First World Problems - Marijke Rancie

So it’s possible that things have been just a little too quiet in the Rancie household of late. Apart from gaining 5 new chickens, and recently fostering a beautiful 2 year old dog (for my friend until she finds dog friendly accomodation), a hit piece on me again in The Age last Friday, and our 16 year old Indi having a tonsillectomy last week, all has been relatively quiet here under house arrest.

We have really enjoyed looking after this new pup. She has such a lovely nature and even has a diagnosed anxiety disorder so she fits in well in our home. I had “unofficially” diagnosed my nearly 9 year old dog with depression and had been agitating for a companion for her for awhile. My hubby thinks I should leave the animal psychology to the professionals but I think my diagnosis was spot on as our Ava has certainly had a new lease of life of late with her new friend here. So things have been going smoothly and our dog seems to be much happier again as we all know that companionship and social interaction with others is crucial for maintaining good mental health.

The only problem is, Jon is allergic to dogs and it has set his hay fever off more than usual. She tends to shed hair more than our dog so when Jon suggested that we maybe get one of those robotic vacuums, well you couldn’t get me to Costco any quicker!

You see I have secretly longed for one for many years now. So many of my friends have one and absolutely rave about them but I could never really justify the expense. Especially considering my hubby loves to vacuum and we already own two. The handheld vacuum is amongst his two prized possessions (next to his family of course). This is a man who has married his polar opposite (he loves to vacuum, hates spending) and rarely buys anything for himself until his (unofficially diagnosed by me again) ‘midlife crisis’ a few years ago and a shiny new black Mustang – a cordless stick vacuum were purchased and have held pride of place in Jon’s life ever since.

I detest vacuuming (and ironing) so at least the dust is sorted in our home and we both have worked out who does what in regard to household chores. We haven’t worked out the ironing but I suspect this is a common problem in households across the country. I suspect that women who love to iron are as rare as hen’s teeth.

So all I needed was a passing comment and this was all the permission required to justify this somewhat indulgent purchase.

We are among the fortunate ones here in Melbourne who haven’t been affected by job loss so far and in fact in a sick turn of affairs have even saved money due to no childcare fees for months on end, and an almost non-existent petrol bill due to not being allowed to travel more than 5kms from our home and not having anywhere we are legally allowed to go even if we wanted to…we are holding our breath however for the financial depression that is inevitably on its way.

For the moment, it seems that this division between the “haves” and the “have nots” has been luck of the draw.

It’s wretched.

Considering our income has so far not been affected and our small business is operating so far albeit remotely and with some added pressure and strain, you will never hear me say “stay home and save lives!” We can currently feed our family and put a roof over their heads. Many cannot or won’t be able to soon as the government handouts only last so long, unlike this eternal “lockdown.”

I digress.

This purchase was extremely exciting! It’s amazing what becomes exciting when most simple pleasures have been legislated against!

I bought him home (household appliances and spiders are always male in our gender binary non-pc home), downloaded the app, named it Sven after my imaginary second husband I tease my hubby about whenever he mentions his life insurance, (black comedy abounds in our home) and plugged him in to charge up!

Anyway, Sven got to work pretty quickly and we were all delighted. Interestingly he bought much joy to our 5 year old who loved watching our new robot as it navigated throughout our home, eating the occasional Lego that could always be retrieved later when cleaning out the relatively large dust compartment. Sven can hold a lot!

The most impressive part about him was the fact that Sven did not seem to miss a spot. He got under couches, around corners and in every dust bunny and nook and cranny of our home. At the end of his 90 minute shift he would take himself back to his docking station to re-charge! Amazing! And the dog hair was virtually all gone. So far he seemed to be a worthwhile investment.

We have only owned Sven for the weekend but he has become a much beloved part of our family already, like our foster dog!

Until this morning that is.

