Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dear Santa

Dear Santa:

I saw you yesterday at the mall. November 15th and you're already here? Seems like you show up earlier every year. Heck, I'm still trying to eat the kids' leftover Halloween candy. It's not going well. Instead of cookies this Christmas Eve, you may just get a plate of M&Ms, Starburst and Dum Dum lollipops. Please don't hold it against me.

I've been pretty good this year. Okay, there was that one day when I told my wife I had "appointments" in the city and played golf instead. But she's guilty too. You probably know that she goes to "the gym" sometimes and comes back with a carload of shopping bags!

So if you will forgive me that one minor indiscretion, I have a fairly extensive list this year. Please note the specificity of each item. Here goes:

One chartered jet to take Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears to Mogadishu where they will help children orphaned by the war

A tuition freeze among all educations of higher learning. It must remain in effect until 2024, when my youngest graduates from college

Non-fat cheese popcorn

A presidential nominee whose platform includes eliminating all youth activities - including travel teams, practices, competitions and pep rallies - on Sundays. I feel so strongly on this that I will even vote for Dennis Kuchinich if he makes that promise.

Anything that doesn't come with an AC adapter. I recently rounded up all the mystery adapters we have laying around our house. I have no idea what any of them power so I've decided to use them as tinsel on the tree.

All of our troops home for Christmas. If they have to return, so be it. But send them back on Air Force One - with President Bush riding jumpseat.

Mysterious fires that wipe out every ticket scalper office and computer. If you tried to get Hannah Montana tickets this year, you know what I mean.

A golf ball with a GPS device.

Ten fewer pounds

One year without the following television shows: The Biggest Loser, The Bachelor, Kid Nation and To Catch a Predator. Regarding the last one, we get it! There are perverts on line.

On that note, please try and eliminate on line perverts.

Finally, a dog. Because dogs don't care about the war in Iraq, the broken healthcare system, the mortgage crisis, cyber bullying or Brad and Angelina.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Get Bangalore on speed dial

I haven't blogged in months. No excuses really. Just a lack of time. However, I have found time to begin reading Thomas Friedman's, "The World is Flat" the phenomenal best-seller in which he defines events that have allowed the rest of the world to catch up, and often pass, the United States in terms of productivity.
Friedman's first chapter deals with outsourcing. In vivid and often humorous detail, he describes how major U.S. companies like Microsoft and Dell have outsourced sales, technical support and customer service, to Bangalore, India, the Silicon Valley of that Asian nation. Young, highly-educated Indians clamor for a chance to sit in a call center in the middle of the night and sell Americans credit cards or answer questions like, "I accidentally deleted my hard drive. What button do I push to get it back?"
While Americans look at call center employment as about as desirable as dental surgery, Friedman points out that Indians view outsourced jobs as steppingstones to bigger and better things.
Hmmm, maybe I can help them achieve their dreams
It's Saturday morning and I'm going over my checklist of activities on what is supposed to be a day of relaxation: my ten-year old daughter Natalie has gymnastics from 10 a.m. to 11:30. During that time, I'll run to the dry cleaner, the grocery store and return home briefly to make sure my my five year old Amy takes a shower. Once she's clean, we'll pick up Natalie, drive to a bowling alley and participate in a fundraiser for Amy's cheer tumbling team. That lasts until 4, at which time we'll dash to Natalie's 6 p.m. piano recital. Did I mention lunch? Oh yes, we'll eat if there is time.
Sunday is no different. Up at 7 a.m. No church because we have to attend a cheer tumbling tournament that will last into the afternoon. Then somebody needs to get Natalie to her volleyball lesson at 4 p.m.
The pace is exhausting, to say the least. And I'm sure other parents look at my schedule and consider it to be a walk in the park. My next door neighbors moved in last month. They have four kids and I'm not sure if they have even lived in their home yet. Rather than spend the money on a 5,000 square foot, four-bedrooom home, they might have been wise to invest in a Winnebago.
My wife and I often refer to ourselves as human busses, chauffeuring our kids from one event to the next. It's tiresome, it's drudgery and it seems like a perfect outsourcing opportunity! Rather than sit in a cubicle all evening wearing a headset, I'm sure a bright Bangalore native would be happy to come live with our family and take over the driving duties. In fact, I'm thinking of putting an ad in the Bangalore papers:

Do you want to get ahead and experience daily American culture? Then the Schwem family wants you!

Hours: Change daily. On call 24x7

Requirements: Must hold valid driver's license and own cell phone. Must be capable of talking on cell phone while operating car seat buckles and straps

Must own car with GPS System and enough trunk space to carry sports equipment, musical instruments, art supplies and numerous overpriced uniforms which will most likely be worn once.

Must be willing to wait in parking lots with car idling, needlessly wasting gas while children dawdle inside

Must be able to consume fast food while driving

Benefits: The thrill of seeing a child score a goal, do a cartwheel, play Beethoven (badly) or succeed in some other skill that requires countless hours of coaching, teaching and specialized instructions.

Pay: None

If interested, respond to this blog. All messages will be returned sometime between 10 p.m. and midnight as this is the only time the employer is home.