Being a child of the sixties, I constantly find myself being amazed by what what used to be fiction or entertainment being reality today.
Remember the the space age family, The Jetsons?
They were on the TV and on the big screen from 1962 through 1987.
The animated feature (cartoon) centered on George Jetson, the husband of Jane and the father of Judy and Elroy plus Astro, the dog.
The family lived in the Skypad Apartments in Orbit City (not sure of the state).
If the basic story line seemed familiar, it’s because the Jetsons was loosely based on the “Blondie” comic strip.
George also had a catch phrase he often muttered, “Hooba dooba dooba” which is not all that far from Fred Flinstone’s “Yabba Dabba Do!”
Astro the dog was actually voiced by Don Messick who was also the voice for “Scooby-Doo” in case you wondered.
The Jetsons had all the modern conveniences of the “space-age plus” family including Rosie (Rosey) , the family robotic maid and housekeeper.
Rosie was an old demonstrator model from “U-Rent a Maid”.
She was actually model number XB-500.
(That tidbit win you a free brew at many drinking establishments!)
I was reminded of The Jetsons when my wife and I decided to remove the last piece of carpeting from the palatial Foster estate.
When the decision was made to rip out the rug and install hardwood flooring, we decided it might be the opportunity we needed to buy one of those computerized floor sweepers.
We turned to the Ecovacs Robotic Deebot.
The instruction booklet stated the company “believes your new robot will help keep your home clean and provide you with more quality time to do other things”.
Well, what else does a red-blooded American consumer need to hear?
Plus, when it comes to the operating manual, the fact it has instructions in French, Spanish and English, well, you know, you can’t help feeling you’re really a part of the world economy.
Now, with my life experience of watching The Jestsons, it would have been way too easy to name our little sweeping robot Rosey.
But, I suggested “Dusty” and I unwittingly played my “P-C” card because “Dusty” is “gender-neutral”.
(See baseball’s Dusty Baker and music’s Dusty Springfield for my basis.)
I actually thought “Dusty” made sense because if we weren’t (dusty), we wouldn’t need (Dusty).
Suddenly, the old “sweeper” started collecting dust while Dusty started collecting dust on the non-carpeted floors.
“He-she-it” comes with this cool “charging dock” where “he-she-it” gets powered up.
Wife Neav has taken the lead with programming “Dusty” and while she’d like to have him ‘make his rounds” mid-mornings, early on “he-she-it” has a mind of its’ own.
Dusty has started sweeping mornings, mid-days and evenings as we try to figure out the timer.
Now, I think Dusty is much like having a young child or a nosy pet around again.
If you don’t want Dusty somewhere, you have to shot doors and erect barricades to keep “he-she-it” out.
The other evening, Neav was watching her Hallmark adventures on the bedroom TV and I was in the living room when Dusty got the call to make some “sweeping changes” in our house.
First thing I had to do was raise the TV volume to something close to the roar of a of a jet aircraft taking off.
Dusty is noisy while working.
I had to be careful not to “rock’ in my rocking recliner because Dusty might be curious to see what’s underneath there and I might trap “him-her it”.
Now, we haven’t totally finished the hardwood flooring in the dining room and laundry room.
So, we’ve been forced to place temporary barricades along the finished floor to keep Dusty out of those areas, so he doesn’t get stuck.
But like any nosy dog or curious youngster will do, if it’s not patrolled by an armed guard, Dusty will find away to circumvent the barriers.
I finally went back to the bedroom and told my wife i didn’t realize I was going to have to babysit our new appliance this much.
Dusty seemed particularly fond of trying to get under the sofa and getting stuck.
Dusty also seems highly interested in sweeping the paper underlayment we’ve rolled out in the yet-to-be-floored portions of the abode.
The brushes on the paper created a somewhat abrasive sound and you can easily hear that the little robot-child is into something he-she-it shouldn’t be.
Dusty also seems to be partial to rolling over the living room floor vents more than I thing he-she-it needs to.
(Maybe the living room curtains wiping over his-her-its back feels good.)
But, judging by checks of the dust bin, Dusty is doing a solid job.
My favorite “Dusty-time” is when he-she-it gets clued in to the fact that power is getting low and it’s time to head back to the charging dock.
There’ll be a “Beep!” and then Dusty immediately searches for home and pulls into that charging dock and starts fueling up for the next cleaning assignment.
It’s all pretty high-tech stuff for a circular, computerized piece of black plastic, about the size of a large dinner plate that now rests in the living room where a dog bed used to be.
I have a Jetson’s nightmare now where I’m chased around the house by Dusty and I’m yelling, “Neav, stop this crazy thing!”
It’s not George’s automated dog walk, but it ain’t far, either!