David and I had a problem. Vacuuming is one of David’s chores in our house, and since he is a big-time detail person, it took the whole day for him to move all the furniture and debris in order to vacuum. No quick once-overs for him. Furthermore, we bought our vacuum cleaner on Craig’s List, and it’s pretty weak and so heavy that it’s exhausting. Needless to say, he didn’t vacuum very often. I, on the other hand, like clean carpets, and that was definitely not happening on a regular basis.
A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation about housework with Kevin, our digital libraries manager. There are two disconcerting points about that last sentence: 1) I was voluntarily having a conversation about housework, and 2) Kevin, as you may have guessed, is a guy. My mother would think that the universe was suddenly out of joint at that point, but I was quite delighted. It seems that Kevin and his wife divide up the household chores along much the same lines as David and I. Ashley does the laundry, as I do, and Kevin does the dishes, as David does. When I said that I dust and David vacuums, Kevin casually stated, “Oh, I have a robot do that for me.” I thought he was kidding, but no. He told me all about his Neato, a vacuuming robot that is light-years ahead of a Roomba, which I had heard of. The Neato has a laser that maps out the room and covers everything in an orderly manner, and it works on all floor surfaces. He assured me that it would not fall down the stairs, since it has a sensor for that. He said that Lynn, another person in his department, also had a Neato and loved it. I talked to her later, and she has the Pet and Allergy model, since her husband has allergies. Her Neato was home vacuuming even as we spoke!
I went online to Amazon and read all the reviews, then put a Pet and Allergy one in an order cart. Once David read about it, we decided to give it to each other for Mother’s and Father’s Day. Michael gave me a gift certificate toward the purchase, and we got it Tuesday! As you can see, it is a little smaller than the bottom of an upright vacuum cleaner, and it charges at a docking station that you plug in. When we first hooked it up to the base, a warm orange light began pulsing slowly to show that it was charging up. It looked so content, like a little piglet, that we decided to name it Wilbur. We had tried to name it before it arrived, but like all pets, you really have to see its personality before you can choose perfectly. David read the manual (he’s good at that) and programmed it to start up in the morning. When Wilbur woke up, he rolled into the middle of the room and twirled around, using the laser to map out the space. He then started methodically vacuuming the carpet, leaving perfect little tracks, and finished the living room before moving on to the kitchen. We had put the chairs up on the table, but he rolled around each table leg in turn before continuing his back-and-forth sweeping. His lasers keep him from hitting the furniture. When he went to go to the dining room, he felt a bit sluggish, so he zipped back to the base for a charge all by himself. This took a few maneuvers, rather like a new driver backing into a parking space. Once he was charged up, he went right back to where he left off and resumed his work. Awesome! He didn’t like the mats in front of the front door or at the bottom of the stairs, but he did a pretty decent job on them. Otherwise, carpet, hardwood, and vinyl all look great. He did the upstairs today.
David has Wilbur programmed to run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays downstairs, and Tuesdays and Thursdays upstairs. So we’re going from vacuuming oh, say, quarterly, to vacuuming daily! We may need to revise that schedule later. After all, you do have to make sure that you don’t have electrical cords lying on the floor or bedskirts and window treatments long enough to be sucked up. I also hear that they choke on dryer sheets. Cats and dogs have mixed reactions to them, apparently. One man online says that his cat enjoys stalking it, but will occasionally pounce. Kevin reports that his dog gets up on the sofa when the Neato runs, but will come down to rescue his toys if the Neato bumps into them. He also says that there are hilarious videos on YouTube with cats riding on Neatos. They’re probably warm.
So, anyway, after this long advertisement for which I am not even compensated, I can attest that our problem is solved! My carpets and floors are beautifully clean, and David never has to vacuum again! Well, except for the stairs— probably quarterly.