing my camera-holding hand to shake, and then I started wondering if Heather thought my hand was shaking because I was a star-struck nervous tool (which, OK, I am, but that’s not why I was shaking), and I got so lost in my neurotic fog that I kinda forgot to smile, which resulted in this companion to the previous masterpiece:

Dooce & Douche-y Scratches

And then I said, “Have a safe trip home!,” to which she replied, “Oh, I’m not leaving yet,” to which I replied, “Oh, well now I feel silly for accosting you on your way out of the room,” at which point she smiled, a gesture that I have chosen to interpret as one of magnanimous understanding, even if its true intent may have been to affirm the accuracy of my self-douchebaggery assessment. So thank you, Heather. I think.

After the conference closed, I found myself poolside with some of my new friends, among them Karen, who decided she wanted to shoot a number of us … and when Karen says, “Come here, I want to shoot you,” you move your ass, my friends.

Having Karen photograph you is an AMAZING experience. She casts a spell upon you with her words, and makes you feel like you’re the most beautiful and important person at whom she’s ever pointed her lens.

Jon, a.k.a. Daddy Scratches, by Karen Walrond, a.k.a. Chookooloonks

OK, so maybe the image on the right only serves to highlight why, when the dentist tells you at age 16 that you’re going to need to have your wisdom teeth removed, you shouldn’t wait until you’re 21 to finally do so … and perhaps it also exposes my long-kept secret about being a vampire … but my dental issues are no fault of Karen’s, and if revealing my undead status to the Internet is the price I must pay for having been graced with the privilege of her time and talent, then it was well worth a potential stake through my heart.

As if taking the time to photograph me wasn’t enough, Karen included me in her own Mom 2.0 recap at her blog, and another that she wrote for CultureMap, as well as in her newly launched life-list endeavor to shoot 1,000 faces … all of which feels akin to having a ray of sunshine break through the clouds and focus squarely upon me. (Thank you, Karen.)

Karen also captured this shot of me and Leah:

Jon & Leah, by Karen Walrond

Which brings me to the mushy part: Up until the night before Mom 2.0, Leah and I had never communicated in any way. That night, she sent out a random tweet, in which she asked if anyone wanted to share a cab from the airport to the hotel. I have long been aware of Leah and her work, and I follow her on Twitter, so I threw my hat in the ring, figuring it would get lost in a shuffle of similar replies. I was pleasantly surprised when she took me up on it.

Heading into Mom 2.0, I had — save for a delightful encounter with Cecily — spent exactly zero minutes in person with any of the attendees. Believe me when I tell you that it is an intimidating prospect to attend an event like this without knowing anyone, especially when your XY chromosomes make you even more of an outsider than you otherwise would be (just ask Ron Mattocks of Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, whose presence at the conference I didn’t learn of until after the fact … a shame, since I could have used a supportive dose of testosterone). And while I would have understood if Leah wanted little more to do with me than to have someone with whom she could split her cab fare to and from the airport, I feel beyond lucky to say that, during the time between those two car rides, she became a true friend. I could not have found a better person to latch myself onto like a big, obnoxious barnacle, and I can’t thank her enough for not scraping me off.

Thank you, Leah. We’ll always have Panchito’s. (Yes, I just showed a total disregard for everyone reading this by referencing an inside joke that will mean absolutely nothing to anyone but Leah. That should tell you something about how much I think she rocks.)

And now, if I can zoom out for a moment, I would like to thank all of the women at Mom 2.0, especially those mentioned in this post, but also the rest of you, all of whom welcomed a big, smelly boy into your midst for what was a truly amazing experience. I learned a ton, laughed a ton and generally felt honored to be among you.

My biggest thanks goes to Wonder Woman, who was OK with me running off to Houston for a three-night stay at the Four Seasons without her, all because she supports my involvement in this public display of narcissism and neurosis known as “blogging.” (We’ll make up for it in Mexico, honey. And I don’t care what Julie and Colleen say: Despite its shady-sounding name and 18-plus age limit, the resort we’re going to is not some debaucherous, clothing-optional, swinger’s haven … I don’t think. I probably should have looked into it a bit more thoroughly.)

Now, the question is: Do I dare press my luck and register for this summer’s BlogHer ’10 conference? Hmmm…

[Click here for some more of my Mom 2.0 Summit photos.]

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  1. Posted February 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I have got to get me to one of theses conferences…
    .-= Dudge OH´s last blog ..Couple of "Choons"! =-.

  2. Posted February 28, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Looks like such a great time. Thank you for the update, no matter how “late”!
    .-= Erin Browne´s last blog ..We Looove New York, Part 3! =-.

  3. Posted February 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    That photo of Mighty Girl is FABULOUS.

    Your whole trip looks like a lot of fun. When you say you’re socially inept and weird, I don’t believe you for a minute. Those ladies look like they know what they’re about and I don’t think they’d be hanging out with you if you were psycho.
    .-= DW´s last blog ..Don’t try this at home, kids. =-.

  4. Posted February 28, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Dude, if you don’t register for BlogHer ’10, I’m totally gonna come all the way up there and then kick yer ass. So, there you go.

  5. Posted February 28, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Good god that looks fun. Your wife gets ten thousand awesome points for being on your side in the blogging world!
    .-= Kara´s last blog ..Music….Saturday? =-.

  6. Posted February 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m just happy I haven’t choked to death yet. I feel like I should send you a thank you card.
    .-= Jenny, Bloggess´s last blog ..This week was made of glitter and razorblades =-.

