For his birthday this year, Jonathan's parents gave him a present that has revolutionized both of our lives. It's a robotic vacuum cleaner aptly named the "Neato". No bigger than the average bathroom scale, this clever little unit zooms around the house methodically clearing our floors of dog hair, cat hair, dirt, sticks and whatever other bits of detritus has accumulated over the course of the day. It has a memory so it knows where its been and it even knows when the battery is getting low and it returns itself to its port, which is based in our living room. This machine is amazing. First of all, it does a great job. Our rugs have never looked better. Second of all, it is very thorough and though it doesn't move the dining room chairs to get under the table perfectly, I'm not complaining. I haven't taken out the Dyson is two weeks, and the floors look like they could be eaten off of (though I wouldn't advise it in my house). Third of all, its programmed to vacuum every day while we're out in the barn so when we come back to the house it's like the Vacuum Fairy has been there. The damn thing cleans under our bed AND under the living room sofa. How many times have you gone to look for a lost shoe, sock etc. and gotten on your knees to take a peek under these two pieces of furniture and risen in disgust at the amount of "stuff" under there. Please tell me that its not just my house that has hosted giant dust bunny parties under the bed and sofa. I believe we've had entire dust bunny conventions in my house. Any time we've moved I've always shrieked in horror at the things that were hiding under the furniture, which hadn't been disturbed since it was last moved into position. I can happily say, that will never happen in my home again. I'll even push the sofa aside next time my mom comes to visit just so I can show off how pristine the carpet is under there.
Sometimes we happen to be inside the house on a break while the Neato is working its magic. The Neato has sensors on it so it doesn't ever bump into us, or the cats, or dogs if any of us are in the way of its path. I was a little concerned when I saw it hurtling across the carpet towards my very deaf cat, Miss Girl, but it politely veered away from her allowing her to continue on with her bath, undisturbed. My boy cat, Zeke (who is very bored this time of year since he's been waiting for spring to come so he can get out of the house and eat moles again) has taken it upon himself to challenge the Neato. He likes to walk by it while it's working and give it cold stare and puff his body up, while he cruises by on his tippy toes, like Fred Flintsone at the bowling alley. Jonathan noticed him doing this threatening drive by last week, and I've seen it a couple of times. Cats are so ridiculous, especially Big Zekie. He's such a badass. The Neato gives him a respectable berth when it goes by and I think Zeke feels he's gotten the requisite respect he deserves from it. Win/win. The only member of our household who really doesn't enjoy the Neato, is our big merle Aussie, Remy. He's a sensitive sort and has never been fond of the vacuum, or the blower we use to clean the aisle in the barn. He doesn't care for electronic beeps that come from the TV when we're picking a show from Netflix. And now a motorized moving, humming robot that seems to go everywhere in the house, therefore making no where safe. Poor Remy. He seeks solace, laying by my feet, eyes wary as the robot passes through the room. I tell him it's okay, but I know he doesn't trust this vacuuming robot freak. It's unnatural. And it is. Unnatural. I like to think it's supernatural! It means we always have clean floors. I will never again wince when I have to bring someone up to our house, thinking "Oh my heavens, the floors are SO dirty!", because they aren't dirty. They are fabulously clean!! Happy Birthday Jonathan!