Doin’ the Roomba

A few weeks back, we got a large package from Brother #2 that included a bunch of gifts that I wish we’d never gotten because I wish that their intended recipient had been around to receive them. But there were also some cool Dylan shirts from EMP, and a brand new Roomba, which–even though ours has already suffered a minor self-inflicted wound–is something that I would give to every parent in the world, if I could.

As my brother said when he upgraded to the Scooba, the Roomba is no rug beater, so we do have to go over the carpets once a month or so to get the deep-down dirt out of them. But that’s nothing compared to having to drag the tank around the whole house once a week, which is what we used to have to do. Now, however, we set the Roomba down in the middle of a room–after picking up all the toys, natch–and let it do its thing. It works best in 3B’s room, conveniently for us. That’s because his room has the fewest odd obstacles–there’s just the crib, futon couch, and dresser/changing table on the floor. Usually there are toy boxes and other detritus, but we set that on the futon couch before releasing the Roomba, so it’s got very little to maneuver around in there.

But, even in our open floor plan with the adjoining living room-dining room-kitchen-foyer, with end tables, a glider rocker, and lots of dining room chairs and carpet tassles, the Roomba does a good job, especially on our hard floors. Even on the carpets, however, it is great at getting up dog hair and most of the daily dirt. Going over carpet tassles, however, is not so great. On some carpets, the Roomba is fine, but in our bedroom, we have to set up the handy false walls–an infrared beam that the Roomba won’t cross–to block it from the tassles because that’s where the Roomba lost a digit. It has this little double-ended sweeper brush that swishes dust into the path of the main brush, and that got tangled up in the tassles. The Roomba pulled so hard to free itself that it snapped one of the ends off. That’s why it’s called artificial intelligence.

But the beauty of the Roomba is not only that vacuuming is so easy that we do it several times a week, but also that we are now so productive while we’re vacuuming. I’ve been able to write blog posts, do dishes, walk the dog, and any number of other things while the Roomba has been chasing down dust bunny herds in the next room. Mother Nature may abhor a vacuuum, but Papa Bradstein loves this little vacuum, which sucks up so much dirt without sucking up so much time.

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  • Interesting to hear about your experience…I’ve always been very skeptical about Roombas.

    I wonder how my cats would react? They once had a self-propelled toy that met an untimely demise when it rolled down a flight of stairs, but before its sad departure they loved that thing. I wonder if Roombas are cat-proof?

  • Other than startling Barky by bumping into him a few times, it’s really not fazed him at all. That’s much better than our big vacuum, which he cowers in fear of any time we pull it out of the closet. I don’t think that a cat could do much harm to it. Besides, if things get too wonky with it, it just shuts down, so they would get bored and leave it alone.

  • We got one for my grandparents a few years ago since vacuuming was tough for them. We thought it was such a great idea! But no. Older people don’t like change and it has remained untouched in their closet.

    Now I want it back.

    🙂

  • By the time I’m a grandparent, I expect 3B to not only get me a Roomba, but a robot that fetches me perfect dry martinis as well.

  • I need me a Roomba.