Here’s a riddle:
What gets underfoot, completely ignores humans,
carries filthy things in its mouth,
and generates a steady supply of hairballs?
In our case, it is not a cat.
No, it’s the Roomba Brent gave me this past Christmas. It’s been in our house four months, and I’m still trying to figure it out.
Correction: I should say “her.” Because we named it Hazel, after the old-school TV comedy starring Shirley Booth.
But she isn’t all diligence and efficiency.
A diligent appliance? At our house?
Don’t be silly.
One evening, Brent could only find one sock of a pair he’d left on the floor. Hazel had done her rounds, so of course he asked me whether she’d eaten it.
“I don’t think so. She worked until her battery ran down, then went back to the docking station like normal.”
But the sock was nowhere else, so I went and turned Hazel over. Sure enough, she had picked up the sock–then dusted half the floors with it hanging out of her mouth.
I wrestled the sock away from her, only to find she had also coughed up a hairball. Or more accurately, crafted one out of someone’s long grey hair.
A few minutes with the kitchen scissors took care of it, but I’m betting this hairball won’t be her last.
Just yesterday, I put Hazel in our bedroom and shut the door so she wouldn’t wander out into the living room, which was already clean. Half an hour later, I realized I didn’t hear her high-pitched humming.
I went to the bedroom door and listened. Nothing.
“Hazel? Everything all right in there?” Nothing. (Really, did I expect an answer??)
So I turned the knob and pushed the door open. Half an inch. Then something blocked it and three beeps sounded.
“Hazel. Move!” (Tries again)
The door was blocked, but good. Fortunately, our room has a door out to the patio…
I still don’t know why she stopped, but after I opened the door, pointed her out, and pushed the “Home” button, she was able to find her way back to the docking station.
Believe me, I followed her every step of the way.
And people wonder why I don’t program the thing to work while I’m away from home.
Thanks for reading!