thThis is an unsolicited, unreimbursed testimonial for the robotic vacuum cleaner known as the iRobot Roomba. When I first heard the words “robotic vacuum” years ago I made a rude noise with my lips. It sounded like a pricey toy more than a useful appliance.

But DF, that most frugal and practical of men, has owned one model or another for years. When I moved in with him I decided to learn how to use it.

And then I fell in love with a little self-propelled disc.

Roomba delights me when she’s not scaring me with just how much dust and crud she’s picked up on what looked like clean-enough floors. (Yes, our Roomba is female. She makes us think of the robot maid from “The Jetsons.”)

Given that I have asthma, it’s smart to keep the environment as dust-free as possible. But vacuuming frequently hasn’t generally been high on my to-do list, even though I knew it should have been.

Recently I realized my asthma attacks have all but disappeared since I came to live with DF. Initially I thought it was because I was so much happier. Now I think it’s mostly Roomba’s doing.

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thDespite the no-kissing rule I imposed last week, DF has come down with the same crud I’ve still got. Maybe it was inevitable, which makes me grumpy when I think about all the kisses I skipped.

He went to work for a couple of hours the day after Christmas, saying he planned to wash the sheets when he got back. Sort of like locking the barn after the horses were gone, really, but he thought a good dose of Clorox might help get rid of some of the cooties.

Feeling generous, I put the sheets in myself after he left – including the pillowcases even though they aren’t white. In fact, they’re five different colors. Suddenly I realized that this would never have happened when I was a kid or a young married woman. Sheets and pillowcases had to match.

Guess what? I no longer care. How about you?

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happiness of pursuitAs others have pointed out, the Declaration of Independence doesn’t guarantee us happiness – merely its pursuit. Entrepreneur and author Chris Gillebeau has written a book that uses numerous (and varied!) bliss treks to illustrate how we might seek our own personal definitions of fulfillment.

The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life” is based on the author’s own personal challenge (to visit all the countries of the world before age 35) and also on the fascinating endgames sought by others.

These aren’t famous people with deep pockets and a need to tell the universe how great they are. Instead, Guillebeau chose “ordinary people working toward extraordinary goals.”

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Winter salsa.

thYears ago a co-worker of DF’s – and a newcomer to the state – was puzzled by all the references to a “Mexican holiday” in December. Finally she asked him a most Emily Litella-like question: “What’s all this about ‘winter salsa’?”

This so charmed DF that he brought corn chips and salsa to work in honor of the misheard word. He continued to do so annually because who doesn’t need a little bit of spice in the waning days of the year?

On Sunday, winter solstice, the light came back. Or, rather, it stopped going away. We gained five seconds worth of sunshine on Monday and by gum we enjoyed all five.

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thLately it’s been all about holiday shopping, both here and elsewhere. Thank goodness the holidays are almost over.

Here’s my favorite gift suggestion: Breathing room.

Christmas gifts that keep on giving,” my recent post at Get Rich Slowly, suggests presents that can free up money in someone’s budget.

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