Sunday, June 25, 2017

Me and Rosie Roomba

This is the spring and summer of home/farm improvement and also a time when we're trying to make our work easier and the chores not quite so time-consuming. I've been going through some of our daily routines, looking for ways to lessen the load.

With cats and Corgis and humans going in and out all day and half the night, tracking in dirt and debris, shedding hair and dropping crumbs, the most basic of the household tasks is keeping the floors clean. Thankfully we have hardwoods and tile only so that certainly helps, but the sheer amount of stuff that ends up underfoot is staggering. We take our boots and shoes off in the laundry room, and that helps too, and we have LL Bean mats at all the entrances, which helps with cat and Corgi paw patrol. But if anyone said "you can only do one chore" it would have to be vacuuming.

I don't mind vacuuming that much, to be honest. It's a rewarding chore, one where you see the results as you go, cat hair dust bunny, whoosh! Dirt and debris, gone! There's something metaphorically satisfying about sucking up all the dirt and having clean space again. Let me take a moment to praise our Dyson Animal. This is the purple vacuum cleaner we invested in years ago. It has had two motor replacements and a number of parts made new by dear husband. At this point the carpet beater part no longer works and we use the wand, which will suck in an entire curtain if you happen to get too close. This is by far the best vacuum cleaner I've ever had and at some point we need to go ahead and get a new one.

The part of vacuuming I don't enjoy is the time it takes to go through the entire house, inch by inch, and the worst part of all is lugging the very hefty Dyson through the gate on the stairs and up to the second floor, then back down again when I'm done. Periodically I've considered getting a second one for the second floor, but the expense was such I never have, and the issue of where to store it up there was also problematic. There's just no good space to put it.

Since we remove boots and shoes, and since the second floor is off limits to Corgis, the floors are much easier to keep clean, but there are still cat hair dust bunnies and flecks of litter box pine flakes that get tracked about. A side bar to say that plush microfiber mats under the litter boxes have made a HUGE difference in this issue! Why didn't I do that years ago? But back to the vacuuming.

Actually, back to my childhood. I'm not really a cartoon person; I don't enjoy the medium much but there was one cartoon I loved when I was little. The Jetsons. There was something about the world of space travel and robots and convenience that I loved, a glimpse of the future. And today, as much as I eschew things like ATVs and kitchen gadgets that do one task and use up valuable storage space, I love some of the technology we have access to. This iPad I'm typing on, my Kindle, the iPhone. I use these things daily and love them, for the most part. Our Bluetooth printer is like a thing of magic to me. So it's no surprise that I've been eyeing the Roomba for a long time now.

Early reviews said it wasn't a match for pet hair, and since we have so many pets, I determined we would be sticking with the Dyson Animal. But recent upgrades have made certain models work better  for those of us with cats and dogs, and since our upstairs is much less problematic in that respect I decided to spring for the Roomba. It arrived in a fancy box and sat there for several weeks awaiting being opened and set up. On Friday night, when I realized I was going to have to haul the Dyson up the stairs to vacuum, dear husband opened the Roomba and set it up for me.

And off it went. I sat on the wicker loveseat in the loft and watched it, then followed as it went from room to room, not always in the route I felt was best, but I enjoyed seeing it do its thing. Skeptical but charmed, I sat on the bed in the guest room while it went underneath, doing a far better job than I do with the Dyson's wand. Other than the fact that it seemed to sometimes get obsessed with certain corners and tight spaces, it made its way through the labyrinth of our upstairs and cleaned every bit of debris there was to get. I let it go until the battery ran down and then docked it for recharging.

The instruction manual says it works best if used regularly, so I emptied the bin on Saturday night  (which held cat hair, litter debris, a screw, and a piece of unchewed gum!) and set it on its way again. This time I cleaned the litter boxes and changed the cat water bowl while the Roomba worked, enjoying the company and the help. It wasn't long before I was talking to the machine in passing, and thinking of it as "her." When she obsessed about an area she'd already cleaned thoroughly I stopped her and picked her up. "Let's go in another room now," I said affectionately.

I finished my chores before she did and used the extra time to read a story in Paris Review. What a treat! I'm smitten. Meet Rosie.


Calm, Forward, Straight said...

You made many good points in favor of the roomba, but what about -
Catstronauts in Meowterspace?!

Just sayin'

billie said...

LOL!!!!! Okay, you probably just created a time warp in which the four resident felines take over my Roomba!!! :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like you found a new best friend in Rosie the Roomba! I've never used one but my brother has one and likes it. I think it won't be long before you give her a shot at the downstairs.

I like my Shark vacuum for quick pick ups and it detaches from the base so you can do the stairs easily and not have to drag the whole thing up and down the stairs. Otherwise I use the central vacuum that came with the house. I only have to drag the hose around to different ports in each room.

billie said...

Oh, lucky you - the central vaccuum would be so nice to have!!! I'm not sure Rosie is up for dealing with Bear and Baloo, but she may get a shot while they're outside! :)

Matthew said...

"Rosie the Roomba". Has a nice ring to it!

billie said...

She's pretty amazing!