Like many families in lockdown we have all switched to our natural nocturnal state and this has only got worse as the months have rolled on. We go to bed really, really late and do not wake up until mid morning and sometimes even the afternoon depending on when online classes are etc

It has been one of the small compensations for being tyrannically forced to stay home by the government.

This morning I heard a lot of barking at 6:30 am and as much as I tried to ignore it the barking was so persistent and out of the normal I had to get up to check what was going on.

As soon as I hit the hallway I was hit with the odour. It was vile, albeit familiar.

Someone had vomited and it was a strong and pungent smell. At first I assumed it was one of the kids who may have vomited during the night. It smelt like chuck and as we have some migraine sufferers in our household it does happen on occasion. Migraines have definitely increased in our home of late. But no-one had woken me up so the mystery still hadn’t been solved.

I could hear Sven busy at work as his timer is set for a 90 minute clean every morning at 6am.

And then it dawned on me. As I ran down the hallway, the stench knocked me in the face. All I could see was a trail of dog vomit from one end of the lounge room to the other. It was white and chunky and absolutely stunk! Worst of all, IT WAS EVERYWHERE!!!

My brand new Roomba had been so efficient, it had collected the pile of vomit and smeared it all over my house leaving trails of vomit swirling across my wooden floor boards, leaving a physical trail of just how hard Sven had indeed worked. It’s truly amazing and a credit to his efficiency just how much floor space it can unfortunately travel. I already knew this because I had seen it in action, and now, at 6:32 am on a rainy Monday morning I could see it’s literal trail from one end of my house to the other…Oh except for the carpeted areas, they were a little harder to see, nevertheless the smell in the house was pungent and overwhelming I knew the large rugs had also had a decent working over.

5 mop buckets later and spot cleaning the carpet and the stench is still strong. This will be an ongoing job that may take me many days and multiple bottles of Glen 20 and disinfectant. Vile.

My Sven was loaded to the brim with chunky dog vomit and it was in literally every crevice of the vacuum.

At least I knew what was wrong with the dog. You see Sunday nights at our home is always roast lamb after church. I’m not overly routine or traditional in nature but this is one Sabbath routine we love to keep.

Last night we had a slow cooked lamb salad as the spring day was warm and so rather than the usual roast, I tore up the Lamb and shredded it over a Greek salad and topped it off with a garlic Greek yoghurt dressing.

I had done about 80% of the clean up but admittedly I had left some left over lamb and the remainder of the bowl of garlic yoghurt on the kitchen island.

Our “foster” dog is quite inept at jumping up and stealing food off the bench. This is not something that our own dog is tall enough to do although being a Labrador cross, if she could, she most certainly would!

I didn’t think about it.

But our foster dog did.

And it seems she had devoured enough lamb and yoghurt sauce to make her sick enough to vomit not just once but repeatedly and by the look of the house when I first woke up, her guts had been overflowing… literally!

I only wish I had the sense at the time to take photos when I discovered the scene of smelly destruction. Although in all honesty photos would not have done credit to the crime scene as a photo would not convey the hideous stench. I wasn’t thinking about social media obviously until I had finished using my fifth bucket of disinfectant mop water and the smell had somewhat slightly subdued.

I could suddenly see the hilarity in this story and realised how humorous it would be to anyone not actually experiencing it firsthand.

The moral of the story, don’t even joke about replacing your husband or your vacuum with an upgrade named Sven. They will never be as good.

Also, as fantastic as Robots are, they will never replace humans…and finally end the lockdown in Victoria – no-one should be cooped up in a house with 6 people and 7 animals indefinitely when no crime has been committed!

Marijke Rancie is an ordinary, "stay-at-home" mum who shrugs off the restrictive expectations of cultural feminism. She encourages other full time mums to not feel inadequate in their occupation as wife & mother, and champions traditional family values. Also known as “Political Posting Mumma“, Marijke's personal experience and concerned research led her to raising the alarm about the hidden, inappropriate sexual content of the so-called “Safe Schools” resources.

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