Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Once a month, at physical therapy, I have to answer a questionnaire about how well I can complete certain tasks of daily living. It’s an insurance requirement. The scale goes from 0 to 4, where 0 is extreme difficulty or unable to perform, and 4 is no difficulty. I score mostly 0 or 1, except sleeping. I’m a 4 at sleeping.

But the next time I answer the questionnaire, I’m going to score another 4 – vacuuming. All of a sudden, as of about a week ago, I can vacuum the entire house, all day long if I so desire. A miracle cure for MS? Not so much. The maid from the Brady Bunch stops by every day? Not exactly. We bought a robotic vacuum cleaner, a Roomba 980.

But, in honor of everyone's favorite maid, we've named her Alice.

posted a couple of months ago about how Kim and I needed help around the house. I’m still working on getting a home care worker, but in the meantime, we eliminated one of Kim’s more time-consuming household chores. Not only that, but now I run the vacuum several times per week instead of Kim running it once on the weekend, and we have nice clean floors all the time. Not only that, but this robot is damn entertaining. I watch how she maneuvers around the house, blind as a bat, and doesn’t miss a spot. What fun it must’ve been to be a software developer on this project.

I control Alice from an app on my iPhone or iPad Mini. Unfortunately, I can't operate her from my Amazon Echo or my Apple Watch – not yet, anyway.

Now, if only we could find an affordable robot to get me up, showered, and dressed each morning, we would be in business. How many years until that happens? I’m thinking twenty, plus or minus. What do you think?


  1. Have you seen Robot and Frank? That's what I'm waiting for!

  2. Daphne, I have not seen that movie, but I googled it, and that looks like a perfect robot!

  3. I'm intrigued. J and I were looking at one in Target not that long ago, but we didn't seriously consider it (couldn't really justify the expense). How does it cope with rugs and carpets, and cleaning along the baseboard? How does it cope with Phoebe (or, rather, how does Phoebe cope with Alice)? Sounds like a wonderful boon and a blessing for both you and Kim!

  4. Alice recognizes when she moves from hardwood to carpet or rug, and she sucks harder. She has a little brush that she uses along the baseboards to get even closer than most people do with their traditional vacuum cleaners. Phoebe barks at Kim incessantly when Kim vacuums, so we feared the worst. It turns out, Phoebe must think that the vacuum grabs Kim and won't let go, because she pays absolutely no attention to Alice, to the point where the robot bumps into her sometimes. The cat? He's a different story.