So I don’t believe I mentioned that the Roomba arrived the day before I left for Maine. I didn’t even take it out of the box, because I wanted to have TIME to deal with learning how it works and all that, and one day is certainly not enough TIME.
Also, when I get something new, I have to kind of live with the fact that it exists before I actually take it out of the box and learn how it works. I do this by sticking the box in a random corner and ignoring it for several days. I don’t know why I am unable to take it out of the box right away and mess with it, but it’s just something I’ve accepted about myself.
When I got back from Maine, it was still sitting near the front door, stashed behind a side table, and I proceeded to ignore it for a few more days. Then – Thursday I think it was – I finally took it out of the box and plugged it in to charge. Friday morning, after a good look through the booklet, I set it in the middle of the dining room, pushed the button in the middle, listened to it singing a happy song of “For me about to clean, I be-boop you”, and then it started moving in what appeared to be random patterns throughout the room, sucking up every bit of cat hair and kitty litter and bits of dust it came across.
I watched it for a few minutes – as did a couple of the cats – and then went off to do something. An hour or so later, I realized it wasn’t running, and so I went on a search for it and found it in the living room flashing an unhappy red light. It had come across a cat toy – one of those feather-on-a-stick toys – sucked it halfway up, and then realized that it was in DANGER WILL ROBINSON! and stopped. I pulled out the toy, reset it, and went off to wander randomly around the house.
The cats are a little wary of it, but not nearly as freaked out or interested by it as I thought they’d be. Mister Boogers and Miz Poo will just sit and watch it until it gets to within a foot or so, then they’ll sashay off. Other cats watch it from on high, and on Saturday morning when I set it to vacuuming the laundry room, Elle got rawther freaked out by it, puffing up to twice her size and watching it move around before she ran off.
All in all, I like the Roomba. It doesn’t get a room as clean as I would with my trusty Dyson, but it will certainly help cut down on the amount of vacuuming I have to do. It does the best job in rooms that are either all hardwood (the computer room or dining room) or all carpet (the guest bedroom). In the rooms where it has to do both hardwood and rugs, it leaves stuff around the edge of the rugs, and – though this might just because the rugs we have are pretty thick – leaves occasional tufts of cat hair on the rugs.
I also discovered pretty quickly that what works best for me is to use the virtual walls to make it so the Roomba is limited to one or two rooms. If I let it go willy-nilly through the entire first floor, it doesn’t do a complete job in any one room before it goes zipping off into another room.
What ROCKS about the Roomba is being able to set it free in my bedroom or Fred’s – neither of us has a rug in our room – and having it collect up the sixteen pounds of dust bunnies that have been living under the beds. I get under the beds every now and then with the Dyson, but it’s hard to get every inch of that space, and the Roomba did the job quite well.
On Friday while the Roomba was working downstairs, I was vacuuming with the Dyson upstairs, and it made me weirdly happy, this feeling that I had a partner in cleaning.
I had decided to name the Roomba Lupe, after the housekeeper in Arrested Development, and then I read the Wikipedia entry about Lupe, and there you go. (I haven’t seen those episodes of Arrested Development yet, which makes it even funnier to me.)
So, yeah – so far I’m loving the Roomba. Yesterday morning I cleaned out the litter boxes, put Lupe in the laundry room, and she was done before I left to go to the pet store for my Monday morning stint with the cats. The laundry room is the worst part in the house, between the cat food kicked all over the place, the stuff tracked in from the back yard, and the litter from the litter boxes. Just the job Lupe does in the laundry room makes her worth the purchase price.
At this point, my plan is to let Lupe loose in the rooms that need it each day, and then do a Dyson vacuum once or twice a week. It’s just too bad that she can’t do the stairs, but I can run the Swiffer over the stairs in no time flat, so it’s not a big deal.
The day Dyson and iRobot team up and create a Dy-mba that can do stairs, it will be ALL OVER.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.