Hazel is ill. I found her this morning on the rug, lifeless. Oh, she has been ill before. But, overall she has always been active, discreet and dependable. Usually, each morning, I find her tucked away in her little place. She brings me great joy. She gets herself in most interesting situations. There have been times when she loses her way. I will find her in the most random places - under the sofa, by the back door, hiding in the corner. She has a habit of getting so full she can go no further.
It is not unusual to find her tangled in charging cords, stuck under a chair, or in a tiff with one of Marshall's many toys. But, this morning was different. There she was lying there, deathly quiet, lifeless. For those of you who do not know, Hazel is my robotic vacuum cleaner. She is the best thing since sliced bread, Post-it Notes, or the Swifter Sweeper.
For years I thought such a device was only for the privileged. Those with disposable income who saw a commercial and were determined to have the first one in the neighborhood. What an expensive toy. How could it clean, just randomly moving this way and that across the floor.
A year or two ago I received her as a birthday present from one of my daughters. After hearing testimonies from others about how efficient they were, I had added her to my list. The thrill of finding one's floor each morning clean without lifting a broom and dust pan is most satisfying. I have her programmed to starteach morning at 1 am. This prevents her becoming a sparring partner with Marshall.
I am believer. I worship at her charging station. In my life, she is an angel. (Perhaps even an Archangel). She is the death of dust bunnies, dog hair, and bits of anything finds on the floor (thatthe dogs have not already consumed). She gladly takes care of a task I despise - sweeping.
When I first brought her home, I read the directions, programmed her (with her handy remote), placed her charging station under the buffet, gently placed her on it, and named her Hazel (after the delightful show I watched as a child about a funny, loud, dedicated family maid). My grand daughters are most amused. Grancurrie has a vacuum cleaner she calls Hazel. Later I found that I was not the only one who loving named their faithful device. The list of names often used includes: Jarvis, Jeeves, Rosie (re: The Jetsons), Minion, Wallie (as in Wall-E), Roberta, Rover, to name a few. And, yes, the name "Hazel" made the list.
To me, she is the 8th Wonder of the Modern World. Just like a fax machine, I do not understand how she works, but she does. How can something her size randomly know how to awake at 1 in the morning, leave her charging station and clean the floor. How can she cover the entire floor in her the random and circuitous route, weaving in and out of the legs of chairs and tables, moving on and off the rug with grace, and gliding underneath the sofa.
Each morning I pull out her dust bin, delighted in the amount of trash she has collected on her early morning tour of my den and kitchen. By this time, she is safely on her charging station. I am content to know that the following morning, she will have again completed her task, be back in her place and the floor will be clean.
Now, I need to find her user's manual and see what it suggests I do to make her better. If need be, I'm not sure where my broom is, not having used it in a year or more. I need to fix her, so my life will return to normal and my floor will be clean again. Oh, I have a conventional, large, bulky vacuum upstairs. However the idea of dragging that thing down and, heavens forbid, having to use it, is not a delightful thought. This just won't do. How did I ever live without her.