What’s With The Swiffer?

This past weekend, I transmorghified from doctor to “Cute Patrol” officer.  The Empress went away to a scrapbook retreat…and I attempted to prevent fires, explosions, poisonings, drownings and any of a thousand other disasters 4 kids can cause.

These previous 7 years of doctor training demanded much of my time, so almost by default, Empress and I fell into traditional June and George Cleaver roles. Thus, I’ve done a good amount of bread-winning but not much cooking, cleaning, laundering…you know, house-type stuff.

swifSo you may imagine my surprise – really, my complete befuddlement – when I tried to mop the floor the other day and found not just a nice, traditional mop…but some contraption called a Swiffer.

A what?

A swiffer.  The thing comes in a kit.  Just to mop the dang floor.

People seem to think it’s a mop-upgrade.  The Blackbriar (See: Bourne Ultimatum) of the Home Ec set.  Subject the humble yarn or sponge on a stick to training in hand-to-hand combat, tactical driving and sharpshooting and you have your super-mop for the 21st century.

In my opinion, the thing is nothing more than a stick with a padded rectangular end.  The user then places pre-wet paper towel-like cloths over the end and uses them to wipe down the floor.

Annoyingly (and expensively) each swiffer sheet lasts for something close to 18…swifs. That’s it.  Then you need to re-swif your swiffer.  Our little kitchen floor took 5 swiff sheets…and that’s only because I resented using another 2 sheets on such a small floor.

R. I. P. Dear Friend
R. I. P. Dear Friend

I don’t consider myself an old-fashioned guy.  I blog.  I recently put some tunes on my iPod.  I even drop in at Facebook once in awhile.  I’m not closet Amish or wistfully longing for those throw-back days of Planet of the Apes.  But I do fondly remember the days when a little water, a tiny bit of PineSol in the sink, and a cheap sponge on a stick would clean vast square feet of kitchen floors.

Alas, the Empress has returned, displeased at such anachronistic longings.  Let it be known that the Swiffer shall stay, and I will return to making the money that buys those continually-diminishing swiffer sheets.  My irreverent and ignorant questions about how to best clean a house shall be overlooked…this time.

New Job

factory.jpgDear Shareholders,

Please read below a brief supplemental report on the status of Family Factory 4HAU:

This report is coming from the V.P. of Resource Acquisition as our C.E.O. has taken leave for personal reasons. I am confident she will return to her regular duties in short order, if only because she even now likely is struggling to relax with the knowledge that this particular V.P. is not the ideal candidate for oversight of factory operations.

As you know, our factory produces – often with stunning efficiency – screams, giggles, dirty dishes, dirty clothes and a earth-dismaying number of dirty diapers on a daily basis. I’ve found that this factory also puts out a rather bewildering array of tin cans and plastic bottles, the sheer number of which I continually find myself at a loss to explain.

The reason for all this industrial waste, of course, is to ultimately produce 4 Human Adult Units. We expect our first fully-functional unit in approximately another 10 years. These productions will come equipped with manners, restraint and sound reasoning systems. We hope to see generally-explicable belief programs on-line as well. Add-ons at this factory include some measure of humility, ideally some chastity and at least a few documented instances of general intelligence.

Of note, currently there is a “hold” on these expectations for Model #4, which appears to have some software quirks that still need evaluation and likely some serious editing. The unit – the newest of the fleet at a mere 2 years – appears to have hard-wire fixations on specific objects such as balls of any size or bounceability, crackers and “dwinks”. Additionally disconcerting, this unit’s predilection for disassembly – bordering on bald destruction – continues to vex even our senior programming team. Thus, our predictions for this unit remain in flux. It should be noted that our site has limited experience with this particular model – the M. The three other more predictable and manageable units are F models and seem particularly compliant in the areas of safety and quietness. We suspect that these units may require higher maintenance costs over the long-run, however.

gummi.jpgOf concern, this rosy outlook is in peril of late. In the past 24 hours, we have seen significant backlogs in the areas of fueling operations, sleep-mode induction, and general factory order. Re-fueling the H.A.U.’s is a delicate process involving specific balances of amino acids, fats and constant vigilance over carbohydrates…especially of the ‘Gummy Bear’ variety. Recently, the stop-level parameters on these nutrients appear to have been subject to software-hacking: the end result being a total reordering of our daily nutrition balance. Fruits and vegetables – so ubiquitous under the watchful gaze of the C.E.O. – have been replaced by jello, GoGurt, chips and other high-calorie foods with virtually absent nutritional value. With shame, I also admit to providing our H.A.U.’s with carb and fat-laden pre-fabricated deep-fried chicken fragments that have cheap diversionary plastic objects contained in primary-colored boxes as part of their delivery system. Our four units show an almost inexplicable positive attraction to their revamped nutrient algorithm, but effects over the ensuing 3 hours are less than ideal.

happy.jpgAdditionally, concern grows about tomorrow, when educational programs will re-start after a routine 48-hour hiatus. Given the highly-complex interplay of time, preparation and travel such undertaking requires, I am dubious about the results when we go live in the morning. I would anticipate some major delays in implementing this process and have set a rather low standard for success by comparison to that of the C.E.O., which will be to simply transition units #1 and #2 into some version of education mode without all other factory operations grinding to a catastrophic halt. In general, if we manage to avoid ‘catastrophic halts’ of any kind, this interim management team is poised to term their work “a success”.

It should be noted that factory supplies currently can be found strung across floors and all work spaces. Again referring to the inexplicable volume of industrial waste, I am at a loss to explain how our environmentally-friendly recycling programs have suddenly shut down. Everything from outright trash to recyclable materials to even re-usable zip-lock bags are repeatedly being found by management in the general trash receptacles. All efforts to parse factory waste into recycle/reuse and “real trash” appear to have ceased. Furthermore, all 4 units appear to be re-setting their hard drives to function on “Lord of the Flies” mode, which has relegated this V.P. to spending most of his time trying to avoid “getting voted off”. Furthermore, given the recent hour-change for daylight savings, our factory has run into numerous, shall we say, delays in production of even basic operations such as equipping the units for daytime activities by switching them out of P.J. mode. It is with great determination that I have avoided simply plugging all units into the EM pulse machine and leaving them in mode: dormant until a more facile manager can arrive on the floor.

This brings me to my final point. There have been times when this V.P. has questioned the difficulty of the C.E.O.’s role compared to the task of resource acquisition. At times, I will admit moments of delusional grandeur when I believed myself up to the task of supplanting the current C.E.O., suggesting that she “give it a whirl” in the competitive and vicious world where I spend most of my time. Upon further consideration, I would agree with the constantly-unanimous view of The Board that current management roles are appropriately assigned. I apologize for, at any time, questioning the wisdom of our current assignments and ask only that you pass along my heartfelt wish to the C.E.O. that she enjoy her time off. However please note that her quick return is advisable, given the rapidly-deteriorating state of our Family Factory 4H.A.U.