Publication: Freedom — OCR - Placentia News-Times; Date:Oct 06, 2017; Section: News; Page Number: 3
WHAT A DAY
How to pamper your vacuum
Last Christmas, Dale gave me one of the best gifts ever, a Roomba. For those of you who are aghast that a husband would give his wife a vacuum cleaner as a gift, please stand down. Living with two dogs and carpeting was bad enough, but once we got wood flooring, the dog-hair tumbleweeds drifting across my view every day made me want to weep.
Getting that Roomba changed my life. I named her Fluffy, and she spent at least two hours each day meticulously picking up hair and dirt. I usually had to empty her bin at least once a cleaning, but it was a small act, compared to the sweeping I used to do.
Still, Fluffy was not immune to problems. Sometimes she would get stuck under furniture. Occasionally, the dogs would knock her “virtual wall” blocker aside, and I’d find her wandering around in rooms she was not supposed to be in.
This was mostly a problem if I wasn’t home. Fluffy’s brain is connected to my cell phone, so I get all her error messages. It’s been disconcerting to be in a meeting in Chicago and get an alert that Fluffy’s bin needs emptying.
I can’t do anything from 2000 miles away.
This past week, she has been unusually sensitive. She can’t seem to find home base, and she is spending too much time in the hall and neglecting the kitchen. I keep taking her apart, cleaning the hair and dirt, then pointing her toward home.
It only makes her happy for a few moments.
Finally, she spoke up, saying, “Error 2. Clear Roomba’s debris extractors, then press CLEAN to restart.”
First of all, if I worked at the company, I’d program Roomba’s messages differently. She’d learn her name, and to say “please” and “thank you.” There is no reason for a machine to be rude.
I looked up what debris extractors were, then took them out and cleaned them. They are just little rubber bars that scoot around the floor and suck things up. Obeying Fluffy, I pressed CLEAN and she started up again. Two minutes later, she stopped and gave me the same error. Believe it or not, I tried the same thing 5 times.
Again, if I worked at the company, I’d program her to say, “You’ve tried that 5 times with the same results. Should I look up the definition of ‘insanity’ for you?”
In desperation, I read the manual, hoping not to see some disclaimer saying that if you run your Roomba every day, it might only last 6 months. What I found was a list of parts that need to be replaced, and a schedule of how often to replace them.
Debris extractors are on the list.
The good news is they are only supposed to be replaced every 6–12 months, so at 9 months, I was still in the window. The bad news is Fluffy doesn’t feel her best until they’re replaced.
I immediately ordered a full accessory replacement package from their website. It should arrive shortly.
In the meantime, Fluffy is getting some much-deserved rest. I’d send her to a spa if I knew one that catered to robots. And I will try to keep the clumps of dog hair from piling up while she relaxes.
It’s the least I can do, after all she’s done for me.
Longtime Placentia resident Gayle Carline tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, computer whiz and horsewoman. E-mail her at [email protected].