Archive for the ‘Cinderella’ Category

Too Quiet On This Western Front!

Saturday, July 8th, 2023

Marta and Charlie

Charlie and Marta left a little after mid-day and it is all too quiet here at the house even though Chris-the-Mower-Man was here for an hour or so.  And I’ve set the hoses and hear the reassuring snick-snick-snick of the sprinklers magically greening the garden.  And I even put Cinderella to work, cleaning up a few crumbs left over from last night’s revelries.  But still… the silence is omnipresent.

How did the time go so quickly?  Twelve days and nights!  They told me they wanted to do whatever I needed so I put them to work bigtime with the things I cannot accomplish on my own — washing all the curtains, getting a head start on trimming rhododendrons for starters.  But still we laughed and talked and carried on as only family folk can do!

We chose this one!

Marta said she’d do all the cooking — and she did!  Charlie spent a day across the river with me — helping me choose a new kitchen stove and cheerfully accompanying me on various errands — to CostCo, to the Verizon Store, to Fred Meyers.  How much easier it was with him along!  How I wish that they both lived closer by.

We managed to take a few tentative steps toward the eventual disposition of the house and its contents. We went out to lunch and out to dinner, saw old friends, were treated to Marta singing with Fred, went to Vespers, and participated in The Honorary Oysterville Militia’s Fourth of July Cannon Salute.

Nyel’s Final Resting Place

Most importantly — and the real reason for this summer visit by my two beloved ones:  we placed Nyel’s ashes in the Oysterville Cemetery near the gravestone that he helped me design in the months before he died.  It was a fitting tribute to the gentlest of men and I was so grateful for the assistance of my son Charlie and bonus-daughter, Marta.  As much as I miss them right now in this overly quiet house, I can think of little else but how lucky I am!


Though I’m not mechanically inclined…

Saturday, June 24th, 2023

Cinderella at a Full Stop

At first Cinderella was just giving me subtle hints.  She would stop working mid-job to go dump her dust bag — sometimes more than once per room.  Then, she’d stop now and then right in the middle of the living room carpet — her battery needed re-charging she’d tell me.  Even if it didn’t.  It was getting so I avoided putting her to work, calling on her old non-electronic cousin in the back closet.  Yes!  The carpet sweeper.

Periodically, I would empty her dustbin (whether she asked me to or not) hoping against hope that I wouldn’t have to do anything more complicated.  Or, God forbid, anything that cost money.  “We’re on a tight budget for a while, Cinderella,” I told her.  “Until that new chimney is paid for.”

Cinderella’s Nether Regions

But she didn’t seem to care.  Robots are like that.  So, today when she got really balky and seemed to be leaving more debris behind her than she was picking up, I decided to “gird up my loins,” as they say, and see what I could do.  I turned her upside down, investigated her various parts, went online to see which I should be concerned with and placed an order for those that need replacing.  (Apparently, I should have done this some time ago but… you know.  The chimney.)

I think what actually decided me was that I found a video that shows me exactly what I need to do to get Cinderella in apple-pie order once more.  The only tool I need (I think) is a Phillip’s Head Screwdriver (check!) which was right where it belongs — in the kitchen junk drawer.

Help is on the way!

The “replacement parts kit” will be here by June 28th says good ol’ Amazon.  Even better — so will Marta and Charlie.  I don’t know if they are any more mechanically inclined than I, but surely with three of us to share the angst, Cinderella will soon be full steam ahead.  And that should be well before I have to figure out how to clean out the carpet sweeper!  Yay!

Perhaps I’ve turned the cyberspace corner.

Monday, April 10th, 2023

It was lots easier with chickens.

I know that pride cometh before a fall.  But, I can’t help but feel that I’ve earned just a few bragging rights in the realm of technology, cyberspace, internet connections etcetera, etcetera, and so forth!

After my lament about Cinderella and my speculation that it was my own fault — I hadn’t mentioned her to the Spectrum Crew when they were connecting my devices last week — I decided to follow up on that hunch.  So I took a deep breath, called Spectrum, and asked to be connected to their technical support.

I don’t know where they get these guys,  He was the model of patience, understanding and gentle humor.  In nothing flat, he walked me through all the necessary steps to getting Cinderella on board with Spectrum.  I do want to point out, however, that I lined up all my known information about Cinderella ahead of my call so I was (more-or-less) prepared to do my part.

But not so much with those roosters!

And it went as smooth as silk.  Within minutes, Cinderella was happily vacuuming the living room, emptying her bin and re-charging her batteries in preparation for her next job!  I felt pretty darn psyched too, and actually went on line to see how I could get my first Spectrum statement.  I was thinking I should probably make a show of good faith now that I am up and running.

Well… sometimes the buck stops here but, in this case… there.  Another entire new-age argument has ensued.  But damn!  It’s hard to argue with a computer screen… More on that when I calm down.  If ever.



