What About Bob

So, we did the thing that you’re not supposed to do around the holidays — we added a new family member.
My husband had brought it up before, but I’d always dismissed the idea because, well, of course I would. I’m very practical. We don’t need something else to take care of, that costs too much money. We already have too many critters and kids in the house. One more thing to step over? No way.
But on Christmas morning I opened up the giant, heavy box with my name on it and — there he was. Bob. Bobsweep, to use his full name.
I felt that immediate, overwhelming rush of parental love like when each of my children was born.
This is Bob.
Isn’t he adorable? I mean, I do think he could use some googly eyes with long lashes but as far as robot vacuums go, he’s pretty fetching. Also, he never eats, never poops, never whines about how hard it is to vacuum (unlike my real children who suck at the chore and I don’t mean that in the vacuum-y kind of way either). No. Bob just zips around the house gobbling up stuff that shouldn’t be there. It’s pretty mesmerizing to watch him work.
On his first day, he inhaled a crinkly, plastic Halloween candy wrapper. How we still have that stuff around, I don’t know. No. 3 got waaaay too much candy.
After he was charged and set up to roam the house, I fretted over him just like a new mom. He’d bump into a chair and I’d wince and click my tongue. “Poor Bob….”
He’d scoot under the dining room table, and it was like his first day of kindergarten. “Is he going to be OK? Can he find his way out? Can he REALLY handle all the stress, er, dog hair?”
You’re not supposed to touch him or guide him, just let him do his thing but I wanted him to be as successful as he could be, so when there was a spot he couldn’t quite reach, I’d kick the dog hair tumbleweeds so they landed directly in his path.
My friend described him as staggering around like a drunken junebug. I can see that. But I like to think of him more as the little blue vacuum that could. I think he can make our house clean! I think he can! I think he can lighten my workload! I think he can!
Allegedly, he even mops. Although, apparently that involves wetting a paper towel and then sticking it under him so it scoots where he does. That kinda sounds very similar to the half-assed method my kids use.
Bob on the first few days was, quite frankly, amazing. He’d zoom — well, not really go that fast — through the house and never got hung up on anything. He just trucked along. Nothing could deter him. Then, one day while I was out, my husband reported that Bob couldn’t find his way home back to the charging station.
“Oh no. That’s not good.”
“It’s like,” said my husband, sounding dejected and disappointed by a first report card, “he’s not learning.”
Another day, after his scheduled noon suck run, we came home to find the rug by the front door all rumpled in a heap, and Bob was wedged in a corner, dead. His battery had run all the way down. He never made it home.
The next day, he vacuumed for just a fraction of his scheduled time. It was like he’d given up.
I can relate, Bob.
Then, he just stopped bothering to leave the charging station. Oh Bob.
It’s never easy letting go, but at the same time, you had one job to do, Bob: suck. That’s not so hard for everyone else around here. We gave you a home, welcomed you into the family and all we expected in return, is that you keep the stinkin’ floor clean.
I’ve seen enough sci-fi to know that the next thing to happen is Bob’s circuitry will go haywire and he’ll try to kill me in my sleep. Joke’s on him — he can’t even suck up the evidence.

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