Malfunction junction

By Mir
August 22, 2006

My day? You want to know about my day? My day was JUST PEACHY.

Actually, there was nothing about my day that was truly a debacle. There was no blood, no catastrophe… Chickadee didn’t even have a single time-out. (I’m aware that to complain is somewhat petty. But I always say play to your strengths, and one of my strengths is whining.)

Still, it was one of Those Days. One of the days when you find yourself wondering—over and over—if getting out of bed this morning was really worth the effort. (Answer: Well, the kids probably would’ve gotten hungry, if I hadn’t.)

We started things off with a bang this morning with the discovery that our phone was still dead. It died yesterday… sometime… I don’t know when, I only know that I didn’t get any calls all day. So. I reported the problem online, and it said that it would be fixed by last night. Guess what! It wasn’t! It was still broken today!

Guess what else! My cell phone works great, everywhere except inside my house! So here I was spending my SECOND day with no phone service, like the Swiss Family Robinson! Except with a cable modem! Accordingly, I tried to email the PTA person I’m supposed to be coordinating with. My mail was bounced back to me because that server only accepts mail written in Western Character sets. I had no idea my mail wasn’t up to standard. Next time I shall add a cowboy hat, maybe.

So, the phone was dead, but who cares, because we have Things To Do. Like, I had a doctor’s appointment. And the sitter was unavailable, but I got the kids up and fed and out the door and was feeling very pleased with myself. Yep, I was Superwoman!

Though it turns out that an appointment card and two telephone reminders aren’t enough to keep Superwoman on schedule when she’s somehow decided her appointment is half an hour later than it truly is. Whoops!

(But, you know, at least it was a follow-up appointment for the mammogram I had last week, which I had assumed was normal, and then later I got a letter in the mail saying I require ANOTHER 6-month follow-up. I certainly was glad I’d missed my appointment and been rescheduled for weeks from now, then. Yessiree.)

Oh, I almost forgot. You probably want a Phil update, too. (You people are very chatty when it comes to zit remedies, by the way.) Phil is still holding steady, despite the many and varied remedies I’m throwing his way. I am feeling discouraged and afflicted, so Otto—who is the epitome of compassion—offered to buy a BELT SANDER before my next visit. So that he can help me out. Wasn’t that sweet? Do you think I might get more flowers out of that one? Because I am totally thinking I need flowers or something sparkly, after that remark.

So, after driving to the doctor’s appointment that wasn’t, I thought we’d stop at the kids’ consignment store and pick up the things Monkey will be needing for soccer. Because soccer starts tomorrow night. Fortunately, they had shin guards and those super-tall doofy socks for cheap. Woohoo! Unfortunately, Monkey they spent the next 2 hours telling me that he doesn’t know how to play soccer and maybe he shouldn’t play. When I assured him that they would TEACH him how, he switched tactics; probably he couldn’t run with those THINGS on his legs, you know. (Telling him that those THINGS would keep his shins from being broken didn’t impress him much.)

Back home again, a box arrived. From Skechers! It must be the new shoes we ordered for school! Alas, it was only Chickadee’s new shoes; Monkey’s shipped from a different warehouse and aren’t here yet. I braced myself for the force of the injustice to strike. Lucky for me, the children managed to get bickering about something else entirely before Monkey could wind himself up into a fit about the shoes.

Then ANOTHER box arrived. It was the birthday present I bought myself (with my birthday money, because yes, apparently I just turned 12) last week. I was SO EXCITED.

[You see, last week I posted this, lamenting that I could not afford the great deal being offered on this (which was even cheaper last Friday). And then I thought about it for a while and checked to see what I had laying around in Amazon gift certificates and what I had in birthday money and decided DAMMIT, I AM BUYING MYSELF A ROBOT. I have been wanting one ever since I bought one for Kira and I decided this was the right time to make it happen.]

My robot arrived in a big box and I shrieked like a little girl and took pictures and lovingly unpacked it and plugged it in to charge and read the manual and took some more pictures and possibly tongue-kissed it and then turned it on for a test run.

I think my robot is broken.

The sadness, it is LARGE.

Anyway, I will attempt to clean his sensors tomorrow and perhaps remove the brushes and wave them around a bit and see if any of that absolves it of the need to stop and start and stop and start and go around the same point in circles, inbetween. But my hopes are not high. And the only thing sadder than spending four hours deciding whether or not you truly deserve a roomba is finally ordering one and having it be DEFECTIVE. There oughtta be a law, I tell you what.

Then tonight, my dishwasher stopped, mid-cycle. For no apparent reason. I finally figured out that the circuit tripped, and I reset it and the dishes finished getting clean, but given the way the rest of the day had gone, it didn’t bode well. I know I might be being paranoid, but just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean that everything and everyone ISN’T out to get me.

