Odds + Ends


Some of you may know that I’m something of an electronics geek, and this past Christmas, Ashley and I received a very cool gift: a maid. Well, not really. It’s 6 pounds of electronic genius! Meet iRobot’s Roomba 560

When we pulled it out of the box for the first time, I believe I temporarily lost my hearing due to Ashley’s squeal of excitement. I thought it was a pretty cool gift, but I’m not a squeal-for-joy kind of guy. The setup was pretty painless. All we had to do was plug the dock into the wall, click in the brushes and dust tray, then place the Roomba on the dock. The hardest part (especially for Ashley) was leaving it alone to charge for 24 hours before we used it. Once the 24 hours were up (to Ashley it seemed like 3 days), we anxiously pressed the Clean button. With a chime of “Do da do ta do!” (Ashley’s onomatopoeia, not mine), it was off to work, and work it did. Within about 45 minutes, the living room floor was clean as a whistle. We were impressed.

Happy with the results, we decided to make our Roomba an official part of the Brown family and named him Jeeves. We happily ran our little robotic butler for days, calling him by his given name, of course. Then, a few days later, while he was vacuuming our bedroom, we heard a voice from under the bed say, “Error 2. Open Roomba’s brush cage and clean brushes.” But the voice was all wrong! Jeeves was actually a she. We promptly changed her name to Jenevieve!

Now that we know Jenevieve a little bit better, she has become one of our very best friends. As a guy, I have to admit that keeping the floors vacuumed is not typically at the top of my to-do list. I’m more of a “change a light bulb, replace the air conditioner filter or fix a squeaky door” type, cleaning’s not really my “thing”, but Ash has brought me a long way since my college days. Having a clean-freak wife, I’ve learned to appreciate a clean home. But I digress. The one negative aspect of having dark hardwood floors like ours (Don’t worry! We’re still very pleased with our decision!), is it shows dust and dirt very easily. Therefore, it’s important to vacuum on a regular basis to keep them looking their best.  And despite my natural aversion to housework, I help my wife vacuum. 🙂  Ashley says that Jenevieve will never replace that “good deep cleaning kind of vacuuming” but, we both agree that Jenevieve has successfully taken on some of the regular daily maintenance.

One of our favorite features of our new friend is you can schedule it to run at different times each day of the week. We don’t typically use this feature because we like to move Jenevieve from room to room and just hit the “Clean” button whenever we’re ready, but we do use it from time to time. It’s a great feature to have. We have some friends that schedule their Roomba to come on at 2:00am every night so they wake up every morning to freshly vacuumed floors. We’ve yet to try that, but I’m pretty sure Bentley go all ninja-dog on us and try to attack it. We just wish we could train him to do this…

Since our house has more of an open concept, the virtual walls (ours came with two) come in really handy. Each one has a invisible infrared barrier that the Roomba “bumps” into like a real wall. If you have an open doorway or you only want to vacuum a portion of a large open space, simply place the virtual wall on the floor where you want the Roomba to stop. If needed, you can always purchase additional virtual walls. Thus far, we have found that two work well for us.

Jenevieve has been with us for about two months now and I can honestly say she has become on of my favorite electronic gadgets… and that’s big coming from someone who takes his computers and electronics very seriously. Now if only we could snag one of those contraptions that showers and dresses you in the morning like on The Jetsons

PS – This post was not sponsored. We’re just excited about our new toy.

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  • Reply
    Kim @ Life Analytical
    February 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I kind of really want one, but the thing is.. I have rabbits, and they have hay, and the dry yellow straw-like parts are really hard on a vacuum. I try to clean up as much of it as possible with a dustpan and broom, because those combined with all of the hay dust has been known to clog my vacuum.

    • Reply
      February 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      I don’t have much (read: any) experience with rabbits, so maybe our other readers can chime in on this, but I’m not sure it would be a problem. With the Roomba, there’s not much in the way of tubing for the dust to go through, so as long as you clean the filter out regularly, you might be able to make it work. Also, doing a cursory Google search for “roomba rabbit” does not yield useful results, but it does come up with a couple of great videos of rabbits riding Roombas! 😀

      • Reply
        February 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm

        You might want to check out the Pet Roomba too! Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/hUakTM

        Hope we helped!

  • Reply
    Dee B
    February 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    We have one and we LOVE it! It’s funny that you named her because we call ours “Rosie” like on the Jetsons. I don’t know how I would function without her.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    does it make any noise other than letting you know there’s an error or is it pretty much silent when it is vacuming? also, can it move itself up onto a rug that’s on a hardwood floor or do you need to specifically place it there? thanks!

    • Reply
      February 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      It definitely produces some noise–not nearly as bad as a full-sized vacuum, but still noisy enough to be annoying when you’re trying to watch TV. To answer your second question, as long as your rug isn’t too awfully thick, it should be able to make the transition just fine.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Oh I want one of these!! Adding it to my wish list NOW!

  • Reply
    Pam T
    February 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    My mom bought one and she is very, very picky about her floors. I knew if it had passed her high standards it was a good thing. I’ve told her I want one for my birthday!

  • Reply
    Jonathan Philips
    February 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    My business partner and I bought an iRobot for our office. We can run a business but don’t ask us to run a vacuum! (We’re fresh out of college, Greg, so you understand.) It’s working out very well. We need to give ours a name though.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    We have one we purchased on a whim (the base model) and we love it! We too have dark wood floors and it keeps the maintenance to a minimum. We affectionately call it RoboVac. Whenever it gets hung up or stops my little 1 year old runs around calling “Robo! Trouble!” .

    I love it so much I’ve been debating adding another one for just the upstairs.

    Have you seen the wet one? Very cool but lots of $$.

    • Reply
      February 22, 2011 at 10:22 pm

      Yes, the Scooba (such a cute name!). I haven’t seen one in use but I’ve heard they are wonderful!

  • Reply
    Pamie Joy
    February 23, 2011 at 1:00 am

    Gotta love the cat!

  • Reply
    Lauren @ Hungry Child in the City
    February 23, 2011 at 10:30 am

    We have an old school Roomba and we love it, but never named it, which was clearly a mistake. I LOVE the walls! I didn’t even know that was a feature, but it’s so helpful!

  • Reply
    February 23, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I have a gift card to Target burning a hole in my pocket and have been debating using it toward a Roomba. Thanks for your robot love post…I might be closer to making a decision.

    • Reply
      February 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      You will not be sorry! Now that we have one, we can’t imagine NOT having one.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    So it won’t scratch the wood floors?

    • Reply
      February 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      Nope! Not at all 🙂

  • Reply
    February 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Um, you sold me. I totally want one now. I am looking into this immediately. Wow!

    I am your newest follower!

    Come over and say hello sometime! Or, come to win of my giveaway’s; Rockin’ Green Detergent, Baby Bond Nursing Cover (great gift idea too!), or Roundabout Cupcake Sleeves. They all have more than a week with very low entries!

    I’ll be giving away a few cloth diapers soon, too!

  • Reply
    February 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    What model is your iRobot Roomba?

    • Reply
      February 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm

      I believe ours is the 560 model. It’s a slightly different color than on their main website, but it has all of the same specs.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    i am in total agreement…with the awesomeness (uhhh…i know…not a word!) of the roomba..i talked my mom into buying one for her house…(she hates vacumming)…she has light floors and a brown lab dog…she finds it a little too noisy…but i love it…it does a pretty good job…not perfect..but similar to a good sweeping job…she calls hers Rhonda…

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