Be careful what you wish for

I had wanted one of these gizmos for years but had been unable to get buy-in from my better half. Then, on Black Friday, my brother texted me: Amazon was selling the model his family has for nearly 75 percent off. Could we afford not to buy it?

A few days later, the package arrived on our doorstep. My very own robot vacuum.

For me, the household’s lead vacuum-er, the anticipation was almost too much. Would it change my life? Would it disappoint?

We had recently watched the 1978 Disney Christmas short film, Small One, about an old, undersized, nearly discarded donkey that ended up serving a very important role (I won’t spoil the surprise).

So we dubbed the vacuum Small One … and I left it—him—on his charging stand for two weeks.

This week, I finally hit the “on” button, and off he went as I monitored his every movement. Whenever he encountered a furniture leg, he bounced away, taken aback by its presence. He got obsessed with cleaning under our beds. He called out when he got trapped under my grandmother’s trunk. He called out when he got stuck under the sectional. He got lost trying to find his way back to his station for naptime, I mean recharging.

Ugh! I hadn’t ordered a life-altering, Jetsons-style robot. I had adopted a toddler.

And yet. I kid you not, in his first few house-cleaning efforts, he has already sucked up an astounding amount of pet fur, and the carpets smell noticeably fresher.

I doubt I’ll ever leave him to vacuum unattended, because he’s a bit of an idiot. But he’s a hardworking little idiot, and that’s good enough for me.

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