November 10, 2008

The Scurge of Vacuum Cleaners

I have heard of people who house-clean BEFORE the cleaning lady arrives. I have also heard of women who complain that the maid's cleaning is inadequate by their exacting standards. I don't hold with either of those. I have a cleaning service for the simple reason that I hate housework (with the strange exception of ironing) and I want to pay someone to do it for me. So I am grateful for any house-cleaning because it is much more than I would ever do myself. But I have finally cracked.

Over the past few years, I have bought at least a half dozen vacuum cleaners. I should find a model I like and buy them in bulk. I have come to dread the frequent cry of "Missus . . . vacuum . . . broken." Why? The cleaning ladies wreck them with impunity. Socks, toy cars, playing cards, marbles, checkers all have been fished out of a hapless vacuum cleaner's internal mechanisms. Opening of one of my discarded vacuums is no doubt like opening a dead shark's stomach. I would not be surprised to find stray shoes, lost library books or dead animals.

This particular vaccum, a Eureka HEPA SmartVac, has lasted longer than most, either because of its design or my increased attention on its behalf. But even this vacuum has proved no match for a zealous vacuum abuser. I came upon Y dissecting the ailing beast this week and switching it on and off. Y pointed out the visible clog. "Stop, I'll get the manual." Vrooom. I have learned through bitter experience (although clearly the women employed by my service have not) that if you continue to run a clogged vacuum, you will soon smell burning rubber and then it's straight to the curb with that one and back to the store for me. She pointed to the clog again. Vroooom. "Stop, please." Vrooom, vroom. "I'm calling Eureka right now. Please stop running it." Uh-oh. Up two flights of stairs to get the model and serial number. She indicated the clog again. Vrooooom. I yanked the plug out of the wall. "Yes, I can see that it is clogged. I'm listening to the instructions." Although it seemed obvious to me that a Eureka technician might know better than someone fruitlessly switching from "floor" to "carpet" and shrieking "clogged," Y did not agree and an argument ensued. Finally, the patient was successfully dismantled with the help of phone instructions. We removed the offending clog, a whole Yu-Gi-Oh card, and the patient survived to vroom another day.

Hey, while I am complaining about cleaning ladies, how about them letting me pour a cup of coffee before throwing out the whole fresh pot?

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