I'm digging the reader feedback I've been getting recently. Not only is it at times enlightening, it more importantly, for me personally, reinforces my belief that at least a few people are reading what I write here.

    Let’s dig into the reader feedback bin.

Dog or no dog

    Wow, people are seriously hot and cold on dogs. There is no middle ground opinion here, nothing lukewarm or tepid. I wrote a column a couple weeks ago about my wife and I pondering the purchase of a puppy at some point in the future, where that meant a few weeks, a few months or longer. I wrote that it appeared we'd reached the point where this was a "when" purchase, not "if."

    Not so fast. We're having serious second thoughts. This still might happen, but I think it's going to be years down the road.

    The feedback to that column was around 80% "Don't even consider getting a dog, it will be the worst decision you've ever made, it will ruin your life and you'll be overcome with regret," with the remaining 20% occupying the "Oh my god I'm so excited for you! Dogs are the absolute best thing ever! Once you have one you'll wonder how you lived so long without one! What kind are you thinking of getting?" camp.

    I hesitate to call out anyone by name, but I have to mention that the strongest opinion I received in the dog/no dog debate came from none other than Mary Holz-Clause, chancellor at the University of Minnesota Crookston. She was so matter-of-fact, so stone-cold. Her words pierced my brain like the liquid-metal terminator dude in Terminator 2 when he morphs into that red-headed security guard at the mental health facility and then turned his hand into a little sword-type thing and poked it in a blink right into the poor security guard's skull, switching him off like a light.

    "Don't get a dog," Mary said. "Don't...get...a...dog."

    I think what affected me most as Mary stared through me as she spoke was my belief that, if my wife and I did in fact get a dog, the chancellor wouldn't merely be disappointed by our decision, she'd be disappointed in us.

Robot vacuum

    I wrote a few weeks ago about 'Rihanna," our iRobot Roomba vacuum, who performed in amazing fashion early on, but had regressed of late when it came to the quality of her cleaning, and she had actually seemed a bit confused as she roamed around our house, bumping into things, getting stuck, and cleaning one area multiple times while ignoring other areas.

    "You're taking care of her, right?" a reader and robot vac owner said to me.

    Well, yes, sort of. I always emptied her bin. And, at the same time I bought Rihanna, I also purchased a replacement kit supplied with new filters, brushes and rollers. I cleaned her filter before every job.

    Not good enough, the reader said. I needed to flip Rihanna upside-down, she said, get a screwdriver, and get to work on her undercarriage.

    That reader was right.

    Last week, I flipped Rihanna over and got busy. I snapped a new filter in. I replaced the little brush that spins in the front. I popped the rollers out and cleaned that area.

    I was immediately riddled with guilt. This poor little vacuum had been trying her darndest to do a decent job cleaning our floors, but her wheels and the rest of her moving parts were snarled and entangled by clumps of hair and fur and other debris that didn't find its way into her dust bin.

    Soon, she was zooming around the living room with renewed purpose and brand-new-out-of-the-box vigor. She even sounded better.

    "You go, girl!" I shouted as I relaxed in the recliner nearby.

Too much curry

    Recently, I ruined a shrimp, rice and vegetables meal my wife had planned by adding at least 10 times as much curry paste as I should have. For one thing, I took charge of preparing the meal without asking my wife if she minded, and for another, once I inserted myself as head chef, I failed to notice that the curry paste came with a specific recipe. I just added the entire jar, no questions asked.

    The next day, we tried to salvage the meal by adding tomato juice and other ingredients, reworking it into some sort of gumbo/jambalaya hybrid. But the damage inflicted by me the previous evening was too much to overcome.

    A reader noted that we should have added coconut milk to "calm down" all of that curry.

    Suggestion noted, and thank you. But I think I'll stick to grilling, marinating meats and such, and preparing dazzling Mexican meals. Anything involving paste, I’ll let my wife take the lead.