Electrical Wonders

At 1:23 a.m. we woke up to an electrical wonder in the form of a spectacular natural light show across the swake.  Sheets of lightening flashed every few seconds completely illuminating the shoreline.  The smoke detector gave a warning beep and the house became dark and very still as every electrical item ceased humming simultaneously. We have become accustomed to the power outages that go with country life.  They happen frequently for very brief periods of time during blizzards, electrical storms, and high winds.  Usually they are just a little blip, a few minutes of that wonderful stillness and then the lady who lives in the smoke detector sends out another beep and declares that the 'Power is restored'.

We have these nifty smoke detectors that are wired into the electrical spaghetti of the house and backed up with batteries.  They are equipped with a lady's voice that makes announcements just in case the inhabitants are too stupid or have imbibed too much to actually realize the power went out and came back on.  These small details were things that the builder failed to tell us, so the first time that lady made announcements in the dead of night I was convinced a crazy lady had broken into the house.  It was really scary to be sleeping and hearing unusual voices merging into the craziness of a dream. Coherence and logic were not the go-to positions for my brain.  But over time I have become accustomed to the lady and her announcements and my heart doesn't leap to panic status anymore when I hear her voice in the night.

However, when something else unexpectedly went whir and bump in the night recently it was a different story!  We were sound asleep at midnight when it happened.  There was a beep followed by the sound of something moving through the house that was powered by electricity and made machine-like noises.  Startled fully awake we sat up in bed and listened.  What was that?  It sounded like someone was driving a remote control car around the living room and it was bumping against our bedroom door.  It was hide-under-the-covers scary for me for a moment until I processed that the impostor was our latest electrical wizard the Roomba.  It was executing its cleaning at midnight instead of noon.  So much for our very proud attempts to pre-program that wizard without asking for the help of our adult children who are far more technically adept.

We brought Roomba home the previous afternoon and between us we managed to give it a trial run and program it.  It was an afternoon to remember.  The  Costco bill was extra "Costco-sized" because of the Roomba that jumped into my cart and vacuumed money out of my bank account.  But my heart survived the sticker shock and we welcomed Roomba into our house to try to tame the dog hair and sand that threatened to overwhelm us.  We introduced Kanti and Doozer to the newest member of the household in hopes that neither would attack the Roomba, and we performed the test.

I have no doubt that we looked absolutely ridiculous as we gave the Roomba a test run - two adults of reasonable intelligence following a little robotic vacuum back and forth across the house.  We watched with awe and trepidation as it approached the edge of the stairs.  Would those cliff sensors work or would it launch itself down the stairs to its own demise and the ruin of the stairs?  What would happen when it went underneath the chairs and around the table legs?  How would it find its way back to its charging station?  Could it really go from hardwood onto the area carpet without getting fully entangled in the fringe?  When we were sufficiently satisfied that we could leave the Roomba home alone and allow it to do its thing unsupervised we proceeded with programming a weekly cleaning schedule.  After a bit of nattering back and forth we decided that noon was a fine time for the Roomba to do the daily vacuuming.

The adult children arrived home that day and we proudly displayed the Roomba, bragging about having programmed it alone.  Quite a feat we thought.  Until midnight the first night when I ran out of the bedroom, grabbed the offensive little robot and laid it upside down in the laundry room alone to think about its discretion for the rest of the night.  In the morning, we retrieved the robot and set about to get the noon and midnight misunderstanding cleared up.  Ever since that little electrical wonder has done its work at noon while Doozer hides in the basement and Kanti sleeps outdoors in oblivion. And so, whether we were waking to electrical wonders that were natural or robotic we enjoyed them all this week.