Luke came running into my office the other day and said, “Woot has Roomba’s on sale for $150!” We had just been discussing them a few weeks ago talking about the day when Woot might grace us again with a Roomba sale. Sure enough, it happened. Now, let me preface this with two facts.
1. I have never “wooted” before.
2. I have never owned a Roomba before.

So, with all the excitement of the Woot availability-bar dwindling down, creating the ever-increasing drama, anxiety, and impulse-buying-twinge that is most often felt in “the last mile” of the local Fry’s, I quickly picked up the phone and called The Wife.

“Woot-who?” she said. “A Roomba-what?” I quickly explained the opportunity at hand, indicating that we didn’t have a moment to lose. I pinged Luke asking for his buying opinion on a scale of 1-10. He didn’t even bother replying. I could hear his footsteps bounding across the office. Before he arrived at the door he was already in mid-sentence, “It’s a 10! My parents have two. I just bought one and I might buy another one.”

Ok. I’m sold. Using my birthday money, I made an executive decision (after briefly consulting with my wife once more) and placed our order.

Today, Mr. FedEx arrived with 3 Roombas (one for me, Luke, and Phil).

I quickly unpacked it, plugged it in, and let it charge up. I could hardly wait for the inaugural run.

Tonight, after dinner, the family quickly set up a practice area for Mr. Roomba (Daughter #1 gave him the name. I’m not sure where she picked up “Mister” but it seems to have quickly stuck). We set up Mr. Roomba, used the virtual wall to confine him to an area, and then pushed the button to make him go. He leaped out into the open area, did a few quick spins, and then went to work. We watched in 1/2 awe and 1/2 shock as he went about his work. A little here. A little there. Our anxiety built as we watched him miss a few pieces of obvious dirt, but then we’d squeal with delight as he picked it up a few minutes later on another pass. He promptly skirted around the perimeter with his flailing little sweeper arm dusting the floorboards. It was quite exciting. After seeing him in action for about 20 minutes, we figured he was up to a bigger challenge.

We moved Mr. Roomba into the main area of the living room. I hit the button to set him free and then quickly picked up a few little toys that would pose problems later on. He was quiet enough that we not only were able to start getting the girls ready for bed, but we actually put them to bed and got them to sleep before he was finished. Imagine that! We were vacuuming our house while we were putting our two small children to bed. GO FIGURE!!

Mr. Roomba scurried here and moseyed there, picking up bits and pieces along the way. We weren’t sure how great he was doing until much later, but I can tell you that the quantity of dirt, crumbs, dust, etc. that he gathered was AMAZING. It was a chin-dropping experience to watch him meander into the kitchen and scoot his way along the entire edge in that hard-to-reach area under the lip of the cabinet bottoms. You know, the nether-regions where all brooms go, but dirt still manages to hide. As Mr. Roomba scuttled across with that little arm-like broom flicking madly, I saw bits and pieces of goodies that flew in front, only to be scooped up moments later. Absolutely mystifying!! This little robot is one part ingenuity and one part black magic!

We then scooped him up and took him into the bedroom. Without a thought, I hit the “Clean” button on top and let him go about his business. In seconds he was already in areas that I thought he’d ignore — such as that little gap between my cushy chair and the ottoman that sits just far enough away that Mr. Roomba squeezed in, did his thing, turned around, and slid right back out again. FLAWLESS!! Next was another shocker. Mr. Roomba disappeared. I looked around the corner and didn’t see him, but I did hear that faint little whisper that, by this time, and become synonymous with my smile. I got on my hands and knees and looked under the bed. HOLY SMOKES! Mr. Roomba was under my bed — cleaning!! I ran and got the wife. She wouldn’t believe me if I just told her. I drug her into the room and pointed. In seconds, out came Mr. Roomba with, at the very least, a belly full of dusty goodness. Her chin dropped. A minute later, Mr. Roomba went back under again for another helping. My wife laid down on the floor and just watched in amazement. She looked up at me with that smile you’d most likely recognize on a kid’s face on Christmas morning. “I am in love.” she said, with that gleam in her eye that I used to see when we were dating back in high school. “I want another one!”

Now most of you won’t believe what I’ve said so far, but what I’m about to tell you tops it all. When Mr. Roomba finished his chores, he packed his bags and headed for home. That’s right. When he was done, he ambled across the entire house, found his charging station, and slid himself back into position to recharge and do it all over again. This, my friends, is THE HOLY GRAIL of all good robots. When you’re tired, tuck yourself in, get some rest, and get ready to do it all over again. I mean, honestly, who comes up with this stuff!!?? PURE GENIUS!!

So, to my dear friends at iRobot. I thank you. My wife thanks you. And, my kids thank you. I am not only convinced, but I will be a loyal fan for life. Consider me a convert to your wares and a total groupie. I will be spreading the word about your gift to society and how it has already changed my life.

And to Woot, I owe a debt of gratitude for making opportunities like this possible. I’ll be waiting for the next opportunity to pick up Mrs. Roomba for The Wife.

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