Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Super Mom & Super Product!

Hi all,
Well, we've returned from our vacation to Disneyland--'twas quite fun. I'll tell you all about it later. For now, though, I wanted to tell you about a book I read in one night--and that was with AMERICAN IDOL in the background competing for my attention, so those of you who know me, know it must have been a really special book.

Melanie Lynne Hauser has been my friend for a long time. She is one of the most caring, understanding, thoughtful and splendid people I know. To add to that, Mel is a really talented writer. Her book CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM made a super splash in publishing and was picked up for film as well. In the book, Birdie Lee, an ordinary mom from the Kansas town of Astro Park, has a Horrible Swiffer Accident and becomes a super hero! Have you ever heard such an interesting concept?

Now Melanie's sequel, SUPER MOM SAVES THE WORLD, has come out! Melanie was kind enough to send me a copy of the book as well as a Swiffer Dust Brush.

I'm going to do a full interview with Melanie later in March (she is a member of the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, too), but I wanted to share a little about it now.

At the end of a long day at work, saving the world, you'd think Super Mom would get a break. But no. She still has to do battle with a foe more terrifying than the most dastardly of super villains - teenagers.

It's six months after the Horrible Swiffer Accident that left her a superhero, and Birdie Lee is still adjusting. For starters, she's hearing voices and having lustful thoughts about Mr. Clean. Then there's the fact that her daughter is suddenly sporting a bright pink streak in her hair, courtesy of her new friend Vienna (and if recent history has taught us anything, we all know that a girl named after a foreign city is going to be trouble). Birdie's son is experiencing his first case of puppy love, her nerdy scientist love interest has just proposed marriage, and her annoying ex-husband is suddenly less annoying. Which can only mean he's up to no good.

But things get even more sinister when her hometown of Astro Park gets Little League fever in a big way. Rabid parents, performance-enhancing Gatorade and a domed stadium on shaky - potentially explosive - ground are just the beginning of Super Mom's problems; throw in a ticked off school janitor and a corrupt mayor, and Super Mom has her hands full.

Read SUPER MOM SAVES THE WORLD to find out how one woman - one mother - struggles to keep her teenagers in tow with one hand while saving her hometown from disaster with the other. While trying to find time for herself amidst the very real, very messy job of blending families as she plans her marriage to her very own Super Man.
I could not stop turning the pages on this clever book. It's not every day someone can build such a well-paced farce around the ideas of super heroes and cleaning products. I highly recommend you pick up this novel! Watch for special appearances from the Mr. Clean Man and the Brawny Lumberjack. You'll also learn about Batman and Robin's deepest psychological secrets, thanks to Birdie's best friend Carrie, undercover psychiatrist to the superheroes. There is a chuckle a minute in this fun novel and I think anyone who's raised kids will be nodding in sympathy at Birdie's situation.

Read the first chapter here.

As for the product, Melanie sent me the one Swiffer item I do not have--the Swiffer Dust Brush. Swiffer also makes the CarpetFlick-- great for spot cleaning on area rugs or a quick tidying of a mess--and the WetJet, which I use for my regular cleaning.

The WetJet has an ingenious design that allows you to spray just the amount of cleaning fluid that you need onto the floor--then wipe it up with a cleaning pad. This is a great concept and makes cleaning so easy. No big old bucket needed! I must confess that I, myself, risked a Horrible Swiffer Accident by jerry-rigging the WetJet. You see, I prefer to use natural cleaning supplies such as distilled water, vinegar, and essential lemon oil. I am not going to say anything more than the fact that my project involved a drill bit and an old (VERY OLD! hee hee hee) wine cork.

I do not recommend that YOU do this unless you wish to void the warranty and risk turning into a superhero like Birdie did. Still, those of us who are granola-eating, Whole-Foods-Shopping, Birkenstock-wearing, hot-tubbing Marin County types, tend not to care for chemical cleaners like that which is found in the WetJet reservoir. What else are we going to do?

This brings me to my only suggestion to improve this great product--I wish Procter and Gamble would make an alternative Swiffer refill for those of us who do not like chemicals. Maybe they could partner with Mrs. Meyers CLEAN DAY (who makes all my favorite commercial cleaners, biodegradable, cruelty-free, aromatherapeutic, and all-natural) and have her create some all natural refills.

This would be a win-win-win all around. Procter and Gamble makes money off people like me who are now buying refills, Mrs. Meyers makes money with the partnership, and the environment wins too. Procter and Gamble does not even have to pay me for that idea.

As for the Dust Brush!

I have not gotten the chance to use it yet, but I can already see how it will have about 100 uses in my house. I can use it to clean blinds, furniture, the dining room chandelier, on top of the fridge, even silk plants. And... NO HARSH DUSTING CHEMICALS NEEDED!

The dust brushes are disposable, but if you do not like disposable items for environmental reasons, it would not be hard to sew a washable refill. Or, if you are not creative that way, if you go to eBay and type in Swiffer, you will find a lot of washable refills for all the Swiffer products (except the CarpetFlick--that would be hard to make since the refill is basically a sticky piece of plastic tape). And there is another idea for a product Swiffer themselves could make. I am sure they could find a suitable washable cloth that would meet their high standards and still be re-usable. Procter & Gamble creates such great products, I think that if they offered a pro-environment option for people they could really get some even better publicity.

Anyway, this Swiffer duster looks like it will be great for day to day or even weekly dusting. We really don't need to polish furniture more than once a month at the most, unless there is a spill. The best thing to polish wood is a mixture of a few drops of olive oil and about 1/4 cup of vinegar. Soak a cloth with this and polish the furniture. In between--this dust brush might be a good option for you.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, Melanie, for sending me this great and definitely NOT disposable book. :) And thank you to Procter and Gamble for offering me the chance to try their brand new product.