Sorry, Matt. There's a new love in my life--the Roomba. Admittedly not the most romantic birthday present in the world--yes, I know it's a couple of weeks early, but if you know me you know that I am not the most patient person in the world. When I came up with the notion that this was what I wanted for my birthday, I told Matt to research which model was best and find the best deal, and buy it for me. Then I snapped into reality and did it myself--which is why it arrived today and not just in time for Christmas....(Sorry, baby--but you know that you are the King of Procrastinators!!)
You may ask, what on earth is a Roomba? Well, it is an intelligent vacuum, basically. Mine comes with a handy dandy remote control, and I could for instance say, we go out every Thursday afternoon at 3:00, every Monday morning at 10:00, every Saturday evening at 7:00, etc.--and program that wonderful thing to clean the floors while we're out! Or, we can simply turn it on when we're home and let it go to work. And when it's done, it heads back to its base and recharges itself! The only thing we have to do is empty the dirt cup and make sure the floor is clear of tiny toys, socks, ribbons, etc...
If you know me and have been to my house, you know that we have a bunch of girls (and me, I guess a woman not a girl!) with long hair, plus a dog and three cats....in short, our floors are constantly dirty, even if I were to vacuum every day. Which, since I detest dirty floors, in a perfect world I would. But I don't. So the idea of having a machine come out and do all the work for me while I do better things--school work with the kids, playing outside with them, reading a book to Emma, gardening, hanging laundry--whatever--just seems like the best thing that could possibly happen to me. Ever.
It arrived this evening during dinner, just I was despairing that it was too late for our beautiful UPS man to ring the bell. From the excited squeals and the race to open the door, you would have thought we were having Eric Clapton to tea or that Ed McMahon was coming up the walk with one of those humongous checks....but no, it was Dave the UPS man with The Box. I didn't even finish my salad; I just started opening the box, pulling things out and reading directions. They are quite simple, which I was afraid they would not be. I had to spend more time telling the kids what they couldn't do to Roomba than reading instructions! We plugged in home base and set it in to charge, programmed the date and time on the remote, and scheduled it to clean tomorrow morning at 11:00 am, when we'll be out at a play. (I thought it would take all night to charge, which is why I scheduled it for tomorrow--but to our amazement, the light went from red to green in under an hour!) It even sings a little song when you tell it the cleaning schedule via the remote--unlike any of the people in this house when I give them a chore!
When I saw it was fully charged, I decided, what the hey--let's give it a test drive. It will find more pet hair and crumbs in the morning, so I didn't even take out tomorrow's orders. It promptly set out across the living room, albeit a bit drunkenly (we had to explain to the kids that it bumps into things and circles back on itself because it doesn't actually have a brain or eyes, and has to go around and around to find all the dirt) but it managed quite well. It went over area rugs and wood floors with equal aplomb, and picked up all manner of dust bunnies and crumby bits. When it got into our bedroom, it even fit itself under the dressers and bed (something I didn't do regularly enough with the vacuum attachments!) and although it took a long time, the floors are clean.
The amusing thing was the reactions of the pets. Sophie took one look and headed to our bed, knowing she'd be safe off the floor. Mimi, who routinely heads for the kitchen sink when we vacuum, hopped onto the dresser and watched it with an expression of disgust, but didn't seem terribly frightened--probably because it makes far less noise than a real vacuum. But Molly and Bo--they were a riot. They had to follow it around, much like the kids, who were pretending that it was an alien invader--and yes, we did have to point out that if they followed too closely, Roomba would confuse them for furniture and head away without doing her job....Anyway, the kittens followed it around, hopping away when it got too near, their tails in a state of alarm almost the whole time--not quite at full bottle-brush mode, but bushy at the base and ready to go full tilt if the monster came too close. It was funny.
Anyway, I fully expect to run it daily and to enjoy my newly clean floors. Even if it doesn't clean perfectly, I know it will clean more than I want to! So if you're looking for a great birthday present, get a Roomba....