I am hoping that tomorrow goes more smoothly. Or that I will have the fortitude to just stay in bed and tell the kids to make the pop-tarts last. Either way.


  1. Kathryn, DYM

    This is not good Mir, not good at all. Maybe you have the same disease we do but without the broccoli problems. Exchange the lame roomba for a happy roomba. You will. You shall. So let it be written. So let it be done.

  2. shannon

    My house would kill a Roomba pretty darn quick. With three animals all dropping fur at all times, it wouldn’t stand a chance. While I was at my parents house last week, Dad let me use their Dyson. More like I pushed the man out of my way and told him I would be the one vacuuming. I Want one. No, I NEED one. I was amazed at what it picked up (since they live in the house that cleans itself the fact it picked anything up amazed me really). I told Dad that the canister would be 100% full if used at my house.

  3. wavybrains

    Mir, I’ve left my husband’s email instead of mine—we currently own six Roombas (I’ve lost count) and he is programming them to do various tasks (in addition to vacuuming), anyway, if you want–email him, he may be able to save you the shipping back to amazon part–he’s resurrected a bunch from the dead. The iRobot people have pretty decent customer service too–and they don’t care where you bought it.

  4. Heather

    You made me want a pop tart.
    What? I can’t blame my diet failings on you?

  5. Deb

    Man…how can you have a day like that and still be FUNNY!? I enjoy reading your blog so much it’s a dialy “tune in” for me…thank ALL the powers that be you write OFTEN LOL. On the flip side however is you are finding ways to make me justify a Roomba LOL. My husband is going to kill me when he gets home.

  6. Christina

    My mom has a Roomba and she is in love with it, hope you get yours working soon you will be in love, too. Oh, and I definately need a poptart now.

  7. Summer

    Sick robot? That is so sad, Mir. I want you to have a robot to vacuum your floors for you. It might piss off the Swiffer people, but you deserve a robot maid.

    I bought a Roomba — the entry level red one — for my mom for Christmas. My son, then almost three, yelled out “it’s a robot!” as she was opening the package. She didn’t believe him, but it was true. We promptly christened it Rosie (what else would you call a red cleaning robot) and have since discovered that the best possible way to clean is to sit with a glass of wine and watch the Roomba spin around the room.

    I’d get one for myself, but I have a big dog, and instead I have Shannon’s dream vacuum, the Dyson. And yes, Shannon, I find that I have to empty the canister once or twice while vacuuming just the downstairs, it sucks up so much dog hair and other disgustingness. Quite satisfying to see how much crap is no longer on my floors… but not as satisfying as if it could be done with me sitting on the couch drinking.

    Mir, I hope you get a new birthday robot soon.

  8. Missy

    I hope you get your Roomba fixed! I loooove mine, and kiss it and hold it daily. I wanted to get the Scooba to keep it from getting lonely while I’m gone, but the super friendly and helpful IRobot guy said my wood laminate might not appreciate it.
    Good luck!

  9. Amy-Go

    I have three boys and a cat. I giant-pink-puffy-heart my Dyson. But I do wish it would run by itself…maybe we could get that nice reasonable “I just think things should work properly” Dyson guy and the people from iRobot together. Then you would have super clean floors done by a Robot that WORKED when you got it out of the box.

    As for the day…I prescribe Mojitos. Or pie. Whichever you can get faster. ;)

  10. OneTiredMomma

    One of the reviewers said: If you expect to open the box and have it running perfectly within 10 minutes it’s not for you. With a little trouble shooting and common sense it’s amazing. Highly recommended!

    So maybe ::crossing fingers:: it’s really NOT broken? Maybe… It saw Phil looking at him with that big eye of his and froze for a moment? Ya know Phil, taking the Alpha role when the newbie comes in and gets all the attention?

  11. rachel

    I had that kind of day yesterday too. Hope today is better for you.

    And, um, kids can get their own food if you stay in bed. ish. but then you have big mess to clean up later. so it may not be worth it.

    written by the one whose floors have yet to become un-sticky from the lemonade they made and the house with glitter everywhere

  12. Aimee

    A belt sander?!

    Oh, Otto. *shakes head sadly*

    Get thee to a florist.

  13. Bob

    Somehow, I always thought of you as the type of person who was early for appointments….

    will the roomba clean up after doggy accidents?

    And – a belt sander? Nope. A router, I think, would do much better. It will much more easily reach the depths required to get rid of phil.

