Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Can You Drive a Vacuum to School?

Grandma A was an immaculate housekeeper. I'll tell you more about that later, but it's important for you to know that so that you understand my inane desire to also keep an immaculate home. I spent quite a bit of time with her in my younger days, learning the ropes, gettin' the scoop, and seein' how it was done. I try very hard to take what I learned and apply it - but I find it boring, cumbersome and a complete waste of time. To remove the monotony of the necessary evil, I have grown to believe that if I posses the perfect supplies and equipment - the job will be easier - more enjoyable - and hell, if I'm lucky maybe it will take care of itself!!!

And so that is the background to the story I'm about to share with you. Truth be told - I have a thing for vacuum cleaners. Having had to run one every day of my life until I was 18, you'd think I would have grown to despise them - but I don't. I'm addicted to them. About 10 years ago, I bought myself a shop vac for my birthday. It was small enough for me to maneuver and yet powerful enough to suck the bugs out of the window sill in a way that mesmerized me. I was so awed by its power that I cleaned my entire house that day - with my shop vac. There wasn't a piece of dirt that could escape my new found power. A few years later, I got a new husband and he had a BIGGER shop vac - a MAN SIZED shop vac. Said it could hold 55 gallons of shit and dirt. So, being limited on space, he threw my woman-sized shop vac to the curb and replaced in its assigned seat in the garage, the MAN VAC. Well it was just too big for me to even move, let alone actually use in a meaningful way. I had no choice but to stop cleaning.

A few years later, we moved into a new house, and I immediately announced that I would be buying myself a Dyson. I had done all my research on these machines, staying up late at night, watching the info-mercials and gettin' educated on them. I knew them inside and out and I'd seen on TV just how well they worked. I was sold! Now, never mind that the new house has a built in vacuum system (I don't understand how to work it, it looks complicated, what, with it's miles of hoses and odd holes in the wall and then there's that whole where does the shit even go aspect - I refuse to use it). I bought the Dyson. The purple Dyson - special made for pet hair pick up. I loved my Dyson - every person that came to my house to visit, I would drag that Dyson out of its assigned seat, plug it in and instruct them, "Try it - seriously - you've never seen anything quite like it! It's the most amazing machine I've ever owned - worth every penny I paid for it!" Every week my house would be vacuumed by another unsuspecting guest. It was GREAT and I was a GENIUS!

Two years ago, while swillin' back some whiskey on a Sunday (that's how we do it here at Crazyville), the doorbell rang. It was two punks with a slew of facial piercings between them and they wanted to vacuum my floors with their Kirby. Ummm... SURE! Come on in suckers! I had just hosted a family gathering and the floors needed a good cleaning, so knock yourself out and get busy! They cleaned and cleaned the floors - vacuuming and vacuuming - stopping every 15 seconds or so to put a new black felt dirt catcher where the bag would normally go. And each time they paused to change their black felt dirt catcher, they called my name "Ma'am?" WTF do they want NOW? I'm drinking. I'm busy. They're supposed to be CLEANING up this dump. So I'd plod into the room where they were and plaster a smile on face and say, "yes?" "Look at this dirt we collected!" YAY! Zippy for you! You collected dirt - DUH! I told you the place was a tad messy, hence the reason you're in here to begin with. Punks.

This routine went on for quite some time, and the longer they cleaned, the more I indulged in my whiskeyfied refreshment and oddly, I became increasingly impressed with the amount of dirt they were collecting and how amazing this sleek, shiny, classy Kirby seemed to be. "Hey that thing works pretty good!" "Would you like to buy one?" "Uh that'd be a BIG NEGATORY!" "Would you like us to show you how it cleans curtains?" "Absofrickinlutely! My curtains are in dire need of a good cleaning!" So off they went - cleaning the curtains and off I went to get a refill.

"Ma'am?" WTF? WHAT NOW? Certainly they haven't cleaned ALL the curtains in this house. Sure enough they had and you should have SEEN the filth that they collected off of them. "Would you like us to clean your furniture?" "Well, I'd say you better if the place is this damned dirty!" So they did. Then they showed me ALL the pieces it came with - there was the basic machine, a different container for steam cleaning, a sundry of hoses for different purposes, more attachments than I've ever seen in my life and then they told me.... "It has a transmission." A TRANSMISSION? Seriously? So it's like a REAL machine?! For a mere $2,500 it could be mine. Were they kidding? $2,500 for a vacuum? No thanks! I have a Dyson. Oh wait - let's get out your Dyson and compare it side by side to this stallion. So we did - and my God - it picked up dirt the Dyson left behind. I was mortified. I loved my Dyson. Loved it.

For $2,000 it could be mine. I wasn't convinced so I had them steam clean the carpet on the stairs to prove to me that the steam cleaner worked. It appeared to work like a dream - the carpet was spotless. It was amazing! (never mind I already own a very nice Hoover carpet steamer) For $1,800 it could be mine! Still not convinced, I instructed them to clean the kitchen floors - I wanted to see how it performed on hard surfaces and I left them to their cleaning as I went to grab a whiskey for dessert. WHOA! Lookit the kitchen - it looked GREAT! For $1,200 it could be MINE! I went to my husband - looking for him to lay down the law, put his foot down, tell me NO, you know - play bad cop. I could tell I was already smitten with this Cadillac vacuum and had fallen under its spell. I pulled him aside and explained to him all that it could do and how amazing it was, then I broke the news about the cost but buffered the sting by ending with, "but I've always wanted one." He looked me square in the eye and said, "Woman! If you have always wanted one of those then you should HAVE one - I say GET IT!"

A few hours later after signing the paperwork with our bloody fingers and having darned near finished off half a gallon of whiskey - THAR SHE WAS! Our new vacuum. All sleek and contemporary with her silver/grey bag with a geometric design - all shiny and lovely and she came with all her own tools and parts. My husband and I looked at it and admired it- we looked at each other and we giggled, then we embraced and kissed each other - so proud - our new vacuum - she's a beauty!! We did it honey! We bought a Kirby! I've always wanted one! Thank you! You're the BEST husband EVER!!!

The next morning, we plodded down the stairs in our hung over way, and as we entered the kitchen THAR SHE WAS - we stopped dead in our tracks - - WTF? Oh Christ - we bought that damned Kirby - I'd forgotten. Shit. We looked at it with disgust. We looked at each other with disgust. How could this have happened? Why didn't you tell me no? All day we sat on the couch, watching TV with that "thing" sitting there staring back at us - all the while we refused to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Later that evening, our then 15 year old came home and said, "What's that?" We both looked at him and at the same time said, "It's your new car!"


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