My youngest bird flew back to the empty nest last month for the summer. Like an owl, he’s fully nocturnal now, sleeping all day, playing online games and meeting up with his old friends at night. He gets good grades, is deliberate and thoughtful, and he works hard when he works, so I pick my battles.

One of my battles is not making him clean his room, because that would be a losing battle that I’ve been advised to ignore at the risk of a sudden cardiac event. It’s with his desk and surrounding area, which is flat-out disgusting. It’s a trove of food crumbs, paper scraps, bits of unidentifiable and possibly biologic material, and most certainly a hazard. After he was at home for a week, I reminded him about his Riccar Gem handheld vacuum that I sent with him to school his first year. He stores it with other seldom-used items like his clothes iron, library card and postage stamps, but he digs it out and uses it, twice so far this summer. One time he used it to clean up before we had houseguests, and the second time he used it to suck out the crumbs from his keyboard.

He’s way ahead of me on technology and trends; he understands monetization of gaming platforms, and he was the first kid in his school to go to college on an esports (gaming) scholarship, which he pursued on his own. He graduated high school in three years. So I asked him if he would prefer a cordless vacuum for cleaning his desk, since cordless is all the rage. Without hesitation, he said, “No. It would never be charged when I needed it.” He knows himself well.

He’ll leave our nest again in late summer at a new college with new roommates who may be appalled or in awe of his messiness and personal habits. But with his Gem, at least I know he’ll have a clean desk. I celebrate the victories, no matter how small.

If you have a dirty desk or other tight spaces in need of a powerful cleaning machine, check out the Gem at your local Riccar retailer or online.