Our family entered the 21st century last December 9th. We acquired our first robot and life hasn’t been the same since. After several friends demonstrated the absolute necessity for our very own robot, we purchased the next to the top of the line irobot. Our irobot is one of those vacuum cleaners that sucks up every scrap and ort of dust and dirt in any given room. AND, it is WONDERFUL!
Robbie Roomba as we call him (I decided my vacuum would not be a “her”), was a Christmas gift to the house, but he arrived on December 9th. When I read that we could return him for lack of performance in 30-days, I mused that if we waited until December 25th to begin using him, we would only have about a week to return him. Thus, his servant-robo life began way before that.
The days of paper instructions or manuals are long gone, and in its stead was a DVD. Oooookay. Popped it into our player and the three of sat through one hour of instructions, half of which were repeats from a previous module. It was actually kind of nice seeing it in living movement and vivid colors. But, it was frustrating that we couldn’t look up an instruction in the index and go to page whatever. Like, how do I change the filters. We had to pop in that sucker DVD again and cruise through the modules until we found those instructions. Not really efficient.
At any rate, we powered Robbie up and decided that we needed to see what he would be doing before we programmed him to clean automatically. So, we hit the “Clean” button and off he went. For over an hour we watched him slowly traverse our great room and entrance hall, bumping and banging along as he encountered objects like chairs, walls, table legs, etc. We giggled and laughed as it took him minutes to figure out how to get out from under a dining room chair. We tiptoed behind and around him, wondering when he thought he was done.
Finally, he moved slowly toward his docking station to be recharged for the next go-round. As he moved onto the dock, he tootled like a flute, a fanfare of notes ta-da-da-ta-da-da! Oh, he talks too! We gently lifted him from his “home,” re-ran the DVD, and figured out how to program him to run in the middle of the night when we were all asleep. We thought 1am would be good and so we programmed him for every night at 1am to make his cleaning rounds.
Since it was Christmas and we had our tree up, we didn’t want him moseying off into that area, so we used the two “Towers” that came with him to send a beam of light across the space which prevented him from crossing over into tinsel, lights, and glass ornament land. They worked, TBTG. We just loved having our very own robot.
Over the months we have found that there are dangers lurking in our home that give Robbie a modicum of distress. For example, one day I hung my fringed cape on the doorknob in the hall. Of course, it hung on the floor. Of course, the next morning we found Robbie’s cleaning brush tangled up in the fringe and him lying dead beside the cape. We lovingly picked him up and returned him to his charging dock. Poor baby.
Another night he got stuck on the small rug in the bathroom and circled himself to battery death right next to the toilet. We have also found him dead under the rocking chair, unable it seems to figure out how to get out and thus drained himself of all his life giving juice in the effort. We try now to anticipate such dangers, but somehow a new one pops up every so often.
Finally, there is the bumping and banging. It doesn’t often disturb my R and I because we sleep upstairs, but often it wakes up K who sleeps on the first floor. Early on in our robot adventure, she went out one night to investigate the noise, forgetting we had Robbie. As she opened her bedroom door, Robbie scared the living bejesus out of her as he rounded the hall corner and headed for her room through the open door.
We do love him though, and our cleaning peeps tell us it makes a difference when they come to do the heavy stuff. We did forget to change his clock to daylight saving time so now he bumps and bangs at 2am, but hey, he does a great job and we are even thinking of getting Roger Robot for upstairs! Welcome to the 21st century. I wonder what kind of robot they will think of next? Maybe one that cooks? Writes sermons? Goes grocery shopping? Oh, the possibilities are endless.