Thursday Thoughts

Religion from Roomba
In my blog post yesterday, I talked about the newest member of our family – Rosie Roomba. I neglected to show you a photo…..

Even as I was writing the post, Rosie was busy vacuuming our bedroom floor. When she finished, I went to check out the results…..

You have all heard of the people who see images of the Virgin Mary on their toast or in their mashed potatoes. Well, I think Rosie might be giving me spiritual messages. Can you see the cross clearly imaged into the carpeting? Hmmmm. Well, at least she’s not leaving me Satanic images.

I Spy
I probably go to my neighborhood King Soopers nearly every, sometimes a couple of times a day. While I always have good intentions, I rarely (and I mean RARELY) remember to bring my own bags, despite the fact that they are almost always in my trunk. That, my friends, simply means I’m too lazy to walk back to my car to get them. Anyway, yesterday I was making at the grocery store, and for a change, I had my own bag. It was sitting in my cart. I went through self-check, something I nearly always do. I had scanned the first item and laid it in the bagging area when the scanner (in her friendly female voice) asked me Do you have your own bag Dummy? Well, the truth is she didn’t say dummy, but she did ask me – FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER – if I had my own bag. I’m pretty sure King Soopers has joined ranks with Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Comcast and is spying on me. How else would she know that I had my bag with me? I wish I could use their spying tactics to make the world a better place.

Slimy Business
When Kaiya is anywhere around, there is likely at least TALK about making slime. And, much to her delight, her cousin Grace (who was one of the visiting dignitaries from AZ this past week) is a slime connoisseur. So, not surprisingly, this happened….

Aunt Bec was there to provide supervision. Cole and Faith are steadfastly sticking to Play Doh, thank you very much.

The Heat is On
I never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I’m about ready to have the temperatures cool down a bit. Today — when it was supposed to be a bit cooler — my car thermometer showed an outdoor temperature of 63 degrees. Day before yesterday, it hit 81. But just wait. The first cold and snowy day, you will hear Nana’s Whimsies complaining!


Meet George Jetson

When I was young, I loved all of the Hanna Barbera cartoons: The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Magilla Gorilla. In fact, I know all of the characters to this day, their sidekicks, and could sing the theme songs for most of the programs if you held my feet to the fire. My favorite by far was The Jetsons, a story about a family that lives sometime in the future and somewhere in outer space. The animated program ran in prime time in the early 60s, and then again in the mid- to late 80s. Apparently television writers didn’t feel the need for originality like they do now. Ha.

Meet George Jetson
Daughter Judy
His Son Elroy
Jane, his wife.
– Hoyt Curtin

Baby Boomers, you know you are singing the theme song along with me. The song became a hit in 1986, which just goes to show you what the state of music was back in those days.  Take that, Madonna.

One of the main characters was the Jetson’s maid, a robot named Rosie. Though the Jetsons did most of their work by pressing buttons that made things happen in space-agy ways, Rosie did the rest. She not only cooked and cleaned, but provided family counseling as well.

Enter the 21st century.

A few years ago, Jll was given a Roomba as a gift from her sister. Almost immediately, Jll began singing the praises of this contraption, proclaiming that it changed her life. At least her cleaning life. With four children and a full-time job, every extra minute helps.

Roomba, for the uninitiated, is a robotic vacuum cleaner made by a company called iRobot. Once it is charged up, you turn it on and it makes its way around your house, vacuuming as it goes. It seems to follow no particular pattern, but travels around willy nilly. Eventually, it is supposed to vacuum the entire house.

So when Bill and I began seeing light at the end of the hardwood laying tunnel, I began seriously considering the purchase of a Roomba. Because, you see, I don’t vacuum. You have read my past blog posts in which I have proclaimed myself to be a horrible housekeeper, and this fact is further proof. A Roomba seemed the perfect answer.

One of the things I noticed is that Jll referred to her Roomba as Candy. It surprised me somewhat because Jll simply doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would name her appliances. After four kids, one would think she would never want to name another thing in her life. Nevertheless, she would talk about what a great job Candy did the night before, or tell the kids put the chairs on the table so that Candy can do her job.

What I quickly learned after purchase of my Roomba is that when you fill out the warranty, one of the questions asked is the name given the appliance. Yep. I’m telling the truth. iRobot expects you to name your robotic vacuum cleaner.

So what did I name her? Rosie, of course. There wasn’t another alternative, really.

