My husband is a very neat person. I am not. For the most part we manage our differences by dividing and conquering, which is to say I contain my mess to my office (mostly) and he doesn’t complain about it. I try to keep things tidy, but my level of “meh, it’s fine” is his level of “oh my god must stop everything and clean.”
If I eat something crumbly, like a muffin, I can see him start to twitch. He won’t say anything, because he’s not a complete asshole, but I can feel him watch every crumb fall wondering “is she gonna clean that up?” And sometimes I do, because I’m not a complete asshole, and sometimes I don’t because I am too busy enjoying my muffin to notice the crumbs that fell. Twenty minutes later I hear him running the vacuum for the 4th time in 4 days and I wonder just how much strain this is putting on our marriage. I “spontaneously” tidy up the bathroom and hope for the best.
Enter the Roomba…
Roomba is a robotic vacuum cleaner which sounds like a novelty. And it is. It costs as much as a Dyson but looks like a frisbee on steroids. It roams around your house in an erratic spiral zig-zag, cleaning as it goes and maybe getting stuck. Which is to say that when I got it for my husband I was skeptical, but also out of better ideas for a Christmas gift. Don’t worry, we’re not all business around here. I also got him socks and underwear.
We brought this goofy little robot into our home with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. The current generation of Roombas (Roombai?) all have the ability to find their way back to the charging station after cleaning, which is a huge improvement over the last time I looked at them. They have edge detection which keeps them from falling down stairs and little “virtual walls” you can use if you want to keep it in or out of a given area. After charging overnight we set it loose and, just as promised, the little guy wandered all over our first floor like a drunken oversized hockey puck.
The Roomba isn’t a perfect replacement for our regular vacuum. Its wandering style of navigation means it takes longer than just doing it yourself with a regular vacuum, but it does pass each area multiple times. Since we have an open floor plan, our first floor is just one big space and the Roomba doesn’t handle huge rooms very efficiently. If I’ve got a particular problem area I’ll use a virtual wall to pen it in. We also had to take steps to hide cords and other loose items. Roomba-proofing is not unlike toddler proofing.
Now we run it every couple days, or whenever we’re going out for an extended period of time. While we’re gone it does its thing and goes home when it’s done. We feel very smug eating dinner at Chili’s knowing our robotic manservant is cleaning the house while we stuff our faces with fajitas. My husband no longer spends 20 minutes a day cleaning up after crumbs I don’t see. If this isn’t marital bliss, I don’t know what is.