  7. Posted February 28, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Your willingness to smile while I was Heimlich-ing you is thanks enough. 😉

  8. Posted February 28, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    If you don’t register soon, you won’t be having margarita’s with Megan and myself in NY. They will sell out!
    .-= Melanie AKA The Coupon Goddess´s last blog ..I’m Out Of What???? =-.

  9. Posted February 28, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    And I just had two glasses of wine and totally meant to put that apostrophe by that “s”. :)
    .-= Melanie AKA The Coupon Goddess´s last blog ..I’m Out Of What???? =-.

  10. Posted February 28, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Props to you. Not only did you have the balls to get Heather’s picture, but Alice didn’t ask you what your top 20 favorite posts were. We’re doing shots at BlogHer and right some wrongs. A right nice rundown of things. I was laughing my ass off at the photo captions.

    (thanks for the mention too)
    .-= Clark Kent’s Lunchbox´s last blog ..Mr. Squiggle’s Wonder Emporium: Being Dad Zero at Mom 2.0 – Part 3 =-.

  11. Posted February 28, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    You know what? That was the sweetest.

    Yes, we’ll always have Panchitos. I tried to tell Joe, just like I told you I would, and it WAS NOT funny. But, it was so hilarious at the time…..

  12. Posted February 28, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Possibly the best recap of Mom2 yet. Love love love the photo captions. I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to meet, but you were too busy hangin’ with the bigwigs! LOL :)
    .-= Sarah aka MainlineMom´s last blog ..Go Texan! =-.

  13. Posted February 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Cecily, Melanie & Ron: OK, I’m registered for BlogHer. Are you happy now? It’ll be your fault when the whole thing goes to shit because of me.

    Leah: Glad you liked it. :)

    Sarah: Sorry we didn’t meet, too! The thing is, I only associate with those who pull a certain number of website visitors per month. If you’d like to submit your stats, I’d be happy to review them in order to determine if I can hang with you next time. 😉

    Dumb fucks who don’t know that the previous paragraph was a joke: You’re not allowed to use the Internet anymore. Sorry.

    Everyone else: Thank you! :)

  14. Posted March 1, 2010 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    BFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dude, this is so damn cool. How talented are you. You were one of the best things about that conference. SO glad we met!

    Thanks for watching out for me and the demon liquor!!! :)

    I am writing more about it later but in a different type of post. As it is…I had fun with the Big Love photo. Heheheheheh
    .-= Loralee´s last blog ..Pretty much the most awesome photograph taken at Mom 2.0 =-.

  15. Posted March 1, 2010 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Loralee: Thank you. I’m flattered. And the feeling is mutual. :)

  16. Posted March 1, 2010 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Oh my god, those pictures of us on the stairwell almost killed me dead. Hilarious.

    My memory that encounter went a little something like this:

    Alice: So anyway, tampons, am I right?
    Rebecca: Totally. Why do they–
    DS: Ladies! I’m obviously interrupting an INTIMATE MOMENT!
    A: Not really, no.
    DS: This is so awkward!
    R: It is?
    A: Did you want to sit down, or–
    DS: I’m going to take a picture to make it MORE AWKWARD!
    A: That’s fine! Really, you could sit–
    DS: Oh my god, I am RUDE! Putting myself in the middle! Smile for the camera!
    R: Sure, but why don’t you–
    DS: Now I’m doing it again! As if I want to make sure one picture comes out, at least! What a jerk I am!
    A: I’ll close my eyes for this one.
    DS: Now I’ll go because this is embarrassing!
    A: Wait–
    R: I was just hoping he’d get us some drinks.

    I may be taking some liberties, but that’s pretty much exactly like how it was.

    • Posted March 1, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      You know what? You’re totally right; that is a far more accurate description. I really am a spectacular douche.

  17. Posted March 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I am in awe. You mingled with GREATNESS!
    .-= The Expatresse´s last blog ..Shopping DeLuxe =-.

  18. Posted March 1, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Well, I for one, think you’re DELIGHTFUL. I don’t care what Alice and Rebecca say.
    .-= Karen from Chookooloonks´s last blog ..a golden day =-.

  19. Posted March 2, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    THANK you, Karen. I knew those two were nothing but trouble. 😉

  20. Posted March 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I spent 13 hours taking still pictures of a stuffed dog and editing them into a stalking masterpiece…. Preemptive heimlich maneuver takes what…. 10 seconds? Love is obviously quantified by time therefore I am WAY MORE in LOVE with her. And you can even see my desperate stalking here. http://bit.ly/8SSxf
    .-= Steph´s last blog ..Snuggies for Seniors… Definitely Better than BumpIts for the Bald =-.

  21. Posted March 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    The lady bloggers look good on you!
    .-= Lotta´s last blog ..The Best Diet Tip You Ever Got =-.

  22. Posted March 2, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    We only spent a tiny amount of time at the same table, but now after reading your complete and utterly awesome recount, I believe I missed out! I will definitely want to catch up and chat more at BlogHer. (I refuse to use the phrase “hook up with you” because I have come to discover that Americans use that phrase in many ways, some of which are weird. Almost as much as it disturbs people when I tell them to bring their own rubbers to class for an exam.) Cheers! Til August.

  23. Posted March 3, 2010 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    you are hilarious. Thanks for being our prop! The picture wouldn’t have been a keeper without you.

  24. Posted March 4, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    You’re a brave man!

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