These days, Bill and I spend our mornings sitting in the living room watching Rosie do her job. It’s mesmerizing, really. She stops short of the step leading into our living room. She disappears underneath the sofa and reemerges on the other side like a big black beetle. She moves from room to room unless you block her path. She doesn’t however, provide family counseling. Perhaps the next generation of Roombas.

The first night after our purchase, we turned the switch on Rosie and let her go do her thing. We went to bed, and listened to her not-so-quiet efforts downstairs. All at once, we heard a crash. Bill went to check it out. When he returned, he explained that she had knocked over some TV trays.

“To tell you the truth,” he added, “she’s kind of creepy.”

And, to tell you the truth, she kind of is. But she cleans my floor. Good ol’ Rosie picks up the dust and dirt like a cleaning champ.

Now, iRobot, get to work on those hover cars.

Automatic Response

Recently when my sister was out here visiting, we were at a restaurant having lunch. We had been doing some shopping and quite a bit of walking, and a trip to the rest room was needed. After we ordered our food, I excused myself and headed to the ladies’ room.

FBP5L1JFCHYOABY.MEDIUMWhen I opened the door, there was a clearly disgruntled woman – probably a bit older than I – who was frustrated because she couldn’t get paper to come out of the dispenser. She was moving her hand below and in front, but no paper emerged. She expressed her frustration to me, and I concurred, telling her that I frequently am unable to get the automatic sinks to work or the automated paper towel dispenser to do its job. We exchanged crabby looks and made cynical remarks about how automation doesn’t always make our lives easier. She left, drying her hands on her pants as she walked out.

I went into the stall and the entire time I was in there, I worried about whether or not the automated paper towel dispenser would work for me or if I was going to have to wipe my hands on my pants as well. After I was finished, I washed my hands and gritted my teeth and went over to the dispenser. I moved my hand below it. Nothing. I moved my hand in front of it. Nothing. Sigh.

It was about that time that I noticed a handle on the dispenser. Oddly enough, when you manually pressed this handle, paper emerged. Weird, huh?

Yes, my friends, we are so used to having automation in our public restrooms that it didn’t occur to this woman, and almost didn’t occur to me, that we actually had to manually express the paper towels. It’s true, I’m afraid, that there have been many occasions when I have placed my hands under a water faucet only to realize that I actually needed to turn a handle. I’m blaming this mental hiccup on drinking sloe gin fizzes as a college student.

However, I feel compelled to tell you that for some reason, I really do have a problem getting automatic water faucets to deliver water to me (even when they actually ARE automatic). I approach them confidently, place my hands where I think they should be, and nothing happens. I move my hands up and down, and nothing happens. I move to the next sink and it doesn’t work. Just then, a young woman will step up to the first sink that failed me and water will come pouring out like Niagara Falls. Young whippersnapper, I will think to myself, as I move down the line of sinks hoping for a dribble or two.

Sometimes automated bathrooms can go too far. One day I took then-3-year-old searchMylee to Lil’ Monkey Business — an indoor playground for small kids. Before we left, I took her to the bathroom to wash her hands. She did so, and headed to where the paper towels should be located. No paper towels, only one of those automated things where you stick both of your hands inside, and air blows like Hurricane Katrina as you slowly pull Kaiya Mylee Zoo (2)your hands out of the dryer. Unless you’re 3 years old and the entire thing — the way it looks, the sound it makes, the gale force wind it emits– scares the bejeezus out of you. Now, who thought that was a good idea, I thought as we walked out of the bathroom, Mylee wiping her hands on her pants.

For the most part, I embrace technology and automation. In fact, if I could figure out a way to automate cleaning my house, I would do so in a heartbeat. That way the house would be, well, clean. The closest thing I’ve discovered is the Roomba, and I’m thiiiiiis close to buying one.

I will leave you with a funny story about the Roomba. My daughter-in-law Jll received a Roomba as a birthday gift. Their entire house has hardwood floors, and she will run it at night downstairs and run it upstairs during the day. The Roomba apparently knows not to go down the staircase. Don’t ask me.

They were out of town one weekend shortly after receiving the Roomba. Prior to leaving town, she had given me some zucchini that had been given to her and I volunteered to make zucchini bread while they were gone. I did so, and stopped by their house to drop it off so that they would come home to a lovely loaf of freshly baked bread for the next day’s breakfast. I walked in, set the bread on the counter, and turned to go. Just then, the Roomba came shooting out of their coat/cubby room and zipped in front of me on its merry way to the family room. I nearly jumped out of my skin.

Automation can be dangerous to your health. Just ask Mylee.

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