Happy first birthday

ImageI just remembered that today is exactly one year since I moved into this house.  Happy birthday, house.

It took me a long time to get used to it.  I pined for my old neighbourhood, even though my old house was a shambles.  But it was home.  It took me 25 years to get it into that condition 🙂

This place initially seemed so far away that I found it hard to get used to.  But I have.  It no longer seems so remote.  A half hour drive to anywhere seems normal now, and it’s good for the car.  The house now seems like home.  Ya get used to anything, given time.

Having two bathrooms and toilets is useful at times, but it’s twice the cleaning, too.  Double the cleaning liquids and brushes/brooms/mops.  White tiles on the floor – aaaarrrgh!  So hard to keep clean.  Very slippery too.

As I said, all the yuccas had to go, so that cost a bit, and more cost is about to happen to get the back weed patch removed and replaced with lawn. (Artificial lawn?  No, being plastic it gets really hot in the sun, it looks obviously false and I believe it will eventually deteriorate.  You won’t be able to revive it, as you could a lawn. And it’s just as expensive as roll-on lawn.  No thanks.)

The side quartz-chip path is being taken out and replaced by paving, as there’s no point in having a lawn path in this shaded narrow area.  The guys also pointed out the leak in my water feature, so I might finally be able to keep it plugged, filled and running.  Since the yuccas went, I can also put half drums under the kitchen windows for a small vege garden.  There’s reticulation all around the house on a great Rainbird timer, so no watering worries.  All good stuff.

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I mentioned my Neato robot vacuum cleaner a few weeks ago.  I’ve been using it a lot recently and have a few opinions on it now.

1.  It works, but not very well.  The main complaint is that it won’t go closer to the skirting boards than about 50mm, so all those little dead insects don’t get cleaned up (tiny midgies, I mean).

2.  The dust compartment is very small, a lot smaller than a normal bag, about 1/8 the volume. That means a lot of emptying, and it’s messy.  But the amount of dust and fluff in there is amazing, so it’s obviously cleaning well.

3.  It constantly gets itself stuck in corners, or tangles with cords, and can’t get out.  It stops and beeps, asking “Please clear my path.”  The beeps are discreet, but it’s annoying.

4.  It is utterly unpredictable where it will go.  It doesn’t do a long straight line in unobstructed areas, it only ever goes about a metre before turning on some arbitrary angle and shooting off elsewhere.  I can set it cleaning one room and have to hunt for it later, only to find it way off in another part of the house, stuck and beeping.  That means it sometimes doesn’t find its own way back to the charger station.

5.  On the good side, I can set it going and completely forget it.  For a bachelor, that’s good, knowing that cleaning is being done, even if I don’t know where.  I don’t want to waste my time vacuuming.

I got an email from Amazon a couple of weeks ago asking me to give feedback, to review it.  I haven’t done so yet, but I will.  By coincidence, CHOICE ran a test of them last week and out of about a dozen tested, mine came third last.  They gave it a score of 30%, which I’d agree with.

However, the winner costs $1,199.  The price of mine is A$699 (yes, it’s sold here).  I paid ~A$350 plus about A$100 freight.  It’s yet another example of the Australia tax at work.  Why should it cost nearly double the US price in this country?

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