I suppose we have arrived. We now have a live-in maid. Her name is Shirley Mae. She lives under a desk in our bedroom. She is a Roomba, a robot vacuum cleaner.
Nancy got Shirley Mae for Christmas. I wish it had been my idea, but it was my daughter, Angelin, who delivered the goods. Shirley Mae has been a great addition to our home.
I don’t know why, but ours is one of dustiest houses in North America. We have hard wood floors and no dogs or cats, but dust seems to gravitate from the dust-bowl area of the mid-west and settle in at our house. Not only that, but we have two parakeets. Birds, we have found, are the messiest of all pets. They scatter seeds and feathers throughout the entire house. As many feathers as they shed and you’d think they would be bald by now, but they grow more, then shed and scatter them again throughout the house.
When Shirley Mae arrived, her papers and instructions were a little daunting – like setting up a computer for the first time. I stayed out of it, but Nancy plugged away and eventually turned Shirley Mae loose and our electronic maid went to work.
I used to have a toy electric car and it would scoot all over the floor, but eventually find a nook, get stuck, run out of juice and that was that. But not Shirley Mae. She never gets stuck. She wiggles under chairs and beds, pokes her nose in every possible nook and cranny, sucks up a mouth full of dust and keeps trucking. She even has some sort of GPS memory that allows her to navigate and to remember where obstacles were. Then, when she’s through, she goes back to our room and puts herself to bed.
This morning, Nancy let Shirley Mae loose in advance of weekend company and our little Roomba immediately ran me out of the bathroom. I heard her grumbling under her breath about loose whiskers from my electric razor, but I ignored it. She then followed me into the den where I was trying to read my paper, and made me raise the foot of my lazy boy so she could sweep beneath it. Finally I left the room, and then we heard an awful racket. Shirley Mae had found her way into our fireplace and was sucking up all the rock embers beneath our gas logs. Nancy gave her a good talking to, and Shirley Mae said she wouldn’t do it again, especially with the new barricade in front of the fireplace, but said in no uncertain terms that our fireplace was the dustiest she and her kind have ever encountered. Somehow, they keep up with one another, a Roomba union, I suppose.
I would say – except for her occasional bitching – that overall Shirley Mae Roomba is a good worker. She works cheap, too, just a few amps of electricity each month.
Now if I could only get her to cut grass.