Thursday, April 22, 2010

Meet George Jetson...

That would make me, Jane, his wife. I will say, when it comes to husbands, I got one of the good ones. No. He doesn't help around the house any more than any other hubby, I suppose. And yes, he still needs to be reminded to take the kids out shopping for gifts because my birthday is just two days away. But he is kind, good natured, funny, smart, and top of the list: has absolutely no interest in sports.

What he is interested in is science and technology. I believe his ultimate goal is to turn our entire household into one giant robot with a central processing unit named HAL located in the attic. He enters a room and demands "Computer, lights!" hoping someday they'll actually switch on with voice command.

The following are home improvements he has offered to jury-rig in order to reach his goal:
1. A television in our bedroom that stays flat to the ceiling and comes down on a robotic arm over the bed when you're ready to watch.
2. A wave motion serving dish holder that continually moves the marinade around the roast for full flavor impact at dinner.
3. A joystick-controlled lawn mower.
4. A Flowbee system for the hedges.

All of these ideas I vetoed. However, some robotic/automated items have made their way into our home. Here's how it happens:

"Honey, I need your help a little more around the house. Maybe you could be in charge of cleaning the floors?"
"You bet! I'm all over it!"
... 3 days later...
"Honey, what is that round thing driving around on the floor upstairs?"
"Oh that's a Roomba! It vaccuums the floors for you. Now you have the help you need."
"Okay. Not exactly what I had in mind but..."

This is exactly how we came to own the following items:

The iRobot Roomba (a robotic hands-free vacuum cleaner that you set on a timer)
A Petmate Le Bistro (the automatic portion-control catfood dispenser)
A self-cleaning litter box
The Scrubbing Bubbles automatic shower cleaner

Here's what I think of them respectively: Awesome. Crap. Crap. Crap.

The Roomba: (We've named ours "Rusky")
Since we got Rusky, the floors have never been cleaner. You set the timer and it runs every day at the same time. It vacuums in a zig-zag motion for about an hour and a half on a charge. It finds its way back to the dock when it's finished and charges itself. And then you empty the dirt bin.
The few downsides: It occasionally gets itself stuck under a dresser or coffee table. Also, my living room rug pattern has some blocks with a black background. When the Roomba gets close to those blocks, it assumes the black is a hole and moves around it instead of over it. So the dust is piling up there but if I let it sit long enough, it will appear as gray instead of black and then problem solved! I'll let you know if my theory is correct.

The Le Bistro pet feeder:
Well, let's just say ours has found a new home and is happily living in a landfill somewhere. The tank comes in different sizes so my husband, I mean you, can go long periods of time without filling one of the bigger ones. But the catfood gets jammed in the chute. The dish doesn't stay snapped into place and gets moved around when the cat eats. So when the food does come out, it pours out onto the floor. I felt like I had a whole new pet that needed constant attention and care. Thank goodness for Rusky who helped me out with this one.

The self-cleaning litter box:
This lives next door to the Le Bistro in the landfill so I can’t even tell you what brand it was. It consisted of an open-topped round drum where the litter was held, a rake arm that came down like a record-player needle, and a side bin to catch the waste. Theoretically, after the cat has done his business in the litter, the drum begins to turn, the rake comes down and digs into the litter catching every clump and poop as it rotates. The arm then begins to lift with the excrement in its claw, and robotically moves over to the bin as the lid opens and dumps it in. At least that’s what the box said it would do.
Real life? Not even close. The clumps were often too big for the rake to hold and the rake would carry them halfway to the bin and then they would just fall back into the drum or more often than not, out onto the floor. The bin was big enough to hold about 2 small clumps and one poop before that would overfill and also be on the floor.
Again, Rusky had to help us out with this one.

The Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner:
We tried this in our shower, which is not a full tub but a shower stall so weren’t asking a lot from this device. The idea is to hang this from the shower head. Every day when you get out of the shower, you push a button and pull the curtain and it emits a spray that essentially cleans your shower without rinsing or scrubbing.
Day 1… No difference.
Day 2… No difference.
Day 5… The shower seems to need scrubbing but my husband convinces me to let it do its job.
Day 8… Soap scum is turning brown. Maybe that’s a good sign.
Day 12… I nearly crack my head open slipping on the scum-covered shower floor. My husband says it’s the cleaning solution.
Day 15… I crack open the contraption and use the remaining solution to scrub the unaffected soap scum and the mildew garden that’s beginning to grow.
Day 16… The Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner heads for the land of misfit devices… the landfill.

So he's one for four. The Roomba is the only item that is welcome to stay in the house. It is the only item that operates on its own and saves time and energy. If only my hubby could say the same. :](Just kidding, Sweetie. I love you! ;)


  1. As usual, Another good one. Love the posts, Keep it up.

  2. Thanks, Judith! I look forward to your next installment as well!

  3. You should have given the Scrubbing Bubbles automated shower thingy another chance. If you start with a clean shower, it keeps the shower clean over time like a fact, it only takes pushing that button every 2-3 days to keep it clean, in my experience...:-) I love both of our bathrooms.

  4. Ha! Lisa is on my side!!! Time to dig it out of the trash...