Writing process

Beat the bots

Vacuuming the floor

Easter Monday and the Anzac day holiday were in the same week this year, which meant that if you took three days’ leave, then you ended up with an unbroken stretch of ten straight days of holiday.

Naturally, I took it. We both did.

Which is fine, except Monday, Wednesday and Fridays turned into a game of beat the bot.

Housekeeping is never a fun chore, it’s just something that has to be done.  So last Christmas we bought bots. A vacuum robot, for cleaning the wooden floor and carpets, and a wet mop for the wet areas.

I find that robotic floor cleaners are a lot like dishwashers.  Even though you have to do pre-work (load) and post-work (empty), it’s faster and more convenient than having to wash dishes by hand. Even when the hand washing can be done in half the time, and when the dishwasher breaks down, you can’t wait until it gets fixed so you don’t have to handwash any more.

Bots are like that.  For the vacuum cleaner to make sure the floor doesn’t have anything around that might trip the bot up, and that the furniture hasn’t been moved so it gets stuck, and afterwards you have to empty the dirt tray. The wet mop is even more manual—sweep the floor first, set up the cleaner, then wash out the wet mop after it’s done.  Even so, housework has less of a hassle since they’ve been around.

We named our bots. As you do, of course.  Zoomba, because it’s a Roomba, and because Zumba (don’t ask, I’m not going to explain) and Wetta, because the mop is a Braava Jetta and because we’d just come back from New Zealand and the Weta factory and it made sense at the time.

The Wetta is totally manual. Set it up, press go, put it away when it’s done.

The Zoomba is scheduled to run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:00.  We’re out of the house by 7:30 normally. It’s not a problem. Except this week. When we were on holidays.

Something else you do on holidays.  Sleep in.

We could, of course, have just changed the settings, but that would be too simple.  No.  Instead, we played beat the bot.

Nine am on the scheduled days. We’re asleep, of course, because we stayed up late last night reading, or writing, or just talking.  The very noisy Zoomba starts up. (The Wetta is whisper quiet.)

We fall out of bed in our respective rooms. Run out, check the cords, check the furniture, do what we have to do to be sure the bot has a clear path.  So tired we’re both doing the same thing, one after the other.

By then we’re wide awake.  “You can have first shower,” one of us says. We go through the walz of “No, you can,” a couple of times before one of us gives in and heads for the bathroom.

The other, wide awake by now of course, turns on the computer.

I’m sure, if you could read bot-minds, you’d hear the Zoomba laughing.

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