It was because I got an invitation from the peeps at Procter and Gamble - yeah, P&G, the same company that makes like every single household product I use - to attend their "Love the Pet, Not the Mess" conference in Cincinnati. I mean ... me? I openly admit on the Internet that I pooped during childbirth. And they wanted my presence at their event?
I've never been invited to such a thing before, especially not someplace as exotic as Ohio, so I cordially and professionally accepted their invitation. But inside I was like OMGOMGOMG! Because y'all. AWESOME.
They sent a car to pick me up and take me to the airport. A CAR. As in ... a car that isn't a taxi. With a driver who opens your door for you and black leather seats that are more comfortable than my bed. And they put me up in a beautiful, ultra-hip hotel with a modern art museum built in. Which explains the strange experience in the shower that I've recreated for you in the photos below:
Not gonna lie: I touched it.
First up was a cocktail party. It was at a park, though, and pet-themed (it was called "Yappy Hour") - so I was pretty unsure of what to wear. I thought I needed something middle-of-the-road: an outfit that wasn't a dress, but was still classy. So I looked at Pinterest because if people are pinning something then it must be cute, right? And I found out that nude pumps are a staple of any decent wardrobe (apparently I am the last woman on earth to know this) and so I bought some. They fit weird, and I'm like completely unaccustomed to heels. I am a firm believer that you shouldn't wear heels if you wobble around like a newborn giraffe in them. But I was desperate to look like I'm this fashion-forward person and so I walked around all night with my butt cheeks and toes clenched in an effort to steady myself. I was going for "I'm super-confident in these heels" but I think mostly I just looked super-constipated.
Also I had to walk really slow. I debated getting drunk since I probably already looked that way, but decided not to compound the problem.
Compared to all the other bloggers there, I was a little fish in a big sea. Small potatoes. I met lots of amazing people ... who were talking about their photo series that the Huffington Post picked up on, and the events they had to go to over the weekend, and their new book deals. (Meanwhile I was feeling less and less proud of the twenty Instagram "Likes" I once received on a picture of my dog.)
The conference was the next morning, held at the Cincinnati Zoo. Breakfast was delicious, and I managed to refrain from scarfing down like three heaping plates even though I wanted to. P&G had a lineup of experts to teach us about - and demonstrate - some of their pet-related products: not only for the pets themselves, but to clean up after them. I learned a lot from pet trainer extraordinaire (and fantastically nice person) Andrea Arden about using positive reinforcement to train your animals ... like rewarding them when they do something you want them to do. Really, when you think about it, most of her tips were good for people too. I can totally use them on my kids.*
*Or myself. Like giving myself a snack every time I resist the urge to snack.**
**Oh wait. That's not really how it works, is it?
Seriously, check her out if you've got pets. I loved her positive approach to animal training, which centered on getting cooperation instead of trying to be dominant. She pointed out that we sometimes reinforce our pets' undesirable behavior without even realizing it - like when Josie barks incessantly at me and I tell her to shush; she's asking for attention, and I'm giving it to her. Even though it's negative attention, she's technically getting what she wants, so she keeps up the bad behavior.
Hmm ... wonder if I could teach her to WANT to wear this wig on a regular basis? Because I was kind of amused.
The IAMS presentation by veterinarian Dr. Amy Dicke was kinda like being in a class. (Seriously, I think my IQ might have gone up a couple of points.) I had no idea there was so much science behind the development of pet food - the chemistry and ingredient ratio of each formula is very specific. For example, the blend of carbohydrates in puppy food is designed to provide lots of readily-available energy for more active dogs, whereas the carb blend in senior dog food is designed to provide a slow release of sustained energy. And the Hairball Control formula for cats uses a very precise mix of fibers to promote the, er, smooth passage of hairballs through the intestinal tract - and lots of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to make for a healthier coat that doesn't shed as badly in the first place. Clearly, the IAMS peeps take pet nutrition very (very very) seriously. A lot goes into each type of food they make.
(Personally, I'm still waiting for them to develop a dog food formula that eliminates the need to poop altogether. Get on it, IAMS.)
We got to experience a few product demonstrations too, like Febreze Allergen Reducer. It reduces up to 95% of allergens by forming an invisible, flexible "net" over whatever soft surface you spray it on, which traps allergens and keeps them from becoming airborne. You can even use it on jackets to keep from bringing unwanted irritants into the house. Genius.
Then there was the demonstration of the Swiffer Sweep & Trap, which picked up an impressive amount of Cheerios and some other random crap. (In my house, you never know - it might literally be crap.) As the mother of four
If it picks up Legos? This thing is my new bestie.
All in all, my first conference experience was amazing. I didn't embarrass myself, I met some awesome new people, I learned all sorts of interesting things about Procter and Gamble products, and I got a night in a hotel bed with no one snoring, poking me with elbows, laying on my hair, or waking me up in the predawn hours saying, "Mommy? I peed."
Hey P&G? If you ever want to invite me to another of these things? I'm totally in.