My wife and I sat in our respective chairs, enduring a barrage of holiday commercials when Santa suddenly appeared on the TV, gushing over some state-of-the-art vacuum that, according to him, was the perfect Christmas gift.
“We need a new vacuum,” my wife said.
“Great,” I responded. “I need a few more gift ideas for you.”
“You’re not getting me that for Christmas,” she said.
“It violates ‘The Rule.’”
Oh, yes, The Rule. A decree that, if our marriage were a written contract drawn up by an attorney, would read as follows:
Under no circumstances will husband present wife at Christmas with ANY product containing an electrical cord, including, but not limited to: vacuums, hair dryers, blenders, those cool little omelet flippers, and even diamond encrusted, decorative lamps. Violation of said rule will result in immediate return of gift to offending retail establishment and temporary interruption of communication, herein referred to as the ‘silent treatment.’
Incidentally, The Rule does not apply to her when shopping for my holiday wish list. If it did, that shiny NutriBullet wouldn’t have been under the tree last Christmas, and I would never know how delicious a fruit and kale smoothie tastes every morning.
However, my wife’s insistence on a “no cord” Christmas, coupled with her desire for a vacuum, has left me with a dilemma as December 25 approaches:
Do I get her a Roomba?
I have long been fascinated with that little flying-saucer-like contraption that zips around floors, sucking up anything in its path. It contains a contact-sensing mechanical bumper, a horizontally-mounted “side spinner” brush, a Carpet Boost if I spring for the top-of-the-line 980 model, and FREE shipping.
It does not contain a cord.
Conflicting images entered my brain as I stared at the Roomba webpage, my mouse hovering over the “add to cart” button. I preferred the image of my wife giddily watching the Roomba working its magic around our house on Christmas morning, devouring Christmas Eve food crumbs and pine needles from the tree while she lounged in her pajamas.
Contrast that with the possible image of her lapsing into the aforementioned silent treatment, deciding I had gifted her with an appliance, despite the Roomba’s lack of electrical prongs.
What’s a husband to do?
Unsure where to turn for advice, I posted my “Do I get my wife a Roomba?” quandary on Facebook. My friends were only too happy to chime in.
“At least the house will look good when you put it on the market,” said one friend, sensing a possible divorce.
“That’s a no-no,” commented another.
But others, including women, urged me to move forward.
“Four and a half years later, it is one of the best anniversary gifts my husband ever bought me,” gushed Sue Berne, of Kansas City. Berne said the Roomba is a godsend for picking up dog hair left by her husky/lab mix. Other dog owners concurred that removing pet hair is the Roomba’s number one attribute, although they cautioned the Roomba’s sensors cannot detect ― or avoid ― dog poop, resulting in unsightly smears on hardwood floors.
Our dog has been accident free for three years (points for owning a Roomba) but is a non-shedding breed (points against). Furthermore, our kids are past their accident-prone years, unlike the baby in the Roomba video who dumped Cheerios on the floor, only to have a smiling mom happily touch the “clean” button on the Roomba’s iPhone app, activating the device.
I’m ready to purchase one, The Rule be damned. “She needs a vacuum. She WANTS a vacuum. I heard her say so,” I repeated to myself. And, on Christmas morning, I plan to make the presentation special and creative, asking that she cover her eyes while I fire up the Roomba and send it in her direction. When she removes her hands she will see a wireless, cordless vacuum at her feet.
With a piece of jewelry on top. I’m not stupid.