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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Robot Cleaners

The new house will be huge (by the standards of one who needs to keep it clean)... and I don't know if the helper can manage. Of course, if someone else keeps it clean, then it's a rather small house. One can always get two helpers but gee... it isn't a very cost effective solution, and offends my sense of frugality. And after two long-time helpers fell in love (each with a few men) and one helper's paramours came to blows whilst the other eloped with hers to Batam, I have a sense of foreboding every time a new helper joins the family. Will it happen again?

I find it hard to forbid another woman from starting a fruitful relationship (after all, every woman has a right to fall in love and marry a good man), and they take that as license to flirt and play the field... and then really nice girls turn into harridans. They are on the phone the whole day. They yell at the children and say spiteful things to them. And they sulk for the smallest things. I wonder what the girls' families think of me... that under my employ, their innocent girls have become corrupt.

Two helpers might not get along... and if they each have a string of boyfriends, it'll be double the trouble... and single trouble was already bad enough when I had to go to the police station twice because of my helper and her paramours.

So, I've been looking into robot vacuums. Of course, these come in many brands... some of which seem to be quite stupid and not to be trusted alone. They get stuck, turn themselves off and one has to rescue it every 5 minutes. Others seem to require a great deal of cleaning and technical maintenance because after the robot has cleaned, you gotta clean the robot. And cleaning the robot takes as much time as vacuuming the room yourself.

But there are one or two promising brands. I must say that the idea of having 4 robots work simultaneously in different parts of the house is an enticing one. I could do away with a helper altogether if the floors are taken care of... a dishwasher is installed... a dryer... and a steam mop. Oven cooking is not messy. Soups are no sweat with the thermal pot... and if one has no time to cook, a raw food diet has been touted as a very healthy lifestyle choice.

So we've decided to experiment with these robots. We first get one in place of the second helper. I think our helper will be thrilled. The steam mop will save her all the scrubbing... and protect her hands because steam cleaning disinfects without chemicals. The robot vacuum will clean all the upstairs on a daily basis. She'll only have half a house to clean... plus water the plants. And if she gets herself a string of boyfriends, I'll simply send her home and buy 3 more robots.

So far, I think the Neato and the iClebo are good. I'm wondering if the Japanese have good floor cleaning robots since Japan is well known for being at the cutting edge of robotics. And if any blog reader has any thoughts or suggestions, I would be so pleased.

10 comments:

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

how abt hiring a cleaning company to do the cleaning job for u? u can have options of daily visits or weekly one, or even 3x a week. i hear tat they do a good job. and, u dun have to keep any of the cleaners at home.

those robots are very expensive and with the premature technology in this area, i'm not sure if they're really tat good. they dun advance like laptops or TVs......

Open Kitchen Concept said...

Oh.. what happened to your helper? I am afraid of robots after watching irobot... LOL

petunialee said...

Fry - Thanks! I'm exploring that too.

petunialee said...

OKC - Nothing at the moment... I am just looking ahead. I think the time will come when cheap domestic help will no longer be available. Either I make a fortune... or one would have to explore these automated possibilities. In the short term, I worry that my current helper cannot manage a house twice the size plus my in-laws clothes and a larger garden. At the very least, she will be scared... and maybe if I tell her that the robot will do half the floors, she'll be less jittery.

Malar said...

If you really looking for helper, I think it's better to take the older one. May be late 30 of age and married with kids back at their country. They will do work and won't find man! Young helper create a lot of problem! May be you can tell your criteria to the agent!

petunialee said...

You know Fry... I thought about it a bit. It costs about $500 a month to have a helper, and about $1200 a month to have cleaning agencies come in. The robot is about SGD500 to $600. I'm still quite tempted to buy one to try out.

petunialee said...

Malar - Yes... I think that might be good. My current helper is 30+ and she wanted to recommend her cousin to come work for me because she wants to go home to look after her son. In the end, I decided against it, when I heard that from the agent that the cousin has a very bad temper... and often yells at the employer.

lucy said...

Hi Petunia: 2nd maid is only if it's an absolute necessity. I had a pretty nasty n costly experience recently.

Btw, I'm surprised u costed a FDW as $500 pm. I find that mine costs abt $1K on average, after factoring in levy, agent fees, insurance, tips, home leave etc etc

petunialee said...

Lucy - You are right. I didn't account for the other costs.

Bb ToTs said...

So, Petunia, did you finally get the iRobot?