Friday, December 29, 2006
The Inlaws and the Roomba
Another gift at Christmas was the Roomba we gave C's parents. I had bought one several months ago because I had heard good things about it from friends and really liked it. C was dubious but we gave it a try and it is both pretty effective and fun. It picks up a lot of cat hair and tree needles, etc. but it does have a few downsides - like the room having to be pretty tidy to run it and being a little loud - but it's almost like having another pet.

Now the cats just know the Roomba is evil. It's a sentient cousin to their arch-enemy after all. They run from ours when we have it running. But we have it an a dock that they can get to and they have managed to turn it on several times so far and scared themselves silly.

The first time it happened, C and I were sitting on the couch and heard beeping. We both looked at our laptops and then the other person's laptop. Then we realized that it was coming from where the Roomba was about the time it powered it up and Alex, our 18 lb orange tabby, raced from the room with tail as puffed up as possible and looking wild-eyed.

The next time I was home alone and M had already gone to bed. I heard the beeping and looked over to see Merlin, our sweet old man cat, sitting on top of the Roomba and looking confused. Then the Roomba backed up and Merlin fell OFF it. He didn't panic but looked confused and a little annoyed and stalked off.

So the next time we saw one for a good price, we decided to buy one for C's parents. They have a very tidy house and we figured that it would help them keep it so with a little less work. We presented it at Christmas and after it charged, C's dad set it loose and everyone watched it wander around. It was doing well for a while until we heard a huge scream from C's mother in her bedroom.

"Oh my God! The Roomba ate a present!"

Several of us went racing in to see what had happened to discover that a gift bag had been on the floor and the Roomba had sucked up the handle of it. The bag was empty, thankfully, but C's mom was freaked.

Now, mind you, we had warned them that the doors needed to be closed to rooms they didn't want the Roomba to wander into. Apparently they didn't take us seriously. At one point the Roomba visited C's father in the bathroom.

Once it was done, C showed his dad how to empty it. When they got to the dirt cup, C's dad was sold when he saw all the dog hair and little junk it had picked up.

Hopefully they will enjoy it and won't have any more terrifying events!


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