OK, peeps, I have a relationship problem and I need your help.

My girlfriend and I are moving in together. She is exceptionally clean and neat. And while I’m no Pigpen, I’ve lived all of my life with pets and always will and just accept that pet hair is a fact of life. (Love me, love my pet hair-covered wardrobe.)

Although my cat at least matches the floor colors, Habiba hates just knowing that the hair is there. With my back problems, I can’t keep up with her demands for vacuuming every day. And she is exhausting herself trying to do it all. Exhausted girlfriend –> surly girlfriend –> unhappy Pif.

Frankly, we are both sick of talking about it. Then she was musing last night that we need a robot. And then I remembered the Roomba!

Could it be that our relationship could be saved simply by a piece of machinery?

Please weigh in. Do any of you out there own a Roomba? Do you love it, hate it, name it, curse it?

If nothing else, I’m thinking it could at least keep my cat company during the day.

Your suggestions are sorely needed.

Oh, Canada!

Back from a too short vacation. Now that Habiba is feeling better, we made a lovely trip out to Toronto (T’ronna, for you Canucks) to visit her brother, sister-in-law, and nephew (who she has been missing desperately). Plus, I got to catch up with an old friend from my days in grad school in C’ville.

It has been 20+ years since I’ve been to Toronto, and I’ve since acquired a dislike for big, noisy cities. So, it being Canada’s largest, I didn’t really think that I’d like it all that much, as a city. But it is so damn low key. And the public transportation is so fantastic you hardly need a map and you definitely don’t need to keep track of bus schedules. You can get just about anywhere you want, at just about any reasonable time. And it was green! And the sun doesn’t make you feel like you are an ant under a focusing lens. And, oh my god, I had forgotten just how casually multicultural the place is. I can’t even count how many languages I overheard this past week. I road next to a women on the subway reading some Danielle “Steelova” pulp in a cyrillic-based language. (For those of you who haven’t been to our fair city of Boulder, it’s … er … fair, as in skinned. We are a pretty educated and friendly bunch. So, it’s not like we are running anyone out of town. But if you see, say, an African American on the streets or bike paths, it’s really more like a rare bird siting than it is part of the local color.)

I had really come to believe that to be in a hip, diverse environment, I would have to put up with the chaos of an LA, the unfriendliness of a Paris, the grit of a NYC, or the cost of living of a London. But not so. Right now, my theory is that Toronto has avoided these fates simply because it is really a collection of small neighborhoods which each have pretty much everything you need for daily living. So, no need for megamarts and megacrowds and megacommutes.

On the balance, my friend thinks that Toronto’s multiculturism hasn’t been tested–that it remains to be seen, if there is ever any sort of major hate crime, if it can be more than an Amsterdam in which racial tensions and other conflict of differences are kept only to the extent that people stay out of each others’ business. In any case, it was surely a relief for Habiba to simply be in a place that she didn’t feel like she sticks out.

In any case, me thinks maybe we found a place to set our sites on for the future. We still have some other places to visit but we’ll keep it in mind.

In the meantime, I came home to a flat tire (thanks to having driven over a wood screw and then remaining parked for a week), a virus-infected computer, and we both picked up colds on the journey.

But ol’ Mr. Weatherman ain’t gonna rain on my parade. Habiba’s CAT scan results came in and she’s still completely tumor free!