How Roomba Changed My Life
Gloom, Despair, and Agony Was Me
I'm a writer, and, like many writers, I write best in a controlled environment of quiet and order. For almost 30 years, I have lived in the country, in what we euphemistically refer to as a "historic" double-wide, where pavement is a rather vague concept, and dirt roads are the norm.
I'm a mother and a step-mother who has raised six children. I'm also a dog breeder, trainer and competitor. I currently have six dogs (three retired, and three in various stages of training). I board dogs occasionally for friends and former puppy buyers, and take on the occasional "rescue."
"Dog dirt" is a part of my daily existence. I often spend the majority of my house-cleaning time on my floors, battling dust, dog-hair, stuffed animal innards, as well as the inevitable debris that comes in on the paws of my canine companions. (Occasionally, I even get a "critter," such as a dead baby possum (or three) that find their way into my living room overnight via the doggie door!)
I have tried everything imaginable to lower the amount of dog dirt that makes its way inside. I installed a small gravel yard in-between the house and the larger dog yard. Confining my pack to the graveled area during wet weather helps considerably with muddy paw prints. I've also employed special foot mats, daily brushing, and numerous schemes intended to remedy the beaten dirt path that runs beside the fence. Short of giving up dogs (not an option) there are no suggestions given me that I have not employed.
My Floors Manufacture Dog Hair and Dirt
The gist of my story is that no matter how hard I've tried, I've never been able to get my floors to stay clean for much longer than an afternoon. As soon as I look away, they seemingly begin to “grow” dog hair. Even with daily sweeping, it's nothing for me to have a knee-high mountain of dog hair.
It's a good day when I manage to write, train dogs, do some laundry, sweep the floors and clean the kitchen. I never seem to have enough time to get to all the rest of the projects that call my name, such as drawer organization, filing, dusting, window washing, mending, and the like.
Some days, the chaos seems so overwhelming that I simply have to clean my desk, shut the door to my office and pretend that the world does not exist in order to get my work done. This frustrates me, because my heart's desire is to have a home that is serene and orderly. I've long been convinced my creativity would function at a much higher level if only there were not chaos (and dog hair) tugging at the back of my mind.
I have despaired of ever being able to achieve the normalcy called "basic sanitation."
Enter the Miracle
I honestly cannot say what possessed me. It may have been the fact that I have a friend who purchased a robotic vacuum and posted about it on Facebook. I was intrigued, as she also lives in the country and has dogs. I am not given to impulse purchases, so it must have been divine intervention that found me on Amazon one night, with utterly no plan to do so, ordering a Roomba. I had read countless reviews. The one that sold me was written by a woman who had four dogs and a bunch of kids, and who was raving about how much easier the Roomba had made her life. My thought process was simple: "If I don't like it, I can always send it back!"
So, I ordered it. The specific I ordered was the iRobot Roomba 560. Heeding several reviewers' logic that a reconditioned model had all the bugs worked out of it already, and was, therefore, a better purchase, I ordered a reconditioned model. It had a ninety-day warranty, and I knew I'd either work it until it broke or until I decided to keep it.
It had a ninety day warranty. I knew that I would work it hard enough during that time to decide whether to keep it or not.
When it arrived, my 20-year-old son and I unpacked it together. I had expected it to be difficult to figure out: it was not. In fact, it was intuitive, and could not have been easier. It came with enough charge to run around the kitchen and leave an impressive path of clean in its wake. We decided to charge it fully and see what it could do. It was fully charged within the hour, so we picked up all dangling cords, lap blankets, dog beds, pet toys and the like in the living room, set up the two "virtual walls", and pushed "Clean." Off she cheerfully went!
That first night, we stayed up until 2:00 a.m., watching with fascination as little Roomba busily went about our living room, leaving a streak of clean in her wake. She ran for about three hours before needing to be recharged.
Her first use required us to empty her dirt trap and clean her brushes three or four times. Even this was quite novel because when her brushes needed cleaning, she told us! Cleaning them was not NEARLY the ordeal it is with my upright vacuum. In addition, instead of having to sit on the floor to take the upright apart, Roomba sits on the counter!
All that is required is to press a big button, slide out the trap, tap it into the trash and replace it. Next, turn her upside down and press two levers to open her brush cage. There are two brushes, a soft roller brush, and a little whisk brush that sticks out from her perimeter. The whisk brush sweeps away dust and dirt from right up against the baseboard, and other solid surfaces.
The roller brush requires someone to pull its ends off, set them aside and to force the brush itself through a plastic circle cleaner (included). If only cleaning the brushes on my upright were a tenth this easy! Occasionally, it is necessary to use a pair of needle-nose pliers to pull out trapped hair that winds itself about the ends. Once in a while, the front wheel must be removed (2 seconds), and the little whirls of hair that collect on its ends, removed. The whole trap emptying and brush cleaning process takes about two minutes. Replace the brushes, shut the cage, flip Roomba back over, and she's ready to go again!
Now that there is no longer such a heavy hair load on my floors, Roomba generally cleans an entire room without having to have her brushes cleaned or her trap emptied.
Best of all, when she's done, she maneuvers herself to the charging dock and rolls right up to get charged and even plays a happy little melody to announce to the world her good work! What's NOT to like?!
Details and Results
I'm not quite sure what I expected, but it wasn't as much as I got. I'm old enough to be more than a little bit jaded when it comes to believing advertising claims, and it's been my experience that everything breaks. As, in truth, Mz. Roomba may yet! However, I'm now past the warranty period and have no complaints whatsoever. Roomba has out performed every other vacuum I've have ever owned, and I have not once used my upright Shark since unpacking Roomba over three months ago!
I've used her hard, too. She typically cleans one, if not two rooms in my nine-room house every day. Sometimes more. Since I work from home, I simply turn put her where I want her and turn her on, but she has the capacity to be programmed seven separate times to come on, clean, and return to her charger.
I half expected my particular circumstances to overwhelm the dear robot. Although I have very little carpet in my home, and only a few rugs, I have still been forced to purchase a new upright vacuum every year or two. There has yet to be a model that did not require me to spend half a day in dis-assembly, trying to get to the root of a clog of hair. Little Roomba works far more efficiently, does a better job (she goes under the furniture I would not bother moving) and for far less investment of time and effort than any vacuum I've ever owned. She's like a happy little maid that can't wait to suck up floor dust and debris!
I'm really not the type to tell the world about a vacuum cleaner I purchased. I'm excited about Roomba because SHE'S exciting! She's lifted a repetitive burden from my daily schedule that has enabled me to take on other sets of projects and to actually complete them. I feel I am further along on my life's "to-do" list than I ever dreamed I could be. And it is all thanks to the dependable cleanliness that dear little Roomba has brought into my life.
The only thing that could be better than having this Roomba robot, is possibly having TWO of them. Oh, what a thought! Quick, hide my credit card!
In all seriousness, I have written this article as a public service announcement. Like they used to say about Mikey of Life cereal fame back in the '70s . . ."Try it! You'll Like It!" And so you shall! Enjoy!!