I even suggested an Easter egg hunt…

Sunday, April 9th, 2023

Cinderella at Homebase

Cinderella seems to be on strike.  Or maybe she’s just waiting for me to figure out why she isn’t “connecting.”  Being the techie that I am, I “think” it means that she is not getting signals from the internet and therefore isn’t getting my messages.  I couldn’t even tempt her with an Easter egg hunt through the house (cleaning as she goes, of course.)

Usually, when she IS connected, she tells me her troubles and asks for my help if she needs it.  Such messages come to me on my cell phone,  “Empty the bin. Empty the bin.” is a common plea.  So is a request to clean the sensors so she’ll have a better connection and can recharge her batteries.  But… none of that is happening.

It does occur to me that now that I’ve switched providers for my spiffy internet service  (YAY) and have Spectrum with its underground cable connection and state-of-the-art fiber optics and other stuff I don’t understand… well, maybe Cinderella is confused.  Today I think I’ll troubleshoot what I can and if I don’t get anywhere I’ll seek online help from the Rhoomba Mother Ship.

When the spectrum crew was here and they were making sure that all my “devices” that use the internet were connected,  I never gave Cinderella a thought.  I have the feeling that it’s hopeless to try to get them back at this point, even though I think they are working in the area.  (And I really don’t want to wait another 44 years!)

Anyway, I think it’s probably my own fault.  In my mind there’s a bit of a hierarchy.  I am convincd that a bot is a step or two beyond a “device.”  I think the crew should have been a bit more specific when they asked which “devices” I had.  Meanwhile… apologies to Cinderella.  And I sure am glad I still have a good old-fashioned carpet sweeper for just such emergencies!


Silly Cinderella!

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

Cinderella’s Home Base — The White Light Means She’s Ready For Work

I sent Cinderella into the library and the living room to tidy up a bit this morning.  I heard her leave her station. (She gives a three-bell “Here I go!” sort of salute when she leaves home base.)  And I heard her start to work on the library carpet.

I was busy in the kitchen but, after a bit, I was aware of an ominous silence.  I went to take a look.  No Cinderella in the library.  No Cinderella in the living room.  And no Cinderella anywhere that I could see.  When I found myself calling to her as in, “Cinderella!  Where are you?  Stop hiding and come out where I can see you.”  Well… I realized that this particular hide-and-seek player wouldn’t respond to “Olly Olly Oxen Free!”

Under The Fainting Couch – WAY Under!

I grabbed a flashlight, got down on my hands and knees (or belly in the case of the lowest furniture) and went on a search.  Sure enough.  There she was under the fainting couch in the bedroom — way under.  I couldn’t reach her so I had to move the couch.

I’m not at all sure why she was there in the first place.  I think she must have been on her way home to re-charge her battery and ran out of poop entirely.  But why she went under the fainting couch is a total mystery.  Did she think it was a short cut?

Cinderella Vacuuming The Living Room…Again!

Well, forty-five minutes of re-charging and she has begun again.  In the living room.  (I don’t think she can remember that she’s already done most of that room.)  Or maybe it’s all part and parcel of her new game.

It’s hard to tell with robots.

Cinderella-the-Recalcitrant! Out of control?

Friday, July 29th, 2022

Cinderella On Automatice Pilot, 7-28-22

We were forewarned years ago in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” when Hal, the robot brain of Spaceship Discovery, went berserk.  Since then I, for one, have  been a bit leery of “intelligent machines,” especially when I factor in their creation by humans of unknown character and intention.

Despite all, of couurse, I have welcomed Cinderella into my home and have gladly turned over my floors and carpets to her care.  UNDER MY DIRECTION.  And there you have the crux of my current problem (and my alarming thoughts of Hal.)  Cinderella seems to have gone rogue.

I first noticed a change in her behavior yesterday.  Since I have dismissed my landline with its attendant (read: unreliable) internet connection, I can no longer communicate with Cinderella via my cell phone app.  Nor can I give her specific instructions like “clean the living room.”  But, if I physically carry her to a desired destination and press her “CLEAN” button, she gets to work.

Somehow, she knows to clean just the room where she is placed and, when she is through, she returns to the spot where I placed her and stops.  This is not new behavior.  She did this before when we didn’t have internet service (which was often.)

Sleeping Cinderella 7-29-22

But yesterday, when I physically returned her to her Home Base, she emptied her bin, rested a few minutes, and then went into the library and began cleaning.  On her own.  And that time she returned clear to Home Base.  On her own.

She continued that behavior until I turned out the lights and went to bed.  (Her creators warned from the get-go that she would need “some” light to operate, so I expected her bizarre behavior to stop.)  But… at midnight I was awakened by the sound of Cinderella on the move.  In the dark.  To say it was creepy is an understatment-to-the-max.

This morning I found her, apparently exhausted, sound asleep under a chair in the library.  I haven’t moved her yet…
And I can’t help but wonder if Mrs. Crouch is somehow involved.