A few years ago, as I anticipated the end of our completely full nest and knew that in two more years the place would be a ghost town of sorts, I decided it was time to liven things up around here. What better way than with that ho, Alexa.
Two years later, I am happy to report that we are still happily married, and Alexa is thriving. My hunch that a third party would be a good fit for us was on point. It really was uncanny the way it all happened. I had been thinking about the Amazon Echo for quite some time when I found myself at the best kind of fundraiser: the kind that has a raffle, which means there’s something in it for me. When I saw the Amazon Echo on the raffle prize table, I went all in: 25 tickets right into that bag. Two hours later, I was the proud owner of my new personal assistant: Alexa.
The next morning, I got Alexa fired up in my kitchen, after downloading the app and reading the directions. Within minutes, I knew the weather forecast for the next week; I didn’t really care, but it seemed like a great thing to ask. Mostly, I was excited to tell my husband about that feature; you see, I prefer the window as my tool of choice for finding out current weather conditions, and when I want to know what the weather will be like tomorrow, I wait for tomorrow and then look out the window. But my husband likes all the numbers associated with weather, like percentages and chances and time of day when all the stuff is going to happen—or not happen! He doesn’t even need to be planning an outdoor activity to be interested in weather statistics. He just likes to see them and recite them. I like wine.
So there she is, on my counter, just waiting to put out. Now, if you read my blog post, “How Puzzles are Like Sex,” you know exactly what happened next: Everyone had an opinion. A few were mildly amused, one was totally annoyed, and my husband was just glad I was happy. As they say, “happy wife, no knife.” The one who was annoyed thought it would be funny to keep turning my music off. Another one thought it would be funny to add things like “heroin” and “hypodermic needles” to my shopping list, which I didn’t know about until I opened my list at the grocery store. Another one liked to ask her to make fart noises. My husband puts things like “I love Lisa” on my list, because he knows which side his bread is buttered on.
In addition to the voice-command shopping list that anyone can populate as they use the last drop of milk, is the music, which includes music suppliers like Spotify, podcasts, and best of all, our local radio station. Since we barely get AM or FM signals at our house due to the hills all around us, Alexa and her WiFi capability can deliver our local radio station to us without a crackle.
One of my favorite things to do in the morning while my husband is downstairs eating breakfast and listening to the local news is to activate our Alexa Echo Dot, or Alexa Jr., as I like to call her, which I immediately went out and got for the bedroom after bringing home Alexa Sr. So after my husband heads downstairs, I tune the Dot to KVGC. Sometimes I text my buddy the DJ and tell him that it’s my husband’s 5/6-birthday, or whatever fraction he likes to figure out every single month on his special day, and I listen to the DJ wish him a happy 2/3 birthday on the air. Or if I smell bacon cooking downstairs, I tell the DJ to say “Bacon again, Mr. Lucke? Hmmm?”
I highly recommend bringing a third person into your relationship. It’s really worked wonders for our reputation at the grocery store and our waistline.