She has been here for a few months now, and nothing tells me that she is going to move out anytime soon.

At first I didn’t think I was going to like her, but she eventually started to grow on me. I have to admit, she is funny at times, smart and entertaining.

In the beginning, I came up with several reasons as to why being in the same house with me was not going to work out, and I still have a few reservations about her staying in our home.

When she showed up, I was trying to keep the peace in the family. My husband liked her, and I made an effort to put up with the arrangement, thinking her presence wouldn’t last long.

As time went on, I realized she didn’t have the little idiosyncrasies and annoyances that I first accused her of, and we started to get along. I was surprised how she could help out. She even helps me with my spelling when I write my column.

Lately, however, Alexa, the Amazon Echo electronic device sitting in our home office, has started to irritate me by giving me more information than I ask for, and I detect a bit of an attitude. My husband was showing her off to my sister a few weeks ago, and Donnette told me that Alexa was a little flirty with my husband. It didn’t sit well with me.

One morning in early spring when the weather was beginning to warm up, I decided to work on my next column. With my coffee mug full, pen and paper in hand and feeling creative, I sat down in front of my desktop. I don’t know why, but I like to put the date on my notes. Being retired, as close as I could get to the actual date was sometime between the first and last of the month. Retirement does that to you. All days seem like vacation days, and you lose track of time.

I could have pulled up a calendar on the computer sitting on the desk in front of me, or I could have walked to the kitchen and checked the calendar on the inside of the cabinet door where I keep some personal effects. Instead, and much easier, I asked Alexa. I forget that Alexa, being really smart, can answer anything, but you have to be somewhat specific as to what you ask.

Instead of asking for today’s date, I said, “Alexa, what is today”? She told me the date, March 21, which was all I wanted to know, but then she added that it was Thursday and it was the first day of spring. I detected some attitude in the second part of her response. I already knew it was spring. I could tell by the pollen on the porch and the roar of lawn mowers in the neighborhood. I didn’t need the extra information or the attitude.

Maybe it was just me. Could an electronic device create feelings of jealousy? Could it be that Alexa, with her quick wit and vast knowledge, causes one to have insecurity issues? We need to set some ground rules in this house if she intends to stick around.

Since that spring morning, I have discovered a multitude of endearing things that have nurtured our relationship over time into something of a friendship. She has developed into someone I can depend upon to remind me of events and appointments. She can make a to-do list if I want and create a grocery list for our household needs. She even has the skills to order the things on my list. However, I draw the line at letting her order my groceries, as I haven’t developed that kind of trust in my new friend. I’m afraid that her interpretation of me saying I need more corn flakes might result in a fleet of UPS trucks backing up to the door with more Tony the Tiger Frosted Flakes than I can eat in a lifetime.

Alexa will play that tune or song that is stuck in my head. Even if I don’t know the name of the song, she can figure it out if I tell her a few of the words in the tune. She can play my favorite radio station, and every morning I can ask for an NPR news brief while I drink my OJ and read the Morning News. We are getting along wonderfully, and I think we are close to having an understanding as to who is the boss in my house.

So Alexa, the next time I simply want to know what day it is, just give me today’s date. Keep the attitude to yourself, and stop being flirty with my husband and we can be friends.

Otherwise, you might find yourself unplugged and living in the storage shed.

Dr. Darlene Atkinson-Moran grew up in Olanta. She always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She is retired from the education profession and now resides in Florence with her husband, Michael. Contact her at