  14. sumo

    I love the idea of robots to do everyday chores, but I can’t look at these any more without thinking of the Woomba commercial on SNL:

  15. chris

    I want to know what else someone can program a roomba to do that would cause you to need six of them. can it change diapers? do laundry? go grocery shopping? remember to go to the post office?

    those are my burning questions.

  16. InterstellarLass

    I’ve always wanted a Rosie. You know. From the Jetsons. She ROCKED!

  17. the womom

    I so want one of those one of these days. They count as a pet, right? I’m getting hounded for a pet…
    maybe I’ll glue on rabbit ears or something.

  18. Liz

    I didn’t get a chance to read all the posts about Phil, so you might have heard this one. Ask your friendly dermatologist for a shot of, I think, Cortisone. It makes Phil implode immediately.

  19. Jenn2

    Wow…did you kill a karmic spider or something? Cause, babe, yours is bad. At least you still have pretty copper highlights, right?

    “The sadness, it is large.” May I cop this phrase? I think it may become my new tagline.

    Hang in there, cupcake, it’ll get better. mmmm, cupcakes. Gotta go bake.

  20. Lady M

    Our friends bought a Roomba and love it . . . althought it did take three cycles of returning it to the company to get one that worked longer than a month. Our techie friend? Nothing if not persistent.

  21. joaaanna

    My MIL went through two roombas before they finally sent her the final third one that worked. And she loves it.

    BTW – I know that a robot is a lovely present, that you surely desired, but tell me you spent some of that birthday money on some shoes too!

  22. Dea

    We have a roomba, my hubs bought one when they first came out, and it now lives in the closet ’cause it’s not working, AGAIN! Although it is neat to think that you can just turn the vaccum on and leave the room, but they break so much!
    Maybe you will have better luck with it.
    And really? I want the roomba one that washes floors, I think it’s a scuba? I dunno.

  23. Charlotte

    I live with 3 dogs, a cat, a husband, and a two-year-old. I LOVE my Roomba! I have the midlevel Discovery model. Its been my life saver now for 3? 4? years. His name is Herbie.

    You can actually create quite the personalized robot here:

    Unfortunately, Herbie is currently experiencing some difficulty holding a charge. I fear I will need to replace his battery, but I have yet to call customer support. The iRobot webite has a very good knowledge base to help troubleshoot common things.

  24. Jean

    Mir, ok, I know the Phil post was yesterday but I just read it today. This is the stuff you need for pimples. Yes, it’s not something that you would post on your Wantnot site, because of the cost, but I swear a bottle of this will last like 3 years. I used to go to the spa for facials monthly (read before I got married, had kids and had money to waste…LOL) and the place is amazing. HTH!

  25. Shiz

    Aw, bad day. :( Stinks.

    If it makes you feel better, you are not alone: I have Strep, but NOT IN MY THROAT. Apparently women can get Strep “down there.” D says it’s like getting Strep throat, only upside-down.

  26. Susan

    Belt sander. That’s funny.

    And now I need a PopTart.

  27. MMM

    Speaking of dishwashers…..when I’m out of dishwashing detergent, I handwash the dishes and then run them through the dry cycle in the dishwasher! Genius, I tell you. Or something.

  28. cagey

    I think we need to see some footage of your Robot on YouTube……

  29. Therapy doc

    I know, I know, I’m breaking protocol, get out the shotgun. But I read your post on swearing (Blogher) and had to tell you how great that was. I went back to my blog and re-edited my post Is blogging (swearing) therapeutic? (Uh, yeah,) and directed my readers to it. Best, T.D.

  30. Christina

    Sometimes you just have to be thankful that a day is only 24 hours long, so that nothing else can come crashing down on you.

    I’ve always wanted a Roomba as well. But then someone told me that you actually have to pick the crap up off the floor for it to do any good. Well, damn, that won’t work then.

  31. Lucy


    While I was checking messages and drinking the chai I bought for myself 2 hours ago, I began to read your entry. Despite the fact that I was returning a phone call and hollering downstairs to the teenager as i scanned the screen, I was thoroughly tickled. Everything went wrong in your techno-world and your like Amish now!

    My operating system died a few weeks ago, and I was disonnected from the world. Very alienating. I had been taking a break from blogging, as I get a bit obsessive, and I want to read and write everything. Then suddenly, my bookmarks were gone. Not only that, my address book had vanished, too. So after this chilling and demeaning experience – and with great sympathy for the temporary loss of your phone, I recommend soothing baths and chamomile tea. Then grab a lawn chair, haul your ass out front or out back, and get on the cell to reach civilization.

    So happy to have found you. My little insomniac is about to begin her routine, so I must go take an imaginary valium, and then feign motherly calm as the poor chickie tries to relax, too. Genetics can be a bitch.

  32. dorothy

    You bought yourself a robot? Kickass.

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