Saturday, January 29, 2011


I am a Roombavangelist.

I don't hate vacuuming, not the way I hate mopping, but I always seem to find reasons not to do it. Of course I thought a Roomba would be great, but for a long time I couldn't afford one, and I thought it was a gimmick.

Some people think I'm a gadget buy, but I'm not really. I'm practical enough that I want things that work; I don't like gimmicks. Certainly not expensive gimmicks.

Then a close relative got a Roomba, and we were all amazed to find that it really worked. It's actually a very good vacuum. Part of the appeal is that it slides easily under sofas and chairs and tables where you ordinarily wouldn't go (or you have to move them, which is part of what makes vacuuming wearisome). But the big thing is that really picks up. Maybe part of it is that I have to clean it after every run, and I can see all the crap in the bin, whereas with my traditional upright vac, it all goes into a bag and I don't know what's in there.

But I have to clean Roomba's beater brush after every cleaning because it's full of dog and cat hair, and I don't have to do that with the upright. To me that means the Roomba is picking up hair that the upright missed.

You'd think I'd find picking fur out of the Roomba brushes to be a pain; yet I'd rather spend 10 minutes cleaning the Roomba than 1/2 an hour push/pulling the upright, no contest.

I took the thing to work and ran it in my office. The janitors vacuum every so often, yet the carpets look a hell of a lot better after the Roomba's gone over them.

So I got a Roomba of my own. But it wasn't enough just to have this, I felt compared to share the Good News. I took it into the office (the company doesn't want to buy them because they think they'll be stolen). I began lending it to my friends over the weekend. They were similarly amazed.

Then I found another one that was broken and fixed it. So now I had two. Great! I can keep one and lend the other one out. Except that I needed another battery. Well, then you need a special charger for it. So I found another used Roomba on eBay which had all the stuff. So now I have three. And if I get another battery, I can have one on loan and two running simultaenously here.

I'm breaking into a sweat just thinking about it.

Then I got a Scooba, which is the one that mops floors. It's interesting because unless your floor is horrible, you don't really see much of a difference, yet when the Scooba is done and you empty the dirty water tank, it looks like mud.

The bad part of the Scooba is that it's big: picture one of those gargantuan restaurant dinner plates. It's fine for the kitchen and the front door entry, but too big to negotiate my bathroom. And if it can't between the toilet and the tub or the toilet and the sink cabinet, it's almost pointless.

Now iRobot (the people who make it) are coming out with a smaller Scooba for exactly this reason, so it can get into the tighter areas in bathrooms. I dream of this thing.

If I had this much passion for romance, I'd be get getting laid every night.

I wonder if you could modify a Roomba for....

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