My beloved is on a spending spree. He either spends or he doesn’t. Mostly it is a doesn’t. But the nightmare of repairing a water-damaged ceiling is nearing completion and in the giddy rush of seeing light at the end of the many-times-extended tunnel is having an effect on his normally frugal lifestyle.

Repairing the ceiling evolved into a major do-over of the living room. This repair has been on our lists for several years. Finding and repairing the leak which caused the damage was a matter of repeated trial and error. Ceiling leaks are truly devious and deceitful, hard to locate the source of, and harder still to fully repair where it doesn’t sprout up in another spot during a nor’easter.

Let’s just say it took years, a new roof, repointing and repairing a chimney, new flashing, new tar sealing the flashing (twice) and be done with it, shall we? No reference to curse words, damaged fingers, bank accounts, and bruises, now just moving right along.

In preparation for repairing the ceiling, I packed up the entire room, books, pictures, display shelves, right down to every stick of the furniture (except for the sofa because it would only go OUT the sliding glass doors, not IN any other room without disassembling it. That was sooo not gonna happen!). Everything was ready for the project, except the actual time and energy to do it.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. We called workers (Yes we got bids and referrals. People lie.) who swore they could complete the job including finishing the walls and new moldings before Thanksgiving. This was imperative because we stored all the debris er, contents from the approximately 13 x 28 room in the guest room where the in-laws would be staying over the Thanksgiving holiday. At the time you couldn’t even see the bed, let alone get to it!

No problem! It’ll be done a full week before Thanksgiving. “You’ll love it,” the contractor assured us.

Except, of course, it wasn’t. Still isn’t as a matter of fact. A lot closer, true, but still *not* finished.

While waiting for the carpenter to come back we located and had installed a new rug for that room. The padding cost as much as the carpet! Those workers showed up when they said they would and they did a really nice job WITHOUT damaging the work in progress. They got a nice tip.

As we admired the new floor covering, the puppies jumped in and out of their dog door which had been off-limits during earlier phases of construction. Not being able to go in and out on a whim seriously cramped their style and interrupted DHs work day even more as they pestered to be let in or let out. And they leapt in and out bringing pieces of outdoors with them…sand, leaves, dirt…

In another part of the universe, the NeDOD listserve group was filling the vacuum created by not riding with email regarding home care and maintenance. The topic of the day was Roomba. One user story was just too hilarious not to share.

True story:

I was working from home one day, dialed in to a team teleconference. The Roomba woke up for its scheduled cleaning pass, and started noisily trundling around the living room. I was in the middle of giving my status update when I simultaneously noticed (1) the Roomba was leaving weird muddy-looking tire tracks (2) my cat had barfed several times around the room and (3) the Roomba was headed straight for one of the larger juicier piles.

Randomized exploration algorithm my ass – that perfect trajectory was nothing but pure robotic spite.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl as I leapt across the room. I got to the Roomba with my hand outstretched just as it enthusiastically ran down the barf. In slow-motion horror, I watched as the overwhelmed vacuum consumed what could be consumed and its brushes sprayed the rest in every direction. I snatched the Roomba off the ground, using the removable bin as an ill-considered handgrip, my thumb right on the “detach” button.

The arc of my energetic lift resulted in a dramatic stage separation about hip-level. The main body of the Roomba shot off at tangent towards the couch, trailed by an explosion of partially digested cat food and barf-coated dust bunnies. It went everywhere. *Everywhere.*

I stared at mess in shock, shaken back to reality by a muffled “Beep-boop” coming from the eviscerated machine on the couch. The Roomba sounded vaguely accusatory as it declared mission failure.

Nothing lets you know that you’ve arrived in the future (and the future is very weird) like signing off early from a global teleconference with the phrase “I need to go clean up after the robot.”


So DH ordered a Roomba.

I wonder if it will be up to the challenge? And what will we name it?